Top 5 Historical Sites in Florence

by: Kristel van Winkel (reading – 1.7. - 7.7.)

Florence has magnificent treasures that await your visit. The city has many beautiful churches and other historical sites. Florence is the city of the wooden puppet Pinocchio and is the centre of the region Tuscany with its lovely vineyards and medieval villages. These are the absolute must see when you are in Florence. Explore the magic history of this great city.

1. The Duomo

The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore is the cathedral church or Duomo of Florence and is absolutely worth a visit. The building process begun in 1296 and was completed in 1436. The Duomo has a Gothic style and is a design of Arnolfo di Cambio. The complex includes the Baptistery and Giotto's Campanile. The three buildings are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Duomo is one of Italy's largest churches and has the largest brick dome ever constructed. It is located at Piazza del Duomo, which is a very nice square, with terraces and shops. You could walk the stairs all the way to the top of the tower Giotto's Campanile and have an amazing view over Florence.

2. Ponte Vecchio

The Ponte Vecchio is a medieval bridge over the river Arno. The bridge is the oldest and most famous bridge of Florence and was build in Roman times. It is noted because it still has shops built on it. Earlier there were butchers but since the 15th century the jewellers and souvenir shops have occupied the bridge. The bridge was rebuilt several times because it was destroyed by flood. The openings in the middle of the bridge offer beautiful views over the river.

3. Uffizi Museum

The Palazzo di Uffizi is one of the world's oldest and most famous art museums. The narrow courtyard offers a view of the Arno river and creates the effect of a little street towards Palazzo Vecchio. The museum has beautiful frescoes. The Uffizi's collection contain paintings of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt van Rijn and many more famous artists. The exterior of the museum is also beautiful.

4. Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens

The Palazzo Pitti is a renaissance palace and is situated on the south side of the River Arno, close to the Ponte Vecchio. In the late 18th century the palace was used by Napoleon. Nowadays it is entirely open for public. The Palace's gardens are the Boboli gardens and are the perfect place to rest a little bit after visiting sites. From parts of the Boboli Gardens you also have a beautiful view over Florence and the Duomo.

5. Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of Florence, it is the most impressive town hall of Tuscany. The Palazzo Vecchio is definitely worth a visit and from inside the building you have ravishing views over the city. The design of the building is very typical for Tuscany and if you visit more places in Tuscany you will recognize this design in many more places. The building is located on the square Piazza della Signoria, the square is known as the political centre of the city and due to the central location it also attracts a lot of tourists. There are also many eye-catching statues located in this square.

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About The Author

Kristel van Winkel - Marketing Intern - Great Hotels of the World

Great Hotels of the World ( ) provides global hotel reservation, sales and marketing services for an exclusive portfolio of primarily independent hotels and resorts worldwide. Great Hotels of the World provides a range of products, services and innovative technology solutions for over 250 hotels worldwide through trade shows, e-marketing, business travel sales, meeting and incentive sales, public relations, Meeting Forums and a private label GDS chain code (GW).

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Expert Advice To Have The Best Vacation In India

by: Aalia Khan (reading – 8.7. - 14.7.)

India is famous as the land of diversity. Indian culture is a potpourri of various colorful cultures. India is a multi-religious country where all the various religions have influenced each other and helped them grow. Indian geography is full of variety, the snow capped mountains of Himalayas, the majestic deserts of Rajasthan and the beautiful beaches of Goa and Kerala there is no dearth of natural beauty in India. All this makes India a popular tourist destination. To make your trip unforgettable here are some important tips to remember while you travel to India.

First and foremost you should book a good travelling agency which will assign you a personal agent. Discuss your budget and preferences with your travel agent to ensure that you have a memorable journey. But make sure that you choose a certified travelling agency. Discuss all the possible tour packages with your agent and choose the best suited package for yourself. Book your tickets and hotels beforehand to avoid any last minute hassles. You can ask your travel agent to do this on your behalf.

Before you reach your destination do a bit of research about the place. You should be familiar with the culture and language of that place. By following some important tips to remember while you trip to India you will make sure that you don't offend the local people and enjoy their hospitality. Also check the weather conditions of your destination and pack your luggage according to that. Make sure that you travel light because you will have heavier luggage full of souvenirs when you go back from India.

Keep a first-aid box with all the medicines you might require during your journey. Keep all your documents in a safe place and carry a photocopy of all the documents. Carry some amount of Indian currency to pay the taxis etc.

Avoid giving alms to beggars. It's an offence in most Indian cities to pay them any amount of money. If you give them money they will run after you all the time and spoil your sightseeing trip.

While sightseeing you must follow the rules and regulations else you might end up paying fine at the spots. You must limit yourself to the time period given for sightseeing. Don't delay to reach your vehicle as it will lead to a delay in your whole tour plan. Always follow your agent's advice and the list of some important tips to remember while you travel to India given in this article to enjoy a stress free vacation.

While going to religious buildings like temples, mosques, gurudwara and churches always follow the local code of conduct like covering your head and taking off your footwear. Respect the culture and traditions of the local people. While visiting the markets and shopping for local handicrafts don't forget to bargain. But always prefer to shop from government recognized outlets to ensure that you are not cheated by the shopkeepers.

To enjoy hassle free vacations follow the above given important tips to remember while you tour to India. These tips will make your journey to India an experience you will cherish all your life.

About The Author

Aalia Khan has deep interest in writing informative articles on Travel and tourism India. Also given her words to a portal for India Tours where one can find info about India tour operator and get the best India Tour Packages. Explore:-

The Best Martial Art - What To Consider When Choosing One

by: Wisey Lim (reading – 15.7. - 21.7.)

Now if you are exploring martial arts most probably you will ask yourself this question, "what is the best martial art?" This article will share with you what to consider when choosing one.

The Purpose Of Picking-Up A Combative Art?

You may not agree with me and still harping on the question of "what is the best martial art out there?" So my advice to you is when choosing a combative art for training, you must know the ultimate reason for you to pick-up one. Is it for sport and competition? Is it for self-defense purposes? How about for health and fitness? For leisure? There are hundreds of different forms of martial arts, you must pick the one which is right for you.

Get To Know More About It

When choosing a martial art, it is advisable for you to get to know more about it before you start training. Read more about the history, philosophy and development of the combative art. You should watch some of the free video clips available out there. By doing so you will get to know what to expect during training. After getting to know more about the art, ask yourself this question, "is that the best martial art" that I really want?"

Try Out First

Sit in and observe during some of the classes or trainings. What about the training? Is the training too vigorous for you? Get the permission of the instructor to attend a few classes or trainings before committing yourself. Most of the time, you will get a few sessions of free classes or trainings. This will give you a "feel" of how is the art like.

What Are You Looking For?

If you love combative sport, street fighting, "no-hold barred" then Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) may be what you are looking for. If striking form of combative art is appealing to you, then you may want to explore Taekwondo, Karate or Muay Thai.

There are many combative arts which emphasise on grappling and restraining techniques. If this is what you are looking for then consider Japanese martial art of Jujitsu, Judo, Brazilian Jiujitsu and Sambo.

If you are looking for combative arts with self-defence components then consider Japanese martial art of Ninjutsu, Hapkido, a form of Korean martial art and Krav Maga, which is developed by the Israel special forces.

There are combative arts which allow a weaker fighter to defense against a larger and even stronger opponent. So if you are looking for such a combative art, you may explore, Japanese martial art of Aikido, Wing Chun Kung Fu and Tai Chi from China.

What is the best martial art? There is no answer to this question. Let me be honest with you, there is no such thing as "the best martial art". Each combative art has its own strengths and weaknesses. They are developed with different qualities and suit different people. Consider the above mentioned factors before committing yourself into one. Pick the one which you enjoy the training and would have fun when doing it. Passion is what keeps you to continue with your training.

About The Author

If you want to know more about the world best martial arts or to watch the video clips on these martial arts, visit my website at

You want the details on "dirty" street fighting techniques that are made for survival - and may even save your life...Click, for more simple and practical self-defense techniques.

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Get Started Planning Your Hawaii Vacation

by: Jeremy Thompson (reading – 22.7. - 28.7.)

Hawaii is by far one of the most popular tourist destinations around. If you're dreaming of a Hawaii vacation or already starting to plan one, you'll need to do your research to find out all of the available options for fun in the sun. There are a variety of Hawaii vacations available to suit the needs of everyone's style, budget and preferences, and length of stay in the beautiful island state.

When going on a Hawaii vacation many tourists choose vacations focused on the beach. After all, Hawaii boasts its stunning, white-sand beaches. The island of Maui alone has 80 beautiful beaches along 120 miles of coastline while Oahu has 130 beaches. Whether you want to relax in the sand soaking up some sun, swim, or even go snorkeling, Hawaii offers many opportunities for underwater and above water activities.

Snorkeling is one of the must do activities on any Hawaii vacation. Hawaiian snorkeling is great for swimmers of any level and gives you a glorious eye view of the numerous unique, colorful fish and exotic underwater sea life. Rental shops on the beaches have snorkeling equipment available for a small fee per day, while many resorts offer equipment free of charge.

There are a variety of other fun Hawaii vacation activities to choose from after you are done snorkeling. As you plan your days in paradise you will want to plan ahead and decide which sound most appealing to you. Other water activities include surfing, parasailing, and sailing. Many tourists surf for their very first time off the coast of one of Hawaii's beaches. Skilled surfers often come back to Hawaii time after time to catch some of the world's best waves and highest surfs.

If you're not into water activities you may want to consider adding some of Hawaii's other amazing attractions to your itinerary. Nature lovers will enjoy Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. As you drive or even hike through the park you'll catch breathtaking views of Kilauea, Mauna Loa, Steaming Bluff, and Devastation Trail. Majestic waterfalls can also be seen on your trek through this popular park.

For a taste of culture on your Hawaii vacation there are some marvelous places you won't want to miss. Learn about Hawaii's history at the Polynesian Culture Center or experience some American history at Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial. You won't want to miss a traditional Hawaiian luau complete with Hawaiian food, music, and dancing.

About The Author

Jeremy Thompson is the author of your online guide to Hawaii vacations and Hawaii cruises. His fun filled site is filled with great information about Hawaii vacations and cruises. Check it out.

History of Chicago

by: Victoria Julee (reading – 29.7. - 4.8.)

No city is born instantly; there is always some history or an event which leads to its formation. The history of Chicago begins with the French explorers, named Marquette and Jolliet in 1673. They were the first outsiders to set foot on this land which later became Chicago. Later on in 1677 a church was build to convert the natives to Christianity. The major event in the history of Chicago was the permanent settlement of the non-native settler named jean Baptiste Point du Sable in 1780, however, by 1800s he left Chicago, still later on in 1986 he was honored as the city founder.

The US first set foot in this city in 1795 under the Treaty of Greenville and the first recorded birth, happened in 1796. The next major incident took place when US built a fort in 1803; however, it was destroyed by British in the first war ever fought in Chicago in 1812 and when the war ended the land was given back to the US under the treaty signed in 1816. According to the historians the year 1830 was a golden year for Chicago as it was given official recognition. Once that was done people from other countries started migrating here seeing the city's potential and by 1833 the population reached 350. In 1834 a trade treaty was signed thus allowing the city to open up trade route and in 1837 the first medical college was opened in the city and in the same year the first jeweler's was founded here.

The city continued to develop over the time and the first newspaper was published in 1847 and by 1848 82 local businesses were opened in the city. In 1851 the first higher education institution was founded and the first hospital started operating in 1852. After that the condition of the Chicago worsened due to cholera epidemic that took place in 1854 and due to the lager beer riot that took place in 1855 and in 1860 the lady Elgin disaster took place. The first railway guide company was formed in 1868. The city was nearly destroyed in 1871 due to the great fire that went loose in the city, destroying more than half of the city, however, the people of the city continued to rebuild it over the years and by 1890s the city was prospering again and the university of Chicago was also established in this year.

Moving on to the 20th century, the first incident recorded in the history is the reversal of Chicago River in 1900. The second incident happened in 1903 when the Iroquois theater fire took place. Different events leading to the city's bright future continued to take place and in 1927 the first airport was built in the city. Later on in 1955 the first McDonald branch opens up. Since then till today there have been many entries recorded in the history, however, overall history shows that the city continued to improve and now it is one of the most famous cities in the world.

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