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Verona, Italy

Verona - Italy - Uncrowded Historic Tourism
Verona is a compact Italian city situated along the Adige river in Veneto in northern Italy and the second largest city in the region. It has become one of the top tourist destinations in northern Italy because of its artistic heritage, including several fairs held each year, shows and operas like the lyrical season performed in the the ancient amphitheatre from the Roman era. The city was granted World Heritage Site status by UNESCO due to its urban structure and architecture.

With a picture postcard city center of cobblestone streets lined with medieval pastel shaded buildings and well-preserved Roman era sites including dozens of churches, it is just a short distance from other major Italian travel destinations like Milan and Venice. Events like the summer opera festival, running from the 14th of June through the 8th of September, and Vinitaly in April - one of the wine world’s most important events, are held each year in Verona.

Roman Empire - Gladiators Give Way to Operas
Even though a powerful earthquake in 1117 destroyed most of the arena's gates, the interior of the amphitheaterst remains nearly intact. But these days, instead of audiences gathering for the gladiator battles, opera lovers line the stone benches during the summer to take in performances of operas like Verdi's Aida. Even if there is not a performance occurring in the ancient theater, one of Europe's best preserved amphitheaters, it is certainly worth a visit. The panorama from the top tier of the amphitheater offers an awesome view of the sprawling city alongside the river and its historic center.

Taking an evening stroll along the Via Mazzini, a pedestrian-only thoroughfare lined with high-end boutiques and shops, into the Piazza delle Erbe is a must do Italian tradition. The northern side of the Piazza delle Erbe is occupied by the ancient town hall, the Torre dei Lamberti, the Casa dei Giudici or Judges' Hall and the Mazzanti Houses. The western side has the Baroque Palazzo Maffei, decorated by statues of Greek gods. It is faced by a white marble column on which is a St. Mark Lion - the symbol of the Republic of Venice.

The north-western side occupies the site of the ancient Roman Capitol Hill, which looked towards the forum where many of its buildings that face the square have maintained frescoes on their façades. On the southern side is the Casa dei Mercanti or House of the Merchants, also known as Domus Mercatorum, now the seat of the Banca Popolare di Verona.

Religion and Romance - Virgin Mary and Romeo's Juliet
The most ancient monument in the Piazza delle Erbe is the fountain, surmounted by a statue called Madonna Verona, which is a Roman sculpture dating to 380 AD. Also of historical value is the capitello, dating to the 13th century, during which it was used for several ceremonies, including the oath of the city's medieval podestà and pretors. Towards Via Cappello is another column, with a 14th century aedicula with reliefs of the Virgin and the Saints Zeno, Peter and Christopher.

Located on Via Cappello, a short distance from the central Piazza delle Erbe, is Casa di Giulietta or the house of Juliet of Romeo and Juliet by Shakepeare. The building is one of the major attractions for tourists visiting Verona. The amount of tourists often makes it very crowded in the courtyard of the house in which there are numerous souvenir shops for tourists. The corridor that gives access to the back courtyard is completely covered with graffiti left by visitors expressing their love for Juliet.

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Mara Carfagna

Women in Politics - Mara La Bella
Mara Carfagna, an Italian Minister for Equal Opportunity from 2008 through 2011 appointed by Berlusconi on May 8th, 2008, is nicknamed Mara La Bella ("Maria The Beautiful"). Before entering politics, she competed for the Miss Italia crown, did some acting, and posed topless for several magazines. In 2006 Carfagna was elected to the Chamber of Deputies for the Forza Italia party. She has taken an active role in curbing crime in her hometown of Salerno, where she championed legislation against street prostitution. Maxim ranked her as the "World's Hottest Politician" when she showed the G8 wives around Rome on July 8th, 2009

Mara Carfagna - Italian Minister for Equal Opportunity
Silvio Berlusconi remarked about Carfagna that "If I was not already married I would have married her immediately". The comment caused Berlusconi's wife, Veronica Lario, to demand an apology through a national newspaper - which she received. Carfagna later said she felt the comment was gallant and harmless, and said that she did not quite understand his wifes reaction. The situation was exacerbated by the revelation in a South American newspaper that alleged that tapes existed of telephone conversations between Carfagna and Silvio Berlusconi that were of a sexual nature. More about Mara Carfagna at www.brspecial.com and in Italian on her personal website at: www.maracarfagna.net

Mara Carfagna

Italian-American Actress - All Good Things Italian
Born to Italian parents, Annabella Sciorra is most recognized as the character Gloria Trillo from the Sopranos, for which she won an Emmy Award nomination. Like all things Italian, she is exquisitely designed - like a Ferrari is to sportscars, Campagnolla is to cycling or Leonardo Da Vinci is to the world of art, Annabella is to the female sex.
Annabella Sciorra - Natural Born Actress
She recieved an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Female Lead in the film True Love, and came to wide public attention from her co-lead role in the Spike Lee film Jungle Fever in 1991. It's no surprise that she has worked not only in television and films, but on the stage both on and off Broadway. This came naturally since she founded a theater company, she called the Brass Ring, in an East 65th Street apartment in New York back when she was just 21 years of age... read more

Troublesome Patriarchal Dominance - Time For More Women in Positions of Power

These are the kind of women that should be put in positions of power. They would make positive contributions with their time and resources and leave the world better for having been here. And not to mention the fact that they all certainly look far more appealing...

From century to century throughout history the men have ruled the roost in politics and business and relegated the home as the place where the women were to direct their attention and efforts.

The women have done their job admirably, but the men have failed miserably in most cases. Their politics are corrupt and their businesses have turned into large greedy corporations. The patriarchal model is evidently not working so well - so maybe it's time to hand the reins over to the women.

The wars and conflicts around the world are the result of male dominance in politics, and more often than not, are set in motion to benefit male controlled corporate interests.

Turn on the evening news anywhere in the world and you'll see images of angry men in conflict and women and children in flight. It is time for change...

Worldwide women are asserting themselves and taking charge of everything from the corporate boardroom to more artistic and unique positions in the world of art, design, cuisine and adventure travel.

On the African continent women are raising themselves into postions of power in politics, the arts and business. Women are no longer to be kept within stereotypical confines and are no longer asking for empowerment, but are simply taking charge over their lives and the situations and events that affect them. Above are just three of these self empowered females.

Worldwide women are asserting themselves and taking charge of everything from the corporate boardroom to more artistic and unique positions in the world of art, design, cuisine and adventure travel.

On the African continent women are raising themselves into postions of power in politics, the arts and business. Women are no longer to be kept within stereotypical confines and are no longer asking for empowerment, but are simply taking charge over their lives and the situations and events that affect them.


Original Adventure Travellers

A different traveller has emerged in the current generation that are looking for more than just merely going sight-seeing. The new travelers are using their journeys to find where they belong in the world both physically and spiritually by immersing themselves in different cultures. Some use it to change their own perspectives and yet others use it as an opportunity to effect positive changes in the cultures they visit.

But you do not need to have a mission to embark on your own journey. The following stories will provide a glimpse at what some of these new travelers are doing when they travel. Travelling is no longer limited to a matter of weeks spent away from a job, but has to many replaced the job with an occupation more interesting and fulfilling. Many of the reasons why people travel today are similar to the reasons why both men and women embarked on extensive journeys at the turn of the 19th century. One of the main reasons is that they want firsthand knowledge and experience of the world in which they live.

Often the modern day adventure traveller more than likely carries a pocket-sized digital camera, a credit card, cell phone and even a laptop computer. Travels on commercial airlines, on buses, by train or in a car. Sleeps in hotels, pensions or hostels occasionally if not camping out in a high-tech tent with a wind-proof stove, goose-down sleeping bag and Perrier water from a super-lightweight titanium flask. Gets up in the morning and puts on a pair of Addidas Cuzco hiking boots after pulling on an Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt and slipping on a Helly Hansen Helly Tech waterproof, breathable textile jacket with several high-energy bars in the pockets. Most of the travellers adventure has been in waiting for UPS to show up at the door with the latest must have travel gear, so when its time to travel, it is a wonder that this traveller has not run out of cash and been forced to just stay home by the telly and watch the Discovery Channel. But that is not to say that all modern day adventure travellers fit this description. Many take on tough challenges, although not as extreme as their counterparts near the turn of the century.

Arnold Henry Savage Landor, Isabella Lucy Bird and Thomas Stevens were not modern day adventure travellers, but saw and recorded more people and their customs on more continents than most modern day travellers - and did the majority of their travels on steamships, horseback or on foot. Read their travel books that are free e-book downloads in a choice of formats at the bottom of each of their pages.

Thomas Stevens
Thomas Stevens

Isabella Lucy Bird
Isabella Lucy Bird

A. Henry Savage Landor
A. Henry Savage Landor

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