Thursday, 19 January 2017

Chronicles from Rome | 7 Must Go Places in the Eternal City

Rome is known to be the Eternal City and visiting it is like making a voyage in time, stepping from an era to the next. From the Imperial Rome, to the Medieval, through the Renaissance Rome to the Baroque we can find the impressive marks of architecture and art.

The city has so much to see and enjoy that we can stay for weeks without running out of places to visit. Unfortunately, for most of the visitors the time is limited and choices have to be done. If you don't have that many days to stay in Rome, plan your visit to check all of this unmissable places.


The Forum was the center of the political, juridical and comercial life of the Ancient Rome. As the Roman population grow, the original Forum get too small and in 46BC Julius Cesar ordered the construction of a new one. Several Emperors after him did the same.  Today, the archaeological sites of the several Forums constitute an organic complex renamed in the modern era the “Imperial Forums”, reaching from Capitol Hill  (Campidoglio) to the foot of the Quirinale Hill. Walking around those ancient stones is an unforgettable experience that no visitor can miss.


The construction of the largest amphitheater of the Roman Empire was commissioned  by Vespasian in 72 AD in a swamp area of the city. It was used for gladiator fights and hunting simulations involving ferocious and exotic animals. With almost two thousand years, the Colosseum is still the symbol of the eternal city, drawing thousands of visitors every year. This means long queues and an endless wait, but don't despair, you can avoid it buying the tickets online. The visit to its interior is really worthwhile.


The Pantheon, built by the Emperor Hadrian between 118 and 125 AD  is a true master piece of Roman engineering.  As we enter, our eyes are drawn to the central round aperture at the very top of the dome that illuminates the entire building. Built over the ruins of a previous  temple
commissioned by Marcus Agrippa, to a whom was made a dedicatory inscription on the portico, the Pantheon was transformed in a charge in the Middle Age. There you can find the tombs of Raphael and of several Italian kings.


Piazza Navona is an elegant square, full of people and animation. Built on the site of Stadium of Domitian, still preserves its outline while presenting a predominantly Baroque style.  The main focal point is undoubtedly the Fontana dei Quatro Fiumi or Fountain of the Four Rivers, placed in the center of the square. The piazza is a highly popular meeting place for Romans and tourists alike, and a nice place to have a meal in one of its numerous restaurants.


Inspired by the Roman triumphal arches, the Fontana di Trevi was built in the 18th-century. This beautiful Baroque fountain is one of the most crowded spots in Rome and is not easy to get close to its edge. If you fantasize with a reenactment of the iconic scene of the movie La Dolce Vita, think twice as entering the basin of the fountain is strictly forbidden. Nevertheless, you can drop a coin in the water, guaranteeing a future return to Rome.


The area around this square is a must go place. From having a meal (or a gelato!) at one of the Cafés in the square, to appreciating the view from the scalinatta, to  take a walk in the Pincio Gardens or a visit to the Villa Medici, not to say, for the most fashionable of you, a shopping tour to some of the most famous fashion stores streets in Rome (Via Condotti rings any bell?), there is a lot to do around this beautiful square.


A visit to the Vatican City is mandatory, not only to Piazza San Pedro and the Basilica but also to the Vatican Museums. To visit the Basilica di San Pedro beware you must be wearing suitable clothes. Shorts and mini skirts or even sleeveless dresses or blouses are not allowed. The magnificent Vatican Museums are among the greatest and most important in the world. Its magnificence and popularity explains the extremely long queues tailing back from the the entrance. But rest assured, once inside you'll find your patience to be totally rewarded. There is so much to see that you should allow at least half a day to check the most important exhibits.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

17 Instagram Travel Accounts (Under 17K) to Follow in 2017

Instagram is perhaps my favorite social media and I'm always looking for new accounts featuring beautiful pictures and inspiring images. Some are huge accounts, but everything starts small and today I'll be sharing with you 17 accounts, all under 17K, that conquered my eyes (and my heart!) and that (I think) you will love to follow. They surely deserve it!


Jamie is an American expat, living in Italy and writing her blog A Bite of Culture. Her Instagram account - @abiteofculture - is loaded with beautiful photos of Italy, many vintage Fiat 600 and the ocasional foodie image (the girl knows how to make fresh pasta!)

A photo posted by Jamie (@abiteofculture) on


Caley is a happy and, in her own words, cute girl! Her joy reflects on her colorful and dynamic photos from around the world. You can find her dancing in many pics and her energy is really contagious. In her account @caleycb you can surely find inspiration for traveling the world.

A photo posted by caley coleman (@caleycb) on


Doro describes herself as a part-time adventurer, hooked on exploring new places. You can find her stories on the blog Doro Henrietta and her beautiful photos in her Instagram account @dorohenrietta. There you will find inspiring pics from her visits to Asian and European countries.

A photo posted by Doro 🌏 (@dorohenrietta) on


Jyo introduces herself as a Travel & Food blogger on a Mojo hunt for food, travel & adventures, and you can be sure to find all that on her bright photos @findmymojyo. On her blog Find My Mojyo you can find stories and travel tips on numerous destinations, but also delicious vegetarian recipes.

A photo posted by Jyo (@findmymojyo) on


Kajal and Komal are two twin sisters, traveling and photographing across the seven continents. Although they describe themselves as amateurs photographers the quality of their photos is outstanding and her feed absolutely addictive. You can find it @followkk.

A photo posted by @followkk on


Jin is a travel and lifestyle photographer, a foodie enthusiast, and a world traveler from Texas that presents us a creative and curated Instagram feed @jinchuferrer. In her blog Contradiction of Sorts you can find her portfolio and tips on many locations. I must warn you, the photos are absolutely breathtaking!


Julia and Werner travel the world with a camera on their hands, and their sensibility brings us beautiful photos of places, nature and people. You can check their work @juliasanphotography but also on their site World Viber where they share their travel stories, tips and photos.


Charlotte was born in London and currently lives in Paris. She loves to travel and shares her passion and lots of inspiration, both on her blog Lulu Escapes and at her delightful Instagram account @luluescapes.


Mônica is a blogger from Brazil, on the road since 2014. With Eduardo, edits the blog Eduardo & Mônica Runaways where you can find not only their great photos but also sound travel tips (in Portuguese). Her Instagram feed @monicamoras is amazing and worth following.


Saša and Borut are a young Slovenian couple that loves to travel and to photograph the places they visit. And what photographs! In black and white, the astonishing photos @ourjourneyblog are full of drama and intensity. You can find their travel stories, tips and color photos at their blog Our Journey.


Raphael is a French traveller, photographer and video maker (you must see his videos!). You can find photos and vidos on his blog Raphael Melloul and follow his adventures through his amazing photos on Instagram @raphaelmelloul.


Sara is a Canadian girl living in Rome. Photographer and ocasional writer you will fall in love with the warm colors of her photos and the wit of her delightful writing. You can find it all (including recipes!) at her blog Verbalized and follow her excellent Instagram feed @sara_.

A photo posted by Sara White (@sara_) on


Sierra is from NYC and is passionate about seeing the world (and good songs too!). And I must tell you, is a pleasure to see the world trough her eyes. There is color, light and beauty in every frame! So please, visit her Instagram feed at @sierradehmler and be inspired to go out and see the world.

A photo posted by Sierra (@sierradehmler) on


Erica and Sam run a blog (The Manini Experience) and a travel company for those who want to go on kick ass trips, combining adventure, philanthropy and photography. If that's what you're looking for, better pay them a visit. Keep track of their adventures and awesome photos at @themaniniexperience.


Jess is the girl behind the blog The Wondering Dreamer, where she share her experiences and tips for various locations. She changed her live and is happy living in the moment and taking each day as it comes. Her peace of mind is present on every photo she shares on her Instagram @the_wondering_dreamer.


Kristen, writes the Travels & Treats blog, providing her readers with information and inspiration for great food & travel experiences. Her Instagram account @travelsandtreatsblog will bring you not only beautiful images of the places she visit but also delicious pictures of the treats she eats.


Lynne wanders the world in search of adventure and the next great cup of coffee. In the meanwhile she writes her blog Well-Caffeinated Traveller, bringing her readers her stories and best tips for different locations. You can also follow her on Instagram @wellcaffeinatedtraveller for great pics.

I hope that you love this Instagram accounts so much as I did and, perhaps, have discovered some new feeds from this list that you were not following before. If you are not following my account and want to keep track of my adventures in 2017 you can find me @thewandererschronicles.

Share your own Instagram favourites with me and all our readers in the comments below!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Chronicles from Paris | Les Ponts de Paris

Austerlitz Bridges and Bercy Bridge 

Paris has more than 30 bridges crossing the Seine and most of them are truly works of art. Walking along the river and crossing from one bank to the other is a great way to see the bridges, but a river cruise can be one of the best ways to have a great view of the city from the water and, of course, a privileged view of its numerous bridges.


If you hop on the boat close to the Eiffel Tower (I did!) and sail in the direction of Île de la Cité, one of the first you can see is Passarelle Debilly. This pedestrian bridge was built at the beginning of the 20th century and offers spectacular views over the Eiffel Tower.


Built for the 1900 Universal Exhibition, the Pont Alexandre III is one of the most spectacular bridges in Paris, both for its architecture and decoration and for its location, connecting the Invalides (on the left bank) and the Grand Palais and Petit Palais (on the right bank). At the extremities you can see four 17 meters high pylons crowned with gilt bronze sculptures of winged horses. The views one can enjoy from the bridge are overwhelming, making it not only a great place to stroll but also a privilege view point of the city.


The Pont des Arts has become one of the most mediated bridge of Paris due to the locks of love couples left on it. Built in the first years of the 19th-century, this was the first iron bridge of the city. As its reserved for pedestrians, this footbridge is a great place to stroll and to take some photos, namely of the |Ile da la Cité and of Pont Neuf. If you go on a romantic trip, this is a must go place (maybe you can take a lock and make a love promise in Paris!).


Although its name means New Bridge, the Pont Neuf is considered to be the oldest stone bridge in Paris, having being commissioned by Henri IV in 1578. Consisting of two spans, the bridge connects both banks via the Île de la Cité. Crossing this bridge to the island can be a great way to start a visit to  all the interesting attractions that it houses.


Pont Saint-Michel is a stone bridge linking the Place Saint-Michel on the left bank  to the Île de la Cité, near the Sainte Chapelle. Across the Île, the very similar Pont au Change links to the right bank. Although it has been initially built in the 14th century, it was reconstructed several times, the latest in 1857.


The Pont Notre-Dame links the right bank, in front of the Hotel de Ville,  with the Île de la Cité, in front of the Marché aux Fleurs et Oiseaux. This bridge stands in the place where the first bridge was built in the city. Since then,  it has been destroyed and reconstructed numerous times. The current structure, in stone and metal was inaugurated in 1919.


The Pont au Double links the left bank, in front of Square René Vivian, at the Quartier Latin,  with the Île de la Cité, in front of Notre Dame. This lovely bridge derives its name from the toll amount which was charged for its crossing in the 17th-century - a "double" denier. In the 18th-century the bridge collapsed and was rebuilt. In 1880's, the bridge was replaced by the one arch cast-iron bridge that you can see now.


The Pont des Arts isn't the only one that welcomes loving couples. The narrow Pont de l'Archevêché
is also one of the preferred spots for couples that want to immortalize their love vows. This bridge, reserved for pedestrians and cyclists, links the Île de la Cité to the left bank at the 5th arrondissement.


The Pont Louis-Philippe is located in the 4th arrondissement, and links the Île Saint-Louis with the Saint-Gervais neighborhood on the right bank. The current structure of this arched bridge was inaugurated in 1862. The spandrels are decorated with stone laurel wreaths surrounding metallic rosettes. On the background of the photo you can see Pont Marie.


The Pont de Sully is, in reality, two separate bridges meeting on the eastern tip of the Île Saint-Louis, linking the island to both the left and right banks of the river. Rebuilt by Baron Haussmann after the French Revolution, as part of Haussmann's renovation of Paris, it opened on 25 August 1877. Designed with an angle of about 45 degrees to the river banks, the Pont de Sully offers one of the loveliest views of the quay at Île Saint-Louis and of Notre Dame Cathedral.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Lisbon Chronicles | Bairro Alto

Really close to Chiado and Príncipe Real, Bairro Alto is an old and picturesque neighborhood, with narrow, stone paved streets and centenary buildings. Built in the 16th-century was once the home to charcoal yards, sailor's bars, and prostitution houses. Those days are gone! Since the 80's became mostly known for its bars and restaurants, along with more traditional Fado establishments.

If you walk around Bairro Alto by day, you will find calm streets and maybe some old ladies hanging the laundry out their windows (great photos!). By night, the Bairro awakes and becomes a meeting point for people of all ages, cultures and nationalities.

Contrasting with the calm somnolence of the day, the vibrant, bohemian nights of Bairro Alto surely attract all that love to hang out with friends, enjoying music and a good drink.

No matter if you prefer it by day or by night, Bairro Alto is one of the emblematic neighborhoods in the city and deserves a visit. The same is truth for the small Bica neighborhood, just across Calçada do Combro. You can get the funicular or walk down the steep street to look around this colorful part of Lisbon.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Lisbon Chronicles | City Guide

Lisbon is getting popular by the day and the number of visitors increases each year. Although my opinion may be suspect, this popularity is well deserved, for the Portuguese capital is a little gem, full of beauty, history and culture.

Long overdue, this guide will help you get around in the city, not missing much of the best it has to offer. Suggest you to follow the links that will lead you to posts where you can fin more specific information, tips and photos.

Lisbon, with its seven hills, stretches along the Tagus river and possess the most remarkable light, so, bring your camera and be prepared to take a lot of photos. Depending on the time you'll have you can see more or less places, but next I'll present you some of the districts that you can't miss.


Baixa Pombalina owes its name to Marquês de Pombal the Portuguese Prime Minister that, after the 1755 earthquake, commissioned the reconstruction of that part of the city. The urban planning and the construction methods used were pioneer in 18th century Europe and still resist today.

Some of the highlights of this neighborhood are Rossio Square, with its characteristic wavy cobblestone floor, the large and sunny Praça do Comércio (also known as Terreiro do Paço), one of the most beautiful European squares. On Terreiro do Paço, you can see and visit the Triumphal Arch on Rua Augusta, and the Cais das Colunas, a stone pear with two columns. The square is also home for a series of restaurants and cafés, with gorgeous terraces for you to enjoy the nice weather.

Walking from Rossio to Terreiro do Paço, you will see the Santa Justa Lift, a engineering master piece, many times wrongly attributed to Gustave Eiffel, that connects Downtown Lisbon to Chiado.

From Terreiro do Paço, you can walk along the river bank, on Ribeira das Naus, enjoying the sun.


Next to Baixa, you can find Chiado neighborhood, which is traditionally a shopping area where you can find from the most traditional shops (some of them centuries old) to more modern and trendy establishments.

Cafes and restaurants, churches and museums, theaters and designer shops concentrated within a few streets, make this part of Lisbon one of the most visited by tourists and frequented by the city’s habitants.

On Chiado you must visit the ruins of Carmo Church. The beauty of this partially ruined church is unforgettable. Closely you can find the Varandas do Carmo, a set of terraces with bars and restaurants where you can relax and enjoy some drinks and great views of the city. If you want a 360º view, go up to Santa Justa's Lift terrace. Another must go place on Chiado with a stunning view of the Castle is Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara.


Not far from Chiado is the neighborhood of Principe Real, one of the nicest neighborhoods in the city of Lisbon. Its gardens and quiet squares are lined with colorful palaces. There you can find antique shops, restaurants and bars. The tourists who walk around and senior citizens playing deck in the shade of trees all contribute to its undeniable charm.

The Botanical Garden and the Natural History Museum can be interesting if you travel with children.


Alfama is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Europe and surely one of the most picturesque of Lisbon. This medieval neighborhood escaped the earthquake of 1755 and keeps its Moorish and Jewish roots in many of its traits and characteristics. The beautiful views of the city and the Tagus seduce both the travelers and the locals, and a walk through its alleys, squares and viewpoints is absolutely mandatory wen visiting Lisbon.

While in Alfama you can't miss a visit to Lisbon Cathedral (Church of St. Mary Major) whose construction began in the second half of the twelfth century. For great views (and awesome photos) go to Miradouro de Santa Luzia e Miradouro das Portas do Sol. The São Vicente de Fora Monastery and the National Pantheon, visible from the viewpoints I just mentioned are also on this district and interesting places to visit.

In Alfama you can also find several museums and lots of restaurants and terraces to have a drink or a coffee.


From Alfama you can go up to Castelo neighborhood climbing its narrow, steep streets. Covering  Lisbon's tallest hill, the Castelo neighborhood grow around the Castle walls and is one of the oldest (and smaller) Portuguese districts. Besides the neighborhood itself, the main attraction is the Castelo de São Jorge, a milenar fortification that was house to Romans, Visigoths, Moors and then to Portuguese kings. The castle holds so much history inside its walls that you should reserve a couple of hours to the visit. Nevertheless, the breathtaking views of the city that you can grasp from the walls are surely one of its greatest attractive.


Belém is an historic district on the West part of Lisbon closely related to to the Portuguese discoveries.  The emblematic buildings of Torre de Belém (Belém Tower) and Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Jerónimos Monastery), both UNESCO World Heritage sites, were built in Manueline style with exotic,  navy and maritime elements inspired by the voyages the Portuguese made around the world.

Between the two monuments one can find the refreshing gardens of Praça do Império, with its fountains and vegetation. Facing the river Tagus you'll have on your right the Centro Cultural de Belém (Belém Cultural Centre), with exhibitions and cultural events and a little further the Champalimaud Foundation, both with a contemporary architecture that is worth to admire.

In walking distance to your left, you'll find the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries) and the Museu dos Coches (Coach Museum) where you can find a unique collection of coaches. You can also find the recently opened MAAT.

While in Belém the choice of restaurants is enormous, and if you don't decide to have lunch or dinner, a visit to the Pastéis de Belém patisserie to taste one (or more) of the worldly famous Portuguese custard pastries is mandatory.


The Parque das Nações (Park of Nations) neighborhood, situated in the eastern part of Lisbon, includes the new urban area of ​​the city arisen following the World Expo 1998.

Characterized by its contemporary architecture and the extensive leisure and entertainment facilities, the Parque das Nações quickly won the hearts of Lisbon habitants and the delight of its visitors. Some of the architectural highlights include the outstanding vaults of the Oriente Train Station, by Santiago Calatrava, and the Pavilion of Portugal, by the Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira.

Among the cultural facilities is worth visiting the Museum of Science and Technology which features several interactive exhibits and the Lisbon Oceanarium, one of the largest aquariums in the world.

Lisbon is a small, beautiful and safe city and you can walk around easily. The subway covers most of the city and is most useful if you want to go across the city. Don’t forget to look to the beautiful pieces of art inside the stations, mostly tile panels and sculptures by Portuguese artists. In some parts of the city the Tram is the perfect choice. Tram 28 for the old town neighbourhoods and Tram 15 to Belém.