Athens – A Walk On The Wild Side

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 Athens  is known for archeological sites and history. If you want a break from history,  Athens  has much more to offer travelers.

 Athens 

You’ve seen the Acropolis, you’ve hit the museums and you’re trying to figure out if it is time to head to the islands. Wait! You’re missing much of the modern charm of  Athens .

There is a conundrum with many historically significant cities. Guidebooks tend to send you off to every site with any potential historical significance, but leave out any mention of the modern attractions of the city. In the case of  Athens , slavishly following your guidebook is a very bad choice and you’ll be the worse for it.

As with any  city , there are two good ways to see the charms of modern day  Athens . The first is to get out and just start walking. The second is to befriend some local residents and let them show you the city. Either way, you’ll do fine in  Athens .

The charm of  Athens  is found in the hubbub of daily life on the streets. The city and residents exude energy and character. If you get off the tourist tracks, you’ll find little neighborhoods with outdoor cafes and no tourists. This is where the action is in true  Athens . Just plop yourself down at a café and start people watching.

One particularly good spot is in the Plaka neighborhood. A nineteenth century quarter, Plaka has a mix of Turkish and Greek influences. From Plaka, you can head to the shopping bazaars found throughout the city. The bazaars in Athinas and Eolou are a bit touristy, but no excessively. With a mideastern feel, you can sit down and drink tea with local shop owners while they hock their wares.

From there, the city is wide open. If you dare, grab a taxi and tell the driver you just want to see the real city. It will be the ride of your life.

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A City Guide to Athens

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Named after Athena, the goddess of wisdom,  Athens , capital of Greece, reached its zenith in the fifth century BC with the construction of many classical buildings some of which survive even today and are on the UNESCO World Heritage List including the Acropolis, standing proudly in the heart of the  city . A visit to  Athens  is an enriching experience. Listed here are just some of the attractions you can see on your next visit to  Athens .

Agorá (Market):In its heyday, Agora was the centre of city life – today it hosts ruins from different periods. It was here that ordinary people, stall holders, and merchants mingled with public figures, officials, philosophers and politicians. The main attraction here is Hephaisteion (Temple of Haephaistos), one of the best-preserved ancient temples in Greece, and dating to the fifth century BC. Also visit the Museo tis Agoras (Museum of Agorá) that houses an amazing range of everyday artefacts found in the area. It is housed in the Stoa of Attalos.

Acropolis: This UNESCO World Heritage Site dominates the city and the skyline. Acropolis refers to the rocky outcrop that formed the original settlement in  Athens . The site includes the Acropolis Museum and four sacred buildings, dating to the fifth century BC. Ascend the steep summit to the Propylaea, a monumental gateway, which serves as the entrance to the site. To the left, you will see the Temple of Athena Nike. The original temple was destroyed in the 17th century by the Turkish forces but has now been carefully restored. The Parthenon, the largest building on the Acropolis, is built entirely from marble and was intended as a sanctuary for Athena and once housed a statue of the goddess.

Delphi:According to Greek mythology, Delphi is located at the point where the two eagles released to the East and West by God Zeus met, thereby marking the centre of the world. Delphi is the sanctuary of Apollo and the seat of his oracle. The ancient site is in ruins but still attracts thousands of visitors who throng here to see its remains. The site also houses the impressive Delphi Museum which exhibits various statues and offerings from the sanctuary of Delphi. The UNESCO World Heritage Site houses the Temple of Apollo, the Sacred Way, an amphitheatre, and a stadium.

National Archaeological Museum: The museum is housed in a late 19th century building and houses one of the finest collections of ancient Greek artefact including the fascinating Mycenaen Collection comprising beautifully crafted gold work dating from between the 16th and 11th centuries BC, and the Bronze Collection.

Tourism is one of the main industries in Greece and continues to flourish even in the uncertain economic times. Every year,  Athens  attracts thousands of visitors from across the globe. There are several accommodation options available to cater to their accommodation needs from bed and breakfasts to resorts to private Greece villas.

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Take a Stroll at Athens Greece

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A  city  that was built by gods for gods with a long glorious history, and a  city  that has been worshipped by its people is nothing less than  Athens , Greece.  Athens  is said to be the birthplace of democracy and civilization. The place where many great philosophers were born and where the culture began. In such a city you can wonder in its alleys and feel the ancient spirit. Did you know that Acropolis is considered to be one of the 7 wonders of the modern world? The better way to discover all secret paths of  Athens  is to take some  Athens  private tours and live this lifetime experience.

Whatever your taste is,  Athens , Greece has something special that will draw you back time and time again. When in  Athens  you have to do lots of activities such as visiting the archaeological monuments, the famous sites, and taking a stroll to Plaka, Monastiraki, Thisseion and Psyrri. Have the opportunity to admire the neoclassical buildings in the small alleys the well-preserved architecture in many beautiful buildings. Athens   city  truly has something for everyone.

Take a private walking tour around ancient sites of Acropolis museum, Plaka, Monastiraki and Philopappos hill. In  Athens   city , you will admire The Greek Parliament, the  Athens  Academy and University and so many interesting sites. Do not miss also visiting the museums which hosts unique treasures of greek cultural inheritance such as the Museum of Acropolis, the Archaeological Museum etc. The exhibits in greek museums are always interesting and have something to add to your knowledge. This information from the past may be sound strange but is the truth and the history of Greeks can’t be learn by once.

The sun in  Athens   city  is shining all year around so you don’t have to worry about the climate, which is considered one of the best in Europe. So, embark on a journey full of positive energy and joy for the upcoming sun and the very interesting thing you will see and visit. Ask locals for some traditional taverns with local folklore dancers and local wine.

Last but not least is  Athens  nightlife. Your choices here are innumerable as long as you want to entertain yourselves by numerous ways in this vibrant city. Bars, clubs, traditional taverns and the famous “bouzoukia” are always there to entertain you.

All in all,  Athens  is a divine  city  with lots of choices and places to have fun making your trip memorable.

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Breathtaking Historical Athens

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The history of  Athens  dates back over five millennia and one can therefore imagine the rich culture, art and civilization that it must possess. Tourists like to visit  Athens  for its range of absorbing museums, to explore ruined temples and relish the exquisite Greek cuisine.

On an  Athens  tour one must explore the splendid Parthenon, considered perhaps, to be the finest of all Greek temples. The adjoining area too has a collection of temples which can be explored. Another captivating temple is the Temple of Olympian Zeus built by the Romans.

Being an ancient  city ,  Athens  naturally is home to a number of renowned museums. You would require almost a day to view the famous collection of ancient Greek artifacts on a visit to the National Archaeological Museum. The Theatre Museum and the Numismatic Museum are worth a shot for their fascinating displays.

You will be surprised by the rich cultural life that  Athens  is proud of. You must on a visit to  Athens  see productions of ancient plays in their original settings. It is an experience by itself to explore the many shops and classy restaurants of Kolonaki. A taste of Greek coffee on the streets of Plaka will impress you. One historical site which one must not miss is ‘The Acropolis Hill’ or also called the ‘Sacred Rock’. The area is home to three important temples: the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the temple of Nike in honor of the goddess Athena. These and many other  Athens  sites you can take pleasure in while enjoying the hospitality of  Athens  hotels.

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Athens – Church of Agioi Theodoroi

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Crossing Odos Dragatsaniou, in the end stands the attractive medieval church of Agioi Theodoroi (St. Theodore), built on the site of a church founded in the ninth century, but in its present form dating from between 1050 and 1075. This small cruciform church with its high narrow dome, multiple roofs that lend it an air of rhythmic grace, narrow mullioned windows and decorated central door surmounted by arches, is a precious gem of eleventh century Byzantine architecture.

The earliest form of Byzantine churches was that of the basilica, a long rectangle divided by two or four ranges of columns into three or five naves. Later, during the 11th and 12th centuries, the plan changed to that of a Greek cross within a square, dominated by a dome constructed in brick and often combined with one or more subsidiary domes. The exterior walls consist of square-cut stone with thin brick surrounds and are enriched by bands of decoration, carving and the use of color. Few of these churches were large. Apart from St. Theodore, typical examples are the churches of Kapnikarea and St. Eleutherios.

The glory of the Byzantine church lies not so much in the architecture as to the ethereal beauty of its mosaics or frescoes. From the center of the principal dome Christ looks down upon the faithful and below Him are the Apostles. The Virgin appears in the half dome, while around the sanctuary are symbolic figures and emblems connected with the Eucharist. On the West wall opposite the chancel is the Last Judgement. Colored marble and similar material in the lower walls add to the resplendent beauty of the interior.

The liturgy of the Greek Orthodox Church requires separation of the altar from the laity. The altar is placed in a chancel screened from the congregation by the iconostasis, i.e. the screen dividing the sanctuary from the church proper. This is adorned with pictures of Christ, the Virgin, and Saints, and generally has three doors, the curtains of which are lowered while Mass is being celebrated. The chancel is flanked by the Prothesis, where the bread and wine for the Eucharist are prepared, and by the Diakonikon, or vestry.

In St. Theodore one can also notice the influence of the East on Byzantine art, which was prominent in the period from the mid-9th to mid-11th centuries, when Byzantine artists used a variety of Oriental motifs in their designs. It is probable that the design of pseudo-kufic characters (the script perfected during the 7th century by calligraphers in the city of Kafa, in present-day Iraq) that decorate the terracotta panel below the windows of the facade was inspired by the work of Arab craftsmen.

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Building Automation and Controls Market

According to a new market research report €Global Building Automation & Controls Market (2013 – 2018): By Product (Lighting, Security & Access, HVAC, Entertainment, Outdoor, Elevator Controls, Building Management Systems (BMS)), Application & Geography (Americas, Europe, APAC, and ROW)€ published by MarketsandMarkets (www.marketsandmarkets.com), the total building automation and controls market is expected to reach $49.5 billion by 2018 growing at a CAGR of 11.2% from 2013 to 2018.
Browse 112 market data tables with 43 figures spread through 369 pages and in-depth TOC on Global Building Automation & Controls Market (2013 – 2018): By Product (Lighting, Security & Access, HVAC, Entertainment, Outdoor, Elevator Controls, Building Management Systems (BMS)), Application & Geography (Americas, Europe, APAC, And ROW.

The concept of building automation has been in existence for a long time and has witnessed profound growth in the last five years. Energy efficiency is the most important factor in almost all the building programs, hence the demand for energy-efficient solutions, enhanced security, increasing venture capital funding, and more convenience have spurred the market for building automation and control market. The growing awareness of wireless technologies and the developments towards the integration of wired and wireless will propel the market in the future. Commercial application remains the major application market, however high growth is expected in stadiums market due to the events such as 2012 London Olympics, the FIFA World Cup to be held in Brazil in the year 2014, Winter Olympics, the Universiade Student Games and the 2018 World Cup in Russia. It is observed that HVAC, security and access controls accounted for the major market share in 2012. for Major companies in building automation and controls market include Honeywell (U.S.), Siemens Building Technologies (Switzerland), ABB (Switzerland), Schneider Electric (France), Johnson Controls (U.S.), Ingersoll Rand (Ireland) and others.
The report’s detailed segmentation by products, by applications, and by geography covers all the major controls and technologies used in for building automation. The major control products that have been extensively covered in the report and Lighting, security & access, HVAC, entertainment, elevator and outdoor controls in addition to building management systems (BMS).
The application segmentation of the market covers all the different type of buildings like commercial, institutional, residential and others. These broad application sectors have been further segmented by the type of buildings. For instance, the commercial application has been further segmented by offices, lodging, retail, healthcare and warehouses (non-manufacturing).
One of the objectives of the research study was to analyze the market trends for each of the product type. The growth rates of all the various controls and their comparison with other controls. Report also covers the various protocols & standards used, both wired and wireless, Porter’s five force analysis, value chain with detailed process flow diagram, and market dynamics such as drivers, restraints, and opportunities for the overall building automation market as well as for the major control products.
Stakeholders:
€ Automation and control vendors
€ Automation and control networking technologies vendors
€ Real estate builders
€ System integrators
€ Building owners
€ Project/building Consultants
€ Separate designers/consultants (HVAC, Security, Fire & Safety, etc.)
€ Components manufacturers (sensors, controls, etc.)
€ Building Management Systems (product & servers providers)
€ Associations & Standards
€ Government bodies involved in Green Buildings

One M&T Plaza

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Many talk extensively about New York and how it has evolved to be the most commercialized metropolis in the United States. The State of New York includes Buffalo, the silent sibling who has contributed to the state’s growth in an almost invisible way. Among the many things in Buffalo that attract tourists to get a glimpse of a more laid-back atmosphere in cacophonic New York, the One M&T Plaza stands tall in the city center. It’s not an exceptionally tall building, nor is it an architectural marvel. But then, why is it so popular among the many who visit Buffalo?

Standing just 317 feet tall and housing 21 floors, the One M&T Plaza was built in 1966 and is the current home to the M&T bank’s corporate headquarters. The building was designed by Minoru Yamasaki & Associates, the same people who designed the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York City. This is probably one reason for its immense popularity. During holidays, the building’s top band is illuminated, creating a very celebratory mood around the place. On normal days, this band is simply illuminated in white. Hockey season sees the building colored in blue and gold, cheering on the Buffalo Sabers.

The land space used to build the One M&T Plaza was the highest real estate transaction ever made during that time in Buffalo. Its construction required an entire city block to be demolished. The One M&T Plaza has a promenade facing the Main Street and hosts various lunchtime concerts in summer. A farmer’s market can be found between the plaza and Lafayette Square, mostly during late spring, summer and early autumn. The One M&T Plaza is located nearby to everything in central Buffalo.

If you are in Buffalo for business, you’d most likely to have to pay a visit to the One M&T Plaza’s promenade for a business lunch. Whether you are traveling for leisure or business, choose a Buffalo hotel with a good reputation to avoid hassles. Try the Millennium Airport Hotel Buffalo for a difference, as they offer modern amenities,excellent services and very cozy accommodations for all their guests.

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10 Problems Lawyers Face in Marketing Their Practice

Too often lawyers forget that they are in business. It is not enough just to set up shop and expect clients to somehow find you. It takes a lot more to let the world know you exist, that you have great skills and will do an excellent job for your clients.

But, unfortunately you can’t do a great job for clients that don’t know about you. This is where good marketing comes in. When you look around and see successful practitioners in your field, you can safely assume they have effective marketing methods that helped them build a viable practice.

The most effective method of building and sustaining an active business is a mix of networking, referrals and marketing. For most lawyers, the first two-networking and referrals are the most natural to manage. Marketing, however, is more difficult to master and many lawyers don’t know how to do it well. Indeed, many make mistakes that can cost them time, money and clients.

Below is a list of 10 problems and sometimes mistakes lawyers make in marketing their practice:

1. Not devoting enough time spent on marketing

As in every “self- employed” business, practitioners need to devote a certain amount of time in bringing in new clients. Marketing is a part of that equation. A question that needs to be considered is how much time to spend on marketing? Consider allowing at least 200 hours a year for marketing. If you break this down by week, it’s about four hours during your work week. Your marketing can be done during a business lunch or at a professional conference. It is not difficult to weave those hours into your day if you plan ahead.

2. Counting on industry exposure

Speaking at conferences, doing interviews, writing articles or doing radio interviews isn’t enough. Simple industry exposure alone will not count towards explicitly planned marketing efforts. Marketing is not an “organic” process. If you do have an interview, whether it is radio, TV or a podcast, be sure to put it on your website. Roughly 30 percent of the population has grown up with the internet always present in their lives and video is a big part of how they look for services. If you don’t already have video on your site, you need to add it. It’s an excellent opportunity to show your best skills in how you represent your firm and impress future clients. It’s a great business-getting technique. Live interaction on your website can certainly count towards your marketing efforts.

3. Not sure of your target audience

Who are your clients? If you are not sure, then your advertising and marketing efforts are a waste of your time and money. You need to analyze very carefully and clearly who wants your services. Otherwise, you will waste time and energy on the wrong prospects. Once you have identified and analyzed your target client, will your advertising and marketing efforts be more effective, when you do have your ideal client, that client will be an excellent advocate for future clients. Just as referral business is always ideal, directing your marketing efforts towards the right client base to produce a more optimal result. You can meet your ideal client anywhere, especially when you know where to go to find them.

4. Failure to measure marketing results

How do you know your marketing plan is working if you don’t measure the success or failure of your campaign? Line up the specific actions you have taken and see which ones are getting the most action. Even if some are not getting the same level of response does not mean you trash it. What measuring does tell you is which areas to beef up. Like any advertising or marketing fishing expedition, you want more than one line in the water. Take a look at the response to your blog, for example. See how many people visited or commented.

Law firm marketing is relationship-based like most other service industries. It is how sales originate. One option for measuring is to look at the elements that can be measured and will have easy to identify metrics. Some of those include:

  • Open rates on your email
  • Click-through on your website and analytics
  • Results from client satisfaction interviews
  • Rates than win proposals
  • Events that gain repeated attendance
  • Business from seminars and CLEs
  • Good placement for your articles

5. Lack of a clear marketing message.

Too many law firms get disillusioned and have a negative attitude towards marketing. One of the problems is that they don’t have a clear idea of what their marketing message should be. A half-hearted approach or lukewarm effort certainly won’t work. If your method is good but the message is vague, then you have a problem. If your message isn’t clear, then chances are the entire campaign will fail. Be clear on your message before you create a program, make sure you create a competent marketing message. A good message is critical to a good marketing method. You must have both to succeed

6. Poor website design

Your website is a reflection of you and your brand. It is an important venue for your public relations reputation. Your website is your marketing image and platform. In terms of your public relations component, your website offers the opportunity to position your firm securely as an expert in your field. If there is a case in which there will be media attention, your website will gain significant attention both from the media as well as the public. Consequently, you need a good design that is easy to navigate and matches the personality of your typical client. According to the top law firms who rank high in the web design world, the overriding recommendations suggest keeping it clean and simple. Content should be informative, engaging and highly readable. Visitors should be able to easily find what they are looking for without having to leave your home page. Tabs should indicate where on the site the visitor can find specific information as well as a way to send a question via “contact us” page.

7. Poor business development

Marketing is more than advertising and getting the word out about your practice. Business development should be part of your marketing plan. List every way you plan to develop your practice. Start your plan with clients you know you will win and work from there. Build a reputation and have references. These should be people who know and trust you. In fact, these clients will be a very important part of your marketing operation. These are the clients that you can count on to send you new business and keep you informed of current issues in your field of practice. A business development plan is something you can measure. Create a file of every part of your practice where you plan to grow your business. From that measure how many times you “touched” a client. For example, how many times did you have lunch, talk on the phone or received a referral from that client. How many clients did you gain from a networking event, professional meeting or lecture?

8. Trying to do everything at once

Marketing ambition is a good thing. Certainly it is better to be enthusiastic about marketing your firm, but stay focused and accomplish each task fully before jumping to another. Focus on one strategy at a time. You can begin with your website.

  • Create and launch a newsletter
  • Join some networking groups
  • Investigate effective advertising options, such as a pay-per-click plan on Google

9. Not using social media

If you do not have more than a website, no one knows you exist. It’s not enough just to have one presence online. Even if prospective clients see your website, they will also be looking for you elsewhere to get to know you better. Create a Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, Google+ page, Twitter account and record some lectures you gave and put them on YouTube. Social media has changed the marketing balance. Today it is about building relationships and communicating with the world via an online message. Your future clients want to feel they know you and they do this by seeing your persona online. Now the emphasis is on building direct relationships and developing a conversation with the people you want to reach.

10. Ignoring the world of mobile technology

More people find what they are looking for from a mobile device than even a laptop computer today. Every part of your online presence must have a mobile component to it. Research has found that 84 percent of Americans use smartphones, and for about half of those people, their smartphone is their main connection to the Internet. A recent study from Portio Research found that mobile applications will exceed 200 billion per year by the end of full year 2017, and revenues in 2017 will reach 63.5 billion US dollars.

Mobile computing and searches have far exceeded desktop for several years now. In fact, 70 percent of all online searches come from mobile devices, far outnumbering desktop and laptop. Of that, 31 percent of searches to law firm websites comes from mobile search. That means that about half of all of your web traffic is coming to you from a smartphone or tablet user.

Marketing mistakes can derail even the sharpest law firm. A lawyer can’t exist without clients and clients can’t find you if they don’t know you are in practice. It is just a fact of the business world that effective marketing practices are necessary to let the world know you exist.

Things to Do in Athens

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There is an abundance of places to go and things to do in the  city  of  Athens , Greece. You should have no trouble filling your time in  Athens  with wonderful memories and beautiful snapshots. Here are some places to get you started:

Make sure that you see the Acropolis and the Parthenon. This is known as one of the many wonders of the ancient world. Not only is this a great place to spend your time, but also your money. There is a ticket you can purchase that allows you to see the other major archaeological sites as well.

Traveling overseas is an expensive thing to do, even if you budget wisely, but that doesn’t mean that you need to limit the sightseeing that you do to bare minimum.

In an ideal world you will make time to visit the Theater of Herod Atticus, Theater of Dionysious, and the Ancient Agoraare during your vacation in  Athens  since each of these places will have its own merits that you will want to uncover.

Make sure that you set aside ample time to explore these areas so that you do not feel too rushed.

The National Archeological Museum in  Athens  is only a short walk from Syntagma. It will likely take you a half hour to an hour to comfortably complete the walk. It may seem like a long walk, but when you get there you will find that it was more than worth your effort to get there.

There is no better museum on the planet to see a collection of ancient Greek sculpture. Jewelery, pottery, and items found in a shipwreck off the island of Antikithera are also on exhibit at the National Archeological Museum.

Even if you are not a history buff or the slightest bit interested in history, you will have a difficult time not finding just about everything in the National Archeological Museum fascinating.

For those of you that already can’t get enough of history, you will probably want to camp out here and never leave. There is such a vast array of exhibits at the National Archeological Museum that you can’t help but get carried away and want to spend all day there.

Regardless of how you feel about shopping, no trip to  Athens  is complete without a trip to the Angora-Athens Market. Completely regardless of your tastes and preferences of fish, meat, and vegetables you will find that the most likely place around is the Central market on Athinas Street.

Make a stop at the market whenever it fits into your day. Early in the morning trucks unload and you can join most of the Athenian shoppers around midday.

During this time you will get to feel like you are a native to  Athens . Make sure that you ask the locals about their favorite foods at this market. They shop here all the time and can point you in the direction of some foods and finds that you would not have an opportunity to try any other time.

Even if it is something that you are not entirely comfortable with, try to give new foods that you find at this market a try if you want to have a real Greek experience during your stay in  Athens .

If you are able to, you may seriously wish to consider taking some time to climb Mount Lycabettus. If you choose to put in the effort a breathtaking view and outstanding cafe will await you. If you are not able to make the trek but do want to see the top of the mountain you can take a train close to the top of the mountain. Many visitors say that walking down the mountain is a lot of fun, even if the climb up the mountain was difficult.

You will likely walk through a neighborhood or two on your way down the mountain. Each of these tiny neighborhoods have their own townspeople with aspects of their Greek culture that is unique to their neighborhood.

If you have been fascinated by Greek ways up until this point in your trip you may want to consider trying to spend some extra time on your stroll down the wonderful Mount Lycabettus.

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Secret Italy – City Breaks On the Road Less Travelled

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You probably already know the top five cities of Italy: Rome, Milan, Florence, Venice and Naples. But if you’re looking for a different side of Italy, city breaks in the less visited areas may be just the ticket.

Ranging in size, these places offer a great glimpse into authentic Italian life, perhaps unlike the hurried pace and bustling crowds you’ll find in Rome, Florence or Milan. Here are five other places to consider visiting in Italy – city breaks on the road less travelled!

Turin

Also known as Torino, the home of the Fiat automobile plant and the Shroud of Turin is an interesting yet often overlooked area in Italy. City breaks in the Piedmont region can be wonderfully relaxing here, nestled between the foothills of the Alps and the Po River. It’s an excellent base to stay in between exploring the nearby hills and vineyards.

With its Baroque architecture (extending to its elegant bars and cafes), arcaded shopping promenades and smaller museums of Italy, Turin offers a relaxed ambience. You can wander around Piazza Castello and Palazzo Reale, which feature lovely fountains and are ringed by grand buildings. Then, take a walk through Il Quadrilatero – a maze of meandering back streets with wonderful markets and charming churches. You’ll also want to visit the Borgo Mediovale, a recreation of a medieval village by the river, complete with a castle.

Perugia

Umbria is one of the country’s more overlooked areas, often overshadowed by its more popular neighbour, Tuscany. But if you’re looking for an interesting place to relax without forgoing sophistication in Italy, city breaks in Perugia – Umbria’s largest city, located almost at the very centre of the country – are ideal.

A lively walled medieval hill city with historic buildings, busy squares, and modern shops, Perugia is home to a university as well as an Italian language centre catering to foreigners. From here you can also explore other Umbrian attractions such as Assisi, Spello, and Gubbio.

Brescia

For many visitors, the Lombardy region usually means Milan, but if you’re looking for something a little quieter, you may want to go east to the small city of Brescia – often overlooked in the excitement over the country’s fashion centre. Located between Lakes Garda and Iseo, Brescia is the gateway to the Valcamonica – a UNESCO site with the largest collection of prehistoric rock art in Europe. This is also the place where the annual Mille Miglia car race begins and ends. Places to see in Brescia include the castle, Roman ruins, Renaissance squares, and a medieval city centre named Piazza della Vittoria – where the famous car race starts.

Padua

Also overshadowed by a more popular neighbour, Padua is a wonderful place to spend a more laidback holiday. This small walled city located between Verona and Venice boasts Europe’s first Botanical Gardens – the Orto Botanico – and is also the home of many frescoes by Giotto.

Lecce

Because of its wealth of Baroque monuments, Lecce is often called the Florence of the south. For those visiting southern Puglia, making Lecce your base offers the advantage of a mild climate, accommodations that is inexpensive compared to other cities, and a -charmingly compact city centre.

There’s definitely more to see than the top four big cities in Italy; the less-visited areas will definitely give you a more complete view of the country in all its beauty.

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