Friday, March 31, 2006

Petrin Hill and Loreta

It was a quieter day today, with time to sit in the laundromat this afternoon so I have some fresh-smelling clothes again before I hit Florence tomorrow.
What amazes me about this city is that you think you have seen it all, then you take a different road or a different bridge and the perspective changes again. This morning I headed straight down hill to a bridge that crossed on the upstream side of Petrin Hill. As a result, I saw a tragic and moving sculpture, commemorating all those who suffered under Communism. From a distance, the sculpture looked like a series of men marching down some steps down the hill. As I got closer I realised that not all the men were whole, only the front one was. The others had increasingly severe losses to parts of their bodies. The sign acknowledged all those who were executed, imprisoned and who in other ways had their lives diminished under the totalitarian regime of Communism. When you are here, you know that the whole place has been affected by all the years of Soviet dominated rule. But this was the first categorical statement I had seen of the evil of those past years.
I continued on to the beginning of a path to take the funicular to the top of the hill. I really recommend this ride. For the price of a standard 20 Kc metro transfer fare, (about NZ$1.35), you get whisked high on Petrin Hill, looking down on the Castle and getting a great view of the city. Not a ride the tour groups seem to take. Then it is a pleasant walk along and down the hill to get to the Castle etc. I actually walked through the Castle environs again today as I knew there was a Post Office there. Still crowds of tourists - Florence shouldn't be a shock after this!
I visited the shrine of Loreta which I had missed the other day. Another place of Catholic pilgrimage I was ignorant of. The Madonna was surrounded by bright silver. As I didn't really want the weight of a guide book and am running out of Czech currency, I never bought the guide book, so can't fill you in on the significance of this one sorry!
Next time you get a blogging entry it should be from Florence as I fly there tomorrow. Thanks to Helen and Johanna for making comments!! (You brave things you!)


  1. Have a safe trip to Italy - I look forward to catching up with you there!

  2. The trip over the Alps was just superb and I had a window seat. Lots and lots of snow!

  3. I tell you what, Florence just blows me away and you have to pinch yourself to be sure it is real. You are walking past stuff by Donatello, Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Cellini, as if it is part of the furniture. Predictably lots of other tourists looking at it too!