Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Vercelli; amble, amble, amble

We managed to find another day trip destination under the one hour travel limit so here we come Vercelli! Vercelli is located between Milan and Turin close to the River Po and is an important cultivator of rice, (largest in Italy), so our view approaching this town was of rice fields as far as the eye could see.  According to many historians, the city was first founded around the year 600 BC, (long, long ago), and was one of the oldest urban cities in this part of the country.

There are said to be several ruins scattered around the city which date back to the Roman times like the amphitheater, the hippodrome, sarcophagi and several other inscriptions quite a lot of which are Christian.  We wandered the historic city, but managed to find none, I even got lost and failed at finding the information centre after following the signs.  Finding it a little difficult to further convince my husband of my mental GPS, we decided our day would be best unrehearsed, and we ambled aimlessly thru the streets instead.

Piazza Cavour and Tower dell' Angello

There were quite a few towers

The cathedral of Vercelli is the most important religious center in the city. The cathedral was built centuries ago, was remodeled and changed several times over the years, especially once in the 9th and once in the 16th century. The cathedral is ornately designed and has several very beautiful paintings made by local artists. There is also a library in the cathedral that has several important ancient manuscripts including the Laws of the Lombards from the 8th century.  The main cathedral is usually easy to find, you look up.  There is always a visible dome that screams "I am the centre of attention".  So amble, amble, amble; only to find the entire building under construction and definitely no portal.  So after walking the circumference on the building, we find a museum, that is open for another 3 minutes before three hour lunch break.  Gather we will not be going in there either?  Amble, amble, amble.

This was our view under construction

This is what we should of seen

The signature local dish of the city is a dish called panissa which is made with rice and beans. Probably should of tried a rice dish, but by the time we sat down at a restaurant, both of the children were both asleep in the pram.  I got flustered, in all honesty, it was more of a panic.  The children NEVER sleep simultaneously during meals, this is a rare occassion.  Goodness me, could this be like a date with my husband???  Should I apply more lip balm and shake out my hair? We ordered a seafood plate and some wine as fast and quietly as possible and relished in the fact that there were no princess toys being launched across the table by a flicking fork.  Just between you and me I was busting to go to the toilet, but I thought crying out "pee pee" while holding my crutch would of spoilt the date atmosphere.  It was a lovely lunch, just as we finished the food and the wine, the children awoke and so we were obliged to order more food, (and wine).  Now what... amble, amble, amble.

The historic center of the town has many narrow pedestrian streets that are lined with small shops that sell unique locally made items, clothes and trinkets. We took advantage of the good number of places for shopping, and managed to buy anniversary and birthday presents for each other.  As we were leaving the historic centre, we found the worlds largest pot plant and made our way to one of the best playgrounds we have taken the children to in Italy. The numerous slides, swings, climbing frames, flying fox, soccer field and skate park, kept us at play until hubby started levitating as the mosquitos were carrying him away.  Another fabulous day, but sadly no doubt, our last day trip out of Milan.
World's largest pot plant, (or smallest child)?

No I have not turned so European that I am walking around naked, it is a sleeveless top

Great park
IF - Interesting Fact
In 1228 the first puplicly-funded university in the world was set up here and still exists today.

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