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Impressions of Lombardia
and Veneto, Italy

Lago di Garda perfectly illustrates why it makes perfect sense to combine the Italian regions of Lombardia and Veneto into one report. The lake's Eastern shore belongs to Veneto, the Western shore to Lombardia. Sirmione, on the lake's Southernmost edge used to be a strategic border mark between Milano and Venezia. Why else would Sirmione have such a huge castle? The Dukes of Milano and the Doges of the Repubblica Marinara di Venezia spent most of their time and energy, indeed, on fending off each other's threats and responding by returning the threat in an endless vicious circle of violence. These games of political greed have always been played at the expense of ordinary people, also before the Dukes and Doges came onto the scene. In Verona, for instance, they knew everything about that, if we can yield any credence to Shakespeare's romanticised story of Romeo and Juliet. Agreed, Romeo may never have displayed his musical talents under Juliet's balcony, but there can be no doubt that the ferocious struggle for power over Italy between the Ghibellines of the Holy Roman Emperor and the Guelphs on the Pope's hand, made life miserable for most of the population of those wonderful places we now visit in awe, Como, Cremona, Pavia, Verona and other cities in Lombardia and Veneto. May therefore our admiration for the refined and tasteful urban architecture of those days be a humble tribute to the people who paid heavy taxes for it and did not themselves enjoy ... with the idea in mind that, after all, things have not necessarily changed all that much since then and everywhere.

Yes, I know, there are major gaps in this report, the city of Venezia deserves far more attention than it gets, Verona is not quite the only city of interest in the Veneto region, and there is definitely much more natural beauty in this Northern part of Italy than the lakes on the Swiss border. What about the Dolomiti of South Tyrol for starters? Just bear with me: enjoy what I can offer for the moment, and be aware that I have now become even more impatient and eager than ever to add those blank spots to my travel schemes in the near future and expand this report. Promised.

Before visiting the place of your choice:

Approaching the laguna and the city of Venezia by ship from the Adriatic Sea is an experience in itself. Sandbanks and small lighthouses in the sea gradually give way to shore lines of old buildings and eventually the medieval skyline of one of the world's most magic cities, Venezia.

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