Friday, September 28, 2012

Discover Slovenia with Incantato Tours

Tucked away between Austria and Italy, Slovenia is a country with a great deal of diversity, from a part of the Alps down to the Adriatic sea, which makes for a coastline of 29 miles. There is an abundance of contrast in landscape and cultures that are fit neatly into a small space. Forests have so many kinds of green, they look like a patchwork quilt. The movie Chronicles of Narnia  was filmed in one of Slovenia's many valleys. Slovenia's cuisine takes the best of Italian and the best of German and blends the two together.
The capital city of Ljubljana has a myriad of painted squares, twisty pedestrian alleys, offbeat museums, and a bustling cafe-lined river. With the Old Town and hilltop castle as a backdrop, you will find that many of Ljubljana's architecture has similarities to Venice, found in the fountains, street lanterns and the city's oldest bridge, which is a kind of Slovenian version of Venice's Rialto Bridge. With most of the cafes in the Old Town, this is probably where you will spend most of your time. Perhaps you will discover the primary colored riverside piazza of Preseren Square, named after Slovenia's favorite poet France Preseren. He gave a voice to Slovenian national identity in the 19th century. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Venice: an Incantato Favorite

Venice is one of the few cities in the world that can be truly described as unique. Surviving against all odds on a series of low mud banks in the Adriatic Sea, this northeastern Italian city has been called the gateway to the Orient - or, in the case of the San Marino Chamber Choir, a gateway to Slovenia, Croatia and your Performance Tour 2013.
Venice became an independent Byzantine providence in the 10th century and in 1204 it gained significant wealth and power through the trading routes between the East and the West. During the Middle Ages, the city was able to expand its influence throughout the Mediterranean all the way to present-day Istanbul. This immense wealth was celebrated in the art and architecture around the city that can still be seen today. 
The riches of St. Mark's alone demonstrate Venice's great position in the world from the 12th to the 14th centuries. However, the city finally fell to Napoleon in 1797 and joined the Kingdom of Italy in 1866.
In the last 200 years of Venice's history, little has been altered as so many of the historical sights are still admired today. 
One of the most famous sights is the Rialto Bridge, which offers beautiful views of the Canal Grande and marks the heart of the city. This area was one of the first in Venice to be inhabited and it remains one of the city's busiest and most bustling areas. Completed in 1591, this bridge was the only means of crosse the Grand Canal until 1854, when the Accademia bridge was built. 
Described by Napoleon as the most elegant drawing room in Europe, the other favorite in Venice is the Piazzo San Marco with two of the city's most important historic sights: the Basilica and the Palazzo Ducale. Founded in the 9th century, the Palazzo once served as the home to Venice's rulers and to the offices of State. The Basilica, once the doge's private chapel, was built on a Greek cross plan and crowned with five massive domes. Today, it is a magnificent example of an Eastern and Western architectural blend. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Incantato Destinations: Fun Facts about Croatia

Did you know..?

  • That in Croatia you can, within a span of only 62 miles, see the sea, forests, mountains and plains.
  • Croatia is one of the ecologically best preserved countries in Europe. It is one of the few countries on the old continent which supplies its citizens with drinking water from the public water supply system.
  • That Slavoljub Penkala (1871-1922) of Zagreb invented the mechanical pencil and fountain pen in 1906.
  • That St. Martin, a stone mason from the island of Rab who moved to the Italian Peninsula, founded the Republic of San Marino in the year 301!
  • That Istria has its own leaning tower - the 72 foot tall tower in Zavrsje. Its inclination is 16 inches to the north.
  • The scientist and physicist Nikola Tesla, a world-renowned inventor in the field of energy transfer telecommunications, was born in Croatia. His most valuable contribution was alternating current.
  • The Opatija Riviera was, next to the Cote D'Azur, the main destination of the Habsburg elite and it still carries the nickname "Nice of the Adriatic"
  • The Croats have their own script. It is called Glagolitic and originates from the 9th century. It was in regular use, together with Latin, until the 18th century!
  • The city of Zadar has the first sea organ in the world. It produces sounds using only the power of wind and sea waves.
  • The Republic of Dubrovnik was the first state to recognize the independence of the United States of America.