5 Most Romantic Spots in Europe

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

5 Most Romantic Spots in Europe

Europe is made up of 50 fascinating countries, each of which has its own individual charm while also sharing similarities with its neighbors. From the heartland of two of the world’s greatest civilizations, to Mediterranean islands and mountainous regions, it is a continent of immense diversity. Its cities are often considered among the most romantic on the planet and visited year-round by couples and honeymooners. Here’s five spots to visit for when you want to add a touch of romance to your travels.

Amsterdam

Credit: Olena Z/Shutterstock

Rent a bike and explore the endless miles of canals that meander around the Dutch capital. Stop at a waterfront bar for lunch and admire a cityscape characterized by medieval merchant houses. At night, antique street lamps illuminate the cobblestone streets to create a fairytale-like setting. If biking sounds too energetic, consider renting a boat, or go one better by staying overnight on a houseboat. In summer, bring a picnic to Vondelpark and be sure to cross to quieter Amsterdam-Noord to hang out in the shadow of a windmill. Of course, there’s the coffee shops and a superb collection of museums to visit, too.

Budapest

Credit: Augustin Lazaroiu/Shutterstock

Budapest straddles the mighty Danube with magnificent works of architecture rising up on both sides of the river. Soak up the sights from one of the benches that line the embankment, traverse the zigzagging alleyways of Castle Hill and find a quiet spot to snuggle in the leafy grounds of the Citadella. After a busy day of sightseeing, you’ll want to indulge in some therapeutic treatments at thermal spas, such as Rudas Baths and Széchenyi Thermal Bath. Finish your evening with a champagne and sunset Danube cruise.

Florence

Credit: ErwanB/Shutterstock

Forget Rome and Venice and opt for this glorious city in the heart of Italy’s Tuscany region. Renaissance art and architecture give Florence an old-world charm like no other, and you can pass the time strolling hand in hand through the narrow lanes of the Centro Storico. Take breaks at pavement cafes and grab a gelato at a traditional ice cream parlor. Sit on the steps of Piazzale Michelangelo for exquisite views of the city, and don’t miss the sunsets on the Arno River. If you simply want to relax, head to the beautiful gardens of Giardino Bardini and Giardino di Boboli.

Mykonos

Credit: Oleg Voronishe/Shutterstock

From kicking back on secluded beaches during the daytime, to dinner and drinks at Little Venice, Mykonos is a dream come true for couples. Jump on a quad bike and feel the breeze in your hair as you travel the twisting, hilly roads to stunning beaches. Agios Sostis and Lia Beach are two of many perfect spots for sunbathing and swimming in crystalline waters. Dress up for some excellent photo opportunities in Little Venice, whose quaint whitewashed and blue houses could have been lifted straight from a movie set. Why not take a snorkeling tour and spot exotic fish together?

Vienna

Credit: Schipkova Elena/Shutterstock

Once home to the House of Habsburg, Austria’s imperial capital has enchantment at the turn of every corner. With labyrinthine lanes, arcaded courtyards and grand palaces, the Old City is a wonderful place to amble aimlessly and discover hidden treasures. Ride a horse-drawn carriage between major attractions or see the city from the water on a Danube river cruise. Make sure to spend an evening at either the Burgtheater or Vienna State Opera. Smell the roses in springtime at Volksgarten and follow footpaths through Vienna Woods. December’s Christmas markets add another welcome dose of romance.

Mom and 8-month-old found dead during Florence

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ABC NEWS)

 

North Carolina firefighters pray after mom and 8-month-old found dead during Florence

Ad Duration00:04 – visit sponsor’s site

PLAY

PLAYCurrent time00:00Seek00:00

Duration01:35TOGGLE MUTEVolume

SETTINGS

TOGGLE FULLSCREEN

EMBED </>MORE VIDEOS 

Firefighters pray after mom and child found dead during Florence

A group of firefighters was captured spreading a bit of peace during a time of devastation.

Wilmington Fire Department were attempting to rescue a family after a tree fell on their home on Friday. Hurricane Florence made landfall as a Category 1 near Wilmington with winds of 90 mph.

Firefighters and rescue crews stopped to kneel and pray after they discovered the mother and her 8-month-old infant were killed by the fallen tree.

Fire officials say the mother, child and father were trapped inside the house for several hours before rescuers could reach them.

The father was transported to a hospital for treatment, according to the Associated Press.

There have been at least five deaths confirmed as a result of Hurricane Florence, which is now a tropical storm.

Related Topics:
hurricane florencefirefightersu.s. & worldfloodingtropical stormNorth Carolina

Hurricane Florence Targets Carolinas

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WEATHER CHANNEL)

 

Hurricane Florence Targets Carolinas, Appalachians With Potentially Catastrophic Flooding, Destructive Winds; Hurricane Warning Issued

By weather.com meteorologists

less than an hour ago

weather.com

At a Glance

  • Florence remains a dangerous Category 4 hurricane.
  • A strike on the Carolinas will occur late Thursday and into Friday.
  • Hurricane and storm surge warnings have been issued.
  • A life-threatening storm surge is expected with landfall.
  • Catastrophic inland flash flooding and major river flooding may result.
  • Tropical-storm-force winds may arrive as soon as Thursday morning.
  • Florence is also generating dangerous surf and rip currents along the East Coast.

Hurricane Florence will lash the Carolinas late Thursday and into Friday as an intense hurricane with life-threatening storm surge, destructive winds and potentially catastrophic inland rainfall flooding as one of the strongest strikes on record for this part of the U.S. East Coast.

“This will likely be the storm of a lifetime for portions of the Carolina coast,” the National Weather Service in Wilmington, North Carolina, wrote in its Tuesday evening area forecast discussion.

A hurricane warning and storm surge warning are now in effect from the South Santee River, South Carolina, northward to Duck, North Carolina, including the Albemarle and Pamlico sounds. This includes Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Wilmington, North Carolina, and most of the Outer Banks.

Hurricane watches and storm surge watches remain posted north of Duck, North Carolina, to the border between North Carolina and Virginia, as well as from Edisto Beach, South Carolina, northward to the South Santee River, South Carolina. This includes Charleston, South Carolina.

Hurricane watches also extend to some extent inland in the Carolinas, including such cities as Goldsboro and Lumberton, North Carolina, with a hurricane warning posted for Kinston, North Carolina.

Tropical storm watches have been issued farther north, from the border between North Carolina and Virginia to Cape Charles Lighthouse, Virginia, as well as for the Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort, Virginia. This includes Virginia Beach and Norfolk, Virginia.

image
Watches and Warnings

(A watch means hurricane or tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours. A warning means those conditions are expected within 36 hours.)

A hurricane warning means hurricane-force winds (74-plus mph) are expected somewhere within the warning area and is typically issued 36 hours ahead of the arrival of tropical-storm-force winds (39-plus mph), which could make last-minute preparations difficult.

A storm surge warning means there is a danger of life-threatening storm-surge inundation within the warning area during the next 36 hours from rising water moving inland from the coastline.

If you’re in the East Coast threat zone, it’s time to finish up your hurricane preparedness plan and be ready to implement if necessary. Residents in coastal areas should follow evacuation orders from local officials because of the potential for life-threatening storm-surge flooding.

(LATEST NEWS: Mandatory Evacuations Ordered)

Current Status

As of Tuesday night, Florence was centered more than 600 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, moving west-northwestward.

image
Current Storm Status

(The highest cloud tops, corresponding to the most vigorous convection, are shown in the brightest red colors. Clustering, deep convection around the center is a sign of a healthy tropical cyclone.)

Florence replaced its eyewall Tuesday morning, something that can happen multiple times in intense hurricanes. During this period, the hurricane may level off or weaken a tad but then gain strength as the outer eyewall contracts inward, replacing the old inner eyewall, leaving a larger core with, most importantly, a larger wind field.

Florence underwent rapid intensification Sunday into Monday, when its winds jumped up from 75 mph to 130 mph in just 25 hours ending 12 p.m. EDT Monday.

Some additional strengthening is possible, and it’s not out of the question that Florence could approach Category 5 status for a time by Wednesday.

Florence is generating swells that are affecting parts of the U.S. East Coast. Swells are also propagating to Bermuda and north- and northeastward-facing coasts of the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, Hispañiola, the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas.

These swells will produce life-threatening surf and rip current conditions at these beaches.

(MORE: Hurricane Central)

Track Forecast

Florence is being steered toward the coast of the Carolinas by a strong dome of high pressure aloft over the western Atlantic Ocean.

image
Projected Path

(The red-shaded area denotes the potential path of the center of the tropical cyclone. It’s important to note that impacts (particularly heavy rain, high surf, coastal flooding, winds) with any tropical cyclone usually spread beyond its forecast path.)

There remains some uncertainty where exactly the eye of Florence will make landfall late Thursday or on Friday, which will determine what part of the coastline experiences the worst wind and storm-surge impacts.

The National Hurricane Center is forecasting Florence to be a major hurricane, at least Category 3 intensity, when it arrives at or near the southeastern U.S. coast late Thursday or on Friday.

The hours leading up to landfall and the days after landfall have become a bit more uncertain. Recent forecast guidance has suggested Florence may turn a bit more westward and slow down considerably as it nears the Carolina coast.

That dome of high pressure aloft is expected to weaken, which may allow Florence to stall and meander near the coast or just inland of the coast. Here is what we know right now about Florence’s track timing. All of this is subject to change slightly, so check back for updates.

– Timing: The peak coastal impacts from Florence are expected late Thursday and into Friday, potentially into the weekend if a stall occurs near the coast. Tropical-storm-force winds are expected to first arrive Thursday morning along the southeastern U.S. coast in the general area of the forecast path. Impacts from Florence, particularly heavy rain, may continue into this weekend or early next week if it stalls out or moves erratically for a time, as suggested by some forecast guidance.

– Locations Potentially Affected: The Carolinas are at greatest risk for major impacts from Florence. Locations farther south, such as Georgia, and farther north into the mid-Atlantic should also monitor Florence for any forecast changes. The latest trends in computer models have brought more potential impacts to the central and southern Appalachians.

Likely U.S. Impacts

– Storm-Surge Impact: A destructive storm surge will accompany the eye coming ashore late Thursday or on Friday. It will be highest to the north or northeast of where the center comes ashore. Large, battering waves will ride atop this surge. All evacuation orders from local officials should be followed because of this dangerous threat. Significant beach erosion is also likely on the southeastern U.S. coast. Elevated water levels may persist for some time after landfall in areas where onshore winds persist.

image
Storm Surge Watches and Warnings

Here are the latest storm-surge inundation forecasts from the National Hurricane Center if the eye of Florence arrives at high tide:

– Cape Fear to Cape Lookout, North Carolina, including the Neuse, Pamlico, Pungo and Bay rivers: 9 to 13 feet
– North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to Cape Fear, North Carolina: 6 to 9 feet
– Cape Lookout, North Carolina, to Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina: 6 to 9 feet
– South Santee River, South Carolina, to North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: 4 to 6 feet
– Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina, to the North Carolina/Virginia border: 4 to 6 feet
– Edisto Beach, South Carolina, to the South Santee River, South Carolina: 2 to 4 feet

(MORE: Past Storm Surges in the Carolinas)

image
Storm-Surge Forecast

(From the National Hurricane Center.)

– Wind Impact: Tropical-storm-force winds (39-plus mph) are expected to arrive in the hurricane warning area Thursday morning. Hurricane-force winds (74-plus mph) may arrive by Thursday night or early Friday. Numerous downed trees and long-lasting power outages could occur near and inland from where the center of Florence strikes. This threat of tree damage and power outages may also extend across Florence’s larger swath of tropical-storm-force winds. Structural damage to homes and buildings is possible, particularly where the core of any hurricane-force winds moves through.

image
Tropical-Storm-Force Wind Probabilities

(Winds of 39 mph or greater are expected to begin at the times indicated in purple. Preparations should be completed 12 to 18 hours before this time.)

– Rainfall Impact: Florence will not only produce heavy rain along the coast, but also far inland across the Carolinas, mid-Atlantic and possibly other parts of the Southeast. That heavy rain threat may last for days if Florence stalls out into this weekend or early next week, as suggested by some forecast guidance. If that stall occurs, disastrous flooding could occur in some areas. See the link below for more information.

(MORE: Potentially Catastrophic Inland Flooding Possible)

According to the National Hurricane Center, Florence is expected to produce 15 to 25 inches of rain, with isolated totals to 35 inches, over parts of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia through early next week.

image
Florence Rainfall Outlook

(This should be interpreted as a broad outlook of where the heaviest rain may fall and may shift based on the forecast path. Extreme amounts may occur where bands of rain stall over a period of several hours. )

The name Florence has been used for Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes since 1953. The destructive potential of this iteration could mean the name Florence may be retired from future use.

Check back with weather.com for updates on Florence’s forecast.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

The Life And Times Of A Famous European Glass Maker In The Early-Mid 1600’s

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF AUTHOR PAUL ENGLE ON HIS GOOGLE + WEB SITE)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Gift For The Innocent

One of the distinctive roundels designed
by Andrea della Robbia for the facade of the
Ospedale degli Innocenti.

In early 1597, Antonio Neri turned twenty-one. He was in his final year of training for the priesthood in the Catholic Church. The war with the Ottoman Empire in Hungary was winding down and men were returning to Florence from the front lines, among them Don Antonio de’ Medici, Neri’s future benefactor. At this time, there is no indication of Neri’s future activity as a glassmaker, but he certainly had been deeply involved in learning alchemy for several years. It is not surprising since his father was the personal physician to Grand Duke Ferdinando de’ Medici and his grandfather was a celebrated barber-surgeon. He probably grew up seeing the chemical arts practiced on a daily basis.

This same year, Antonio Neri’s father, Neri Neri, was commissioned along with three colleagues from the physician’s guild to make a complete revision of the Ricettario Fiorentino. [1] This was the physician and apothecary’s reference used throughout Europe and in Tuscany it carried the weight of law; every medical professional was required to own a copy and adhere to its prescriptions. The first edition had been published almost a century earlier; it was revised periodically to keep it current with the latest thinking and remedies.

Reviewing the book’s recipes is of course interesting. The final prescription, for example, is one for the age-old remedy of chicken soup. However, the preparation of this particular recipe with its raw juices would certainly make most modern patients turn a bit green.  An attempt to look beyond the technical methods is also intriguing; we are rewarded with a glimpse into the personalities of the men who wrote the book. One of the authors in particular has a story that illustrates how shrewd maneuvering can be used for good, even in times when self-serving and corruption were endemic.

The four authors’ names do not appear in the book itself, but they are documented in a letter from the college of physicians acknowledging the directive of the grand duke and pledging to purge the text of any preparations that could be dangerous. [2] In addition to Neri Neri and Francesco Rosselli (son of the royal apothecary), the other two co-authors were Giovanni Galletti and Giovan Battista Benadù. [3] Giovanni Galletti, is difficult to pin down. His family resided in Florence and he exchanged letters with a Filippo Galletti in Rome, who may have been a brother or cousin. Adding intrigue to the connection, Filippo was working as a confidential correspondent—read: a spy—for Ferdinando I de’ Medici around 1600. [4] The fourth co-author, Benadù, a physician and surgeon from Fivizzano, north of Pisa, died in 1603. [5] His will provided for an annual gift to Santa Maria Nuova hospital [6] and another to the Ospedale degli Innocenti, a gift that amazingly supported the orphanage into the nineteenth century. [7]

Little information exists about these men, it would seem impossible to extract any meaningful insight into their personalities, but perhaps we can take a small step in that direction. Neri Neri’s coauthor, Benadù, administered his financial gift to the Ospedale degli Innocenti with a large dose of shrewdness. The measures he took to ensure the purposeful use of his money, even after his death, reveal a man who cared a great deal about the less fortunate. In the 1400s, the wealthy silk merchants’ guild started Innocenti to be responsible for the welfare of abandoned children. By the late 1500s, the orphanage struggled under a mountain of debt. Grand Duke Ferdinando made a concerted effort to improve the situation and it became a well run, efficient institution, although throughout its history, it was not without problems. Over centuries of operation, it had seen the abuse of children and exploitation by both parents and the government. Famine hit Tuscany on a regular basis and less of it was due to natural causes than one might imagine. The grand dukes tended to make large trade deals, with Spain and other states, which depleted supplies and drove the local price of grain beyond what poorer families could afford. In those hard times, the Ospedale degli Innocenti experienced overflows of abandoned children. It was discovered under Cosimo I de’ Medici’s rule that some desperate families had found creative ways to take advantage. Destitute mothers left their infants at Innocenti, where children were assured of a square meal, a warm bed and an education. The same mothers then sold their milk to the orphanage, in effect collecting a wage to wet nurse their own children.

Florentine accountants invented double entry bookkeeping, and the Medici gave that innovation a good workout. They pioneered the use of municipal bonds, the purchase of which was sometimes made compulsory. At the time, they were a novel approach to fund a city’s development, and selling bonds under the banner of the orphanage was an early bit of marketing genius. It is unfortunate that the money often did not stay with the orphanage, but the obligation to pay off these debts did. The Medici often raided the accounts to pay for other projects both civic and personal. Under Ferdinando, the situation improved, but was far from stable. Through a clever maneuver, Benadù ensured his money went to the orphanage alone and not to bondholders. He left an inheritance for the day-to-day operation of Innocenti, putting control in the hands of the monks at the Badia Fiorentina monastery, where it was beyond the reach of greedy hands.

The 1597 edition of Ricettario Fiorentino produced by Neri Neri, Francesco Rosselli and their colleagues proved so popular that Grand Duke Francesco II [8] ordered it reprinted without changes in 1623. [9]

[1] Neri, Benadù, Rosselli, Galletti 1597.
[2] Corradi 1887, p. 55.
[3] Giovan Battista di Nicolao Benadù (?–1603), not to be confused with Priest Giovanni Benadù from Lucca.
[4] For more on the Galletti family cf. Crollalanza 1878, p. 222. About Filippo Galletti cf. Zapperi 1994, pp. 50, 71; Liebreich 2005, pp. 67, 281. For letters to Giovanni, see ASR 1591.
[5] He set up a trust fund for his sisters and their female relatives, which was still functioning in the twentieth century. Cf. Arrigoni 1882, p. 34.
[6] Lamioni 1994, p. 530.
[7] Cardini 1968, p. 190. The Innocenti records identify Benadù as both physician and surgeon and his monetary gift played a supporting role in the continued operation of the facility (AOI 1603.) As mentioned above.
[8] Ferdinando II de’ Medici (1610–1670).
[9]  Neri, Benadù, Rosselli, Galletti 1623.