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FLORENCE     Florence –  the capital of the Tuscany region and the cradle of Renaissance   We opted for Flix Bus while traveling from Venice to Florence. The road journey takes about three and a half-hour. In Florence, it terminates at the rear end of Santa Maria Novella (SMN) train station. One of Italy’s busiest stations, it got its name from Santa Maria Novella Church just across the plaza from the main entrance. We debarked at the station and refreshed ourselves at McDonald's before hiring a cab for our hotel. Florence, popularly known as ‘Firenze’ by the Italians, is located in central Italy. This dreamy city with a romantic name is the regional capital of the lovely Tuscany region.   Columbus Hotel, where we stayed, is located in Lugarno District. We always prefer to book our hotels through as we always land up getting good hotels at good locations. Despite being a little away from the heart of the city and Santa Maria Novella station


ISTANBUL                                                                                                                                                                            (Part II)                       Istanbul is believed to have been inhabited since 5500 BC. Being strategically located on the Mediterranean , it was vulnerable to invaders from different countries in Asia and Europe who periodically occupied Istanbul from time to time. The first recorded occupation had taken place in the late seventh century BC when the Greek ruler Byzas established his kingdom here and named it Byzantium. Emperor Constantine the Great of Rome conquered the place in 306 AD and renamed it Constantinople. He also made it the capital of the second Roman Empire.  He was the first Roman Emperor who devoted in spreading Christianity in his empire and was sometimes referred as Saint. Tradition and ethnicity make the city so unique that one is bound to brush with History at every nook and corner