Tourism is fun but it is expensive and very wasteful of the public capital as well as your own. Last week after the earthquake struck central Italy at L’Aquila I went touring there on Google Earth. It was very pleasant walking through the pre-quake town using the Street View options. What a beautiful place—it was—when the 360° street views were taken! It was interesting to check the news photographs at some of the locations which were on the news services. Living on a known earthquake fault has its dangers and I avoid going into un reenforced brick buildings any more than necessary. The UC Berkeley, South Hall ( +37.87137 -122.25848 ) is an old and very poorly built brick building which I spend an anxious hour in every week and it is only a hundred meters from the Hayward Fault which is expected to have a major quake very soon. I am a little bit crazy.
Below are some good Google Earth locations I picked out. You can go there in a second window by using — GOOGLE EARTH > TOOLS > OPTIONS > DECIMAL DEGREES. Copy and Paste the coordinates within the brackets into the location box in the upper left of the Google Earth program and hit enter to get the views. Once Google Earth is loaded, to see the views click the list of options > LAYERS > STREET VIEW. Zoom in using the confusing controls in the upper right (or point at your target, hold the right clicker down and push/pull the mouse to the zoom you want) and when you see a little camera icons on the map view double click one to see the original 360° photo at that location. It takes several seconds for the pictures to download but the wait is worth it. Once the picture is in your computer the view it shows can be dragged around the full 360° circle and up and down.
L’Aquila, Italy: Welcome to the Forte Spagnolo ( +42.35292 +13.40505 ) This massive fort probably didn’t have much trouble with a little earthquake. TIMES ON LINE slide show 1, 2 Basilica of Collemaggio, 4 Santa Maria Paganica, Here are some good quality shots of the quake from Boston.com #2 is ( at ? ). # 4 ( +42.3527 +13.3995 ). #7 is the Palazzo del Governo, TPM views ( +42.3476 +13.3968 ). This webcam in central L’Aquila is live so it is dark half the time. This spectacular one is 15 km south at Rocca Di Mezzo. If that is a live webcam things look quite survivable.
Florence, Italy: Center of the Pont Vecchio bridge. ( +43.767666 +11.253720 ). The Piazzale degili Uffizi ( +43.767824 +11.255335 ). The other end of the Uffizi courtyard is the Piazza della Signoria ( at +43.76930 +11.25567 ). Piazza del Duomo from the south ( +43.77265 +11.25615 ) A view from the hill over Florence from Piazzale Michelangiolo ( +43.7631 +11.2637 ).
Also go to Google sightseeing for some easy traveling.