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    Palazzo della Loggia

    Palazzo della Loggia is a beautiful palace built in Renaissance style in Brescia, located in the square of the same name, today the seat of the city’s Municipal Council.   SHORT HISTORY In 1484, the municipal authorities of Brescia decided to build a grandiose palace as an expression of good governance, replacing the original loggia and increasing the monumentality of the Piazza della Loggia, which was rising at the time. The first project was presented by Tomaso Formentone, an architect from Vicenza. The project of Formentone involved the construction of a building entirely in wood, an option that was immediately abandoned. The first stone was laid in 1492 and the construction site was directed, between about 1495 and 1510, by Filippo Grassi. The works were interrupted in 1512 by the sack of Brescia, to resume only in 1549. The Loggia was completed in 1574 after numerous interventions by the most famous architects of the time, such as Jacopo Sansovino and Andrea Palladio, as well as Lodovico Beretta from Brescia. The latter was responsible for the large windows on the second floor.   ARCHITECTURE The white Botticino marble facade of the palace is vertically composed of two distinct architectural sections. In Read more [...]

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    Bergamo Cathedral of Sant’Alessandro

    The Cathedral of Sant’Alessandro is the cathedral of Bergamo, dedicated to Saint Alexander, the patron saint of the city. The cathedral is located in the historical center of the city – Città Alta, in the small but beautiful Piazza del Duomo, near the Palazzo della Ragione and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.   SHORT HISTORY In the 8th century, a church in Romanesque style was built on this place, on the site of a paleochristian place of worship dating back to the 5th century. The church was dedicated to San Vincenzo (Saint Vincent of Saragossa). Around the middle of the 15th century, the bishop Giovanni Barozzi decided to build a larger church, entrusting the project to the Florentine architect Filarete. On May 3, 1459, the first stone was laid, and in 1467 the first chapel on the left side was completed and dedicated to Saint Catherine and Saint Jerome. However, after a couple of years, the works suffered an abrupt interruption due to the death of Filarete and to the simultaneous election of bishop Barozzi as Patriarch of Venice. In 1561, the Church of Sant’Alessandro in Colonna was demolished for the construction of the Venetian Walls. The relics of Read more [...]

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    Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

    Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is a beautiful church in Bergamo, located in the historical part of the city – Città Alta, in the small Piazza del Duomo.   SHORT HISTORY According to popular tradition, in 1133, the local people promised to built a church dedicated to the Madonna, if the city will be spared by the plague that threatened the northern Italy. The church was built in 1137 on the site of another church from the 8th century, which in turn was built on a pagan temple dedicated to the goddess Clementia. The exterior of the church testifies its construction in two different phases: in the first phase, were built the apsidal area, the northern arm of the transept and the lower part of the southern arm in gray sandstone, with square ashlars, while the remaining parts were built in the second phase, in light ocher sandstone, with rather small ashlars. With the central apse and the transept built, the high altar was consecrated in 1185, and the presbytery and apses on the east side of the transept were completed in 1187. Work slowed down during the 13th century due to economic difficulties. However, the blind facade and the Read more [...]

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    Castello Aragonese

    Castello Aragonese is a castle built on a small volcanic island located near the eastern shore of Ischia, connected to the main island by a 220 meters long bridge.   SHORT HISTORY The small island on which the castle was built appeared after an eruption occurred over 300,000 years ago. The island reaches a height of 113 meters above sea level and covers an area of approximately 56,000 square meters. The construction of the first fortification on the island dates back to 474 BC, and was entitled Castrum Gironis (Castle of Hieron), after the tyrant of Syracuse, Hieron I, who conquered Ischia. Later, the fortress was occupied by the Parthenopeans, and in 315 BC by the Romans, who founded the colony of Aenaria. During the following centuries, the fortress was radically transformed, and used to defend the island against the Visigoths, Vandals, Ostrogoths, Arabs, Normans, Swabians and Angevins. The current appearance of the fortress dates back to the Aragonese period, more precisely to the year 1441, when Alfonso V of Aragon built a castle very similar with the Castel Nuovo of Naples. A wooden bridge connected the castle with the island of Ischia. The period of maximum splendor of the Read more [...]

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    Syracuse Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

    The Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the cathedral of Syracuse, located in the historical center of the city, on the Ortygia island. The cathedral incorporates parts of a Greek doric temple dedicated to Athena, which was converted into a church with the advent of Christianity.   SHORT HISTORY During the 5th century BC, the first tyrant of Syracuse, Gelon, built on this place an imposing Doric temple dedicated to Athena, the ancient Greek goddess associated with wisdom and warfare. With the advent of Christianity, the temple became the first Christian church in western Europe in the 7th century AD. The Byzantines made significant changes to the Christian structure and, later, the Muslims, after their conquest of Syracuse, transformed it into the main place of Islamic worship in the area. The church became a mosque, undergoing the changes that the Islamic cult required. With the Normans, the city rediscovered Christianity and, therefore, the building resumed its main role as a Syracusan Catholic church. The Normans rebuild the church and gave it a majestic but austere facade. During the terrible earthquake of 1693, that razed to the ground several cities in eastern Sicily, including most of Syracuse, Read more [...]

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    Noto Cathedral of San Nicolò

    The Cathedral of San Nicolò, dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Myra, is the beautiful Baroque cathedral of Noto, located at the top of a wide staircase, on the northern part of the Piazza del Municipio (Town Hall Square).   SHORT HISTORY The construction of the church began in 1694, one year after the terrible earthquake of the Val di Noto, which destroyed entirely the ancient Noto, located about 8 kilometers to the north of the current city. The church was completed in 1703, the year in which it was opened for worship in a solemn ceremony. In the second half of the 18th century, the original unfinished facade of the church, built by Rosario Gagliardi, was remodeled by the architect Vincenzo Sinatra, and completed at the end of the 18th century. In the 19th century, a new dome was built to replace the previous one, deteriorated by the earthquakes from the 18th century, giving the cathedral its current appearance. After the earthquake of December 13, 1990, the church suffered some structural damage, but no restoration measures were taken. On the evening of March 13, 1996, due to a serious defect of the pillars of the central nave, the first of Read more [...]

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    Duomo di San Pietro

    The Church of San Pietro (Duomo di San Pietro) is a beautiful Baroque church in Modica, dedicated to Saint Peter.   SHORT HISTORY A first church was built on this place between 1301 and 1350, but the exact date remains unknown. A document from 1396 signed by the bishop of Syracuse attests its existence. The church was rebuilt starting with 1597 by the will of Pope Clement VIII, and two centuries later, in 1797, by the will of Charles III of Spain, King of Naples and Sicily. Around that time, despite the fact that the city already had a cathedral – the Duomo di San Giorgio, the Church of Saint Peter was declared also a cathedral, becoming the official church of the Counts of Modica. Damaged by the passing of the centuries and the frequent earthquakes in the area, the church was rebuilt several times. However, some parts of it resisted over time, surviving even the earthquake of 1693. One example is the Chapel of Immaculate Conception, which was built in 1620.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE A monumental staircase with the statues of the twelve apostles leads to the church. The facade is divided into two orders, and embellished by Read more [...]

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    Modica Cathedral of San Giorgio

    The Cathedral of San Giorgio (Duomo di San Giorgio) is the cathedral of Modica, dedicated to Saint George. The church is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and is one of the most prominent examples of the Sicilian Baroque.   SHORT HISTORY A first church in Modica dedicated to Saint George was probably built by Roger I of Sicily after the Norman conquest of Sicily, which took place in 1090. The first official document that certifies the presence of the church is a papal bull from 1150, issued by Pope Eugene III. However, the current church is the result of the reconstruction from the 17th century, which took place after the disastrous earthquakes that struck Modica in 1542, in 1613 and, probably the most destructive, in 1693. The structure was designed by the architect Marcello from Palermo, with the laying of the first stone in 1643. The master builder of the church was Carlo D’Amico, also a native of Palermo. The works for the reconstruction of the first order of the facade, which withstood the tremors of the 1693 earthquake, began in 1702 and were completed in 1738. In 1760, the architect Francesco Paolo Labisi from Noto designed the Read more [...]

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    Duomo di San Giorgio

    The Church of San Giorgio, also known as the Duomo di San Giorgio, is a beautiful church in Ragusa Ibla – the ancient center of Ragusa, and one of the most important examples of Baroque architecture in Sicily.   SHORT HISTORY Before the earthquake of 1693, the Church of San Giorgio stood in the eastern part of Ragusa Ibla, near the Hyblean Garden. Today, the only thing left from the ancient church, demolished in 1718, is the Portal of San Giorgio. After the earthquake of 1693, which destroyed almost entirely the historical center of the town, it was decided to built a new church dedicated to Saint George on the place of the ancient Church of San Nicola. However, the building of Ragusa Superiore – the modern part of the city, developed faster, and the Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista, erected in 1694, became the main Catholic church of Ragusa, to the discontent of the inhabitants of Ragusa Ibla. The project of the Church of San Giorgio was commissioned in 1738 to Rosario Gagliardi, an architect of Noto. The first stone was laid on June 28, 1739, as a plaque on the right side of the staircase reminds us, and Read more [...]

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    Ragusa Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista

    The Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista is the main catholic church in Ragusa, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. The church is located in the modern part of the town, known as Ragusa Superiore.   SHORT HISTORY A church dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, which stood on the western part of Ragusa Ibla, the ancient town of Ragusa, was seriously damaged by the earthquake of 1693. One year later, on April 15, 1694, the church was rebuilt in the center of Ragusa Superiore, the new town of Ragusa. On August 16, the same year, the church was opened for worship. The short time in which the church was built indicates that the first building was small and inadequate for the needs of the new expanding city district. Therefore, in 1718, a new larger church was begun, under the direction of two architects from Acireale, Giuseppe Recupero and Giovanni Arcidiacono. The new church was solemnly consecrated on May 31, 1778, a ceremony led by the bishop of Syracuse, Giovanni Battista Alagona. In 1783, the dome was built, and covered on the outside with copper foils at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1848, the paving was renewed with stone Read more [...]

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    Neptune’s Grotto

    Neptune’s Grotto is one of the largest marine caves in Italy, located on the Capo Caccia promontory, inside the Porto Conte Park, about 25 kilometers from Alghero.   SHORT HISTORY Neptune’s Grotto was discovered in the 18th century by a local fisherman, and it became over time a popular tourist attraction. The cave took its name from the Roman divinity of the sea, Neptune. Until 1959, the date of completion of the Escala del Cabirol (Roe Deer Staircase), the stairway which descends to the cave on the rocky wall of Capo Caccia, the Neptune’s Grotto could be visited only from the sea, and therefore accessible only in calm sea conditions.   DESCRIPTION Inside the cave, we can find astounding large rooms with magnificent karst formations, an underground lake and a sandy beach. The Lake Lamarmora is an underground salt lake with a depth of about 9 meters, a maximum width of 25 meters and a length of 100 meters. The lake has a stalagmite column in the center called Acquasantiera (Stoup), due to the receptacles in the upper part which contain fresh water. On the bottom of the lake, there is a formation of stalagmites called Christmas Tree. In the Read more [...]

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    Aquarium of Genoa

    The Aquarium of Genoa is the largest aquarium in Italy, the first in Europe by the number of animal species, the third in Europe by area and the ninth in the world. The aquarium is located in the ancient port of Genoa.   SHORT HISTORY The aquarium was built for the International Exhibition Genoa 1992, to celebrate 500 years passed since the Genoese Christopher Columbus discovered the new world. The building was designed by the Genoese architect Renzo Piano. The interior was designed by the architect Peter Chermayeff. In 1998, the aquarium was expanded by 100 meters, with a ship connected by walkway to the original building. Subsequently, it was extended several times. From its opening until 2014, the aquarium was visited by over 25 million visitors, with an average of 1.2 million per year.   DESCRIPTION The aquarium includes 70 tanks and 4 open-air pavilions, inaugurated in the summer of 2013. The total area of the structure is 27,000 square meters. The tanks host about 15,000 animals of 400 different species, of which we can mention fish, marine mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, in environments that reproduce the original ones. Four large tanks allow animals to be observed from Read more [...]

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    Genoa Cathedral of San Lorenzo

    The Cathedral of San Lorenzo is a beautiful church in Genoa, located in the small square with the same name. The cathedral is dedicated to San Lawrence, one of the patron saints of Genoa, together with Saint George, Saint John the Baptist and Saint Sebastian.   SHORT HISTORY A first church was built on this place around the 5th or 6th century AD, and dedicated to the bishop of Genoa, San Siro (Saint Sirus). The first documents that attest the existence of a church dedicated to San Lorenzo date back to 878. In 1007, the ancient church of San Siro was given to the Benedictine monks and the episcopal seat was transferred to the Cathedral of San Lorenzo. Starting with 1098, the reconstruction of the church began and the project was entrusted to the Magistri Antelami, master architects, sculptors and carpenters of Romanesque tradition. The building was consecrated in 1118 by Pope Gelasio II. In the 13th century, the church was renovated in Gothic style. The first order of the facade, with its three Gothic portals, dates back to that period. After the fire of 1296, the building, very damaged, was rebuilt again. Between 1307 and 1312, the facade was Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

    The Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari is one of the largest churches in Venice, and one of Italy’s most important Franciscan sites. The church, commonly known as the Frari, is located in the homonymous Campo dei Frari, in the sestiere of San Polo.   SHORT HISTORY The first church built on this place dates back to the first half of the 13th century, when the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor received a piece of land in the area. Soon, the church proved too small and, in 1250, the papal legate, the cardinal Ottaviano Ubaldini, laid the first stone of a new larger church. Around the year 1330, the architect Jacopo Celega began working on a third church, which was completed in 1396 by his son Pier Paolo. The bell tower of the church was built in 1936, the Chapel of San Marco was added in 1420, the Chapel of San Pietro in 1434 and the facade was finished in 1440. The church was consecrated in 1492, and the portal, surmounted by three statues, work of Lorenzo Bregno, was built in 1516. In the 19th century, the Franciscans were banished from the church, where they returned only in 1922. Read more [...]

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    St. Mark’s Campanile

    Saint Mark’s Campanile is the bell tower of the St. Mark’s Basilica, located in the beautiful St. Mark’s Square, in Venice. The bell tower is by far the most important attraction of the city and one of the most famous symbols of Italy.   SHORT HISTORY On the place where the bell tower stands today, there was a watchtower or a lighthouse built in the 9th century. The structure was remodeled in the 12th century, and again in the 14th century, during which architects from Holland and France were called to reinforce the building. The tower, already seriously damaged in 1489 by lightning, which destroyed its wooden cusp, was seriously hit by an earthquake in March 1511, making it necessary to start its consolidation. The works, initiated by the architect Giorgio Spavento, were carried out under the direction of the architect Pietro Bon, and were completed on July 6, 1513, with the placement of the gilded wooden statue of the Archangel Gabriel. Over the centuries, many interventions were made to the tower, often to repair the damage caused by lightning. Due to its height and the iron structures that reinforced it, the Campanile was a natural lightning rod. Finally, in Read more [...]

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    Basilica di San Nicola

    Basilica di San Nicola (Basilica of San Nicholas) is a beautiful church located in the historical center of Bari, one of the most significant examples of the Apulian-Romanesque architecture.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built in Romanesque style between 1087 and 1103, during the Norman domination of Apulia, to host the relics of Saint Nicholas, translated from Myra, Lycia, to Bari, on May 9, 1087. The relics were temporarily housed in the Monastery of St. Benedict. On October 1, 1089, the relics were transferred to the crypt of the unfinished basilica by Pope Urban II, who came to Bari specifically for this. The construction of the basilica was completed in 1103.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The simple and majestic facade of the basilica is divided in three parts by pilasters, crowned with small arches, has mullioned windows at the top and three portals at the bottom. Two bell towers of different styles flank the facade. The sides are characterized by deep blind arches and rich doors. Blind arches at the bottom and mullioned windows at the top animate the transept and the apse wall, decorated in the middle by a large window. The interior is divided in three naves Read more [...]

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    Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

    Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a covered pedestrian street located near the Milan Cathedral, which connects Piazza del Duomo to Piazza della Scala, in Milan. The gallery is one of the oldest shopping malls in Italy and one of the most famous landmarks of Milan. Since its inauguration in the 19th century, due to the presence of elegant shops and cafés, the gallery became the meeting place of the Milanese bourgeoisie, being known as the living room of Milan.   SHORT HISTORY The idea of a street that connected Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Scala was first promoted in 1839 by the writer Carlo Cattaneo, as a solution for the area in front of the Milan Cathedral. In 1863, the Municipality of Milan announced a competition for the new street project. The winner was the project of the architect Giuseppe Mengoni, for a cross-shaped gallery and a porticoed building in Piazza del Duomo. The ceremony for the laying of the first stone by King Vittorio Emanuele II took place on March 7, 1865. The works, excluding the triumphal entry arch, were completed in less than three years. The gallery was finished only ten years later, in 1878, when the Read more [...]

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    Palermo Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    The Cathedral of Palermo is a magnificent church dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, located in the historical center of Palermo. Since July 3, 2015, the Cathedral is a UNESCO World heritage site, part of the Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale, a series of nine structures dating from the era of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily.   SHORT HISTORY A first church was built in the area in the fourth century. The building is mentioned in a papal bull of Pope Leo the Great in 444 and in a letter to the Sicilian clergy of 447. In 592, the Bishop Vittore demolishes the church and promotes its reconstruction according to the Byzantine canons. A second church dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is built on the ruins of the previous one in 604. Between 831 and 1072, during the Arab domination of Palermo, the church was transformed into a mosque. Following the Norman conquest of the city, in 1072, the mosque was converted back to a Christian church. The earthquake of February 4, 1169, seriously damaged the bell tower and the upper part of the facade. Interpreted as a divine punishment Read more [...]

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    Lucca Cathedral of San Martino

    The Cathedral of San Martino is a church dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, located in the square with the same name, in Lucca. According to tradition, the cathedral was founded by San Frediano in the 6th century, then rebuilt by Anselmo da Baggio, Bishop of the city, in 1060, and finally remodeled in its current form in the 12th and 13th centuries.   SHORT HISTORY In the 8th century, the Church of San Martino received the title of Cathedral from the Church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata, located nearby. The Cathedral was completely rebuilt starting with 1060, and solemnly consecrated in 1070 by Anselmo da Baggio, who at the time of the consecration was Pope Alexander II, but had also kept the title of Bishop of Lucca. In 1204, Guido Bigarelli of Como began the work on the facade. In 1372, two years after the liberation from the Pisan domination, the apse of the church and the wall of the transept were completed in Gothic style. The works were finished around 1390.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The main facade of the church was begun in 1204 by Guido Bigarelli of Como. The facade consists of a vast portico of Read more [...]

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    Piazza dei Miracoli

    Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), formally known as Piazza del Duomo and sometimes called Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles), is the most important square of Pisa. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, the square includes the monuments called miracles by Gabriele d’Annunzio for their beauty and originality: the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Baptistery of San Giovanni, Campo Santo and the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. The square is pedestrianized and is covered by a large lawn. It assumed its definitive appearance only in the 19th century, under the direction of the architect Alessandro Gherardesca, who demolished some pre-existing buildings and restored the famous monuments.   SHORT HISTORY The square as we know it began to take shape in 1063, when the new cathedral of the city named after Santa Maria Maggiore was founded. At that time, the area remained outside the walls of the city, and was included only in 1156, when an expansion of the city walls was realized by the consul Cocco Griffi. Three years before the expansion of the walls, the construction of the new Baptistery also began, this time placed in front of the church. In 1173, the construction of Read more [...]

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    Baptistery of San Giovanni

    The Baptistery of San Giovanni is one of the monuments of the Piazza dei Miracoli, in Pisa. The baptistery stands in front of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, south of the Camposanto Monumentale (monumental cemetery) and about 170 meters from the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa.   SHORT HISTORY The construction of the building began in 1152, to replace a smaller baptistery located north-east of the Cathedral, where the Camposanto is now located. It was built in Romanesque style by the architect Diotisalvi, who is also credited with the construction of the Tower of Pisa. Later, the works were conducted by Nicola Pisano, Giovanni Pisano and Cellino di Nese. In the 19th century, along with the renovation that affected the entire Piazza del Duomo and its monuments, the baptistery was the subject of a radical restoration by the architect Alessandro Gherardesca. His interventions led to the reconstruction of some portals and much of the decorations. Despite the denunciations of some intellectuals and prominent personalities of the Pisan culture of the time, the works of the 19th century, directed by the master builder Giovanni Storni, led to the removal of numerous sculptures by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano. The original sculptures Read more [...]

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    Leaning Tower of Pisa

    The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Torre pendente) is a tower located in the famous Piazza dei Miracoli, in Pisa. The tower is actually the bell tower of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, located a few meters away. The monument, one of the most recognizable symbols of Italy, is famous around the world due to its unintended tilt. The tilt was caused by an inadequate foundation on a ground too soft to properly support the structure’s weight.   SHORT HISTORY The building of the tower began on 9 August 1173. Some recent studies attribute the project to the Pisan architect Diotisalvi, who at the same time was building the Baptistery of San Giovanni. The first phase of the works was interrupted in the middle of the third floor, due to the subsidence of the land on which the bell tower stands. The softness of the soil, made up of soft clay, is the cause of the tilt of the tower and, although to a lesser extent, of all the buildings in the square. The works resumed in 1275 under the guidance of Giovanni di Simone and Giovanni Pisano, who added another three floors to the previous building. In an attempt Read more [...]

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    Baia del Silenzio

    Baia del Silenzio (Bay of Silence) is a wonderful public beach located right in the historical center of Sestri Levante. Enclosed by old colorful buildings, Baia del Silenzio is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Italy. The beach is small, about 300 meters long and about 20 meters wide, and there you will not find showers, toilets, or where to rent sun beds and umbrellas. Furthermore, the beach does not offer the possibility of doing water sports, you can not rent pedal boats or kayaks, and it doesn’t have lifeguards. However, with its crystal clear waters and soft golden sand, the Bay of Silence is one of the most evocative beaches of the entire Ligurian Riviera. Early in the morning, at sunrise, but especially in the evening, when the sun sets, the beach acquires magical connotations. After all the people have gone, the lanscape becomes mystical in the orange light of the evening. Ripples form on the water’s surface, the boats swing slowly offshore, and the peace sets over the bay.   HOW TO GET THERE Baia del Silenzio is located about 1.2 kilometers away from the Sestri Levante train station. The closest bus station is in Piazza Read more [...]

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    Milan Cathedral of the Nativity of Saint Mary

    The Cathedral of the Nativity of Saint Mary, better known as Duomo di Milano, is the largest church in Italy and the fourth largest in the world. The Cathedral, which took almost six hundred years to complete, is the most important tourist attraction in Milan and the most famous symbol of the city.   SHORT HISTORY Once, on the place where the Duomo stands today, there was the ancient Cathedral of Santa Maria Maggiore and the Basilica of Santa Tecla. After the collapse of the bell tower of the cathedral, the Archbishop Antonio de’ Saluzzi, supported by the population, proposed in 1386 the building of a new and larger cathedral. For the new church, both previous churches were demolished. In January 1387, the foundations of the pylons were laid. The chief architect was Simone d’Orsenigo, who, in 1388, began the perimeter walls. Between 1389 and 1390, the French Nicolas de Bonaventure was commissioned to design the windows. In 1393, the first capital of the pillars was sculpted by Giovannino de’ Grassi, who was the main architect of the work until his death, in 1398. In 1400, Filippino degli Orgi took his place, who focused on the construction of the apse Read more [...]

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    Castello Sforzesco

    Castello Sforzesco, one of the largest castles in Europe, was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza. Located outside the historical center of Milan, the castle was one of the main military citadels of Europe between the 16th and 17th centuries. Restored between 1890 and 1905, it is now home to cultural institutions and important museums.   SHORT HISTORY Between 1360 and 1370, a fortification was built on this place by Gian Galeazzo Visconti, the first Duke of Milan. The fortification was called Castello di Porta Giovia and had a defensive function. Castello di Porta Giovia was a square-shaped castle with 200 meters long sides and four towers at the corners, two of which were particularly imposing, and 7 meters thick walls. The building became a permanent residence of the Visconti dynasty, to be later destroyed in 1447 by the newborn Repubblica Ambrosiana, founded by the Milanese nobles. After the fall of the Ambrosian Republic, the new Duke of Milan, Francesco Sforza, began the reconstruction of the castle in 1450, to make it his residence. In 1452, the architect Filarete was hired by the Duke for the construction and decoration of the median tower, which is still called Torre Read more [...]

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    Matera Cathedral of the Madonna della Bruna

    The Cathedral of the Madonna della Bruna and Sant’Eustachio is the Cathedral of Matera, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the patron saint of the city, and to the Christian martyr Saint Eustace. The church is located on the highest point of the old city, between the two Sassi, the ancient districts of Matera.   SHORT HISTORY The cathedral was built between 1230 and 1270, on the area of an ancient Benedictine monastery from the 11th century dedicated to Saint Eustace. Originally, the church was dedicated to Santa Maria di Matera and, later, to Santa Maria della Bruna, also protector of the city. Starting with 1627, the Cathedral of Matera was dedicated both to the Madonna della Bruna and to Saint Eustace. The interior underwent considerable transformations starting with 1627, when the stuccos and decorations were added. In 1719, the ceiling was covered by a false wooden ceiling, decorated in the 19th century with three beautiful paintings by the Calabrian artist Battista Santoro. In 1776, the stuccos were covered with a gold leaf. Since 2003, the church was affected by important restoration works. In 2006, the church received a series of consolidation and restoration interventions, mainly on the medieval trusses and Read more [...]

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    Isola Bella

    Isola Bella (Isula Bedda, in Sicilian dialect, and Beautiful Island, in English) is a small island located near the beach with the same name, in the Ionian Sea, in Taormina. Sometimes, when the tide is low, Isola Bella connects to the beach through a narrow sandy strip, becoming a peninsula. The beach in front of the island is also beautiful, but is made of pebbles and the sea floor is rocky, making it uncomfortable for some people. The beach is free, but the entrance to the Isola Bella Nature Reserve costs 4 euros. The island can be visited every day, except Monday, starting with 9.00 am.   SHORT HISTORY The island was donated in 1806 by Ferdinand I of Bourbon to Pancrazio Ciprioti, Mayor of Taormina. In 1890, it was purchased by Florence Trevelyan, who built a small house on the island. The island was later inherited by the lawyer Cesare Acrosso, the godson adopted by Salvatore Cacciola, husband of Florence Trevelyan. In 1954, Isola Bella was bought for 38,000₤ by the brothers Leone and Emilio Bosurgi, who built a village with 12 autonomous residences and a tiny swimming pool nearby, in order to host their friends. The Bosurgi family Read more [...]

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    Catania Cathedral of Sant’Agata

    The Cathedral of Sant’Agata is the Cathedral of Catania, dedicated to the martyr Saint Agatha, located in the main square of the city, Piazza del Duomo.   SHORT HISTORY The church had a tumultuous history, being repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt after the earthquakes that occurred in the area. A first church was built around 1086 on the ruins of the Achilliane Baths dating back to Roman times. On 4 February 1169, an earthquake completely destroyed the ceiling of the church, killing many people gathered in the Cathedral. In 1194, under the reign of Henry VI, a fire caused considerable damage. In 1693, the earthquake that struck the area destroyed the Cathedral almost completely, leaving only the apse and the facade. The bell tower was also put to the ground. The reconstruction of the church was made in the 18th century. The current building is the work of the architect Girolamo Palazzotto, who is responsible for the interior, while Giovanni Battista Vaccarini designed the facade, which was built between 1734 and 1761. In 1857, the bell tower was completed, and the current layout of the churchyard was built in the 19th century.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the Cathedral, built in Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Petronio

    With 132 meters in length and 60 meters wide, the Basilica of San Petronio is the sixth largest church in Europe, despite being largely unfinished. Although is not the cathedral of Bologna, a title that belongs to the nearby Cathedral of San Pietro, it can be considered the main church of the city.   SHORT HISTORY In the 14th century, the Bolognese aristocracy revived the cult of San Petronio, bishop of Bologna during the 5th century, and planned to build a church dedicated to him. The church was founded on 7th of June 1390, when the first stone was laid in a solemn procession. The project was given to the architect Antonio di Vicenzo, who made a design with the advice of Father Andrea Manfredi. At the beginning of the 15th century, di Vicenzo died, and the Papal Legate Baldassarre Cossa, an enemy of the Municipality of Bologna, took advantage of the architect’s death to sell the construction material that was used for the building of the church. In 1507, the architect Arduino Arriguzzi was comissioned to continue the church. Arriguzzi was sent to Florence to see and study the dome built by Brunelleschi for the Cathedral of Santa Maria Read more [...]

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    Fountain of Neptune

    The Fountain of Neptune (Fontana del Nettuno) is a wonderful fountain made by Giambologna in the 16th century, located in the square dedicated to the same deity of the sea, in Bologna. The basin of the fountain stands on a base with three steps. At the center of the basin, there is a pedestal flanked by four Nereids, and on this pedestal stands the majestic figure of Neptune.   SHORT HISTORY The Fountain of Neptune is, in fact, a collaborative project of Zanobio Portigiani, Tommaso Laureti and Giambologna, commissioned by the vice-minister Pier Donato Cesi to glorify the papal government of Pope Pius IV. The purpose of the fountain was to embellish the new Piazza del Nettuno, adjacent to Piazza Maggiore. The project was assigned on August 2, 1563, to the Bolognese architect Zanobio Portigiani, to the Palermitan architect Tommaso Laureti, who was delegated to execute the architectural structure of the fountain, and finally to the Flemish mannerist sculptor Giambologna (Jean Boulogne), commissioned to build the bronze statue of Neptune and the sculptural parts. The fountain was completed in 1566. In 1604, a high fence was built around the fountain, which effectively managed to prevent acts of vandalism. The fence Read more [...]

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    Reggio Calabria Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, or Duomo di Reggio, is a magnificent church located in Piazza del Duomo, in Reggio Calabria.   SHORT HISTORY The history of the Cathedral of Reggio Calabria is marked by numerous destructions due to wars, fires and earthquakes, and subsequent reconstructions, up to the present church, built after the earthquake of December 28, 1908. The origins of the Cathedral of Reggio can be traced back to the beginning of the second millennium of our era when, after the Norman invasion of southern Italy, Reggio underwent a process of Latinization and progressive abandonment of the Greek-Byzantine cult. In 1061, the Normans of Robert Guiscard arrived in the city, and Guiscard ordered the construction of a new cathedral. In the 14th century, Alfonso, Duke of Calabria, son of Ferdinand of Aragon, built the chapel dedicated to Santa Maria del Popolo, and the Archbishop Guglielmo Logoteta built the chapel of Saint Stephen. In the 15th century, the Archbishop De Ricci built a bell tower adorned with statues. In the 16th century, the Cathedral was destroyed twice by the Turks, in 1574 and in 1594, both times by fire. In 1599, the church was restored by Monsignor D’Afflitto Read more [...]

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    Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell’Isola

    The Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell’Isola is a beautiful small church standing on the homonymous rock, in Tropea. The church and its rock, once an island, is one of the most iconic images of the Calabrian city.   SHORT HISTORY The rock on which the church stands today was probably inhabited around the 7th century by Greek hermit monks. These, isolating themselves from the world, devoted themselves to a contemplative and ascetic life. Built before the 9th century, the church belonged, at first, to the Basilian monks. In the 11th century, after the arrival of the Normans, it was passed on to the Benedictines, who still own it today. As a parenthesis, Tropea, like all of Calabria, was under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Byzantium and, therefore, under the Greek rite, until the arrival of the Normans, in the 11th century, who imposed the latinization of the population. Robert Guiscard, the Norman duke, made the transition from the Greek to the Latin rite around 1060. Around the year 1066, the Church of Santa Maria dell’Isola and some surrounding territories were donated by the Normans to the Abbot of Montecassino, Desiderio, who later became Pope Victor III. Over the centuries, due to Read more [...]

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    Orvieto Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Orvieto is one of the most beautiful churches in Italy and the world and a masterpiece of Gothic architecture.   SHORT HISTORY The building of the Orvieto Cathedral was started in 1290 by the will of Pope Nicholas IV. The church was designed, probably, by Arnolfo di Cambio, but it is not known for sure. At the beginning, the project was entrusted to Fra Bevignate from Perugia, and later, before the end of the 13th century, to Giovanni di Ugguccione, who introduced the first Gothic forms. At the beginning of the 14th century, the Sienese sculptor and architect Lorenzo Maitani assumed the role of the master builder, changing the design of the church into something similar with the Cathedral of Siena. At the Maitani’s death, in 1330, the works were far from over. The role of master builder was obtained by various architects, who succeeded each other over the years, often for short periods. The Chapel of the Corporal was built between 1350 and 1356, and the Chapel of San Brizio was built between 1408 and 1444. The works of the facade continued over the years, and were completed in the second half Read more [...]

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    Fontana Pretoria

    Fontana Pretoria is a spectacular fountain located in the heart of the historic centre of Palermo, in the square with the same name, Piazza Pretoria. The fountain is decorated with sculptures of the Twelve Olympians and other mythological and allegorical figures.   SHORT HISTORY The fountain was built in 1554, in Florence, by Francesco Camilliani, for the garden of Don Luigi Alvarez de Toledo. In 1573, driven by his debts and about to move to Naples, Don Luigi sold the fountain to the Palermo Senate. The fountain arrived in Palermo on May 26, 1574, disassembled in 644 pieces, with some sculptures being damaged during transport or retained by the previous owner. Therefore, some adaptations were necessary and some pieces were added. The recomposition of the fountain was made by Camillo Camilliani, son of Francesco, with the help of Michelangelo Naccherino, and Fontana Pretoria was finished in 1581. In the 18th and 19th centuries, due to the nudity of statues, the square was popularly known as Piazza della Vergogna (Square of Shame). In November 1998, a restoration work was undertaken, which lasted until November 2003. In December of the same year, the fountain was reopened.   ARCHITECTURE The fountain has a Read more [...]

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    Marina Corricella

    Marina Corricella is the old picturesque port of Procida, a myriad of pastel-colored houses arranged along a natural amphitheatre that overlooks a crystal clear water. Evocative and romantic, Marina di Corricella is a quiet and seductive refuge with unique architecture for those who prefer relaxing holidays, without the noise of motor vehicles or crowds of people. The 17th century port is famous for its interesting architecture, a mixture of stairs, arches, domes, windows, loggias and colorful facades. From over 25 movies filmed on the island, we can mention at least two which are directly related to Marina Corricella: Il Postino (The Postman), starring Philippe Noiret, Massimo Troisi and Maria Grazia Cucinotta, and The Talented Mr. Ripley, with Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow.   TIP: You can get the best view of the Marina Corricella from the southern side of the small bay bounded by the Punta dei Monaci to the north and Punta di Pizzaco to the south, in Via Pizzaco. The belvedere is dedicated to the Italian novelist Elsa Morante, and is by far the most beautiful panoramic point of the island.   HOW TO GET THERE To get to Marina Corricella, you must first get to Read more [...]

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    Castel dell’Ovo

    Castel dell’Ovo is the oldest castle in Naples and is one of the constructions that stand out the most when you approach the city from the sea. Its name derives from an ancient legend about the Latin poet Virgil, who hid an egg in the foundation of the fortress, saying that its breaking would have caused not only the collapse of the castle, but also a series of disastrous catastrophes to the city of Naples. During the 14th century, the castle suffered extensive damage due to the partial collapse of an arch and, to prevent the panic spreading among the population for the alleged future catastrophes that would have hit the city, the queen Giovanna I had to swear she had replaced the broken egg.   SHORT HISTORY In a document dating back to 1128, a fortification is mentioned on the island of Megaride, now a peninsula, the place where the Castel dell’Ovo will be built later. In 1140, Roger the Norman, conquering Naples, settled in this fortress. Castel dell’Ovo is further fortified in 1222 by Frederick II, who makes it the seat of the royal treasure and has other towers built, the castle becoming a palace and a state Read more [...]

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    Piazza del Plebiscito

    Piazza del Plebiscito, formerly known as Largo di Palazzo, is a beautiful large square in Naples, with an area of about 25,000 square meters, bordered at one end by the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) and at the other by the Basilica of San Francesco di Paola.   SHORT HISTORY At the beginning of the 17th century, the Palazzo Reale was built by the architect Domenico Fontana, who turned the palace facade towards an open space, which will be known as Largo di Palazzo. The space became the vital center of the city and, at the same time, a very important public representation area. When the viceroy settled in the Royal Palace, the square did not have an adequate conformation, and the side of Largo facing the sea was embellished with various sculptural elements, including a majestic three-arched fountain designed by Pietro Bernini and Michelangelo Naccherino, and a colossal bust of Jupiter found in Pozzuoli, named Gigante di Palazzo. At the end of the 18th century, Palazzo Salerno was built on a project by Francesco Sicuro for Ferdinand IV of Naples, changing somehow the appearance of the square. Only at the beginning of the 19th century, during the Napoleonic period, the Read more [...]

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    Piazza dell’Anfiteatro

    Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is a wonderful square in Lucca, built on the remains of an ancient Roman amphitheater, which determined its closed elliptical shape.   SHORT HISTORY A large amphitheater was built here in the 1st or the 2nd century BC, under Emperor Claudius, and was finished in the Flavian period. The structure, with fifty-four arches and 18 rows of seats, could accommodate around 10,000 spectators. In the 6th century, during the Gothic Wars, under siege by the Byzantine general Narses, the amphitheatre was fortified by the closure of the outside arches. Following the shape of the ancient amphitheater, the square was born in the Middle Ages, and in this era was called parlascio, a word derived from the Latin paralisium, meaning amphitheater. Progressively, the square was filled with buildings, used as warehouses, shops or prison. In the 19th century, thanks to the architect Lorenzo Nottolini, was decided an urban renewal of the structure. The space of the arena was freed from the small buildings that crowded it and the Via dell’ Anfiteatro was built around it. The new space was used for the city market, until – in the first half of the 20th century – the market was moved Read more [...]

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    Piazza del Campo

    With its unique shell shape, Piazza del Campo, the main square in Siena, stands as one of most beautiful in Italy and the world. Renowed as the place where twice a year the Palio di Siena is held, Piazza del Campo is a perfect example of cultural and architectural integrity, invaluable for humanity.   SHORT HISTORY The first documented information about the square is from 1169, that speaks about the arrangement of the Campo, referring both to the current Piazza del Campo and to the near Piazza del Mercato (the Market Square) as a singular area. From 1193, the area was divided in two, and until 1270, the space was used for fairs and markets. In 1262, the first measures to improve the layout of the square were taken, imposing among other things the obligation to build only mullioned windows and forbidding the construction of terraces. The history of the square is strongly intertwined with that of the Palazzo Pubblico, started in 1297 and finished in 1310. At the same time, private palaces were built in the square, Torre dell Mangia was raised between 1325 and 1344, and the square was paved in fishbone-patterned red brick and divided by eight Read more [...]

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    Siena Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    The Cathedral of Siena, dedicated to the of the Assumption of Saint Mary, is located in the homonymous square in the historical center of the city, being one of the most beautiful churches in Italy, a great exemple of Romanesque-Gothic architecture.   SHORT HISTORY It seems that the current cathedral replaced a first church dedicated to Saint Mary, built around the 9th century, which in turn replaced an ancient temple dedicated to Minerva. The first real information about the building of the cathedral is from 1226, when the first costs and contracts related to the construction were recorded. Probably, the works had begun some time before that, because the consecration tooked place, according to the tradition, on November 18, 1179. Between 1238 and 1285, the church was administered by the monks of San Galgano. From 1284 to 1297, Giovanni Pisano was responsible for the construction of the lower part of the facade, completed between 1299 and 1317 by Camaino di Crescentino, father of the sculptor Tino di Camaino. The bell-tower, at a height of 77 meters, was finished in 1313. The works were completed in 1370.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta is elevated on a Read more [...]

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    Pisa Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    Located in the famous Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), between the Baptistery of San Giovanni and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, or the Duomo di Pisa, is a masterpiece of the Romanesque style, representing the tangible proof of the prestige and wealth achieved by the Maritime Republic of Pisa at its height.   SHORT HISTORY The building of Pisa Cathedral was started in 1064 by the architect Buscheto, at the same time with the reconstruction of the Basilica of Saint Mark, in Venice, as part of the race between the two maritime republics to create the most beautiful and sumptuous place of worship. The cathedral was consecrated with great pomp on September 26th, 1118, by Pope Gelasius II. In the first half of the 12th century, the cathedral was enlarged under the direction of architect Rainaldo. He designed a new facade, built by the sculptors Guglielmo and Biduino. The work ended in 1180, as documented by the date on the bronze knockers made by Bonanno Pisano for the main door. Following the disastrous fire of 1595, the roof of the church was redone and the three bronze doors of the facade were executed Read more [...]

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    Prato della Valle

    With 88,620 square meters, Prato della Valle is the largest square in Europe and one of the most beautiful squares in Italy. The current configuration dates back to the late 18th century and is characterized by a central elliptical island, called Memmia island, surrounded by a canal on whose banks is a double ring of statues, with an outer circumference of 1450 meters.   SHORT HISTORY In the Roman times, the area was known as Campo Marzio, named after Mars, the god of war, because it was used as a place for military meetings. Since the 12th century, various shows and games have been documented in Prato. From 1257, horse races are held here to commemorate the liberation from the tyranny of Ezzelino III da Romano. In 1310 a more extensive intervention in the area was carried out under the guidance of Fra Giovanni Eremitano. Between the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th century, the town’s forgery was built near the Prato. During the 15th century, an imposing palace was built on the northern corner of Prato, as the residence of Cardinal Bessarione, now known as Palazzo Angeli. In 1498, the old Basilica of Santa Giustina Read more [...]

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    Scrovegni Chapel

    The Scrovegni Chapel (Cappella degli Scrovegni), dedicated to St. Mary of the Charity, commissioned by Enrico degli Scrovegni and frescoed between 1303 and 1305 by the painter and architect Giotto di Bondone, is one of the most important masterpieces of Western art. Since 2006, the Scrovegni Chapel has been nominated to become the second UNESCO World Heritage Site in Padua, the first being the 16th century botanical garden.   SHORT HISTORY At the beginning of the 14th century, Enrico Scrovegni, a rich Paduan banker, had bought a land in Padua, in an ancient Roman area, to build a sumptuous palace and a chapel that will be used as a family mausoleum. For painting the chapel, he comissioned the Florentine Giotto, who started the work in 1303 and finished it before March 25th, 1305, when the chapel was consecrated. Giotto painted the entire inner surface of the oratory with a unitary iconography, helped by a team of about forty employees. Palazzo Scrovegni was demolished in 1827 to obtain precious materials and make room for two condominiums, and the chapel was officially acquired by the Municipality of Padua. Immediately after the purchase, the condominiums were demolished and the chapel was restored. In Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giorgio Maggiore

    There are many churches in Venice, and many are beautiful, but few impress like the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore. It may be the place, because not many churches have their own island, or it may be the bell-tower, probably second in height after the one in the Saint Mark’s Square, but we can easily believe that, among all, the inspiration of Andrea Palladio matters probably the most.   SHORT HISTORY In 982, the Doge Tribuno Memmo donated the island of San Giorgio Maggiore to a benedictine monk, who will establish here a monastery. The church, built five years later, from brick and wood, will last until 1223, when it will be severely damaged by an earthquake. The Doge Pietro Ziani will fix it, only to retreat to the island a few years later. In 1109, the relics of St. Stephen will be brought here from Constantinople, and the annual celebration held on 26 December, on the saint’s day, will become one of the most popular Christian holidays in the Venetian calendar. The church we see today was begun by Andrea Palladio in 1565 and completed after his death, in 1610. The one who finished the project was, apparently, Vincenzo Read more [...]

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    Arezzo Cathedral of Saints Donato and Peter

    The Cathedral of Saints Donato and Peter (Cattedrale di Santi Donato e Pietro) is the main catholic church in Arezzo, dominating the city from the height of San Pietro Hill.   SHORT HISTORY An important event, which contributed to the construction of the cathedral, was the visit of Pope Gregorio X, which took place on December 20, 1275, returning from the Council of Lyon. The Pope, seriously ill, died in Arezzo on January 10, leaving the sum of thirty gold florins for the building of the new Cathedral. In 1277, the decree of the bishop Guglielmo degli Ubertini was promulgated, which stated the desire to build a church “to the honor of God, of the Blessed Virgin and of the patron Saint Donato”. In 1289, the year of the Battle of Campaldino, the church, already consecrated, presented a fully built apse and the first two bays. In 1384, the sale of the Municipality of Arezzo to the Signoria of Florence led to an interruption of the construction, which was resumed in 1471 and ended in 1511. In the early 17th century, following the new rules of the Council of Trent, a modernization operation was carried out with the renewal of Read more [...]

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    Florence Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

    Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, known as the Duomo of Florence, is one of the most famous churches in Italy. When it was completed, in the 15th century, it was the largest church in the world, while today it is the third in Europe after St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London.   SHORT HISTORY In 1294, the Commune of Florence orders the construction of a new cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore (St. Mary of the Flower). Two years later, the architect Arnolfo di Cambio is comissioned to design the cathedral, but he dies a few years later. In 1334, Giotto di Bondone was appointed as the architect of the cathedral. In the same year, he starts the building of the bell-tower. Three years later, Giotto dies. Between 1337 and 1343, the works are supervised by Andrea Pisano, but he is banished from Florence and Francesco Talenti takes his place. Talenti alters Arnolfo’s design and completes the bell-tower in 1359. After 1366, Giovanni di Lapo Ghini joins him. In 1420, Filippo Brunelleschi wins the competition for building the cathedral’s dome, opens the construction site and, 16 years later, in 1436, the dome is completed and Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Pitti

    Palazzo Pitti was the residence of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, that was inhabited, over time, by the Medici, by the Habsburg-Lorraine and, after the Unification of Italy, by the Savoy. Palazzo Pitti hosts the Palatine Gallery, the Royal Apartments, the Apartment of the Duchess of Aosta, the Gallery of Modern Art, the Treasury of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, the Costume Gallery, the Porcelain Museum and the Carriage Museum. The museal complex of Palazzo Pitti also includes the Boboli Gardens.   SHORT HISTORY Luca Pitti, a rival of the Medici family, wanted a more luxurious residence than the one built by Michelozzo for Cosimo the Elder. Around 1440, Pitti entrusted the project to Filippo Brunelleschi, but the architect died 12 years before the construction began, and the architect that will build Palazzo Pitti will be Luca Fancelli, a pupil and collaborator of Brunelleschi. The construction was started around 1458 but, due to design problems and financial difficulties, the works were temporarily interrupted in 1465. Luca Pitti died in 1472. Around 1550, Buonaccorso Pitti sold the palace to Eleonora di Toledo, wife of Cosimo I de’ Medici and daughter of the Viceroy of Naples. The palace thus became the main Read more [...]

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    Il Redentore

    When you are looking at the Giudecca Island, from Zattere, your eyes are attracted by the splendid creation of Andrea Palladio, Chiesa del Santissimo Redentore or, commonly known, Il Redentore (The Redeemer). The church impresses at first from the distance, thanks to its massive structure, but only in front of it you will be able to discover the details that complete one of the most valuable architectural creations of the Venetian Renaissance.   SHORT HISTORY After the plague epidemic of 1575-1577, that killed over 50,000 Venetians, the Senate of the Republic decided to build a church to celebrate the end of the scourge and to thank the Divinity. The mission was entrusted to the great Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, who was to begin the construction in 1577 and to leave it, after his death in 1580, to Antonio da Ponte, who would complete it many years later, in 1592. After the church was finished, the Venetian Senate established that every July, a pontoon will be built to link Zattere with the Giudecca island. In time, this tradition will become an important celebration for the Venetians, known as Festa del Redentore.   ARCHITECTURE Considered the most beautiful church built by Palladio, Read more [...]

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    Fontana Maggiore

    Fontana Maggiore is considered the most beautiful and famous fountain of the Middle Ages, the emblem of the medieval Perugia and the simbol of the city for almost 800 years.   SHORT HISTORY Fontana Maggiore was built between 1275 and 1278 by the sculptors Nicola and Giovanni Pisano, father and son. The fountain was damaged by the earthquake of 1348, and its panels were restored in an arbitrary order. In 1948, it was restored with inappropriate materials (cement), and it was necessary a further restoration. In March 2017, Fontana Maggiore has returned to its splendor after a long restoration.   ARCHITECTURE The fountain consists of two polygonal pools in white and pink stone, topped by a bronze cup with a bronze group of three nymphs supporting an amphora, from which the water flows. Originally, on their heads, there were four bronze griffins, for each cardinal point, that are now exposed in the National Gallery of Umbria. The tiles of the lower basin reproduce emblematic scenes of the Old Testament (the seduction of Adam by Eva, of Samson by Dalila), of the foundation of Rome, a calendar cycle of agricultural works interspersed with representations of the zodiacal signs. These are followed Read more [...]

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    Spoleto Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    Spoleto Cathedral (Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta or the Duomo di Spoleto) is a beautiful church in Spoleto dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.   SHORT HISTORY The Spoleto Cathedral was built at the end of the 12th century, replacing the building of Santa Maria del Vescovato, which was dating back to the 8th or 9th century. Earlier, on this place, was an ancient christian temple dedicated to the martyr Primiano di Larino. The crypt of San Primiano, from the 9th century, represents the only remaining element of the building that stood on this place.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE On the façade of the church, embellished by the mosaic of Solsterno, are the arcades of the portico built in 1491 by Ambrogio Barocci. Inside the Cathedral, you can find numerous works of art. At the beginning of the left aisle, you can admire the painting by Alberto Sotio (around 1187). The apse has a remarkable painting with Stories of the Virgin by Filippo Lippi, made between 1467 and 1469. You can also find here a bronze sculpture of Urbano VIII by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and a painting by Annibale Carracci. Interesting is the chapel of Sant’Anna, built Read more [...]