All SEE

One of the most beautiful countries in the world, Italy is well known for its rich art and culture, and for its numerous landmarks. With 54 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than any other country in the world, and an estimated 100,000 monuments of any sort (churches, palaces, museums, fountains, sculptures and archaeological remains), Italy is home to about half of the world’s artistic treasures. And if you are looking for inspiration, find below a list of the most famous tourist attractions …

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    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 site 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. To make room for the new church, both 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 Read more [...]

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    Castello Estense

    Castello Estense (Este Castle), also known as Castello di San Michele (Saint Michael’s Castle), is a moated medieval castle in Ferrara, located in the historical center of the city.   SHORT HISTORY In May 1385, the people of Ferrara, hearing of another tax increase, revolted against it. The Marquis Niccolò II d’Este tried to calm them down, but when he realized the people were getting more and more angry, he handed over to them the high official held responsible for the taxes, Tommaso da Tortona, and the crowd tore him to pieces. After this incident, Niccolò II considered it essential to equip himself with a fortified structure for the defense of his court. The work was commissioned to the architect Bartolino da Novara, former architect of Castello Visconteo of Pavia and Castello di San Giorgio of Mantua. The first stone was laid on September 29, 1385, the day of Saint Michael. Bartolino da Novara used a pre-existing tower (Torre dei Leoni), added three more towers – the Marchesana Tower to the southeast, the Tower of San Paolo to the southwest, and the Tower of Santa Caterina to the northwest, and then joined them with thick walls defended by an external Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Vecchio

    Palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace) is an imposing palace in Florence, located in Piazza della Signoria, near the Uffizi Gallery.   SHORT HISTORY At the end of the 13th century, the city decided to build a palace in order to ensure effective protection for its magistrates. The project was attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio, architect of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and of the Basilica of Santa Croce. The palace, called Palazzo dei Priori, was built on the ruins of Palazzo dei Fanti and Palazzo dell’Esecutore di Giustizia, formerly owned by the Ghibelline family of the Uberti. Arnolfo di Cambio began the works in 1299, but the palace was completed after his death, in 1314. On March 26, 1302, the palace became the seat of the Signoria (the city council headed by the Priors). Between 1342 and 1343, the Duke of Athens, Gualtieri VI of Brienne, enlarged the palace towards Via della Ninna. Other important changes took place between 1440 and 1460 under Cosimo de’ Medici, when Sala dei Dugento was decorated in Renaissance style. Salone dei Cinquecento (Hall of the Five Hundred) was built in 1494 during the republic of Girolamo Savonarola. Between 1540 and 1550, Palazzo Vecchio Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Pubblico

    Palazzo Pubblico, also known as Palazzo Comunale, is a medieval palace in Siena, located in the beautiful Piazza del Campo. Currently, the palace houses the Civic Museum of Siena on the first floor, and the city’s Town Hall on the second floor.   SHORT HISTORY After the Council of Nine (Governo dei Nove) came to power in 1287, some ancient buildings in Piazza del Campo were purchased and subsequently demolished, to make room for a new public palace. The construction of Palazzo Pubblico began in 1297, and by 1310 the building was already completed. The tower of the palace, known as Torre del Mangia, was built between 1325 and 1348. By 1350, the second and the third floors of the central body, and the Loggia on the second floor facing Piazza del Mercato were also completed. The marble Cappella di Piazza (Chapel of the Square) was built in 1352 to thank the Virgin Mary for the end of the black plague that struck the city in 1348. The last floor of the palace was added only in 1680 by the architect Carlo Fontana.   ARCHITECTURE The central body of the palace has four floors, while the two side wings have Read more [...]

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    Canal Grande

    Canal Grande (Grand Canal) is the main boulevard of Venice, a navigable watercourse which crosses the historical center of the city from west to east. About 3800 meters long, with a width between 30 and 70 meters and an average depth of 5 meters, Canal Grande divides the historical center of Venice into two parts, tracing on the map an inverted S, which goes from the Liberty Bridge (Ponte della Libertà) to the St. Mark’s Basin (Bacino San Marco).   SHORT HISTORY Already in pre-Roman times, groups of ancient Veneti people built stilt houses on the banks of the Grand Canal, and lived mainly from fishing and salt trade. Under the rule of the Roman Empire, and later of the Byzantine Empire, the lagoon was populated and acquired a certain importance. At the beginning of the 9th century, the doge moved his seat from the island of Lido to the more defensible land along the canal. The trade also moved to the Rialto area, which found a safe harbor accessible even to large boats, and various warehouses (fondachi), buildings designed specifically for trade, were built along the canal.   ARCHITECTURE The Grand Canal is flanked along its entire length by Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Ducale

    Palazzo Ducale (Ducal Palace), also known as the Gonzaga Palace, is a large complex of historical buildings in Mantua, located in the beautiful Piazza Sordello.   SHORT HISTORY Starting with 1308, Palazzo Ducale was the official residence of the lords of Mantua, belonging at first to the Bonacolsi family, until 1328, when it became the residence of the Gonzaga family, who ruled the city until 1707. Distinct buildings were built in different eras, starting with the 13th century, initially by the Bonacolsi family, and subsequently by the Gonzagas. It was Duke Guglielmo Gonzaga who commissioned the architect Giovan Battista Bertani to connect the various buildings into an organic form, to create starting from 1556 a single grandiose monumental and architectural complex, one of the largest in Europe, which stretched between the shore of Lake Inferiore and Piazza Sordello. Bertani died in 1576, and the work was continued by the architect Bernardino Facciotto, who completed the gardens, squares, arcades, galleries, exedras and courtyards, definitively fixing the appearance of the ducal palace. During the Gonzaga domination, the palace gradually expanded, both with the addition of new buildings and by modifying the existing ones. The complex includes Corte Vecchia (Old Court), composed of Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Te

    Palazzo Te is a Renaissance palace located in the suburban area of Mantua. The complex is now the seat of the Civic Museum and since 1990 of the International Center of Art and Culture of Palazzo Te.   SHORT HISTORY When Francesco II Gonzaga died in 1519, his son, Federico II, became Marquis of Mantua, and decided to transform a swampy area south of the city into a place for leisure and festive receptions. The architect Giulio Romano, a pupil of Raphael, was commissioned to design the palace. By alternating the architectural elements with the natural ones that the area offered, sublimely decorating rooms and facades, the architect put all his imagination and skill in the construction of Palazzo Te. The palace was completed in 1534, 10 years after the beginning of the works. In July 1630, during the War of the Mantuan Succession, the palace was sacked over three days by an Imperial army of 36,000 mercenaries. Palazzo Te was looted and remained empty for a long time.   ARCHITECTURE Palazzo Te has a square plan, with a large courtyard in the center, which once hosted a labyrinth. The courtyard has four entrances on all four sides, and the Read more [...]

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    Castelvecchio

    Castelvecchio (Old Castle) is a medieval castle located in the historical center of Verona, currently used as the seat of the homonymous civic museum. The castle is the most important military construction of the Scaliger dynasty, the family that ruled the city in the Middle Ages. Initially, the fortification was called Castello di San Martino in Aquaro, a name derived from a pre-existing church located on this place, dating back to the 8th century. The complex took the name of Castelvecchio after the construction of Castel San Pietro.   SHORT HISTORY The construction of the castle was commissioned by Cangrande II della Scala in 1354. The fortress was placed to the south of the municipal wall, and took the form of a fortified residence, around the large rectangular enclosure of the Court of Arms (Corte d’Armi). The castle was completed in 1376 by Antonio and Bartolomeo II della Scala. At the same time, Ponte di Castelvecchio, the fortified bridge over the Adige, was built. The bridge, for the exclusive use of the castle, served as an escape route to the Adige Valley, preventing the river from becoming an insurmountable barrier. During the domination of the Visconti family, who took the Read more [...]

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    Torre degli Asinelli

    Torre degli Asinelli (Asinelli Tower), the tallest medieval leaning tower in the world, is located in Bologna, in Piazza di Porta Ravegnana, about 350 meters away from Piazza Maggiore. Together with the nearby Garisenda Tower (Torre della Garisenda), forms the architectural complex named Two Towers (Due Torri), symbol of the city of Bologna.   SHORT HISTORY We do not know exactly who built the Asinelli Tower, but it seems that the tower owes its name to Gherardo Asinelli, a noble knight of the Ghibelline faction in Bologna, who began its constuction on October 11, 1109, and finished ten years later, in 1119. At the end of the 14th century, with the decline of the Asinelli family, the tower was purchased by the Municipality of Bologna to be used as a prison and fortress. During the same period, a wooden frame was built around the tower, placed thirty meters above the ground, joined with the Garisenda Tower through a walkway. The walkway was destroyed by a fire in 1398. Over the centuries, the Asinelli Tower was struck by lightning many times, until a lightning rod was installed in 1824. In 1888, the engineer Alessandro Ferretti proposed to mount an elevator inside Read more [...]

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    Piazza Unità d’Italia

    Piazza Unità d’Italia (Unity of Italy Square) is the main square of Trieste. The rectangular piazza, located at the foot of the San Giusto Hill, opens on one side onto the Gulf of Trieste. With an area of 12,280 square meters, it is considered the largest seafront square in Europe.   SHORT HISTORY In ancient times, the square was called Piazza San Pietro, after the name of a church located there. Starting with 1863, the square was called Piazza Grande. During the Austrian period, the name of the square was changed to Piazza Francesco Giuseppe, after the name of the Emperor Franz Joseph. Only in 1918, the square took the name of Piazza Unità, when Trieste was annexed to Italy. In 1955, when the city returned to Italy after the dissolution of the Free Territory of Trieste, it took its current name, Piazza Unità d’Italia. Over the centuries, the square was remodeled several times. Its current appearance comes from the complete renovation made between 2001 and 2005, when all the surrounding buildings were restored. On this occasion, the pavement was replaced with sandstone blocks, the Fountain of the Four Continents (Fontana dei Quattro Continenti) was positioned in front of the Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Marco

    Basilica of San Marco (Saint Mark’s Basilica) is the Cathedral of Venice, located in the beautiful Piazza San Marco, in the sestiere (district) of San Marco.   SHORT HISTORY A first church dedicated to Saint Mark was built in 828 by Doge Giustiniano Partecipazio next to the Doge’s Palace, to house the relics of the Saint stolen, according to tradition, from Alexandria, Egypt, by two Venetian merchants. This church replaced the previous Palatine chapel dedicated to the Byzantine Saint Theodore, built in correspondence with the current Piazzetta dei Leoncini, north of the current Basilica di San Marco. The church, consecrated in 832, was destroyed by fire during the revolt of 976 against Doge Candiano IV, and was rebuilt in 978 by Doge Pietro I Orseolo. The current Basilica dates back to 1063, and was begun by Doge Domenico Contarini and continued by Domenico Selvo and Vitale Falier. The consecration of the Basilica took place in 1094. The golden mosaic decoration of the interior was completed at the end of the 12th century, while the narthex (atrium) which surrounds the entire western arm of the church was built in the first half of the 13th century. Also in the 13th century, Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua

    The Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua is the most important Catholic church in Padua and one of the largest in the world. The church, dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua, is visited every year by over 6.5 million pilgrims, making it one of the most revered shrines in the Christian world. Saint Anthony of Padua was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. He was born and raised in Lisbon, and died in Padua on June 13, 1231. He was one of the most quickly canonized saints in church history.   SHORT HISTORY In the Middle Ages, this place was located in a peripheral area of the city of Padua. Here, there was the small Church of Santa Maria Mater Domini, where Saint Anthony stayed for over a year between 1229 and 1231. When Saint Anthony died on June 13, 1231, his body was transfered to this small church and buried there, following his desire. Soon, many miraculous phenomena were recorded around his grave and pilgrims began to arrive first from the nearby districts and then from beyond the Alps. The canonical process took place in the Cathedral of Spoleto on May 30, 1232, where Pope Read more [...]

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    Cimitero Monumentale di Milano

    Cimitero Monumentale di Milano (Monumental Cemetery of Milan) is a large cemetery in Milan. Famous for the abundance of artistic tombs and monuments, the cemetery is an open-air museum, which definitely deserves to be on the list of the most important tourist attractions of the city.   SHORT HISTORY In 1837, the Austrian administration of the Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom requested the construction of a new cemetery to replace the six pre-existing Milanese cemeteries. The winner of the final competition organized by the Municipality was the project of the architect Carlo Maciachini, designed in 1864 in an Eclectic style, with Byzantine, Gothic and Romanesque references. The inaugural blessing was given by Monsignor Giuseppe Calvi on November 2, 1866, in the presence of the mayor of Milan, Antonio Beretta. On the same day, the first burial took place, that of the body of the composer Gustavo Noseda. The official opening of the cemetery took place on January 1, 1867. Since then, the cemetery was gradually enriched with funerary works of classical and contemporary genre.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE For the high artistic value of sculptures, tombs, funeral shrines and other works inside, the Milan Monumental Cemetery is among the most artistically and historically Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio

    Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio is a beautiful church in Milan, located in Piazza Sant’Ambrogio. One of the oldest churches in the city, it is traditionally considered the second most important church in Milan, after the Duomo.   SHORT HISTORY A first church was built on this place between 379 and 386, at the behest of the bishop of Milan, Ambrogio, in an area where Christians martyrs of the Roman persecutions were buried. For this, it was dedicated to the martyrs and called Basilica Martyrum. Ambrogio wanted to place here all the relics of the holy martyrs Vittore, Nabore, Felice, Vitale, Valeria, Gervasio and Protasio. In 397, he was also buried here, and the church was later renamed in his honor. In the 9th century, the bishop Angilbert II added a large apse to the church, preceded by a room with a barrel vault, under which the liturgical functions took place. In the same period, the apse was decorated with a large mosaic, the Redeemer enthroned between the martyrs Protasio and Gervasio, with the archangels Michael and Gabriel above. The basilica received its current shape between 1088 and 1099, when, at the behest of Bishop Anselmo III da Rho, it was radically Read more [...]

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    Basilica Palladiana

    Basilica Palladiana is a palace in Vicenza, overlooking Piazza dei Signori, inextricably linked to the Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. The architect redesigned the Gothic Palazzo della Ragione by adding the loggias with the famous white marble serliane. A serliana, also known as a Palladian window, is an architectural motif popularized by Andrea Palladio, which consists of a window with three openings, the central one arched and wider than the lateral rectangular ones. Once the seat of the public magistrates of Vicenza, the Palladian Basilica is today equipped with three independent spaces, used to host architecture and art exhibitions. The building was included in 1994 in the UNESCO World Heritage Site City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo della Ragione was built around the middle of the 15th century according to a project by Domenico da Venezia, incorporating two pre-existing public buildings. The Gothic facade of the palace was made of diamond-shaped red and yellow Verona marble, still visible behind the loggias. The building was the seat of the public magistrates of Vicenza and, on the ground floor, it housed a shop gallery. Adjacent to the building is the Bissara Tower, 82 meters in Read more [...]

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    Arena di Verona

    Arena di Verona is a Roman amphitheater located in the historical center of Verona, in Piazza Bra. The Arena is one of the best preserved amphitheaters in the world, thanks to the systematic restorations carried out since the 16th century.   SHORT HISTORY The Arena was built around the year 30 AD, in an area outside the city walls. In 265, the Roman Emperor Gallienus decided to built a new stretch of wall, 550 meters long, to finally include the Arena. The amphitheater was slowly abandoned in the following centuries, due to the affirmation of Christianity and the consequent end of the gladiatorial games. During the reign of Theodoric the Great, at the beginning of the 5th century, some shows were held in the Arena, and therefore many chronicles of the time attributed the construction of the amphitheater to him. However, the most serious damage to the amphitheater was done by the same King Theodoric, who demolished a large part of the outer ring of the Arena, and used the material to build another section of the city walls. Other damages to the amphitheater were caused by natural disasters, of which we can mention the flood of the Adige river Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore

    Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore is a magnificent church in Verona, dedicated to Saint Zeno, an early Christian Bishop of the city. One of the Romanesque masterpieces in Italy, the church develops on three levels, and the current structure dates back to the 11th century.   SHORT HISTORY It is believed that Saint Zeno of Verona died between the years 372 and 380, and tradition has it that he was buried near the place where the basilica rises today. A first church was built in his honor above his tomb, and by 589, the structure was already restored and enlarged. At the beginning of the 9th century, Pepin of Italy, King of the Lombards, decided to build a larger and more beautiful church, and that the body of the old one to be transformed into a crypt. The consecration of the new building took place on December 8, 806, while on May 21 of the following year, the body of Saint Zeno was moved to the crypt. It seems that the church suffered considerable damage during the Hungarian invasions that took place between 899 and 933, and the city decided to rebuilt it. The reconstruction was commissioned by Bishop Raterio, Read more [...]

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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 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 of 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 the Read more [...]

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    Capitolium

    The Capitolium, or the Capitoline Temple (Tempio Capitolino), is a Roman temple located in Brescia, in Piazza del Foro, along Via dei Musei. The Capitolium represents the nucleus of the ancient Roman city of Brixia, and together with the theater and the ruins of the forum, is the most important Roman archaeological complex in northern Italy.   SHORT HISTORY The Capitolium was built in 73 AD on the site of a former temple dating back to the period of the Roman Republic. The structure was erected by Emperor Vespasian after his battle with the General Vitellio, held on a plain between Goito and Cremona. The origin of the temple is confirmed by the writing on the pediment. The temple was destroyed by fire during the barbarian invasions that afflicted Italy in the 4th century AD and never rebuilt. Later, during the Middle Ages, it was buried by a landslide of the Cidneo Hill. The Capitoline Temple was unearthed only in 1823, thanks to the support of the Municipality of Brescia and the University, which demolished public housing and a small park to bring the complex to light. The complex was partially reconstructed between 1935 and 1938. The Corinthian columns were Read more [...]

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    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 Palazzo della Ragione and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.   SHORT HISTORY In the 8th century, a church in Romanesque style was built here, 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 the saint were 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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    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 Piazza del Municipio (Town Hall Square).   SHORT HISTORY The construction of the church began in 1694, one year after the terrible earthquake of Val di Noto, which completely destroyed the ancient Noto, located about 8 kilometers north of the current city. The church was completed in 1703, and 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 the right-hand pylons that supported the dome 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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    Marina Grande Beach

    Marina Grande Beach, known in Italian as Spiaggia Grande (Large Beach), is the main beach of Positano, located in the southern part of the town. The beach measures about 300 meters in lenght and about 50 meters in width, and is one of the liveliest and most cosmopolitan beaches on the Amalfi Coast. Marina Grande has two bathing establishments, which rent sun beds and umbrellas and provide changing rooms and showers, and a free area (spiaggia libera) in the middle. From here, you can rent a boat to Capri or to visit the nearby coves. At the northern edge of the beach, there are restaurants, bars and cafés, and at the eastern limit you can find the famous night club Music On the Rocks.   HOW TO GET THERE The beach is about 700 meters away from the Sita Sud bus stop located at the crossroads of Via Cristoforo Colombo and Via Guglielmo Marconi (Sponda). Although the beach is not hard to find, if you need directions, use the map below.

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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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    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 with 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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    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, the 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 erected. 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 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 a religious building in Pisa, located in the beautiful Piazza dei Miracoli. 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 Leaning Tower. 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 many 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 nearby. 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 August 9, 1173. Some recent studies attribute the project to the Pisan architect Diotisalvi, who at the time was also 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 was built. The softness of the soil, made up of soft clay, is the cause of the tower’s tilt and, although to a lesser extent, of all the buildings in the square. The works were resumed in 1275 under the guidance of Giovanni di Simone and Giovanni Pisano, who added another three floors to the previous structure. In an attempt to straighten the tower, the 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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    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 site 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 corner towers, two of which were particularly imposing. The structure became the permanent residence of the Visconti family, but was destroyed in 1447 by the newborn Repubblica Ambrosiana, founded by the Milanese nobility. After the fall of the Ambrosian Republic, the new Duke of Milan, Francesco Sforza, began in 1450 the reconstruction of the castle, 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 was later known as Torre del Filarete. Filarete was succeeded by the Read more [...]

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    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.   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 owned Sanderson, a historic citrus processing company. In 1982, the bankruptcy of the Read more [...]

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    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 occurred in the area. A first church was built around 1086 on the ruins of the Achilliane Baths dating back to Roman times. On February 4, 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 to the structure. In 1693, the terrible earthquake of Val di Noto 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 during 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 Read more [...]

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    Marina di Portofino

    Marina di Portofino is one of the most beautiful harbours in the world, located in one of the most famous Italian destinations, Portofino. Marina di Portofino stands in the middle of a natural promontory and extends to the main square of the town, Piazza Martiri dell’Olivetta. Marina di Portofino offers 14 mooring places for boats and superyachts, all with water and electricity, as well as 2 places for megayachts in the Cannone Bay (Baia Cannone). There are many restaurants and terraces around the harbour, where you can relax and admire the beautiful port, but in order to enjoy the view of the entire Marina di Portofino, you must climb the stairs to the Church of San Giorgio or to the Brown Castle, two structures that dominate the surroundings. From there, the view is breathtaking.   HOW TO GET THERE Portofino is very small. To reach the harbour on foot from any point in the town, it’s a matter of minutes. Of course, if you need precise directions, you can use the map below.

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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. On June 7, 1390, the first stone was laid in a solemn procession. The project was given to the architect Antonio di Vicenzo, who consulted on the design of the church with the 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 material gathered for the construction of the church. In 1507, the architect Arduino Arriguzzi was comissioned to continue the work. Arriguzzi was sent to Florence to see and study the dome built by Brunelleschi for the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. On April 30, 1514, the 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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    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, started under Emperor Claudius, and completed 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. During this era, the square 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 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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    Cathedral of San Martino

    The Cathedral of San Martino is the Cathedral of Lucca, located in the homonymous square, in the historical center of the city. According to tradition, the Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, 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 San Giovanni and Santa 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 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 Read more [...]

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    Piazza del Campo

    With its unique shell shape, Piazza del Campo, the main square of Siena, stands as one of most beautiful in Italy and the world. Renowed as the place where Palio di Siena is held twice a year, Piazza del Campo is a perfect example of cultural and architectural integrity, invaluable for humanity.   SHORT HISTORY The first documented information about the square dates back to 1169, describing the arrangement of Il Campo, referring both to the current Piazza del Campo and to the near Piazza del Mercato (Market Square) as a singular area. Starting with 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 buildings with mullioned windows and forbidding the construction of terraces. The history of the square is strongly intertwined with that of Palazzo Pubblico, began in 1297 and completed 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 with fishbone-patterned red brick and divided by eight lines Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    The Cathedral of Siena, dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, is located in the historical center of the city, in Piazza del Duomo. A great exemple of Romanesque-Gothic architecture, the Cathedral of Siena is one of the most beautiful churches in Italy.   SHORT HISTORY It seems that the current Cathedral of Siena 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 documented information about the building of the Cathedral dates back to 1226, when the first costs and contracts related to the construction were recorded. Probably, the works began 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 Read more [...]

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    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 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 construction of the 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 was completed 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 on the facade were 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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    Piazza Grande

    Piazza Grande is the main square of Arezzo, located in the center of the medieval city. With an inclined trapezoidal shape, the square is one of the most beautiful in Tuscany and in the whole of Italy. In Piazza Grande, twice a year, in June and September, takes place the Joust of the Saracen (Giostra del Saracino), a traditional festival with a medieval fragrance.   SHORT HISTORY In the early Middle Ages, the area of the current square was used for the livestock market, and was called Platea Porcorum. In the 13th century, the space definitively became a square, and during the 14th century, with the construction of the buildings around it, Piazza Grande took on its current appearance on three of its sides. In 1560, Cosimo I de’ Medici, as a demonstration of the strength of the new Florentine lordship, demolished Palazzo del Popolo, Palazzo del Comune and other buildings to the north of the square. At the behest of the same Cosimo I de’ Medici, the new layout of Piazza Grande was designed by Giorgio Vasari. He closed the square to the north with Palazzo delle Logge, built between 1573 and 1595. As a new political and economical Read more [...]