All Monuments

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    Colosseum

    Located in the archaeological center of Rome, the Flavian Amphitheatre, or more commonly known as the Colosseum, is one of the most visited attractions of the Eternal City. The Colosseum is the largest amphitheatre not only in the city of Rome, but in the whole world, symbol of the power of the mighty Roman Empire.   SHORT HISTORY The construction of the Colosseum began in the year 72 AD under the emperor Vespasian, of the Flavian dynasty, hence the name of Flavian Amphitheatre. The amphitheatre was inaugurated by Titus, son of Vespasian, in 80 AD, and completed by his brother, Domitian, in 82 AD. In 217, after a fire, the Colosseum was partially destroyed. The restoration works closed the amphitheatre for five years, and the games moved to the Circus Maximus. In the year 523, the Colosseum hosted the last spectacle and, afterwards, the amphitheatre went through a period of neglect. In the 6th century, it was used as a burial area, and later as a castle. The name Colosseum appeared for the first time in the 8th century, and it probably derived from the colossal statue of Nero which was found near the monument. In 1803, after an earthquake, Read more [...]

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    Pantheon

    With a history of nearly 2000 years, the Pantheon is the best preserved roman building in the world. Once a Roman temple, the Pantheon is now a catholic church, and one of the main attractions in Rome.   SHORT HISTORY Although the inscription on the frontispiece shows that it was built by Marcus Agrippa, the Roman consul, Agrippa’s pantheon was built in fact during the reign of Augustus, between 27 and 25 BC, and it burned in the year 80 AD. The façade was the only part to be saved, that was later used to rebuild the new pantheon. The temple was rebuilt by the Emperor Domitian, but it was burnt again in 110 AD. Today’s building was built between the years 118 and 125 AD, during the reign of Hadrian. In 609, Pope Bonifacio IV converted the Pantheon into a Christian church and consecrated it to St. Mary and the Martyrs. Two kings of Italy are buried in the Pantheon – Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I, as well as the painters Raphael and Annibale Carracci, the composer Arcangelo Corelli, and the architect Baldassare Peruzzi.   ARCHITECTURE At 43 meters wide and 43 meters high, the Pantheon’s dome is Read more [...]

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    Chiosco della Musica

    Chiosco della Musica (Music Kiosk) is a beautiful monument in Rapallo, built in Art Nouveau style and dedicated to the most important Italian and foreign composers in history.   SHORT HISTORY At the beginning of the 20th century, the Italian immigrants of Rapallo in Latin America, desired the kiosk as a gift to the town they came from. The monument, 10 meters in diameter and 9 meters in height, with 12 columns supporting the dome, was designed by the architect Luigi Devoto and inaugurated on November 3, 1929. Inside the dome, work of the painter Giovanni Grifo, are depicted the following composers: Giuseppe Verdi, Gioachino Rossini, Vincenzo Bellini, Arrigo Boito, Ludwig van Beethoven, Daniel Auber, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Hector Berlioz and Christoph Willibald Gluck on the stalls; Johann Sebastian Bach, Gaspare Spontini, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Domenico Cimarosa, Georges Bizet, Amilcare Ponchielli, Charles Gounod, Gaetano Donizetti, Claudio Monteverdi, Georg Friedrich Handel, Franz Joseph Haydn and Giacomo Puccini in the medallions of the arches. Between the winter of 2009 and the spring of 2011, restoration work were carried out on the structure. The roof and the balustrades were renovated and the pictorial decorations were refreshed. On Read more [...]

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    Attila’s Throne

    On the island of Torcello, in the square in front of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, there is an ancient stone chair named Attila’s Throne. One legend has it that, during the Huns invasion of Italy, their King Attila, known as the Scourge of God, arrived on Torcello, where the inhabitants of the nearby Roman city of Altino found refuge, and used the throne. In reality, Attila never set his foot on the island. Another legend says that if you sit on the throne, you will certainly return to Torcello sooner or later, but our suspicion is that it has nothing to do with the stone… If it happens to come back to Torcello at some point, you will do it just because this wild island remained in your heart.   SHORT HISTORY Though it is named Attila’s Throne, the chair has nothing to do with the King of the Huns. The stone chair dates back to the 5th century, when the first settlers arrived on the island. The throne probably served as the seat of the Bishop of Torcello or that of the governor of the island.   HOW TO GET THERE You can get to Torcello by Read more [...]

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    Spire of Sant’Oronzo

    The Spire of Sant’Oronzo is a column dedicated to Saint Orontius of Lecce, placed in the heart of Ostuni, between the main square of the city, Piazza della Libertà, and the small but beautiful square Piazza Sant’Oronzo. Saint Orontius, a Christian martyr, is venerated by the Roman Catholic Church, being considered the first Bishop of Lecce. Each year, a three-day festival is held in Ostuni between August 25 and 27, in his honor.   SHORT HISTORY The Spire of Sant’Oronzo was built in 1771 by the architect Giuseppe Greco. The column is an ex-voto strongly desired by the faithful to thank the Saint, who protected the city from the plague and the famine in the 18th century.   ARCHITECTURE The spire is about 20 meters in height and was built in Baroque style. The testimony of perennial devotion to the protector of the city is quoted in Latin on epigraphic plates, supported by angels and placed on the first order of the column, on each of the four faces. The next order is crowned by a beautiful balustrade, with four statues on its corners: San Biagio, Sant’Antonio da Padova, Sant’Irene and San Gregorio Armeno, all minor patrons of the city. Read more [...]

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    Cubula

    Cubula, also known as Piccola Cuba (Small Cuba) is an Arab-Norman edifice in Palermo, located within the immense hunting resort of King William II of Sicily, Genoardo.   SHORT HISTORY Genoardo (from the Arabic Jannat al-arḍ, meaning Paradise on Earth), was a large royal park crowded with trees of all species, but especially with citrus and magnolia, in which were found numerous kiosks, residences, fountains and ponds. Of these, worth mentioning are the Cuba Sottana, or Palazzo della Cuba, a structure that still exists, and Cuba Soprana, a Norman tower incorporated during the 18th century in the beautiful palace Villa Napoli. Cubula was built in 1184 by Fatimid architects. The kiosk was probably in the middle of a lake that extended to Cuba Soprana. Because of its particular location, surrounded by greenery, Cubula was often used as a resting place by the Norman sovereign and his guests.   ARCHITECTURE Cubula has a square plan with pointed arches on each side, decorated with rusticated bands and surmounted by a hemispherical dome in the typical red color of Arab-Norman style. The small building uses motifs found on other edifices in Palermo, such as the Basilica La Magione and the Church of the Read more [...]

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    Porta Felice

    Porta Felice is one of the monumental gates of Palermo, located near the sea, at the beginning of the Via Vittorio Emanuele, one of the main axes of the city.   SHORT HISTORY The gate takes its name from Donna Felice Orsini, wife of the Spanish Viceroy Marcantonio Colonna, who, in 1582, decided to give a monumental entrance to the Cassaro, the most ancient street in Palermo, the current Via Vittorio Emanuele. After the death of Colonna, the construction of the gate, consisting of two imposing pylons designed by the architect Mariano Smiriglio, resumed under the mandate of the Viceroy Lorenzo Suárez de Figueroa y Córdoba, Duke of Feria. The works were completed in 1637, during the viceroyalty of Luigi Guglielmo I Moncada, Duke of Montalto. During the Second World War, the right pillar was almost entirely destroyed, but a careful restoration brought the monument back to its former glory, though losing some of the original decorative elements.   ARCHITECTURE The internal facade overlooking the city was built in Renaissance style, while the facade overlooking the sea, completed by the architects Pietro Novelli, Mariano Smiriglio and Vincenzo Tedeschi, was realised with coatings and sculptures in grey marble typical of Baroque Read more [...]

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    Arch of Constantine

    The Arch of Constantine is a triumphal arch with three archways, located in Rome, near the Colosseum. The arch was commissioned by the Roman Senate to commemorate the victory of Constantine the Great against Maxentius in the Battle of Ponte Milvo in 312.   SHORT HISTORY It seems that the monument was built at the time of Hadrian, Roman emperor between 117 and 138, and subsequently remodeled in the Constantinian era, with the displacement of the columns, the remaking of the attic, the insertion of the Trajan frieze on the inner walls of the central archway, and the execution of the reliefs and decorations specific to the time of Constantine. The arch was inaugurated in 315, on the occasion of the decennial of Constantine’s reign. In 1530, Lorenzino de’ Medici was expelled from Rome for cutting the heads of the sculptures on the arch, which were partially restored in the 18th century. In 1960, during the Games of the XVII Olympiad, the Arch of Constantine was the spectacular finish line for the marathon event won barefoot by the Ethiopian Abebe Bikila.   ARCHITECTURE The Arch of Constantine is 21 meters high, 25.9 meters wide and 7.4 meters deep. The central Read more [...]

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    Theatre of Marcellus

    The Theatre of Marcellus is an ancient theater in Rome, built at the behest of Julius Caesar in the southern area of Campo Marzio, between the Tiber River and the Campidoglio.   SHORT HISTORY Julius Caesar wanted a theater to rival the one built in Campo Marzio by Pompey. For this purpose, a large area was expropriated, and many buildings were demolished. At the death of Caesar, only the foundations had been laid, and the work was resumed by Augustus, who raised a building larger than originally planned. The first use of the building for performances dates back to the year 17 BC. In 13 BC, the theatre was officially inaugurated, and dedicated to Marcus Claudius Marcellus, the nephew of Augustus. A first restoration of the theatre took place under Vespasian, in the first century AD, and other restorations were made under Severus Alexander, in the third century. In medieval times, the area was gradually occupied by small buildings and the theatre was turned into a fortified castle.   ARCHITECTURE The original height of the building was approximately 32.60 meters, while its diameter was about 111 meters, and it could hold up to 20,000 spectators. The travertine facade has three Read more [...]

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    National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II

    The National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II (Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II), commonly known as Vittoriano or Altare della Patria (Altar of the Fatherland), is a large monument located in Piazza Venezia, on the northern slope of the Campidoglio Hill, in Rome. The monument, which can be seen from almost every point in the city, is dedicated to Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy, the first king of the unified Kingdom of Italy, and to the idea of Risorgimento, the process of national unity and liberation from foreign domination.   SHORT HISTORY After the death of Victor Emmanuel II on 9 January 1878, there have been several initiatives to build a permanent monument to celebrate the king. On September 23, 1880, it was launched an international competition for the project of the monument, in which 311 competitors took part. The competition was won by the French architect Henri-Paul Nénot, but his project was later abandoned. After a second and a third competition, it was chosen in 1884 the project of the young architect Giuseppe Sacconi. After the death of Giuseppe Sacconi, which took place in 1905, the works continued under the direction of Gaetano Koch, Manfredo Manfredi and Pio Piacentini. Read more [...]

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    Trajan’s Column

    The Trajan’s Column is an ancient monument built to celebrate the conquest of Dacia by the emperor Trajan. Nearly 2000 years after its construction, the column is almost intact, and it’s the best preserved element of the Trajan’s Forum, the largest Imperial Forum of Rome.   SHORT HISTORY The column, probably built under the supervision of the architect Apollodorus of Damascus, was inaugurated on May 12, 113 AD, and describes the wars with Dacia held between 101 and 106. In 1162, a document of the medieval Senate established the column as a public property and forbade its damage. During the 16th century, some private buildings in the vicinity of the column were demolished, to create a space around it, and the monument can be admired from afar. In 1588, under Pope Sixtus V, the column was renovated by Domenico Fontana. On that occasion, the bronze statue of St. Peter was placed at the top of the column and a fence was erected.   ARCHITECTURE The column is 29.78 meters in height, or 39.86 meters if you include the pedestal and the statue on top, has a 3.83 meters in diameter, and is made from 20 Carrara marble blocks, each weighing Read more [...]

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    Forum of Trajan

    The Forum of Trajan, also known as Forum Ulpium, is the largest and most monumental of the Imperial Forums of Rome, and the last in chronological order.   SHORT HISTORY Built by the emperor Trajan with the spoils of war from the conquest of Dacia, and inaugurated in 112, the forum was arranged parallel to the Forum of Caesar and perpendicular to that of Augustus. The building of the new monumental complex, commissioned by Trajan himself, required extensive excavation work, involving the elimination of the saddle that connected the Capitoline and Quirinale Hills, and closed the valley of the Fori Imperiali towards Campo Marzio. At the same time, the Mercati di Traiano (Trajan’s Markets) were built, a complex of buildings with mainly administrative functions, linked to the activities that took place in the forum. The project of the new complex is attributed to Apollodorus of Damascus, who accompanied Trajan in his military campaigns in Dacia.   ARCHITECTURE The complex, which measures 300 meters in length and 185 meters in width, includes the Trajan’s Markets, the Basilica Ulpia, a porticoed courtyard with the Trajan’s Column and the Ulpian Library. All the buildings of the Forum were covered with marbles and stuccos, Read more [...]

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    Arco della Pace

    Arco della Pace is a triumphal arch in Milan, a neoclassical monument located between the beginning of Corso Sempione and the northern edge of the Sempione Park. The arch, inaugurated on 10 September 1838 during a ceremony attended by the newly crowned emperor Ferdinand I of Austria, is dedicated to the peace established between the European nations at the Vienna Congress of 1815.   SHORT HISTORY The first arch was built in January 1806, on the design of Luigi Cagnola, to celebrate the arrival in Milan of the newlyweds Eugène de Beauharnais, Viceroy of Italy, and Princess Augusta of Bavaria. The arch was raised on Corso di Porta Orientale, now Corso Venezia, and was built from canvas, plastic and timber. Given the success of the arch among foreign visitors, the council of Milan, the municipality of the time, decreed on 8 February that a new marble arch will be erected in a more appropriate place. The new work, designed also by Cagnola to celebrate the French victory in the Battle of Jena, was built starting with the autumn of 1807. The works were directed by Cagnola himself and supervised by Domenico Moglia, Nicola Pirovano, Francesco Peverelli and Bai Gio Battista, Read more [...]

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    Porta Garibaldi

    Porta Garibaldi (Garibaldi Gate), called also Porta Ferdinandea, in honor of Ferdinand I, King of the Two Sicilies, is a triumphal arch located at the western end of Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, between Piazza Palestro and Piazza Crocifisso, in Catania. Through the gate, it can be seen in the distance, at the other end of Via Garibaldi, the wonderful Cathedral of Sant’Agata.   SHORT HISTORY In ancient times, the gates to a city were very important, from the defense point of view. The gates were, in fact, the last barrier against a possible siege. The walls that surrounded Catania were built starting with 1541, on the initiative of the Viceroy Giovanni Vega. In 1621, there were seven gates, and three more were added later. The first seven gates were built for defensive purposes, while the other three had only an ornamental function. One of the last three gates was Porta Ferdinandea, built in 1768 to celebrate the marriage between Ferdinand I of The Two Sicilies and Maria Carolina of Austria. The gate was designed by the architects Stefano Ittar and Francesco Battaglia. Another name of the gate is Porta del Fortino, which comes from a fort built by the Viceroy Claudio Read more [...]

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    Temple of Diana

    Temple of Diana (Tempio di Diana) is a megalithic structure found about 150 meters above the sea leavel, on the imposing La Rocca, the rocky hill dominating the town of Cefalù.   SHORT HISTORY Some historians have claimed that the Temple of Diana is the oldest structure in Sicily, built in the 5th or 4th century B.C., over an existing cistern associated with the worship of the water. The incorporated dolmenic cistern is considered of proto-historic period by many scholars. In the 12th century, the structure was used as a chapel, remains of an apse and arched windows being visible in the rear and interior of the temple. The first official archaeological excavations were made by Pirro Marconi in the first half of the 20th century. The excavations allowed to acquire more informations about the age of the building and its role, the conclusion being that the structure was a temple dedicated to the sun.   ARCHITECTURE The temple has a main entrance oriented to the west, from which starts a corridor leading to the rocky cistern characterized by a dolmenic coverage. The front door is not at the center of the building, but near the north-west corner, measuring 2.68 Read more [...]

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    Temple of Minerva

    In the central square of Assisi, there is an old roman temple from the first century of our era, Temple of Minerva, that was dedicated to the goddess of wisdom and peace from the pagan age. Today, the temple houses the church called Santa Maria sopra Minerva.   SHORT HISTORY Around the years 28-25 BC, in the time of Emperor Augustus, the Roman Forum in Assisi is structured, various temples rise and the city wall is completed. Abouth then, the Temple of Minerva is built. When the pagan cult ceased, the Temple of Minerva remained abandoned and silent for over a century, until the second half of the 5th century, when the Benedictine monks restored the building and used it. With an act of May 24, 1212, the Benedictines granted for rent, for a hundred years, all the rooms of the Temple to the city of Assisi. In 1539, Pope Paul III, visiting Assisi, ordered that the Temple of Minerva to be restored and dedicated to Saint Mary. The Temple takes the name of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. In 1613, the Bishop of Assisi, Marcello Crescenzi, also having the consent of the city council, donates the Temple to the Friars Read more [...]