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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    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. 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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    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.   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 was removed by the city administration only in 1888. Throughout its history, the Neptune fountain has undergone numerous restorations. A first restoration took place in 1708 by the hand of the custodian Carlo Fagottini, who patched 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 [...]

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    Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi

    The Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi is the mother church of Roman Catholic Franciscan Order, an important place of pilgrimage, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. Here, Saint Francis, one of the most venerated religious figures of the Catholic Church, is buried.   SHORT HISTORY The Basilica of Saint Francis is composed, actually, from two churches. The Lower Church was built between 1228 and 1230, only 4 years after the saint’s death, and the Upper Church was built between 1230 and 1253. The Sacro Convento friary, with its imposing walls supported by 53 arches and powerful buttresses, was built between the 12th and the 15th century with stone from the near Mount Subasio. An important part of the friary was built under the reign of Pope Sixtus IV, a Franciscan, near the end of the 15th century. A crypt was dug in 1818, for the tomb of Saint Francis. Now, the remains of the saint are kept in a stone urn in the Lower Church.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE You can enter the Lower Church through a wonderful portico with two arches and three rose windows. Inside, you can find invaluable paintings by Giotto (the Chapel of Mary Read more [...]

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    Uffizi Gallery

    The Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi) is the most visited Italian museum and the 11th art museum in the world, by the number of visits, with over 3 million visitors in 2016. Situated near the Piazza della Signoria, in the Historic Centre of Florence, the museum hosts a collection of priceless works, most of them from the period of the Italian Renaissance.   SHORT HISTORY The building of the Uffizi Gallery started in 1560, under the request of Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo I de’ Medici. The original architect was Giorgio Vasari, one of the leading architects during the 15th century. The initial role of the building was to shelter the offices (uffizi), hence the name, but for the next two hundred years, the building was destined to house the art collections of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. In 1737, the last of the Medici family, Anna Maria Luisa, decided to leave the collections belonging to her family to the city of Florence, and in 1769, the place was opened to the public, the first in Europe to be called a “museum”.   ART The art inside the Uffizi includes ancient and modern paintings and sculptures, precious furnishings, clothes, jewellery, Read more [...]

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    Basilica di Santa Croce

    Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) is a beautiful Franciscan church situated in Piazza di Santa Croce, in Florence. Here, Michelangelo Buonarroti, one of the greatest sculptors of all time, is buried.   SHORT HISTORY It is said that, in the year 1211, Saint Francis arrived in Florence. In a little island created by the Arno River, there was a chapel dedicated to the Holy Cross which would be donated to Saint Francis and from which the present church would take the name. The construction of the church started in 1294, after a project elaborated probably by Arnolfo di Cambio, one of the most important architects of that time. Over time, many great artists worked here, such as Giotto, Taddeo and Agnolo Gaddi, Maso di Banco, Giovanni da Milano, Brunelleschi and Michelozzo. Due to floods and epidemics, the basilica was finished at the end of the 14th century and was consecrated in 1442 by Pope Eugenio IV. With many difficulties, the last works were done until 1504, but then the funding came to an end and the church remained without a façade. The current façade was built in neo-gothic style between 1853 and 1863 by the architect Read more [...]

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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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    Basilica of St. John Lateran

    The Basilica of the Most Holy Savior and of the Saints John the Baptist and Evangelist in the Lateran, commonly called Basilica of St. John Lateran, is the mother church of all the Catholic churches in Rome and the entire world. It is the highest ranking of the four papal major basilicas, receiving the title of archbasilica.   SHORT HISTORY Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano was consecrated in 324 by Pope Sylvester I, and dedicated to the Most Holy Savior. In the ninth century, Pope Sergio III dedicated it to St. John the Baptist, while in the twelfth century, Pope Lucio II dedicated it to St. John the Evangelist. At the end of the 13th century, great works were undertaken under Bonifacio VIII, with the frescoes by Giotto and by Cimabue, today lost. In the 14th century, with the shift of papal power from Rome to Avignon, the church will be abandoned, and after the return of the papacy to Rome, due to the poor condition of the Basilica, the popes will prefer the Vatican. In the 18th century, the facade of the Basilica was finally completed with the new prospect of Alessandro Galilei. On the occasion of the 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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    Trevi Fountain

    The Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) is one of the most sought-after tourist attractions in Rome and one of the most famous fountains in the world. The monument has been featured in many films including Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, Roman Holiday and Three Coins in the Fountain. Over time, a tradition related to the fountain has developed – almost every tourist throws a coin in the fountain, using the right hand over the left shoulder, hoping, according to the legend, to return to Rome. An estimated 3,000 Euros are thrown into the fountain each day, meaning that the fountain swallows over 1 million Euros each year.   SHORT HISTORY In the year 1730, Pope Clement XII organized a contest for the construction of Fontana di Trevi. Alessandro Galilei, a Florentine, won, and Nicola Salvi came second. The city was not satisfied with the winner being from Florence, and the commission was awarded to Salvi. The work began in 1732 and the monument was completed long after Salvi’s death in 1751. Pietro Bracci’s sculpture, Oceanus, was set in the central niche and Giuseppe Pannini completed it in 1762. The fountain was inaugurated on May 22 by Pope Clement XIII.   Read more [...]

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    Santa Maria della Salute

    On the southern bank of the Grand Canal, near to its end leading to St. Mark’s Basin, one of the most beautiful churches of Venice, Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, was built in the 17th century. A symbolic picture of the floating city, that appears in many of the documentaries about Venetian architecture, but also in many paintings left by famous artists such as Michele Marieschi, Francesco Guardi, John Singer Sargent, Walter Sickert and, of course, Canaletto.   SHORT HISTORY After the plague of 1630, which is said to have killed nearly a third of the population of Venice, the Venetian senate decided to build a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. After a competition between several architects of that time, the project was entrusted to the young Baldassare Longhena. The construction began in 1631, but the soil was not solid enough to support this massive structure, and the church was to be completed very late, not until 1687, five years after Longhena’s death. Every year, on November 21, Festa della Madonna della Salute is celebrated. The Venetians build a bridge over the Grand Canal, from San Marco to Dorsoduro, where locals go to worship the Virgin Mary, and Read more [...]

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    Bridge of Sighs

    Looking at the Bridge of Sighs from Ponte della Paglia, we can still imagine Casanova going over the Rio di Palazzo, from the prison to the Doge’s Palace, sighing for freedom. The Venetian adventurer, who was arrested in 1755, would escape a few months later from prison, but for many others, this route over the Bridge of Sighs probably offered the last glance to the outside world.   SHORT HISTORY The Bridge of Sighs (“Ponte dei Sospiri”, in Italian) was built at the beginning of the 17th century by Antonio Contino, on the order of the Doge Marino Grimani. Antonio Contino, the successor of another famous architect, Antonio da Ponte (the creator of the Rialto Bridge), has built between 1600 and 1603 this baroque construction from white limestone to link the New Prison and the Doge’s Palace, where the prisoners were taken to be judged. The bridge became famous in the 19th century because of Lord Byron, who painted it romantically in a poem called Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. Over time, the Bridge of Sighs will become a well-known Venetian symbol with bitter-sweet connotations, mixing the suffering and the desire for freedom of those who crossed it, with the hope of Read more [...]

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    Doge’s Palace

    To get to know the supreme expression of Venetian culture, whether you are attracted to architecture, painting, sculpture or all together, a visit to the Doge’s Palace is imperative. Although we are often tempted to recommend the discovery of Venice on narrow streets and hidden canals, early in the morning or late in the evening, we can equally say that visiting Venice without seeing the Doge’s Palace, in the middle of the day, inside and outside, can be considered a missed visit.   SHORT HISTORY Initially built of wood in the 9th century, the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) was rebuilt several times afterwards, acquiring the form we see today between 1340 and 1424, with the construction of the Great Council Chamber under the supervision of the architect Filippo Calendario. After that period, new constructions have been added to the palace, under the care of Giovanni and Bartolomeo Bon (father and son), of which we can remember the Porta della Carta, the main entrance that directs visitors to the inner courtyard. After a major fire that occurred in 1483, the inner courtyard will be rebuilt in a Renaissance style by architect Antonio Rizzo. The exterior of the white and pink marble Read more [...]

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    St. Mark’s Square

    St. Mark’s Square is so famous that it does not need yet another presentation. A collection of religious, cultural, historical symbols, and a symbol in itself, this square is the dream of millions of tourists who are preparing for the road. Whoever you ask about Venice, or even better about the most important place in Venice, well, that person would give you one answer: Piazza San Marco.   SHORT HISTORY By the 9th century, St. Mark’s Square was just a small free area in front of the St. Mark’s Basilica. It was to be enlarged to the present form only in 1177, when the two canals that interrupted it were filled. This change was made with the occasion of the visit of Pope Alexander III and Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa, who met in Venice to sign a truce. In 1797, Venice was under French occupation, and the Procuratie Nuove building in San Marco Square became the residence of the Emperor Napoleon and his stepfather, Eugene de Beauharnais. Napoleon built a new wing, called Ala Napoleonica, facing towards Basilica di San Marco. The square was paved for the first time in the second part of the 12th century, and the Read more [...]

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    Rialto Bridge

    Where the Grand Canal is narrowing to slip carefully between San Polo and San Marco, the Venetians thought of building a bridge. And because they’ve been thinking about it for a while, at one point, they’ve done it – the Rialto Bridge. Ponte di Rialto is one of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal in Venice, the oldest one, at the same time, and if you will allow us, the most beautiful one.   SHORT HISTORY The first bridge built in 1180 was a wooden bridge and was supported by boats. It was replaced twice in 1264 and 1310 by wood structures, and it collapsed twice, in 1444, during a festivity, under the weight of the crowd, and in 1521. All these were, practically, training for the stone bridge that was to be born between 1588 and 1591, under the supervision of an architect with an interesting name, Antonio da Ponte (ponte means bridge in italian).   ARCHITECTURE The Rialto Bridge is a multi-arched stone bridge in which a number of jewelry and souvenir shops are now crammed. Two ramps climb to meet romantically under the portico at the top, where tourists have the talent to gather in a Read more [...]

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    Ponte Vecchio

    Across the river Arno, at its narrowest point, there is a bridge called Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge). The bridge was built in 1345, and is the only Florentine bridge that survived World War II.   SHORT HISTORY The first bridge on this place was a wooden bridge built in the year 966, that was destroyed by a flood in 1117. Reconstructed from stone, it was swept away again in 1333. Today’s bridge was built in 1335, and was attributed to Taddeo Gaddi by the architect and historian Giorgio Vasari, but its origin is still disputed. Unlike all other bridges in Florence, Ponte Vecchio was not destroyed by the Germans in the World War II, apparently, because of an order from Hitler himself.   ARCHITECTURE Ponte Vecchio is composed of three segmental arches: the main arch has a span of 30 meters and a 4.4 meters height, and the two side arches each span 27 meters and have a height of 3.5 meters. Since the 13th century, shops have been built on the bridge. At first, there were all sorts of shops, from butchers to fishmongers, but in 1593, Ferdinando I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, decreed that only goldsmiths Read more [...]

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    Palazzo del Podesta

    Palazzo del Podesta, also known as Palazzo del Broletto, is a medieval palace located in the historical center of Mantua, between Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza Broletto.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo del Podesta was commissioned in 1227 by Laudarengo Martinengo from Brescia, appointed podesta of Mantua, and built starting with the same year. In 1241, a fire destroyed the palace, which was then restored, enlarged and equipped with battlements. During the same time, Torre del Broletto was also rebuilt and Palazzo del Podesta became a symbol of the new municipal values. In 1413, the palace was set on fire again. The arsonist was, probably, Gianfrancesco Gonzaga, who, after the rise to power of the Gonzaga family, wanted to eliminate the symbolic building of the previous administration. In the 15th century, after many decades of neglect, Palazzo del Podesta was recovered and, between 1462 and 1464, it was renovated in Renaissance style after a design by Luca Fancelli, commissioned by the Marquis Ludovico II Gonzaga. The works were supervised by the architect Giovanni Antonio D’Arezzo. Many of the changes made by Luca Fancelli in the 15th century were eliminated in 1941, during the restoration campaign carried out by the architect Aldo Read more [...]

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    Piazza Castello

    Piazza Castello, formerly known as Prato di Castello, is one of the most significant squares in the historical center of Mantua. The square is located inside the Ducal Palace, adjacent to the imposing Castello di San Giorgio, and is accessed from Piazza Sordello through a monumental entrance resembling a triumphal arch, frescoed on the inside, work of the architect Antonio Maria Viani.   SHORT HISTORY Piazza Castello was built in the 16th century by the architect Giovanni Battista Bertani, a pupil of Giulio Romano. Bertani was promoted after Romano’s death to the post of prefect of the ducal studio (chief architect) of the Gonzagas, a position he held between 1549 and 1576.   ARCHITECTURE The square is the largest open space inside the Palazzo Ducale complex, and is surrounded on three sides by elegant late 16th-century arcades, probably designed by Bertani, decorated with frescoed festoons of flowers and fruit. Besides the monumental entrance, Antonio Maria Viani is responsible also for the exedra in front of it, once the entrance to the St. Giorgio’s Castle. On the western side of the square, the only one without arcades, are the rooms of the ancient chancellery. To the south of the square, there Read more [...]

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    Piazza delle Erbe

    Piazza delle Erbe is one of the main squares in Mantua. Together with the nearby Piazza Sordello, Piazza delle Erbe was the center of the civil power of Mantua for about 800 hundred years.   SHORT HISTORY Piazza delle Erbe began to take shape towards the end of the 12th century, when a vast unpaved land on the eastern side of the Basilica of Sant’Andrea was used as a venue for the cattle market. The space in front of Via di Sant’Andrea, now Via Broletto, where shops were already built, was divided in two by the Palazzo del Podesta, also known as Palazzo del Broletto, built in 1227. On the eastern side of the square, between Palazzo del Podesta and the Rotonda di San Lorenzo, Palazzo della Ragione was built in the middle of the 12th century. During the domination of the Bonacolsi and later of the Gonzagas, the administrative and political power center moved gradually from Piazza delle Erbe to the new Piazza San Pietro, now Piazza Sordello. In 1455, in the western corner of the square, the House of the Merchant Giovan Boniforte da Concorezzo was built, decorated in late Gothic style with Venetian terracotta. In the second Read more [...]

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    Piazza Sordello

    Piazza Sordello is a beautiful square in Mantua, dedicated to the Mantuan troubadour of the 13th century, Sordello da Goito.   SHORT HISTORY The square was built in 1330, after the demolition of some old buildings located between two parallel streets that followed the urban design of the ancient Roman city. One street, Strada Magna, connected the Vault of San Pietro (Voltone di San Pietro) with the Cathedral, while the other street, Strata Sanctae Mariae Matris Domini, connected the church that gave its name to the Church of Santa Croce, later incorporated into the Ducal Palace. For centuries, Piazza di San Pietro, as it was known then, remained the center of Mantua’s political, social and religious life. In December 2006, the remains of mosaic-decorated floors of an imperial Roman villa were found in the southeast corner of Piazza Sordello. Currently, the archaeological site, awaiting new excavations, is contained in a structure so that it can be viewed by the public.   ARCHITECTURE Most of the buildings located in the square date back to the Middle Ages. To the north of the square, there is the Cathedral of San Pietro (Cattedrale di San Pietro), built between 1395 and 1401, and renovated Read more [...]

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    Rotonda di San Lorenzo

    Rotonda di San Lorenzo is the oldest church in Mantua, located in Piazza delle Erbe, near Palazzo della Ragione.   SHORT HISTORY According to tradition, Rotonda di San Lorenzo was built at the behest of Matilda di Canossa, as an evocation of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, connected to the relic of the Blood of Christ found centuries earlier in Mantua and now preserved in the nearby crypt of the Basilica of Sant’Andrea. On the other hand, the positioning of the structure 1.5 meters below the level of Piazza delle Erbe and the existence of Roman vestiges dated to the 4th century, may suggest that the church was built earlier. The year 1083, which appears on the plaster of the building, may indicate the construction date of the church or a later date when it was renovated. Over the centuries, the church underwent radical transformations. At one point, the project for the renovation of the structure was entrusted to the architect Leon Battista Alberti. Later, it was Giulio Romano who worked on the building. The church was closed for worship in 1579, at the behest of Duke Guglielmo Gonzaga. Deconsecrated, the structure decayed quickly. It first became Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Bianchi

    Palazzo Bianchi, also known as Palazzo Vescovile (Episcopal Palace), is a palace located in Mantua, in Piazza Sordello, in front of the Ducal Palace, between the Cathedral of San Pietro and Ca’ degli Uberti.   SHORT HISTORY A first building on this site belonged to the Agnelli family, who ceded it to Rinaldo Bonacolsi at the beginning of the 14th century. With the sack of Mantua of 1630, which took place during the War of the Mantuan Succession, the building suffered extensive damage, and some parts of it were demolished. When the noble Negri family, which owned the palace since 1582, became extinct, the property was inherited by the Porta family. The current appearance of the palace dates back to the middle of the 18th century, when it was built by Count Guido Porta, replacing two pre-existing buildings. The count sold it in 1756 to the Marquis Giuseppe Bianchi. The construction works ended in 1765, when a spectacular staircase was added. Around the same time, Giuseppe Bazzani frescoed the vaulted ceilings on the first floor. In 1814, an internal courtyard and an attic were added, and the facade of the palace was adorned with a coat of arms and statues Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Bonacolsi

    Palazzo Bonacolsi, also known as Palazzo Castiglioni, is a Gothic palace in Mantua, located in the beautiful Piazza Sordello, opposite the Ducal Palace. Today, a tavern and a guesthouse are set in the palace, Taverna Bonacolsi and, respectively, Palazzo Castiglioni Luxury Suites.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Bonacolsi was built at the end of the 13th century by Pinamonte Bonacolsi on land purchased from Rolandino de Pacis. Pinamonte acquired and incorporated into the palace other nearby buildings, including the Tower of the Cage (Torre della Gabbia), symbol of the power of the Bonacolsi. The Bonacolsi family ruled Mantua from the beginning of the 13th century and until August 16, 1328, when Rinaldo, the last of the Bonacolsi, was overthrown during a revolt supported by Luigi I Gonzaga, who seized the power. Starting with 1328, the palace became the property of the Gonzaga family. First, Luigi I Gonzaga owned the palace, then the building passed to his son, the Marquis Gianfrancesco I Gonzaga, who passed it further to his son, Alessandro Gonzaga. Alessandro died young, and his brother, Ludovico, became the new owner of the palace. Between 1479 and 1487, the palace was the residence of the Countess of Rodigo Antonia del Read more [...]

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    Palazzo D’Arco

    Palazzo D’Arco is a Neoclassical palace in Mantua, located in Piazza Carlo D’Arco. Today, the palace houses the Museum of Palazzo d’Arco, which displays the art collected over time by the D’Arco family.   SHORT HISTORY The D’Arco family settled permanently in Mantua in 1740, and by the marriage of Francesco Alberto d’Arco with one of the Chieppo family’s heirs, they acquired the residence of the latter. In 1784, Count Giovanni Battista Gherardo d’Arco commissioned the architect Antonio Colonna to rebuild the facade of the residence in Neoclassical style. The result was a remarkable example of an aristocratic palace rich in furnishings and paintings, with a library, a naturalistic collection and a beautiful garden enclosed by an exedra. In 1872, Francesco Antonio d’Arco bought from the Dalla Valle family two Renaissance buildings in the immediate vicinity of the palace, and incorporated them into the complex. The stables were built on the left side of the palace, a construction which later was transformed into the Teatrino d’Arco, seat of the Francesco Campogalliani Theater Academy since 1946. The last exponent of the family, who died in 1973, Giovanna dei Conti d’Arco Chieppio Ardizzoni, Marquise Guidi di Bagno, established the Arco Foundation, and Read more [...]

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    Church of San Sebastiano

    The Church of San Sebastiano, also known as the Temple of San Sebastiano, is an Early Renaissance church in Mantua, located in the immediate vicinity of Palazzo Te.   SHORT HISTORY Ludovico III Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua, commissioned the construction of the Church of San Sebastiano to the architect Leon Battista Alberti. Alberti, ten years later, designed also the magnificent Basilica of Sant’Andrea for the same member of the Gonzaga family. The construction of the church was begun around 1460 by Alberti, but was completed after the death of the architect by Luca Fancelli, at the beginning of the 16th century. Fancelli also completed Alberti’s other project, the Basilica of Sant’Andrea. The church was consecrated in 1529, underwent a first restoration at the beginning of the 17th century, and another arbitrary intervention in 1926.   ARCHITECTURE Alberti designed an austere and solemn building. The church has a Greek cross plan, with three identical short apses, under a central cross-vaulted space without any interior partitions. The church is divided on two levels. The lower one is the crypt, which was intended to serve as a mausoleum for the Gonzaga family. The upper level is now accessed from two outer staircases added Read more [...]

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    Palazzo del Capitanio

    Palazzo del Capitanio, also known as Palazzo del Tribunale or Palazzo di Cansignorio, is a beautiful palace in Verona, located in Piazza dei Signori, between Palazzo della Ragione and Palazzo del Podesta.   SHORT HISTORY The construction of the palace was commissioned by Cansignorio della Scala and probably completed in 1363. Originally, the building was a fortified palace, austere and spartan, with three large towers at the corners, of which only one still stands. The current appearance of the palace dates back to the 16th century, when, during the Venetian domination, the palace was chosen as the seat of the Captain and his offices. The Republic of Venice ordered various rearrangements of the building – the facade was redesigned in Renaissance style and a small theater was open in one of the palace halls. The theater was subsequently closed and the hall was used for other purposes. During the Austrian domination, the building was used as a judicial court. After the Veneto region, including Verona, became part of the Kingdom of Italy, restorations of the palace were planned, and conducted beginning with 1880. In 1882, the remaining tower was restored, the windows of the upper floors were arranged, and the Read more [...]

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    Palazzo della Gran Guardia

    Palazzo della Gran Guardia is an imposing palace located in the historical center of Verona, in Piazza Bra, close to the Arena.   SHORT HISTORY The birth certificate of the palace was signed on September 26, 1609, with a formal request from Captain Mocenigo to Nicolò Donà, the Doge of Venice. For the construction of the structure, it was chosen a location close to the walls of the Citadel, in order to have a wall already built, and to reduce costs and work times. On December 30, 1609, the authorization was granted by the Doge, but in 1614 the budget for the construction was exhausted and the works were suspended. Only in 1808, the works resumed, after almost two hundred years of inactivity. The construction was entrusted to the architect Giuseppe Barbieri, who will also build Palazzo della Gran Guardia Nuova (Palazzo Barbieri), now the city’s Town Hall. However, the works began only in 1818, under the rule of the Habsburg Empire. In 1848, the works, still in progress, were stopped because the building was used by the Austrian army during the first war of independence. Palazzo della Gran Guardia was finally completed in 1853. The palace is now used Read more [...]

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    Church of Santo Stefano

    The Church of Santo Stefano is a Catholic church in Verona, located in the Veronetta district, about 300 meters away from the Church of San Giorgio in Braida and Porta San Giorgio, and about 50 meters away from Ponte Pietra.   SHORT HISTORY A first Paleo-Christian building was erected here at the beginning of the 5th century. Of this primitive construction, only the general layout and the southern wall remain. During the reign of Theodoric the Great, at the beginning of the 6th century, the building was partially destroyed, but then promptly rebuilt. The stone episcopal chair preserved in the church and the remains of some Veronese bishops, led to the assumption that, in the early Middle Ages, the church was the bishopric of the diocese. In the 11th century, the crypt of the church was added. Unlike many Veronese buildings, Santo Stefano was only partially damaged during the earthquake of 1117. The subsequent reconstruction in Romanesque style involved changes to the apse, the windows and the facade, which was moved to include the narthex. Between 1618 and 1621, the parish priest, Monsignor Varalli, commissioned the Varalli Chapel (or Chapel of the Innocents) built in Baroque style on the southern Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giorgio in Braida

    The Church of San Giorgio in Braida is a church in Verona, dedicated to Saint George, located in the Borgo Trento district, not far from the homonymous city gate, Porta San Giorgio.   SHORT HISTORY The Church of San Giorgio in Braida was built in the Middle Ages. Although some historians believe that the church already existed in the 8th century, its official birth is placed in 1046, when the Veronese nobleman Pietro Cadalo, newly elected bishop of Parma and subsequently antipope, decided to found a Benedictine monastery dedicated to Saint George. By 1051, the monastery was completed, and in 1052 the Holy Roman Emperor Henry III placed it under his protection. Between the 12th and 13th centuries, the monastery experienced a period of great economic and spiritual prosperity. Faint traces of the first ancient Romanesque building, probably rebuilt following the terrible earthquake of 1117, remain, such as the base of the bell tower visible on the left wall. In 1442, after a period of decline under the Della Scala family, the complex passed to the congregation of San Giorgio in Alga, which began the construction of today’s Renaissance church. Once the congregation was suppressed by Pope Clement XI, in Read more [...]