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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, here is a list of Italy’s best-known attractions and sights…

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    Faro di Murano

    Faro di Murano is a lighthouse located in the southern area of the Murano island, in the Venetian Lagoon.   SHORT HISTORY Since the time of the Venetian Republic, there has always been a lighthouse on the island. At first, it was built as a wooden tower, on whose top a fire was lit, with the light being reflected by mirrors. A first true lighthouse was built here in 1912, a metal tower on piles which was deactivated in 1934, when the current lighthouse was erected. The current lighthouse was designed and built in Istrian stone by the engineer Mario Moro. Until the 1960s, the lighthouse worked on gas, and then it was powered by electricity. Today, the ignition is automated and, like all the lighthouses in Italy, is managed by the Italian Navy.   ARCHITECTURE The current lighthouse is more exposed to the lagoon than the previous one, and was surrounded by stone boulders to protect it. In the lower part, there are two bas-reliefs, depicting two Madonnas, one located above the entrance door of the lighthouse, the other on the opposite side, towards the lagoon. Black stripes were painted in the upper part, to facilitate visibility in fog. 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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    Ponte del Diavolo

    Ponte del Diavolo (Devil’s Bridge) is one of the two bridges which still exists on the island of Torcello and, at the same time, one of the only two bridges without parapets still found in the Venetian Lagoon, the other being Ponte del Chiodo, located in the sestiere of Cannaregio, in Venice.   SHORT HISTORY Recent archaeological studies confirmed that the bridge was built in the 15th century, on the site of a previous narrow bridge from the 13th century. The origin of its name was not yet established. Some locals claim to come from the surname of a local family, Diavoli, and others remember the legend of a pact with the devil that a young man made in the 19th century, during the Austrian occupation of Venice, to recover his dead lover. On August 6, 2009, the radical restoration of the monument was completed, with an intervention that rigorously maintained the original structure, reinforcing the arch of the bridge.   HOW TO GET THERE To get to the island of Torcello, from Burano, you can take the waterbus Line 9. From Venice, you can take the waterbus Line 12. Ponte del Diavolo is located across the Canale Maggiore, about Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Fosca

    The Church of Santa Fosca is a church dedicated to Saint Fusca of Ravenna, located on the island of Torcello, in the Venice Lagoon, part of the largest complex of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Saint Fusca of Ravenna was a child martyr killed along with her nurse, Maura, around 250 AD, in Ravenna, under the persecutions of the Roman Emperor Decius.   SHORT HISTORY It seems that a church dedicated to Santa Fosca existed on this place since the first half of the 9th century. Around 1000, the building was part of the larger project promoted by the Bishop Orso Orseolo, for the reconstruction of the entire complex of the cathedral. The building received its current appearance around the 12th century, when it was rebuilt to house the relics of the christian martyrs Fosca and Maura, arrived from Sabratha, in Africa.   ARCHITECTURE The church, with a circular plan, is an example of the Venetian-Byzantine style. It stands outside the remains of the ancient city square, next to the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the remains of the ancient baptistery. The church is surrounded by a portico on five sides. The arches are supported by columns with Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Miani Coletti Giusti

    Palazzo Miani Coletti Giusti is a beautiful palace overlooking the Grand Canal, located in the sestiere of Cannaregio, in Venice. The palace is adjacent to the wonderful Ca d’Oro.   SHORT HISTORY The palace, as engraved on the facade, was built in 1766. The palace was own in turn by the Miani family, by the Coletti and the Giusti. Today, together with Ca d’Oro, it houses the art museum Galleria Giorgio Franchetti.   ARCHITECTURE The palace has a light green facade, work of the painter and architect Antonio Visentini, and is built on four floors. Overall, in the architecture of the facade we can find various allusions to the style promoted by the architect Andrea Palladio. The building has some peculiarities, such as the presence of the four water portals surrounded by Doric semicolumns and separated by three niches containing statues depicting personalities of the time, of the many single-lancet windows that replace the typical mullioned windows, of a cornice with an unusual arch in the middle and of an imposing dormer between two terraces with balustrades. The top floor is characterized by the presence of two circular niches closed by triangular tympanums.   HOW TO GET THERE The closest Read more [...]

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    Palazzetto Foscari del Prà

    Palazzetto Foscari del Prà is a small palace in the Venetian Gothic style overlooking the Grand Canal, in the sestiere of Cannaregio, in Venice. The palace is located near the Church of Santa Sofia, at equal distance between Palazzo Michiel dalle Colonne and Ca d’Oro.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built in the second half of the 15th century. In 1488, the Foscari family bought the building from the Longin family. In 1520, the ambassador of the Duke of Mantua and Duke Federico Gonzaga lived here for a certain period of time. In the early 1700s, the prominent German merchant Sigismund Streit lived there. After being owned by the Del Prà family, the Giannetti Hotels Group bought the palace in 2003 and transformed it in a 4-star hotel.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the palace, without particular architectural merit, is noticeable thanks to the Gothic and asymmetric polifora (window divided by multiple columns). On the top floor, the facade was badly remodeled, with the balconies of the windows invading the marble framing of the window below. On the top floor, we can also find the coat of arms of the Foscari family.   HOW TO GET THERE The closest waterbus Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Cavalli

    Palazzo Cavalli, also known as Palazzo Corner Martinengo, is a palace overlooking the Grand Canal, located in the sestiere of San Marco, in Venice.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built in the 16th century and underwent several renovations in the following centuries. At the beginning of the 16th century, Bartolomeo d’Alviano lived there, great military leader of the Venetian Republic, who distinguished himself in the defence of the city against the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian. In 1521, following the marriage of a daughter of Alvise Corner with Agostino Contarini, the palace passed to the Contarini family. Around 1830, the palace was inherited by the Mocenigo family, who, in turn, sold the building in 1858 to Maria Dorotea Ulbricht. From her, Palazzo Cavalli passed to the Cavalieri family and later to the Ravenna family. In the 19th century, it was the place where the American writer James Fenimore Cooper lived for a while. Initially transformed into a hotel, the palace is now home to the Tide Forecast and Warning Center of the Municipality of Venice.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the palace, an example of Venetian Gothic style from the 16th century, is three stories high. The ground floor has Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria del Rosario

    The Church of Santa Maria del Rosario, commonly known as I Gesuati (the Jesuates), is a church located on the Fondamenta delle Zattere, in the sestiere of Dorsoduro, in Venice. The Gesuati name comes from the religious order of the Jesuates, suppressed in 1668, which possessed a large convent in the area, later bought by the Dominicans.   SHORT HISTORY The Compagnia dei Poveri Gesuati (Company of the Poor Jesuates) was formed at the end of the 14th century, and in 1432 began the construction of the nearby Church of Santa Maria della Visitazione and of the adjacent convent. With the dissolution of the order, the complex passed to the Dominicans, who shortly after began the construction of a new larger church further along the Zattere. The church was built between 1726 and 1735 by the architect Giorgio Massari, with the collaboration of Giambattista Tiepolo and Gian Maria Morlaiter, and was consecrated on September 29, 1743, by the Patriarch Alvise Foscari. With the suppression of the religious orders in 1810, the church became a parish church.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The classical facade is divided into three parts by semi-columns with composite capitals and completed on the sides by composite Read more [...]

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    Church of San Pietro di Castello

    The Church of San Pietro di Castello is an important church in Venice, which, until 1807, it was the city’s cathedral. The church is located on the northeastern area of Venice, in the Castello sestiere, not far from the Arsenale.   SHORT HISTORY As reported by the chronicler Giovanni Diacono, the building of the Church of San Pietro began around 822, and was completed nine years later, probably in 831. In 1120, a fire devastated the church, and a new larger structure was built, with a baptistery next to it dedicated to San Giovanni Battista (St. John the Baptist), now lost. In 1451, with the suppression of the Patriarchate of Grado and the constitution of the Diocese of Castello of the Patriarchate of Venice, by the bull of Pope Nicholas V, the Basilica of Saint Peter became the new Cathedral of Venice. Between 1508 and 1524, the Patriarch Antonio Contarini decided to carry out restoration works on the ceiling, the vaults and the floor of the church. Between 1512 and 1526, the minor chapels were rebuilt and the decorations were redone. In 1558, the Patriarch Vienzo Diedo commissioned Andrea Palladio to rebuilt the facade and the interior of church. However, Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria della Stella

    The Church of Santa Maria della Stella is a church in Ostuni, located in an interruption of the northern walls of the city.   SHORT HISTORY In the first half of the 16th century, a poor widow, mother of three girls, took care every day, for a month, of an image of the Madonna painted in a niche in the wall of the city, located near a small gate called Porticella. Her gesture was gratified daily by a gift she found in the niche, a coin and a loaf of bread. The place soon became a destination for pilgrimages, and it was decided to build a small chapel in which to place the image of the Virgin. The structure was named, at first, Santa Maria della Porticella. In the last decades of the 16th century, the structure was expanded, and the new church changed its name to Santa Maria della Stella (Saint Mary of the Star). The local bourgeoisie was responsible for the decoration of the interior and for the private chapels of the church. Probably damaged by the earthquake of 1743, despite some interventions made in 1812, the church was closed for worship in 1835 and soon collapsed. Between Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria del Monte Carmelo

    The Church of Santa Maria Vergine del Monte Carmelo, or shorter the Church of Carmine, is a beautiful church in Ostuni, located near the southeastern border of the historical center of the city.   SHORT HISTORY The Carmelite Convent in Ostuni, dedicated to Santa Maria della Misericordia, was built in the second half of the 15th century outside the city walls. The convent had a simple, square-shaped form, with a garden in the middle. The adjacent church was built between 1590 and 1593 by the master masons Nicola Francesco de Marseglia and Matteo de Molendinis, assuming the title of Santa Maria del Monte Carmelo. Around the middle of the 17th century, the church had twelve chapels decorated by wealthy citizens, but in 1775 the chapels were reduced to six, plus two minor ones. In the first half of the 18th century, some renovation works were carried out by the architect Giuseppe Fasano, especially in the presbytery area and in the side chapels. In 1810, following the suppression of the Carmelite order in the Kingdom of Naples, the church was entrusted to the care of the Carmine confraternity, active since the 16th century. In 1819, the Carmelites returned to their home Read more [...]

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    Ostuni Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    The Cathedral of Ostuni, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, is a beautiful church located on the highest hill of the city, right in the middle of the old town, in Piazza Beato Giovanni Paolo II. The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, built in the 15th century, was declared a national monument in 1902.   SHORT HISTORY Between 1228 and 1229, Frederick II of Swabia built here a Romanesque church, on the ruins of an Orthodox church erected prior to the year 1000. The construction of the Cathedral began after the earthquake of 1456, during the Episcopate of Nicola Arpone, and was completed in 1495. The church was radically transformed twice: in 1750, by the will of the Bishop Francesco Antonio Scoppa, and in 1898, on the behest of the Bishop Salvatore Palmieri.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, facing west, with Gothic elements, is divided into three parts by thin pilasters. The facade has its fulcrum in the large central rosette, in which the Christ is surrounded by seven cherubs. On the lunettes of the side entrances are the bas-reliefs of San Giovanni Battista, on the right, and of San Biagio, on the left. 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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    Sanctuary of the Madonna della Grata

    The Sanctuary of the Madonna della Grata is a small church that stands in a prominent position outside the historical center of Ostuni, surrounded by gardens, in a rural area known as Contrada Rosara.   SHORT HISTORY The first documented information about a church in this place dates back to the beginning of the 18th century. The current church was built between 1896 and 1910 by the architect Gaetano Jurleo, who was also responsible for the facade of the Church of San Francesco d’Assisi. The sanctuary was solemnly consecrated by the Archbishop Tommaso Valeri on August 18, 1912. The old church was then demolished.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The Sanctuary of the Madonna della Grata was built on a natural cistern destined since ancient times to store water necessary for the irrigation of the nearby gardens. To date, this cistern is full of water, causing considerable damage to the church above. The symmetrical facade of the church is made up of two main parts: the base, characterized by the entrance portal and a plinth on which four Corinthian pilasters and four niches are set, and the upper part, characterized by a central semicircular window surmounted by the emblem with the Read more [...]

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    Church of San Francesco d’Assisi

    The Church of San Francesco d’Assisi is a beautiful church located in the main square of Ostuni, Piazza della Libertà, adjacent to the Palazzo di Città (Palace of the City).   SHORT HISTORY The church was founded in 1304 by the Order of the Minor Friars, on a land donated by Philip I, Prince of Taranto. The friars took care of it for the next five centuries, and after the suppression of the religious orders in 1813, the church was given to the Archconfraternity of the Immaculate, which still manages it. In 1615, the Church of San Francesco d’Assisi underwent major transformations, being largely rebuilt. In the second half of the 18th century, the church was renovated under the direction of the master mason and sculptor Giuseppe Fasano, assisted by his son Carlo and by Nicolantonio Maldarella. The facade was designed in 1883 by the architect Gaetano Jurleo, to harmonize it with the adjacent facade of the Palazzo di Città, which today hosts the Town Hall.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church is divided into two orders by a cornice. On the upper order, there is an atypical window of Romanesque inspiration. In the lower part, near the door, Read more [...]

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    Church of San Biagio

    The Church of San Biagio is a small church located on the homonymous street, at the nortwest limit of the Sasso Barisano, in Matera.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built in 1642 and linked to the healing virtues of Saint Blaise, the Armenian saint martyred in 316 AD. The church is closed all year, but it opens on February 3, on the occasion of the Feast of San Biagio, whose cult in Matera could be related to the Armenian community gathered around the Benedictine Monastery of Santa Maria de Armenis.   ARCHITECTURE The church is characterized by a very simple facade, which has two dome-shaped bell gables and a square window in the center, divided by a column. On both sides of the entrance door, there are two niches with the statues of Sant’Agata and Santa Lucia.   TIP: In 2019, Matera will be the European Capital of Culture, and if you have not visited the city until now, the moment has come. To gain access to all events in the Matera 2019 official programme, don’t forget to buy the Matera 2019 Passport. HOW TO GET THERE The Church of San Biagio is located about 650 meters away from Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Lanfranchi

    Palazzo Lanfranchi is a palace built in the second half of the 17th century in Piazza Giovanni Pascoli, in Matera, which today houses the Museum of Medieval and Modern Art of Basilicata.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built between 1668 and 1672 by the Capuchin friar Francesco da Copertino, as a diocesan seminary, at the behest of the Archbishop of Matera, Vincenzo Lanfranchi. Built on a pre-existing convent of the Carmelites, whose order was suppressed in 1652, the palace was the seat of the city’s seminary until 1864. After the Unification of Italy, the building passed to the Piedmontese Government and became the seat of the Classical Lyceum and the National Boarding School. The palace housed the Lyceum until 1980. Later, it hosted the offices of the Superintendency for Artistic and Historical Heritage of Basilicata and, since 2003, it is the seat of the National Museum of Medieval and Modern Art of Basilicata.   ARCHITECTURE The asymmetric facade of the palace is divided horizontally into two orders by a cornice. In the lower order, there are five niches in which we can see the statues of San Nicola, the Madonna del Carmine, San Filippo Neri, San Giacinto and San Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria di Idris

    The Church of Santa Maria di Idris is a rupestrian church in Matera, located near the Church of San Pietro Caveoso, dug in the large limestone rock of Monterrone, dominating from its height the entire Sasso Caveoso.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built between the 14th and 15th centuries. The facade, made of tuff in the 15th century, was rebuilt following a collapse occurred in the same century.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church presents an irregular plan, composed of a part carved into the rock and another one built. Next to the facade, there is a small bell gable. The interior of the church is completely different from the original structure, because of the continuous restorations made over the centuries due to the humidity. Numerous frescoes were detached to be subsequently restored, and today they are conserved at the Superintendence for the Historical and Artistic Heritage of Matera. On the 19th-century altar, built in 1807, there is a Madonna with Child painted in tempera, dating back to the 17th century. On the right, is the Conversion of Sant’Eustachio, the Holy Family and Sant’Antonio, all from the 17th century, and a Crucifixion with the city of Matera as a Read more [...]

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    Church of Sant’Agostino

    The Church of Sant’Agostino is a church dedicated to Saint Augustine, in Matera. The church and the adjacent convent dominate the Sasso Barisano from a rocky spur.   SHORT HISTORY The convent was built in 1592 by the monks belonging to the Order of Hermits of Saint Augustine on an ancient hypogeum dedicated to Saint William of Vercelli. The church, dedicated to Santa Maria delle Grazie, was built two years later, in 1594. In 1734, the entire complex was destroyed by an earthquake. Once restored, in 1747, the convent and the church became the General Chapter of the Augustinian Order. The church was consecrated in 1750 by the Archbishop Antonio Antinori. Over time, the convent was suppressed, and it was used as an army shelter, before becoming a prison and later a care home for the elderly. Today, is houses the Superintendence for Architectural and Environmental Heritage.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church is dominated by the central portal, surmounted by a niche with the statue of Sant’Agostino. Above the cornice, there is a niche containing a statue of a bishop and, on both sides, the statues of San Paolo and San Pietro. Between the church and Read more [...]

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    Palazzo del Sedile

    Palazzo del Sedile (Palace of the Seat) is an ancient building located in the square with the same name, in Matera.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo del Sedile was built in 1540 by the Archbishop Saraceno and was used since then as the seat of the Municipality of Matera. The current structure is due to the expansion and renovation works carried out since 1759. The offices of the municipal administration were housed here until 1944, and then moved to the former Monastery of Santa Lucia, in Via Luigi la Vista. Since 1982, the offices are located in the current and modern Town Hall, located in Via Aldo Moro. In the last decades, the palace changed its use, becoming the main venue of the National Conservatory of Music dedicated to the composer Egidio Romualdo Duni. The underground levels of the building host since the early 80s a modern Auditorium with a capacity of about 450 seats.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade is characterized by a large entrance arch flanked symmetrically by two bell towers, one with a sundial and the other with a clock. The facade is adorned with six statues: two above the arch, in a central position, representing the Read more [...]

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    Piazza del Sedile

    Piazza del Sedile is a square in Matera, located between Piazza Vittorio Veneto and Piazza Duomo, a transit place in your way to the Civita, the highest point in the city.   SHORT HISTORY During the 14th century, the square was called Piazza Maggiore, and was the main hub of the town, housing the market, warehouses and shops. Around the middle of the 16th century, the square became a political and administrative center, with the governor’s offices, the prison and the municipal building known as Palazzo del Sedile (Palace of the Seat) located here. Today, the square plays a socio-economic-cultural role, dictated by the presence of numerous restaurants, bars and tourist attractions.   ARCHITECTURE Piazza del Sedile has a well-defined geometric shape, derived from the layout of the palazzi that enclose it on all sides. The most interesting palace is, of course, the Palazzo del Sedile, located to the south of the square. From the Piazza del Sedile, you can access the nearby Sasso Barisano through the arch of St. Anthony that opens on the north side of the square, and Sasso Caveoso through Via Pennino, to the south of the square.   TIP: In 2019, Matera will be the Read more [...]

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    Church of San Francesco d’Assisi

    The Church of San Francesco d’Assisi is a church built in Baroque style in the San Francesco Square, in Matera. The church is dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi, after the saint visited Matera in 1218.   SHORT HISTORY The current church was built in the first half of the 13th century on the place of a hypogean church dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul. The ancient church can still be accessed today through a trap door from the third chapel on the left. In the church can be found a fresco depicting the visit of Pope Urban II to Matera from 1093. The church was enlarged in the 15th century, and many transformations were subsequently made until the 18th century, when it assumed its current state, with the construction of the Baroque facade by the architects Vito Valentino and Tommaso Pennetta.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The Baroque facade houses three statues in the upper part, with the Virgin Mary in the center, and Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Anthony of Padua on the sides. The interior consists of a single nave, with side chapels and a beautiful painted ceiling. The nave ends with the quadrangular apse, introduced by Read more [...]

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    Castello Tramontano

    Castello Tramontano is an imposing castle located on the Lapillo Hill, overlooking the historical city center of Matera.   SHORT HISTORY Although the new King of Naples, Ferdinand II, promised to the Materans that he will not give the town to another feudal lord, the Count Giovan Carlo Tramontano obtained Matera and the surrounding area in 1496. The castle, with a large central tower and two small ones on the sides, was built by the count, in Aragonese style, starting with 1501. In debt, the count collected numerous taxes from the population, and became unpopular to the people of Matera. For the construction of the castle were spent as many as 25,000 ducats, and this weighed even more on the population. Tired of the continuous abuses, some citizens murdered the tyrant on December 29, 1514, as he was leaving the Cathedral of Matera, in a street which was later eloquently called Via della Riscatto (Street of Redemption). The castle remained unfinished. Since 2008, the castle, together with the surrounding park, is undergoing restoration.   TIP: In 2019, Matera will be the European Capital of Culture, and if you have not visited the city until now, the moment has come. To Read more [...]

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    Palazzo della Banca d’Italia

    Palazzo della Banca d’Italia is a palace in Bari, located on the Corso Cavour, between the Palazzo della Camera di Commercio and the Petruzzelli Theater.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built in 1926 after a design by the architect Accolti Gil, on an area of about three thousand square meters that previously housed the Mercato Coperto (Covered Market). The works lasted six years and the ribbon was cut in October, 1932. The offices of the Bank were transferred here from its original headquarters located in Via Cairoli.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The palace stands on four levels plus a basement. Valuable elements are the public lounge with its Art Nouveau windows, the large staircase leading to the vault and various bas-reliefs of Carrara marble. On the first floor, there can be found the Sala Consiliare (Council Hall), with its huge central chandelier, the fine coffered ceiling, and the director’s office, which still preserves the furniture of 1934. In the Council Hall, there is also a bronze bust depicting Vittorio Emanuele III, which was found only a few years ago in the basement of the building. Banca d’Italia also commissioned the construction of the fountain in front of the building, Read more [...]

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    Pane e Pomodoro Beach

    Pane e Pomodoro Beach is a small beach in Bari, located on Lungomare Amando Perotti, about 2 kilometers away from the historical center of the city. The beach owes its name, Pane e Pomodoro (Bread and Tomato), to the habit of the people of Bari, when they were sunbathing, to eat simple bread seasoned with tomatoes. The sandy beach is flanked by a large green space equipped with benches and games for children. On the beach, you can find a bar, toilets and showers. In addition to the sandy shore for access to the sea, there are also wooden piers.   HOW TO GET THERE Pane e Pomodoro Beach is located about 2.2 kilometers away from the Bari Centrale train station, or about 30 minutes on foot. Use the map below to find the beach in no time.

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    Piazza Mercantile

    Piazza Mercantile is the most important square of Bari, the city’s commercial center since the 14th century, and today a location for cultural events. In the square, we can find the Palazzo del Sedile, with a 16th century clock tower on top, the Palazzo della Dogana, built probably in the 16th century by the Duchess of Milan, Isabella of Aragon, the stone lion, or Colonna infame, and the baroque fountain Fontana della Pigna.   SHORT HISTORY Piazza Mercantile, located close to the Porto Vecchio, was home to the Municipality of Bari since at least the second half of the 15th century, when the Palazzo del Sedile was built. At the beginning of the 17th century, under the Sforzas, the area was subjected to a renewal program, after the event of 1601, when most of the buildings in the square were burned to the ground, including the Palazzo del Sedile and the city’s arsenal. The Palazzo del Sedile was rebuilt soon after the fire and embelished with a bell tower. At the beginning of the 19th century, after the municipal seat of the city moved from the Palazzo del Sedile in Via Palazzo di Città, Piazza Mercantile retained the role of Read more [...]

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    Palazzo della Provincia

    Palazzo della Provincia is a palace in Bari, part of the larger monumental transformation project of the Lungomare Nazario Sauro during the first decades of the 20th century, which hosts today the Pinacoteca Metropolitana di Bari Corrado Giaquinto (Painting Gallery of Metropolitan City of Bari).   SHORT HISTORY The Provincial Administration commissioned the design of its definitive headquarters in 1930. The palace, completed in 1936, is the result of the collaboration of the best Apulian architects of the time, coordinated by Luigi Baffa. Severely damaged during the Second World War, today the building houses the offices and the council chamber of the Provincial Administration, the Painting Gallery of Metropolitan City of Bari and the Archives of the city.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The building is characterized by eclecticism that recalls the neo-medieval civil architecture. The palace presents itself as an irregular quadrilateral, alternating Trani stone and red bricks. At the center of the rusticated base, there are five large round arches that give access to a portico in two-color marble. Beyond the upper floors, stands a clock tower, an allusion to the bell tower of the Cathedral of San Sabino, also visible from the Lungomare Nazario Sauro. The clock tower Read more [...]

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    Palazzo del Sedile

    Palazzo del Sedile (Palace of the Seat), known also as the Palazzo dei Nobili, is a palace located in the historical center of Bari, in Piazza Mercantile. The palace, of which today only the facade remains, was once the Town Hall of the city.   SHORT HISTORY The first documented information about a municipal office in Bari dates back to 1466, when the notary Giovanni de Lutiis mentioned a place in Piazza Mercantile, where the Municipality met to discuss the problems of the city. In 1601, a serious disaster occurred, originated from a small fire ignited in Piazza Mercantile, which spread very quickly to the buildings in the square and to the city’s arsenal, where gunpowder and weapons were kept. The explosion caused the death of over 60 people and ruined many buildings, including the municipal palace. In 1602, the palace was rebuilt by the Mayors Nicola Donato and Pietro Ponzo, as a plaque recalls, along with the arsenal and the city wall. In 1604, the Municipality built a small bell tower on top of the building and had a German-manufactured clock installed, which struck every quarter of an hour. The activity of the municipal seat ceased in the early Read more [...]

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    Porto Vecchio

    Porto Vecchio (Old Port) is a small port in Bari, located south-east of the Bari Vecchia, the historical center of the city, enclosed between the Pier of Sant’Antonio and Pier of San Nicola. Inside the port, there are two quays reserved for fishing boats, of 350 and 180 meters. It has 230 berths for boats up to 12 meters in length. The small port is among the most picturesque places in the city, due to the presence of colorful boats and a fish market. At the western edge of the port, we can find the Margherita Theater, and further to the north, on Lungomare Imperatore Augusto, the Fort of Saint Anthony the Abbot.   HOW TO GET THERE Porto Vecchio is located about 1.1 kilometers away from the Bari Centrale railway station, at the northern end of Corso Cavour.

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    Fortino di Sant’Antonio Abate

    Fortino di Sant’Antonio Abate is a fort located on the eastern edge of the Bari Vecchia, the historical center of Bari, in front of the Pier of Sant’Antonio.   SHORT HISTORY The fort was built for defensive purposes in 1440 on the remains of a tower from 1359. The fort was erected by the Prince of Taranto, Giovanni Antonio del Balzo Orsini, who left his coat of arms on the portal. After the death of the feudal lord, the fort was destroyed by the people of Bari, and then rebuilt between 1501 and 1524 by Isabella of Aragon, Duchess of Milan, and Bona Sforza, Queen of Poland, as part of the renewal of the defensive system of the city. Later, the fort was demilitarized and, in 1847, it was taken over by the Municipality. During the following years, the structure was neglected and continued to deteriorate, falling into a state of semi-ruin. The fort was later definitively restored by the Municipality, and today it can be admired in all its splendour. Its spaces are currently used for cultural events.   ART A graceful wooden statue of the Saint Anthony the Abbot, also known as Saint Anthony the Great, to whom Read more [...]

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    Bari Cathedral of San Sabino

    The Cathedral of San Sabino is the cathedral of Bari, dedicated to Saint Sabinus of Canosa, whose relics were brought to the city in the 9th century.   SHORT HISTORY In the first half of the 11th century, the Archbishop Bisanzio built a church on this ground, later completed by his successors Nicola I and Andrea II. This church was later destroyed by William I, called the Bad, during the destruction of the city from 1156. The current church, which dates back to the 12th and 13th centuries, was built by Archbishop Rainaldo on the ruins of the Byzantine cathedral, inspired by the style of the Basilica of San Nicola. For the work, materials from the previous church and from other destroyed buildings were used. The cathedral was consecrated on October 4, 1292. Starting with the 18th century, the building underwent a series of renovations, demolitions and additions. During those times, the facade, the interior of the naves, the interior of the ancient baptistery and the crypt were rebuilt in baroque forms on a design by Domenico Antonio Vaccaro.   ARCHITECTURE The church is an important example of Apulian-Romanesque architecture. The simple facade is divided by two pilasters in three Read more [...]

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    Castello Normanno-Svevo

    Castello Normanno-Svevo (Norman-Swabian Castle) is an imposing fortress in Bari, located on the western edge of the Bari Vecchia (Old Bari), the historical center of the city.   SHORT HISTORY The medieval fortification dates back to 1132. The castle was built at the behest of the Norman King Roger II, and was destroyed in 1156 by King William of Sicily, nicknamed the Bad, when he razed the entire city to the ground, except for some places of worship. The fortress was rebuilt in 1233, when the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II ordered its reinforcement. The castle underwent numerous transformations in the Angevin period, when Charles of Anjou carried out an extensive restoration involving the north wing of the castle, under the guidance of the architects Pietro d’Angicourt and Giovanni di Toul. Then, the castle became property of Duke Ferdinand of Aragon, who donated it later to the ducal Sforza family. The latter disposed the enlargement of the fortress, which shortly after passed into the hands of Bona Sforza, Queen of Poland, who died there in 1557. During this time, the castle underwent radical transformations to adapt to the new demands dictated by the development of heavy artillery. Later, the building Read more [...]

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    Teatro Margherita

    Teatro Margherita is one of the historic theaters of Bari, which currently is undergoing restoration. The theatre will soon be converted into a museum of contemporary art.   SHORT HISTORY Teatro Margherita was built to replace the Varietà Margherita, a wooden theater inaugurated on September 5, 1910, which was the subject of violent criticism by both local entrepreneurs, who presented a similar project without obtaining authorization, and by the Petruzzelli family, the owners of the Petruzzelli Theater, which saw in it a potential competitor. The theater was built between 1912 and 1914 near the Old Port of Bari, on pillars, to escape the pact signed between the City of Bari and the Petruzzelli family, according to which the Municipality was committed not to build other theaters on the municipal ground. The Margherita Theater was designed in Art Nouveau style by Francesco De Giglio. He collaborated with Luigi Santarella to make the theater the first building in Bari in reinforced concrete, and unique in Europe for the particular construction on pillars. Being entirely surrounded by water, the theater was connected to the mainland by a pier. The inauguration of the theater took place on August 22, 1914. The theater was damaged Read more [...]

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    Teatro Petruzzelli

    Teatro Petruzzelli is the largest theater in Bari and the fourth largest in Italy. Owned until the fire of 1991 by the Messeni Nemagna family, the theater is currently being disputed between the City of Bari and the previous owners.   SHORT HISTORY In 1896, the traders and ship builders Onofrio and Antonio Petruzzelli, originating from Trieste, presented to the Municipality of Bari the project of a new theater by the architect Angelo Cicciomessere, husband of their sister, Maria. Their proposal was accepted and, two years later, in 1898, the work began, financed exclusively by the Petruzzelli family. The theater was frescoed by Raffaele Armenise and decorated in pure gold. Also, the theater was equipped with heating and electric light, and it had a capacity of 2,192 seats. The works were completed in 1903, and the theater was inaugurated on February 14, 1903, with Les Huguenots by the German opera composer Giacomo Meyerbeer. In addition to operas and ballets, important concerts were held at the Petruzzelli Theater. Over time, many great artists performed on its stage: Herbert von Karajan, Rudolf Nureyev, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Liza Minnelli and Luciano Pavarotti. On the night of October 27, 1991, the theater was Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Reale di Milano

    Palazzo Reale di Milano (Royal Palace of Milan), formerly Palazzo del Broletto Vecchio, was for many centuries the seat of the government of Milan and a royal residence until 1919, when it was acquired by the state, becoming a venue for exhibitions and events. Originally designed with a system of two courtyards, then partially demolished to make room for the Duomo, the palace is located to the right of the facade of the Cathedral of Milan, opposite to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.   SHORT HISTORY A former palace that stood on the same area in the late Middle Ages, the Broletto Vecchio, also called Brolo di Sant’Ambrogio, was the first documented seat of the Municipality of Milan. The palace, built before the 10th century, ended this function in 1251, when the municipal office was moved to the Palazzo della Ragione. Broletto Vecchio was then demolished, and in its place was built the Palazzo Reale, known at first as the Palazzo del Broletto Vecchio, recalling the name of the pre-existing building. Palazzo Reale became a political center during the lords of the Torriani, Visconti and Sforza families, taking later the role of Palazzo Ducale, the seat of the Duchy of Read more [...]

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    Piazza del Duomo

    Piazza del Duomo is the main square of Milan, and its true commercial center for over seven centuries. The square is the vital center of the city, the meeting point of the Milanese to celebrate important events and, together with the adjacent Cathedral of Milan, a desired destination for tourists from all over the world.   SHORT HISTORY The birth of the square can be traced back to Azzone Visconti, Lord of Milan from 1329 until his death, who, in order to create a useful space for mercantile activities, created the Arengo Square between the Churches of Santa Maria Maggiore and Santa Tecla. Gian Galeazzo Visconti, the first Duke of Milan, further enlarged the square, ordering the demolition of the bishop’s house in 1385 and the Baptistery of San Giovanni alle Fonti in 1387. In 1458, with the blessing of Pope Pius II, Francesco Sforza, the fourth Duke of Milan, obtained permission to demolish the Basilica of Santa Tecla to create a large square worthy of the Duomo, which, at that time, was under construction. In 1548, the architect Vincenzo Seregni created a new project for the Piazza del Duomo, but due to lack of funds, the only work that Read more [...]

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    Botanical Garden of Palermo

    The Botanical Garden of Palermo (Orto Botanico di Palermo) is both a museum and a research and educational institution of the University of Palermo, located in the Kalsa district of Palermo. The botanical garden has a collection of over 12,000 different species of plants.   SHORT HISTORY Its origins date back to 1779, when the Accademia dei Regi Studi, establishing the chair of Botany and medicinal properties, gave it a modest plot of land to set up a small botanical garden for the cultivation of medicinal plants. The garden soon proved to be insufficient to the needs of the chair and, in 1786, it was decided to transfer it to its current location. In 1789, the construction of the main administrative buildings of the garden began. A central structure, the Gymnasium, and two lateral bodies, the Tepidarium and the Calidarium, were built in neoclassical style after a design by the French architect Léon Dufourny. Near the Gymnasium, we can find the oldest part of the garden, also designed by the architect Léon Dufourny after a rectangular scheme. On the indication of the Franciscan friar Bernardino da Ucria, a distinguished botanist, the species were arranged according to the Linnaean taxonomy, a Read more [...]

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    Fontana del Genio

    Fontana del Genio (Fountain of Genius), formerly called Genio del Molo or Genio della Fieravecchia, is a statue of the 16th century placed on a fountain of the 19th century, located in Piazza Rivoluzione (Revolution Square), in Palermo. The Genius of Piazza Rivoluzione is one of the eight monumental representations of the Genius of Palermo, the ancient tutelary deity of the city.   SHORT HISTORY The sculpture of Genius, built in the 16th century by an anonymous sculptor, was originally located on the Fontana del Molo Nuovo (Fountain of the New Pier), in the Port of Palermo. Back then, the statue was called Genio del Molo (Genius of the Pier). In 1687, the statue of Genius was transferred from the Fontana del Molo Nuovo to the Piano della Fieravecchia, the current Piazza Rivoluzione, and placed on a marble pedestal. It was called Genio della Fieravecchia. The square was one of the main scenes of the riots of 1820 and 1848, when the people gathered around the statue to protest against the Bourbons. The revolutionaries dressed the statue in the Italian flag, making it a symbol of Palermo’s desire for freedom. In 1852, in order to avoid this, Carlo Filangieri, a Read more [...]

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    Church of Our Lady of Remedies

    The Church of Our Lady of Remedies (Chiesa della Madonna dei Rimedi) and the Convent of the Discalced Carmelites (Carmelitani Scalzi) is a religious complex built in Baroque style, located in Piazza dell’Indipendenza, in Palermo.   SHORT HISTORY During the campaign of the Norman reconquest of Sicily, held between 1064 and 1072, the lighting of fires, suggested in a dream by the Virgin, proved to be an excellent remedy to drive away the annoying insects that weakened the troops. In 1072, after the conquest of Palermo, Roger I of Sicily, nicknamed The Great Count, as a sign of gratitude for the victory, built a primitive church dedicated to Santa Maria dei Rimedi. The current structure was born five centuries later, in 1609, after the arrival of Father Domenico, called to Palermo by the Viceroy of Sicily Juan Manuel Fernández Pacheco and Zúñiga, Marquis of Vigliena. The Convent of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites was built around the same time, under the title of Santa Maria dei Rimedi, one of the first Carmelite institutions of Palermo, and today one of the most important convents of the Discalced Carmelites in Italy. The construction of the complex continued with the help of 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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    Church of Santa Maria Forisportam

    The Church of Santa Maria Forisportam, or the Church of Santa Maria Bianca, is a church located in the square with the same name, in Lucca. Forisportam comes from the Latin foris portam, which means outside the gate, due to the location of a first church built on this place during the Roman times, outside the ancient walls of the city. Bianca (white) comes from the white marble facade of the church.   SHORT HISTORY In the 12th century, the church was rebuilt and incorporated within the medieval walls of Lucca. The church was modeled after the Cathedral of Pisa. The bell tower was built in 1619, and other restoration works were carried out during the 18th and 19th centuries. From 1512 until the Napoleonic suppression, the church was affiliated with the Canonici Regolari of San Salvatore of Bologna. In 1819, the Canonici returned, and in 1823 they fused with the Canonici Regolari Lateranensi into a single order.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE On the facade of the church, the first order is articulated by blind arcades supported by semi-columns of Pisan imitation. Also on the facade, we can find three portals with architraves decorated with classical motifs. The second order Read more [...]

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    Church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata

    The Church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata is a church located in Piazza San Giovanni, in Lucca, about 120 meters away from the Piazza Napoleone and the Ducal Palace and about the same from the Teatro del Giglio.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built in the 5th century on the site of a Roman settlement, and was the Cathedral of Lucca until the 8th century, when the role was given to the nearby Church of San Martino. However, after the change, the baptismal font was kept in the Church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata, and the two holy places remained inseparably linked. In the 12th century, a new edifice replaced the old church. The new church, with three naves supported by columns with composite capitals, with apse and transept, wasn’t so different from the early Christian structure. The baptistery was also rebuilt in the 12th century, but the most important renovation works were made in 1393, when it was covered with an ogival dome. Starting with the end of the 16th century and throughout the first two decades of the following century, a new renovation was carried out. During this time, the new facade was built, reusing for the Read more [...]

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    Teatro del Giglio

    Teatro del Giglio is one of the oldest public theaters in Italy, located in Piazza del Giglio, in Lucca. The theater was called Teatro Pubblico or Teatro Nazionale until 1819, and starting with that year it took the name of del Giglio in honor of the Bourbon dynasty, whose coat of arms bears three golden lilies (gigli).   SHORT HISTORY In 1672, the expansion of the art of theater led the Council of the Republic of Lucca to promote the project of a new theater. The theater was built on the site of the ancient convent of the Jesuits, located near the Church of San Girolamo. Two and a half years later, on January 14, 1675, the new Teatro del Giglio was inaugurated. Organized on three tiers of boxes and with two entrances, the building was designed by Francesco Buonamici and built by the architect Maria Giovanni Padreddio. On February 16, 1688, the theater burned to the ground. The structure was rebuilt in 1692 after the original project, with the addition of the ceiling frescoes by Angelo Livoratti and a new stage designed by Silvano Barbati. Between 1754 and 1799, the year of the fall of the Republic of Lucca, Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Ducale

    Palazzo Ducale (Ducal Palace), known once as the Palazzo degli Illustrissimi Signori (Palace of the Illustrious Lords) and today as the Palazzo della Provincia (Palace of the Province), is a palace located in Piazza Napoleone, in Lucca.   SHORT HISTORY Until the rise of Castruccio Castracani, Duke of Lucca, in the first years of the 14th century, the seat of the government of the Republic was located in Piazza San Michele. Castracani built the vast Augusta Fortress, in which he moved the entire administrative power of the city. The huge complex of Augusta Fortress, which covered about a fifth of the city, was destroyed by population in 1370, after the Emperor Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, gave the Republic its freedom. With the new lordship of Paolo Guinigi, a new fortress called Cittadella di Lucca was built on the ruins of the former Fortezza Augusta. In 1430, after the fall of Paolo Guinigi, the Citadel was destroyed as well, but the restored republican government preserved the palace that belonged originally to Castruccio, for its headquarters. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Palazzo Pubblico grew without a precise design, with the progressive addition of new buildings. Read more [...]

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    Piazza Napoleone

    Piazza Napoleone, commonly known as Piazza Grande, is the main square of Lucca, the place where every year in July is held one of the most important music festivals in Italy, the Lucca Summer Festival.   SHORT HISTORY In this area was built the vast Augusta Fortress, residence of Castruccio Castracani, Duke of Lucca in the first half of the 14th century. The huge complex, which covered about a fifth of the city, was destroyed by the population in 1370. Subsequently, the ruins of the Fortezza Augusta were restored by Paolo Guinigi, Lord of Lucca, at the beginning of the 15th century, to create a new defensive structure. The new architectural complex was called Cittadella di Lucca, but it was partially destroyed as well after the fall of Paolo Guinigi, in 1429. Finally, on the ashes of the Citadel, the Palazzo Ducale was built, a palace which is still present today. The square was built in 1806, during the Napoleonic domination, by Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi, sister of the Emperor Napoleon. This is the reason why the square was named after the French emperor. Under the direction of the architect Giovanni Lazzarini and of the French Pierre-Theodore Bienimé, the square began Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Roncioni

    Palazzo Roncioni is a palace located on the northern bank of the Arno river, in Pisa, adjacent to the Palazzo Toscanelli and about 100 meters away from the Palazzo Vecchio de’ Medici.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built in the first half of the 17th century, by merging several medieval buildings. In 1662, the original owners, the Navarette family, sold it to the Roncioni family. In 1789, Angiolo Roncioni, passionate about art, hired the painter Giovanni Battista Tempesti to paint frescoes on the walls and vaulted ceilings of the palace, and J.B. Desmarais to paint family portraits. In 1794, Angiolo Roncioni and Andrea Agostini created the Roncioni Academy, a cultural circle where famous artists were invited, and where the most advanced theatrical texts of the period were presented. In 1795, the owner comissioned the architect Alessandro Gherardesca to build a small theater in the palace. The Count Vittorio Alfieri, the founder of the Italian tragedy, stayed there in the same year, when he was invited to recite his work Saul during the period of Luminara di San Ranieri. In 1816, the writer Madame de Staël lived in the palace, and later Louis Bonaparte – the brother of Napoleon, and Read more [...]

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    Palazzo dell’Opera

    Palazzo dell’Opera is a palace located on the north-eastern area of Piazza dei Miracoli, in Pisa, to the east of Campo Santo and to the north of Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. Until the first years of the 21st century, the palace housed the headquarters of the Opera della Primaziale Pisana, which is the entity that manages the Cathedral of Pisa and the monumental complex of Piazza dei Miracoli. Currently, it only holds some offices for the technical staff and, since 2014, it hosts temporary art exhibitions.   SHORT HISTORY The main body of the building, which still maintains its original facade, dates back to 1309, while the expansions date back to the 18th century. The building was in fact the residence of the various workers of the cathedral complex: the tailor, the gardener, the bell ringers, until the 19th century, when the administration offices of the Opera della Primaziale were brought in the palace.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade shows a Medici coat of arms and marble panels with the initials of the Opera del Duomo, as well as an 18th-century plaque commemorating the stay of Charles VIII of France in Read more [...]

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    Church of Saints Vito and Ranieri

    The Church of Saints Vito and Ranieri, popularly known as the Church of San Vito, is a church located on the Lungarno Ranieri Simonelli, in Pisa, in which, according to tradition, Saint Rainerius, the patron saint of the city, died in 1160.   SHORT HISTORY Documented since 1051, the church was surrounded by a Benedictine monastery in 1069. At the beginning of the 15th century, the whole complex passed to the nuns of Santa Chiara. A century later, the church was damaged during the Florentine siege of the city. In 1542, Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, to realize the Giardino dei Semplici, now the Botanical Garden of Pisa, needed the area of the old Republican Arsenal and the adjacent territory. Subsequently, to build the new shipyard, he purchased the entire territory of the Convent of San Vito and had a large part of the building demolished. The ancient church was seriously damaged during the bombings of the Second World War. Therefore, after the war, it was rebuilt in similar forms to those of the 18th century.   ARCHITECTURE The church, crammed between two other buildings, has a simple plastered facade, with a portal surmounted by an arched Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Reale

    Palazzo Reale is a palace located on the Lungarno Antonio Pacinotti, in Pisa, now hosting the National Museum of the Royal Palace.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) was built in 1583 by Bernardo Buontalenti for Francesco I de’ Medici, to replace the Medici Palace located near the Church of San Matteo. The palace was built by merging some medieval buildings dating back to the 11th and 12th centuries and partly still visible – that of the Counts Gaetani of Terriccio, Pomaya and d’Oriseo (the Tower of the Verga d’Oro and the Tower of the Canton), and was remodeled several times, during the 17th and 19th centuries. On an alley behind the palace, we can see the round arches of a medieval building, now lowered due to the rising of the floor, and from the courtyard, we can see an ancient tower, with an arched portal, two small windows with a pentagonal architrave and a single-lancet window higher up. On the ground floor of the courtyard, we can also see the remains of a loggia, with two columns with capitals, partially abraded. The Medici court met here mainly in winter, and among its guests were the scientists Galileo Galilei Read more [...]