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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    Church of San Fermo Maggiore

    The Church of San Fermo Maggiore is a church located in the historical center of Verona, dedicated to Saint Fermus, a Christian martyr under Emperor Maximian.   SHORT HISTORY According to tradition, Saints Fermus and Rusticus were martyred in Verona in 304 AD, and the locals built a church in their honor in the 5th or 6th century. However, the first traces of this church date back to the 8th century. In 755, the bishop of Verona, Annone, who is now venerated as a saint, received the relics of Saints Fermus and Rusticus and placed them under the altar of the church dedicated to them. Between 1065 and 1143, the Benedictines completely restructured the complex and built two churches in Romanesque style: the lower one to preserve the relics, and the upper one for the daily celebrations. They also started the construction of the bell tower, which was completed only in the 13th century. In 1261, the Franciscans took the place of the Benedictines and rebuilt the upper church. The work was completed around 1350. In the following centuries, inside the church were added chapels, altars and funeral monuments. In 1759, the relics were placed in the altar of the Read more [...]

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    Ponte della Vittoria

    Ponte della Vittoria (Bridge of Victory) is a bridge in Verona, built across the Adige river. The bridge owes its name to the victory of Vittorio Veneto, a battle that led to the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the First World War.   SHORT HISTORY In 1925, the Municipality of Verona announced a national competition for the construction of a monumental bridge to celebrate the Battle of Vittorio Veneto and the memory of the Veronese victims. The competition, attended by numerous designers, was won by the architect Ettore Fagiuoli and the engineer Ferruccio Cipriani. The construction began on November 4, 1928, and was completed in 1931. The inauguration took place on November 4, 1929. The construction site of the bridge saw the destruction of some surrounding buildings. On the night of April 25, 1945, the bridge was destroyed by the retreating Germans, along with all the other bridges in Verona, including the Ponte di Castelvecchio. Only the right arch remained intact, which was used by the Allies as a support for the construction of an iron bridge, indispensable for continuing the pursuit of the German troops. In 1947, Ettore Fagiuoli redesigned the bridge, and on August 29, 1953, Ponte Read more [...]

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    Ponte di Castelvecchio

    Ponte di Castelvecchio, also known as Ponte Scaligero, is a medieval bridge in Verona, across the Adige river, part of the fortress of Castelvecchio.   SHORT HISTORY The bridge was built between 1354 and 1356 under the lordship of Cangrande II della Scala, to ensure the fortress of Castelvecchio with an escape route to the Tyrol, in case there had been a riot by one of the enemy factions within the city. The structure of the bridge remained untouched for about five centuries, until 1802, when the French, following the Treaty of Lunéville, demolished the tower on the southern side and eliminated the battlements. In 1820, the battlements were reconstructed by the Austrians on the orders of Emperor Francis I of Austria. The bridge was destroyed on April 24, 1945, by the retreating Germans, along with all the other bridges in Verona. In the post-war period, it was decided to rebuild it together with other important monuments of the city lost during the Second World War. For the reconstruction project, the architect Piero Gazzola collaborated with the engineer Alberto Minghetti for the technical part and the architect Libero Cecchini for the artistic part. The work began at the end of Read more [...]

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    Torre dei Lamberti

    Torre dei Lamberti is a medieval tower in Verona, 84 meters high, located in Piazza delle Erbe, in the historical center of the city.   SHORT HISTORY The tower was built by the powerful Lamberti family starting with the 11th century. The lower part of the tower, from terracotta and tuff blocks, dates back to that period. In 1140, the structure became a civic tower and the first bell, Rengo, was installed. The bell sounded to summon the Arengo (City Council) and for calling the army in an emergency. In 1272, a second bell, called Marangona, was added. The Marangona sounded a warning in the event of fire and it marked the hours of the day, thereby regulating the city life. In 1311, the third bell was installed, called Consolata. In May 1403, the lightning struck the top of the tower, and the restoration work began only in 1448, and lasted until 1464. In the same period, the tower was elevated to 84 meters. In 1779, there was the proposal to place a large clock on the tower, but the watchmaker who was comissioned to make the clock died before starting the work. Only in 1798, the count Giovanni Sagramoso Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Santa Anastasia

    Basilica of Santa Anastasia is an important Catholic church in Verona, located in the northern area of the historical center of the city, in Piazza Santa Anastasia. Although the church is named after the Dominican Saint Peter Martyr, it is better known as Santa Anastasia due to an ancient Arian cult building which stood on this place, dedicated to Anastasia of Sirmium.   SHORT HISTORY The origins of the Church of Santa Anastasia are very ancient. It is believed that already in the Longobard era, where the current building stands, there were two Christian churches that, according to tradition, were built at the behest of the Ostrogoth King Theodoric. One was dedicated to Saint Remigius of Reims and the other to Saint Anastasia, a Christian martyr under Diocletian, whose cult spread from Constantinople to Verona around the 8th century. The oldest information about this structure is contained in a diploma dated October 2, 890, issued by the King of Italy Berengario I. A second mention of the church is found in a document dated May 12, 1082. Subsequently, a decree of 1087 lists the numerous possessions of the church. The Dominican friars arrived in Verona around 1220, and settled outside Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Barbieri

    Palazzo Barbieri, also known as Palazzo della Gran Guardia Nuova, is a Neoclassical palace in Verona, located in Piazza Bra, near the famous Arena di Verona. Today, the palace is the city’s Town Hall.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Barbieri was designed by the architect Giuseppe Barbieri, who was also the author of the Monumental Cemetery of Verona. The construction of the palace began in 1836 and was completed in 1848. During the Austrian occupation, the building was used mainly for military purposes, as the headquarters of the Imperial Royal Command of the City. After the region of Veneto became part of the Kingdom of Italy, the palace was chosen as the seat of the Municipality of Verona. On the night of February 23, 1945, in one of the most destructive bombings of World War II, Palazzo Barbieri was hit and badly damaged. After the war, it was quickly rebuilt and enlarged, after a design by the architects Raffaele Benatti and Guido Troiani, and inaugurated in March 1950.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The palace has an imposing facade, with a pronaos set on a central block, delimited by tall Corinthian semi-columns. After the damage suffered during the World War II, a Read more [...]

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    Piazza Bra

    Piazza Bra is the largest square in Verona, located in historical center of the city. The most important structure in the square is, without doubt, the famous Roman amphitheater known as the Arena di Verona. The Arena, located in the northern part of the square, was built in the 1st century AD. Still used today, the Arena is one of the best preserved ancient structures of its kind and the world’s eighth-largest Roman amphitheater.   SHORT HISTORY The area began to take the shape of a square only in the first half of the 16th century, when the architect Michele Sanmicheli completed the Honorij Palace (Palazzo degli Honorij), which delimited the western side of the future square. The first attempt to transform the dirt road into a square belonged to the mayor Alvise Mocenigo, who wanted to create a meeting place for the Veronese bourgeoisie. He inaugurated the first part of the Liston, the paved sidewalk that flanks the Bra Square, in 1770. On March 13, 1782, Francesco Menegatti presented a project for the definitive paving of the Liston and, after his intervention, the Bra became the favorite place for afternoon walks. Palazzo della Gran Guardia, began by the Venetians Read more [...]

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    Porta San Zeno

    Porta San Zeno is a monumental gate in Verona, located in Piazza Bacanal, about 270 meters from the Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore.   SHORT HISTORY The gate was designed by the Veronese architect Michele Sanmicheli in 1541, upon returning from his journey in the eastern Mediterranean. Two inscriptions on the front and back of the gate, both dated 1542, suggest that its construction was extremely short, ending in less than a year. The gate was one of the two main entry points to the city, along with Porta San Giorgio, for the visitors who came from the Brenner Pass, a mountain pass through the Alps which forms the border between Italy and Austria.   ARCHITECTURE The gate is inserted in the wall delimited on the north by the Bastion of San Procolo and on the south by the Bastion of San Zeno, and is located near the latter. The plan of the gate is square, with a large central vaulted entrance and a pavilion roof. A side walkway and the guardroom are located laterally, while other rooms can be found on the second floor. In the past, the gate was equipped with wooden drawbridges, which were lowered onto the Read more [...]

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    Piazza Paolo VI

    Piazza Paolo VI, also known as Piazza del Duomo, is one of the main squares of Brescia, located about 100 meters from Piazza della Loggia and about the same from Piazza della Vittoria. Part of the historical center of Brescia, it is known as Piazza del Duomo due to the presence of the two cathedrals of the city, and it was named after Pope Paul VI after his death.   ARCHITECTURE The square appeared in medieval times, through the construction of the buildings that surround it. One of the buildings of that era is Palazzo Broletto, which today also includes the Civic Tower (Torre del Pegol) and the Loggia delle Grida, located on the northeast side of the square, dating back to the 13th century. Palazzo Broletto is considered the oldest public building in Brescia, and today it houses the Prefecture, the Provincial Administration and some municipal offices. On the eastern part of the square, we can also find the New Cathedral of Brescia, built between 1604 and 1825, in various architectural styles ranging from the late Baroque to the Rococo. The next structure is the Old Cathedral of the city, known also as La Rotonda, an example of Romanesque Read more [...]

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    Church of San Lorenzo

    Rich in pictorial and sculptural works of art, the Church of San Lorenzo, dedicated to Saint Lawrence, is one of the most important churches in Brescia.   SHORT HISTORY The first mention of the church can be found in a document dating back to the 11th century, but the place of worship was probably built long before this time. The first important interventions on the ancient structure took place at the end of the 15th century, at the behest of the provost Bernardino Fabio. At the beginning of the 16th century, Girolamo Romani, better known as Romanino, was commissioned to paint the Lamentation over the Dead Christ for the Chapel of the Passion. The painting remained in the chapel until 1871, and then was sold and transferred to various private collections in Italy and England. Today, the work is found in Venice, in the Gallerie dell’Accademia. From this moment on, many other artists worked in the church, including Callisto Piazza, Lattanzio Gambara, Pietro Marone and Prospero Rabaglio. In the 17th century, with the spread of the cult of Saint Carlo Borromeo, the church was enriched with an altar dedicated to him, decorated with an altarpiece by Francesco Giugno. The other Read more [...]

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    Monument to Bella Italia

    The Monument to Bella Italia, officially a monument dedicated to the fallen of the Ten Days of Brescia, is a sculpture located in the northeast area of Piazza della Loggia, in Brescia. The sculpture is the work of Giovanni Battista Lombardi from 1864 and was donated to the city by King Vittorio Emanuele II.   SHORT HISTORY On the site where the monument stands today, there was originally a column with the Lion of Saint Mark on top, a sign of the domination of the Republic of Venice over the city of Brescia. The column was erected between 1454 and 1455, and near its base there were held, for centuries, the executions of those condemned to death, in front of a large public. Finally demolished in 1797 by the revolutionaries, it left an empty space which was filled a few decades later, in 1864, by the new monument. The statue was conceived in the full Italian Unification climate to commemorate the fallen of the Ten Days of Brescia and was executed by the sculptor Giovanni Battista Lombardi at the behest of Vittorio Emanuele II. The inauguration took place in 1864, and the sculpture still occupies the northeastern portion of the Read more [...]

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    Church of San Francesco d’Assisi

    The Church of San Francesco d’Assisi is a church in Brescia, dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi. The church is flanked by an ancient Franciscan convent dating back to the 14th century.   SHORT HISTORY The church was completed in 1265, but it was not frescoed until the early 14th century. In the 15th century, the church was enriched with 5 altars, two of which painted by Moretto (Alessandro Bonvicino) and Romanino (Girolamo Romani), great masters of the early Renaissance in Brescia. In the 16th century, in the left nave of the church, the Chapel of the Immaculate was built in Renaissance style. With the advent of the French in 1797, the church and the adjoining convent underwent a phase of decadence in which archives were destroyed and many rooms were ruined. Only in 1839, thanks to the architect Rodolfo Vantini, the church was the subject of modernization work, taking on some Neoclassical elements. In 1928, the Friars Minor returned to live in both the convent and the church, and thanks to various restorations, they were able to recover a part of the ancient artistic heritage.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, in Romanesque-Gothic style, restored in Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Martinengo Palatini

    Palazzo Martinengo Palatini is a beautiful palace in Brescia, located in Piazza del Mercato. Built in the 15th century and completely rebuilt at the beginning of the 18th century, is one of the most elegant Baroque palaces of the city.   SHORT HISTORY In 1457, Giovanni Martinengo bought a piece of land in the area where the ancient medieval walls were located. With other successive purchases, the family became the owner of the entire space between Piazza delle Erbe, now Piazza del Mercato, Corso Palestro and Via Fratelli Porcellaga. In 1479, the sons of Giovanni were appointed palatine counts by the Emperor Maximilian of Austria, which generated the new family branch of the Martinengo Palatini. One of their descendants, Teofilo, decided to demolish the 15th-century palace and to build a new one. Teofilo began the construction, but never see it finished, dying in the early 18th century. The palace was finally completed by his son, Curzio III, in 1710. With the extinction of the family branch in 1874, the building was donated to the Municipality of Brescia, which set up some offices in the palace, as well as the Musical Institute Venturi, which used the main hall as an auditorium Read more [...]

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    Piazza del Mercato

    Piazza del Mercato is a beautiful square in Brescia, located southwest of Piazza della Vittoria and Piazza della Loggia, along Corso Palestro.   SHORT HISTORY In 1435, on the southern part of the square, sellers of cloths and linen appeared, placing their wooden huts there. In 1481, the Municipality of Brescia built a long arcade with residences for the shopkeepers on the first floor. In 1558, a similar structure was built on the northern part of the square, where Lodovico Beretta erected a palace with the same function, known today as Palazzo Beretta. During the 17th century, the last two monumental buildings in the square were built: the Church of the Madonna del Lino, in the southern part, in 1608, and the Martinengo Palatini Palace in the western part, began in 1672, but completed only in 1710. At the beginning of the 19th century, other interventions were made to the square: the wooden huts leaning against the buildings were eliminated, the arcades were paved and, in the center, a large fountain was built after a design by Giovanni Donegani with the statue of Abundance by Giovanni Antonio Labus. The bombardments of the Second World War seriously damaged the square and Read more [...]

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    Brescia Old Cathedral

    The Old Cathedral (Duomo Vecchio), also known as La Rotonda because of its round layout and officially as the Winter Co-Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, is a Romanesque church in Brescia. The Old Cathedral is located near the New Cathedral (Duomo Nuovo), in Piazza Paolo VI.   SHORT HISTORY The history of the Old Cathedral begins with the demolition of the ancient Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore de Dom, an early Christian structure built perhaps in the 7th century. The construction of the cathedral began in the 11th century and was completed in the first half of the 12th century. Towards the end of the 13th century, Berardo Maggi, bishop of Brescia, made an enlargement of the presbytery and had the interiors decorated. Between the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century, the architect Bernardino da Martinengo extended the presbytery to the east, covering it with cross vaults in Gothic style. Around the same time, the transept was also added, completed with the Chapel of the Holy Crosses on the left side. In this phase of construction, Filippo Grassi, the future architect of the Palazzo della Loggia, also participated. The keystones are the work of Read more [...]

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    Piazza della Vittoria

    Piazza della Vittoria is a beautiful square in Brescia, located about 100 meters away from the Piazza della Loggia and the Palazzo della Loggia.   SHORT HISTORY In 1927, the Municipality of Brescia, supported by the Fascist politician Augusto Turati, by the Fascist Party and by Benito Mussolini himself, held a competition for a new urban redesign of the ancient medieval area of the Pescherie district. The winner was the Roman architect Marcello Piacentini. The demolition of the area began in 1929 and was completed in less than two years. During the works, buildings of great historical value were lost, such as the 15th-century slaughterhouse and the Romanesque Church of Sant’Ambrogio, rebuilt in the 18th century. In 1932, during the ceremony of inauguration of the square, which coincided with the tenth anniversary of the birth of fascism, Benito Mussolini himself was present and gave a speech. The construction of the large underground car park, which took place in 1974, forced large ventilation grids to be opened over a large part of the central area of the square. The general renovation of the square, connected to the creation of the Metro station, was completed at the end of 2013. The area Read more [...]

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    Torre dell’Orologio

    Torre dell’Orologio is a beautiful clock tower in Brescia, located in Piazza della Loggia, opposite the Palazzo della Loggia.   SHORT HISTORY The Clock Tower was built between 1540 and 1550 on a design by Lodovico Beretta, a local architect who also contributed to the construction of the Palazzo della Loggia. The tower houses a complex mechanical clock, installed between 1544 and 1546, probably replacing a previous mechanism. The clock, on two different dials, marks the hours, the moon phases and the zodiac signs.   ARCHITECTURE The side of the tower facing Piazza della Loggia has an astronomical quadrant and a tympanum painted by Gian Giacomo Lamberti in 1547, while the second side, which overlooks Via Beccaria, has a gilded quadrant of an unknown author. On the upper part of the tower, there are two rods and a bronze bell, and two copper automata installed in 1581, depicting two men with a hammer, known in the Brescian dialect as the Màcc de le ure (Crazy of the hours). In 1595, a long portico in white Botticino marble was built by the architect Piero Maria Bagnadore at the base of the tower. Passing under the tower through a passage created in Read more [...]

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    Piazza della Loggia

    Piazza della Loggia is a rectangular square in Brescia, enclosed by a series of buildings from the Venetian period, among which stands the Palazzo della Loggia, the seat of the city’s Municipal Council.   SHORT HISTORY Piazza della Loggia was designed during the Renaissance, and its construction began at the end of the 15th century. The square became the beating heart of the city, both for its position and for the presence of the Loggia, a palace built between 1489 and 1574. On May 28, 1974, a bombing took place in the square during an anti-fascist demonstration, killing 8 people and wounding 102.   ARCHITECTURE The square is surrounded by 16th-century buildings in Venetian style, quite modest in appearance, but with a strong visual impact. Opposite to the Loggia, on the eastern side of the square, we can find the arcades, also in Renaissance style, surmounted by the Clock Tower, named for the presence of an ancient clock added in 1546. On the southern side of the square, there is the old Monte di Pietà building, erected between 1484 and 1489, which has a small Venetian loggia divided into two arches in the lower part, and the main facade adorned Read more [...]

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    Church of Sant’Andrea

    The Church of Sant’Andrea is a church in Bergamo, located in Via Porta Dipinta 39, in the upper part of the city, known as Città Alta.   SHORT HISTORY In the State Archive of Bergamo, there is a notarial deed dated back to 785, which certifies the existence of a proto-Christian basilica on this place, called Basilica Sancti Andreae. Due to the damage caused by the construction of the Venetian Walls between 1561 and 1588, the old basilica obtained compensation of 300 scudi from the Venetian Republic, thanks to which it was renovated and reconsecrated in 1592. A subsequent reconstruction of the church dates back to 1689, with the laying of the foundation stone on June 23 by Bishop Daniele Giustiniani. In 1805, by a decree of Napoleon Bonaparte, the adjacent parish of San Michele al Pozzo Bianco was suppressed and its territory was annexed to the parish of Sant’Andrea. The ancient church was thus too small for this new territory and for a rather large population, and in in 1829 the architect Giacomo Romilli was commissioned to plan its complete renovation. Giacomo Romilli’s project included a neoclassical building, with a facade marked by pilasters and a tympanum, a small Read more [...]

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    Church of Sant’Agostino

    The Church of Sant’Agostino is a beautiful church in Bergamo, located near the eastern walls of the Città Alta and the homonymous gate of the city. Since 2015, the church houses the Aula Magna of the University of Bergamo.   SHORT HISTORY The Church of Sant’Agostino was built starting with 1290, on the site of a pre-existing church dedicated to Saints Philip and James. The new church was dedicated to Saints Philip, James and Augustine, and was consecrated on February 11, 1347, by the bishop Bernardo Bernardi. In the early 15th century, the church and the adjacent monastery were in a serious state of decay, and the complex was completely abandoned in 1441. Around the middle of the 15th century, the friar Giovanni da Novara obtained permission to sell some properties of the church, and used the money thus obtained to repair some of the buildings of the monastic complex. During the 15th century, seven chapels were built on each side of the church, for important families of Bergamo, who, in turn, donated the funds needed to repair the buildings. Jacopo Filippo Foresti was the friar responsible for the reconstruction of the church, with the contributions obtained from the families. Read more [...]

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    Palazzo della Ragione

    Palazzo della Ragione is a palace in Bergamo, located in the upper part of the city, Città Alta. The palace stands across the Piazza Vecchia from the Palazzo Nuovo, bordering also the Piazza del Duomo to the north.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built at the end of the 12th century, more precisely between 1183 and 1198, making it the oldest town hall in Italy. The building maintained its role as a political center even after the end of the communal era, when, with the arrival of the Republic of Venice in the first half of the 15th century, it was used as the palace of justice, hence the name della Ragione (of reason). The palace, which was already in a bad shape at the beginning of the 16th century, suffered serious damage in 1513, after a fire. Its reconstruction began in 1538 under the direction of the architect Pietro Isabello, and was completed in 1554. The works on the exterior were started in March 1539, and the Lion of St. Mark was placed on the facade in April of the same year. Subsequently, the southern wall was restored. The rebuilding of the loggia on the ground floor began Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Medolago Albani

    Palazzo Medolago Albani is a beautiful palace located in the ancient part of Bergamo, Città Alta, on Viale delle Mura, near Porta San Giacomo.   SHORT HISTORY The palace, a beautiful example of Neoclassical architecture, was built by the architect Simone Cantoni in 1770. In 1841, the palace was bought by Count Giacomo Medolago Albani, an ancestor of the current owners. Over time, the palace underwent many transformations, becoming one of the most important buildings of the city and home to one of the most notable historical and cultural events of the time. The visits of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria with his wife Elizabeth of Bavaria and the King of Italy Vittorio Emanuele II are evidenced by the commemorative stone slabs placed at the entrance to the building.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The palace is an admirable example of an aristocratic building of the late 18th century. The facade, on two floors, with 8 semi-columns, is surmounted by a fake balcony with a decoration in the middle and four statues depicting the Architecture, Sculpture, Painting and Poetry, works of the sculptor Antonio Gelpi. Between the two floors, we can find five medallions of Carrara marble depicting scenes inspired Read more [...]

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    Porta San Giacomo

    Porta San Giacomo (Saint James Gate) is one of the four Venetian gates of the Città Alta, the ancient part of Bergamo. The gate represents the southern entrance to the old city, and due to its elevated position, it can be seen from afar.   SHORT HISTORY The construction of the Venetian walls (Mura Venete) surrounding the Città Alta began in 1561, as part of a defensive system meant to protect the western territories of the Venetian Republic from Milan, which, after the peace treaty signed in 1559 at Cateau-Cambrésis, became a Spanish province. The Venetian walls have four gates: Porta San Lorenzo, Porta Sant’Agostino, Porta Sant’Alessandro and Porta San Giacomo. The gates were named, except for the Porta Sant’Agostino, after neighbouring churches. Porta San Giacomo was built in 1593, replacing a wooden structure dating back to the middle of the 16th century. The gate was completed with a fresco depicting the winged lion of Saint Mark by Gian Paolo Cavagna. The masonry bridge leading to the gate was built in 1780, and renovated at the end of the 19th century, to enlarge the access area to the Medolago Alabani palace, located nearby. The two small arches of the gate Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria Immacolata delle Grazie

    The Church of Santa Maria Immacolata delle Grazie is a beautiful church in Bergamo, located on Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII, near the Porta Nuova.   SHORT HISTORY Saint Bernardino of Siena came to Bergamo in 1419 for the second time to quell the feuds that divided the Guelph and Ghibelline families of the city. Pietro Ondei, influenced by his preaching, gave the saint a piece of land to build a church and a convent for the Franciscan friars. The church was founded on April 27, 1422, by the bishop Francesco Aregazzi. The project of urban reorganization of the city from the 19th century included the construction of a large avenue – Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII, which connected the railway station to Porta Sant’Agostino, one of the entrances to the upper part of the city, Bergamo Alta. For this reason, the monastic order was suppressed in 1810, the church was demolished in 1856 and then rebuilt a little further from the original place. The ancient church was dedicated to the Madonna delle Grazie, but with the dogmatic proclamation of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, 1854, the bishop of Bergamo, Pietro Luigi Speranza, renamed the church to Santa Maria Immacolata delle Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Nuovo

    Palazzo Nuovo is a beautiful palace in Bergamo, located in the upper part of the city, Città Alta, on the northern side of the Piazza Vecchia, across the square from the Palazzo della Ragione. The palace currently houses the Angelo Mai Civic Library, one of the most important historic preservation institutions in Italy, with over 677,000 volumes, 2,200 incunabula and 16,800 manuscripts.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Nuovo, as it was called in contrast to the Palazzo Vecchio (Palazzo della Ragione), was built by the architect Vincenzo Scamozzi to house the city’s town hall. The construction of the palace began in the early 17th century, and was definitively completed only in 1958 with the placing of six statues, works of the sculptor Tobia Vescovi, on the facade overlooking the Piazza Vecchia. The access loggia, which lightens the facade, was designed by the architect Andrea Ceresola, who was also responsible for the reconstruction of the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa. The white marble facade was built in 1928 by the architect Ernesto Pirovano, who took into account the initial project of Scamozzi. The Angelo Mai Civic Library, which was initially housed in the Palazzo della Ragione, was transferred in 1928 to the Palazzo Read more [...]

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    Piazza Vecchia

    Piazza Vecchia (Old Square) is a beautiful square in Bergamo, located on the upper part of the city, known as the Città Alta. For many centuries, the square was the fulcrum of the political and civil power of Bergamo, and today is a favorite meeting place for locals.   SHORT HISTORY Piazza Vecchia was built on the place of the ancient Roman forum of the city. Beginning with the 11th century, numerous dwellings were built on the square. In the 13th century, the reclamation of the area began, and the dwellings were demolished. The square became the city center only in the Middle Ages, more precisely in the 12th century, with the construction of the Palazzo della Ragione, the seat of the Municipality. The buildings surrounding the square were built starting with the 15th century.   ARCHITECTURE To the north of the square, we can find the Palazzo Nuovo, which houses the Angelo Mai Library. The palace was built to a design by the architect Vincenzo Scamozzi starting with the early 17th century and was completed only in 1958, with the placing of the last ornamental works on the facade. In the western part of the square, there is the Read more [...]

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    Church of Saints Bartholomew and Stephen

    The Church of Saints Bartholomew and Stephen is a beautiful church in Bergamo, located in the modern part of the city, known as Città Bassa, along the famous Sentierone, one of the most important avenues of the town.   SHORT HISTORY A former church dedicated to Saint Stephen was demolished on November 11, 1561, for the construction of the Venetian walls which surrounds the Città Alta. From the numerous friars who lived in the convent, only eight remained as guests in the Church of San Bernardino. On August 14, 1572, the friars moved to the small Church of San Bartolomeo, given to them by the Pope Pius V. The Church of Saint Bartholomew was rebuilt in the first half of the 17th century, more precisely between 1603 and 1642, on a project by the architect Anton Maria Caneva of Como. The church was consecrated on January 19, 1782, by the bishop of Bergamo, Giovanni Paolo Dolfin.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church has a simple structure, but at the same time elegant and grandiose, measuring 60 meters in lenght and 14 meters in width, without the chapels. The facade, completed at the end of the 19th century by the architect Read more [...]

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    Isola Tiberina

    Isola Tiberina (Tiber Island) is a small island in Rome, on the river Tiber, conected to the two banks of the river by Ponte Cestio and Ponte Fabricio.   SHORT HISTORY According to legend, the island was formed in 510 BC from the wheat and grain harvested in the nearby area of Campo Marzio (Field of Mars), a land owned by the hated tyrant Tarquinius Superbus. In the 3rd century BC, the island housed the temple of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine. In the first half of the 1st century BC, Isola Tiberina was paved with travertine and the bridges Fabricio and Cestio were built. By then, the island resembled a ship, and an obelisk was erected in the middle, symbolizing the vessel’s mast. In time, the obelisk was destroyed and replaced with a column. After it was removed in 1867, Pope Pius IX had an aedicula (small shrine) put in its place. In 998, Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor, built the Basilica of San Bartolomeo all’Isola, on the ruins of the Asclepius temple. Due to the church, in the early 20th century, the Tiber Island was called the Isola di San Bartolomeo (Saint Bartholomew Island) and the Cestius Read more [...]

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    Palazzo della Consulta

    Palazzo della Consulta is a palace in Rome, located in Piazza del Quirinale, which houses the Constitutional Court of the Italian Republic since 1955.   SHORT HISTORY The palace rises on the remains of the Baths of Constantine, on the southern slope of the Quirinal Hill, replacing a previous building erected under Pope Sixtus V by Cardinal Ferrero da Vercelli to house the Sacred Congregation of the Consulta (Papal State Council) and then expanded by Pope Paul V in the early 17th century. The current palace, which was completed in 1737 under the direction of the architect Ferdinando Fuga, was commissioned by Pope Clement XII to house both the headquarters of the secretariat of the Sacred Congregation of the Consulta and the Signatura dei Brevi, both the corps of Cavalrymen and that of the Corazze (Noble Guard). Between 1798 and 1814, the palace was the seat of the Prefecture of Rome, and starting with 1849, during the Roman Republic, it was the seat of the Government of the triumvirate of Giuseppe Mazzini, Carlo Armellini and Aurelio Saffi. After the annexation of Rome, from 1871 to 1874, the hereditary Prince Umberto I resided in the palace with his wife, Margherita di Read more [...]

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    Palazzo delle Scuderie del Quirinale

    Palazzo delle Scuderie del Quirinale (Palace of the Quirinal Stables) is a palace in Rome, located in the southern area of the Piazza del Quirinale, on the opposite side of the Palazzo del Quirinale.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo delle Scuderie del Quirinale was built between 1722 and 1732 on a piece of land owned by the Colonna family, close to another building owned by the same family, the beautiful Palazzo Colonna. The project of the current palace belongs to the architect Alessandro Specchi, who was commissioned by Pope Innocent XIII to design a building intended to replace the previous one built in the early 18th century by Carlo Fontana. When Innocent XIII died, in 1730, the new Pope Clement XII entrusted Ferdinando Fuga with the task of completing the work. The building maintained its original function as a stable until 1938, the year in which it was transformed into a garage. In the 1980s, the palace was transformed into a museum of carriages. Between 1997 and 1999, it was completely restored to a design by the Friulian architect Gae Aulenti, in time for the Jubilee of the year 2000. Designed as an important exhibition space of about 1,500 square meters, Read more [...]

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    Piazza del Quirinale

    Piazza del Quirinale is one of the many beautiful squares of Rome, located on the Quirinal Hill, near the palace of the same name.   ARCHITECTURE The square is located on top of the Quirinal Hill, the highest of the seven hills of Rome, so called because once there stood the temple of Quirino. The square is bordered to the north-east by the imposing Palazzo del Quirinale, the official residence of the President of the Italian Republic, built between the years 1573 and 1585 by Martino Longhi and Ottaviano Mascherino as the summer residence of the Roman pontiffs. The east side of the square is bordered by the Palazzo della Consulta. The building, which was completed in 1737 under the direction of the architect Ferdinando Fuga, was commissioned by Pope Clement XII to house the Papal State court. Between 1798 and 1814, the palace was the seat of the Prefecture of Rome, and from 1871 to 1874 was the residence of Prince Umberto I. In 1955, the palace became the seat of the Constitutional Court of Italy. Another building flanking the square, near the Palazzo della Consulta, is the Palazzo Pallavicini-Rospigliosi, commissioned in 1603 by the Borghese family. On the Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Susanna alle Terme di Diocleziano

    The Church of Saint Susanna at the Baths of Diocletian (Chiesa di Santa Susanna alle Terme di Diocleziano) is a beautiful church in Rome, located about 250 meters from the Piazza della Repubblica.   SHORT HISTORY The Church of Santa Susanna is one of the oldest churches in Rome. The original place of worship was built around the year 280 AD on the remains of three Roman villas, outside the wall of the Baths of Diocletian and the Servian Wall, the first wall built to defend the city. According to tradition, the church was built in Susanna’s House, where the Saint was martyred in 294 AD. Excavations made in the 19th century, actually brought to light the remains of a Roman house from the 3rd century, now visible through the glass paving of the sacristy. Other excavations from 1990 brought to light a Roman sarcophagus with fragments of painted plaster inside. Pope Sergius I restored the church at the end of the 7th century, Pope Leo III rebuilt it from the ground in 796 and later, in 1475, the church was rebuilt again by Pope Sixtus IV. The facade of the church was completed in Baroque style in 1603 by Read more [...]

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    Port of Ischia

    The Port of Ischia is a completely natural harbor on Ischia, located in the northern part of the island.   SHORT HISTORY In ancient times, the port was actually a lake known as the Lago del Borgo. The lake was formed probably in the 4th or 3rd century BC in the crater of a volcano, which later collapsed due to an earthquake. The lake was over two meters deep, measured about 100,000 square meters and contained an inhabited small island called Tondo. In 1670, a small opening was created to fill the lake with water every time its level dropped. On the southern hill, near the lake, a casino was built in 1735 by Francesco Buonocore, which was at the same time a holiday home for himself and a luxury clinic for famous people. The place exerted an irresistible attraction for Ferdinand IV, King of the Two Sicilies, who dedicated himself to frequent fishing parties on the lake. The enthusiasm for the place led him to rent the casino, some neighboring lands and the lake, owned at that time by the University of Ischia. Ferdinand II, King of the Two Sicilies between 1830 and 1859, expressed his opinion in favor Read more [...]

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    Beach of San Pietro

    The Beach of San Pietro is a beautiful beach on the island of Ischia, located about 450 meters away from the Port of Ischia. The fine sand of the beach and the shallow waters are ideal for families with children and for older people. The beach is almost 600 meters long and about 70 meters in its widest part. Concession beaches alternate with sections of free beaches, and there are also many bars and restaurants in the area. Due to its location near the historical center of Ischia, where numerous hotels await their guests during the summer months, the Beach of San Pietro can be overcrowded in July and August.   HOW TO GET THERE The Beach of San Pietro is located about 270 meters from the Piazzale Antica Reggia and about 150 meters from the central Via Roma. Although it is easy to find, if you need directions, use the map below.

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    Church of San Nicolò l’Arena

    The Church of San Nicolò l’Arena is a church in Catania, located in Piazza Dante Alighieri. The church, measuring 105 meters in length, about 71 meters in width in the transept area, with a maximum height of 66 meters at the dome, is the largest in Sicily. The first church erected by the Benedictines in Catania was entitled Sancti Nicolai de Arenis, after the Saint Nicholas of Bari and the red sandstone (rena rossa) of Nicolosi, a town in the province of Catania from which the monks arrived.   SHORT HISTORY The grandiose Monastery of San Nicolò l’Arena was founded on November 28, 1558. The church was inaugurated in 1578, in the presence of the viceroy of Sicily Juan de la Cerda. In 1669, the structure was destroyed by the Etna eruption that struck the western side of the city. Starting with 1687, the church was rebuilt further south than the original site, on a project by the Roman architect Giovanni Battista Contini. In 1693, the works were interrupted by the violent earthquake of the Val di Noto, and for the next thirty years the monastery remained without a main church. In 1730, the construction of the church was resumed, Read more [...]

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    Teatro Massimo Vincenzo Bellini

    Teatro Massimo Vincenzo Bellini is an opera house in Catania, named after the local-born composer Vincenzo Bellini. The theater is located in the square with the same name, about 350 meters from the Piazza del Duomo and the Cathedral of Sant’Agata.   SHORT HISTORY The construction of a public theater in Catania was proposed right after the earthquake of the Val di Noto of 1693, which destroyed most of the cities in the area, but a foundation stone was laid only in 1812, over 100 years after the terrible event. In 1870, the architect Andrea Scala was given the task of finding a suitable site to build a new theater, and after examining the various options it was decided for the Piazza Cutelli area. Despite the financial uncertainties, the project was approved, and Scala, with the assistance of the Milanese architect Carlo Sada, carried out the works. In 1880, the company financing the project ended up in liquidation, and was replaced by the Municipality, which decided to make some modifications to the structure of the theater. In 1887, the building was completed, but the inauguration took place only on May 31, 1890, with Norma, an opera by Vincenzo Bellini.   Read more [...]

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    Fontana dell’Amenano

    Fontana dell’Amenano is a beautiful fountain in Catania, located in the southern part of Piazza del Duomo, next to the Palazzo del Seminario dei Chierici and near the Cathedral of Sant’Agata.   SHORT HISTORY The fountain was built in 1867 by the Neapolitan sculptor Tito Angelini.   ARCHITECTURE The fountain consists of a large shell in white Carrara marble, in which stands the statue of the river Amenano, represented as a young man. The statue holds a cornucopia from which water flows into a convex basin. On each side of the statue, there is the sculpture of a triton. The shell rests on a base on which is placed the coat of arms of the city. On the opposite side of the fountain, we can find an emblem that contains the year in which the monument was inaugurated. From the basin of the fountain, the water pours into the underground river Amenano, located about two meters below the square level. Behind the fountain, a lava stone staircase leads to the Pescheria, the ancient city market of Catania.   HOW TO GET THERE Fontana dell’Amenano is located about 1.4 kilometers from the Catania Centrale railway station. The closest bus stop is Read more [...]

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    Piazza del Duomo

    Piazza del Duomo is the main square of Catania, located at the intersection of three important boulevards – Via Etnea, the historical axis of the city, Via Giuseppe Garibaldi and Via Vittorio Emanuele II.   ARCHITECTURE On the eastern side of the square, stands the Cathedral of Sant’Agata, Duomo di Catania, from which the square takes its name. The Cathedral was destroyed by the earthquake of 1693, and was rebuilt in the 18th century by the architect Girolamo Palazzotto, with the facade designed by Giovanni Battista Vaccarini. In 1857, the bell tower of the Cathedral was completed, and the current layout of the churchyard appeared in the 19th century. To the south of the square, there is the Palazzo del Seminario dei Chierici, a Baroque palace rebuilt after the earthquake of the Val di Noto, in the first decades of the 18th century by the architect Alonzo di Benedetto, and subsequently enlarged in 1757 by Francesco Battaglia. Between the Palace of the Seminary of the Clerics and the Cathedral of Sant’Agata, there is the Porta Uzeda, which connects the two buildings mentioned above, beeing also the southern entrance to the square. The Uzeda Gate was named after the Spanish viceroy Read more [...]

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    Palazzo del Seminario dei Chierici

    Palazzo del Seminario dei Chierici (Palace of the Seminary of the Clerics) is a Baroque palace in Catania, located across the Piazza Duomo from the Palazzo degli Elefanti, near the Cathedral of Sant’Agata.   SHORT HISTORY During the Aragonese period, on the site of the present palace, there was the ancient structure of the Bishop’s Palace. In 1572, the archbishop Antonio Faraone founded the seminary of the clerics, and some rooms of the palace were reserved for this institution. Beginning with 1614, Bonaventura Secusio, Bishop of Catania between 1609 and 1618, established the seminary headquarters in the building. On May 29, 1647, during the anti-Spanish revolt of Catania, the palace was severely damaged. In 1693, the building was completely destroyed by the earthquake of the Val di Noto. In the first decades of the 18th century, the palace was rebuilt by the architect Alonzo di Benedetto, and subsequently enlarged in 1757 by Francesco Battaglia. In 1866, the architect Mario Di Stefano further expanded the structure, by building the second floor. Beginning with 1943, due to the Second World War, the seminarians left the building, which was later damaged by bombing. In 1944, the palace was acquired by the Municipality of Read more [...]

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    Palazzo degli Elefanti

    Palazzo degli Elefanti (Palace of the Elephants), formerly known as Palazzo del Senato, is a Baroque palace in Catania, located in the Piazza Duomo, close to the Cathedral of Sant’Agata. The name of the palace derives from the numerous elephants carved on its facade.   SHORT HISTORY During the Aragonese period, the palace, called Palazzo Senatorio, served as a municipal archive. The city representatives gathered in the palace and, sometimes, also the parliament assembled within its walls. Lope Ximénez de Urrea y de Bardaixi, Viceroy of Sicily between 1443 and 1475, ordered that all the official documents of the Kingdom and the various writings related to the Aragonese sovereigns to be collected and kept in the archives of the palace. After the earthquake of 1693, which destroyed almost completely the city of Catania, numerous architects participated in the reconstruction of the palace. The original project was carried out by Giovan Battista Longobardo, with the collaboration of Giovanni Battista Vaccarini, who built the east, south and west facades, and of Carmelo Battaglia, who designed the north facade. The grand staircase that can be found in the inner courtyard of the palace was built in the 19th century by Stefano Ittar. On Read more [...]

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    Basilica della Collegiata

    Basilica della Collegiata, also known as Basilica Maria Santissima dell’Elemosina, is a Baroque church in Catania, located along the Via Etnea, a short distance from the Palace of the University.   SHORT HISTORY In the early Christian centuries, a small church dedicated to the Virgin Mary was built on the site of an ancient pagan temple dedicated to Proserpina. In the Byzantine era, the church was called Madonna dell’Elemosina. The church was rebuilt in the early 18th century, like most of the city of Catania, destroyed by the terrible earthquake of 1693. In 1896, Giuseppe Sciuti frescoed the vault and the dome of the church with various paintings of the Blessed Virgin Mary, angels and saints.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The project of the church is attributed to Angelo Italia, an Italian architect who lived in the 17th century, who changed the orientation of the building, in order to have it facing the Via Etnea. The facade, designed by Stefano Ittar, is a beautiful example of the Sicilian Baroque. The facade has two orders, with six stone columns on the first order, surmounted by a balustrade. On the second order, there is a central window and four large statues of Read more [...]

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    Church of San Placido

    The Church of San Placido is a church in Catania, located in the square of the same name, about 120 meters from the Cathedral of Sant’Agata.   SHORT HISTORY The original structure of the church dates back to 1409, and was built on the ruins of an ancient pagan temple dedicated to Bacchus. The church was razed to the ground by the catastrophic earthquake of 1693, which almost completely destroyed the city of Catania. On the initiative of three nuns who escaped the ruins of the church, the reconstruction, entrusted to the architect Stefano Ittar, began shortly after the earthquake. The new church was consecrated in 1723 and completed in 1769. In 1976, the church was closed due to structural problems and, after about three years of consolidation, it was reopened for worship in 1979.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, in Sicilian Baroque style, is made of white Taormina stone. On each side of the portal, there are the statues of saints Placido and Benedetto, and above, on the second order, smaller, those of the saints Scolastica and Geltrude, work of the sculptor Carmelo Distefano. The facade, concave in the center, is enclosed by a convex Read more [...]

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    Palazzo San Giuliano

    Palazzo San Giuliano is a beautiful palace in Catania, located across the University Square from the Palace of the University. The palace houses the administrative offices of the University of Catania.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built in 1738 by the architect Giovan Battista Vaccarini for the Paternò family, Marquise of San Giuliano. The seismic events that took place over time have not affected the 18th-century structure, but the transformations made during the 19th and 20th centuries changed more or less its internal and external appearance. The building was remodeled several times, but the facade remained almost intact from the moment of its construction. Only the balustrade that crowns the roof was added in 1930s, when the palace was the seat of Credito Italiano, one of the first Italian banks. In the early 20th century, the palace hosted the Machiavelli Theater, founded by Angelo Grasso. Around the same time, a part of the building was occupied by the Hotel Bristol.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the palace has a large portal that overlooks the University Square, flanked by two marble columns recovered, probably, from a Roman building. Above the portal, there is a double coat of arms – to Read more [...]

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    Palazzo dell’Università

    Palazzo dell’Università (Palace of the University) is a beautiful palace in Catania, located in the square with the same name, along the Via Etnea. The palace is the seat of the Rectorate of the University of Catania, the oldest university in Sicily.   SHORT HISTORY The University of Catania was founded on October 19, 1434, by Alfonso the Magnanimous, King of Naples and Sicily. On April 18, 1444, the constitution of the University was authorized by a papal bull of Pope Eugene IV. The courses began on October 19, 1445, with six professors, and were initially held in a building from Piazza Duomo, near the Cathedral of Sant’Agata. In 1684, the University was transferred to the San Marco Hospital until 1693, when the terrible earthquake of the Val di Noto destroyed most of the buildings in Catania, including the building in question. In 1696, work began on the construction of a new building, which will become the definitive location of the University. After the earthquake of 1785, the architect Francesco Battaglia rebuilt the facade of the palace. Subsequently, following the earthquake of 1818, a further restoration was necessary, which was entrusted to the architect Antonino Battaglia, the son of Francesco. Read more [...]

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    Piazza Archimede

    Piazza Archimede is a beautiful square in Syracuse, located in the historical center of the city, on the island of Ortygia, about 250 meters from the Cathedral of Syracuse and 280 meters from the Temple of Apollo.   SHORT HISTORY In Greek times, although it was not a square, it was one of the main crossroads formed by the road of Decumano Maggiore, the current Via Dione and Via Roma, and the road of Decumano Minore, now Via della Maestranza and Via della Amalfitania. During the 16th century, prestigious buildings belonging to noble families of the time were built around the square.   ARCHITECTURE At the center of the square, stands the beautiful Fountain of Diana, built in 1907 by the sculptor Giulio Moschetti. The nymph Arethusa is depicted in the act of escaping from Alpheus who, with outstretched arms, tries to grab her. Diana, at the center of the group, protects the young girl. To the north of the square, we have the Banco di Sicilia palace, built in 1928 after a design by Salvatore Caronia, which is characterized by a portal framed by rusticated semi-columns and a second order marked by pilasters with Ionic capitals. Next, to the Read more [...]

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    Fonte Aretusa

    Fonte Aretusa is a beautiful fountain in Syracuse, located in the historical center of the city, on the island of Ortygia. According to a legend from Greek mythology, Arethusa was a nymph, daughter of Nereus, who fled from her home beneath the sea, in Arcadia, and became a fresh water fountain on the island of Ortygia. Inside the pool of the fountain, grows papyrus, Ortygia being one of the two places in Europe where this plant grows, with the other being the Fiumefreddo River, also in Sicily, near Catania.   SHORT HISTORY Over the centuries, the fountain undergone several transformations. At first, it was located outside the fortification walls of the city, and could be accessed from the sea through a steep staircase. In the 16th century, the water source was divided into several streams used for tanning leather, which formed a lake of about 200 meters in diameter. In 1540, the fountain was incorporated into the fortifications of the city, when the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V strengthened the military structures of Ortigia, to be freed in 1847, when the reservoir took its present form. The viewpoint next to the fountain is what remains of the ancient bastion, demolished Read more [...]

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    Temple of Apollo

    The Temple of Apollo (Tempio di Apollo) is one of the most important ancient monuments of Syracuse, located in Largo XXV Luglio, on the island of Ortygia.   SHORT HISTORY The temple can be dated to the beginning of the 6th century BC, being considered the oldest Doric temple in Sicily. Over time, the temple underwent several transformations. In the first half of the first millennium of our era, it was a Byzantine church, of which the frontal staircase and parts of a central door are still preserved, and then it became an Islamic mosque. Subsequently, the Norman Church of the Savior was built on its place, which was later incorporated into a 16th-century Spanish barracks, while some architectural elements remained visible. These successive transformations seriously damaged the building, which was rediscovered around 1860 inside the Spanish barracks, and was brought to light thanks to the excavations carried out by Paolo Orsi between 1938 and 1942.   ARCHITECTURE The temple has a lenght of 55.36 meters and a width of 21.47 meters. It is one of the first Greek temples made of stone, marking the transition from the ancient wooden structures. The building has a hexastyle front and a continuous Read more [...]

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    Piazza Duomo

    Piazza Duomo is the main square of Syracuse, located in the historical center of the city, on the island of Ortygia. The semielliptical square gathers many beautiful Baroque buildings, but also houses ancient treasures, as we will see below.   ARCHITECTURE The most important building in the square is, without doubt, the Baroque Cathedral of Syracuse, dedicated to the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Cathedral, located to the east of the square, if one of the first Christian churches in Europe, and incorporates parts of a Greek doric temple dedicated to Athena, the ancient Greek goddess of wisdom and war. Adjacent to the Cathedral is the Archbishop’s Palace, a beautiful palazzo built in Baroque style in 1618. The palace is, today, the seat of the Archdiocese of Syracuse, and houses the Archiepiscopal Seminary and the ancient Alagonian Library. Next, we have the entrance to the Hypogeum of Piazza Duomo, a vast network of passages and tunnels dug in the soft limestone of the Ortygia island. To the south of the square, there is the beautiful Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia, dedicated to the patron saint of Syracuse, Saint Lucia. The church was built between 1695 and 1703, Read more [...]

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    Palace of the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage of Syracuse

    The Palace of the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage of Syracuse (Palazzo della Sovrintendenza ai Beni Culturali di Siracusa) is a palace in Syracuse, located in Piazza del Duomo, on the island of Ortigia, across the square from the Archbishop’s Palace and the Cathedral of Syracuse. The palace is also known as the Numismatic Cabinet, due to the fact that it houses a permanent exhibition of ancient coins.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built in the second half of the 19th century, on the site of a deconsecrated convent, known as the Convent of San Giovanni di Dio, which housed the seat of the Archaeological Museum of Syracuse, now transferred in Viale Teocrito, in the modern part of Syracuse.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the palace, with two orders, was built in Neoclassical style. On the ground floor, there is the large portal and four rectangular windows. On the upper order, we can find five arched windows, separated by pilasters with Ionic capitals. Inside, there is the numismatic collection of Greek, Roman and medieval coins, many of which were found in Syracuse.   HOW TO GET THERE The Palace of the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage of Syracuse is located about Read more [...]

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    Archbishop’s Palace

    The Archbishop’s Palace (Palazzo Arcivescovile) is a palace in Syracuse, located on the island of Ortygia, in Piazza Duomo, adjacent to the Cathedral of Syracuse. The palace is the seat of the Archdiocese Of Syracuse, and houses the Archiepiscopal Seminary and, also, the ancient Alagonian Library.   SHORT HISTORY The original building was a palace of the Swabian era, built during the times of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, around the year 1200. Today, the only trace of this palace is an ancient chapel, well preserved, located inside the courtyard of the present 19th century building. This Swabian construction presents some cross vaults very reminiscent of the Maniace Castle. The palace underwent important changes in the Aragonese era. After the demolition of the first building, the current structure was commissioned by the Spanish bishop Juan de Torres Osorio of Syracuse, and the work began in 1618, under the supervision of the architect Andrea Vermexio. The structure of the Archbishop’s Palace, as we know it today, is the result of systematic restorations made during the 18th and the 19th centuries, which transformed the building into a late Baroque style palace tending towards Neoclassicism. The building was inaugurated in 1854, by the Read more [...]