Portale di San Giorgio (Portal of Saint George) is a monument in Ragusa, located in Ragusa Ibla – the ancient center of the city, a few meters away from the Hyblean Garden and the Church of San Vincenzo Ferreri. The Portal is part of the ancient Church of San Giorgio, now demolished. SHORT HISTORY During the second half of the 11th century, Geoffrey, the second eldest son of Roger I of Sicily and the Count of Ragusa, took care of the ancient Church of San Giorgio, expanding it. The Portal of Saint George was built during the first half of the 13th century in Catalan Gothic style, as part of the church. Starting with 1308, the church passed under the patronage of the noble Chiaramonte family, and later, after 1382, under the patronage of the Cabrera family, which began extensive reconstruction works on the building. In the 16th century, the Church of San Giorgio was rebuilt, but suffered some damage during the earthquake of 1542. During the 17th century, Pope Urban VIII proclaimed St. George patron saint of the town, and the church became the most important church in Ragusa. The earthquake of 1693 seriously damaged the church and, Read more [...]
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 …
The Church of the Santissimo Trovato is a church in Ragusa, located near the southern border of Ragusa Ibla, adjacent to the Byzantine wall of the ancient city. The church is very close to the Hyblean Garden and the Portal of San Giorgio. SHORT HISTORY The church, relatively new, was built between 1801 and 1807 by the will of the local people, on the place where it was found the sacred ciborium stolen from the Church of Sant’Antonio. The ciborium (a covered cup designed to hold the consecrated Eucharistic bread in the Christian church) was stolen on March 1, 1801, by a certain Cassarà, who later was captured and imprisioned. The last restoration of the church dates back to 1988. ARCHITECTURE The church, with a simple construction, has a portal delimited by pilasters that support a triangular pediment resting on a cornice. A second cornice, slightly higher, is the base of a large window also delimited by pilasters and volutes. The third level is represented by the bell gable. The interior has a single nave and does not offer visitors any particular work of art. HOW TO GET THERE The Church of the Santissimo Trovato is located Read more [...]
The Church of San Vincenzo Ferreri, also known as the Church of the Madonna del Santissimo Rosario, is a deconsecrated church in Ragusa, located in Piazza Giovan Battista Hodierna, near the entrance of the Giardino Ibleo. SHORT HISTORY The church was founded in 1509 by the friars of the Dominican Order, who also built, at the same time, an adjacent convent which no longer exists. After the earthquake of 1693, both the facade and the interior were rebuilt. Behind the apse of the church, an oratory used as the seat of the confraternity was also built. The church and the convent underwent major transformations during the 20th century. At the beginning of the century, the oratory was demolished to create the avenue inside the Hyblean Garden, which today connects the Church of San Vincenzo Ferreri to the Church of San Giacomo Apostolo. In 2004, restoration works of the interior and the facade were started. From December 2010, the building, with about 140 seats, was used as a public auditorium, for cultural events and conferences. ARCHITECTURE It is not known whether the current facade was completely rebuilt after the earthquake of 1693 or the today’s facade is the original Read more [...]
The Church of San Giacomo Apostolo (Saint James the Apostle) is a church in Ragusa, located inside the Hyblean Garden (Giardino Ibleo), in the eastern part of Ragusa Ibla, the ancient center of the city. SHORT HISTORY The church was built in the 13th or 14th century, probably between 1283 and 1392, by the will of the Chiaramonte family – the Aragonese eagle above the high altar indicates that period. The Confraternity of San Giacomo was associated with the church from the beginning, taking care of its services and functions. Before 1693, the church had three naves, but the earthquake of that year ruined it, and a few years later, the confraternity decided to rebuild it with only one nave. The roof of the church was added in 1705 and, between 1719 and 1720, the interior was decorated with several paintings by Giuseppe Pugliarello and Filippo De Stefano. In 1734, the master Simone Ventura of Chiaramonte was comissioned to realize the decoration of the wooden roof. The current facade was built in 1902 by Giuseppe Pinelli. Today, the church is administered by the same Confraternity of Saint James. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade has three orders, of which Read more [...]
Giardino Ibleo is a public garden located on the eastern limit of Ragusa Ibla, the ancient part of Ragusa, overlooking the valley of the Irminio river. SHORT HISTORY Until the early 19th century, the area of the garden was a deserted enclosure, with only some ruins of the Cathedral of San Giorgio, collapsed during the earthquake of 1693. The garden was built in 1858, on the initiative of some local nobles and a large part of the population, who worked for free for its contruction. A fence was added in June, 1907. On that occasion, the entrance to the garden was moved to its current position. DESCRIPTION The garden rises on a spur of rock, at an altitude of 385 meters, and occupies a surface area of about 15,800 square meters, with a perimeter of about 600 meters. Giardino Ibleo is characterized by the interesting coexistence of plants and trees with beautiful fountains and remarkable buldings, such as the monumental churches of San Vincenzo Ferreri, San Giacomo Apostolo and Sant’Agata, and the Capuchin convent located in the southeastern corner of the garden. In the garden, it is possible to distinguish approximately three areas corresponding to the different phases Read more [...]
The Church of Santa Maria delle Scale (Saint Mary of the Steps) is another Baroque church in Ragusa, located at the border between the modern part of the town, Ragusa Superiore, and the ancient center of the city, Ragusa Ibla. The name of the church derives from its location, at the end of the 340 steps that link the two districts of the city. SHORT HISTORY The church dates back to the Norman period, when it was called Santa Maria delle Cateratte, because it stood on the edge of a ravine. In the 14th century, it was rebuilt in Gothic style by the Cistercian monks of the Abbey of Santa Maria di Roccadia in Lentini and, after the earthquake of 1693, which caused the central and left aisles to collapse, it was rebuilt in Baroque style. After the earthquake, during the rebuilding, the orientation of the church was changed by 90 degrees, and the primitive apses were transformed into the current portals of the right aisle. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church has three naves and no apse, and the left side portal is actually the original main entrance. On the counterfacade, there is a fresco of San Biagio, Read more [...]
The Church of the Holy Souls in Purgatory (Chiesa delle Santissime Anime del Purgatorio) is a Baroque church located in Ragusa Ibla, the historical center of Ragusa. SHORT HISTORY The church was built on the initiative of the Mazza family in the second half of the 17th century, dedicated to all the Saints and the Souls of Purgatory, and opened for worship on May 6, 1658. It was one of the few churches in Ragusa to withstand the earthquake of 1693, an event which caused around 5,000 deaths and destroyed almost entirely the ancient center of the city. In 1729, the church and the whole neighborhood came under the jurisdiction of the Church of San Giorgio. The bell tower was built in the first quarter of the 18th century, separated from the church, and placed above a stretch of the ancient Byzantine walls of Ragusa. In 1740, due to its small size, the church was rebuilt with a basilica plan with three naves, two chapels and a large presbytery with an apse. In 1757, the facade was finished, but the church was reopened for worship only in 1787, after the completion of the works in the presbytery area. Read more [...]
Lido di San Giovanni is the main beach of Alghero, located north of the town, close to its historical center, offering beautiful views of the promontory of Capo Caccia. The beach, part of the wonderful Riviera del Corallo, is about 1.4 kilometers in lenght, with soft, golden sand, and shallow, clear turqoise waters, perfect for families with children and ideal for snorkelling. On the Lido di San Giovanni Beach you will find free areas (spiaggia libera), but also establishments which rent sun beds and umbrellas, and provide changing rooms and showers. The beach is bordered to the east by a beautiful promenade delimited by rows of palm trees. Here, along Via Lido, you can find many hotels, bars and restaurants for all tastes. HOW TO GET THERE You can reach the beach, located north of the historical center of Alghero, with one of the bus Lines AF, AP and ALFA, getting off at the Chiesa San Giovanni bus stop.
The Church of Santa Maria Assunta is a beautiful church in Positano, famous for the 12th century Byzantine icon known as the Madonna di Positano. SHORT HISTORY The history of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta is linked to that of the Benedictine Monastery of Santa Maria, which according to tradition was built in the 12th century, on the occasion of the arrival in Positano of the Byzantine icon of the Madonna. However, the monastery was founded earlier, in the second half of the 10th century, and was mentioned for the first time in a manuscript dated back to the end of the 11th century. The monastery was renowed until the middle of the 15th century, when the monks, perhaps frightened by the raids of the pirates from Cilento, abandoned it. After a few years, the church was entrusted to the commendatory abbot Nicola Miroballi, later elected archbishop of Amalfi. With some exceptions, the period of the commendatory abbots was disastrous for the church. The architectural traces of the monastery were gradually lost, while the church deteriorated profoundly. In the early years of the 17th century, the church was subjected to a reconstruction comissioned by the abbot Pirro Giovanni Read more [...]
Torre Trasita is a circular tower located on a rocky cliff in Positano, between the Fornillo Beach and the Marina Grande Beach, part of the defensive system built in the Middle Ages to defend the entire Amalfi Coast against pirates. The first information about the watchtower date back to the 16th century, the period of the Viceroys of Naples. In 1817, the tower was put on sale and, starting with that time, it was privately owned. In recent years, Torre Trasita underwent various transformations, and is now a beautiful guesthouse, which features a terrace with views over the sea, town and the Marina Grande Beach. At the guesthouse, all the rooms come with a wardrobe, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. Every room is fitted with a kettle, while selected rooms come with a kitchen with a dishwasher, a microwave and a toaster. HOW TO GET THERE Torre Trasita is about 270 meters away from the Marina Grande Beach, and about 1 kilometer from the Sita Sud bus stop located at the croassroads of Via Cristoforo Colombo and Via Guglielmo Marconi. To find the tower on foot, use the map below.
Marina Grande Beach, known in Italian as Spiaggia Grande (Large Beach), is the main beach of Positano, located southeast of the town. The beach is about 300 meters in lenght and about 50 meters in width, and is one of the liveliest and most cosmopolitan beaches on the Amalfi Coast. Marina Grande has two bathing establishments, which rent sun beds and umbrellas and provide changing rooms and showers, and a free area (spiaggia libera) in the middle. From here, you can rent a boat to Capri or to visit the nearby coves. At the northern edge of the beach, there are restaurants, bars and cafés, and at the eastern limit you can find the famous night club Music On the Rocks. HOW TO GET THERE The beach is about 700 meters away from the Sita Sud bus stop located at the crossroads of Via Cristoforo Colombo and Via Guglielmo Marconi. Although the beach is not hard to find, if you need directions, use the map below.
Castello di Punta Pagana is a castle located on the promontory of Punta Pagana, inside the private garden of Villa Spinola, in Rapallo. Together with the 16th-century Castle of Santa Margherita Ligure, located to the west, and the Castle-on-the-Sea from Rapallo, to the east, Castello di Punta Pagana it was part of a defense system built by the Republic of Genoa for the protection of the coast and villages on the western part of the Gulf of Tigullio. SHORT HISTORY The construction work of the fortress started in April 1625, comissioned by the Republic of Genoa and the municipalities of Rapallo, Recco, Chiavari, Moneglia and Sestri Levante. The structure became necessary due to the open hostility between the Genoese republic and Carlo Emanuele I of Savoy, Duke of Savoy, and for the fear of a possible attack by sea. The works were carried out quickly and, by December 1625, the structure was almost finished. In 1627, the moat with the drawbridge was completed and three years later, on July 1631, the fortress was placed under the service of the Republic of Genoa. Although the fortress was equipped with weapons, ammunition and gunpowder necessary for a sudden attack, it never Read more [...]
Chiosco della Musica (Music Kiosk) is a beautiful monument in Rapallo, built in Art Nouveau style and dedicated to the most important Italian and foreign composers in history. SHORT HISTORY At the beginning of the 20th century, the Italian immigrants of Rapallo in Latin America, desired the kiosk as a gift to the town they came from. The monument, 10 meters in diameter and 9 meters in height, with 12 columns supporting the dome, was designed by the architect Luigi Devoto and inaugurated on November 3, 1929. Inside the dome, work of the painter Giovanni Grifo, are depicted the following composers: Giuseppe Verdi, Gioachino Rossini, Vincenzo Bellini, Arrigo Boito, Ludwig van Beethoven, Daniel Auber, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Hector Berlioz and Christoph Willibald Gluck on the stalls; Johann Sebastian Bach, Gaspare Spontini, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Domenico Cimarosa, Georges Bizet, Amilcare Ponchielli, Charles Gounod, Gaetano Donizetti, Claudio Monteverdi, Georg Friedrich Handel, Franz Joseph Haydn and Giacomo Puccini in the medallions of the arches. Between the winter of 2009 and the spring of 2011, restoration work were carried out on the structure. The roof and the balustrades were renovated and the pictorial decorations were refreshed. On Read more [...]
Castello sul Mare (Castle-on-the-Sea) is a small castle in Rapallo, located on the waterfront Vittorio Veneto. The castle is the symbol of the town and was declared a national monument by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage. SHORT HISTORY The decision to build a castle for defensive purposes was taken after the events of July 4, 1549, when Rapallo suffered the assault of the Turkish pirate Dragut, who looted the town and kidnapped 22 young girls. The building, based on a design by Antonio de Càrabo, was begun in 1550, and the works were completed one year later. With the construction of the Castle of Rapallo, the entire western area of the Gulf of Tigullio was completed with a defensive system, which included also the castles of Portofino, Paraggi, Santa Margherita Ligure and the nearby Punta Pagana. The new mayor of Rapallo, Benedetto Fieschi Raggio, was able to inaugurate the castle on May 10, 1551, and asked the Genoese Senate for the necessary artillery to defend the castle. In the following years, the castle was modified several times, expanding its structure. In 1608, it became the seat of the captainship of Rapallo. Here, the captain had his office, while in Read more [...]
Palazzo della Regione Liguria is a palace in Genoa, located in Piazza De Ferrari, between the Palazzo Ducale and the Palazzo della Borsa. Today, the palace is the headquarters of the Regional Council of Liguria. SHORT HISTORY In 1908, the engineer Cesare Gamba bought the area near the Church of Sant’Ambrogio. In 1912, he presented to the Municipality the project of a building adjacent to the church, which sparked some controversy. Two years later, in 1914, he presented a new project, but the negotiations, suspended during the First World War, resumed only in 1920, when Gamba decided to sell the area to the Company of Italian General Navigation. After a series of variations approved by the Municipality between 1921 and 1923, the final project designed by Gamba in collaboration with the engineer Giuseppe Tallero was completed in 1924 – a monumental palace in Neo-Mannerist style, with a tripartite facade on a portico with round arches. Currently, the building is the seat of the Regional Council of Liguria. HOW TO GET THERE Palazzo della Regione Liguria is located in Piazza De Ferrari. The closest Metro and bus station is De Ferrari, about 80 meters away. By bus, you can Read more [...]
Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato is a beautiful church in Genoa, located in Piazza della Nunziata, in the Prè district. The building is one of the most representative churches of the Genoese art of the late Mannerism and early Baroque of the 17th century. SHORT HISTORY In 1228, a community of Humiliati friars from Lombardy built on this place a convent and a small church dedicated to Santa Maria del Prato. In 1508, the convent and the church were assigned to the Conventual Franciscan friars from the Convent of San Francesco di Castelletto. The Franciscans started a new construction, better suited for their liturgical needs. Work began on July 20, 1520, when the first stone was laid. The church was built in late Gothic style to respect the artistic style of the mother church of the Franciscan Order, the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi. In 1537, the Conventuals left the church to return to the Convent of San Francesco di Castelletto, and the church passed to the Observant Franciscan friars, forced to leave the Convent of the Santissima Annunziata di Portoria. Following the dictates of the Council of Trent, the basilica was radically transformed beginning with 1591. The Read more [...]
The Church of Jesus and the Saints Ambrogio and Andrea is a Baroque church in Genoa, located in Piazza Matteotti, near the Palazzo Ducale and the Piazza De Ferrari. The church, belonging to the Jesuits from the 16th century, hosts works by the Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens, the Italian artist Guido Reni and by the greatest authors of the Genoese Baroque. SHORT HISTORY The primitive church of Sant’Ambrogio dates back to the 6th century, when the Milanese clergy fled to Genoa, following the Lombard persecutions. The Genoese captivity of the Milanese bishops lasted until the middle of the 7th century, when the bishop Giovanni Bono (John the Good) returned to Milan. Around 1522, the old church passed into the hands of the Jesuits. In 1589, the Jesuits rebuilt the church to its current form, on a project by the architect Giuseppe Valeriano. The facade of the church was completely rebuilt in the second half of the 19th century. Completed in 1894, the facade included two statues of Sant’Ambrogio and Sant’Andrea, by Michele Ramognino. ART In the central nave and in the dome, we can find frescoes by the painter Giovanni Carlone and by his younger brother, Giovanni Read more [...]
The Church of Santa Chiara is a church located in Bogliasco, in Via Giuseppe Mazzini, dedicated to the Saint Clare of Assisi. Saint Clare of Assisi is one of the first followers of Saint Francis of Assisi. She founded the Order of Poor Ladies, known today as the Order of Poor Clares, a religious order for women, in the Franciscan tradition. SHORT HISTORY The local confraternity, devoted to Santa Chiara, was founded in 1403. The existence and works of the congregation are mentioned in numerous documents dated back to the 16th century. In a document dated 1582, the visit of Monsignor Francesco Bossi is attested, where the condition of the church and its furnishings was verified. The church was completely rebuilt and enlarged in the first half of the 17th century. ART Inside, we can find a wooden crucifix from 1712 by the sculptor Giovanni Battista Maragliano, son of the famous Baroque sculptor Anton Maria Maragliano. The crucifix was restored in 1988. Another interesting work of art is the large altarpiece depicting Saint Roch with Saint Pantaleone and Saint Firmina, dated 1759, of an unknown painter. Another valuable painting inside the church is the one depicting Saint Clare Read more [...]
The Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Chiesa della Natività di Maria Santissima) is a church located in Via Ammiraglio Giovanni Bettolo, in Bogliasco. SHORT HISTORY A church dedicated to the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary existed in Bogliasco Alto since the 12th century. The church was mentioned for the first time in a document dated December 3, 1182. The church was elevated to the title of parish in 1576. During the 17th century, various restoration works were carried out on the ancient religious building. The decision to build a new church in Bogliasco Basso was taken in the first half of the 18th century, and the design of the architect Giovanni Antonio Ricca was chosen. The works were started in 1731 and, by 1736, all the side altars were completed. One year later, in 1737, the entire building was finished. The church was consecrated on October 12, 1794, by the Archbishop of Genoa Giovanni Lercari. During the 19th century, the church underwent some restoration works, such as the frescoing of the vault in 1884 by the painter Virginio Grana and the changing of the wooden choir in 1742 by Andrea Bocciardo. ART The Read more [...]
The Sanctuary of Nostra Signora delle Grazie is a small chapel located in Via Giuseppe Mazzini, in Bogliasco, dedicated to Our Lady of Grace. SHORT HISTORY The chapel was probably built right after the terrible plague that struck the entire region of Liguria in 1657. A text from 1685 signed by a parish priest confirmed that the sanctuary already existed at that time. Following the construction of a new provincial road in the vicinity, the chapel was rebuilt in 1817 in its current position. On April 26, 1925, a new building was inaugurated here, on a project by the engineer Pietro Luxoro. On this occasion, a new altar donated by the Bigatti family was added in the chapel. ART Inside, the sanctuary preserves a painting on wood of an unknown author depicting the Virgin Mary. The chapel also has a substantial collection of votive offerings donated by believers, including four paintings by Domenico Gavarrone, two by Berto Ferrari and one by Piero Bozzo. HOW TO GET THERE The sanctuary is located about 700 meters away from the Bogliasco train station, or about 12 minutes on foot. To find the chapel easily, use the map below.
The Church of San Fedele is a church located in the heart of Milan, between Palazzo Marino and the Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery. The church was built in the 16th century by the will of the archbishop Carlo Borromeo, to house the Society of Jesus, and is dedicated to Saint Fidelis of Como. SHORT HISTORY An ancient church located on this place and dedicated to St. Fidelis of Como is mentioned in a bull of Pope Eugene III of 1147. In 1567, the structure was entrusted to the Jesuits, shortly after their arrival in Milan. The Jesuits started some restoration and enlargement works. In 1569, the archbishop Carlo Borromeo entrusted the construction of a new church to the architect Pellegrino Tibaldi, who completed the building in 1579. The consecration of the church took place in the same year. After the suppression of the Jesuit Order in 1773, the church was entrusted to the priests from the nearby Church of Santa Maria alla Scala. After the demolition of Santa Maria alla Scala in 1776 to make room for the Teatro alla Scala, the Church of San Fedele took the title of Santa Maria alla Scala in San Fedele, and was Read more [...]
Casa Manzoni is a palace located in Via Gerolamo Morone, in Milan, famous for beeing the home of the writer Alessandro Manzoni from 1814 to his death. Alessandro Manzoni was an Italian writer, poet and playwright, who is considered one of the greatest Italian novelists of all time for his famous novel The Betrothed, the cornerstone of the Italian literature. SHORT HISTORY In 1813, three years after Alessandro Manzoni returned to Milan, together with his wife Enrichetta Blondel and his mother Giulia Beccaria, after a five-year experience in Paris, he bought a new house in Via Morone. Manzoni moved to his new home a few months later, starting a series of modernization works, including the reconstruction of the facade oriented towards the Piazza Belgioioso. The current appearance of the facade is owed to the architect Andrea Boni, who, in 1864, at the request of Manzoni, rebuilt the palace in Neo-Renaissance style. The facade, inspired by the Lombard Renaissance architecture, is composed of elaborate terracotta decorations. Above all, the portal and the balcony stand out. Until a few years ago, the Lombard Historical Society and the National Center of Manzoni Studies were housed in the building, on the ground floor. Read more [...]
The Church of the Abbey of Misericordia (Chiesa dell’Abbazia della Misericordia) is a church located in Venice, in the sestiere of Cannaregio, overlooking the small square with the same name. SHORT HISTORY A first church was built on this place in 936. In the 13th century, the church was completely rebuilt, abandoning the Byzantine structure and acquiring a Gothic style. Starting with that moment, the building was linked to the history of the Moro family, who became protectors of the church. At first, the church was named Santa Maria di Val Verde and its history was connected to the nearby Scuola Grande of Santa Maria della Misericordia, which was built at the beginning of the 14th century. In 1659, the facade of the church was rebuilt, as it appears on a plate on the right, at the expense of the patrician and philosopher Gasparo Moro. In 1806, after the suppression of the Scuola della Misericordia, the church was turned into a military warehouse. Rescued from the demolition, it was renovated by the abbot Pietro Pianton between 1825 and 1864. After his death, everything was sold and the church was closed. In 1891, the church was assigned by the patriarch Read more [...]
The Church of Madonna dell’Orto is a beautiful Gothic church located in the sestiere of Cannaregio, in Venice. SHORT HISTORY The church was built by the religious congregation of Humiliati around the middle of the 14th century, and dedicated to God, to the Blessed Virgin and to Saint Christopher, the patron saint of travelers. Because of its weak foundations, the church underwent important restoration works in 1399. In 1414, the Council of Ten, one of the highest governing bodies of the Republic of Venice, granted the church the name of Madonna dell’Orto, which was already popular among the locals. The name came from a miraculous statue of the Madonna, brought to the church from a nearby garden (orto meaning garden in Italian). In 1462, the Humiliati were expelled by a decree of the same council, and the church was assigned to the congregation of the Canons Regular of San Giorgio in Alga, which was suppressed in 1668. The convent of the Madonna dell’Orto passed in 1669 to the Congregation of the Cistercian Monks, and in 1787 came under a public administration. In 1841, the Austrian government of Venice ordered a general restoration at its own expense. The restoration of Read more [...]
Palazzo Surian Bellotto is a palace with an impressive facade, located in Venice, in the sestiere of Cannaregio, overlooking the Canale di Cannaregio. SHORT HISTORY The palace was built by the Surian family in the 17th century, on a project attributed to the architect Giuseppe Sardi, who was also the author of the nearby Palazzo Savorgnan. At the end of the same century, the palace was ceded to the Bellottos. In the 18th century, it became the Venetian seat of the French embassy. During this period, the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau lived there. After the fall of the Republic of Venice, in the 19th century, the palace entered a long period of degradation, during which the sumptuous interiors and the beautiful decorations were irretrievably lost. Now, the palace is a private residence. ARCHITECTURE The best preserved and most important feature of Palazzo Surian is the large Baroque facade, which, with its four stories high, stands out above the neighboring buildings. The facade is asymmetrical, having the central axis shifted to the left. On the ground floor, there are two portals with curved masonry, inserted in an ashlar band. To the portals correspond, on the main floors, two pairs of Read more [...]
The Church of San Michele in Isola is a beautiful church dedicated to Saint Michael, located in Venice, on the island of San Michele, near the cemetery with the same name. SHORT HISTORY A first church was built on this place in 1221, but was destroyed by a fire in 1453. The current church dates back to the second half of the 15th century. More precisely, the church was built between 1468 and 1479 by the great architect Mauro Codussi, the same architect of the Church of San Zaccaria, the Vendramin Calergi Palace and the Clock Tower from the San Marco Square. In 1530, the architect Guglielmo Bergamasco built a hexagonal chapel to the left of the church, known as Cappella Emiliani. In 1560, the famous sculptor and architect Jacopo Sansovino renovated the church and the chapel. ARCHITECTURE The church has a tripartite facade divided by Ionic pilasters, with two superimposed levels. The lower one is characterized by a smooth ashlar, with a central portal with a triangular tympanum and two high arched windows in correspondence of the aisles. The upper level, included between the Ionic pilasters, has a large oculus, around which are arranged four polychrome marble Read more [...]
Palazzo Civran is a palace in Venice, located in the Cannaregio district, overlooking the Grand Canal, near the Fontego dei Tedeschi and the Rialto Bridge. SHORT HISTORY The Civran family owned the palazzo since the 14th century, when it was built in Gothic style. Currently, the building is state-owned and is home to the Guardia di Finanza. ARCHITECTURE The current appearance of the palace is the result of the last major restoration that took place in the first half of the 17th century, when the building was renovated in Late Renaissance style. The ground floor is built from ashlar blocks, having in the center a water portal with a round arch and a keystone with an anthropomorphic head. The mezzanine consists of four windows with small balconies with a metal railing. The main floor has a central single-lancet window similar to the water portal below, and two pairs of lateral single-lancet windows, all joined by a single continuous balcony. The second floor is formed by five equal single-lancet windows. All the windows of the first and second floors, except the central one of the piano nobile, are surmounted by triangular tympanums. HOW TO GET THERE The closest Read more [...]
Founded in the 9th century, the Church of San Giacomo dall’Orio is one of the oldest churches in Venice. The church, located in the Santa Croce district, in the Campo San Giacomo dall’Orio, is part of the same parish with the Church of San Stae and the Church of San Zan Degolà. SHORT HISTORY The church was erected in the 9th century and rebuilt in Byzantine style in 1225 by the noble families Badoer and Da Mula. Between the 15th and 16th centuries, the church was remodeled in Gothic style. From this church, the pilgrimages to Santiago di Compostela began, as evidenced by the image of a man carrying a shell placed on the bell tower. The tower dates back to 1225. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The interior is characterized by the coexistence of various architectural styles: the bell tower and the basilica plan with three naves belong to the Byzantine style, while the roof is Gothic and the decorations of the main altar and the central nave are Lombard. On the counter-facade, we can find the organ and, underneath, three 16th-century paintings attributable to Andrea Schiavone: Appeal of the Apostles, Dispute of Jesus with the doctors of the Read more [...]
Palazzo Soranzo Piovene is a beautiful palace in Venice, located in the Cannaregio district, overlooking the Grand Canal, between Palazzo Molin Erizzo and Palazzo Emo alla Maddalena. SHORT HISTORY The palace dates back to the early decades of the 16th century. The building was acquired by the Soranzo family and, in 1760, it passed to the Piovene family through the marriage between Cecilia Soranzo and Girolamo Piovene. Today, the palace is the seat of the Guardia di Finanza, which occupies the main floor and the mezzanine. The other part of the palazzo, built around a central courtyard, consists of private residences. ARCHITECTURE The project is traditionally attributed to the architect Sante Lombardo. The facade is characterized by two three-light windows, flanked on the right by two single windows and on the left by one. The windows are separated by four rectangular and two round decorations. Inside, the atrium and the staircase are remarkable. The palace is enriched by an internal courtyard with a well, on the back of which there is a second wing. The palace has also a garden. HOW TO GET THERE The palace is located about 450 meters away from the vaporetto stop of Read more [...]
Palazzo Molin Querini, also known as Palazzo Molin alla Maddalena, is a palace located in the Cannaregio district, in Venice, overlooking the Grand Canal at the point where it merges with the Rio della Maddalena. The palace is next to Palazzo Emo alla Maddalena. SHORT HISTORY Before passing to the Querini family, the palace belonged to the ancient Molin family, from which the Doge Francesco Molin was part. In the 18th century, in the palace lived another important member of the Molin family, the Bishop of Brescia Giovanni Molin. The last reconstruction of the palace dates back to the 18th century. ARCHITECTURE The palace presents a facade divided in two. On the left, there is the water portal, surmounted by a Palladian window (a Palladian window, or serliana, is an architectural element composed of a round arched central window, symmetrically flanked by two rectangular windows), and three separate windows. On the right, we can find two rectangular windows, facing the Rio della Maddalena. In addition to the ground floor and the main floor (piano nobile), there is also a mezzanine, an upper floor and an attic. The palace has a very small interior courtyard. HOW TO GET Read more [...]
Palazzo Emo alla Maddalena is a palace built in Baroque style in Venice, overlooking the Grand Canal, between Palazzo Molin Querini and Palazzo Soranzo Piovene. SHORT HISTORY The palace was built at the beginning of the 17th century, and aquired around 1616 by the Emo family, for the marriage of Alvise Emo with Eleonora Rodriguez of the Diego family. The palace was bought with a part of her dowry. Around the middle of the 18th century, the owners were Francesco and Gerolamo Emo, who completed around the same time the adjacent Molin Querini Palace. ARCHITECTURE The facade is divided into two parts, having a double orientation, both towards the Grand Canal and to the Rio della Maddalena. The facade is spread over four floors, presenting a ground floor, a mezzanine, a piano nobile and an attic. The expressive power of the facade is concentrated in the group consisting of the water portal and the overlying serliana (a serliana, or Palladian window, is an architectural element composed of a round arched central section, symmetrically flanked by two rectangular windows, surmounted by a lintel). On the main floor, there are also single windows, two on the right and three on Read more [...]
The Church of Sant’Alvise is a Gothic church in Venice, located in the Cannaregio district, overlooking the homonymous square. The church is dedicated to Saint Louis of Toulouse, a Neapolitan prince from the House of Anjou canonized in 1317, known in Venice as Sant’Alvise. SHORT HISTORY The church of Sant’Alvise was built in 1383, together with the nearby convent, by the noblewoman Antonia Venier, after the saint appeared to her in a dream. Later, Antonia Venier retired in the monastery, following the Augustinian rule. At the beginning of the 16th century, other Augustinian nuns were welcomed here, after they escaped from the territories affected by the War of the League of Cambrai. The church underwent a major reconstruction in the 17th century, which largely changed the interior. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church is built in Gothic style, having a basilica plan. The facade, very simple, is delimited by six protruding pilasters, connected by ogival arches. The portal in Istrian stone is enriched by a statue of Sant’Alvise in marble, attributed to Bartolomeo Bon. The bell tower retained its original Gothic appearance of the 14th century. It was built in terracotta, with a pinecone cusp and spiers at the Read more [...]
The Church of Santa Maria di Nazareth, known locally as Chiesa degli Scalzi, is a wonderful church in Venice, located near the Santa Lucia railway station and the beautiful Ponte degli Scalzi. The church is the seat of the religious Order of the Discalced Carmelites (or the Barefoot Carmelites, scalzi meaning barefoot in Italian). SHORT HISTORY After the Discalced Carmelites settled in Venice in 1633, they asked the architect Baldassare Longhena to build a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The construction of the edifice began in 1656, funded by the Venetian diplomat Girolamo Cavazza, and was completed in 1689 by Giuseppe Pozzo, seven years after Longhena’s death. The church was consecrated in 1705 and the Order of the Discalced Carmelites used it together with the adjacent convent until the beginning of the 19th century. In 1810, they left the church, returning 30 years later, in 1840. The church of Santa Maria di Nazareth was restored between 1853 and 1862, while only a few years later, with the appearance of the Santa Lucia train station, the convent was demolished. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church was built in Baroque style between 1672 and 1680 by the Read more [...]
The Church of San Rocco and San Francesco di Paola is a church in Pizzo, located at the northern limit of the historical center of the town. SHORT HISTORY In 1578, the plague hit Pizzo and, to put an end to the epidemic, the local people prayed to Saint Roch. The saint answered their prayers and the city was saved. The following year, to please the saint, the locals decided to build a church in his honor. The adjacent convent was built at the same time for the monks belonging to the Order of Minims, founded by Saint Francis of Paola. At the end of the 18th century, the religious orders were suppressed throughout Italy by Napoleon Bonaparte, including the Order of Minims who resided in the convent. In 1905, another earthquake seriously damaged the church, and the reconstruction works were completed only in 1930. In 2013, the church was dedicated to Saint Francis of Paola. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, painted in pale yellow, is 18 meters high, and is adjacent to a bell tower 23 meters high. The facade is decorated by a polychrome rosette, a tympanum and two niches in which are Read more [...]
Bellamana Beach is a small beach located in Pizzo, a few meters away from the historical center of the town. The beach is about 100 meters long and is situated in a small bay at the foot of the rock on which the Murat Castle magnificently stands. In the evening, the promenade around the beach, along the Lungomare Cristoforo Colombo, becomes a meeting point for young people, thanks to the numerous clubs, cafes and restaurants that populate the area. HOW TO GET THERE The Bellamana Beach is located about 1.3 kilometers away from the Pizzo railway station, or about 20 minutes on foot. To find the beach in no time, use the map below.
Fontana del Commercio (Fountain of Commerce) is a beautiful fountain located in Piazza della Repubblica, the main square of Pizzo Calabro. SHORT HISTORY The project of the fountain was approved on June 16, 1857, by the mayor Emanuele Alcalà, without the possibility of building it in the immediate future, due to lack of funds. The fountain was realized seven years later, in 1864, on a project by the architect Giuseppe Santulli di Monteleone, for an amount of 1029 ducats. For the construction of the fountain was used the granite from the base of an equestrian statue in marble destroyed in 1860. ARCHITECTURE The fountain from Piazza della Repubblica is made of granite, with a shell in the center, containing a stylized dolphin inside. The water comes out of seven nozzles, one placed in the central shell, and the other placed in the mouths of six human and anthropomorphic figures. HOW TO GET THERE Fontana del Commercio is located in Piazza della Repubblica, about 1.4 kilometers away from the Pizzo railway station. To find it on foot, use the map below.
The Chapel of Madonnina del Mare is a chapel built in a small cave in Via San Francesco da Paola, in Scilla. In the chapel, on a marble altar, there is a bronze sculpture of the Virgin and Child. Because is near the entrance to the Port of Scilla, the statue is also known as Madonnina del Porto. SHORT HISTORY The cave in which the altar stands today is the result of the excavations carried out by the German troops during the Second World War, when the soldiers tried to create a shelter against bombing. The Via San Francesco da Paola was built around the middle of the 20th century, and the statue of the Virgin, work of the sculptor Monteleone, was placed in the cave in 1953. During the 1970s, the tunnel that surrounds the rock of Scilla, in which the chapel is found today, was also built. HOW TO GET THERE The Chapel of Madonnina del Mare is located about 750 meters away from the Scilla train station. To find the chapel on foot, use the map below.
Fontana Storica della Sirena is a beautiful fountain located in the Chianalea district, in Scilla, about 100 meters away from the picturesque Port of Scilla. Of modern construction, the fountain is located in Via Grotte, in a small open space between the buildings. The sculpture recalls the myth of the Scylla mermaid, to which Scilla is closely linked. ARCHITECTURE The fountain’s basin is built in brick and stone. The upper part presents a sculpture of a rock made of concrete, which supports an enamelled terracotta statue depicting a mermaid holding a shell in her hands. Behind this composition, another large shell acts as a background. HOW TO GET THERE The fountain is located about 800 meters away from the Scilla railway station. To find the fountain on foot, use the map below.
The Church of the Immaculate Conception (Chiesa dell’Immacolata) is a church in Scilla, located in the immediate vicinity of the Ruffo Castle. SHORT HISTORY Ancient Greek parchments speak about the existence of a church on this place since the early centuries of Christianity, linked more or less to the fortress built nearby around the 5th century. During the Norman domination of the area, the church was dedicated to the Madonna dell’Itria, a title widely used by the Greek churches and imported later to the southern Italy. Following the earthquakes of 1509 and 1599, the church, badly damaged, was rebuilt and enlarged. This new church was dedicated to the Holy Virgin under the title of the Immaculate Conception. During the earthquake of February 5, 1783, the roof and the magnificent dome collapsed. Two days later, the whole central vault fell. The church was rebuilt in brick and stone between 1825 and 1875. In 1894, the church was damaged again, and extensive restorations became necessary. On this occasion, the bell towers were lowered and the brick vault was replaced by a wooden roof. At the beginning of 20th century, the interior of the church was beautifully frescoed, but it was destroyed Read more [...]
The Church of San Rocco is a relatively new church in Scilla, dedicated to Saint Roch, the patron saint of the town, located in the homonymous square, in Piazza San Rocco. SHORT HISTORY The cult of San Rocco was probably born in Scilla in the 15th century, when the area was hit by a plague and the saint was credited for saving the locals. Around that time, Scilla had important commercial relations with Venice, where the relics of San Rocco were held. In the 16th century, one of the saint’s statues was transported from Venice to Scilla, and San Rocco became the patron saint of the town. The Church of San Rocco was built in 1738, on the site of a former church dedicated to St. George. The church was heavily hit by the earthquakes of 1783 and 1908, being rebuilt each time. The today’s church is the result of a rebuilding started in the 1970s and completed in August 1990. The rebuilding was made with the help of the local people, and it became necessary after the damage suffered by the building during the Second World War. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, with two Read more [...]
The Church of Santa Maria di Porto Salvo is a 18th-century church located in a small square in the center of the Chianalea district, in Scilla. SHORT HISTORY The church was built in 1700 by the Brotherhood of Santa Maria di Porto Salvo, in the beautiful Chianalea district. The church was damaged by the cataclysms of 1783 and 1908, but it was not completely destroyed. Each time, it was rebuilt at the expense of the inhabitants of the neighborhood. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church, with a rectangular plan and a single nave, is a beautiful example of the 18th-century architecture, for its harmonious and delicate style, both on the outside and inside. The facade, of a dirty white color, has four pilasters with a very high base, surmounted by a triangular body with a cross at the top. In the center of the frontispiece, there is a circular tondo representing Maria Santissima di Porto Salvo. Between the external and internal pilasters, there are two cornices with a rectangular shape and concave corners, while between the two central pilasters is the wooden portal from the 18th-century, divided into six squares surrounded by frames. Inside, there were five altars, all Read more [...]
Palazzo Martinelli-Meo Evoli is a palace built along the ancient walls of Monopoli, close to the Old Port of the city and the Castle of Charles V. SHORT HISTORY The palace was owned, at first, by the Bandino family, then by the Carbonelli and Lentini families and finally by the Martinelli family, who bought it at the end of the 18th century. The Martinellis were a wealthy family from Mola, relocated here in the second half of the 18th entury, attracted by the commercial opportunities offered by Monopoli. ARCHITECTURE The building, on three levels, overlooks the Porto Vecchio. The long facade has 18th-century windows, while the monumental entrance portal and the balconies on the first floor were built in the Neo-Gothic style around the mid-19th century. The loggia, built on a portico with three arches, produces a remarkable scenographic effect, overlooking the port with eight ogival arches in Neo-Gothic style, and a balcony with balustrade. Inside, beyond the wide entrance hall, there is a courtyard with a beautiful open staircase and an 18th-century loggia on three levels. HOW TO GET THERE Palazzo Martinelli is located about 1.3 kilometers away from the Monopoli railway station. To find it Read more [...]
Porto Vechio (Old Port) is an ancient port in Monopoli, located at the northen limit of the historical center of the city. The port is the true home of the typical fishing boats called gozzi (or vozz, in the local dialect), almost 5 meters long, usually painted in bright red and blue. Porto Vecchio, with its red lighthouse, the Castle of Charles V, the beautiful Palazzo Martinelli-Meo Evoli and the typical colorful gozzi boats, is, by far, the most picturesque area of Monopoli. SHORT HISTORY The history of the Old Port of Monopoli is lost in time and probably coincides with the history of the city itself. Archaeological excavations carried out between 1985 and 2011, have shown the existence of a Messapian city of the 6th century BC, equipped with fortifications overlooking the ancient port. The cove of the ancient port was protected from the winds and had an important natural basin, and it seems beyond doubt that this basin was the place from which the today’s city began to develop. Around the first century AD, the Roman city possessed a large gate with direct access to the quay area. The defensive structure is currently incorporated in the Castle Read more [...]
The Castle of Charles V is a 16th century fortress in Monopoli, built during the Spanish domination of the city. The castle is located in the historical center of the city, on a promontory called Punta Pinna, near the Old Port of Monopoli. SHORT HISTORY The castle was built in the first half of the 16th century by the Emperor Charles V, as part of the coastal fortification system of the area. The works were carried out under the supervision of the Viceroy Don Pedro of Toledo or, according to other versions, under the Marquis Don Ferrante Loffredo, and were finished in 1552. In 1600, the fortress was enlarged and restructured, both on the outside and inside, transforming the castle from a purely defensive structure to a residential one. In the first half of the 19th century, the castle became a prison, which was abolished only in 1969. After it was abandoned for some time, the castle was consolidated in the 1990s and is now used as a venue for important cultural events, such as painting and photography exhibitions. ARCHITECTURE The plan of the castle is enriched by pentagonal bastions. The main entrance is found to the south, Read more [...]
There are at least two things in Polignano a Mare which remind of the great Italian singer Domenico Modugno. The first is the seafront which bears his name, located in the northwestern part of the city, and the second is the statue dedicated to him, in the immediate vicinity. THE ARTIST Domenico Modugno was born in Polignano a Mare, on January 9, 1928. When he was little, his father taught him to play the guitar and accordion. He wrote his first song at the age of 15. Later, he became a leading figure in theater, television, radio and cinematography. Domenico Modugno won the San Remo Music Festival – the most popular Italian song contest, four times. He starred in 45 films and recorded 230 songs. His most famous song, Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu, universally known as Volare, was released in 1958 and became one of the best-known songs in the world, translated into more than 20 languages. On August 26, 1993, Domenico Modugno held in Polignano a Mare the last major concert of his career, attended by 70,000 people. One year later, he died of heart attack on the island of Lampedusa. THE STATUE The statue, three Read more [...]
Palazzo dell’Orologio (Clock Palace) is a small palace located in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, in the historical center of Polignano a Mare. SHORT HISTORY The palace has medieval origins and was once the seat of the city’s Town Hall. The two ground floor rooms were used as a warehouse for a while and, later, the room in the back was converted into a prison, as attested by the grating which is still visible in Via Tanese Innocente. In the second half of the 18th century, a clock was added to the facade, replacing an old sundial. A small part of the sundial is still visible today, under the clock. ARCHITECTURE The palace is built on three floors, with a facade embelished by decorations in Rococo style, particularly visible around windows, which hide the medieval origins of the building. Between the two windows of the first floor, under the clock, we can find the town’s coat of arms. Above the clock, in a niche, there is the statue of San Vito, the patron saint of Polignano a Mare. The statue is surmounted by a beautiful bell gable. HOW TO GET THERE Palazzo dell’Orologio is located about 750 meters Read more [...]
Lama Monachile Beach, also known as Cala Porto, is a small public beach in Polignano a Mare, located near the historical center of the city. The beach, enclosed between two rocky walls, is probably the most photographed spot on the Apulian coast. The beach is about 40 meters wide and is made entirely of pebbles. The water is very clear, but the beach doesn’t get too much sunshine during the day, due to the high cliffs flanking it. Lama Monachile has a Blue Flag certification and, since 2008, the beach and the nearby waters are the scene of the Red Bull Cliff Diving competition. HOW TO GET THERE The beach is located about 800 meters away from the Polignano a Mare train station, or about 12 minutes on foot. From the train station, walk along Viale delle Rimembranze, make left on Via Pompeo Sarnelli and, when you reach Piazza Giuseppe Verdi, search the staircase which leads to the beach, located near the Bridge of Lama Monachile.
The Church of San Giovanni Battista Decollato (Saint John the Baptist Beheaded), abbreviated in the Venetian dialect as San Zan Degolà, is a church located in the sestiere of Santa Croce, in Venice. SHORT HISTORY The church was founded in the 8th century, but the first documented information dates back to the beginning of the 11th century, when the church was rebuilt by the Venier family, residing in a palace nearby. In 1213, the church was renovated at the expense of the Pesaro family, and again in 1703, when the current facade and the bell tower were built. In 1807, the Napoleonic decrees suppressed the parish and led to the deconsecration of the church, which was transformed into a warehouse. In 1818, the church was reopened and assigned to the parish of San Giacomo dall’Orio, to which it still belongs as a vicarial church. Today, the church is the seat of the Russian Orthodox Christian community and the liturgies are held regularly every week. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church is one of the rare examples of Venetian-Byzantine architecture that remained fairly intact in its original conception up to the present day. Only the facade and the bell tower Read more [...]
Palazzo Contarini Fasan, also called Casa di Desdemona (House of Desdemona), is one of the smallest palaces overlooking the Grand Canal, located in the sestiere of San Marco, in Venice. SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Contarini was built around 1475 and belonged to the Contarini family. The name Fasan is probably derived from the passion of its owners for hunting pheasants. Thanks to legend, the palace is traditionally considered the home of Desdemona, a character in William Shakespeare’s play Othello. ARCHITECTURE The palace has a Gothic facade developed in height, on three floors, with no access to water. On the ground floor, there are 3 small rectangular windows. On the first floor, there are three lancet windows separated by white stone columns, and a balcony. On the second floor, we can find two lancet windows, and between them, under a small square opening, there is the large coat of arms of the Contarini family, in bas-relief. The top of the facade is crossed by a jagged cornice, under which can be observed the traces of the 15th-century frescoes that once embellished the entire facade. HOW TO GET THERE The closest waterbus station is Giglio, on the Line 1, but Read more [...]
Palazzo Smith Mangilli Valmarana is a palace overlooking the Grand Canal, located in the sestiere of Cannaregio, in Venice. The palace is known above all as the residence of Joseph Smith, the British consul in Venice between 1744 and 1760. John Smith was also a patron of arts and a collector, the agent of Canaletto for several years and the facilitator for the purchases of his works by the British aristocrats. SHORT HISTORY Originally, the palace was a Byzantine Gothic building, owned by the Trevisan nobles from 1518 to 1666, and later by the Ceffis family. In 1740, the palace became the seat of the English Embassy and the residence of Smith, and it was transformed according to the taste of the era. In 1743, the painter Antonio Visentini designed the new facade of the palace and started the works, which were completed in 1751. Smith died in 1770, and the palace was sold by his widow to the Count Giuseppe Mangilli in 1784. The count added the two top floors and entrusted the redecoration of the interior to the architect Giannantonio Selva, who also built the La Fenice Theater. Later, the palace was sold to the Valmarana family. Read more [...]