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One of the most beautiful countries in the world, Italy is well known for its rich art and culture, and for its numerous landmarks. With 54 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than any other country in the world, and an estimated 100,000 monuments of any sort (churches, palaces, museums, fountains, sculptures and archaeological remains), Italy is home to about half of the world’s artistic treasures. And if you are looking for inspiration, find below a list of the most famous tourist attractions …

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    Palazzo Gianfigliazzi Bonaparte

    Palazzo Gianfigliazzi Bonaparte is a palace in Florence, located on Lungarno Corsini, about 60 meters away from Ponte Santa Trinita.   SHORT HISTORY Until the end of the 18th century, Palazzo Gianfigliazzi Bonaparte was the property of the noble Gianfigliazzi family, who also owned the adjacent Palazzo Gianfigliazzi. In 1825, the palace was bought by Louis Bonaparte, the younger brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, and the former King of Holland in exile. Later, the palace was used as a hotel called Delle Quattro Nazioni (Of the Four Nations). In 1827, as a plaque on the facade recalls, the Italian writer and poet Alessandro Manzoni lived there for a month. Around the middle of the 19th century, the palace was owned by the Lamporecchi family, who sold it to the Belgian Van der Linden d’Hooghvorst. At that time, the building was restored by the architect Bartolommeo Silvestri, who rearranged the windows on the facade and closed the panoramic loggia on the top floor. Changes were also made to the interior, where the halls were renovated to host sumptuous receptions. At the end of the 19th century, Palazzo Gianfigliazzi Bonaparte was sold to the Cesaroni Venanzi family. Today, it belongs to the Campodonico Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Gianfigliazzi

    Palazzo Gianfigliazzi is a palace in Florence, located on Lungarno Corsini, about 50 meters away from Ponte Santa Trinita.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built by the Ruggerini family in the 13th century, then passed to the Fastelli-Petribuoni family. At the beginning of the 15th century, it became the property of the Gianfigliazzi family. In the 17th century, the palace was renovated by the architect Gherardo Silvani. Towards the middle of the following century, it was rented to Princess Louise of Stolberg-Gedern, wife of Charles Edward Stuart, pretender to the English throne. In 1853, the building passed to the Masetti family, who enlarged it by one floor and changed the arrangement of the windows on the facade. Today, Palazzo Gianfigliazzi belongs to a real estate company, and houses the 4-Star hotel Palazzo Alfieri Residenza d’Epoca.   HOW TO GET THERE Palazzo Gianfigliazzi is located about 1 kilometer away from the Santa Maria Novella railway station. The closest bus stop is Frescobaldi, located in Piazza de’ Frescobaldi, about 180 meters away, on the bus Lines 11, C3 and C4.

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    Ponte Santa Trinita

    Ponte Santa Trinita is a beautiful bridge in Florence, located on the Arno River, which connects Piazza Santa Trinita to Piazza de’ Frescobaldi.   SHORT HISTORY Ponte Santa Trinita was built in wood in 1252, thanks to Filippo Ugoni, Mayor of Florence, at the behest of the noble Frescobaldi family, and took the name of the nearby Basilica of Santa Trinita. In 1259, the bridge collapsed under the weight of the crowd watching a show on the Arno. It was rebuilt in stone, but was destroyed again by the great flood of 1333. The subsequent rebuilding lasted fifty years, and was completed in 1415. In 1557, Ponte Santa Trinita was again deteriorated by a flood, and Cosimo I commissioned Bartolomeo Ammannati to build a new bridge, based on a design by Michelangelo. The construction began in 1567, and the work was completed in 1571. The bridge was destroyed by the retreating Germans on August 4, 1944, at the end of the Second World War. In 1952, the architect Riccardo Gizdulich began to supervise the reconstruction works, together with the engineer Emilio Brizzi. The reconstructed bridge was inaugurated on March 16, 1958.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The bridge is built in Read more [...]

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    Palazzo della Borsa

    Palazzo della Borsa is a large palace in Florence, located on Lungarno Diaz, about 100 meters away from the Uffizi Gallery.   SHORT HISTORY The area in which the palace currently stands was occupied until the mid-19th century by Tiratoio delle Grazie, an edifice belonging to the guild of Arte della Lana (Wool Art). When the ancient guilds were dissolved by the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo, the site was chosen for a large building suitable for housing the Chamber of Commerce, the Stock Exchange and the Tuscan National Bank. Palazzo della Borsa was built between 1858 and 1860 on a project by the young architect Michelangelo Maiorfi, reworked with significant changes by Emilio De Fabris. Around 1915, the entrance from Piazza dei Giudici was opened, and some internal works were carried out based on a project by the architect Ugo Giusti. An intervention by the architect Ezio Cerpi, which led to the raising of the entire attic, thus obtaining the second floor and bringing the structure to its current volume, is dated to 1931. The smooth plaster on the facade and the construction of a large hall in the eastern side of the palace, intended for the Stock Exchange, date Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Malenchini Alberti

    Palazzo Malenchini Alberti is a palace in Florence, located in Via dei Benci, at the intersection with Lungarno Generale Diaz.   SHORT HISTORY The noble family of Alberti di Catenaia settled in this area of Florence in the first half of the 13th century. The family purchased several properties and merged them to form a large structure in which they resided. Between 1760 and 1763, the fronts of the buildings were unified into a single facade, on the initiative of Giovan Vincenzo Alberti, Count of the Holy Roman Empire. Giovan Vincenzo’s son, Leon Battista, died without heirs in 1836, and the palace passed to a nephew belonging to the Mori Ubaldini family. Between 1838 and 1839, the new family renovated the palace, under the direction of the architect Vittorio Bellini. Other interventions took place between 1849 and 1851 by the architects Odoardo Razzi and Niccolò Salvi. The first created the Neo-Renaissance facade, inaugurated in 1850. The second took care of the loggia on the northern side of the palace’s garden. At the end of the 19th century, the palace was bought at auction by the Dukes of Chaulnes, distant descendants of the Alberti. In 1887, they left Florence, and the Read more [...]

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    Piazza Santa Croce

    Piazza Santa Croce is a beautiful square in Florence, located in the eastern part of the historical center of the city.   SHORT HISTORY On this area, in ancient times, there was an island formed by two arms of the Arno River. The Franciscans, who arrived in Florence around 1226, chose this isolated area for their settlement. Similarly to Piazza Santa Maria Novella, where the Dominicans settled, Piazza Santa Croce was born about a century later, to accommodate the crowds of faithful arriving on pilgrimage to the Basilica of Santa Croce. During the Renaissance, the rectangular shape of the square made it the ideal place for knightly jousting, games and popular competitions, such as Calcio Storico Fiorentino. In Piazza Santa Croce, took place the famous game of February 17, 1530, during the siege of the city. Around that time, the square was bordered by wooden barriers that permanently delimited the area destined for games. At the end of the 18th century, under the rule of Pietro Leopoldo, Grand Duke of Tuscany, the wooden barriers were replaced by stone pillars that can still be seen today.   ARCHITECTURE The most important building in Piazza Santa Croce is, without doubt, the Basilica Read more [...]

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    Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali

    Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali, also known as Palazzo Lavison, is an imposing palace in Florence, located in Piazza della Signoria, across the square from Palazzo Vecchio.   SHORT HISTORY Around 1864, some buildings in the area, such as the ancient Tower of the Infangati (Torre degli Infangati), the Church of Santa Cecilia, the seat of Arte del Cambio and the Pisani Loggia (Loggia dei Pisani), were demolished. In 1871, the Baron Edoardo Lavison commissioned the architect Giovanni Carlo Landi to build a palace in their place. In 1872, on the corner with Via Vacchereccia, the Rivoire Café was opened by the chocolatier and pastry chef Enrico Rivoire, which became over time one of the most famous places in Florence. After it was owned by the Fenzi banking family, the palace was purchased at the beginning of the 20th century by the Assicurazioni Generali company. Between 2010 and 2011, the palace was the subject of a structural consolidation and rehabilitation intervention. It was inaugurated in January 2012, under the new name of Palazzo del Leone.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the palace develops on four floors. On the ground floor, there are 9 arches occupied by large windows, except for the Read more [...]

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    Piazza Santa Maria Novella

    Piazza Santa Maria Novella is a beautiful square in Florence, located in the western part of the historical center of the city.   SHORT HISTORY The square was built starting with 1287 on the initiative of the Municipality of Florence, and completed around 1325. Later, the square became, thanks to its size, the setting for competitions such as Palio dei Cocchi (a race with carriages), established by Cosimo I in 1563. The two marble obelisks, works of Bartolomeo Ammannati, were erected around the same time. Closed to traffic in the late 1980s, the square was recently restylized, and a new pavement was added.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella dominates the square. Completed in Renaissance style by Leon Battista Alberti in 1470, at the behest of the wealthy merchant Giovanni Rucellai, the beautiful facade of the church can be admired from any point in the square. On the southern side of Piazza Santa Maria Novella, there is the loggia of the Hospital of Saint Paul (Ospedale di San Paolo), founded in the 13th century and enlarged in the 15th century, with the addition of a portico. Today, the building houses Museo Novecento, dedicated to the Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of Santi Pietro e Donato

    The Cathedral of Santi Pietro e Donato is the Cathedral of Arezzo, located in Piazza del Duomo, on top of the San Pietro Hill.   SHORT HISTORY An important event, which contributed to the construction of the Cathedral, was the visit to Arezzo of Pope Gregorio X, which took place on December 20, 1275, on his return from the Council of Lyon. The Pope, seriously ill, died in Arezzo on January 10, leaving the sum of thirty gold florins for the building of the new Cathedral. In 1277, the decree of bishop Guglielmo degli Ubertini was promulgated, which stated the desire to build a church “to the honor of God, of the Blessed Virgin and of the patron Saint Donatus”. In 1289, the year of the Battle of Campaldino, the church, already consecrated, presented a fully built apse and the first two bays. In 1384, when Arezzo was annexed to the Tuscan state dominated by Florence, the construction of the Cathedral was stopped. The works were resumed only in 1471, and were completed in 1511. In the early 17th century, following the new rules of the Council of Trent, a modernization operation was carried out, with the renewal of the Read more [...]

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    Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici

    Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici is a 14th-century palace in Arezzo, located in the beautiful Piazza Grande. The palace houses the organization of Fraternita dei Laici, an institution founded in 1262, still active today and very involved in projects of social and cultural interest.   SHORT HISTORY The palace, started in 1375, was completed only in the second half of the 16th century. Between 1550 and 1560, the facade was finished with the construction of the balcony and the lunar phases of the Aristotelian-Ptolemaic clock, built in 1552 by Felice di Salvatore Vannucci. The part of the palace towards the apse of the Church of Santa Maria della Pieve was completed in the second half of the 16th century, following a project by Giorgio Vasari. The renovation of Palazzo della Fraternita in 1781, supported by the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo di Lorena, led to the opening of the Library to the public. Today, the palace houses the Fraternita dei Laici Museum, reopened in 2010.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The original painting of Christ from the external lunette of the central portal, work of Spinello Aretino, was replaced by a copy at the end of the 1970s, and is now in Read more [...]

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    Palazzo delle Logge

    Palazzo delle Logge, also known as Logge Vasari, is a large Renaissance-style palace in Arezzo, located in the beautiful Piazza Grande.   SHORT HISTORY In 1384, Arezzo was annexed to the Tuscan state dominated by Florence, and during the following centuries the Florentine influence became visible in the architecture of the city. In 1560, Piazza Grande changed radically, at the behest of Cosimo I de’ Medici. As a demonstration of the strength of the Florentine lordship, he demolished Palazzo del Popolo, Palazzo del Comune and other buildings located in the northern part of the square. The new layout of the square was designed by Giorgio Vasari, who started Palazzo delle Logge in 1573, one year before his death. The palace was completed in 1595 by the architect Alfonso Parigi.   ARCHITECTURE Palazzo delle Logge has a bright, yellow facade, on which the profiles of the architectural elements – pillars, arches, cornices, and windows with low arched tympanum, stand out. The palace has a long portico under which the entrances of the ancient shops, with the characteristic parapets, open. In the center of the loggia, a short staircase connects Piazza Grande with Piazza del Praticino, located higher on the San Pietro Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria della Pieve

    The Church of Santa Maria della Pieve is a Romanesque church in Arezzo, located in Corso Italia, with the apse facing Piazza Grande.   SHORT HISTORY The first documented information about a church in this area dates back to the year 1008. However, the current structure was begun in the 12th century, thanks to the funds provided by the Municipality of Arezzo. In the 13th century, a new facade was built, while the high bell-tower was completed only in 1330. During the 16th century and later, the interior of the church was modified with stucco and Baroque-style decorations. In the 19th century, a renovation eliminated all the Baroque decorations, with the aim of restoring the church to its original Romanesque appearance.   ARCHITECTURE The facade overlooking Corso Italia, rebuilt in the 13th century, has three loggias supported by small columns. The two lower loggias are arched, and the third is surmounted by an architrave. The apse overlooking Piazza Grande is divided vertically into three superimposed orders – the first is made up of blind arches, while the second and the third of loggias. The church has four portals, three on the main facade, separated by blind arches, and one on Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Santa Chiara

    The Basilica of Santa Chiara is a church in Gothic style in Assisi, located in the homonymous square, in the southern part of the historical center of the town. The church is dedicated to Saint Clare of Assisi, founder of the Order of Poor Clares, known today as the Order of Saint Clare.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built after the death of Saint Clare, between 1257 and 1265, around the ancient Church of San Giorgio, which kept the remains of Saint Francis until 1230. The construction works were carried out by the architect Filippo da Campello. The remains of Saint Clare were transferred in 1260 to the new basilica, while the solemn consecration of the church took place in 1265, in the presence of Pope Clement IV. The crypt that now houses the tomb of the saint was built only in 1850.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The architectural style of the church is Gothic, and closely resembles the almost contemporary Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi. The exterior of the church is characterized by three large polygonal buttresses, which reinforce the left side of the structure. The facade is made of rows of white and pink stone. The Read more [...]

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    Ponte Sant’Angelo

    Ponte Sant’Angelo, also known as Pons Aelius (Aelian Bridge), Pons Hadriani (Hadrian’s Bridge) or Ponte di Castello (Castle Bridge), is an ancient bridge in Rome, which connects Piazza di Ponte Sant’Angelo to the Lungotevere Castello, in front of the Sant’Angelo Castle.   SHORT HISTORY The bridge was built in the year 134 by the emperor Hadrian, based on a project by a certain Demetrianus, to connect his mausoleum, now Castel Sant’Angelo, to the left bank of the Tiber River. Ponte Sant’Angelo was covered with travertine and had three arches, which could be accessed by ramps. The ramps were supported by three minor arches on the left bank of the river and two on the right bank, but were destroyed in 1893 for the construction of the river banks. In July 472, the bridge was used by the Gothic troops of Ricimer to attack the eastern part of the city, defended by the Roman emperor Anthemius. In the Middle Ages, Ponte Sant’Angelo was used by pilgrims on their way to the Saint Peter’s Basilica, and was also known as the Bridge of Saint Peter (Pons Sancti Petri). In 1535, Pope Clement VII had the statues of Saint Peter and Saint Paul Read more [...]

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    Palazzo del Quirinale

    Palazzo del Quirinale is a historic palace in Rome, located on the homonymous hill, overlooking the homonymous square. The palace was the official residence of the King of Italy since 1870, and is the residence of the President of the Italian Republic since 1946.   SHORT HISTORY Before the construction of the Quirinal Palace, on this site was a building known as Villa di Monte Cavallo, one of the Roman residences of Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este. In 1583, Pope Gregory XIII began an expansion of the villa, to make it a real summer residence. The project was entrusted to the architect Ottaviano Mascherino and the works were completed in 1585. The successor of Gregory XIII, Pope Sixtus V, decided in 1587 to buy the villa with the intention of making it the summer residence of the pontiff. With the help of the architect Domenico Fontana, he expanded the palace and remodeled the entire area. Pope Paul V was the pontiff who commissioned the completion of the works on the main building of the Quirinale. He entrusted the extension work to Flaminio Ponzio, who built the wing facing the garden, Sala del Concistoro and Cappella dell’Annunziata (Chapel of the Annunciation). After Read more [...]

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    Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali

    Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali is a Neo-Renaissance palace in Rome, located on the eastern side of Piazza Venezia, opposite the much older Palazzo Venezia.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built between 1906 and 1911 on the site of the ancient Palazzo Bolognetti-Torlonia and Palazzo Nepoti. The previous buildings were demolished at the beginning of the 20th century, to allow the expansion of Piazza Venezia, designed by Giuseppe Sacconi, to adapt it to the presence of the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II (Vittoriano). Sacconi outlined the general appearance of the new building, designed in detail by the architect Guido Cirilli, assisted by Arturo Pazzi and Alberto Manassei.   ARCHITECTURE Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali takes up the fundamental characteristics of Palazzo Venezia, including its square tower. The facade of the palace is characterized on the ground floor by a portico surmounted by a string course, and by a long series of Romanesque mullioned windows on the second floor, surmounted by small windows. Between these small windows, above the main portal, there is a 16th century bas-relief depicting the Lion of Saint Mark. The bas-relief was taken from the Portello Novo Tower, in Padua, and it was the symbol of the Read more [...]

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    Via dei Fori Imperiali

    Via dei Fori Imperiali is one of the most scenic streets in Rome, which connects Piazza Venezia to the Colosseum. Walking along it, you can admire on both sides of the street the Forums of Caesar, Trajan, Augustus and Nerva.   SHORT HISTORY After Rome became the capital of Italy in 1870, large connecting roads began to open, such as Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and Via Nazionale. In the regulatory plans of the city from 1873, 1883 and 1909, a street between Piazza Venezia and the Colosseum was planned. The idea of the road reappeared in the Fascist period. At first, during its construction, the street was named Via dei Monti, then, when it was inaugurated, was called Via dell’Impero. The architect Antonio Muñoz was responsible for the general project, while Raffaele De Vico was in charge with the arrangement of the green areas, and Corrado Ricci with the excavation and arrangement of the archaeological areas. Via dei Fori Imperiali was built between 1924 and 1932, and was inaugurated by Benito Mussolini on October 28, 1932, as part of the celebrations for the tenth anniversary of the March on Rome. In 1945, after the end of the Second World War, Read more [...]

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    Via della Conciliazione

    Via della Conciliazione is a street in Rome, which connects Piazza Pia to Piazza Papa Pio XII, in front of Piazza San Pietro.   SHORT HISTORY Following the official reconciliation between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See on February 11, 1929, the fascist government decided to built a wide road to link the capital of Italy to the Vatican State. Via della Conciliazione was designed by the architects Marcello Piacentini and Attilio Spaccarelli, and built starting in 1936 with the demolition of the so-called Spina di Borgo – the backbone of the historical Borgo district. The street was completed on the occasion of the 1950 Jubilee, with the installation of two rows of obelisk-shaped lamp holders. The intervention caused the loss of a large part of the urban fabric of the Borgo district, with the demolition of important buildings like Palazzo dei Convertendi, Palazzo Jacopo da Brescia, Palazzo del Governatore, Palazzo Alicorni, Palazzo Rusticucci-Accoramboni and the Church of San Giacomo in Scossacavalli. The palaces of the Convertendi, Jacopo da Brescia, Alicorni and Rusticucci were rebuilt, using in the reconstruction elements of the demolished buildings. The ancient Church of San Lorenzo in Piscibus underwent radical transformations and was incorporated Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Latmiral

    Palazzo Latmiral is a palace in Rome, located in Via della Conciliazione, between Palazzo Torlonia and the Church of Santa Maria in Traspontina. The palace currently houses the Embassy of Brazil to the Holy See.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Latmiral was built in 1887 for Giuseppe Latmiral, on a project by the architect Agide Spinedi. At the time of its construction, the palace incorporated into its eastern facade overlooking Vicolo del Campanile a 15th-century house with three floors known as Casa del Boia. The house has semicircular windows and a frescoed facade by the painter Giulio Romano. In the first decades of the 20th century, the palace was renovated by the architects Marcello Piacentini and Attilio Spaccarelli.   HOW TO GET THERE The closest Metro station is Ottaviano, located about 1 kilometer away, on the Metro Line A. The closest bus stop is Traspontina/Conciliazione, located about 120 meters away, on the bus Lines 23, 40 and 982.

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    Palazzo Torlonia

    Palazzo Torlonia, also known as Palazzo Castellesi or Palazzo del Corneto, is a Renaissance palace in Rome, located in Via della Conciliazione, near Palazzo dei Convertendi.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built between 1499 and 1517 for Cardinal Adriano Castellesi, an important dignitary of the papal court. The project of the building was attributed to Donato Bramante. The building was built in Piazza Scossacavalli, in the context of the redevelopment of the entire urban sector, after the opening of the new Via Alessandrina. In 1504, the Cardinal Castellesi handed the palace to Henry VII, King of England. Later, Henry VII gave the building to Lorenzo Campeggio, the last Cardinal Protector of England, who lived in the palace between 1519 and 1524. Between 1609 and 1635, the palace was owned by the Borghese family. In 1760, it was named Palazzo Giraud, when it became the property of a French family of bankers. In 1820, the palace was purchased by the Torlonia family. Palazzo Torlonia is the only historic palace in the area which remained untouched during the works for the construction of Via della Conciliazione, in the first decades of the 20th century.   ARCHITECTURE Palazzo Torlonia has a facade Read more [...]

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    Palazzo dei Convertendi

    Palazzo dei Convertendi, also known as Palazzo della Congregazione per le Chiese Orientali (Palace of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches), is a Renaissance palace in Rome, located in Via della Conciliazione, adjacent to Palazzo Rusticucci-Accoramboni.   SHORT HISTORY Around the middle of the 15th century, on the northwestern edge of Piazza Scossacavalli, there was a building known as della Stufa. In the 16th century, the building was sold to the noble Caprini family, who erected in its place a palace on a design by Donato Bramante. The palace was sold in 1517 to the painter Raphael, who died in the building in 1520. On his death, the building was sold to Cardinal Pietro Accolti. After the Cardinal’s death, the palace was inherited by his nephew Benedetto, Cardinal of Ravenna. Accused of corruption, Benedetto was incarcerated in Castel Sant’Angelo, and released after paying his debts. For this, the Cardinal borrowed the sum from the Florentine bankers Giulio and Lorenzo Strozzi, who later obtained the palace. Then, the Strozzi family sold the collapsing palace to Cardinal Giovanni Francesco Commendone. The Cardinal had the palace restored by Annibale Lippi, and sold the building in 1584 to Camilla Peretti, sister of Pope Sixtus Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Rusticucci-Accoramboni

    Palazzo Rusticucci-Accoramboni is a Late Renaissance palace in Rome, located in Via della Conciliazione, about 120 meters away from Piazza San Pietro.   SHORT HISTORY Girolamo Rusticucci, secretary of Pope Pius V and later cardinal, bought a building on March 31, 1572. Rusticucci also bought some nearby buildings, with the aim of expanding the original structure. In 1584, Rusticucci commissioned Domenico Fontana to design a larger palace. After the death of Pope Sixtus V, Fontana was transfered to Naples, and the works were completed by his nephew, Carlo Maderno. Around 1630, the Nazarene College, one of the oldest schools in Rome, was housed in the palace for a short time. Around the middle of the 17th century, the cardinal’s heirs sold the palace to the Accoramboni family. In 1667, the construction of the colonnade in Piazza San Pietro by Gian Lorenzo Bernini made it necessary to demolish the last block of houses located in front of the square. Its demolition created a new square, bordered on the north side by Palazzo Rusticucci, which gave it its name. In the 20th century, the palace became the seat of the Belgian Historical Institute, and then it was occupied by the Congregation of Read more [...]

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    Church of Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza

    The Church of Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza is a Baroque church in Rome dedicated to Saint Ivo of Kermartin, located in Corso del Rinascimento, about 100 meters away from Piazza Navona.   SHORT HISTORY In 1632, Francesco Borromini became the main architect of Palazzo della Sapienza, the palace of the University of Rome. At that time, the layout of the courtyard of the palace was already defined by Giacomo della Porta, and a circular church with small chapels was planned. The work on the church began only in 1643, and continued for over twenty years. The first construction phase was from 1643 to 1655. After an interruption, the work resumed in 1659, with the completion of the church, the construction of the Alessandrina Library and the facades of the palace overlooking Piazza Sant’Eustachio and Via dei Canestrari. The church was consecrated in 1660, although the works continued for a few more years. The library was instead completed after the death of Francesco Borromini.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church has a large courtyard in front. Its facade is concave, with five blind arches on each of the first two floors. The central arch on the ground floor is occupied by the Read more [...]

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    Piazza del Popolo

    Piazza del Popolo (People’s Square) is a large square in Rome, located at the foot of the Pincian Hill, near the Villa Borghese gardens.   SHORT HISTORY Until the end of the 19th century, when it assumed its current shape, Piazza del Popolo was a modest square with a trapezoidal shape. At the time of the Napoleonic occupation, the architectural and urban aspect of the square was revised by the architect Giuseppe Valadier. Thanks to his intervention, the square assumed the current elliptical shape, completed by a double exedra, decorated with numerous fountains and statues. In 1818, Valadier removed the old fountain of Giacomo Della Porta, and replaced it with a new structure – four fountains in the form of lions, around the base of the obelisk. Valadier continued its work of renewal the square by arranging also the slopes of the Pincian Hill, connecting Piazza del Popolo and the hill with wide ramps, adorned by trees.   ARCHITECTURE Piazza del Popolo houses three churches. Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo is the oldest one, located next to the gate with the same name, Porta del Popolo. The church was built in the 11th century by Pope Pasquale II, but Read more [...]

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    Piazza Venezia

    Piazza Venezia is a beautiful square in Rome, located at the foot of the Capitoline Hill, between Piazza di San Marco, to the west, and Piazza della Madonna di Loreto, to the east. In the square, five of the most important streets of the city meet: Via dei Fori Imperiali, Via Cesare Battisti, Via del Corso, Via del Plebiscito, and Via del Teatro di Marcello.   SHORT HISTORY The current appearance of the square derives largely from the demolition and reconstruction interventions carried out between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, following the construction of the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II (Vittoriano). Originally, the square extended only in the western half of the current one, and Via del Corso started from its northeastern corner. The imposing Vittoriano required a wider space in front, and it was decided to enlarge Piazza Venezia and make it symmetrical to the axis of Via del Corso. The extension was designed in its general lines by Giuseppe Sacconi and then defined by Guido Cirilli. For this enlargement, the buildings present in the eastern part of the future square were demolished and Palazzo delle Assicurazioni Generali was built. Read more [...]

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    Palazzo del Laterano

    Palazzo del Laterano is a Renaissance palace in Rome, located in Piazza di Porta San Giovanni, adjacent to the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano. The palace was the official residence of the Roman pontiffs for many centuries. Today, it houses the Papal State Historical Museum (Museo Storico dello Stato Pontificio), the offices of the Vicariate of Rome and the apartment of the Cardinal Vicar of His Holiness for Rome.   SHORT HISTORY The area was named after the original owners, the Plauzi Laterani family, who owned a large palace on this site. After a member of this family, designated consul, was accused around the year 66 of conspiracy against Nero, the properties of the family, together with the adjoining palace, were confiscated. At the beginning of the 4th century, the monumental Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano was built, and consecrated in 324 by Pope Sylvester I. Around the middle of the 8th century, Pope Zacharias built a triclinium (formal dining room) in the ancient Lateran Palace, and decorated it with marble, glass and precious metals, mosaics and frescoes. A few decades later, Pope Leo III built another triclinium, and installed, in the center of the room paved with Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo al Celio

    The Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo al Celio is a church in Rome, located in the homonymous square, on the Caelian Hill, about 700 meters away from the Roman Forum and the Colosseum.   SHORT HISTORY The church was erected starting with 398 by the Roman senator Byzantis on the site of an ancient structure dating back to the first century AD. The church was used first as a domus ecclesiae (house church) by a Christian community, and then, according to tradition, became the burial ground of the Saints John and Paul, who were martyred during the reign of the emperor Flavius Claudius Julianus. In 410, the church was damaged by the Visigoths of Alaric I, during the sack of Rome, then by an earthquake in 442, and was finally destroyed by the Normans in 1084. In the 12th century, Pope Paschal II restored the church, and built the bell-tower and the portico. The structure was remodeled again in the following centuries. The church took on its current appearance in 1951, when Cardinal Francis Joseph Spellman had the facade restored.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church is characterized by a portico along its entire width. Above the portico, Read more [...]

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    Church of San Martino

    The Church of San Martino (Chiesa del Divo Martino) is a church in Romanesque style, dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, in Portofino.   SHORT HISTORY The church was probably built during the 12th century, around the same time the Church of San Giorgio was erected. The structure is mentioned in a document of 1130, with the decision of Pope Innocent II to cede the property to the monks of the nearby Abbey of San Fruttuoso, and again in 1164, where the same privileges were confirmed by Pope Alexander III. The consecration of the church took place on June 10, 1548, and on March 8, 1550, the ownership of the religious building passed to the Prince Andrea Doria and his heirs, through a papal bull of Pope Julius III. During the 19th century, the Church of San Martino was renovated and expanded, and took its current shape.   ART Inside, there are several pictorial and sculptural works, such as the wooden group depicting the Deposition of Christ by the Genoese sculptor Anton Maria Maragliano, the canvas of the Madonna del Rosario by an unknown painter, an Annunciation of the 18th century, and a painting depicting the Saints Rocco, Sebastiano and Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Santo Stefano

    The Basilica of Santo Stefano, also known as the Seven Churches (Sette Chiese), is a complex of religious buildings in Bologna, located in the homonymous square.   SHORT HISTORY Around the year 100 AD, a pagan temple dedicated to Isis was built on this site. In 393, Ambrosio, the bishop of Milan, discovered the tombs of the first Christian martyrs of Bologna, Vitale and Agricola, and a small chapel was built near the temple of Isis to preserve their remains. The church is known today as the Church of the Saints Vitale and Agricola. In the 5th century, Petronius, the bishop of Bologna, converted the temple of Isis into a baptistery. Around the year 450, he was buried here. Now, the structure is known as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Basilica del Sepolcro). In 727, Liutprand, king of the Lombards, invaded the city and built, to the right of the Holy Sepulcher, a prominent basilica, naming it after San Giovanni Battista (Saint John the Baptist). Later, the religious building became the Church of the Holy Crucifix (Chiesa del Crocifisso). The complex was devastated during the invasion of the Hungarians at the beginning of the 10th century, and was largely Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Domenico

    The Basilica of San Domenico is an important church in Bologna, located in the homonymous square. The church houses the remains of San Domenico (Saint Dominic), founder of the Dominican Order, who died in 1221 in the adjacent convent.   SHORT HISTORY Saint Dominic arrived in Bologna in January 1218, and settled in the convent of the Church of Santa Maria della Purificazione, located outside the city walls. In 1219, the saint moved to the Convent of San Nicolò delle Vigne, where the current basilica stands. Saint Dominic died on August 6, 1221. In 1233, his remains were placed in a cypress chest, enclosed in a simple marble sarcophagus, and placed behind the altar of a side chapel of the right aisle. The following year, San Domenico was canonized by Pope Gregory IX. In 1267, his remains were placed in a monument known as the Ark of Saint Dominic (Arca di San Domenico). Starting with 1228, the old church of San Nicolò delle Vigne was enlarged, with the demolition of the apse and the extension of the nave. The construction works of the new basilica were completed in 1240, with the building of the sober Romanesque facade. The basilica was Read more [...]

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    Porta Galliera

    Porta Galliera is an imposing medieval gate in Bologna, located in Piazza XX Settembre, in the northern part of the historical center of the city. Porta Galliera is the most decorated of all the remaining gates of Bologna.   SHORT HISTORY Porta Galliera was built at the beginning of the 13th century, when the third wall of the city was raised. With a length of about 7.6 kilometers and a polygonal shape, the outer wall of Bologna had 12 gates equipped with a drawbridge, to cross the external moat. The gate was rebuilt in the 14th century, in conjunction with the works for the construction of the nearby Galliera Castle (Castello di Galliera), erected between 1330 and 1333 by Cardinal Bertrando del Poggetto for the Pope John XXII. The fortress was however destroyed in 1334 by the Bolognese population rebelling against the Papal State. In the 17th century, the gate was subject to several renovations, and between 1661 and 1663, due to the poor state of the original foundations, it was completely rebuilt based on a design by Bartolomeo Provaglia. Porta Galliera witnessed the final event of the insurrection of August 8, 1848. Through the gate, the last left open Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Sansedoni

    Palazzo Sansedoni is a medieval palace located on the northern side of Piazza del Campo, in Siena. Today, the palace houses the Monte dei Paschi di Siena Foundation.   SHORT HISTORY The palace takes its name from the noble Sansedoni family, one of the most powerful families of Siena during the Middle Ages. Palazzo Sansedoni was built at the beginning of the 13th century, by joining several ancient buildings. In 1339, the architect Agostino di Giovanni oversaw the reconstruction and expansion of the palace. The majestic brick facade of the palace facing the square dates back to an 18th-century renovation in Gothic style by the architect Ferdinando Ruggieri.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The concave facade of Palazzo Sansedoni, which follows the curvature of the square, is composed of four orders, three of them with trifore mullioned windows. The facade is topped by battlements above a frieze of round arches. The tower of the palace, positioned asymmetrically to the left of the building, was truncated in 1760, because Torre del Mangia, located nearby, had to be the tallest building in the square. Inside, various rooms have 18th-century decorations, work of Francesco Melani, Giuseppe Melani and Gian Domenico Ferretti. Anton Domenico Gabbiani Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Francesco

    The Basilica of San Francesco is a Romanesque church in Siena, located in the homonymous square. Dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi, the church is officiated by the Order of Friars Minor Conventual.   SHORT HISTORY The Franciscans arrived in Siena shortly after the death of Saint Francis in 1226. Between 1228 and 1255, a first church was erected on this site. The current church was built between 1326 and 1475 in Gothic style, enlarging the pre-existing church. In 1655, a fire damaged the church, leaving it in ruins for over two centuries. Between 1763 and 1765, the current bell tower was built, based on a project by Paolo Posi. In 1855, following the suppression of religious orders carried out by Napoleon, the convent became the property of the Archdiocese of Siena, which made it the seat of the Archiepiscopal Seminary. The church was restored in Neo-Gothic style at the end of the 19th century. The works were entrusted to Giuseppe Partini for the interior, and to Vittorio Mariani and Gaetano Ceccarelli for the exterior. In 1968, the ancient Convent adjacent to the Basilica was purchased by the University of Siena, where the Department of Economics, Politics and Statistics is Read more [...]

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    Piazza Trento e Trieste

    Piazza Trento e Trieste, formerly known as Piazza delle Erbe for the market held there in the past, is the main square of Ferrara.   SHORT HISTORY The medieval square appeared at the same time with the Cathedral of San Giorgio, in the 12th century, and since its inception it became the fulcrum of the political, economic and religious powers of the city.   ARCHITECTURE The square, rectangular in shape, is crossed by a sidewalk 120 meters long and 12 meters wide, called listone. Around the square, you can still admire various ancient buildings, some of them in their original appearance, while others have undergone various renovations and transformations over time. In the northern part of the square, there is the Cathedral of San Giorgio, the Cathedral of Ferrara, built starting with 1235 and completed in 1177. Behind the Cathedral, there is the bell-tower, an unfinished work of Leon Battista Alberti. On the southern side of the Cathedral, runs Loggia dei Merciai, which since the beginning was dedicated to the merchants and to their various shops. The structure still retains its function today, hosting modern shops and commercial activities. The ancient seat of the Shoemakers’ Guild, Palazzo di San Crispino, Read more [...]

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    Fontebranda

    Fontebranda is a medieval fountain in Siena, located near Porta di Fontebranda, one of the remaining gates of the ancient city walls.   SHORT HISTORY The first mention of Fontebranda dates back to the year 1081. The fountain was enlarged in 1193, and rebuilt in bricks and travertine in 1246 by Giovanni di Stefano, for the Wool Guild, who needed a permanent source of water. Saint Catherine of Siena was born and lived near the fountain, and that is why she is also known as the Saint of Fontebranda.   ARCHITECTURE The fountain is characterized by three large ogival Gothic arches surmounted by merlons and a row of blind arches with triangular motifs. The front is adorned with four lion-shaped gushes, with the emblem of Siena in the center. Beyond the water tank, there are more than 25 kilometers of conduits, partly excavated and partly inside the walls, whose medium height is about 1.75 meters, with a width of about 0.90 meters. Today, you can walk through this tunnels, where rainwater, collected in a small channel carved in the walkway, flows with an inclination of one meter per kilometer, from the springs located in the Sienese countryside. These pipelines, in Read more [...]

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    Palazzo di San Crispino

    Palazzo di San Crispino, also known as the Oratory of the Shoemakers (Oratorio dei Calzolai), is a palace in Ferrara, located in Piazza Trento e Trieste, at the corner of Via Mazzini and Via Contrari.   SHORT HISTORY According to tradition, the palace was built in 808 at the behest of Charlemagne and dedicated to the art of cobblers as a reward to a shoemaker for the services he offered. Historically, between 1461 and 1567, the palace was the seat of the Faculty of Literature, part of the University of Ferrara. In 1567, after it was partially destroyed by a fire, by the decision of the Shoemakers’ Guild, the palace was reduced to an oratory, while the public school was moved to the new headquarters in Palazzo Paradiso. The oratory was dedicated to the Saints Crispin and Crispinian, the patron saints of cobblers, tanners and leather workers. Starting with 1841, the palace was renovated by the architect Giovanni Tosi, who transformed the ancient loggia, giving it a Neoclassical aspect. The facade was decorated with marble medallions by famous artists from Ferrara. The frescoed facade of 1675, work of Francesco Ferrari, which represented Charlemagne on the throne flanked by knights on Read more [...]

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    Church of Santo Spirito

    The Church of Santo Spirito is a church in Ferrara, located in the western part of the historical center of the city.   SHORT HISTORY The works for the construction of the Church of the Holy Spirit began in 1519. On the death of Duke Alfonso I d’Este, in 1534, the works were interrupted, but the structure was largely completed. In 1570, the church was heavily damaged by the disastrous earthquake that struck the city. Immediately after the earthquake, it was decided to renovate the church and the adjacent convent. The works were completed only in 1630, and the church was consecrated in 1656 by Cardinal Carlo Pio. The convent and the church experienced their period of greatest prestige during the end of the 17th century and throughout the 18th century. Between 1796 and 1799, the French troops of Napoleon Bonaparte settled in the convent. In 1810, all the friars were expelled and the convent was placed at the disposal of the army. On that occasion, many documents were lost. The convent was reopened in 1816. In 1830, the ceiling of the church collapsed, destroying all the decorations and paintings of the vaults. With the royal decree of June 7, Read more [...]

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    Church of San Francesco

    The Church of San Francesco is a church dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi, located in the homonymous square, in the western part of the historical center of Ferrara.   SHORT HISTORY The Church of San Francesco was built in 1494 on a pre-existing building belonging to the Franciscans, which was used until the beginning of the 15th century as a mausoleum for the Este family. The church is considered one of the best creations of the architect Biagio Rossetti. Following the 2012 earthquake, the interior, with the exception of a transept and an adjacent chapel, was for a long time unusable and closed to the public. Currently, the central nave and the right aisle can be visited, while the left aisle is only partially accesible.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade has typically Renaissance lines, with the volutes, inspired by Leon Battista Alberti, and the marble pilasters that stand out on the terracotta walls. The interior of the church, with three naves, has a Latin cross plan and eight chapels on each side. In the first chapel on the left, there is a remarkable fresco of the Arrest of Jesus by Benvenuto Tisi, better known as Garofalo. In the Read more [...]

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    Palazzo della Borsa

    Palazzo della Borsa is a large palace in Ferrara, located in Largo Castello, in the historical center of the city, facing the Este Castle.   SHORT HISTORY Starting with the 15th century, the site of the current palace was occupied by the Pavilion Gardens (Giardini del Padiglione) built by the Duke Ercole I d’Este, in place of previous vegetable gardens and small peasant houses. The palace was built between 1756 and 1761 at the behest of the cardinal legate Giovanni Francesco Banchieri, who entrusted its design to the architect Angelo Santini. In 1761, it became the seat of Monte di Pietà (Mount of Piety). In 1796, with the arrival of the troops of Napoleon Bonaparte, the institution was suppressed and all the precious goods preserved inside, such as jewels, precious stones, gold and silver, were requisitioned. In 1807, when the French troops left, its management was entrusted again to Monte di Pietà. In 1930, the institute was absorbed by Cassa di Risparmio di Ferrara, already owner of the palace and partially operating on the ground floor of the building. Later, the structure became the seat of the Stock Exchange. During the Second World War, the palace was damaged and the Read more [...]

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    Piazza del Municipio

    Piazza del Municipio is one of the main squares of Ferrara, delimited by the wings of the Municipal Palace (Palazzo Municipale), located in the historical center of the city.   SHORT HISTORY The current square housed once the Ducal Courtyard of the Municipal Palace, which was the first residence of the Este family. Subsequently, after the ducal family moved to the Este Castle, the palace was remodeled several times, until its current form. The square is famous for the imposing white marble staircase, built in 1481 to a design by Pietro Benvenuto degli Ordini, characterized by a vaulted roof with a central dome and arches in Renaissance style, with a marble balustrade decorated by medieval Gothic elements. Piazza del Municipio is often chosen as the venue for events such as the flag-wavers’ trials during the days preceding the Palio of Ferrara, and the farmer’s market with typical fresh products from the province of Ferrara.   ARCHITECTURE Piazza del Municipio can be accessed from Piazza Trento e Trieste through the main entrance of the Municipal Palace, called Volto del Cavallo (Vault of the Horse), consisting of a portico adorned on one side by the bronze statue of Borso d’Este, and on Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Municipale

    Palazzo Municipale (Municipal Palace) is a palace in Ferrara, located in Piazza del Municipio, adjacent to Piazza Trento e Trieste, in the historical center of the city. The palace was the residence of the Este family until the 16th century, when the court moved to the nearby Castello Estense. Today, Palazzo Municipale is the seat of the Municipality of Ferrara.   SHORT HISTORY The original nucleus of the palace was begun in 1245 along Via Cortevecchia, and was completed between 1472 and 1481. On June 2, 1451, the equestrian statue of Marquis Niccolò III d’Este was placed on the right side of the entrance to the palace, on a support inspired by the Roman triumphal arches. The construction of the monument was entrusted to the Florentine sculptors Antonio di Cristoforo, Nicolò Baroncelli, and Meo di Checco. The statue of Borso d’Este, also finished in 1453 by Baroncelli, was placed on the left side of the entrance. The palace changed significantly over the centuries. Between 1924 and 1928, the facade overlooking Piazza Trento e Trieste was rebuilt by Carlo Savonuzzi in a Neo-Gothic style, while the remaining part along the current Corso Martiri della Libertà had already been remodeled in 1738. Read more [...]

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    Piazza Ariostea

    Piazza Ariostea, formerly known as Piazza Nuova and, for a brief period, Piazza Napoleone, is one of the main squares of Ferrara, located in the northern part of the historical center of the city. On the last Sunday of May, the square hosts the Palio of Ferrara, established in 1279, resumed in the 1930s, and regularly held after the end of the Second World War. Palio di Ferrara is considered among the oldest in the world.   SHORT HISTORY Until 1496, the area was occupied by a farm owned by a certain Bartolomeo Zermio. Then, the land was purchased by Ercole I d’Este, the second duke of Ferrara, and transformed into a square, called Piazza Nuova. In the early 16th century, Duke Ercole I commissioned Ercole Grandi to design two columns for his own equestrian monument. On the way to Ferrara, one of the columns was lost in the Po River. The other one, which reached the town, was not immediately raised. The column was placed in the square only in 1675 to house the statue of Pope Alexander VII. In 1796, the French replaced the papal statue with a plaster statue depicting Liberty, which was demolished in 1799. In Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Domenico

    The Basilica of San Domenico, also known as Basilica Cateriniana, is a Gothic church in Siena, located in Piazza San Domenico. The church contains the head-relic of Saint Catherine of Siena, placed in a splendid Renaissance chapel.   SHORT HISTORY The Dominicans arrived in Siena in 1220, a year before the death of their founder, Dominic de Guzmán. In 1225, they received a piece of land on the Camporegio Hill, and built a church there between 1226 and 1265. In the 14th century, the complex was enlarged in Gothic style, and took its current appearance. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the church underwent numerous alterations in Baroque style, such as the reconstruction of the side altars. After the earthquake of 1798, the bell tower, already in ruins, was truncated to its present level, and equipped with the current crenellated crowning. The last intervention dates back to 1941, when the Baroque decorations were removed, the ancient Gothic forms were partially restored, and the stained glass windows with the Stories of Saint Catherine by Bruno Cassinari were added.   ARCHITECTURE The basilica has a simple but massive appearance, typical of the mendicant orders. Suggestive is the view of the rear side Read more [...]

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    Via delle Volte

    Via delle Volte (Street of the Vaults) is an ancient street in Ferrara, located between Corso Porta Reno, to the north, and Via Giuoco del Pallone, to the south, in the medieval center of the city.   SHORT HISTORY Via delle Volte is characterized by arches built during the 13th and the 14th centuries. Its almost rectilinear layout, though, dates back to the oldest urban development of the city, before the deviation of the Po River in 1152. During the 13th century, the street was known as Via dei Bastardini (Street of Bastards), because it housed the Pious Institute of illegitimate or abandoned children (Pio Istituto dei figli illegittimi o abbandonati), which later became the Umberto I Institute. Later, during the 15th century, the street was called Via del Gambero, and was famous for an old filthy tavern, called Bordello del Gambero (Brothel of the Shrimp), assiduously frequented by prostitutes. In the 19th century, it was also known as Via delle Prostitute (Street of Prostitutes), due to the large number of brothels in the area, and some popular sayings still refer to this name. During the 20th century, the street was also called Via Bersaglieri del Po, in honor of Read more [...]

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    Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore

    Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore is one of the oldest churches in Milan, and together with the Columns of San Lorenzo, located a few meters away, is considered an important Roman monumental complex. The church is dedicated to Saint Lawrence, one of the seven deacons of Rome, who was martyred in 258 during the persecution of the Christians by the Roman Emperor Valerian.   SHORT HISTORY The church dates back to a period between the end of the 3rd century and the beginning of the 5th century, and was built on the remains of a temple dedicated to Hercules by the Emperor Maximian. The church was damaged by fire in 1071 and 1072, its dome collapsed in 1103, and it was destroyed again by fire in 1124. The church was then rebuilt in Romanesque style, maintaining the original internal layout. During the Middle Ages, the basilica remained a symbol of the Roman heritage of Milan, and a privileged burial place for the city’s bishops. In 1573, the dome of the church collapsed once again during a liturgical celebration. Given the importance of the building, Cardinal Carlo Borromeo comissioned the architect Martino Bassi to rebuilt the dome according to the tastes Read more [...]

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    Piazza del Duomo

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

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    Arco della Pace

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

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    Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie

    The Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie is a church in Milan, located in the square of the same name. The church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is famous for housing Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, which is located in the refectory of the convent.   SHORT HISTORY In 1460, the Congregation of Dominicans in Milan received a piece of land from Count Gaspare Vimercati. On this land, there was a small chapel dedicated to Santa Maria delle Grazie (Holy Mary of Grace), where the Dominicans decided to built a new church. On September 10, 1463, the first stone was laid, and the work began under the supervision of the architect Guiniforte Solari. Thanks to the patronage of the Vimercati, the convent was completed in 1469. Simultaneously with the construction of the convent, the building of the church began. The project was for a basilica with 3 naves, with ogival vaults and a gabled facade. Terracotta was used for the walls, while granite was used for the columns and capitals. In 1492, the new Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza, also known as il Moro (the Moor), decided to rebuilt the cloister and the apse of the church. The apse is Read more [...]

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    Church of San Carlo al Corso

    The Church of San Carlo al Corso is a Neoclassical church in Milan, located in the homonymous square, along Corso Vittorio Emanuele.   SHORT HISTORY The Church of San Carlo al Corso was built to replace the medieval Church of Santa Maria dei Servi, the Milanese seat of the Order of Servants of Mary since 1290. The new church was built as a sign of gratitude for the end of a cholera epidemic, and dedicated to San Carlo Borromeo, the great Milanese bishop. The project of the church belonged to the architect Carlo Amati from Monza, also the author of the final design of the facade of the Duomo. However, the construction site was led between 1838 and 1847 by the architect Filippo Pizzagalli. Today, the Church of San Carlo al Corso is still officiated by the Servites.   ARCHITECTURE The Church of San Carlo al Corso is a fine example of the Neoclassical style, inspired by the Roman Pantheon, with significant similarities to the Basilica of San Francesco di Paola in Naples. The structure has a circular plan, preceded by a porticoed square and introduced by a pronaos on 36 large monolithic Corinthian columns, placed on a wide staircase. Read more [...]

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    Pinacoteca di Brera

    Pinacoteca di Brera is a national art gallery in Milan, located in Palazzo Brera, on the homonymous street. Palazzo Brera also houses the National Braidense Library (Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense), the Brera Observatory, the Botanical Garden, the Lombard Institute of Sciences and Letters (Istituto Lombardo di Scienze e Lettere) and the Academy of Fine Arts (Accademia di Belle Arti). The museum, specialized in Venetian and Lombard art, exhibits some of the most famous Italian paintings, and offers an itinerary that ranges from prehistory to contemporary art, with masterpieces by artists of the 20th century.   SHORT HISTORY The Brera Academy of Fine Arts was founded in 1776 by decree of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, at the request of Count Carlo Giuseppe di Firmian. Andrea Appiani was appointed Commissioner for Fine Arts in 1805, and works of art from the churches suppressed by Napoleon began to be brought to Brera. In 1806, Giuseppe Bossi inaugurated the first museum of the Academy. In 1808, the Napoleonic Halls were created, to house the galleries of the Kingdom of Italy. On August 15, 1809, on Napoleon’s birthday, the halls were inaugurated, dominated by the great Monument to Napoleon I by Antonio Canova. The Read more [...]