All SEE

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

  • Favorite

    Palazzo Michiel dalle Colonne

    Approximately 250 meters to the Rialto Bridge, overlooking the Canal Grande, there is a palace known for the architectural structure of its ground floor, with a portico along the whole facade divided by very tall columns, Palazzo Michiel dalle Colonne.   SHORT HISTORY The palace may have been built in the 13th century by the Grimani family, whose coat of arms is carved in an old well in the courtyard. Originally, it probably followed the Venetian-Byzantine style typical of the period. From 1661, the palace is attested as the property of the Zen family, and is named dalle Colonne (of the Columns). To them, we owe the partial rebuilding to a design by Antonio Gaspari, completed in 1697. In 1702, the palace was given to Ferdinando Carlo di Gonzaga-Nevers, the last duke of Mantua and Monferrato. He lived there from 1706, when he was exiled by the Austrians who emerged victorious from the War of the Spanish Succession. In 1712, the palace was bought by the Conigli family, nobles of Verona. It seems they have never used it and, two years later, in 1714, they sold it to the Michiel, already owners of various other properties. Like the Zen before, Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Church of San Stae

    The Church of San Stae stands on the right bank of the Grand Canal, as you come from Piazzale Roma, heading to Piazza San Marco, between Palazzo Vendramin Calergi and Ca d’Oro, at an equal distance. Its external facade, characterized by rich decorations, faces the Canal Grande, and you can not pass beside it on a vaporetto without at least one admirative look.   SHORT STORY The church is said to have been built in 966 and dedicated to Sant’Eustacchio (San Stae, in the Venetian dialect). St. Eustacchio was the commander of Trajan’s army, who would have seen a crucifix between the antlers of a deer, while hunting. The first reference is in a document from 1127, where the church is remembered as a filial parish of San Pietro. This original church, rebuilt in the 12th century following a fire, was demolished in 1678. The current church was built by Giovanni Grassi, who realigned it to face the Grand Canal.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade, which has the form of a temple, with an imposing triangular pediment, supported by columns resting on high pedestals, was built by Domenico Rossi in 1709, whose design was the winner of a competition. Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Ca’ Vendramin Calergi

    Ca’ Vendramin Calergi is an imposing palace on the Grand Canal, in Venice, where the composer Richard Wagner died in 1883. Also, from 1950, Palazzo Vendramin Calergi hosts the oldest casino in the world, Casino di Venezia, established in 1638.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was commissioned in the late 15th century by the Loredan family to the famous architect Mauro Codussi. The building was his last work, brought to completion in 1509, five years after his death. In 1581, the palace was sold to the Duke of Brunswick and, after some legal troubles, in 1589, it was bought by a rich nobleman, Vettor Calergi, for his wedding with Isabetta Gritti. Vettor Calergi had only one daughter, Marina, who was married, in 1608, to Vincenzo Grimani. The palace passed, by inheritance, to the sons of Marina with the obligation to take also the surname Calergi. The three sons of Marina remained famous for their ferocity – after the cruel murder of Francesco Querini Stampalia, they were banned from the Republic and deprived of the property, but after a donation to the Senate for war expenses, they were reinstated in assets and titles. In 1739, for dynastic reasons, the palace passed to Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Church of San Geremia e Santa Lucia

    The Church of San Geremia e Santa Lucia is a church in Venice, located on the left bank of the Grand Canal, as you are heading to Piazza San Marco, right before its confluence with Canale di Cannaregio.   SHORT HISTORY The Church of San Geremia was founded in the 11th century by Mauro Tosello, who used it to house the arm of St. Bartholomew brought from Apulia in 1043. The church was dedicated to the prophet Jeremiah, an old testament figure. The church was rebuilt in 1174 by the Doge Sebastiano Ziani and reconsecrated in 1292. Later, the church was demolished and rebuilt again in 1753, by Carlo Corbellini, a Brescian priest and architect. The first mass was celebrated on April 27th, 1760, during the final works of reconstruction. Following the damage made by the Austrian bombardment from 1849, two facades were built in the second half of the 18th century, one facing Campo San Geremia (St. Jeremiah Square), and the other one oriented towards Cannaregio Canal. A chapel built in 1863 contains the relics of the Sicilian Santa Lucia, stolen by Enrico Dandolo during the Sack of Constantinople, which, in 1204, marked the end of the Fourth Crusade. Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Palazzo Flangini

    Palazzo Flangini is, practically, the first truly monumental building that you meet on the Grand Canal, in Venice, when you are traveling with the vaporetto from the railway station, heading to the Rialto Bridge. Near the Scuola dei Morti, the Flangini Palace consists of two-thirds of an unfinished building, probably designed by Giuseppe Sardi in the second half of the 17th century.   SHORT HISTORY It is said that the palace remained unfinished because one of the two brothers who inherited it, in spite of the other, had one of the wings destroyed, cutting the palace in half. The reality, much simpler and more prosaic, is that the old owner lacked the funds and was unable to buy the nearby area necessary for the completion of the building. The building have been built between the years 1664 and 1682 and is attributed to the architect Giuseppe Sardi by the art historian of the 18th century Tommaso Temanza, but some think it could be the project of Baldassarre Longhena. Currently, the building is divided into several private properties. Following an important restoration, the entrance hall and the portego of the building have been taken over by the Valorizzazioni Culturali society, with Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Scuola dei Morti

    Scuola dei Morti (School of the Dead) is a small and charming building from the 17th century, overlooking the Grand Canal, in Venice, placed between Palazzo Flangini and the apse of the Church of San Geremia.   SHORT HISTORY The building belonged to the Congregazione della Santissima Madonna del Suffragio dei Morti, known also as the School of the Dead, a religious congregation that, in 1624, has joined the homonymous Confraternity of Rome. A few years earlier, in 1615, the congregation held meetings in the Church of San Geremia, until the parish priest gave them a piece of land in the ancient cemetery, to erect a chapel for the meetings, permission approved by the Venetian Senate in 1659. At the expense of the Savorgnan family, the school was built, but was then destroyed during an Austrian bombing in 1849. Today, after an integral reconstruction, the building is used by the parish of San Geremia.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the one-storey building is simple and has a skull in the center, between two large windows, with an inscription below reminding about the congregation of Scuola dei Morti.   HOW TO GET THERE The best place to admire the Scuola dei Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Palazzo Malipiero

    Palazzo Malipiero is a palace located on the eastern bank of the Canal Grande, just 100 meters away from Ponte dell’Accademia. The palace is very close to Palazzo Grassi, separated only by the small San Samuele Square. The palace is famous, first of all, as the residence of Giacomo Casanova for a few years, when he was still a teenager. In the chambers of this palace, it seems, the Venetian lover learned the art of love that he will practice so tenaciously later.   SHORT HISTORY The palace, also known as Ca’ Grande di San Samuele, was built in the 11th century by the Soranzo family. At the beginning of the 15th century, the palace was in the possession of a powerful Venetian family – the Cappello family, following a marriage. By the mid-sixteenth century, the Cappello family comisioned the widening of the palace and the construction of the facade facing the Canal Grande, which still exists today. Also in the 16th century, through another union, the palace passes from the possession of the Cappello family to that of the Malipiero family. Like the other owners, the Malipiero family took care of the palace, being responsible for a series of Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Palazzo Gussoni Grimani Dalla Vida

    Found across the Canal Grande from Ca’ Pesaro, between Palazzo Ruoda and Rio di Noale, Palazzo Gussoni Grimani Dalla Vida is one of those historic buildings that support the architectural image of a city. Venice, to be a true open-air museum, needs each of these buildings, which, side by side, build a charming ensemble.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was designed by the architect Michele Sanmicheli and built between 1548-1556 for the Gussoni family. In the following century, the edifice served as the headquarters for the Accademia Delfica, founded in 1647 by Francesco Gussoni. After the death of the last Gussoni, in 1736, the palace, on the line of kinship, was given to the Minio family. In 1978, the building was sold to the Grimani family, and later, in 1814, it came into possession of the Dalla Vida family, recognized as the last owners, before the palace became the property of the Italian state. Between 1614 and 1618, the Gussoni Grimani Palace was the residence of the English diplomat Sir Henry Wotton, the Doge’s counselor at that time, and also the author of a limited number of poems and translations.   ARCHITECTURE The façade of the palace was initially adorned Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Church of Santa Maria e San Donato

    Also known as the Duomo di Murano, the Church of Santa Maria e San Donato is one of the oldest buildings in the Venetian lagoon. Of byzantine conception, the church preserves the relics of Saint Donatus of Arezzo, martyred in the 4th century after Christ, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Flavius Claudius Iulianus.   SHORT HISTORY A document from the year 999 shows that the church had been built in the 7th century, when many refugees from the continent arrived on the Murano Island. Initially, it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and later, in 1125, when the relics of St. Donatus were brought from Cephalonia, it received a second patronage. The church, apparently, has been rebuilt at that time, in a Byzantine style, in the form that resisted, to a large extent, until today. The mosaic inside is marked with the year 1141, when these reconstruction works were completed. In the 18th century, the church was redecorated in Baroque style and later, between 1858 and 1873, a return to its original style was attempted. This development of the building was condemned by several voices, because the result was a hybrid between the 12th century style and the Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Le Zitelle

    Most of the tourists who arrive on Giudecca Island are attracted by Il Redentore, the famous creation of Andrea Palladio, and only a few know that the island hosts another church attributed to the great architect, the Church of Santa Maria della Presentazione, also known as Chiesa delle Zitelle or, simply, Le Zitelle.   SHORT HISTORY Le Zitelle is part of an ecclesiastical complex set up by the Jesuit Benedetto Palmi, to provide shelter to beautiful young girls (zitelle) from poor families who otherwise would become prostitutes. Poor virgins were taken in and trained in lace and music making. They were protected until the age of 18, when they could choose between marriage or becoming nuns. If they chose the marriage, a husband will be found and a dowry will be provided. The church was built between 1581 and 1588 by the architect Jacopo Bozzetto, after a project belonging to Andrea Palladio, which was initially intended for another location. The assignment of the church to Andrea Palladio is somehow controversial. Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio argues that in the absence of the documents that would link Palladio to this creation and because Palladian style is not very Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Piazza Grande

    Piazza Grande, one of the most beautiful squares in Tuscany, has been the focal point of public life in Arezzo since the ancient times. The Romanesque apse of the Church of Santa Maria della Pieve, built in the 12th century, dominates the west side of the square. Next to the church is the Baroque Palazzo del Tribunale (Palace of Justice) and a little further is the Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici, where the Museum of the Fraternita dei Laici is located. On the north side, it can be found the Palazzo delle Logge built between 1573 and 1595 after a project by Giorgio Vasari. In front of the Palazzo delle Logge, across the square, there are a series of ancient buildings including the 13th century Torre Faggiolana, the Palazzo Cofani-Brizzolari and the Lappoli tower-house, also from the 13th century. In Piazza Grande, twice a year, in June and September, Giostra del Saracino (Joust of the Saracen) take place, a traditional festival with a medieval fragrance.   HOW TO GET THERE As the main point of the historical center of Arezzo, Piazza Grande is not hard to find. The nearest bus station is Viale Buozzi Opp 5 – Prato, about 250 Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Fraternita dei Laici Museum

    The Fraternita dei Laici Museum was founded anew in 2010 in the Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici, in Arezzo, to exhibit a series of works collected between the 14th and the 19th century.   SHORT HISTORY The first collections of the institution were exhibited at the Fraternita dei Laici Museum from 1820, the year of its foundation, to 1935, when most of the art (archeology and science collections, and the library saved after the 1759 fire) was partly sent to the town Civic Museums. Most of the works, about 6000 of them, including 100 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints and ancient furnishings are still in the palace and represent the core of today’s exhibition.   ART The Museum is composed of the Quadreria, the Council Room and the Primo Rettore’s Room. Besides the ancient works, the collection was completed around 1780 with the magnificent Gallery of Portraits, a series of effigies of grand dukes and benefactors who made the institution rich since the Middle Ages, including works by Pietro Benvenuti. The Bartolini Collection, composed of drawings, prints, plaster casts and books, is named after its founder, the sculptor Ranieri Bartolini, who left it to the city of Arezzo after his death. Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici

    Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici is a palace in Piazza Grande, in Arezzo, known as the headquarters of the 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, begun in 1375, was completed only in the second half of the 16th century. Between 1550 and 1560, the façade was finished with the construction of the balcony and the lunar phases of the Aristotelian-Ptolemaic Clock, built in 1552 by Felice di Salvatore da Fossato. The part of the Palace towards the apse of the Church of Santa Maria della Pieve was completed in the second half of the 17th century, following a project by Giorgio Vasari. The renovation of the Palazzo della Fraternita in 1781, supported by the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo di Lorena, led to the opening of the Library of Fraternity to the public. Today, the palace hosts the Fraternita dei Laici Museum, reopened in 2010.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The original painting of Christ from the external lunette of the central portal, replaced by a copy at the end of the 1970s, is now in the National Museum of Medieval and Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Statue of Ferdinando I de’ Medici

    On the staircase leading to the Cathedral of Arezzo, is placed an imposing statue of Ferdinando I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany between 1587 and 1609. The statue was designed by Giambologna, or Jean Boulogne, known also as Giovanni da Bologna, sculptor remembered for his marble and bronze statuary, but it was sculpted by Pietro Francavilla, a French-Italian sculptor. The statue was erected by the people of Arezzo as a sign of gratitude for the reclamation of the Valdichiana (Chiana Valley), which was an important addition to the territory of Arezzo.   HOW TO GET THERE Being only a few meters away from the Arezzo Cathedral, the statue is not hard to find. The closest station is in Via Ricasoli, where you can get with the bus CS2.

  • Favorite

    Statue of Ferdinando III of Habsburg-Lorraine

    The statue of Ferdinando III of Habsburg-Lorraine, located at the end of Piaggia di Murello, in the intersection with Via Saracino, was executed by the Florentine sculptor Stefano Ricci. The statue was placed in Piazza Grande, on 13 April 1822, and a century later, in 1932, it was moved to its current position. Ferdinand III of Habsburg-Lorraine was the Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1790 to 1801 and from 1814 to 1824, Grand Duke of Salzburg from 1803 to 1805 and Grand Duke of Würzburg from 1805 to 1814. The statue was erected in gratitude for his excellent work in the field of communication between Arezzo and Tuscany. Via Anconetana, at the time the main communication route with the Adriatic, was one of his projects. The relief placed at the base of the monument is the work of the Aretine sculptor Ranieri Bartolini. The relief describes allegorically the union of the two tuscan rivers, Chiana and Arno, emblematic moment for the valleys of Arezzo.   HOW TO GET THERE The closest bus station is in Via Ricasoli, about 100 meters from the statue, but if you are discovering the historical center of Arezzo on foot, you will probably pass by Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Palazzo della Provincia

    Across the road from the Palazzo del Comune, there is another palace called Palazzo della Provincia, seat of the Province of Arezzo, one of the ten provinces of Tuscany. Together with the Palazzo del Comune and the Cathedral of Saints Donato and Peter, Palazzo della Provincia forms a complex very close to an ideal agora, where the main administrative centers of the city are concentrated, in a dominant position of the San Pietro Hill.   SHORT HISTORY On February 24, 1913, the administration of the Province decided to build its new headquarters, commissioning the engineer Giuseppe Paoli for this project. The project consisted in a new building to be used as offices and the restoration of two pre-existing buildings. The masonry work, carried out by the company Giuseppe Rossi of Arezzo, was started shortly after and ended only on September 27, 1925, with the official inauguration of the headquarters. Concerning the decorative works, the realization of the frescoes is entrusted, at the suggestion of the designer, to the painter Adolfo De Carolis, in 1922. The sketch is immediately approved and the works – started in the summer of 1922 and executed entirely by De Carolis, are concluded at the end Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Church of Saints Lorentino and Pergentino

    The Church of Saints Lorentino and Pergentino (Chiesa dei Santi Lorentino e Pergentino) is a small church located along the former ancient Roman road which connected Chiusi, through Arezzo, to Florence.   SHORT HISTORY Some historians cite the ancient Passion of Saints Lorentino and Pergentino, dating back to the VI-VII century, to identify the church as the place of the burial of two Christian martyrs, Lorentino and Pergentino, beheaded on 3 June 250 by the Emperor Decius. Little information exists regarding what happened with the church between the burial of the martyrs and the Middle Ages. A document from 1135 shows that the church belonged to the Benedictine abbey of Saints Flora and Lucilla. In the year 1204, the parish was given to the monks of Camaldoli, to compensate the sale of their church of San Pier Piccolo. They took care of the church from 1252 until the sixteenth century. In 1663, it seems that, of the entire complex, only the church remained. Later, the church was also abandoned and reduced to a barn. This process of continuous decay up to the loss of the entire western part, that of the façade, and the near construction of numerous huts and Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Palazzo del Comune

    Palazzo del Comune, seat of the Town Hall of Arezzo, was built in 1333 as Palazzo dei Priori, on the top of the hill of San Pietro, a short distance from the Cathedral of Santi Donato e Pietro.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Comunale, located on the west side of Piazza della Libertà, was home to the supreme magistrature of the Comune of Arezzo. The original facade of the building, from the 14th century, can be seen from Via Ricasoli, as the rest of the structure has undergone numerous renovations over the centuries. In 1454, there was a first major renovation and, in 1466, the large clock was mounted on the tower. In the second half of the 16th century, a new makeover of the palace began after a design by the famous Florentine architect Alfonso Parigi, which ended in 1602. The layout of the stairs was changed and the large internal portico was built. In 1650, the façade collapsed and some frescoes painted by Lorentino d’Andrea were lost. The reconstruction was carried out by slightly withdrawing the front of the building. In 1715, a bell dedicated to the Madonna and San Donato was placed in the tower. The last major Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    San Miniato al Monte

    San Miniato al Monte is a beautiful church which stands on one of the highest points in Florence, overseeing the city from above for nearly 1000 years.   SHORT HISTORY St. Miniato was an Armenian soldier, who was killed in the year 250 AD by the Roman soldiers of Emperor Decius, because he converted to Christianity, and Christians were persecuted at that time. He is considered the first martyr of the city and his remains are supposedly kept today in the crypt of St. Miniato al Monte. The oldest historical evidence of a church dedicated to San Miniato dates back to the year 783. The building was neglected and unsafe, and the Florentine bishop Ildebrando began to build a new one on April 27, 1018. The church was finished two hundred years later, in the 13th century. In 1373, the Olivetan monks arrived in Florence, called by the Pope Gregorio XI, and settled in the monastery, where you can still find them today. The Chapel dedicated to the Cardinal Giacomo di Coimbra (Cardinal of Portugal) was built between 1461 and 1466 by Antonio Manetti and finished by Antonio Rossellino, after his death. During the 16th century, with the emergence of Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Piazza della Repubblica

    When you arrive to Piazza della Repubblica, your eyes are instantly attracted by the impressive triumphal arch. Near the Arcone, you discover the gorgeous carousel from the beginning of the 20th century and, a little further, the Column of Abundance (Colonna della Dovizia), but this is not all. You have to turn around a few times and take a few breaths to perceive it as a whole.   SHORT HISTORY Piazza della Repubblica is the center of the city since Roman times, when here was the forum which gathered the most important religious and civil buildings of that period. Over time, this area maintained its function as a meeting place, starting to host the market, which was institutionalized after the year 1000. Piazza della Repubblica it was defined as a public space intended for trade, while the square of the Duomo (Piazza del Duomo) was a place for politics and Piazza della Signoria for civil affairs. In the 16th century, the square was renamed Mercato Vecchio (Old Market), due to the construction of the Loggia del Mercato Nuovo near the Ponte Vecchio. Here was also the Jewish Ghetto, where Cosimo I had forced to reside the Jews in the city. Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Santa Maria Novella

    Santa Maria Novella is a wonderful Dominican church located in the square with the same name, near the train station with the same name, in the beautiful city of Florence.   SHORT HISTORY In 1219, twelve Dominicans arrived in Florence from Bologna, led by Fra’ Giovanni. In 1221, they obtained the small church of Santa Maria delle Vigne, so called for the agricultural land that surrounded it. In 1242, the Dominicans decided to start work on a new and larger church. On October 18, 1279, during the feast of San Luca, the Laying of the First Stone was celebrated, with the blessing of Cardinal Latino Malabranca Orsini. The construction was finished around the middle of the 14th century, but it was consecrated only in 1420, by Pope Martino V. Leon Battista Alberti designed the large central portal and the upper part of the façade, in white and dark green marble, which was completed in 1470. After the Council of Trento, between 1565 and 1571, the interior of the church was redesigned by Giorgio Vasari, with the removal of the choir enclosure and the reconstruction of the side altars, which led to the shortening of the Gothic windows. Between 1575 and Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Palazzo dell’Antella

    Palazzo dell’Antella is a building with a beautiful frescoed façade in Piazza di Santa Croce, in Florence, the result of the unification of several houses belonging to the Ricoveri family.   SHORT HISTORY The first significant expansion of the palace dates from the second half of the 16th century – the building was raised by a floor, including a mezzanine, and the wooden doors were replaced with stone ones, still visible today. The architect of the palace is thought to be someone from the circle of Baccio d’Agnolo. In the early 17th century, the palace passed to Senator Niccolò dell’Antella, through the dowry of his wife Costanza del Barbigia. In 1619, dell’Antella commissioned the architect Giulio Parigi to give a unified design to the properties the senator bought in Piazza di Santa Croce. To give a unified appearance to the adjacent buildings, he had the entire facade painted with frescoes. The paintings were made in just twenty days of work, between 1619 and 1620, by a team of thirteen young artists supervised by the painter Giovanni da San Giovanni. Dell’Antella died out in 1698 and, later, the palace passed by inheritance to Dal Borgo, then to Lotteringhi della Stufa and Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Fondaco dei Turchi

    One of the oldest buildings in Venice, Fondaco dei Turchi, is located in Santa Croce, on the southern bank of the Grand Canal. From this strategic point of view, with an impenetrable mimic on its Byzantine style facade, the palace watches the gondolas passing by for almost 800 years.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built in 1225 by Giacomo Palmieri, one of the members of the powerful Pesaro family. For certain political favors, the construction was given in 1381 to Nicolo d’Este, Marquise of Ferrara, and two centuries later, in 1621, it is owned by the Turkish merchants in Venice, who turned it into a warehouse and a residential space. The name that it bears today comes from that period, meaning in English The Turkish Warehouse. In 1838, the palace was abandoned by the Turks in a very bad state. It had to be another twenty years before the municipality decided to renovate it, and the mission was entrusted to the architect and engineer Camillo Boito. It seems, however, that after the reconstruction, the palace was adorned with two lateral Gothic towers that did not existed before, but keept the general lines of the initial construction. Since 1890, the Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Ca’ d’Oro

    Commonly known as Ca’ d’Oro, Palazzo Santa Sofia, located just across the Rialto Market, overlooking the Grand Canal, undoubtedly remains the most beautiful Venetian palace. Its name, translated into English as The Golden House, does not lie, because at origins, portions of the facade facing the Grand Canal were covered with this noble metal. Today, gold is missing, but the Venetian-style Gothic building still impresses, not so much by stature, but by the delicacy of its decorations. Currently, the palace hosts the Giorgio Franchetti art gallery, and it can be visited at the same time.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built between 1421 and 1440 for the Venetian merchant Marino Contarini. He closely supervised the work of several architects and sculptors, of whom we can mention the Venetians Giovanni and Bartolomeo Bon, responsible for the decorations that adorn the palace, the Milan sculptor Matteo Raverti, and Marco d’Amedeo, probably the designer of the project. Marino Contarini died in 1441, leaving his only son, Piero, his entire fortune. Piero inherited, of course, the palace, which he will leave after his death to his daughters. A series of misunderstandings that followed led to the loss of the palace, which came in Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Palazzo Vescovile

    Palazzo Vescovile is a palace in Piazza IV Novembre, which incorporates a part of the old Palazzo del Podesta (the three arched gothic windows on the right), remains from the 16th century, before the palace was burned.   SHORT HISTORY On this place, between 1283 and 1292, Palazzo del Podesta (the Town Hall) was built. After a fire in 1329, it was rebuilt. In 1414, Braccio Fortebracci occupied the palace and he remained there until 1424, as Lord of Perugia. He built the Loggia which is now part of the Cathedral of San Lorenzo. The palace was later used by the papal governors of Perugia and, in 1534, when Ridolfo Baglioni conquered Perugia, Palazzo del Podesta was burned again. In the 16th century, Pope Pius IV allowed Cardinal Fulvio della Corgna to build two buildings on the site of the former Palazzo del Podesta – the episcopal seminary and the Palazzo Vescovile (the Bishop’s Palace). Later, between 1586 and 1591, the Cardinal Antonio Maria Gallo has made improvements to the palace.   HOW TO GET THERE Palazzo Vescovile is located in Piazza IV Novembre, near Palazzo dei Priori. The closest bus stations are in P.G. Matteotti, 250 meters away, and Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Via Maestà delle Volte

    Via Maestà delle Volte is, probably, the most beautiful street in Perugia, although it does not have more than 100 meters. Its name comes from a fresco known as Maestà delle Volte, that most likely portrayed Madonna with the Child. The street starts from Piazza IV Novembre and ends in Piazza Cavallotti. At number 1, you can find the facade of the Church of the Maestà delle Volte, now a clothing store. Near the church, is a small arch from pink and white stone, belonging to the Oratory of the Maestà delle Volte, built in 1335 to protect the fresco mentioned above. To the right of the church, is a ceramic panel placed at the end of the Second World War, by G. Belleti, representing the Madonna with the Child and Saints Ercolano and Costanzo presenting the city to the Virgin. About 15 meters further, as you walk along the street, you will find the Fountain of Via Maestà delle Volte, built in 1928 by the architect Pietro Angelini, under an ancient arch of the 15th century.   HOW TO GET THERE Via Maestà delle Volte is near the Piazza IV Novembre, in the middle of historic city of Perugia. Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Piazza IV Novembre

    Piazza IV Novembre is a beautiful square in the historic center of Perugia, gathering the most important buildings and monuments of the city, from Palazzo dei Priori, to Fontana Maggiore and the Cathedral of San Lorenzo. Piazza IV Novembre is also the setting for summer concerts during the Umbria Jazz Festival. In autumn, it becomes the headquarters of the Fiera dei Morti, a traditional event that takes place every year since 1260, coinciding with the All Saints’ Day. In June, there is also Perugia 1416, a historical re-enactment of the conquest of the city by Braccio Fortebracci. Last but not least, in the square is held Eurochocolate, a chocolate fair founded in 1993.   SHORT HISTORY Piazza IV Novembre stands on the former site of the ancient Roman Forum. In the Middle Ages, it has become the starting point for five main streets, known as the Royal Streets. In the 9th century, the Cathedral of San Lorenzo was built, and the square has qualified as a representative space for political and religious power, a role confirmed later by the establishment of the municipal government buildings. The current structure is that defined by the restructuring of the Platea Magna Comunis (the Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Church of the Maestà delle Volte

    The Church of the Maestà delle Volte was a church in Perugia, from which today only the facade has remained. The church is now a clothing store on via Maestà delle Volte, but it still retains its architecture and some of the original frescoes.   SHORT HISTORY In 1297, on the street that passes under the Palazzo del Podesta, was placed a fresco known as Maestà delle Volte, which most likely portrayed Madonna with the Child. An oratory was built in 1335 to house the fresco, that was replaced by a larger church, between 1440 and 1470. Probably, Agostino di Duccio decorated the church in 1475. The church was damaged in 1534, when Ridolfo Baglioni conquered Perugia and set fire to the adjacent palace. Restorations took place in 1538 and between 1557 and 1558. In 1566, when the church became part of the Episcopal Seminary, Bishop Fulvio della Corgna initiated further renovations. The church was a meeting place for the Compagnia della Morte until the end of the 16th century, after which it moved to its own church, Church of Compagnia della Buona Morte. At the end of the 16th century, the facade of the church was built after a Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Basilica of San Domenico

    Basilica of San Domenico, one of the most important churches in Perugia, overlooks a small square, Piazza Giordano Bruno, and can be seen from all over the city, thanks to the 126 meters high tower.   SHORT HISTORY The Dominicans arrived in Perugia around 1230 and, between 1231 and 1260, they built a primitive church where the Basilica of San Domenico stands today. In the years to come, the Dominican order will become important and, in 1304, the construction of a new, larger church will begin. The church will be consecrated by Pope Pio II Piccolomini in 1459. At the start of the 17th century, the nave collapsed and the church was entirely rebuilt following Carlo Maderno’s design, between 1629 and 1632.   ARCHITECTURE The church has an impressive facade, which opens at the top to a stairway with a double ramp. Inside, it has the layout of a Latin cross and is characterised by simplicity. The austerity of the nave contrasts the Gothic style of the glass windows, dated from 1411 and signed by Bartolomeo di Pietro and by Mariotto di Nardo. The top window, 23 meters high, is the largest of the era after the Duomo of Milan. Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Perugia Cathedral of San Lorenzo

    The Cathedral of San Lorenzo, dedicated to Saint Lawrence, deacon in the service of Pope Sixtus II, martyred in Rome in the year 258, is part of an architectural complex that, taken as a whole, is called the island of San Lorenzo or the castle of San Lorenzo.   SHORT HISTORY A church was initially built in the 9th century on the ancient forum of the Etruscan city. It was then rebuilt between the 11th and the 12th century, to house the remains of the bishop Ercolano, martyred at the time of the Ostrogoths invasion, in the 6th century. In 1300, the church was expanded, under the supervision of the benedictine monk Bevignate. A considerable time has passed between the planning and the completion of the work, two centuries later, in 1507. In the second half of the nineteenth century, by the will of Cardinal Gioacchino Pecci, then bishop of Perugia and future pontiff, the cathedral received a neo-gothic appearance – the structure preserved to this day.   ARCHITECTURE The Cathedral, with its southern façade, serves as a background to Piazza Maggiore, today Piazza IV Novembre, which gathers in a single space, at the same time functional and symbolic, the Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Fountain of Via Maestà delle Volte

    The Fountain of Via Maestà delle Volte (Fontana di via Maestà delle Volte) is a beautiful fountain in Perugia, built in 1928 by the architect Pietro Angelini, under an ancient arch of the 15th century that frames it. The fountain, realized in medieval style, fits harmoniously in the context of the via Maestà delle Volte, seemingly from the same time period, but the inscription in Roman characters refers to the 20th century. The griffin, symbol of the Municipality of Perugia, is carved in the central tile of the pool, as on other public buildings. The fountain was restored in 2016, thanks to the Art Bonus 2015 donations.   HOW TO GET THERE The fountain is near the Piazza IV November, very close to a more famous fountain, Fontana Maggiore, only 70 meters away. To get there, use the map below.

  • Favorite

    Palazzo dei Priori

    Palazzo dei Priori is one of the best examples of public buildings in the Middle Ages. Located in the central Piazza IV Novembre, it still hosts today the Town Hall and, on the top floors, the National Gallery of Umbria.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo dei Priori was built in Gothic style between 1293 and 1443, in several construction phases. The irregularity of the façades is explained in the long course of construction, aimed at continuous additions and renovations. First, between 1293 and 1297, was built the palace for the Capitano del Popolo by Giacomo di Servadio and Giovanello di Benevento. Each of the two main floors comprised a single room. The room on the lower floor was originally the Sala del Consiglio, the room used for meetings of the Council that advised the Capitano del Popolo, that it later became the Sala dei Notari (Hall of Notaries). The room above is today the Sala Podiani of the Galleria Nazionale. Between 1333 and 1337, there was the first enlargement, when it was built the right side, with two windows and the portico of three arches, replaceing the church of San Severo. With the additions from 1353, the palace reached Via dei Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Temple of Minerva

    In the central square of Assisi, there is an old roman temple from the first century of our era, Temple of Minerva, that was dedicated to the goddess of wisdom and peace from the pagan age. Today, the temple houses the church called Santa Maria sopra Minerva.   SHORT HISTORY Around the years 28-25 BC, in the time of Emperor Augustus, the Roman Forum in Assisi is structured, various temples rise and the city wall is completed. Abouth then, the Temple of Minerva is built. When the pagan cult ceased, the Temple of Minerva remained abandoned and silent for over a century, until the second half of the 5th century, when the Benedictine monks restored the building and used it. With an act of May 24, 1212, the Benedictines granted for rent, for a hundred years, all the rooms of the Temple to the city of Assisi. In 1539, Pope Paul III, visiting Assisi, ordered that the Temple of Minerva to be restored and dedicated to Saint Mary. The Temple takes the name of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. In 1613, the Bishop of Assisi, Marcello Crescenzi, also having the consent of the city council, donates the Temple to the Friars Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Abbey of Saint Peter

    The Abbey of Saint Peter (Chiesa di San Pietro) is a church inhabited today by a community of monks from the Benedictine Cassinese Congregation, near the entrance in Assisi.   SHORT HISTORY The Abbey of Saint Peter was built at the end of the 10th century, outside the city walls of Assisi, near an ancient Roman necropolis. The presence of the monastery has been documented since 1029, through a manuscript preserved in the Archives of San Rufino. In the first half of the thirteenth century, the history of the community of St. Peter is intertwined with that of St. Francis. The blessed Peter, abbot of Assisi, whose name is mentioned in a document from 1209, gave to Saint Francis the silver chalice which is still preserved in the Chapel of the Relics of the Sacred Convent. Around 1252, after they lived in the monastery for over two centuries, the Benedictines abandoned the place, and in their place came the Cistercians, who completed the construction of the abbey and the church, which was consecrated in 1254 by Innocenzo IV. On the same occasion, the pontiff consecrated the Cathedral of San Rufino and the Basilica of San Francesco. In 1316, following the Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Teatro Caio Melisso

    Teatro Caio Melisso is an old opera house in Spoleto, and one of the most elegant theatres in Italy, being known as one of the main venues of the Festival dei Due Mondi.   SHORT HISTORY The oldest theatre in Spoleto, Teatro Caio Melisso was built in the second half of the 17th century, using part of the structures of the unfinished Palazzo della Signoria. The first mention of the theatre was made in 1664, as the „room for comedies”, which led to changing its name in Noble Theatre in 1668. The original wooden structure was enriched in 1751 with decorations, curtains and scenes, which gave it a very precious appearance. After 1819, due to the theft of the 18th century decorations, the theatre was looking bad and the Spoletans showed the desire to have a larger one, so, in 1853, some of them tried to set it on fire. Teatro Nuovo was built in 1864, surpassing the decadent Noble Theatre, which however, after only ten years, was renewed by the will of the Municipality. The project was entrusted to the Spoleto architect Giovanni Montiroli and, in 1880, the theatre was reopened under the name Caio Melisso. Caio Melisso was Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Teodelapio

    Near the Spoleto train station, there is a monument that you can easily overlook. Its name is Teodelapio, which comes from one of the first Lombard dukes of Spoleto, who reigned in the 7th century, Theudelapius.   SHORT HISTORY The story began in 1962, at the fifth edition of the Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of the Two Worlds), curated by Giovanni Carandente. In March 1962, Giovanni Carandente invited Alexander Calder to participate in the event. He asked him to create a piece of art that could serve as a triumphal arch at the entrance to the city and become its symbol. Alexander Calder was an American sculptor known for his Mobile sculptures, which are moving due to air currents, but also for the monumental stationary sculptures that are called Stabiles. The American sculptor designed a metal monument, kept today in the Carandente Museum, inside Palazzo Collicola. The sculpture was enlarged 27 times, being the first of many Stabiles of Calder and the only one on the Italian soil. 18 meters in height, the work is considered the first stationary monumental sculpture in the world.   HOW TO GET THERE It’s simple! The Teodelapio is right in front of the Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Fonte di Piazza

    In the historical center of Spoleto, in Piazza del Mercato (Market Square), there is a fantastic fountain, whose water has been running for over 700 years. With a clock above and a monument dedicated to the Barberini family on top, this fountain is known as Fontana di Piazza del Mercato or, simpler, Fonte di Piazza, and is one of the main tourist attractions in Spoleto, and should not be missed.   SHORT HISTORY There has been a fountain in Piazza del Mercato since the 13th century or even earlier. In 1433, another one was built in front of the old fountain by the local architect Giovanni Buono and it was inaugurated on the occasion of the visit of Roman Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg. Achille Sansi, a historian from the 19th century, tells us that the water flow of the fountain had been increased in 1512, thanks to the improvements made to the pipelines. In the 16th century, the place where today’s fountain stands was occupied by the church of San Donato. In the second half of the 16th century, the church was abandoned and its façade facing the square was used first for a clock, and then for a monument Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Fontana di Mascherone

    Fontana di Mascherone is an interesting fountain in Spoleto, simply known by the locals as Il Mascherone, due to the mask from whose mouth the water flows. The fountain was probably built in the 17th century, and according to a nearby inscription, a restoration was comissioned in the year 1736 by the Pope Clement VII.   HOW TO GET THERE The fountain is located in Piazza Campello, only 230 meters from the Spoleto Cathedral and about 1.9 kilometers from the Spoleto train station. If you want to find the fountain easily, use the map below.

  • Favorite

    Basilica of Sant’Eufemia

    The Basilica of Sant’Eufemia rises inside the Archbishop’s Palace, near the Piazza del Duomo, on a place that was once occupied by the palace of the Lombard Dukes of Spoleto.   SHORT HISTORY The first information about the monastery and the church of S. Eufemia dates back to the 10th century, when the Benedictine monk Giovanni Cassinese wrote about the life of S. Giovanni, Archbishop of Spoleto. In the 12th century, the church was encompassed by the Palazzo Vescovile (the Archbishop’s Palace). At the end of the 14th century, a painter was commissioned to paint the complex of the palace. At the middle of the 15th century, the Spoleto diocese was run by the Patriarch of Alexandria, the venetian Marco Condulmer, and the church seems to have changed its title from S. Eufemia to S. Lucia.   HOW TO GET THERE After you visit the Cathedral of the Assumption of Saint Mary, in Piazza del Duomo, you can easily get to the Church of Sant’Eufemia, only 100 meters away. If you need precise directions from anywhere in the city, use the map below.

  • Favorite

    Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels

    Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels (Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli) is a papal church in Assisi, outside city walls, about 4 kilometers from the historic centre. The Basilica shelters the Porziuncola, a small church where the Franciscan movement started and, at the same time, the most sacred place for the Franciscan order.   SHORT HISTORY Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels was built between 1565 and 1685, after a project by Galeazzo Alessi, an italian architect from Perugia. The construction has taken a long time due to constant lack of money, because the church was financed only from donations. After an earthquake on 15 March 1832, the church suffered major damage. The reconstruction of the basilica started in 1836 and was finished 4 years later, in 1840. The architect in charge for the reconstruction was Luigi Poletti. During reconstruction, the façade of the church was remodeled in a neoclassical style, but the architect Cesare Bazzani gave back, between 1924 and 1930, its original form.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The basilica was built in a Mannerist style and has a latin cross structure, 126 meters in lenght and 65 meters wide. The interior has three naves and Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Rocca Maggiore

    Rocca Maggiore is a majestic, imposing fortress from the 14th century which dominates the town of Assisi from above, offering magnificent views and charming panoramas of the surrounding valley below, from Perugia, in the north, to Spoleto, in the south.   SHORT HISTORY The initial fortress was built, perhaps, before the year 1000, in the time of the barbaric invasions, but the first information about Rocca Maggiore dates back to 1174, when Assisi was conquered by the imperial troops led by Christian of Mainz. In 1198, Rocca Maggiore was destroyed by a riot, to prevent it from falling into the hands of a papal governor, but it was rebuilt later, in 1365, by Cardinal Egidio Albornoz, as a lookout. In the next centuries, the fortress was enlarged and modified by various occupants – by Biordo Michelotti between 1395 and 1398, by Piccinino in 1458, by Pope Pius II in 1460, by Sixtus IV in 1478 and by Paul III in 1535, reaching a massive structure. From the 17th century, Rocca Maggiore was abandoned, but it remained intact until the present day.   HOW TO GET THERE If you are in Assisi, you are probably seeing, somewhere above, the fortress. It’s Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Castel Sant’Angelo

    A beautiful monument in Rome, Castel Sant’Angelo has been guarding the banks of the Tiber for nearly 2000 years. Throughout the centuries, Sant’Angelo was, in turn, a mausoleum, a fortress, a castle, a prison and, today, a museum.   SHORT HISTORY In the year 135 AD, the roman emperor Hadrian commissioned a mausoleum for himself and his family, a monument worthy of the Antonine dynasty. To link it to the Campus Martius area, he built also a bridge, Pons Aelius, the current Sant’Angelo bridge. In 401, the mausoleum has been partially destroyed, after its conversion to a military fortress and due to the inclusion in the Aurelian Walls. Beginning in the 14th century, the papacy converted the mausoleum into a castle and connected it to St. Peter’s Basilica by a fortified corridor. Later, the Papal state will use Castel Sant’Angelo as a prison, Giordano Bruno or Benvenuto Cellini being among its guests. Today, the castle is a museum, the “Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo”.   HOW TO GET THERE The nearest Metro station is Lepanto, on Line A, 1.2 kilometers from Castel Sant’Angelo or 16 minutes of walking. If you want to reach the castle on foot, use the map Read more [...]