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

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    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 [...]

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    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 [...]

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    Basilica of St. John Lateran

    The Basilica of the Most Holy Savior and of the Saints John the Baptist and Evangelist in the Lateran, commonly called Basilica of St. John Lateran, is the mother church of all the Catholic churches in Rome and the entire world. It is the highest ranking of the four papal major basilicas, receiving the title of archbasilica.   SHORT HISTORY Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano was consecrated in 324 by Pope Sylvester I, and dedicated to the Most Holy Savior. In the ninth century, Pope Sergio III dedicated it to St. John the Baptist, while in the twelfth century, Pope Lucio II dedicated it to St. John the Evangelist. At the end of the 13th century, great works were undertaken under Bonifacio VIII, with the frescoes by Giotto and by Cimabue, today lost. In the 14th century, with the shift of papal power from Rome to Avignon, the church will be abandoned, and after the return of the papacy to Rome, due to the poor condition of the Basilica, the popes will prefer the Vatican. In the 18th century, the facade of the Basilica was finally completed with the new prospect of Alessandro Galilei. On the occasion of the Read more [...]

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    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 [...]