The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Orvieto is one of the most beautiful churches in Italy and the world and a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. SHORT HISTORY The building of the Orvieto Cathedral was started in 1290 by the will of Pope Nicholas IV. The church was designed, probably, by Arnolfo di Cambio, but it is not known for sure. At the beginning, the project was entrusted to Fra Bevignate from Perugia, and later, before the end of the 13th century, to Giovanni di Ugguccione, who introduced the first Gothic forms. At the beginning of the 14th century, the Sienese sculptor and architect Lorenzo Maitani assumed the role of the master builder, changing the design of the church into something similar with the Cathedral of Siena. At the Maitani’s death, in 1330, the works were far from over. The role of master builder was obtained by various architects, who succeeded each other over the years, often for short periods. The Chapel of the Corporal was built between 1350 and 1356, and the Chapel of San Brizio was built between 1408 and 1444. The works of the facade continued over the years, and were completed in the second half Read more [...]
One of the most beautiful countries in the world, Italy is well known for its rich art and culture, and for its numerous landmarks. With 54 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than any other country in the world, and an estimated 100,000 monuments of any sort (churches, palaces, museums, fountains, sculptures and archaeological remains), Italy is home to about half of the world’s artistic treasures. And if you are looking for inspiration, here is a list of Italy’s best-known attractions and sights…
Fontana Maggiore is considered the most beautiful and famous fountain of the Middle Ages, the emblem of the medieval Perugia and the simbol of the city for almost 800 years. SHORT HISTORY Fontana Maggiore was built between 1275 and 1278 by the sculptors Nicola and Giovanni Pisano, father and son. The fountain was damaged by the earthquake of 1348, and its panels were restored in an arbitrary order. In 1948, it was restored with inappropriate materials (cement), and it was necessary a further restoration. In March 2017, Fontana Maggiore has returned to its splendor after a long restoration. ARCHITECTURE The fountain consists of two polygonal pools in white and pink stone, topped by a bronze cup with a bronze group of three nymphs supporting an amphora, from which the water flows. Originally, on their heads, there were four bronze griffins, for each cardinal point, that are now exposed in the National Gallery of Umbria. The tiles of the lower basin reproduce emblematic scenes of the Old Testament (the seduction of Adam by Eva, of Samson by Dalila), of the foundation of Rome, a calendar cycle of agricultural works interspersed with representations of the zodiacal signs. These are followed Read more [...]
Spoleto Cathedral (Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta or the Duomo di Spoleto) is a beautiful church in Spoleto dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. SHORT HISTORY The Spoleto Cathedral was built at the end of the 12th century, replacing the building of Santa Maria del Vescovato, which was dating back to the 8th or 9th century. Earlier, on this place, was an ancient christian temple dedicated to the martyr Primiano di Larino. The crypt of San Primiano, from the 9th century, represents the only remaining element of the building that stood on this place. ART AND ARCHITECTURE On the façade of the church, embellished by the mosaic of Solsterno, are the arcades of the portico built in 1491 by Ambrogio Barocci. Inside the Cathedral, you can find numerous works of art. At the beginning of the left aisle, you can admire the painting by Alberto Sotio (around 1187). The apse has a remarkable painting with Stories of the Virgin by Filippo Lippi, made between 1467 and 1469. You can also find here a bronze sculpture of Urbano VIII by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and a painting by Annibale Carracci. Interesting is the chapel of Sant’Anna, built Read more [...]
The Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi is the mother church of Roman Catholic Franciscan Order, an important place of pilgrimage, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. Here, Saint Francis, one of the most venerated religious figures of the Catholic Church, is buried. SHORT HISTORY The Basilica of Saint Francis is composed, actually, from two churches. The Lower Church was built between 1228 and 1230, only 4 years after the saint’s death, and the Upper Church was built between 1230 and 1253. The Sacro Convento friary, with its imposing walls supported by 53 arches and powerful buttresses, was built between the 12th and the 15th century with stone from the near Mount Subasio. An important part of the friary was built under the reign of Pope Sixtus IV, a Franciscan, near the end of the 15th century. A crypt was dug in 1818, for the tomb of Saint Francis. Now, the remains of the saint are kept in a stone urn in the Lower Church. ART AND ARCHITECTURE You can enter the Lower Church through a wonderful portico with two arches and three rose windows. Inside, you can find invaluable paintings by Giotto (the Chapel of Mary Read more [...]
The Cathedral of San Rufino, known also as the Duomo of Assisi, is the main Catholic church in Assisi, located in the homonymous square. The Cathedral was built on a terrace that probably was the place of the ancient Roman forum of the city. SHORT HISTORY The body of San Rufino was probably brought to Assisi in the 8th century and a first church was built on this place around the same time. Ugone, Bishop of Assisi from 1028, moved the episcopal seat from the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore to the Church of San Rufino, and made the latter a Cathedral in 1036. In 1134, it was decided to demolish the Ugonian Basilica and to build a new and more imposing cathedral. The work for the new church, on a project by Giovanni da Gubbio, was started in 1140, but the construction lasted for several decades. In 1228, Pope Gregory IX consecrated the high altar and, in 1253, the whole church was consecrated by Innocent IV. In 1571, the interior of the cathedral was renovated according to a project by Galeazzo Alessi. ARCHITECTURE The facade of the Cathedral is one of the most significant works of the Read more [...]
Maurizio Tower, built in Piazza del Duomo, in Orvieto, between 1347 and 1348, is one of the oldest clock towers in Italy. Maurizio is the bronze automaton on top of the tower, which, at fixed time, swings its body and strikes the bell with its hammer. SHORT HISTORY The history of the Maurizio Tower is closely related to the history of the Orvieto Cathedral. The tower was comissioned by the Opera del Duomo, and built between 1347 and 1348, to support the worksite. The tower was built originally to be a sundial, because at the time of its construction, there was no mechanical clock available. Its role was to indicate the start and the end of the work schedule. The current clockwork mechanism dates back to the 18th century, when a countwheel was added to strike the quarters on the smaller bells. Other adjustments were made between 1860 and 1870. In 1905, the headgear of the Maurizio was replaced. On October 29, 2011, the clock tower was brought back to use, and the building has become an information point for the Duomo and the Museum System of Orvieto’s Opera del Duomo (MODO). HOW TO GET THERE Maurizio Tower Read more [...]
Palazzo del Popolo, or Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo, is an imposing palace in Orvieto, located in the homonymous square, Piazza del Popolo. SHORT HISTORY The square was born around 1250 to host the Palazzo del Popolo, the palace which would welcome the Capitano del Popolo (Captain of the People), a political figure of the local administration in medieval Italy, established to balance the power and authority of noble families. It is believed that the palace was built on the initiative of the Neri della Greca family, on a pre-existing papal palace of 1157. Around 1250, the area was cleared and the existing constructions were demolished, so that a proper seat for the Captain of the People could be built, and Piazza del Popolo was born between 1281 and 1284. Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo was completed in the early 14th century, but the building saw changes and expansions in the following decades. The strange bell tower was built in 1315, and the bell which is now located on Torre del Moro was placed inside. Among the main rooms, there is the Sala dei Quattrocento, the hall that in 1596 was sold to the Faculty of Law, Theology and Read more [...]
Pozzo della Cava (The Quarry Well) is one of the two ancient wells in Orvieto, the other being Pozzo di San Patrizio. SHORT HISTORY The well was excavated, initially, by Etruscans searching for water springs in Orvieto. After many centuries, in 1527, Pope Clement VII took refuge in Orvieto after the Sack of Rome, and ordered the rehabilitation of the well, before comissioning the Pozzo di San Patrizio. The work was paid by the Municipality and was completed in 1530. Pozzo della Cava remained open until 1646, when the town authorities ordered its closing, after five French officers who attempted to molest women were thrown into the well. After more than 3 centuries, the well was uncovered by Tersilio Sciarra in December 1984. The restoration works lasted until 1996 and, in 2004, the ancient access from Via della Cava was restored. ARCHITECTURE The well is 36 meters deep, including the height of the spring water at the bottom. Pozzo della Cava consists of two parts that have been unified – a larger one, circular, with an average diameter of 3.40 meters, and a smaller rectangular shaft, measuring 60 x 80 centimeters. A tunnel about 1.7 meters high and Read more [...]
Pozzo di San Patrizio (Saint Patrick’s Well) is one of the two ancient wells in Orvieto, the other being Pozzo della Cava. SHORT HISTORY In 1527, Pope Clement VII, returned to Orvieto after the Sack of Rome and, eager to protect himself in case of a siege, comissioned the structure of the well to Antonio da Sangallo the Younger. The well, originally named Pozzo della Rocca (The Fortress Well), as it was close to the fortress Rocca Albornoziana, was designed to provide water in the event of a disaster or siege. The well was built between 1527 and 1537. The works were concluded during the papacy of Paul III Farnese (1534-1549). Pozzo di San Patrizio took the name of St. Patrick, probably because it was used as a Purgatory of Saint Patrick, similar to the cave in Ireland where the unbelievers who descended to its bottom would gain access to heaven. ARCHITECTURE The well was built by digging in the tuff of the plateau on which Orvieto stands, being an amazing masterpiece of hydraulic engineering. Pozzo di San Patrizio is a cylindrical structure, 54 meters deep, with a diameter of 13 meters. The access to the well is Read more [...]
Torre del Moro, originally known as Torre del Papa, is a tower 47 meters high adjacent to the Palazzo dei Sette, in Orvieto. From the top of the tower, a bird eye’s view of the entire city below is unfolding in all its splendor. SHORT HISTORY The tower was built towards the end of the 13th century, at the same time with the restoration of the existing buildings and the construction of new buildings. In the 16th century, the tower was renamed Torre del Moro, after Raffaele Gualterio, known as Il Moro, who also gave his name to Palazzo Gualterio and to the entire district. In 1865, a water tank was placed in the Torre del Moro, at the height of 18 meters. One year later, in 1866, the mechanical clock and the two bells were added to the tower. One of the bells came from Torre di Sant’Andrea and the other from Palazzo del Popolo. HOW TO GET THERE The closest bus station is Piazza Duomo, right in front of the Cathedral of Orvieto, about 300 meters away from the tower or about 4 minutes on foot. To get to the tower, you must walk on Via Read more [...]
Rocca Albornoziana is an imposing fortress standing on Colle Sant’Elia, the highest point in Spoleto, strategically towering over the valley. SHORT HISTORY The construction of Rocca Albornoziana started in 1359, of the order of Pope Innocent VI. The project was entrusted to the Spanish Cardinal Egidio Albornoz, who commissioned the works to Matteo di Giovannello da Gubbio, also known as Il Gattapone. The fortress was finished around 1370. Rocca Albornoziana became the main point of the defensive system of this valley, and later the residence of dukes, city governors and papal legates. In 1816, Rocca Albornoziana was turned into a prison, and was used like this until 1982. ARCHITECTURE Rocca Albornoziana has a rectangular shape with six imposing towers. Inside, it has two courtyards, the Cortile delle Armi (Courtyard of Arms), the headquarters of the troops, and the Cortile d’Onore (Courtyard of Honour), reserved to the administrators and the governors. The two courtyards are connected by a vault, decorated at the end of the 16th century with frescoes representing the six cities of the States of the Church. Salone d’Onore (Hall of Honour), the widest space of the fortress, was destined for ceremonies. Camera Pinta (Painted Room) hosts Read more [...]
Piazza del Duomo is a beautiful square in Spoleto, filled with interesting buildings, palaces, churches and places of culture. Descending the stairs to reach the square, flanked on the right by buildings of the 16th century, with the Cathedral of Spoleto in front, is like entering a grandiose scene. The highlight of the square is, without doubt, the wonderful Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, or Duomo di Spoleto, built at the end of the 12th century. In the square, we can also find the Church of Santa Maria della Manna d’Oro and the Parish of Santa Maria Nella Cattedrale. Another interesting building is Palazzo Racani Arroni, built in the early 16th century, lining the right side of the stairs that descend to the cathedral, displaying a grey facade embellished by extraordinary but ruined graffiti. Another 16th century palace is Casa Menotti, the home of Giancarlo Menotti, composer, screenwriter and creator of the Festival dei Due Mondi. Today, the palace is hosting a small museum of about 160 square meters, managed by the Monini Foundation in collaboration with the municipality of Spoleto and the Festival dei Due Mondi Foundation. In the square, we can find the beautiful Teatro Caio Melisso, an Read more [...]
Fontana di San Giuseppe (Fountain of Saint Joseph) is an interesting fountain in Spoleto, set against a terracing wall in Via Saccoccio Cecili, in the section commonly known as Curva dei Picchi. SHORT HISTORY Before the construction of Via Cecili, the place was occupied by a palace already equipped with a fountain, called already the Fountain of San Giuseppe. The palace was demolished in 1850, to make way for the new road, which at that point formed an important curve. In 1856, a new fountain was built, keeping the old name of San Giuseppe. In 1977, the fountain was restored by the Amici di Spoleto Association. ARCHITECTURE The water comes out of three nozzles, each provided with a collection tank. The central nozzle is decorated with a small mask. At the top, there is a crowned coat of arms in which a knight in battle is sculpted. HOW TO GET THERE From Piazza Garibaldi, as you enter the historic center of Spoleto, there are about 350 meters to the fountain, or about 5 minutes on foot. The closest bus station is Torre Dell’Olio, about 200 meters away, on the bus route MSP0D.
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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.
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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.
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.
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 [...]
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 [...]