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The great beauty of the eternal city of Rome

The great beauty of the eternal city of Rome

The great beauty of the eternal city of Rome

A tour to discover the city of Rome and its main monuments

A visit to Rome, considered the cradle of modern civilisation, is like a journey back in time, getting lost in more than 3000 years of history, witnessed by monuments, churches and squares that make the Eternal City an open-air museum.

Every year millions of tourists land at the Rome-Fiumicino airport to visit the Italian capital, which boasts of being the city with the most monuments in the world, and to lose themselves in the narrow streets whose architecture tells us the sequence of the past centuries, marked by invasions, wars, periods of decadence, unrest and rebirth.

Situated in central Italy, in the Lazio region, Rome was the starting point of the flourishing Roman Empire, which extended its rule over the entire Mediterranean area and much of Europe for thousands of years. It is considered one of the most important civilisations of antiquity and, with its discoveries, inventions and innovations, influenced every aspect of life, from society to art and from the right to technology, of the populations that came in the centuries that followed.

According to tradition, Rome was founded on 21 April 753 B.C. by Romulus and Remus, illegitimate sons of the god Mars and descendants of the famous Trojan hero Aeneas, who, as soon as they were born, were left in a basket on the banks of the Tiber, a river that still flows through the city today. Legend has it that the two twins were saved by a she-wolf who, torn apart by the death of her litter, was attracted by the cries of the children she saved by feeding them with her milk. Whether reality or myth, the she-wolf is still considered the symbol of the city of Rome, depicted with full breasts and with the intention of feeding the founder twins.

Even today, Rome, which was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980, has retained the charm of its glorious history, and there are many places to visit in Caput Mundi.

Bronze statue of the wolf, with Romulus and Remus

Ancient Roman bronze statue of a she-wolf feeding Romulus and Remus, the traditional founders of the city and empire of Rome, Italy.   (foto ©  Shutterstock.com)

The eternal city of Rome

The eternal city of Rome, Italy  (foto © shutterstock.com) 

First of all, the Flavio amphitheatre, known throughout the world as the Colosseum, which entered the general imagination thanks to films like Spartacus and characters like Massimo Decimo Meridio. It was the scene of bloody battles between gladiators, wild animals and simulations of naval battles, in which more than 50,000 spectators took part.
The Colosseum was begun at the request of Emperor Vespasian, the founder of the Flavian dynasty, and completed by his son Titus in 80 AD. It stands in the heart of Rome and has a surface area of 3000 square metres and a height of 48 metres.
Symbol of the greatness of the Roman Empire, it is today not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site but also one of the seven wonders of the modern world.
Admission to the Colosseum is not free and in high season it is difficult to reserve tickets for access to the world-famous structure, which includes access to the amphitheatre, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.

The Forum Romanum, or Fori Imperiali, was the heart of the city throughout the republican era, the commercial, political and religious centre of the Roman Empire.
Located between the Capitoline, Palatine and Quirinal Hills, inside you can visit the ruins of the ancient markets, the first sanctuaries, the first basilicas, the various administrative buildings where the Senate met and the remains of the Tabularium, seat of the State Archives.
There are also many mausoleums, temples and memorials built within the Imperial Forum, such as the temple dedicated to Emperor Caesar, the sanctuary where the mythical founder Romulus rests and the Column of Honour for Emperor Byzantium Foca, the last monument built on the Forum in 608 AD. Unfortunately there are no explanatory panels inside the archaeological site and the only way to really get to the heart of history is to take a guided tour.

The Palatine Hill, the third and last sight on the Colosseum ticket, is one of the seven hills of Rome, exactly where Romulus and Remus began to build the city according to the famous myth, which is confirmed by the discovery of the remains of an ancient village from the Iron Age. On this hill, isolated from the others and with the best view of the city, you can enter the cave where the she-wolf kept the founder twins alive and visit the Palatium: a complex of the magnificent residences of the emperors who ruled over Rome over the years.

Another monument not to be missed in Rome is the Pantheon, located just a few steps from Piazza Navona. Built almost 2000 years ago, this building, with its harmonious architecture and original circular shape, has remained one of the most brilliant examples of building technology over the centuries. The pagan temple, built by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa between 27 and 25 BC in honour of the Greek gods of Olympus, was not converted to Christianity until 608 AD by Pope Boniface IV, who changed its name to Basilica Santa Maria ad Martyres. Access to the Pantheon is free and the two main attractions are the Oculus, a large hole in the centre of the main dome, which is said to be the work of the devil, and the tombs of the first two kings of Italy, Victor Emanuel II and Umberto I.

Near the Pantheon, made world-famous by Anita Ekberg in “La dolce vita”, is the Trevi Fountain, which is a must on your Roman itinerary. The central theme of the work, designed by the architect Nicolò Salvi and richly decorated with numerous sculptures, is the sea. In the centre of the composition we find Neptune on his chariot, followed by the statues symbolising health and wealth, and finally two horses representing the fury of the ocean. Legend has it that only by tossing a coin into the fountain can one fulfil his wish to visit the Eternal City again.

Forum Romanum, Rome, Italy

Panoramic view of the ancient ruins of the Roman Forum / Forum Romanum at sunrise in Rome, Italy    (foto ©  Shutterstock.com)

The Pantheon in Rome

The Pantheon in Rome, near Piazza Navona.  (foto © Shutterstock.com)

The green lung of Rome is the park of Villa Borghese, designed by Cardinal Scipione Borghese in 1605 and renovated over the years by his successors. At the beginning of the 20th century it was bought by the State and thus transformed into a public park. Within its 6 km radius, the park contains endless surprises, such as dozens of neoclassical statues, an artificial lake, numerous fountains, an aviary, a biopark and a botanical garden.
Villa Borghese’s park also houses three museums: the National Gallery of Modern Art with works by Van Gogh, the National Etruscan Museum, which houses pre-Roman finds, and the Borghese Gallery. The latter is housed in the 17th century villa of the same name and has a section dedicated exclusively to sculpture, with works by Bernini and Canova, and a picture gallery, whose collection includes paintings by Rubens, Titian and Caravaggio.

Villa Borghese, Rome, Italy

The Temple of Esculapio, located in the beautiful park Villa Borghese, Rome, Italy.   (foto © Shutterstock.com) 

Not only monuments and churches, Rome is also rich in countless squares, each with priceless works of art. Among the most famous are Piazza Venezia where you can admire the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, a huge white marble building, and the Column of Trajan that with its bas-reliefs tells the valiant deeds of the emperor. Proceeding in the direction of the monument in honour of Victor Emanuel II we arrive at Piazza del Campidoglio. Entirely designed by Michelangelo, in this square we can visit the famous Capitoline Museums where the famous statue of the Capitoline She-wolf, symbol of Rome, is kept.
Located in the heart of the historical centre we find Piazza Navona with the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone and its three fountains: the Fountain of the Four Rivers, the Fountain of the Moor, the Fountain of Neptune. Following Via Condotti you reach the suggestive Piazza Spagna, famous for being at the foot of the monumental staircase that leads to the church of the Trinità dei Monti. Near Villa Borghese we find Piazza del Popolo, one of the largest squares in Rome which contains several fountains, three churches and an obelisk.

You cannot visit Rome, the only city in the world to host an entire state inside, without entering Vatican City. As soon as you cross the state borders you find yourself in the immense St. Peter’s Square, an architectural masterpiece by Bernini, surrounded by 280 columns and 145 statues of saints and designed to allow as many people as possible to see the Pope from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. The entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica is free, however in high season it is a long wait to enter and admire the wonderful baroque architecture, the numerous altars, funerary monuments to the Popes, the famous Pietà by Michelangelo and the Chair of St. Peter. For a fee is instead the access to Michelangelo’s gigantic dome from which you can admire, after taking a lift and climbing 323 steps, the whole city of Rome. Not to be missed are also the Vatican Museums, born from the patronage of the various Popes who over the centuries collected countless works of art, which have the incredible honour of hosting the famous Sistine Chapel painted by Maestro Michelangelo Buonarroti.

Rome is certainly one of the most fascinating and memorable cities in the world, one of those metropolises that you absolutely must visit at least once in your life. In Caput Mundi every brick, house, street or square has a story to tell, and you, are you ready to leave to listen to it?

Author: Nadia

Vittoriano, Piazza Venezia

Equestrian monument for Viktor Emanuel II at the Vittoriano Monument in Rome, Italy    (foto ©  Shutterstock.com) 

Piazza del Campidoglio, on the Capitoline Hill in Rome

Piazza del Campidoglio on the top of Capitoline Hill with the facade of Senatorial Palace and equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius at night, Rome, Italy  (foto ©  Shutterstock.com) 

Rome

Activities Rome

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Barumini – the Nuraghi

Barumini – the Nuraghi

Barumini – the Nuraghi

The nuragic complex of Barumini is located in the province of Medio Campidano and is the symbol of Sardinia of the great stone monuments: a suggestive and mysterious place to visit. The site includes the best preserved specimen of all Sardinian nuraghi: the village of Barumini which, due to its peculiarity, has been included in the World Heritage List by UNESCO.

The nuraghi were mostly defensive towers in the shape of a truncated cone made with large dry boulders, equipped with internal rooms. The word “nuraghe”, which means “pile of stones” and “cavity”, indicates a type of military architecture with turreted walls. Their function was strictly military: they served, in fact, to defend the surrounding territory. The main material used for its construction is basalt, a very hard volcanic stone.

 
The village of Barumini, dominated by a majestic central nuraghe called “Su Nuraxi” (from which the name of the complex also derives), tells the visitor the history of the millenary civilization that inhabited the territory for a very long period of time datable between Bronze Age and the III century. A.D. Not much is known about the ancient Nuragic civilization: it would be a population of shepherds and farmers who lived divided into small communities in Sardinia for eight centuries and who would have built these extraordinary structures.

The “Su Nuraxi” nuraghe is about 18 meters high and is surrounded by an enclosure made up of four side towers joined by walls. Inside the central tower, which preserves both floors intact, there is a courtyard with a well 20 meters deep. Around these buildings stood the village mostly made up of circular huts dating back to the VII-VI century. BC, when the territory was under the Punic and Roman domination. These huts have currently been unearthed in a small number of nuraghi and those of Barumini reach the highest degree of complexity and evolution.

In the Middle Bronze Age (1500-1300 BC) the main tower was built, that is the simple “tholos” nuraghe. The term “tholos” is used to indicate a truncated cone tower that has inside circular chambers with walls made up of large boulders that tend to decrease in size as you go up, completed by a false dome cover. The tower (originally about 18.60 m high) consisted of three superimposed rooms communicating with each other through stairs created within the wall thickness.

Blick auf das Kolosseum in Rom, Italien

Nuraghi, Sardinia, Italy.   (foto © Shutterstock.com)

Su Nuraxi, Barumini

View of the archaeological nuragic complex of Su Nuraxi di Barumini. UNESCO World Heritage List     (foto © shutterstock.com) 

In the V century BC the Punic occupation, which took over the nuragic civilization, led to the gradual decline of the village and consequent demographic decline. In the II-I century B.C. the settlement was also reused and adapted by the Romans, who in some cases used certain rooms as a burial place. The structure continued to be inhabited until the III century. A.D. and subsequently frequented sporadically until the early medieval period (VII century. A.D.).

 

The prehistoric origins of Barumini are also testified by another nuraghe, in the center of the town, dating back to the XVI century BC: the “Nuraxi e’ Cresia” (nuraghe of the church) which came to light during the restoration of “Casa Zapata”, a splendid residence of Aragonese barons, built in the mid 1500s, a rare example of Renaissance-inspired Hispanic civil architecture. Since 2006, the noble palace has housed a museum complex, which houses two towers of the Nuragic monument inside, visible from above thanks to suspended walkways and transparent floors.

 
Visiting Barumini and its territory today therefore means discovering a world rich in history and tradition. The peculiarity of Barumini is that you can visit the defensive tower and walk among the remains of an entire village of thousands of years ago.

Su Nuraxi di Barumini, Bronze Age, Sardinia

Nuraghi Ruins – Su Nuraxi di Barumini, Bronze Age, Sardinia, Italy, UNESCO World Heritage  (foto © Pecold / Shutterstock.com)

Barumini, Sardinia, Italy.

Barumini, Sardinia, Italy. View of the archaeological nuragic complex of Su Nuraxi di Barumini. UNESCO World Heritage List.  (foto ©  Shutterstock.com)

Aerial view of Barumini Nuraghi, Unesco World Heritage

Aerial view of Barumini Nuraghi, Unesco World Heritage    (foto © Shutterstock.com)

 

Barumini

Activities Sardinia

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Barumini – the Nuraghi

Barumini – the Nuraghi

The nuragic complex of Barumini is located in the province of Medio Campidano and is the symbol of Sardinia of the great stone monuments: a suggestive and mysterious place to visit. The site includes the best preserved specimen of all Sardinian nuraghi: the village of Barumini which, due to its peculiarity, has been included in the World Heritage List by UNESCO.

read more
The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle

The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle

The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle, which were officially inaugurated in 2001, are one of the most famous sights of Merano (Merano) and are one of the most popular destinations in South Tyrol. The Gardens inspire with their special variety and harmony: on an area of 12 hectares in the form of a natural amphitheatre, over 80 botanical zones with native plants from all parts of the world can be admired.

read more

The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle

The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle

Trauttmansdorff Castle Merano South Tyrol

Trauttmansdorff Castle, where Empress Elisabeth “Sissi” was a guest, in Merano, South Tyrol     (foto © shutterstock.com) 

The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle

The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle (Gärten von Schloss Trauttmansdorff), inaugurated in 2001, are among the attractions of Merano (Meran), which extend in its eastern part, and the most popular destinations in South Tyrol. They thrill with their particular variety and harmony: over 80 botanical environments with native plants from every corner of the world can be admired on an area of 12 hectares with a natural amphitheater shape. The climate of the sunny spa town ensures that plants find perfect conditions for growth. The botanical gardens are divided into four thematic areas: the ‘woods of the world’, with woods from China, Japan and Florida, the ‘gardens of the sun’ with a Mediterranean touch, the ‘landscapes of South Tyrol’, which with natural oak wood reflects the original fauna of the region, and last the ‘aquatic and terraced gardens’.

Archäologisches Gebiet von Aquileia

The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle, Merano, South Tyrol   (foto © footageclips / Shutterstock.com)

History & origins of the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle in Merano

The particular climate enjoyed by the city of Merano is the optimal condition for setting up a botanical garden. In 1977 the complex passed from the Italian State to the Autonomous Province of Bolzano-Alto Adige which entrusted the management of the real estate to the Laimburg Center for Agricultural and Forestry Experimentation. In 1989 the Center was entrusted with the construction of the gardens and the project was launched which, after years of intense work and preparations, was completed in 2001 with the inauguration of the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle. Today the site has become a reference point for tourists staying in South Tyrol and an important reference for the management of other gardens that have taken it as an example.

The woods of the world

In this thematic area you can admire evergreen broad-leaved woods from China, Japan and Florida; deciduous broad-leaved woods from eastern North America, South America, China and Japan; coniferous woodlands with giant sequoia and evergreen sequoia from eastern North America and a bald cypress grove from the Mississippi area. Among the other attractions of the “woods of the world” you will also find the “Valle delle Felci” and the aviary with numerous species of parrot.

The gardens of the sun

In this area, located on the southern slope of the gardens of Trauttmansdorff castle, you can admire the olive grove located further north in Italy, in which you will find a 700-year-old olive tree. There is also a lemon house, a lavender field and the largest collection of sage in Italy with 154 varieties of this plant. On the hill of succulents you will find cacti, euphorbias, aloes and agaves, succulents that grow in semi-desert areas of Africa and America.

The landscapes of South Tyrol

In the area concerning the landscapes of South Tyrol you can admire a natural oak wood, typical of South Tyrolean flora, and a riparian wood, typical of the marshy valley bottoms of the region. You can also see orchards and vineyards: the gardens of Trauttmansdorff castle have acquired the paternity of “Versoaln”, the largest and probably oldest vine in the world, located in Katzenzungen castle in Prissiano.

The aquatic and terraced gardens

In the water and terraced gardens area you will find an Italian garden, an English garden and a palm grove. Terraces, stairs and streams of water lead down to the water lily pond, a natural habitat for lotus flowers.

Field of flowers, Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle in Merano, South Tyrol

The Botanic Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle, Merano, south tyrol, Italy, offer many attractions with botanical species and varieties of plants from all over the world.  (foto © lorenza62 / Shutterstock.com)

Flowers in the gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle, Merano, South Tyrol

Flowers in the gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle, Merano, South Tyro  (foto © lorenza62 / Shutterstock.com)

The gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle, Merano, South Tyrol

Aerial view of the Trauttmansdorff Castle Gardens, a botanical gardens located in Merano city in north Italy.   (foto © Shutterstock.com)

The gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle

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Barumini – the Nuraghi

Barumini – the Nuraghi

The nuragic complex of Barumini is located in the province of Medio Campidano and is the symbol of Sardinia of the great stone monuments: a suggestive and mysterious place to visit. The site includes the best preserved specimen of all Sardinian nuraghi: the village of Barumini which, due to its peculiarity, has been included in the World Heritage List by UNESCO.

read more
The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle

The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle

The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle, which were officially inaugurated in 2001, are one of the most famous sights of Merano (Merano) and are one of the most popular destinations in South Tyrol. The Gardens inspire with their special variety and harmony: on an area of 12 hectares in the form of a natural amphitheatre, over 80 botanical zones with native plants from all parts of the world can be admired.

read more

Ferrara and the Po Delta

Ferrara and the Po Delta

Ferrara and the Po Delta

The historical centre of Ferrara, the city of the Renaissance is a UNESCO World Heritage Sit

Ferrara is called the “city of bicycles” and is famous for its relaxed atmosphere and its beautiful historic centre. Ferrara does not seem to have changed much since the Este family reigned there, one of the most powerful families in Europe with a particular predilection for art. In 1995 the entire historic centre of the city was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco for its Renaissance beauties.

The ideal starting point for a visit to Ferrara is the Estense Castle, symbol of the city. The castle stands imposingly in the historic centre and is one of the rare examples of a moated castle visible today in Italy. Its construction began in 1385 and today it has four large towers on the sides. The visit begins by crossing the drawbridges and, once inside, you can visit the prisons and the large frescoed rooms, used for games and court fun. Inside the Castle there is also the Tourist Information Office.

The Cathedral of San Giorgio Martire is the main place of worship in the city. Built in white marble, it bears signs of all the historical eras that Ferrara has gone through over the centuries, both on the facade and inside. Its Renaissance bell tower, the work by Leon Battista Alberti, has remained unfinished.

Passing under the arch in front of the Cathedral, you find yourself in a beautiful square dominated by the Town Hall. Once called the Ducal Palace, this building was the residence of the Este family until the nearby castle was built. The entrance is adorned with the imposing Staircase of Honor. Today the square is dotted with bars and shops.

Corso Ercole I d’Este is considered one of the most beautiful avenues in Europe, as it lacks shops and commercial activities. Walking through this avenue you can admire the beauty of the buildings, including the Palazzo dei Diamanti (Diamond Palace). Its name derives from the approximately 8,500 diamond-shaped white and pink marble bosses that cover the two sides. Legend has it that one of the bosses contains an authentic diamond hidden by Hercules I, belonging to his crown. The Palazzo dei Diamanti houses the National Art Gallery of Ferrara on the first floor, while temporary art exhibitions are set up on the ground floor.

About 2 kilometers long, Via delle Volte Street of the arches)is so called because of the arches and suspended passages that characterize it. This is one of the corners of the city where time seems to have stopped, where it is still possible to breathe an atmosphere of medieval charm.

 

Via Crucis Rom Lazio Italien 2019

San Giorgio Martire Ferrara    ( fotos © pixabay.com) 

Via Crucis Karfreitag Ostern Barile Basilikata

Ferrara Emilia Romagna    (fotos © pixabay.com) 

Via Crucis Rom Lazio Italien 2019

Castello Estense Ferrara    (fotos © pixabay.com) 

The Po Delta – UNESCO World Heritage

A little further east of Ferrara we find the Po river with its delta. The Po delta is the set of fluvial branches that allow the Po river to flow into the northern Adriatic Sea after its course that starts from Monte Monviso and crosses the entire Po Valley.

The Po Delta is the territory created both by the sedimentation of the river and by the work of man who over the centuries has regimented its waters and reclaimed the land. In the Delta there are various environments, each with unique characteristics. A territory rich in nature, history, art and culture, capable of offering many different itineraries and a fantastic landscape.

Here we find the Veneto Regional Park of the Po Delta, characterized by a humid area of ​​international importance and one of the most important naturalistic parks in Italy and Europe, which in a succession of landscapes and itineraries offers the visitor the opportunity to immerse themselves in the nature and to live a truly unique experience.

The Po delta was included in 1999 among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Italy as an extension of the recognition conferred on the city of Ferrara in 1995.

 

Via Crucis Rom Lazio Italien 2019

Po Delta Veneto   (fotos  © pixabay.com) 

 Processione dei Misteri in Trapani

Po Delta UNESCO World Herititage     (foto © pixabay.com) 

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Ferrara

Po Delta

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Barumini – the Nuraghi

Barumini – the Nuraghi

The nuragic complex of Barumini is located in the province of Medio Campidano and is the symbol of Sardinia of the great stone monuments: a suggestive and mysterious place to visit. The site includes the best preserved specimen of all Sardinian nuraghi: the village of Barumini which, due to its peculiarity, has been included in the World Heritage List by UNESCO.

read more
The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle

The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle

The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle, which were officially inaugurated in 2001, are one of the most famous sights of Merano (Merano) and are one of the most popular destinations in South Tyrol. The Gardens inspire with their special variety and harmony: on an area of 12 hectares in the form of a natural amphitheatre, over 80 botanical zones with native plants from all parts of the world can be admired.

read more

The Medici villas in Tuscany

The Medici villas in Tuscany

The Medici villas in Tuscany

The villas in which the Medici, lords of Renaissance Florence lived, are located in the magnificent Tuscany, immersed in a splendid countryside, close to cities of art such as Florence and Lucca. Built in harmony with nature between the 15th and 17th centuries, the villas are country buildings dedicated to pleasures, arts and knowledge. In addition to being places of rest and leisure, they represented the summer “palace” on the territories administered by the Medici and the center of agricultural economic activities in the area in which they were located. These palaces are among the most important examples of Renaissance and Baroque architecture in Tuscany. Their gardens and their perfect integration with the surrounding environment helped to bring out an aesthetic sensibility of the landscape that was a characteristic of Humanism and the Renaissance. These villas also testify to the influence exercised by the Medici on European culture through their widespread patronage.

In particular, 12 villas and two gardens became part of the World Heritage Site. The gardens are those of Boboli in Florence and Pratolino in Vaglia. The Boboli Gardens, born as the Grand Ducal garden of Palazzo Pitti and also connected to the Forte di Belvedere, is a perfect example of an Italian garden. The park of the Medici villa of Pratolinohosts magnificent works of art.

The villas are instead those near Florence: Careggi, La Petraia, Cerreto Guidi, Castello and Poggio Imperiale. The villas of Belcanto in Fiesole, in Poggio a Caiano (near Prato), La Màgia (Quarrata, near Pistoia), in Artimino (Carmignano, near Prato), Cafaggiolo in Barberino di Mugello, del Trebbio (in San Piero a Sieve) and the Palazzo di Seravezza in Lucca.

In some of these villas the Medici took up hunting expeditions, as in Trebbio and Cafaggiolo, which among other things were the first villas to be built and for this reason have the appearance of a fourteenth-century fortification.

Then there were the summer residences, such as the Artimino villa. A place of entertainment is also the villa of Fiesole. Instead, Villa La Màgia was a place of strategic importance, where in 1536 a historic meeting took place between Duke Alessandro de ‘Medici and Emperor Charles V. Without forgetting one of the oldest residences, Villa Carreggi, a place of rest, but also economic center for the many agricultural activities that took place there. The Medici Villa of Poggio a Caiano is also splendid, with its luxuriant garden and terraced porch, which belonged to Lorenzo the Magnificent which hosted historical figures such as King Vittorio Emanuele II.

Today these residences are used for various purposes. Some, such as La Petraia, one of the most beautiful Medici villas especially for the position from which it overlooks the city of Florence, are part of the Florentine museum complex. While the villa of Cerreto Guidi houses the historical museum of hunting and the territory. Villa Poggio a Caiano is also a museum.
Others are seats of institutions such as Villa Castello, now home to the Accademia della Crusca; or the villa of Poggio Imperiale, renovated in neoclassical style, which houses a state school, or the Palazzo di Seravezza, home to the Museum of work and popular traditions of Versilia. Still others have been sold or entrusted to private individuals, who keep them for private use or have them used as a venue for events.

fotos © shutterstock.com

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Barumini – the Nuraghi

Barumini – the Nuraghi

The nuragic complex of Barumini is located in the province of Medio Campidano and is the symbol of Sardinia of the great stone monuments: a suggestive and mysterious place to visit. The site includes the best preserved specimen of all Sardinian nuraghi: the village of Barumini which, due to its peculiarity, has been included in the World Heritage List by UNESCO.

read more
The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle

The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle

The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle, which were officially inaugurated in 2001, are one of the most famous sights of Merano (Merano) and are one of the most popular destinations in South Tyrol. The Gardens inspire with their special variety and harmony: on an area of 12 hectares in the form of a natural amphitheatre, over 80 botanical zones with native plants from all parts of the world can be admired.

read more

Assisi and the Basilica of Saint Francis

Assisi and the Basilica of Saint Francis

Assisi and the Basilica of Saint Francis

Assisi has all the characteristics of an Umbrian town: perched on top of a hill overlooking the valley. A magical and unique place in the world, linked to the history of Saint Francis, who lived and worked here, Assisi is a small medieval town that has remained intact for centuries. Even today it is surrounded by a massive wall and is dominated by the bulk of the Rocca Maggiore and the large Cathedral.

The symbol of the town is the imposing Cathedral of Saint Francis, made up of two superimposed churches: the lower and upper Basilica and a crypt with the tomb of the Saint. In the Basilica there are countless works of art: artists such as Cimabue, Giotto, Lorenzetti, Simone Martini have worked here. Among the many works of art to admire we remember the cycle of the Stories of San Martino painted by Simone Martini; the Chapel of the Magdalene by Giotto; in the transept there is a fresco by Cimabue and eight Childhood Stories of Christ painted by Giotto. In the upper church, there are the very famous frescoes by Giotto which illustrate, in 28 paintings, the life of Saint Francis and other works by Cimabue. In the lower part there is the Crypt with the remains of San Francesco. A simple tomb carved into the wall. Above the tomb a lamp burns with the oil offered each year by a different Italian region.

Only 4 km from the center of Assisi is the second church linked to Saint Francis: the Cathedral of Santa Maria degli Angeli, built to incorporate and therefore protect the small church of the “Porziuncola” restored by the Saint and in which he composed the Canticle of the Creatures and where he died on 3 October 1226.

Another important church in Assisi is the Basilica of Saint Clare. The relationship of the Saint of Assisi with St. Francis was decisive: fascinated by the preaching of St. Francis, at the age of 18 she fled from her rich family to join Francis and the first friars at the little church of the Porziuncola. Later she founded the Order of the Poor Clares. The church is in the Umbrian-Gothic style, with an interior with three naves: behind the altar there is the Oratory with the Crucifix that spoke to St. Francis in the Hermitage of San Damiano and was the basis of his choice of life. Behind a grate there are some important relics of the Saint and of St. Francis. From the stairs, located in the middle of the Basilica, you can also access the Crypt with the body of the Saint Clare.

The Cathedral of San Rufino is the oldest church in Assisi and stands in the space where there was the ancient Roman temple dedicated to the “Bona Mater”. Built in the 12th century it was dedicated to Saint Rufino. The Cathedral is an important place of Franciscan worship because it is believed that St. Francis and Saint Clare were baptized here. In this church, moreover, St. Francis made his first preaching. The facade is considered the most beautiful example of Umbrian Gothic, with three rose windows and three portals.

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The Temple of Minerva stands in the central square “Piazza del Comune”, once the seat of the Roman Forum. Built in the 1st century BC, the Roman temple has been used over the centuries as a prison, housing, shop, seat of the city council. In the Middle Ages the temple was transformed into a church with the name of “Santa Maria sopra Minerva”. In 1634 it was adapted in Baroque style and dedicated to Saint Filippo Neri. The classical facade with six columns is perfectly preserved.

Also in the central Piazza del Comune, the main square of Assisi, is embellished by the “del Popolo” Tower and the “dei Priori” Palace. The Tower was built starting from 1276 and housed the family of the Commander of the Town Militias (known as “Capitano del Popolo”). Opposite the Fountain of the Three Lions there is the Palazzo dei Priori, now the Town Hall. Under the current square you can visit the ancient Roman Forum, where you can admire the bases of the temple, the seats of the magistrates and a small temple dedicated to Castor and Pollux.

If you still have a little more time to spend in Assisi, it is also a good idea to visit the Rocca Maggiore of Assisi, the castle that dominates the town of Saint Francis and the surrounding countryside. The first construction dates back to 1183, but it was enlarged and modified many times over the centuries. Today it offers a suggestive walk among centuries-old walls and a magnificent view of Assisi and its surroundings.

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