Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Castles in Italy

In each region there are many Italian medieval castles. A good number of these fortifications are a result of a medieval history complicated.  For example, the famous Matilda of Canossa in its territories in Tuscany and Emilia had a complex defense system with many castles. Even the pope changed an ancient funerary mausoleum to have a castle near the Vatican.

Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome

Italians are very fond of visiting the castles that were built by Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor (1194-1250) and in particular the beautiful castle of Castel del Monte in Apulia.

Castel del Monte (Apulia)

This castle was built by Frederick II as his private residence and its architecture has several symbolic values. There are also books on the esoteric meaning of this castle.
But the emperor had castles for military reasons in other areas of Puglia and Italy.

Castle of Prato in Tuscany


Tourists love very castles where the guides speak of ancient stories of love and among these ancient manors we mention the castles of Gradara and Torrechiara.

Gradara Castle is famous for the love story of Paolo and Francesca
(in the Marche region, not far from the Adriatic Sea)


Castle Torrechiara in the region Emilia
the place is famous for the love between the owner and the beautiful mistress


Some rooms of the castle Torrechiara were painted during the Renaissance. Many tourists are fascinated by the famous Golden Chamber.
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Other castles are famous for different reasons. For example the famous occultist Count Alessandro di Cagliostro was imprisoned in the Fortress of San Leo, not far from the small republic of San Marino.

San Leo Rocca

Tourists often appreciate also the castles near the lakes.

The castle on Lake Bracciano, not far from Rome

Sirmione, Lake Garda
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Beautiful castles there are so many other places. From Sicily to Piedmont. 
To see more photos, we propose the link "Italian castles"

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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Rome, history and art around Via Veneto

Via Vittorio Veneto, called often Via Veneto, is one of the most famous, elegant streets of Rome. Federico Fellini's classic film La Dolce Vita was partly centered on this area. The Embassy of the United States and many famous hotels are located along the avenue.

old photo of the street with the palace Margherita ( American Embassy)

However, in the Via Veneto, there are some really interesting buildings.There are for example the church of the Capuchin friars with a strange museum and the ancient Porta Pinciana.

the church is famous for the crypt and many remains of friars buried on old times. Inside the church there are several paintings by artists such as Guido Reni, Giovanni Lanfranco and Domenichino.Some people speculate that a painting was done by Michelangelo Merisi called Caravaggio
The Archangel Michael, painted by Guido Reni.
Porta Pinciana is an old wall in Rome. We document this monument with an old engraving by Giuseppe Vasi.
 The gate is located near the Villa Borghese Gardens at the end of Via Veneto.
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The architecture of some hotels is often interesting. But in the restaurant of a hotel at number 70 of Via Veneto you can see also a valuable frescos by the artist Guido Cadorin. These murals were painted at the beginning of the fascist period, and historians acknowledge some people and also the journalist Margherita Sarfatti friend of Mussolini. The woman later emigrated in South America, in 1938 when Mussolini wanted the racial laws.
In Via Veneto tourists can arrive with a staircase to the beautiful church of S.Isidoro-Capo Le Case.
the staircase and the church of S. Isidoro -photo by Alpy

We publish some photos of the church and the small convent.

interior of the church-photo by A.Pav
fresco in the cloister, photo by A.Pav

sculptures in the chapel Da Sylva-photo by A.Pav

The Chapel Da Sylva was commissioned by a wealthy gentleman Portuguese, friend of the sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini, but the chapel was largely  made  by colleagues of the famous artistAt the end of Via Veneto, Piazza Barberini, tourists can admire two beautiful fountains made by Bernini

fountain of Api 
Tritone fountain 


Shortly far from the square there is Palazzo Barberini with important collection of paintings.
Many years ago a lot of land in the area belonged to the Ludovisi family and tourists can rarely see a famous fresco (Aurora) by Guercino in the Casino Boncompagni-Ludovisi.


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Monday, 10 November 2014

In Milan, Raphael for Christmas

In the beautiful town hall in Milan, from 3 December until 11 January, tourists and art lovers will be able to see the famous painting by Raphael's "Madonna
Esterházy "owned by the museum in Budapest.
The beautiful picture was painted by Raphael around 1508. Later the painting was donated by Pope Clement XI to Elisabetta Cristina di Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel and then passed to the family Esterházy in Hungary.

The painting will be exhibited in the old room "Alessi".

Madonna and Child with S.Giovannino, photo by wikipedia

the beautiful courtyard of the town hall in Milan (palazzo Marino)

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The palace is located near the famous theater "La Scala".
At the moment in Milan you can see the nice exhibition "the ladies of the Pollaiolo" at the Poldi Pezzoli. From April 2015 there will also be an exhibition on the works of Leonardo da Vinci.

the ladies by the Pollaiolo brothers-Poldi Pezzoli Museum

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Art exhibition in a castle. St. Sebastian paintings

The Miradolo Castle not far from Turin, is hosting an exhibition dedicated to some paintings of St. Sebastian. The castle is in the area of ​​Pinerolo and also has a nice park.


photo of the Foundation Cosso

In the exhibition, visitors can see several paintings made between the XV and XVII. 

painting by Titian, photo studio Esseci


painting by Francesco Raibolini (cailled Il Francia),  photo studio Esseci


Caravaggio school, photo studio Esseci


Other interesting paintings are attributed to artists Cola dell'Amatrice, Carlo Crivelli, Rubens, Guercino, Guido Reni, Mattia Preti, Luca Giordano, De Ribeira etc. It 'also visible a ceramic statue of Andrea della Robbia. The exhibition will be open until the first week of March 2015. The initiative is organized by the foundation Cosso, by Vittorio Sgarbi, with the collaboration of Antonio D'Amico
The memory of St. Sebastian regard some old events in this area of Piedmont.
In the castle there are also a café and other visitor services.
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It should be noted that the nearby town of Pinerolo belonged for a long time the king of France.

the old Pinerolo

Because of its location the fortress of Pinerolo was often used as a prison for important personages in France.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Art exhibition in Rome, Villa Medici

The exhibition The Baroque Underworld. Vice and Destitution in Rome is open until January 18, 2015 at the French Academy in Rome - Villa Medici.
Tourists will see several paintings of Italian and French artists.


Villa Medici is one of the most beautiful places in Rome shortly after the steps of Trinita dei Monti.

From the gardens of the villa you can admire a beautiful panorama of Rome

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Sunday, 27 July 2014

Art exhibition from Giotto to Gentile

An interesting art exhibition is organized in Fabriano in the Marche region from July 26 to November 30.



The works of art on display are numerous and were made by artists who lived in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The famous painter Gentile was born in this city.
To get an idea of the sculptures and paintings the people can see the website of the exhibition
Fabriano is a beautiful medieval town. Tourists can visit many churches and the museum of the paper.
In these places, the paper industry has ancient traditions. Some small shops selling precious paper.



historic center of Fabriano, photos of alpav

The Marche region has large collections of works of art in Urbino, Ancona, Ascoli Piceno etc..
To see some photos, go arte Marche page. The Region has a beautiful coast on the Adriatic Sea.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Maremma: sea, beaches, fun, art, archeology

Maremma is the ancient name of part of the coast of Tuscany and northern Lazio. This area has very similar landscapes and ancient traditions, and Italians often like to talk about the Maremma.
Even a hundred years ago, the Maremma was a wild area. There were also several herds of cows. Some of the artists represented in the nineteenth century these views.

painting by Giovanni Fattori. Many paintings are exhibited in a museum in Livorno, a coastal town in Tuscany-image from wikipedia

pasture in Maremma

Currently in Maremma is also a park that tourists can easily visit. In the summer in the park young people can make trips on the backs of donkeys.


The beautiful beaches of the Maremma are many: in the Gulf of Follonica, Castiglione, Argentario, Tarquinia Lido, Marina of Grosseto etc.. Even the islands of Giglio and Giannutri are in the area. Many people in these seas likes to take trips by boat or speedboat.

castle Castiglione Pescaia

Talamone and the sea -photo L30 (wiki)
in this place were discovered some beautiful Etruscan statues  now in Orbetello
These statues are called "frontone di Talamone"

Not far from the coast there are some medieval villages. Typically tourists love the nice town of Massa Marittima.

Massa Marittima is not on the coast, but there are many works of art-photo ap

Massa Marittima, the old cathedral

For those who love archeology should not be forgotten that in Maremma obviously there are numerous sites of the Etruscan civilization. The most popular places are Populonia, Roselle, Vetulonia and finally Tarquinia little to the south.
A Populonia the Etruscans worked the iron ore that led from the islands as Corsica.

the medieval area of Tarquinia, in the south of the great Maremma (photo ap)
In this town there are a museum and a large Etruscan necropolis

In the distant past some ancient Greek sailors had founded a sanctuary near Tarquinia. The Romans called this place Gravisca.
Even English language books, such as the one written by Sybille Haynes, describe the archaeological situation in the area and also the emporium of Gravisca.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Rome unknown...the situation

In Rome, the works of art and archaeological evidence are many and there is a sector of Roman citizens who likes to know as much as possible. Typically these people adhere to cultural associations.
One of the most important reasons is that many places are very private or are owned by the Church or are owned by foreign states. Some countries such as France have properties in Rome for centuries. Finally, there are also ancient monasteries.
So many things are often visible only after agreeing an appointment or rarely.
The same municipality opens several places only if there is a request of a group. The custodial staff obviously has a cost.
The Roman municipality to help tourists has created a website (www.060608.it) and a telephone switchboard
Still many places are not well known. In some places, there are also long restoration operations and allow a few visitors with many precautions. And finally there are beautiful places where the entrance is allowed only to a few experts. Thus, the associations are concerned with making appointments, and sometimes to pay/subdivid the high costs of special access.
But the situation is generally very complex and there are often long waits. Here we make only a few examples.

Villa Albani-Torlonia: sometimes the private administration allows a few visitors
In the villa there are  very important collections of art and archeology

Basement of the Lateran: the large archaeological site is managed by the Vatican. Visitors only in groups. Reservations can also be made online, but only for groups. The same for the excavation called "via Triumphalis" in the Vatican. For the necropolis under St. Peter's Basilica  there is always a long queue of waiting,

Villa dei Cavalieri on the Aventine. The villa  belongs to the Sovereign Order of Malta. Visitors come to a few hours. The same for the "Priorato" church .

Palazzo Pamphili in Piazza Navona. There are several rooms with beautiful frescoes, but in the palace there is also the Embassy of Brazil. Visitors are welcome few times for week. There are more opportunities for those who know the Portuguese language.

Villa Strohl Fern belongs to the French state. Every summer there is a schedule of visits. A few months ago it is easier to get into the beautiful Palazzo Farnese where there is the French Embassy. For the Villa Medici, seat of the French Academy there are timetables.

Church of St. John the Beheaded (San Giovanni Decollato). There are beautiful paintings of the late Renaissance. Tourists can enter when the nuns have time. You enter instead only twice a year in the convent of Tor De' Specchi near the Capitol. At the moment there are long waits to visit the Gothic frescoes of the monastery of the Santi Quattro Coronati. These frescoes (called Aula Gotica) were restored a few years ago but the nuns had problems.

Mausoleum of Lucius Peto. It is one of the archaeological sites managed by the municipality of Rome. To visit these places is often necessary to book . The most important archaeological sites in Rome are managed by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage of the  italian State.

Meanwhile, the inhabitants of Rome and tourists are waiting to see the beautiful church of Santa Maria Antiqua. The restorations were long and are not yet complete. We do not know when they finish the full restoration of the Domus Aurea. But the writer many years ago had the luck to get into a particular place as the underground Basilica di Porta Maggiore (you know ?? The site will be opened some time until December 2015) and a few little-known catacombs.
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For some of your reading: Roma, luoghi d'arte

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Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The floor of the cathedral of Siena

From 14 August to 27 October 2014, tourists will be able to better admire the Duomo of Siena.
The sexton of the cathedral rise up the mats that protect the precious marble of the floor.
This floor is indeed a great work of art but at the same time the cathedral is visited by many people for religious functions.




photos by Civita

To visit the fine details of the floor tourists will have tour guides. In addition to the cathedral in Siena obviously there are many things to see. For example, in some rooms of the Town Hall there are beautiful frescoes. But the younger tourists will be happy to reach the top of Torre del Mangia.

the town hall and the tower. Photo alpav