Let's start with the most famous tower in the world. Everybody must have heard about it or seen it on a picture at least. It goes by the official name of La Torre Pendente. Its foundations were laid in the year 1173. With the construction of the third floor under way, the tower began to sink on the south side. Therefore, counterweights were added to the north side yet it didn't help. The works were halted for almost one century. New attempts to counteract the tilt were made. In the mid-14th century the open bell chamber on the top floor was added.
Until the year 1990, tourists could climb the spiral staircase with its 294 steps. However, their weight increased angle tilt until the collapse of the tower became imminent. The tower was closed in the year 1990 for a 10 year renovation. The tilt was modified from 5.5 to shy 4 degrees. The tower was reopened in 2001.
As we have finished the tour of the Leaning tower we move on to Santa Maria Assunta, the five-aisle cathedral which has not been finished yet even though its construction began as early as in the year 1118. Main architectonic features include a dome, the bronze doors of Porta di San Ranieri with the scenes from the life of Jesus Christ and of Virgin Mary. Be sure to see the pulpit supported by four columns. Statues of Archangel Michael, Hercules and Jesus Christ are also featured on the pulpit.
Now we leave the cathedral and move to the neighboring Baptistery. The title may be uncommon to some. Baptistery is the structure surrounding the baptismal font. The Baptistery in Pisa is the largest one in Italy (it is 58 meter high with a diameter of 34 meters). Its construction began in mid-12th century.
Two centuries into construction works meant different architectonic style of the Baptistery. Notice its lower part which is Romanesque unlike the upper part built in the Gothic style. Inside, the Baptistery is supported by columns, and a pool is situated in its middle for the act of baptism. The structure sits on unstable sand which resulted in a slight tilt of the structure, not as dramatic as in case of the leaning tower.
We will continue in our tour through Pisa in two weeks time.
GPS: 43°43'21.3"N 10°23'48.1"E
Text: Maxim Kucer
Photos: Wikipedia.org: NotFromUtrecht, Lonewolf1976, Sailko, Florian Hirzinger, Rolf Gebhardt, Leon Petrosyan, Jose Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro, Johann H. Addicks
Today we go to a region where you will love to stay for as long as possible.
Arezzo is located mere 80 kilometers south of Florence. Yet this one is a destination often overlooked by tourists.
All of you must have heard about Francis of Assisi. The monk famous for his austere lifestyle founded the Minor Order known as the Franciscans which follows his strict rule of life in community and poverty. The saint's tomb is situated in this very town, the town of Assisi.
The romantic town of Montepulciano has saved its medieval looks, great pleasure for anyone who loves history. However, it is not known for history only for it is great producer of pork, cheese, honey, and mostly wine. Nobile di Montepulciano Wine is considered the best what Italy offers.
90 kilometers westwards from Florence there is the city of Livorno. Home to 160 thousand is an interesting place to spend a vacation at.
Lucca is a town of many lords in the past – be it Romans, Ostrogoths, Lombardians, Franks, or once powerful Florence, or Napoleon who made the town a gift to his sister.
We haven't left Busseto yet. We moved from its center to the outskirts of the city and to Sant'Agata three miles away. There is a farmhouse where fill the missing pieces of our knowledge of Verdi's life.
Tuscany is magical land and is home to many amazing cities worth visiting.
Once Tibur, now Tivoli. The city of sixty thousand is located approximately 30 kilometers east of Rome in the Sabine hills. Emperor Augustus had once enjoyed this place. He sought shelter here from hot summer in Rome.
Milan is the second largest city in Italy and is known as the capital of fashion, sports, art, and business. We come here to complete our story about one of the most famous music composers ever - Giuseppe Verdi.
You will recognize Volterra right away because it looks over the surrounding hills. In good weather, you can even see the distant island of Corsica.
The Basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence is one of the most remarkable works of Western architecture. It also includes the New Baptism, the Old Communion, the Princely Chapel and the Medici Library. In addition to their architectural importance, these buildings also contain outstanding artistic treasures.
Even though the city is a commercial and industrial center now, the seat of the gas and oil refineries, and the World War II has hit its historcal heart, it still offers a number of beautiful historical monuments. In the following lines, we will look into its center and enjoy the local architectural gems.
In the lines to follow, we look at some of the most important churches of Piacenza that provide space for silent contemplation, a view of beautiful artworks and a shelter from hot sunshine. Historic palaces at the same time represent the wealth and glory of the city, as well as its exceptional spirit.
On this day we travel to Campania, Italy. Its mountainous landscape is situated in the south of the country and you will lvoe this region. The nature is amazing, history is rich, and food is addicting while everything is wrapped into the beautiful nature which is dotted with beautiful towns.
Last time we mentioned that Ravenna is the city of mosaics. Nowhere else in the world are there so many mosaics except for in Istanbul. Also, we mentioned that music festivals take place here.
Ravenna is one of the most historic cities in Italy. Between the years 402 and 476 it was the capital of the Western Roman Empire. Today, it is home to almost 160 thousand people. Every year a summer opera and classical music festival takes place here.
We return to Florence, Italy, to see other interesting places.
Last week we introduced you the Renaissance town of Siena and mentioned Florence was its great competitor. To make a better idea of Florence (or Firenze if you will), we together hit its streets today.
Siena is situated in central Tuscany, the cradle of Reneissance. Its people are often considered a nation within a nation.
Cinque Terre is national park and listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You will fall in love with this Italian region. There are not monumental landmarks of antiquity or Middle-Ages as you may see in Rome, Bologna or Pisa. Yet still local atmosphere is splendid. Cinque Terre is an area consisting of five beautiful towns (Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare). Not long ago (in the 1960s), tourists almost didn't know about them. Even if they did, it would be very difficult to reach them, i.e. only by boat. Today, you may travel there by car but don't expect your ride to be an easy one.
Today we take another look at the beautiful city of Bologna.
Tourists often consider Bologna to be the most attractive city in Italia. One of the reasons for that is local great food which reached international fame. But before we get to it, let's take a look around.
In the first part on Pisa, we saw three main sights situated one next to another. This time we are not going far either.
Today we continue in our walks through Genoa, one of the main cities of Italian culture and history. In the last weeks we have learned something on Piazza Ferrari or Piazza Giacomo Matteoti. Today we look at another parts of the city, hopefully we help you to get in the mood for the summer and give you inspiration for prospective vacation.
You could have read about Italy, its regions and cities some of our articles. However, we have not written about one of the most famous Italian cities, Genoa.
The summer has arrived in our region with temperatures easily exceeding 30 degrees Celsius. The first week of June at a high temperature will cause many ideas for the upcoming holidays if possible spent at the sea.
The last day in Rome was the perfect day for a trip off the city. We visited two different places. After Villa d‘Este we decided to set off to Frascati. There is Villa Aldobrandini. Frascati is situated 20 kilometers southeast of Rome. A train departs from roma Termini to here regularly. The ride takes half an hour. But bear in mind that the train departs from a pretty remote platform. So don't go to the train station at the last minute.
We were about to stay five days in Rome. So we intended to make some trips around Rome. We received some advice at the visitor's center which led us to visit the town of Cerveteri. The town is situated in the Lazio region about 40 kilometers from Rome. It takes us about an hour by train to reach Marina di Cerveteri station (the train departs several times every day from Roma Termini station). Then you need to reach a bus stop (100 from the train station). A free of charge minibus departs from here to the historic center of Cerveteri (to Piazza Aldo Moro). The ride takes about 20 minutes.
We were pondering if winter or early spring are suitable seasons for a stay in Rome. It turned out, it was a great choice. It is off main season, therefore accommodation, and flight tickets are notably cheaper. There are also lesser tourist crowds (yet in Vatican or at the main train station there are still many people there). Moreover, the weather is amazing. It was bit frosty in the morning but as the day goes on, the sun is more powerful. Temparatures then rise up to 18 °C so we wore just sweaters (some even wore T-shirts and shorts).
Being in Rome one should visit Vatican - the smallest country in the world. Millions of tourists visit it every year and sea its museums, the Sistine chapel, or St Peter's basilica. The entire land is surrouned by ramparts. The state of Vatican consists of the Vaticane gardens, St Peter's square, St Peter's basilica, and another significant structures.
We decided to leave Rome on Sunday for Tivoli, a town about 40 kilometers away. Formerly, this was a place where Rome's rich went to recreate because they had their summer residence there. Today, tourists are most intrigued to visit the magnificent Renaissance villa – Villa d'Este.
Join us in our visit to the heart of Italy and enjoy all its amazing architectonic pieces. Unfort...