Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan

11 October 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  8 minutes

© Giovanni Dall'Orto

© Giovanni Dall’Orto

Santa Maria delle Grazie (“Holy Mary of Grace”) is a church and Dominican convent in Milan, northern Italy, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The church contains the mural of The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, which is in the refectory of the convent. Duke of Milan Francesco I Sforza ordered the construction of a Dominican convent and church at the site of a prior chapel dedicated to the Marian devotion of St Mary of the Graces. The main architect, Guiniforte Solari, designed the convent (the Gothic nave), which was completed by 1469. Construction of the church took decades. Duke Ludovico Sforza decided to have the church serve as the Sforza family burial site, and rebuilt the cloister and the apse, both completed after 1490. Ludovico’s wife Beatrice was buried in the church in 1497.   read more…

Portrait: Leonardo da Vinci, Italian painter, draughtsman, engineer, scientist, theorist, sculptor, and architect

24 August 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait Reading Time:  7 minutes

Leonardo da Vinci by Francesco Melzi

Leonardo da Vinci by Francesco Melzi

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian polymath of the High Renaissance who was active as a painter, draughtsman, engineer, scientist, theorist, sculptor, and architect. While his fame initially rested on his achievements as a painter, he also became known for his notebooks, in which he made drawings and notes on a variety of subjects, including anatomy, astronomy, botany, cartography, painting, and paleontology. Leonardo is widely regarded to have been a genius who epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal, and his collective works compose a contribution to later generations of artists matched only by that of his younger contemporary, Michelangelo.   read more…

Theme Week Rome – Villa Borghese, Villa Massimo and Villa Medici

17 October 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  13 minutes

Galleria Borghese © Alessio Damato

Galleria Borghese © Alessio Damato

VILLA BORGHESE
Villa Borghese is a large landscape garden in the naturalistic English manner in Rome, containing a number of buildings, museums (see Galleria Borghese) and attractions. It is the second largest public park in Rome (80 hectares or 148 acres) after that of the Villa Doria Pamphili. The gardens were developed for the Villa Borghese Pinciana (“Borghese villa on the Pincian Hill”), built by the architect Flaminio Ponzio, developing sketches by Scipione Borghese, who used it as a villa suburbana, a party villa, at the edge of Rome, and to house his art collection. The gardens as they are now were remade in the early nineteenth century.   read more…

Theme Week Tuscany – Montepulciano

28 January 2012 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  7 minutes

Montepulciano © Adrian Michael

Montepulciano © Adrian Michael

Montepulciano is a medieval and Renaissance hill town and comune in the province of Siena in southern Tuscany, in Italy. Montepulciano, with an elevation of 605 m, sits on a high limestone ridge. By car it is 13 km E of Pienza; 70 km SE of Siena, 124 km SE of Florence, and 186 km north of Rome.   read more…

Theme Week Tuscany – Arezzo

27 January 2012 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  7 minutes

Piazza Grande © LPLT

Piazza Grande © LPLT

Arezzo is a city and comune in Central Italy, capital of the province of the same name, located in Tuscany. Arezzo is about 80 km southeast of Florence, at an elevation of 296 m above sea level. In 2011 the population was about 100,000. Arezzo is set on a steep hill rising from the floodplain of the River Arno. In the upper part of the town are the cathedral, the town hall and the Medici Fortress (Fortezza Medicea), from which the main streets branch off towards the lower part as far as the gates. The upper part of the town maintains its medieval appearance despite the addition of later structures.   read more…

Theme Week Tuscany – Portoferraio on Elba

26 January 2012 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  5 minutes

© Magrathea

© Magrathea

Portoferraio is a town and comune in the province of Livorno, on the edge of the eponymous harbour of the island of Elba. It is the island’s largest city. Because of its terrain, many of its buildings are situated on the slopes of a tiny hill surrounded on three sides by the sea.   read more…

Theme Week Tuscany – Viareggio

25 January 2012 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  7 minutes

The Burlamacca canal © Sailko

The Burlamacca canal © Sailko

Viareggio is a city and comune located in northern Tuscany, Italy, on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. With a population of over 64,000 it is the main centre of the northern Tuscan Riviera known as Versilia, and the second largest city within the Province of Lucca.   read more…

Theme Week Tuscany – Carrara

24 January 2012 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  8 minutes

Piazza Alberica with Beatrice Maria d'Este monument © Davide Papalini

Piazza Alberica with Beatrice Maria d’Este monument © Davide Papalini

Carrara is a city and comune in the province of Massa-Carrara, notable for the white or blue-grey marble quarried there. It is on the Carrione River, some 100 kilometres (62 mi) west-northwest of Florence. Its motto is Fortitudo mea in rota (Latin for “My force is in the wheel”).   read more…

Theme Week Tuscany

23 January 2012 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  9 minutes

Poppi © flickr.com / 74701705@N00

Poppi © flickr.com / 74701705@N00

Tuscany is a region in Italy. It has an area of about 23,000 square kilometres (8,900 sq mi) and a population of about 3.75 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence (Firenze). Tuscany is known for its gorgeous landscapes, its rich artistic legacy and its vast influence on high culture. Tuscany is widely regarded as the true birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, and has been home to some of the most influential people in the history of arts and science, such as Petrarch, Dante, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo Galilei, Amerigo Vespucci, Luca Pacioli and Puccini. Due to this, the region has several museums (such as the Uffizi, the Pitti Palace and the Chianciano Museum of Art). Tuscany has a unique culinary tradition, and is famous for its wines (most famous of which are Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Morellino di Scansano and Brunello di Montalcino).   read more…

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