Pontassieve

The pleasant town of Pontassieve owes its existence to Florence. In the middle of the fourteenth century, the Signoria of Florence (i.e. the city government) decided to build a castle at this strategic location, where the river Sieve joins the river Arno. Construction of the castle commenced after a government…

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Milan: San Simpliciano

One of my travel guides calls the San Simpliciano a “little jewel”. That is a bit of an exaggeration, but the church is worth a visit nonetheless. It is one of the three or four churches in Milan founded by Saint Ambrosius (ca. 340-397). The church was completed in 401…

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Milan: San Nazaro in Brolo

Saint Ambrosius (ca. 340-397)  is credited with founding three or four churches in Milan in the late fourth century. The Basilica Martyrum (now the Sant’Ambrogio) was one of them, the Basilica Virginum (now the San Simpliciano) another. The third church was the Basilica Apostolorum, or the Basilica of the Apostles.…

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Milan: Sant’Ambrogio

The Sant’Ambrogio is one of the oldest and most important churches in Milan. Built between 379 and 386 by Saint Ambrosius (Anglicised as Ambrose) and later named after him, the church is even older than the San Lorenzo Maggiore. According to a brochure provided by the church itself, “during Lent…

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Fiesole: Museo Civico Archeologico

Fiesole’s small but interesting archaeological museum is located right within the city’s archaeological area, where one can find the remains of an Etruscan wall, a Roman temple, Roman public baths and a Roman theatre that is still used for performances during the summer. Fiesole has had an archaeological museum since…

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Fiesole: The Duomo

Fiesole’s Duomo is hardly the most elegant building in Italy. It is simple and robust, made of large blocks of tuff. The Duomo was built in the shape of a classical Roman basilica, with the apse facing southeast. Its official name is the cattedrale di San Romolo, after the first…

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Ravenna: Sant’Apollinare in Classe

Of the eight UNESCO World Heritage sites in Ravenna, the Sant’Apollinare in Classe is the youngest monument. Classe is nowadays a frazione of the municipality of Ravenna, a small suburb located some five kilometres south of the city centre. By chance we visited the Sant’Apollinare in Classe first, even though…

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Ravenna: San Vitale

The undisputed highlight of any trip to Ravenna is a visit to the Basilica di San Vitale. This church, which is about a kilometre west of Ravenna’s railway station and is located just south of the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, is world famous for its unique shape and its wonderful…

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