Veneto: Este

Este. For me, the name has always had a mythical ring to it. The House of Este (Casa d’Este) can be counted among the best-known Italian dynasties. Ercole I d’Este (1431-1505) was one of the foremost patrons of art in fifteenth century Italy and his Renaissance court was the most…

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Veneto: Arquà Petrarca

The Colli Euganei are quite a sight. The Veneto is mostly flat as Holland, but here we suddenly find gently rolling and lush green hills. The Euganean Hills are the result of volcanic activity more than 40 million years ago. Beautiful villages and towns can be found here, among them…

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Veneto: Monselice

The picturesque town of Monselice has a lot in store for casual tourists and seasoned travellers alike. The ruins of an old fortress (Mastio) on top of a hill, beautiful villas, lovely streets, many interesting religious buildings and good food. Moreover, the town has excellent rail connections to cities like…

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Murano: San Pietro Martire

The island of Murano has been famous for its glassmaking industry for over 700 years. In 1291, the government of Venice ordered all glassmakers in the city to move their foundries to Murano. The official reason was that this move was necessary to protect the city against fires (making glass…

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Torcello: Santa Fosca

Why, someone might ask, would anyone want a church on Torcello to be right next to the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta? This is a fair question, a question that I myself have asked as well. Unfortunately, none of my travel guides could tell me why the lovely and elegant…

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Torcello: Santa Maria Assunta

When discussing the early history of Venice, we should always keep in mind that settlement in the Rialto archipelago – now the nucleus of Venice – did not start in earnest until the early ninth century. Before that time, the Venetians were scattered across the lagoon and lived on various…

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Rome: San Luigi dei Francesi

The San Luigi dei Francesi is located slightly east of the Piazza Navona and can be found right next to the Palazzo Madama, currently the seat of Italy’s senate, the Senato della Repubblica. The church was built in the sixteenth century and is the national church of France, its primary…

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Rome: Santa Maria del Popolo

The Santa Maria del Popolo is located on the edge of Rome’s historical city centre (centro storico) and only just within the third century Aurelian Walls. It is right next to the Porta del Popolo, the former Porta Flaminia. The present church was built in the fifteenth century, replacing a…

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Rome: Palazzo Barberini

After discussing three dozen churches in Rome, it is now time to discuss a museum again. The Palazzo Barberini was a pleasant surprise during my last visit to the Eternal City back in January of this year. It is one of two locations of the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, the…

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Rome: San Bartolomeo all’Isola

The San Bartolomeo has perhaps the best location of all the churches in Rome: it is located on the edge of the Tiber Island. The church is opposite a hospital, the Ospedale Fatebenefratelli[1], and the island has been associated with disease and healing for over 2.300 years, ever since the…

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Rome: San Clemente

I must admit I have a love-hate relationship with the San Clemente. It is easily one of the most fascinating churches in Rome, a twelfth century basilica built on top of a fourth century basilica that was itself constructed over Ancient Roman buildings dating back to the first century. On…

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