Rome: Saint Peter’s Basilica

Saint Peter’s Basilica is the largest Christian church in the world. Although it is not the cathedral of Rome, it is arguably more famous than the church that does have the honour of the being the cathedral: the basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano. Together with the San Giovanni, the…

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Bardolino: San Severo

On the edge of Bardolino’s small centre, we find the Romanesque church of San Severo. This church should not be confused with the church of San Nicolò e San Severo situated in the centre itself. The latter is a neo-classicist monstrosity that visitors to Bardolino should really skip. The San…

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Rome: Triclinium Leoninum

Just a stone’s throw away from the cathedral of San Giovanni in Laterano, one can find one of the most curious pieces of architecture in the streets of Rome. The Triclinium Leoninum consists of a brick aedicule with an apse and a colourful apse mosaic. At first glance, the mosaic…

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Rome: San Giovanni in Laterano

The San Giovanni in Laterano is the most important Roman Catholic church in the world. It is the seat of the Pope as bishop of the diocese of Rome and is therefore the city’s cathedral. It ranks first among Rome’s four major basilicas[1] and five papal basilicas[2]. But more importantly…

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Rome: Santa Costanza

The Santa Costanza is a little gem. Located on the Via Nomentana, just a stone’s throw away from the Sant’Agnese fuori le Mura, it is not frequented much by tourists and I was in fact the only visitor when I visited the church in January 2017. The edifice used to…

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Arezzo: San Francesco

A visit to the church of San Francesco can be considered the highlight of any trip to Arezzo. The church itself is not very special. It was built in the second half of the thirteenth century (ca. 1290) and acquired its present form in the Tuscan-Gothic style about one hundred…

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Rome: Santa Croce in Gerusalemme

The Santa Croce in Gerusalemme is an old Roman Catholic church that is just within the third century Aurelian Walls of the city. The church is architecturally and culturally rather unimpressive, but it is very important from a religious point of view. There has been a Christian place of worship…

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Opus sectile

I was not familiar with the technique called opus sectile until I visited an exhibition in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam about Constantine’s influence on the Christianisation of the Roman Empire. Part of the exhibition was a mosaic depicting a man in a chariot and four horsemen in the colours…

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The Imperial Roman army

Although the Roman army had already been transformed from a conscript army into a professional fighting force during the Late Republic, we must credit Augustus with the creation of a professional standing army. In the year 6, he established the aerarium militare, the military treasury from which the soldiers were…

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