Visiting Italy’s Sights
Basilica di San Francesco
This basilica witnesses serious harm and four deaths during a series of earthquakes in 1997. Years of meticulous restoration – including piecing together frescoes from crumbled bits, some not much bigger than a grain of sand – will probably go on until at least 2010.
The basilica was built on a hill known as Colle d’Inferno (Hell Hill). People were put to death at the gibbet here until the 13th century. St Francis asked his followers to bury him here in devotion to Jesus, who had died on the cross among criminals and outcasts. The land is now known as Paradise Hill.
Cappella degli Scrovegni
Art enthusiasts visit Padua just to see the lively Giotto frescoes in this chapel. These excellent examples of the master’s art are on the cusp between the two-dimensional art of his contemporaries and the extraordinary outburst of ingenuity that was still decades away. Booking in advance is essential, and the entrance ticket is also valid for the neighboring museum.
One of the world’s most famed art images, Leonardo da Vinci’s amazing wall painting portraying the Last Supper ornaments a wall of the Cenacolo Vinciano, the dining hall next to Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie. Painted between 1495 and 1498, the work catch the moment when Jesus uttered the words ‘One of you will betray me’. It has been comprehensively restored.
Even though its size conjures up the Empire that controlled through pressure, violence and down-turned thumbs, the Colosseum has been a little modest. The Christian-eating lions have been reduced to lost kitty cats (who will eat anything apart from religious affiliation), and wild plant sprout among the 50,000 seats.
Vespasian started its construction in AD72 in the land of Nero’s personal Domus arena. It was launched by his son Titus in AD80, and after that, opening games lasted for 100 days and nights, during which some 5000 animals were slayed.
With the down of the Empire, the Colosseum was deserted and became overgrown with foreign plants; seeds had accidentally been carried with the wild beasts that appeared in the arena (including crocodiles, bears, tigers, elephants and hippos.) In the Middle Ages the Colosseum became a fort, taken by two of the city’s warrior families.
Harmed several times by earthquake, it was later used as a pit for travertine and marble for Palazzo Venezia and other buildings. In spite of this, it has lost none of its figure and stays as a reminiscent site to explore.
Venice’s Grand Canal is the artery along which flows the city’s lifeblood. To ply its length time and again, on each time making new findings, is a joy only the numbest souls could bore of.
The 3.5km canal holds up an ever-changing parade of vaporetti, transport barges, water taxis, private speedboats, gondolas, police patrol boats, water ambulances and so on. The floating spectacle has the background of either side by more than 100 palazzi (mansions) dating from the 12th to the 18th centuries.
Jump on the No 1 all-stops vaporetto at Piazzale Roma. Past Rio di San Marcuola, Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi is on the left. To the right, just after the San Stae stop, is Ca’ Pesaro, which accommodates the Galleria d’Arte Moderna and Museo d’Arte Orientale.
Near after is the Ca’ d’Oro, further which the boat turns towards the 16th-century Ponte di Rialto and the Rialto produce markets. It covers past more okay mansions to the timber Ponte dell’Accademia, the impede for the art gallery of the similar name, and on past the grand Chiesa di Santa Maria della Salute prior to reaching San Marco.