S: Our trip to Italy - April 2011
FC: Italy April 2011
1: Pisa | Construction of the tower occurred in three stages across 177 years. Work on the ground floor of the white marble campanile began on August 8, 1173, during a period of military success and prosperity. In an effort to compensate for the tilt, the engineers built upper floors with one side taller than the other. Because of this, the tower is actually curved | The Leaning Tower of Pisa
5: Florence | Giotto's Bell Tower was built in the 14th Century. There are 414 stairs to the top.
6: Florence was first called Florentia and originally founded by Julius Caesar in the 1st century BC. It's located on an important road linking Rome to France. Amerigo Vespucci, Donatello, Florence Nightingale, Leonardo da Vinci, & Gucci were among those born in Florence.
8: Donato di Niccol Bardi, called Donatello, was born in 1386 in Florence, Italy. He was the greatest Florentine sculptor before Michelangelo (1475–1564)
10: Lucca | The city is surrounded by a ring of walls. The last external extension of the walls represents more than 4 km long of imposing embankment planted with trees. This defensive apparatus was never used for military purposes, but did its best to protect Lucca from overflows of the Serchio river. For these reasons, during the Napoleon era the walls were demilitarized, and since that acted as a public walkway. The history of fortified walls of Lucca begins in 200 A.C. - with a classic square of walls that surrounded the city center.
14: The Beach near Elba Island
15: Volterra | Volterra was one of the 12 cities of the Etruscan confederation. It supported Rome during the Second Punic War in 205 bc, acquired Roman citizenship after the civil wars between Gaius Marius and Sulla (81–80 bc), and took the name Volaterrae. It became a free commune in the 12th century and fell under the domination of the Medici family of Florence in 1361. It stands 1800 feet above sea level.
16: San Gimignano rises on a hill (334m high) dominating the Elsa Valley with its towers. Once the seat of a small Etruscan village of the Hellenistic period (200-300 BC) it began its life as a town in the 10th century taking its name from the Holy Bishop of Modena, St. Gimignano, who is said to have saved the village from the barbarian hordes. The town increased in wealth and developed greatly during the Middle Ages thanks to the "Via Francigena" the trading and pilgrim's route that crossed it.
20: Rosignano Marittimo
21: This coastal center of tourism with a population of thirty thousand can be found amongst the remains of a prehistoric pine forest in the unique region of Tuscany in the province of Livorno. Although it lies on the coast, thanks to its mountainous terrain it lies high above the Tyrhen Sea. The medieval origin of Rosignano is evident from the overall character of the town with its towers, houses on fortified ramparts and the castle which belonged to the Bishop of Piza.
24: Venice was an inhabited settlement which began in the 5th century at the time of the Barbarian invasion of Italy. The local population of some of the regions in North West Italy fled to the marshlands by the coast of the Adriatic Sea in order to avoid being harmed by the Barbarian invasions. The marshlands proved to be a good natural defense against invading forces, so the people settled there permanently. | Venice
28: Giacomin Reunion
29: The parish church displays a very high and distinctive bell tower which was built in the 17th century
31: Vatican City is situated on the spot where St Peter was martyred and buried almost 2000 years ago. In 326 AD Emperor Constantine (who had Christianity officially recognized) built a Basilica over St Peter's tomb. Subsequent excavations, ordered by Pope Pius between 1939 and 1941, did indeed find a tomb. Once the Basilica was built the surrounding area (where the Vatican now sits) was largely developed with buildings relating to the duties of the church. Much to Michelangelo's despair, the original Basilica including its ancient Roman columns and facade was clumsily torn down by Borromeo (the Pope's architect and initial designer of St Peters Basilica) and very little of the original structure was salvaged. | Rome
32: Vatican Museum
33: The Sistine Chapel was built between 1475 and 1483 for Pope Sixtus IV (1473-84). The artist, Michelangelo, chose the first era as the theme of his work. | The Sistine Chapel
34: The Trevi Fountain is at the ending part of the Aqua Virgo, an aqueduct constructed in 19 BC. Legend has it you will return to Rome if you throw a coin into the water. You should toss it over your shoulder with your back to the fountain.
35: The Colosseum | Emperor Vespasian, founder of the Flavian Dynasty, started construction of the Colosseum in AD 72. It was completed in AD 80, the year after Vespasian's death. The huge amphitheater was built on the site of an artificial lake, part of Nero's huge park in the center of Rome. The southern side of the Colosseum was felled by an earthquake in 847.
36: After years of civil war, the victory of Constantine's army over the numerically superior army of Maxentius in 312 AD brought some peace to the Roman empire. To commemorate this victory, the Senate of Rome awarded Constantine a Triumphal arch.
37: Originally a temple for all pagan gods, the temple was converted into a church in 609. The Pantheon now contains the tomb of the famous artist Raphael. | The Pantheon
38: Until 509 BC, when Rome became a republic, the city was reigned by an Etruscan dynasty of Tarquin Kings. They built a sewer, the 'Cloaca Maxima', to drain water from the marshlands of the valley between the Palatine, Capitol and Esquiline hills to the Tiber river. Ever since, the area was the center of activity in Rome. It was the site of the first forum. Here, triumphal processions took place, elections were held and the Senate assembled. Remains of many buildings from different periods are visible; the forum was littered with temples, basilicas and triumphal arches. | The Forum