S: Europe Vacation 2012
BC: DEPARTED | ITALY | 3 JULY 2012
FC: DEPARTED May 31, 2012 | Czech Republic Austria Italy | RETURNED July 3, 2012
1: Prague, Czech Republic
2: Prague is a city set amidst spiraling towers, Gothic and Romanesque structures and baroque architecture. This city of a hundred spires is rife with history and culture. Many have fell in love with this fairytale city and made it their second home. Prague has many gems littered throughout its landscape, for travelers to explore at their leisure.
4: THE ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK is a medieval clock that adorns the southern wall of the Old Town City Hall in the Old Town Square. The Astronomical Clock consists of the windows with apostles at the top, the Astronomical Dial, which is the oldest part, the Calendar Dial underneath and various sculptures around. It announces every hour with 12 apostles passing by the window above the astronomical dial and with symbolic sculptures moving aside. | THE ASTRONOMICAL DIAL The Astronomical Dial shows the medieval perception of the Universe: the Earth is the center. The blue part of the dial represents the sky above the horizon, the brown part the sky below it. There are Latin words ORTVS (east) and OCCASVS (west) written above the horizon, and AVRORA (dawn) and CPEPVSCVLVM (twilight) below. There is a Zodiac ring, which represents the stars in the sky and it moves according to it. The two clock hands bear the signs of the Sun and the Moon. There are three circles on the dial, showing different time: the outer circle with Schwabacher numerals shows the Old Czech Time (“Italian Time”), the circle with Roman numbers shows the Central European Time and the inner circle with Arabic numerals shows the “Babylonian Time”: the length of an hour differs there according to the season – it is longer in the summer, shorter in the winter. The Prague Astronomical Clock is the only one in the world able to measure it. Furthermore, the little star by the zodiac ring shows the sidereal time. | THE CALENDAR DIAL The newest part of the clock is the Calendar Dial. There is the Prague Old Town symbol in the center. The rotary outer circle describes every single day of the year, and the current date is indicated at the top. There are also medallions with zodiac signs and with pictures depicting every month.
5: HISTORY OF THE ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK The real author of the clock was discovered in 1961 in an old document, which describes the astronomical dial and says it was made by Mikulas of Kadan in 1410. He probably cooperated with the astronomer and Charles University professor Jan Sindel. A major repair was done in 1865. The clock was modernized and a new Calendar Dial was painted by Josef Manes. In 1945 the German army damaged the Astronomical Clock. It was later repaired, and the striking of the clock was changed from the Old Czech Time to the Central European Time. | FIGURES OF THE APOSTLES The wooden figures of apostles with their attributes appear in the windows every hour, while at the same time some of the sculptures begin to move: the Death holds its hourglass and beckons to the Turkish man sculpture, which shakes its head in response. There is Vanity portrayed as a man with a mirror and Miserliness as a man with a moneybag, shaking a stick. The other statues, that don't move, are an Astronomer, a Chronicler, a Philosopher and an Angel. When the apostles finish their journey, the golden cockerel at the top crows and quivers its wings, the bell rings and the clock chimes the hour.
6: Prague Castle The Prague Castle, an ancient symbol of the Czech lands, is the most significant Czech monument and one of the most important cultural institutions in the Czech Republic. The Prague Castle was most likely founded in around 880 by Prince Boivoj of the Premyslid Dynasty (Pemyslovci). According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Prague Castle is the largest coherent castle complex in the world, with an area of almost 70,000 m. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it consists of a large-scale composition of palaces and ecclesiastical buildings of various architectural styles, from Roman-style buildings from the 10th century through Gothic modifications in the 14th century. The famous Slovenian architect Josip Plenik was responsible for extensive renovations in the time of the First Republic (1918-1938). Since the Velvet Revolution, the Prague Castle has undergone significant and ongoing repairs and reconstructions
8: ST. VITUS CATHEDRAL | For more than 600 years, the roofs of Prague Castle have been overlooked by the towers of St Vitus Cathedral. The cathedral, whose original name is St Vitus, St Wenceslas and St Adalbert Cathedral, is the biggest and the most important church in the Czech Republic. It's the seat of the Archbishop of Prague and the place where saints, kings, princes and emperors of Bohemia are buried. The coronations of the kings of Bohemia were held there until 1836. It's one of the best examples of Gothic architecture.
10: INSIDE | ST. VITUS CATHEDRAL
12: An Evening of Music | St. Nicholas Church
13: Around Prague
14: PRAGUE Sights Around Town
15: PRAGUE Dinner and Entertainment
16: CESKY KRUMLOV CASTLE
17: CESKY KRUMLOV CASTLE & TOWN Construction of the town and castle began in the late 13th century at a ford in the Vltava River, which was important in trade routes in Bohemia. In 1302 the town and castle were owned by the House of Rosenberg. Emperor Rudolf II bought Krumlov in 1602 and gave it to his natural son Julius d’Austria. Emperor Ferdinand II gave Krumlov to the House of Eggenberg. From 1719 until 1945 the castle belonged to the House of Schwarzenberg. Most of the architecture of the old town and castle dates from the 14th through 17th centuries; the town's structures are mostly in Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles. The core of the old town is within a horseshoe bend of the river, with the old Latrán neighborhood and castle on the other side of the Vltava.
21: Inside Cesky Krumlov Castle's grounds are a large rococo garden, an extensive bridge over a deep gap in the rock upon which the castle is built, and the castle itself, which in turn consists of many defined parts dating from different periods of time. After the garden was not adequately maintained during the second half of the 20th century, the site was included in the 1996 World Monuments Watch by the World Monuments Fund.
22: Vienna, Austria
24: Kunsthistorisches Museum
28: Art in Vienna
32: Hofburg Palace | Until 1918 the extensive palatial complex at the heart of Vienna was the political centre of the monarchy. Today it fulfils the same role for the democratic Republic of Austria. The rooms where once Emperor Joseph II drew up his revolutionary programme of reforms, where the Congress of Vienna met and danced and where Emperor Franz Joseph held audiences, now house the offices of the Federal President, the ministers of the chancellor's office and the secretaries of state. The Sisi Museum conveys a complex piture of Empress Elisabeth with numerous, partly very personal objects on display which afford fascinating insights into the official and private worlds of this unique woman. The nineteen rooms in the apartments occupied by Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Elisabeth, comprising studies, residential suites and reception rooms, are all furnished and decorated to the highest standards of historical authenticity, and in their comparative restraint form a fascinating contrast to the exuberant splendor of imperial summer residence at Schnbrunn.
37: SCHATZ KAMMER
40: Schonbrunn Palace
42: At the end of the 17th century Emperor Leopold I commissioned the gifted Baroque architect Bernhard Fischer von Erlach to built a palatial hunting lodge for the heir to the throne. On the site of the old imperial chteau de plaisance a splendid edifice was to arise. Half a century later under Maria Theresa Schnbrunn Palace was to become the magnificent focus of court life. From that time onwards it played host to the leading statesmen of Europe. Although Austria is now a republic, Schnbrunn has remained a place of political encounter at the highest level. In the possession of the Habsburg dynasty since Maximilian II, the palace passed to the ownership of the Republic of Austria at the end of the monarchy in 1918. Until 1992, the entire Schnbrunn complex was administered by the Schlosshauptmannschaft Schnbrunn (a local government body). In 1992 the Schloss Schnbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H. was founded and entrusted with the administration of the palace as a modern, limited-liability company. The company is solely owned by the Republic of Austria. Preservation and restoration have to be financed by the company from its own resources without recourse to state subsidies.
44: Palace Gardens: The ample Baroque gardens with their buildings (Gloriette, Roman ruins etc.) and statuary testify to the palace's imperial dimensions and functions. The original intention, when they were laid out in the 18th century, was to combine the glorification of the House of Habsburg with a homage to nature. The Orangery on the east side of the main palace building is, at 186 m, the longest in the world.
48: St. Stephen's Cathedral
49: Vienna's soaring centerpiece, this beloved cathedral enshrines the heart of the city—although when first built in the 12th century it stood outside the city walls. Vienna can thank a period of hard times for the Catholic Church for the cathedral's distinctive silhouette. Originally the structure was to have had matching 445-foot-high spires, a standard design of the era, but funds ran out, and the north tower to this day remains a happy reminder of what gloriously is not. | The lack of symmetry creates an imbalance that makes the cathedral instantly identifiable from its profile alone. The cathedral, like the Staatsoper and some other major buildings, was very heavily damaged in World War II but has risen from the fires of destruction like a phoenix.
50: ON THE ROAD...VIENNA TO HALLSTATT
54: MELK, AUSTRIA
64: HALLSTATT, AUSTRIA
72: Nestled between the edge of Hallsttter See and the towering Dachstein mountains, Austria’s oldest and possibly most photographed village of Hallstatt is something like a mirage in the Salzkammergut Lake Region. Archeological evidence shows that this isolated village, which gained its wealth through the salt trade, has been thriving as early as the 8th century B.C.
74: SALZBURG, AUSTRIA
76: Salzburg has managed to preserve an extraordinarily rich urban fabric, developed over the period from the Middle Ages to the 19th century when it was a city-state ruled by a prince-archbishop. Its Flamboyant Gothic art attracted many craftsmen and artists before the city became even better known through the work of the Italian architects Vincenzo Scamozzi and Santini Solari, to whom the centre of Salzburg owes much of its Baroque appearance. This meeting-point of northern and southern Europe perhaps sparked the genius of Salzburg’s most famous son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose name has been associated with the city ever since.
82: Eggs, Eggs, Eggs! While walking through "old town" Salzburg, we came across a store of Christmas egg ornaments. There were crates and crates full of differently, extravagantly, decorated egg ornaments.
89: Fortress Hohensalzburg | Hohensalzburg Fortress, built in 1077 by Archbishop Gebhard, considerably enlarged by Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach (1495-1519), largest, fully-preserved fortress in central Europe. During the 15th and 16th centuries, during the turmoil of the so-called Hungarian War and the Peasants' War in which the province of Salzburg was involved, the archbishops took refuge behind the battlements of the fortress. It was during this period that the main building was enlarged and the arsenal and the granary erected. Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach (1495 - 1519) enlarged the fortress and its exterior has remained substantially unaltered since then.
90: St. George's Chapel
93: The fortress' interior was richly decorated: intricate Gothic wood-carvings and ornamental paintings decorate the Golden Hall and the Golden Chamber. 58 insignia and coats of arms with the beetroot are commemorative of Leonhard von Keutschach. The fortress' symbol, the lion, holds the beetroot in its paws.
99: Mozart Dinner Concert
100: Sound Of Music Tour
105: Red Bull Headquarters
106: SALZBURG, AUSTRIA TO VENICE, ITALY
108: VENICE, ITALY
126: Church of San Giorgio Maggiore | San Giorgio Maggiore is a 16th century Benedictine church on the island of the same name in Venice, northern Italy, designed by Andrea Palladio, and built between 1566 and 1610. The church is a basilica in the classical renaissance style and its brilliant white marble gleams above the blue water of the lagoon opposite the Piazzetta di San Marco and forms the focal point of the view from every part of the Riva degli Schiavoni.
130: Galleria Giorgio Franchetti alla Ca' d'Oro The Ca 'd'Oro, an ancient patrician residence of the fifteenth century, houses the art collection donated to the State by Baron Giorgio Franchetti who bought the building in 1894. In this house of Venetian Gothic style, with striking architectural features, you can admire paintings of the Venetian school, including the famous St. Sebastian by Andrea Mantegna, works of Tuscan and Flemish school, beautiful bronzes and sculptures of the Renaissance.
132: San Giacomo dell'Orio Legend has it the Chiesa di San Giacomo dell'Orio was founded in the 9th century on an island still populated by wolves. The current church dates from 1225; its short unmatched Byzantine columns survived renovation during the Renaissance, and the church never lost the feel of an ancient temple sheltering beneath its 14th-century ship's-keel roof. In the sanctuary, large marble crosses are surrounded by a group of small medieval Madonnas. The altarpiece is Madonna with Child and Saints (1546) by Lorenzo Lotto (1480–1556), and the sacristies contain 12 works by Palma il Giovane (circa 1544–1628).
134: Chiesa di San Sebastiano San Sebastiano is located on the site of a former hospice which was founded by the confraternity of Gerolimine fathers in 1393. Close to the hospice was an Oratory, built in 1396, and dedicated to Santa Maria Full of Grace and Justice. This was later expanded, and in 1468, was converted into a church dedicated to Saint Sebastian the martyr who was one of the chief patrons against plague and pestilence in Europe. The church is therefore regarded as one of the great Plague-Churches of Venice, built to temper divine punishment, as the plague was viewed in the Middle Ages. Starting in 1506, a number of alterations, including restructuring and enlargement overseen by the architect Antonio Abbondi (known as Scarpagnino), gave the church its current appearance. The expansion was completed in 1548, and the church was finally consecrated in 1562. It has a single-nave layout designed on a Latin cross. It has an atrium, above which is a raised choir, and culminates in an apsidal presbytery under a cupola. The architectural style of the church is Renaissance. A restoration project was undertaken in 1867.
136: Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco Commonly known as Saint Mark's Basilica, the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, northern Italy. It is the most famous of the city's churches and one of the best known examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture. It lies at the eastern end of the Piazza San Marco, adjacent and connected to the Doge's Palace. Originally it was the chapel of the Doge, and has only been the city's cathedral since 1807, when it became the seat of the Patriarch of Venice, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, formerly at San Pietro di Castello.
140: Palazzo Ducale The pink-and-white marble Gothic-Renaissance Palazzo Ducale, residence and government center of the doges ("dukes," elected for life) who ruled Venice for more than 1,000 years, stands between the Basilica di San Marco and St. Mark's Basin. A symbol of prosperity and power, it was destroyed by a succession of fires and was built and rebuilt in 1340 and 1424 in its present form, escaping the Renaissance fever that was in the air at the time.
146: Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari One of the greatest churches in the city, it has the status of a minor basilica. It stands on the Campo dei Frari at the heart of the San Polo district. The church is dedicated to the Assumption (Italian: Assunzione della Beata Virgine). The Franciscans were granted land to build a church in 1250, but the building was not completed until 1338. Work almost immediately began on its much larger replacement, the current church, which took over a century to build. The campanile, the second tallest in the city after that of San Marco, was completed in 1396. The imposing edifice is built of brick, and is one of the city's three notable churches built in the Italian Gothic style. As with many Venetian churches, the exterior is rather plain. The interior contains the only rood screen still in place in Venice. The Frari is a parish church of the Vicariate of San Polo-Santa Croce-Dorsoduro. The other churches of the parish are San Barnaba, San Ludovico Vescovo, Santa Maria del Soccorso and Santa Margherita. Titian, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school of painting, is interred in the Frari.
150: Ca'Rezzonico Ca' Rezzonico is a palazzo on the Grand Canal in Venice. Today, it is a public museum dedicated to 18th-century Venice and one of the 11 venues managed by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia.
156: SIGHTS AROUND VENICE
162: VERONA, ITALY -- DAY TRIP
163: Sant'Anastasia A church of the Dominican Order in Verona, northern Italy. In Gothic style, it is located in the most ancient part of the city, near the Ponte Pietra. The current church was started in 1280 and completed in 1400, designed by the Dominican friars Fra' Benvenuto da Imola and Fra' Nicola da Imola. It took its name from a pre-existing temple built by King Theoderic the Great upon which was built the actual church. Since 1307, it is in fact co-entitled to St. Peter of Verona, martyr and co-patron of the city. Consecrated only in 1471, until 1808 the church was held by the Dominicans. The 72 mt tall belltower had four bells in 1460, the fifth was added in 1650. In the 1839 were casted the actual 9 bells tuned in C, them are ringed in Veronese bellringing art by a local team founded in 1776. The church is similar in structure to the Basilica of San Zanipolo in Venice.
164: Arena di Verona The Verona Arena is a Roman amphitheatre in Piazza Bra in Verona, Italy, which is internationally famous for the large-scale opera performances given there. It is one of the best preserved ancient structures of its kind. The building itself was built in AD 30 on a site which was then beyond the city walls. The ludi (shows and games) staged there were so famous that spectators came from many other places, often far away, to witness them. The amphitheatre could host more than 30,000 spectators in ancient times.
166: Casa Di Giulietta There is no proof that a Capuleti (Capulet) family ever lived here (or, if they did, that a young girl named Juliet ever existed), and it wasn't until 1905 that the city bought what was an abandoned, overgrown garden and decided its future. Rumor is that this was once actually a whorehouse. | So powerful is the legend of Juliet that over half a million tourists flock here every year to visit the simple courtyard and home that are considerably less affluent-looking than the sumptuous Franco Zeffirelli version as you may remember it (the movie was filmed in Tuscany). Many are those who leave behind layer upon layer of graffiti along the lines of "Valentina, ti amo!" or who engage in the peculiar tradition (whose origin no one can seem to explain) of rubbing the right breast (now buffed to a bright gold) of the 20th-century bronze statue of a forever nubile Juliet. The curious might want to fork over the entrance fee to see the spartan interior of the 13th-century home, restored in 1996. Ceramics and furniture on display are authentic to the era but did not belong to Juliet's family -- if there ever was a Juliet at all. No one is willing to confirm (or deny) that the balcony was added to the palazzo as recently as 1928 (though that doesn't stop many a young lass from posing on it, staring dreamily at the sky).
168: Cattedrale di Santa Maria Matricolare Also known as the Verona Cathedral, was built in Romanesque style, the cathedral was consecrated on September 13, 1187. The structure was later modified by several renovation interventions, although the plan has remained unchanged. The current appearance of the interior dates from the 15th-century renovations. It has a nave and two aisles divided by tall pilasters in red Verona marble, which support Gothic arcades. The first three chapels on each side are in the same style, and house mostly Renaissance artworks by Veronese artists. The nave ends with the main Chapel (Cappella Maggiore), also by Sanmicheli.
172: Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore The Basilica di San Zeno (also known as San Zeno Maggiore or San Zenone) is a minor basilica of Verona, Northern Italy. Its fame rests partly on its architecture and partly upon the tradition that its crypt was the place of the marriage of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Together with the abbey which forms an annex, it is dedicated to St. Zeno of Verona. St. Zeno died in 380. According to legend, over his tomb, along the Via Gallica, the first small church was erected by Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths. The history of the present basilican and the associated Benedictine monastery begins in the 9th century, when Bishop Ratoldus and King Pepin of Italy attended the translation of the saint's relics into the new church. This edifice was damaged or destroyed by a Magyar invasion in the early 10th century, at which time Zeno's body was moved to the Cathedral of Santa Maria Matricolare: it was soon moved back to its original site in what is now the crypt of the present church (May 21, 921). In 967, a new Romanesque edifice was built by Bishop Raterius, with the financial assistance of the Holy Roman Emperor, Otto I. On January 3, 1117 the church was damaged by an earthquake, and as a result was restored and enlarged in 1138. The work was completed in 1398 with the reconstruction of the roof and of the Gothic-style apse.
174: BUS TOUR OF VERONA
181: Castelvecchio (Verona) Castelvecchio (Italian: "Old Castle") is a castle in Verona, northern Italy. It is the most important military construction of the Scaliger dynasty that ruled the city in the Middle Ages. The castle stands on the probable location of a Roman fortress outside the Roman city. Lord Cangrande II della Scala had it built along with its bridge across the Adige River as a deterrent to his powerful neighbors such as Venice, the Gonzaga and the Sforza families. Construction was carried out between 1354 and 1376 (Cangrande died in 1359). The fortified bridge was intended to allow the seigniors to escape safely northwards to the Tyrol in the event of a rebellion or a coup d'état (the Scaligeri were allies of the Holy Roman Empire) and when they eventually lost their hold on Verona, its surviving members left Italy to found a German branch of the family. Later, during the Venetian domination, slits were added to defend it with cannons. The castle was damaged by French troops during the Napoleonic Wars (1796-7), in retaliation to the Pasque Veronesi, when the local population staged a violent anti-French revolt. Napoleon had chosen to stay in Castelvecchio on his trips to Verona, but his widespread and arbitrary requisitions of citizens' and churches' property, the massive draft of male workers into the French army prompted the resistance that eventually drove out the invaders. Under the Austrians, Castelvecchio was turned into barracks. In 1923 the castle was restored, as well as in 1963-1965.
188: PADUA, ITALY -- DAYTRIP
189: Basilica of Saint Anthony In St. Anthony's time there was the little church Santa Maria Mater Domini, which was then integrated into the Basilica and is now the Chapel of the Black Madonna. Next to this, in 1229, the Friary sprang up, which was probably founded by St. Anthony himself. St. Anthony died in 1231 in Arcella, in the north of the city where a Clarisse monastery then stood, his body - according his own wishes - was transported and buried in the little church Santa Maria Mater Domini. The construction of the first nucleus of the Basilica, a Franciscan church with only a single nave and a short transept, began in 1238; two lateral naves were added and it was eventually transformed into the amazing structure that we admire today.
190: The Scrovegni Chapel A masterpiece of Italian and European painting of the fourteenth century, is considered the most complete series of frescoes executed by Giotto in his maturity. Color and light, poetry and pathos. Man and God's sense of nature and of history, the sense of humanity and faith fused together to narrate in a unique, unrepeatable stories of the Madonna and Christ. Giotto completed the frescoes in the chapel within the first months of 1306. On this date "... the chapel has a very simple architecture: a rectangular room with vaulted ceiling, elegant light window in the facade, tall, narrow windows on the south wall, a polygonal apse then elevated to the cell bell. " The cycle of paintings of the Chapel is developed in three main themes: episodes in the life of Joachim and Anna (boxes 1-6), episodes from the life of Mary (frames 7-13) and episodes of the life and death of Christ. At the bottom of these frescoes, a series of panels illustrates the allegories of the Virtues and Vices.
192: SORRENTO, ITALY
194: Situated on a terrace overlooking the splendid Amalfi coastline, Sorrento is imbued with charm and echoes of the ancient past. Its position is perfect, affording a stunning panorama of the bay of Naples, but its list of attributes is replete. Parks, villas, orange, lemon and olive groves, picturesque narrow streets and resplendent weather, have ensured a steady stream of visitors to the town throughout the year and over the centuries. The town does suffer irregular building projects, but even this has not greatly overshadowed its rustic sea side town appeal The name of the town has its origins in antiquity and derives from a Greek word meaning "Flowing" due to the form of the town which appears to flow over the limestone tuff on which the town stands, defining the edge of the cliffs.
195: Curving along the coastline, erosion has carved the rock-face over the centuries into the majestic crags which climb to the skyline, forming the world renowned beauty of the Amalfi coast. Its legendary origins derive from the word Siren or Mermaids, mythical feminine creatures with celestial voices and hideous aspect, whose hands and songs lured unsuspecting sailors to the terror of the rocks, breaking their ships and wreaking romantic and tragic havoc.
199: Sorrento's charm lies in part in its sun drenched rustic simplicity. Quaint artisan workshops packed together onto a maze of medieval alleys, with the inevitable mix of locals and tourists bustling through the centre. The long shadows cast across uneven cobbled streets from overhanging balconies and terraces which almost meet overhead. Just enough space remains for washing to be strung out to dry Italian style from above, spanning the street in the Italian afternoon sun.
204: PAESTUM, ITALY -- DAYTRIP | The majestic Doric temples, illuminated by sunlight and the long coastal strip, brushed by a sparkling sea, are the elements which make Paestum a charming place in which you can spend your holidays. The old city is located in a strategic position, a few km South of the Amalfi Coast and on the north of the Cilento Coast, it is the door to the National Park of Cilento. Considered by the U.N.E.S.C.O. as a world heritage, Paestum remains, for its art, nature, tastes and events which characterize it, one of the most important beautiful cities of Magna Grecia.
206: Paestum was probably founded around 650 BC by a large group of Dorians who had been expelled from the city of Sybaris, a luxurious resort across the mainland on the Ionian Sea. The Dorians named their new colony Poseidonia, after the most important of their gods; it flourished and quickly became the greatest city on the gulf of Salerno. Then in 510 BC, Sybaris was destroyed. Poseidonia languished until 390 BC, when it fell to a tribe of local barbarians called the Lucanians. Legend has it that for decades the Greek inhabitants of the captive city secretly met once a year to remember the illustrious days of their forefathers.
207: In 273 BC, the Romans arrived. They changed the city's name, but we know as little about Roman Paestum as we doabout its Greek predecessor. Entire centuries passed in obscurity, briefly interrupted by moments of glory: in the early 3rd century BC, Paestum was heralded as a loyal ally of Rome against Hannibal; in 79 BC, the eruption of Vesuvius partially destroyed it. | Perhaps it was volcanic ash that helped to silt up the mouth of the river on which the city stood; this led the surrounding countryside to become swampy and mosquito-ridden. By 877 AD, the inhabitants of Paestum had abandoned the city and retreated to the safety of the nearby hills.
214: Paestum Museum This museum archives the finds from the excavations: From Paestum, the 6th-century-B.C. Statue of Zeus is well worth seeing as is the rich collection of 6th-century-B.C. vases with red or black figures. Among the finds from the nearby necropolis, the most interesting are the exquisite, celebrated Greek frescoes from the Tomb of the Diver that date from the 5th century B.C. Also very interesting are the paintings and objects found in the Lucanian Tombs, dating from the 6th to the 3rd centuries B.C. One entire area of the museum is dedicated to the architectural remains from the Sanctuary of Hera Argiva, including the complete frieze of metopes and triglyphs; a number of the metopes are unfinished, which helps shed light on the carving techniques.
216: SALERNO, ITALY -- DAYTRIP
218: Salerno Cathedral of San Matteo The beautiful 12th-century brick bell tower of the Cathedral of San Matteo (St. Matthew) rises above the medieval center of this city stretching out along the Bay of Salerno in southern Italy. It draws visitors to the historic heart of the city to discover one of the most important churches in the region of Campania. Founded in 1076, the Duomo, as it is called in Salerno, features a unique atrium surrounded on four sides with a portico. A grand Romanesque entrance, called the Porta dei Leoni (Door of the Lions) after the two marble lion statues flanking the doorway, leads into the peaceful atrium. Here you can stroll around the courtyard absorbing the splendor of medieval Salerno.
220: Inside, the central nave soars above, decorated in a sober, white Baroque design from the 18th century. Walk along the nave and look for where the Baroque decorations have been removed to uncover the beautiful and massive columns beneath. This work has been carefully done in many places of the church to reveal the Duomo’s medieval decorations. Two important ambones from the 12th century are located at the front of the central nave. In the Middle Ages these elevated platforms were where the liturgy was ready during important celebrations. The intricate Arab-Sicilian style mosaic work on the ambones and the large paschal candlestick is found throughout Campania, notably in the Cathedral of Sant’ Andrea in Amalfi, Cathedral of San Pantaleone in Ravello and the Duomo of San Lorenzo in Scala on the Amalfi Coast.
222: Look for a little door in the north aisle near the front of the church for a little doorway that leads down to the crypt of San Matteo (St. Matthew). A gleaming display of Baroque design, this is one of the religious and architectural treasures of southern Italy. The relics of the Apostle San Matteo were brought to Salerno in 954, but this impressive crypt dates from the first half of the 17th century when the Kings of Spain, Filippo II and Filippo III, chose to demonstrate their dedication to San Matteo by redecorating the crypt in a lavish Baroque style featuring inlaid marble, frescoes and a bronze statue of San Matteo by Michelangelo Naccarino, the artist who designed the statue of Sant’ Andrea in the Duomo of Amalfi.
226: POMPEII, ITALY -- DAYTRIP | When Vesuvius erupted on 24 August AD 79, it engulfed the two flourishing Roman towns of Pompei and Herculaneum, as well as the many wealthy villas in the area. These have been progressively excavated and made accessible to the public since the mid-18th century. The vast expanse of the commercial town of Pompei contrasts with the smaller but better-preserved remains of the holiday resort of Herculaneum, while the superb wall paintings of the Villa Oplontis at Torre Annunziata give a vivid impression of the opulent lifestyle enjoyed by the wealthier citizens of the Early Roman Empire.
228: Excavations have revealed the development of Pompei in particular. The original settlement, to the south-west of the Roman town, was fortified by the Samnites in the 4th century BC; these defaces were reinforced after the Roman occupation with a new wall and an interior earthen rampart. The early town had a main street (cardo) crossed by two decumani. There was a major period of urbanization in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, when tufa replaced limestone as the main building material. At this time a triangular colonnaded forum was constructed around the ancient Doric temple in the southern part of the town, along with a theatre. Later a second forum, this time rectangular and elongated, was added with temples to the official divinities around it. After Pompei became part of the Roman territory, it was further endowed with fine public buildings in stone, such as the large amphitheatre, the forum baths, and the odeon (small theatre) alongside the theatre. There was an episode of modernization at the end of the 1st century BC, with the construction of an aqueduct to bring the waters of the Samo River to the town, where they were distributed by means of a sophisticated supply system to houses, baths, and public fountains. High sidewalks were built along the streets, with stepping stones to facilitate crossing.
242: AMALFI COAST, ITALY -- DAYTRIP | The Amalfi coast is an area of great physical beauty and natural diversity. It has been intensively settled by human communities since the early Middle Ages. There are a number of towns such as Amalfi and Ravello with architectural and artistic works of great significance. The rural areas show the versatility of the inhabitants in adapting their use of the land to the diverse nature of the terrain, which ranges from terraced vineyards and orchards on the lower slopes to wide upland pastures.
244: Bus Ride from Amalfi to Ravello
249: Situated high up in the mountains, Ravello is like a terrace over the sea, overlooking the villages of Minori and Maiori. Long a refuge for VIPs (including Gore Vidal, who only recently sold his villa here), it is worlds away from the clamor down on the coast, and its traffic-free status gives the town an air of classy tranquility. Once the day trippers leave, it reverts to being a sleepy, hilltop village.
256: NAPLES, ITALY | Naples , Italy, is the capital of the Campania region. The city is the third most populated municipality (city proper) of Italy, but the second metropolitan area, after Milan. It was founded between the 7th and 6th centuries BC by the Greeks and was named Neapolis, which means new city. The historic centre of Naples has earned the UNESCO World Heritage Site denomination. It has one of the biggest historical city centres in the world, and its pride are the 448 historical and monumental churches, the highest number in the World for a single city.
260: Castel Nuovo An imposing fortress dominating the Bay only steps from the shore, this castle was created by the French architect Pierre d'Angicourt in the 13th century for the new king, Carlo I d'Angió. The first king of the Angevin dynasty, he wanted a more suitable residence than Castel dell'Ovo and Castel Capuano -- both used by previous sovereigns. Started in 1279 and finished in 1282, Castel Nuovo was enlarged in the 15th century by | Alfonso I d'Aragona, first king of the Aragonese dynasty. The castle has five towers: del Beverello (overlooking the harbor), di San Giorgio, di Mezzo, di Guardia, and dell'Oro (note its tufa stone structure) -- and a facade (facing inland) graced by the grandiose Triumphal Arch of Alfonso I of Aragona, a splendid example of early Renaissance architecture.
262: Across from the entrance in the courtyard and up a 15th-century staircase is the magnificent Sala dei Baroni, an architectural masterpiece. The monumental room is an enormous cube, 27m (89 ft.) wide and 28m (92 ft.) high, | with a star-shaped vaulted ceiling originally decorated by Giotto in the 14th century. (His frescoes and most of the sculptures were lost in a fire in 1919). The room is still used for city council meetings today.
268: Palazzo Reale Napoli (or the Royal Palace of Naples) is one of the most impressive palaces in southern Italy and ranks among the top tourist attractions in the city. This palace in Naples Italy was the primary royal residence of the Bourbon rulers in the first half of the eighteenth century until it was moved to the Palace of Caserta whose inland location was a better strategic position in terms of defense. The Spanish viceroys in power at the time saw to the completion of the construction of this amazing palace in 1600. The designer was one of the most prominent architects of the day, Domenico Fontana. | Palazzo Reale, Naples
270: Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of the palace in Naples Italy is the faade with its eight kings. This is a truly remarkable historical testament to the development of Naples, as these kings represent completely different regimes and dynastic ambitions. | The breathtaking exterior is perhaps the only component of the Royal Palace of Naples that can rival the intense beauty of the interior. The expansive royal halls and apartments, the priceless artworks and decorations, and the sheer size and scope of the grounds will inspire anyone who visits this top destination in Naples.
271: The Royal Palace of Naples now absolutely dominates the Piazza del Plebiscito with its formidable, red faade that features statues of the eight kings of Naples. The Palazzo Reale Napoli is filled with grand halls, massive tapestries, beautiful works of art, and fine furnishings. The Throne Room, Court Theatre, Royal Apartments, and Oratory (the queen’s personal chapel) are all highlights of visiting the palace. You will also have the pleasure of paying a visit to the Teatro San Carlo and the National Library of Naples, which are located at the palace and the adjacent grounds.
279: The Nativity of the Banco di Napoli, located in the prestigious Chapel of the Palazzo Reale in Naples, consists of 210 figurines among shepherds and animals and 144 accessories from prestigious private collections. All the pieces belong to the most brilliant period of the crib. Some of the most significant examples have been shaped by great sculptors working in Naples in the mid-eighteenth century and early nineteenth century, such as Sammartino , Francesco and Camillo celebrate , Angelo Viva , Salvatore Franco and their followers.
280: The National Archaeological Museum of Naples One of the earliest established in Europe in a monumental building in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century, boasts the richest and most valuable collection of works of art and artefacts of archaeological interest in Italy . In it are exposed over three thousand objects of exemplary value in various thematic sections and stored hundreds of thousands of artefacts dating from prehistory to late antiquity, both from various ancient sites of the South, is the acquisition of relevant collected antiques, starting from the Farnese collection which belonged to the royal dynasty of the Bourbons, the founders of the Museum.
284: Mosaics : Covering the period from two centuries BC until the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, most of the mosaics are parts of floors or walls from Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae. many have figures from Greek paintings. The most well-known are the mosaics from the House of the Faun in Pompeii. Secret Cabinet: This room was created in the early 1800's to house the museum's many sexual items. It was closed for many years but reopened in 2000. Visitors must be at least 11 years old. Frescoes: Most of the frescoes come from walls in Pompeii. Covering a period of about two centuries, the frescoes are excellent examples of Roman painting. They cover a variety of themes, including mythological, landscapes, and scenes of daily life. Temple of Isis: A special exhibit holds wall paintings removed from the temple of Isis in Pompeii as well as artifacts from the temple. Pompeii Model - Made in the 19th century, the model of Pompeii is very detailed and helps the visitor visualize what it looked like before the eruption. Sculptures: The museum has a huge collection of Greek and Roman sculptures, many of them Greek and Roman.
290: Reggia di Caserta The monumental complex at Caserta, created by the Bourbon king Charles III in the mid-18th century to rival Versailles and the Royal Palace in Madrid, is exceptional for the way in which it brings together a magnificent palace with its park and gardens, as well as natural woodland, hunting lodges and a silk factory. It is an eloquent expression of the Enlightenment in material form, integrated into, rather than imposed on, its natural setting.
294: Sansevero Chapel | chains passed before the garden of the di Sangro palace in Piazza San Domenico Maggiore, and saw a part of the garden wall collapse and an image of the Madonna appear. He promised the Virgin Mary to offer her a silver lamp and a dedication if only his innocence might be recognized. Once released, the man was faithful to his vow. The sacred image thus became a place of pilgrimage and prayer, and many other graces were received there. Shortly afterwards, the Duke of Torremaggiore, Giovan Francesco di Sangro, seriously ill, turned to the Madonna to plead for his recovery. Miraculously cured, he erected in thanksgiving a “small chapel” called Santa Maria della Piet or Pietatella in the place where the venerable image had first appeared. It was the son of Giovan Francesco, Alessandro di Sangro, who, in the early years of the seventeenth century began the enormous task transforming, enlarging, and changing the original votive chapel. The Chapel then remained unchanged until the seventeen-forties, when Raimondo di Sangro seventh Prince of Sansevero set to work enlarging and enriching the temple. He did this with the finest works of art, but without changing the original structure, attempting to find the best position for the pre-existing tombs in the new layout. This is how works such as the Glory of Heaven, Modesty and the other statues of the Virtues, and the Veiled Christ came into being. | The Sansevero Chapel Museum in the historic heart of Naples is a jewel of the world's artistic heritage. Here, baroque creativity, dynastic pride, beauty and mystery blend to create a unique and almost timeless atmosphere. The origins of the Sansevero Chapel are connected to a legendary incident. Cesare d’Engenio Caracciolo tells in his Sacred Naples of 1623 that, in around 1590, an innocent man who was being led to prison in
295: Placed at the center of the nave of the Sansevero Chapel, the Veiled Christ is one of the most famous and impressive works of art in the world. It was the Prince's wish that the statue be made by Antonio Corradini, who had already done Modesty for him. However, Corradini died in 1752 and only managed to make a terracotta scale model of the Christ, which is now preserved in the Museo di San Martino. So Raimondo di Sangro appointed a young Neapolitan artist, Giuseppe Sanmartino, to make “a life-sized marble statue, representing Our Lord Jesus Christ dead, and covered in a transparent shroud carved from the same block as the statue”. Sanmartino paid little heed to the previous scale model made by the Venetian sculptor. Sanmartino’s late baroque feeling and sentiment permeate the shroud with a movement and a meaning far removed from Corradini’s rules. The modern sensitivity of the artist sculpts and divests the lifeless body of its flesh, which the soft shroud mercifully covers, on which the tormented, writhing rhythms of the folds of the veil engrave deep suffering, almost as if the compassionate covering made the poor limbs still more naked and exposed, and the lines of the tortured body even more inexorable and precise. Sanmartino’s art here becomes a dramatic evocation, that turns the suffering of Christ into the symbol of the destiny and redemption of all humanity.
296: Farewell Europe... Until Next Time....