2011년 8월 12일 금요일

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9.Historic Center of San Gimignano

San Gimignano bears exceptional testimony to the civilization of the Middle Ages in that it groups together within a small area all the structures typical of urban life: squares and streets, houses and palaces, wells and fountains.
San Gimignano is situated in the Val d'Elsa, 56 km south of Florence. Its walls and fortified houses form an unforgettable skyline, in the heart of the Etruscan landscape. San Gimignano was a relay point on the Via Francigena for pilgrims journeying to and from Rome. Originally under the jurisdiction of the bishops of Volterra, it became independent in 1199 when it acquired its first podestà. The free town, known as San Gimignano delle Belle Torri, entered into a long period of prosperity that lasted until 1353, when it fell under the sway of Florence. In 1262 an enceinte measuring 2,177 m, later to be reinforced with five cylindrical towers, girdled the small town.
The town was controlled by two major rival families - the Ardinghelli, Guelph sympathizers, and the Salvucci, who were Ghibellines - and was the scene of incessant conflicts between the two clans. As symbols of their wealth and power, 72 tower houses were built. Of these, 14 have survived, including the Cugnanesi house on the former Via Francigena (Via San Giovanni); the Pesciolini house on the Via San Matteo, on the Via del Castello, in the town's oldest quarter, the Palazzo Franzesi-Ceccarelli house, whose unsymmetrical facade ingeniously circumvented the law of 1255 which stipulated that no new residence should be wider than 12 arm spans for a linear depth of 24 arm spans.
The town grew around two principal squares, the Piazza della Cisterna and the Piazza del Duomo. The triangular Piazza della Cisterna is ornamented with a lovely well that stands in the centre. The piazza is bordered by tower houses: the twin towers of the Ardinghellis to the west, the tower of the Benuccis, the Casa Rodolfi and the Palazzo Razzi to the south, and the Palazzo dei Cortesi to the north.
The Piazza del Duomo has more a intricate layout that took form in the late 13th century. The majority of public and private monuments are found here. On the west, is the Collegiata of Santa Maria Assunta. On the east is the former palace of the podestà(1239), which was transformed into an inn, then a theatre, and today is disused; the Torre della Rognosa and the Torre Chigi are also on this side. The Palazzo del Popolo stands on the south along with the Torre Grossa which rises to 54 m and faces the twin towers of the Salvucci on the north.
The historic centre of San Gimignano contains a series of masterpieces of 14th- and 15th-century Italian art in their original architectural settings, including: in the cathedral, the fresco of the Last Judgment, Heaven and Hell by Taddeo di Bartolo (1393), the Martyrdom of S. Sebastian by Benozzo Gozzoli, and above all the magnificent frescoes by Domenico Ghirlandaio - the cycle of Santa Fina, the Annunciation in the St John baptistry. Other works of the same outstanding beauty include the huge frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli depicting St Sebastian and St Augustine.
The frescoes by Memmo di Filippuccio which the township commissioned in 1303 to decorate the chambers of the podestà in the Palazzo del Popolo are among the most frequently reproduced documents used to illustrates daily life, down to its most domestic details, of the early 14th century.
Towers of San Gimignano
The main attraction in San Gimignano today are its medieval towers. There are still fourteen of them of varying heights. Also part of the world heritage inscription are its churches, including the Collegiata, which was formerly a cathedral, and Sant'Agostino, which is home to many Italian renaissance masterpieces.

Historic Centre of San Gimignano was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site during the 14th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Banff, Canada, on 7 - 12 December, 1990.

Square in San Gimignano

Historic Centre of San Gimignano
San Gimignano - Tuscan Italy
10.Historic Center of Siena
Siena, an outstanding medieval city that has preserved its character and quality to a remarkable degree, and its influence on art, architecture and town planning in the Middle Ages, both in Italy and elsewhere in Europe, was great.
The historic centre of Siena is delimited by a 7km enceinte of ramparts (14th-16th centuries), the route of which follows the contours of the three hills on which the city is built. These walls, with their bastions and towers, are pierced by gates that are double at the strategic points, such as the Porta Camollia on the street of Florence. To the west they embrace the Fort of Santa Barbara, rebuilt by the Medici in 1560 and reconstructed in 1580. The walls themselves, which have been enlarged on several occasions, also include part of the 25 km network of galleries, the bottini, which evacuate the spring waters distributed by the public fountains. Siena doubtless benefited from the experience of the monks of the Cistercian abbey of San Galgano. The main fountains, mostly from the 13th century, are veritable buildings in their own right, constructed like Gothic porticoes.
The historic centre developed along the Y-shaped segments defined by the three main arteries that meet at the Croce del Travaglio, represented by the Piazza del Campo, and on to which the network of minor roads are grafted. Houses and palaces follow one another in rows along the main streets, creating a characteristic urban space with certain notable elements. The Piazza del Campo, sited at the junction of three hills, is one of the most remarkable urban open spaces in all Italy. Its formation coincides with the growth of the medieval city and the assertion of communal power. Financial and commercial activities were concentrated halfway along the Via Francigena, the entire lengths of the present-day Via dei Banchi Sopra and Via dei Banchi Sotto, and the market-place proper was located in the Piazza del Campo, at that time divided in two sectors.
At the end of the 12th century, the communal government decided to unite the two sectors to create a unique semicircular open space, and promulgated a series of ordinances which regulated only commercial activities but also the services and dimensions of the houses (their style twin-arched or triple-arched windows), in order to make the facades around the piazza uniform. The building of the Palazzo Pubblico, the seat of the communal government, began at the same time. Its gently incurving and crenellated facade is highlighted by the Gothic triple-arched windows. There is a number of masterpieces of medieval paintings inside, such as the Maestà of Simone Martini and the allegorical Ciclo del Buon Governo of Ambrogio Lorenzetti. The Palazzo Pubblico was in all probability the model for the Gothic palaces of the great families of the nobility or the merchants (Palazzo Tomei, Palazzo Buonsignore), which are characterized by an increase in breadth, the use of brick, large windows, and the so-called 'Guelph' crenellation.
Once the public authorities were installed in the Palazzo Pubblico, work began on embellishing the piazza with the laying down of the paving, construction of the Fonte Gaia, decorated by Jacopo dalla Quercia, the Torre del Mangia, and the Cappella della Piazza, the latter two built up against the palazzo. Under the Medici, the piazza became the ideal setting for spectacular festivals and was opened up to the palio , the famous horserace between teams from the different quarters of the city.
The highest point of the town is crowned by the Cathedral of Santa Maria. Its facade, the lower part of which is the work of Giovanni Pisano, was completed by Giovanni di Cecco after construction of the Nuovo Duomo (New Cathedral), a vast project inspired by the Gothic cathedrals of north of the Alps. The cathedral preserves a remarkable pavement and the pulpit carved by Nicolà Pisano.
Piazza Salimbeni in Siena
Siena was a rival to Florence in terms of architecture and urban planning. It manages to preserve much of the Gothic structures in the heart of the city. These date from the 12th to the 15th centuries. The Cathedral of Siena, dating to the 12th century, is regarded as one of the best examples of Italian Romanesque-Gothic architecture.

Duomo di Siena: The 13th century Siena Cathedral (Duomo di Siena) is architecturally beautiful and the artwork of the interior is stunning, containing pieces by such famous renaissance artists as Michaelangelo, Bernini and Donatello.
Piccolomini library in Siena Cathedral
Piccolomini Library
Facciatone, Panoramic Terrance Siena Italy
Facciatone panoramic Terrace
view of siena, tuscany, italy
stained glass window inside Museo dell'Opera, Siena
Inside Museo dell'Opera
Old town hall and clock tower in Siena
Torre del Mangia and Palazzo Pubblico
Historic Center of Siena

11.Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto(South Eastern Sicily)

This group of towns in south-eastern Sicily represents the culmination and final flowering of Baroque art in Europe. The exceptional quality of the late Baroque art and architecture in the Val di Noto lies in its geographical and chronological homogeneity, as well as its quantity, the result of the 1693 earthquake in this region. The towns were all in existence in medieval times, characteristically around a castle and with monastic foundations. Most seem to have been changing during the 16th and 17th centuries and then been affected differentially by the 1693 earthquake.
Caltagirone is significant for its multifaceted town planning and architectural facades, and for its unusual link between the pre- and post-1693 periods. Its rich architecture exists inside an urban context resulting from the configuration of the site. The most important buildings include the churches of Santa Maria del Monte, St James the Apostle, St Joseph, St Dominic, the Holy Saviour, St Chiara and St Rita, Jesus, St Stephen, and St Francis of Assisi and, among secular buildings, the Corte Capitanale, Civic Museum, former Pawnshop, and San Francesco Bridge.
Militello Val di Catania is significant for its wealth of architecture from the 14th century onwards, and for the outstanding 17th-century walled pre-earthquake town plan which was in the vanguard of Sicilian feudal towns and was then faithfully followed in the late Baroque reconstruction. Principal buildings include the churches of San Nicolò and Santa Maria della Stella, the latter completed in 1741 on the site of St Anthony the Abbot and the former in the San Leonardo area.
Catania acquired a particular quality of urban design when it was rebuilt on a comprehensive, geometric unitary plan amid the rubble of the destroyed city. At its core are the outstanding Piazza del Duomo and the Via dei Crociferi, together with the nearby Badia de Sant'Agata, Collegiata, Benedictine monastery, and Palazzo Biscari.
Modica consists of two urban centres, the older perched on the rocky top of the southern Ibeli hill, the other rebuilt further downhill after the 1693 earthquake with imposing and conspicuous urban monuments such as the Cathedral of St George and the Church of St Peter.
Noto is on two levels, an upper part on the plateau and a lower, newer part on the slope below. The latter accommodates the buildings of the nobility and the religious complexes of the 18th century, the topography, town plan and architecture combining to create a spectacular 'Baroque stage set'. It includes nine religious complexes and numerous palazzi.
Palazzolo has two centres, the medieval one on which a new town was reconstructed on the old site but along a new axis, and a post-1693 'new town' developed along a crescent up to the earliest site of all, the Greek Akrai. The two churches of St Sebastian and Saints Peter and Paul were largely rebuilt after 1693, the latter the centre of the old nobility, the former marking the quarter of the new urban classes.
Ragusa, the ancient Ibla, is built over three hills separated by a deep valley. It, too, consists of two centres, one rebuilt on the old medieval layout and the other, Upper Ragusa, newly built after 1693. It contains nine major churches and seven major palazzi, all Baroque.
In Scicli the Via Francesco Mormina Penna stretches to the nearby Beneventano palace, perhaps the only one in Sicily to display fantastic decoration, in an urban setting where churches rise alongside patrician buildings of late Baroque age. Three churches (St John the Evangelist, St Michael and St Teresa) are from the 18th century.

Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto Sicily Italy

Sicilia, lo splendore del Mediterraneo
12.Pizza del Duoma, Pisa
Standing in a large green expanse, Piazza del Duomo houses a group of monuments known the world over. These four masterpieces of medieval architecture – the cathedral, the baptistry, the campanile (the 'Leaning Tower') and the cemetery – had a great influence on monumental art in Italy from the 11th to the 14th century.

Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy, is the most famous leaning tower in the world. It is a campanile, or bell tower, of the Cathedral of Pisa in Italy.

The Leaning Tower is situated behind the Cathedral of Pisa, and is the third oldest structure in Pisa's Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square) after the cathedral itself and the baptistry.

The tilt of the tower is its call to fame. Although intended to stand vertically, the tower began leaning to the southeast soon after the onset of construction in 1173. This is due to a poorly laid foundation and loose substrate that has allowed the foundation to shift direction. The tower presently leans to the southwest.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Tower of Pisa was built in three stages over a period of about 177 years. Construction of the first floor began on August 9, 1173, a period of military success and prosperity. This first floor is surrounded by pillars with classical capitals, leaning against blind arches.

The tower began to tilt after construction reached the third floor in 1178. This was the result of a foundation that was just three meters deep set in weak, unstable subsoil. In other words, the design was flawed from the beginning.

Construction stopped for almost a century, because the Pisans were almost continually engaged in battles with Genoa, Lucca and Florence. This allowed time for the underlying soil to settle. If not, the tower would definitely have toppled over.

In 1198, clocks were temporarily installed on the third floor of the unfinished construction. Construction resumed in 1272 under Giovanni di Simone, architect of the Camposanto.

In an effort to compensate for the tilt, the engineers built higher floors with one side taller than the other. This made the tower begin to lean in the other direction. Because of this, the tower is actually curved. The defeat of Pisa to Genoa in 1284 in the Battle of Meloria brought construction to a stop once more.

The seventh floor was completed in 1319. Many more years were to pass before the bell-chamber was finally added in 1372. It was built by Tommaso di Andrea Pisano, who succeeded in harmonizing the Gothic elements of the bell-chamber with the Romanesque style of the tower. There are seven bells, one for each note of the musical major scale. The largest one was installed in 1655.

After a phase (1990-2001) of structural strengthening, the tower is currently undergoing gradual surface restoration, in order to repair visual damage, mostly corrosion and blackening. These are particularly strong due to the tower's age and to its particular conditions with respect to wind and rain.

On January 7, 1990, after over two decades of work on the subject, the tower had to be closed to the public. During this period, the bells were removed to relieve some weight. Cables were cinched around the third level and anchored several hundred meters away. Apartments and houses in the path of the tower were vacated for safety.

The final solution to prevent the collapse of the tower was to slightly straighten the tower to a safer angle. This is done by removing 38 cubic metres (50 cu yd) of soil from underneath the raised end.

The tower was straightened by 18 inches (45 centimetres), returning it to the exact position that it occupied in 1838. After a decade of corrective reconstruction and stabilization efforts, the tower was reopened to the public on December 15, 2001, and has been declared stable for at least another 300 years.

In May 2008, after the removal of another 70 metric tons (77 short tons) of earth, engineers announced that the Tower had been stabilized such that it had stopped moving for the first time in its history. They stated it would be stable for at least 200 years.

Meanwhile, two German churches, the 15th century square Leaning Tower of Suurhusen and the nearby 14th century bell tower in the town of Bad Frankenhausen, have challenged the tower's status as the world's most lop-sided building. Guinness World Records measured the Pisa and Suurhusen towers, finding the former's tilt to be 3.97 degrees

Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa

Geotechnical Engineering

13.Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands)

The Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands) are located off the northern coast of Sicily. The group consists of seven islands (Lipari, Vulcano, Salina, Stromboli, Filicudi, Alicudi and Panarea) and five small islets (Basiluzzo, Dattilo, Lisca Nera, Bottaro and Lisca Bianca) in the vicinity of Panarea. The total area of the Aeolian Islands is 1,216 km2. The islands range in size from Panarea which is 34 km2 to Lipari which is 376 km2. The Aeolian are all of volcanic origin, separated from the Sicilian coast by waters of 200m deep. It seems that they have never been in contact with the Sicilian Island. The islands have provided two of the types of eruptions (Vulcanian and Strombolian) to vulcanology and geology.
In terms of size, Vulcano is the third largest island and the most southerly of the Aeolian group. In the past, the island was frequently evacuated due to volcanic activity that periodically takes place in the Great Crater. Nowadays, activity is limited to fumaroles that can be found just about anywhere on the island but tend to be concentrated in the area around the Fossa and on the isthmus between Faraglione and Vulcanello. Panarea is the smallest of the islands. It has a remarkable variety of differing environments in comparison with the other islands, especially in terms of flora and is a fascinating site for naturalists. Stromboli is the only island in the archipelago that has permanent volcanic activity. Eruptions are somewhat fragmented and this type of phenomenon has been labelled 'Strombolian Activity'. The island is the most northerly of the group and its economy is based almost solely on tourism. Despite difficult access, the plains areas were at one time highly fertile and cultivated and Stromboli was renowned for the production of malvasia grapes. Filicudi: recent studies have dated the lava at the centre of the Zucco Grande as being more than 1 million years old, thus making it the oldest product yet known from the whole archipelago. Despite its appearance of having been created at the dawn of time and the initial visual impact it has on visitors, Alicudi is the youngest of the islands. The eastern slopes of the island are almost completely covered with terraces that indicate past agricultural activities. The wild western slopes remain uninhabited due to their steepness and inaccessibility.
Salina rises from the sea capped by the volcanoes Monte dei Porri to the west and Monte Rivi and Monte Fossa delle Felci to the east. Salina, like the other islands making up the archipelago, emerged from the seas during the Quaternary period.
The vegetation of the Aeolian Islands is mainly dominated by species typical of the Mediterranean region. A total of 900 plant species have been recorded in Aeolian Islands, including four endemic species. Most areas are dominated by a man-modified landscape characterized by a steppe vegetation and abandoned olive and vines.
The interesting characteristic of Aeolian archipelago fauna is the presence of continental Europe species reaching the southern limit of their distribution. About 40 bird species have been recorded including 10 under the Sicilian Red List of threatened bird species. The islands are also important for migrant bird species, and are an Important Bird Area for congregatory species identified by Birdlife International. Mammals include one endemic subspecies, Eliomys quercinus leparensis, and seven species of bat have been reported. Seven species of reptile are present in the archipelago, including the newly described Lezard Podarcis raffonei. Other reptiles include four subspecies of Podarcis raffonei and two subspecies of Podarcis siculus. Invertebrate fauna seems relatively well known, with over 15 endemic species described.
The archaeological importance is shown by the presence of life from the Neolithic age. Different layers showing prehistoric, protohistoric and ancient history of the Mediterranean Sea have been preserved.

Lapari and Salina, two of the Aeolian Islands

Isole Eolie - Italy

Isole Eolie 2010
14.Rhaetian Railway in the Albuna/Bernina Landscapes

The Rhaetian Railway in the Albula/Bernina Landscapes represents an exemplary railway development for the disenclavement of the Central Alps at the beginning of the 20th century. The railway’s socio-economic consequences were substantial and lasting for mountain life, the interchange of human and cultural values, and changes in the relationship between man and nature in the West. The Rhaetian Railway offers a wide diversity of technical solutions for the establishment of the railway in often severe mountain conditions. It is a well designed construction that has been realised with a high degree of quality and it has remarkable stylistic and architectural homogeneity. The railway infrastructure moreover blends in particularly harmoniously with the Alpine landscapes through which it passes.
Criterion (ii): The Rhaetian Railway of Albula/Bernina constitutes an outstanding technical, architectural and environmental ensemble. The two lines, today unified in a single transalpine line, embody a very comprehensive and diversified set of innovative solutions that bear witness to substantial interchanges of human and cultural values in the development of mountain railway technologies, in terms of its architectural and civil engineering achievements, and its aesthetic harmony with the landscapes through which they pass.
Criterion (iv): The Rhaetian Railway of Albula/Bernina is a very significant illustration of the development of mountain railways at high altitudes in the first decade of the 20th century. It represents a consummate example of great quality, which was instrumental in the long-term development of human activities in the mountains. It offers diversified landscapes in conjunction with the railway that are significant of this period of the flourishing of a relationship between man and nature.
The railway infrastructures of the Albula and Bernina lines form an authentic ensemble of great integrity. Their technical operation and their maintenance ensure long-term conservation of high quality. The Rhaetian railway company that has unified them and carries out their technical management has introduced technical changes and innovations that are compatible with the concept of authenticity of technological properties that are still in use.
The legal protection in place is adequate. The management system of the property is satisfactory, though a reinforcement of the presentation to the public of the founding heritage aspects of the property is desirable.
Bernina Express on the Rhaetian Railway
The Rhaetian Railway includes 42 tunnels and 144 viaducts and bridges. The Rhaetian Railway is an outstanding example of how the railway is used to break the isolation of some settlements in the Central Alps during the early part of the 20th century.

Rhätische Bahn: Bernina
15.Syracuse and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica

The Syracuse/Pantalica ensemble, through its remarkable cultural diversity, offers exceptional testimony to the development of civilization over some three millennia.
Situated on the Mediterranean coast in south-eastern Sicily, and having always enjoyed a favourable climate while being relatively free of marked relief, the zone of monuments and archeological sites proposed for inscription on the World Heritage list has been inhabited since protohistoric times.
The Necropolis of Pantalica extends over some 1,200 m from north to south and 500 m from east to west in the region of Sortino. In the hilly terrain (caverns and precipices) and a natural environment of great beauty, about 5,000 tombs are visible, most of which have been hewn out of the rock face. Archaeological research has brought to light, in this zone, vestigial remains of dwellings from the period of Greek colonization. Materials of Mycenean origin and monumental structures were recognised, enabling the identification of the Anaktoron (Prince's Palace). Similarly, it has been possible to identify a period of reoccupation of the site in the 9th-10th centuries: the zone was in fact used for the defence against invasions of Sicily by the Arab armies.
On the side which has been inhabited from around the Neolithic period, and certainly from the start of the 13th century, Syracuse symbolizes by its foundation the development of the Greek presence in the Western Mediterranean. This city, founded in the 8th century was, according to the Ancients, very large and extremely beautiful. Its central nucleus, today the island of Ortygia, controlled two natural ports which had already become famous in ancient times. Ortygia consisted of five parts, giving rise to its alternative name of Pentapolis. The two ports are still identifiable today: Porto Piccolo to the east and Porto Grande to the west. Ortygia has a central main street and a network of other streets reminiscent of the orthogonal plan of the ancient Greek city, constructed in the 7th century BC. The following Greek remains are visible (from north to south):
Temple of Apollo (Apollonion);
Ionic Temple;
Temple of Athena (Athenaeion);
The Catacombs, the largest except for those in Rome, date from the palaeo-Christian period. Subsequently, many items bearing witness to the troubled history of Sicily remain, from the Byzantines to the Bourbons, with in between the Arabo-Muslims, the Normans, the government of Frederick II (1197-1250), the domination of the Aragons and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies: Church of St John the Baptist (4th-16th centuries), Church of St Martin (6th-14th centuries), Bellomo Palace (13th-18th centuries), Migliaccio Palace, Abeba Dunieli Palace and Francica-Nova Palace (15th century), Church of San Francesco all'Immacolata (13th-18th centuries), Church of the Collegio (built by Jesuits in the 17th century).
The most celebrated monument, with its great square, is the cathedral, which incorporates the remains of a Greek temple dating back to the 6th century BC. The excavations carried out in 1996-98 under the square have advanced knowledge of the history of Syracuse and its ancient monuments.
Constituted in 1952-55, the Archaeological Park of Neapolis includes the most spectacular Greek and Roman monuments bearing testimony to the past of Sicily: the magnificent Greek theatre; the Nymphaeum zone (with the cave); the sanctuary to Apollo; the imposing altar of Hieron II (king of Syracuse in 265-215 BC); the Roman amphitheatre; the great stone quarries, also known as the lautumiae; the Grotticelle necropolis, which contains the so-called tomb of Archimedes.
Greek theater at Syracuse, Sicily
Greek theater at Syracuse

Necropolis of Pantalica
Necropolis of Pantalica
Syracuse - Sicily - Italy

Syracuse - Neapolis - Sicily
16.Venice and its Lagoon

Venice is a unique artistic achievement. The city is built on 118 small islands and seems to float on the waters of the lagoon. The influence of Venice on the development of architecture and monumental arts has been considerable. Venice possesses an incomparable series of architectural ensembles illustrating the age of its splendour. It presents a complete typology whose exemplary value goes hand-in-hand with the outstanding character of an urban setting which had to adapt to the special requirements of the site.
In this lagoon covering 50,000 km2, nature and history have been so closely linked since the 5th century AD when Venetian populations, to escape barbarian raids, found refuge on the sandy islands of Torcello, Iesolo and Malamocco. These temporary settlements gradually became permanent and the initial refuge of the land-dwelling peasants and fishermen became a maritime power. The small island of Rialto was chosen as the headquarters of the new city.
In AD 1000, Venice controlled the Dalmatian coast and in 1112 a trading market was founded in the Levantine port of Sidon. The year 1204 saw Venice allied with the Crusaders to capture Constantinople. The abundant booty brought back on that occasion, including the bronzes horses of St Mark's, is only the more spectacular part of the loot from Byzantium that the Doge Enrico Dàndolo shared with his allies.
Under the Doge, a maritime empire of unequalled power extended over the entire length of the shores around the eastern Mediterranean, to the islands of the Ionian Sea and to Crete. During the entire period of the expansion of Venice, over the centuries when it was obliged to defend its trading markets against the commercial undertakings of the Arabs, the Genoese and the Ottoman Turks,as well as those of the European monarchs who were envious of its power, Venice never ceased, in the literal sense of the term, to consolidate its position in the lagoon. The marriage with the sea, that sposalizio that since 1172 was symbolized by the ring of the Doge, who had replaced the Dux (elected for the first time in 697 by an assembly of the people), was never called into question.
In this inland sea that has continuously been under threat, rises amid a tiny archipelago at the very edge of the waves one of the most extraordinary built-up areas of the Middle Ages. From Torcello to the north to Chioggia to the south, almost every small island had its own settlement, town, fishing village and artisan village (Murano). However, at the heart of the lagoon, Venice itself stood as one of the greatest capitals in the medieval world. When a group of tiny islands were consolidated and merged into one, nothing remained of the primitive topography but what became canals, such as the Giudecca Canal, St Mark's Canal and the Great Canal, and a network of smallrii that are the veritable arteries of a city on water. In this unreal space, where there is no notion of the concept of terra firma, masterpieces of one of the most extraordinary architectural museums on Earth have been accumulated for over 1,000 years.

Basilica San Marino

Piazza San Marco

Dorge's Palace

Santa Maria della Salute

Madonna della Statue

Cuberta de San Marcos
Venice was plagued by the Black Death in 1348 and again between 1575 and 1577, when 50,000 of its population was wiped out. In 1630, another plague killed a third of Venice's then 150,000 inhabitants. As Portugal rose to become Europe's main trading country with the East, Venice began to lose its position as an international trading port.

In 1797, Venice lost its independence when Napoleon Bonaparte conquered it. It became part of Austrian territory when Napoleon signed the Treaty of Campo Formio. In 1805, it became part of Napoleon's Kingdom of Italy, but was returned to Austria in 1814, when it became part of the Austrian-controlled Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia. A revolt in 1848-1849 established the Venetian Republic, but in 1866, it became part of Italy following the Seven Weeks War.

Venice Doge's Palace and St.Mark's Campanile

Venice Grand Canal near Rialto Bridge


Lido Beach, Venice

Murano Church and tower

Venice Cemetery San Mechele in isola

Grand Canal at night

San Giorgio Maggiore night: San Giorgio Maggiore is one of the islands of Venice, lying east of the Giudecca and south of the main island group. The isle is surrounded by Canale della Grazia, Canale della Giudecca, Saint Mark Basin, Canale di San Marco and the southern lagoon. It forms part of the San Marco sestiere.

The island was probably occupied in the Roman period; after the foundation of Venice it was called Insula Memmia after the Memmo family who owned it. By 829 it had a church consecrated to St George; thus it was designated as San Giorgio Maggiore to be distinguished from San Giorgio in Alga.
The Benedictine Monastery of San Giorgio was established in 982, when the doge Tribuno Memmo donated the whole island to a monk, Giovanni Morosini. The monks drained the island's marshes next to the church to get the ground for building.
San Giorgio is now best known for the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, designed by Palladio and begun in 1566.

St.Mark's Square at night

Rialto Bridge

Grand Canal from Rialto Bridge at dusk

Doge's Palace

Mosaic on Grand Canal Palace

Venice neighborhood canal

Inside church

Chiesa degli Scalzi Santa Maria di Nazareth

St. Mark's Clocktower

Piazzetta of St.Mark's

Horses of St. Mark

Gondolas and San Giorgio Maggiore

Doge's Palace

Bridge of Sighs

Bridge of Sighs Inside

Doge's Palace courtyard

San Giorgio

St.Mark's Basilica Domes and Statues

St.Mark's Basilica

St.Mark Square

Grand Canal from Roma Piazza

San Giorgio

Inside of San Giorgio

Palaces on Grand Canal

Church and Bell Tower

The Bridge of Sighs (Italian: Ponte dei Sospiri) is one of many bridges in Venice. The enclosed bridge is made of white limestone and has windows with stone bars. It passes over the Rio di Palazzo and connects the old prisons to the interrogation rooms in the Doge's Palace. It was designed by Antoni Contino (whose uncle Antonio da Ponte had designed the Rialto Bridge), and built between 1600 and 1603.
The view from the Bridge of Sighs was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment. The bridge name, given by Lord Byron in the 19th century, comes from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice out the window before being taken down to their cells. In reality, the days of inquisitions and summary executions were over by the time the bridge was built, and the cells under the palace roof were occupied mostly by small-time criminals

St.Mark's Square

San Giorgio Maggiore Island

Doge's Palace

St.Mark's Cathedral

St.Mark's Square and Clocktower

Rialto Water Bus Stop

Venice and its Lagoon

16.Villa d'Este, Tivoli

The gardens of the Villa d'Este had a profound influence on the development of garden design throughout Europe. They are among the earliest and finest of thegiardini delle meraviglie and symbolize the flowering of Renaissance culture.
On 9 September 1550, Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este (1509-72) arrived in Tivoli, having obtained the post of governor of the town. The official residence assigned to him in Tivoli, part of the monastery of the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, did not suit him. He therefore decided to build a splendid villa with gardens, the design of which is traditionally attributed to Pirro Ligorio (1500-83).
The ensemble composed of the palace and gardens forms an uneven quadrilateral and covers an area of about 4.5 ha. The plan of the villa is irregular because the architect was obliged to make use of certain parts of the previous monastic building. On the garden side the architecture of the palace is very simple: a long main body of three storeys, marked by bands, rows of windows, and side pavilions that barely jut out. This uniform facade is interrupted by an elegant loggia in the middle, with two levels and stair ramps, built by Raffaello da Firenze and Biasioto (1566-67). The lower level is decorated with the Fountain of Leda. The main rooms of the villa are arranged in rows on two floors and open on to the garden. The private apartment of the cardinal, consisting of four rooms, is on the same level as the courtyard, and the reception rooms, linked together at the back by a long corridor called the Manica Lunga, are on the lower level.
The Villa d'Este garden stretches over two steep slopes, descending from the palace down to a flat terrace in the manner of an amphitheatre. The loggia of the palace marks the longitudinal and central axis of the garden. Five main transversal axes become the central axis from the fixed point of view created by the villa, as each of these axes terminates in one of the main garden fountains. Even though the central aisle stops beyond the axis of the Hundred Fountains to give way to a network of diagonal paths that make it easier to climb back to the palace, the latter remains the main visual axis. The first main transversal axis, bordering the flat part of the garden, the Peschiere, is composed of a row of three basins. At the extreme east of this water chain is the Fontana dell'Organo: it is rectangular in shape with two orders crowned by a double-scrolled pediment. The water organ, the work of Claude Vénard, was inspired by examples from antiquity: the interaction between water and air produced. [CL - something missing]Beyond the Peschiere, two staircases start climbing towards the villa. The side stairs, the Scalinata dei Bollori of 1567, are flanked by two stepped parapets crowned with basins pouring out torrents of water. Beyond the transversal path of the Dragons, the central stairway is divided into oval flights around the Fontana dei Draghi. This nymphaeum and its exedra is the real centre of the ensemble. Four winged dragons emerge from the middle of the large oval basin, spurting out jets of water. The parapet is ornamented with vases from which water also flows. The Alley of the Hundred Fountains is formed of three long superposed basins, its water crossing the entire garden.
However, the most striking effect is produced by the big cascade flowing out of a krater perched in the middle of the exedra. Jets of water were activated whenever unsuspecting people walked under the arcades. Behind the exedra rises an artificial mountain, with three alcoves holding statues of the Sibylla of Tibur with her son Melicerte (1568) and the river divinities Erculaneo and Anio. To the west is its counterpart, the Fountain of Rome (Rometta) built in 1567-70.
The Fontana del Bicchierone (Fountain of the Great Glass), built according to a design by Bernini (1660-61) was added to the decoration of the central longitudinal axis in the 17th century. This fountain is in the shape of a serrated chalice, from which a high jet of water falls into a conch shell. During this period the large pergola at the original entrance to the villa was also replaced by the Rotunda of the Cypresses (c . 1640), a circular area adorned with four small fountains and surrounded by ancient cypress trees.

Villa D' Este - Tivoli

Hadrian's Villa and Villa d'Este Tivoli Italy Unesco World Heritage Site

17.Costiera Amalfitana

Costiera Amalfitana is an outstanding example of a Mediterranean landscape, with exceptional cultural and natural scenic values resulting from its dramatic topography and historical evolution. The area covers 11,231 ha in 15 [16?]communes in the Province of Salerno. Its natural boundary is the southern slope of the peninsula formed by the Lattari hills which, stretching from the Picentini hills to the Tyrrhenian Sea, separate the Gulf of Naples from the Gulf of Salerno. It consists of four main stretches of coast (Amalfi, Atrani, Reginna Maior, Reginna Minor) with some minor ones (Positano, Praiano, Certaria, Hercle), with the mountain villages of Scala, Tramonti and Ravello and hamlets of Conca and Furore behind and above them.
Palaeolithic and Mesolithic materials have been found at Positano, and the area was favoured by the Romans, judging from the villas of Positano, Minori and Gallo Lungo. However, it was not intensively settled until the early Middle Ages, when the Gothic War made it a place of refuge. Amalfi was founded in the 4th century AD. A new Roman colony in nearby Lucania came under barbarian attack and the inhabitants moved to the fertile and well-watered hilly area around modern Scala. In the first written reference to Amalfi (596) it was already a fortified town and the seat of a bishopric. It resisted Lombard attacks until 838, when it was conquered and looted by Sicardo. However, after his death the following year the town declared its independence. The new republic was governed by a ruler whose title had become Doge by 958. This political autonomy enabled Amalfi to become a maritime trading power between the early 9th and late 11th centuries, when the sea power of Byzantium was in decline and a free market developed. Amalfi had a near-monopoly of trade in the Tyrrhenian Sea, with vast networks of links, selling Italian products (wood, iron, weapons, wine, fruit) in eastern markets and buying in return spices, perfumes, pearls, jewels, textiles and carpets to sell in the West. The layout of the settlements showed eastern influence: the closely spaced houses climbing up the steep hillsides, connected by a maze of alleys and stairs, are reminiscent of the souks of the Levant. A distinctive Arab-Sicilian architecture originated and developed in Amalfi.
With the eclipse of the mercantile importance of Amalfi by Genoa, Venice and, above all, Pisa, and its conquest by Spain, it fell into an uninterrupted decline. The only significant change to the landscape was the reinforcement of the system of watchtowers along the coast, to give warning and protection against Turkish attacks. The towns and villages of Costiera Amalfitana are characterized by their architectural monuments, such as the Torre Saracena at Cetara, the Romanesque Cathedral of Amalfi and its 'Cloister of Paradise', with their strong oriental influences, the Church of San Salvatore de' Bireto at Atrani, where the Dogi of Amalfi were elected, and Ravello with its fine cathedral and the superb Villa Rufolo.
Inland the steep slopes rising from the coast are covered with terraces, revetted with drystone walling and used for the cultivation of citrus and other fruits, olives, vines and vegetables of all kinds. Further inland the hillsides are given over to dairy farming, whose roots are ancient in the area, based on sheep, goats, cattle and buffalo. In some parts of the Costiera the natural landscape survives intact, with little, if any, human intervention. It supports the traditional Mediterranean flora of myrtle, lentisk, broom, euphorbia, etc. Elsewhere there are stands of trees such as holm oak, alder, beech and chestnut. Other biotopes shelter pantropical ferns, butterwort, dwarf palms and endemic carnivorous species. The Costiera is also rich in wildlife. The higher mountain areas are noteworthy for the characteristic mule tracks (mulattiere ). There are many small streams which in places drop over impressive waterfalls. There is an immense diversity of landscapes, ranging from the coastal settlements through the intensively cultivated lower slopes and large areas of open pastoral land to the dramatic high mountains. In addition, there are 'micro-landscapes' of great scientific interest resulting from topographical and climatic variations, and striking natural formations in the limestone karst at both sea level and above.

La costa d'Amalfi

18.The Sassi and the Park of the Rupestrian Churches of Matera

The Sassi of Matera and their park are an outstanding example of a rock-cut settlement, adapted perfectly to its geomorphological setting and its ecosystem and exhibiting continuity over more than two millennia. They represent an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement and land use showing the evolution of a culture that has maintained over time a harmonious relationship with its natural environment.
The Matera region has been inhabited by man since the Palaeolithic period. Permanent defended village settlements grew up after the last Ice Age, based on agriculture. Deforestation of the area led to serious erosion and created problems of water management. The gradual invasion of fields by garrigue and maquis led to a change from agriculture to pastoral transhumance. Matera's development was due to its geological setting. A belt of soft tufa is located between 350 m and 400 m above the valley bed, and this also contains two natural depressions (grabialioni ); in consequence, it was here that the settlement grew up. The clay plateau above was reserved for agriculture and pastoralism.
The advent of better tools with the Metal Ages made it easier to dig into the soft calcareous tufa rocks exposed in the gravine (gorges or canyons) and there is evidence from the Bronze Age of the creation of underground cisterns and tombs, and in particular of underground dwellings opening out of a central space (jazzi ). The excavated tufa blocks were used for the construction of walls and towers. This process was easiest on the sides of ravines, where the softer strata of tufa were exposed. Greek colonization led to the introduction of higher technology and political structures, under the influence of the Pythagorean School. The earlier dispersed settlements coalesced into urban centres of government, under their own kings (i Re Pastori), leading eventually to the creation of true towns. The harsh landscape resulted in the growth of a spirit of sturdy independence which was resistant to successive waves of invaders after the Byzantine period. The area was also very attractive to monastic and utopian communities.
This structure remained intact until the 18th century. It was the expansion and interventions of the 19th and 20th centuries that rejected the ancient principle of land management based on water supply and drainage and spread to the clays of the plateau above.
The earliest house form was a simple cave in the tufa with a closing wall formed from the excavated blocks. This developed into a vaulted room (lamione ) built out into the open space, and was then available for considerable adaptation and extension. Groups of dwellings round a common courtyard evolved into the social structure of the vicinato, with shared facilities such as a cistern. In between the two sassi was established the fortified centre of the town (cività ), within which the cathedral was sited. Workshops and granaries were set up outside the cività, which was connected with the sassi by narrow lanes and steps. The water supply was highly organized, being collected on the plateau above and brought down by gravity for distribution to the community. As the town grew, more houses were excavated and built, climbing the hillside; the roofs of some houses often acted as streets for the houses above them. The houses became more grandiose, and terraces were built out in the Renaissance period for gardens.

Matera is one of the most ancient cities in the world; its whole territory treasures the visibile signs of human settlements uninterruptedly from the Old Stone Age till today. Matera represents an extraordinary page written by men in more than 10.000 years of History.It’s the city of the SASSI, the original urban core, developed from natural caves dug into the tuff rock which have been shaped to obtain more and more complex housing within two big natural anphitheatres, namely the “Sasso Caveoso” and the “Sasso Barisano”.

The Architectural structure consists of two systems; the first one immediately evident is obtained with the subsequent stratifications of houses, courts, galleries, palaces, churches, streets, orchards and gardens while the internal one, invisible at first sight consists of cisterns, snow cisterns, caves, tunnels and particular systems of water channels essential for life and community’s wealth.
The Sassi of Matera rise on a slope of a canyon dug by the Gravina torrent during the time. The Archeologic Historical and Natural Park of the Rupestrian Churches of the Materano stretches along the other slope; its landscape represents the original core of all those places whose growth was determined by the numerous human sttlements which developed only on the opposite slope.
The park treasures the most ancient settlements of the whole area. Among these, the “Grotta dei pipistrelli” (Bats’ cave) whose palaeolithic findings are kept in the “Domenico Ridola” National Museum in Matera, the Neolithic villages of Murgecchia, Murgia Timone and Trasanello.

The Sassi and the Park of the Rupestrian Churches ...

19.Villa Adriana (Tivoli)

Villa Adriana is a masterpiece that uniquely brings together the highest expressions of the material cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world. Study its monuments played a crucial role in the rediscovery of the elements of classical architecture by the architects of the Renaissance and the Baroque period. It also profoundly influenced many 19th- and 20th-century architects and designers.
The villa covers more than 120 ha on the slopes of the Tiburtine Hills. It was originally occupied by a late Republican villa, the property of Hadrian's wife, Vibia Sabina. The imperial residence was built over it in AD 118-38. It was a symbol of a power that was gradually becoming absolute and which distanced itself from the capital. After Hadrian's death in 138, his successors preferred Rome as their permanent residence, but the villa continued to be enlarged and further embellished. Constantine the Great is alleged to have removed some of its finer pieces to his new capital, Byzantium. The villa was sacked and plundered by successive barbarian invaders and fell into neglect, being used as a quarry by builders and lime-burners. Interest in the ruins was rekindled in the 15th century by Pope Pius II (Aeneas Silvius). Excavations to recover its glories were ordered by Alexander VI at the beginning of the 16th century. When Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este began to construct his nearby Villa d'Este he continued the excavations, supervised by his architect Pirro Ligorio, to obtain works of art to adorn it.
The many structures are arranged without any overall plan within this area. They fall into four specific groups. The first group includes the Greek Theatre and the Temple of Aphrodite Cnidi. The theatre, which is in a good state of conservation, although only fragmentary, is of conventional design. Its cavea is cut into the hillside and is some 36 m in diameter. The small circular temple is situated in a large semi-circular exedra.
The second group, including the Maritime Theatre, Court of the Libraries, Latin and Greek Libraries, Imperial Palace and Golden Square, is the core of the complex, aligned with the Vale of Tempe. The various elements are grouped round four peristyles. The Maritime (or Naval) Theatre is a circular structure 43 m in diameter; the Ionic marble peristyle encloses a circular moat surrounding a central island with a miniature villa. The Court of the Libraries, the oldest part of the ensemble, is a colonnaded portico with a nymphaeum on its northern side. The two 'libraries' are reached by passages on either side of the nymphaeum. The palace consists of a complex of rooms around a courtyard. The Golden Square is one of the most impressive buildings in the complex: the vast peristyle is surrounded by a two-aisled portico with alternate columns in cipollino marble and Egyptian granite
The third group comprises the Pecile, Stadium and its associated buildings, Small and Large Thermae, Canopus, Serapeum and Cento Camerelle. The Pecile (or Poikile) is a reproduction of an imposing structure in Athens famous for its paintings and its associations with the Stoic philosophers which consists of a large rectangular enclosure. Part of its massive walls survives; they had colonnades on either side. In the centre was a rectangular pool enclosed by a free space, perhaps used as a racetrack. The two sets of baths are conventional in form. The smaller is considered to have been used exclusively by women. The Canopus is an elongated canal imitating the famous sanctuary of Serapis near Alexandria. The semi-circular exedra of the Serapeum is located at its southern end.
The fourth group includes the Lily Pond, Roccabruna Tower and Academy. The tower is a complex of buildings, the purpose of which is not clearly established. In addition to these structures, there is a complex of underground elements, includingcryptoportici and underground galleries, used for internal communications and storage. A number of the ancient structures are overlaid by a series of farmhouses and other buildings, mostly from the 18th century. They were built directly on the earlier foundations and it is difficult to dissociate them from the ancient structures.

Imperial Palace

Villa Adriana - Tivoli

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