Ara Pacis Augustas – the altar of absolute peace

The marble sculptures on Rome’s altar of absolute peace attract visitors because of their beauty, but their origins lie in celebrating the victories of Emperor Augustus… The Ara Pacis Augustae, or altar to the absolute peace, was commissioned by the Roman Senate in 13BC, and in 9BC was dedicated to the peace established by Emperor […]

A tale of three cities, we visit Syracuse

Dive in to Sicily’s historic and picturesque Ionian Coast, today we visit Syracuse, an area featuring some fantastic ruins and beautiful lanes My final stop involved travelling south once again, to Sicily’s third city, Syracuse. Founded on the island of Ortigia in 734 BC by the Greeks, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a shining Baroque […]

San Giorgio – Past Italia!

If you visit Ascoli Piceno in the heart of Le Marche you’ll find a wealth of incredible religious artworks by a Renaissance artist who fell in love with the region This detail of San Giorgio is part of the stunning polyptych found  in the Holy Sacrament Chapel in the cathedral in Ascoli Piceno. The art is the […]

Travel in Umbria and explore Perugia

Join us to celebrate the delights of a visit to this historic Umbrian city and its surrounding hill-towns  Umbria has already been nominated as the next Tuscany, the region on its northern border. However, Umbria is a big place and the overflow of visitors from Tuscany hasn’t yet spoiled this peaceful, rustic region where the […]

Discover the Alabaster Caves of Volterra

Mario Matassa visits Volterra, a medieval hilltop town in Tuscany, where he discovers the alabaster caves and workshops for which the area is famous The chalky white alabaster from Volterra is considered the finest in Europe because of its characteristic compactness, transparency, veining, softness and smoothness. Although the etymology of the word remains disputed, the […]

The Reinvention of a Grand Palazzo

Patricia Cleveland-Peck investigates the restoration that has transformed Palazzo Papadopoli into the Aman Canal Grande Hotel in Venice… It really all comes down to the writer Andrea di Robilant: if he hadn’t written the book A Venetian Affair, which tells the story of a doomed love between a Venetian nobleman and an English girl in […]

La Vara di Messina – Past Italia

Every August the people of Messina draw a 40-foot statue through their streets, and they have been doing this for 600 years. The edifice represents the final resting place of the Virgin Mary… The still photograph doesn’t do it justice. Giuseppe Pitre, the revered Sicilian writer, who died 100 years ago this year, witnessed the […]

Frescoes of Tolentino – Past Italia

Although its origins are the subject of perpetual debate, the remarkable cycle of frescoes that adorns Tolentino’s Basilica di San Nicola holds enduring appeal for visitors to Le Marche Who painted the 14th-century masterpiece that dominates the chapel of Basilica di San Nicola? The artist’s identity remains shrouded in mystery, though the scenes are widely […]

The Arsenale – Past Italia

In the eastern Castello district of Venice lies a huge dockyard where revolutionary building techniques took shipbuilding and military manufacturing into the next level This dockyard has been thought to have existed on this site since the 12th century, and it boasts a significant role in Venice’s historical legacy, being an important example of pre-Industrial […]

Prehistoric Li Lolghi

Sardinia’s prehistoric past is impossible to ignore thanks to the numerous Bronze Age megaliths that litter the island’s beautiful landscape The largest of Sardinia’s ‘giants’ tombs’ (tombe di giganti), Li Lolghi, is a prehistoric communal burial site constructed around 4,500 years ago. Over 300 of these magnificent megalithic structures were built on the island from […]