Category: Featured Articles

Fortress of San Leo

The Fortress of San Leo and Its Torture Chamber

As you approach the town of San Leo in Emilia-Romagna, its role as an impenetrable, menacing fortress town comes into view. San Leo’s massive stone fortress, which also served as a palace and prison, was designed by Sienese architect and military engineer Francesco di Giorgio Martini, whose early Renaissance fortifications dot the landscape of this area of …

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Illustration from De Humani Corporis Fabrica by Andreas Vesalius

A Special Harvest: Anatomical Theaters in Italy

Since ancient times, man has been interested in anatomy — how muscles and bones function and fit together and how the body works. But it wasn’t until the Renaissance that the study of anatomy really took off, thanks in large part to the printing press, which helped anatomists, illustrators, scientists, and physicians get on the …

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Orvieto Cathedral

Will Work For Wine: Luca Signorelli’s Orvieto Duomo Contract and His Intoxicating, Apocalyptic Fresco Cycle

In 1499, Tuscan artist Luca Signorelli signed a contract to paint two remaining sections of the Cappella Nuova (new chapel) of the Duomo in the Umbrian town of Orvieto. By 1502 (or 1504, depending on which documentation you read), he had completed his “End of the World” fresco cycle in what is now known as the …

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Amalfi

One Year in Italy: 12 Months of Memories

Living in a new place, especially for an extended period of time, fills me with a sense of duty that I have to write everything down, commit every moment to memory, take a photo every day if not every hour. But eventually, that initial motivation turns to dread and an overwhelming feeling that I should be more …

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The Seven Hills of Rome: What Are They and What Can You See?

The Seven Hills of Rome mark the traditional boundaries of the city. It was on these seven hills – Aventine, Caelian, Capitoline, Esquiline, Palatine, Quirinal, and Viminal – that the first settlements of Rome began and these seven hills were the ones protected within the Servian Walls. The foundations, gates, and ruins of these 4th …

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Remembering the Battle of Montecassino

About an hour and a half south of Rome lies Montecassino, an enormous Benedictine monastery whose environs witnessed a very costly battle of World War II. The Battle of Montecassino, which was actually a series of four battles, took place from January to May of 1944, and saw the loss of 55,000 Allied soldiers, which …

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Via XX Settembre in Genova

Anniversaries in Italian History: Dates Every Curious Traveler to Italy Should Know

  Walking down a street in Rome or Genova or Trieste, you may notice that the street sign is named after the date XX Settembre (the 20th of September). Likewise, the date IV Novembre, November 4th, pops up as the name of piazze in Ancona (Le Marche), Todi (Umbria), and numerous other cities and villages …

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