The Leaning Tower
The Leaning Tower is just one of the buildings forming part of the Cathedral Group situated in the heart of Pisa. The group includes a campanile (bell tower), better known as the Leaning Tower; a cathedral; a baptistery and a cemetery. READ MORE
The Santa Maria del Fiore, in Florence better known simply as the “Duomo”, which means Cathedral. Although renowned for being one of the lasting symbols of the Italian Renaissance (1400 - 1600), the Duomo actually started out as Gothic structure. Florence was the centre of the Renaissance (Rebirth) and led the way in Renaissance architecture until 1490 when it became a Republic and the city fell upon hard times. READ MORE
Church of Santa Roce
Dating back to the 6th century BC, Pompeii has connections to the Samnites, Etruscans, Greeks and Phoenicians, although it is most famous as a thriving Roman town and harbour destroyed by the volcano Mount Vesuvius when it erupted on the 24th August 79 AD. READ MORE
During the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD which covered Pompeii with several metres of ash, the seaside town of Herculaneum was also destroyed, but by the Pyroclastic surge, a mixture of lava, mud, ash and hot gases, (with temperatures of 500oC) which swept down on it at 100 mph. The first surge instantly caused the death of a number of people who sought shelter in the boat houses at the seashore. The high temperature caused their bones and teeth to fracture and skulls to explode. READ MORE
The area which today is Venice was first settled after the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and grew significantly due to the influx of refugees after the invasion of Northern Italy by the Lombards in 568. Although subject to the Byzantine Empire it gradually gained autonomy and in the 7th century the figure of a Doge was introduced to administer the area and who was to become the supreme authority of the Republic of Venice. READ MORE
Saint Mark's Basilica
Located at the eastern side of the Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square) the Basilica was originally the chapel of the Doge and is connected to the Doge’s palace. It became the city’s cathedral in 1807 when it became the seat of the Patriarch of Venice.
The first St Mark’s building was constructed in 828-832 to house the relics of Saint Mark obtained by Venetian merchants from Alexandria in 828. READ MORE
Located on a peninsular near Cagliari, the capital of the island of Sardinia, Nora was established, according to legend, by the mythological hero Norax the son of Hermes the messenger of the gods. It is believed to be the first town founded in Sardinia when it was settled by the ancient Sherden, a sea people who habited the Mediterranean region in the second millennium BC and the Nuraghic people. Later it was colonization by the Phoenicians and then dominated by Carthage (Punic times) until it came under Roman control: In 238 BC it was chosen as the capital of the Roman province of Sardinia. READ MORE
Su Nuraxi Fortress, Barumini
Church of St Catherine
Located in the centre of Livorno is the church of Saint Catherine, also known as the Domenicani after the Domenican friars who commissioned it. Work began in 1720 but progress was slow and interrupted. Designed by the Italian architect and engineer, Giovanni del Fantasia (1670-1743) in the Baroque style and modelled after the Pantheon of Rome, he never finished it, having abandoned the work for another contract and a new design was commissioned in 1729. READ MORE
Naples Castle (Castel Nuovo)
Castel Nuovo, or New Castle is located in the port area of Naples and is better known locally as Maschio Angioino (Angevin stronghold). Built between 1279 and 1282 by Charles I (1227-1285) of Anjou as a royal residence to replace the old castle.
Prior to Charles accession to the throne in 1266 the capital of the Kingdom of Naples was in Palermo, although Naples had a royal residence at the Castle Capuano this was replaced by Charles with the Castle Nuovo. READ MORE
Church of Gesu Nuovo
Originally built as a palace in 1470 for Roberto Sanseverino, Prince of Salerno, the Church of Gesù Nuovo is situated just outside of the historic centre of Naples.
Following its confiscation from the Sanseverino family in the 1580’s the building was acquired by the Jesuits to convert into a church and given the name of the Church of Gesù Nuovo, which in Italian means New Jesus. READ MORE
Church of Santa Chiara
Built between 1310 and 1328 the Santa Chiara is a religious complex that includes the Church of Santa Chiara; a monastery which is a community of the Grey Friars; and a convent of the Poor Clares; tombs and an archaeological museum. It also contains a belfry that stands within the grounds at the northeast corner. The complex is surrounded by a citadel-like wall separating it from the outside world. READ MORE
Tarquinia Palace & Museum
The Etruscan necropolis of Monterozzi in Tarquinia contains a number of tombs dug into the rock, these are accessed by stairways or inclined corridors leading from the surface, and consist of one or two rooms for burial, many of which contain a double sloping ceiling.
Originally, the Etruscans cremated their dead and placed the ashes mainly in biconical or less frequently in hut-shaped urns and then placed in well-like tombs. READ MORE
Church of the Holy Souls in Purgatory
The Church of the Holy Souls in Purgatory is located in Trapani close to the sea front in the old part of the city. Dating back to 1688 the façade was constructed between 1712 and 1714 of limestone and consists of two orders adorned with statues of the twelve Apostles by the sculptor Alberto Orlando. The dome is made of local tuff stone, a light, porous rock covered with green majolica tiles. READ MORE