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Incredible Vino con Vista UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Southeastern Baroque Sicily

Modica

Modica (Photo credit: Francesco Di Martino)

Modica By Night

Modica By Night (Photo credit: Landersz)

Modica, Sizilien, Chiesa S.

Image via Wikipedia

Church of San Giorgio, Ragusa. Designed in 173...

Church of San Giorgio, Ragusa. Designed in 1738 by Rosario Gagliardi, it is approached by huge staircase of some 250 steps (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Illustration 3: A Sicilian belfry crowns Rosar...

Illustration 3: A Sicilian belfry crowns Rosario Gagliardi’s Church of San Giuseppe in Ragusa Ibla (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Modica

Modica (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chiesa di San Domenico - Noto

Chiesa di San Domenico – Noto (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Coat of arms of Modica

Coat of arms of Modica (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Castle of the Counts of Modica.

The Castle of the Counts of Modica. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Cathedral of San Giorgio in Ragusa Ibla.

English: Cathedral of San Giorgio in Ragusa Ibla. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. John Church in (Sicily), built already in ...

St. John Church in (Sicily), built already in the 12th century, but rebuilt in the Baroque style in the 18th century. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Illustration 10: The Cathedral of San Giorgio,...

Illustration 10: The Cathedral of San Giorgio, Modica. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Witness  the dramatic landscape, the enchanting wine regions and the historical UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the late Baroque towns of the Val di Noto in Southeastern Sicily.  Southeastern Sicily is a “buon appetito” and Vino con Vista paradise. Culinary arts are truly appreciated in this region. They have mastered the art of merging a cultural kaleidoscope into delightful multi-cultural gourmet cuisine.

A baroque church in Modica

A baroque church in Modica (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are eight towns in southeastern Sicily that were all rebuilt after the earthquake of 1693: Caltagirone, Militello Val di Catania, Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo, Ragusa and Scicli.  They are considered the “Pearls of Sicily” and are characterized by buildings with splendid facades and interiors. The devastating earthquake gave the architects a blank slate, so they selected the opulent Baroque style and built the structures using a local white limestone.  These UNESCO jewels are filled with gorgeous Baroque architecture. The buildings and churches are covered with ornate limestone that has a soft honey-colored patina from the sun.

1. Noto is the administrative center of the Noto Valley.  On the eastern side of Noto the Porta Reale (Royal Gate) was erected in 1838 for King Ferdinand II.  It offers a grand entrance to Piazza Municipio and Corso Vittorio Emanuel, Noto’s main streets. Visit the Church and Convent of San Francesco and the Church of San Carlo al Corso. The Church of San Domenico and the Palazzo Villadorta are also worthwhile.  Noto Antica was particularly significant during Arab domination.  Under Arab rule, Sicily was divided into three districts and Noto was a key player. The Sicilian Baroque Cathedral of San Nicolo is in the Piazza XVI Maggio. The cathedral recently received a new cupola.

2. Ragusa was built on two levels and is divided into two parts:  Modern and Ibla. Ragusa Ibla is cloaked with interesting medieval history.   In Ibla visit the Palazzo Bertini on Corso Italia 35.  It was built by the Floridia family in the 1700s.  The building is characterized by three interesting carved masks located in the keystones of the windows that represent three powers. These faces convey an interesting story about Sicily.  Visit the Palazzo Donnafugata.  The Palazzo houses an art gallery with canvases by Hans Memling, Ribera and Antonello Messina. In Ragusa the elaborate churches include Chiesa Giovanni Batista and the Cheisa de San Domenico with the majolica bell tower.  The Cathedral was named after St. John the Baptist and was built on top of the church of Saint Nicholas after the earthquake of 1693.

3. Modica is divided into two areas:  Modica Alta (upper Modica) and Modica Bassa (lower Modica).  Two noteworthy monuments are Saint George’s Cathedral in Modica Alta and Saint Peter’s Cathedral in Modica Bassa. Saint George’s Cathedral was built around 1350. It was partially destroyed by the earthquake of 1613 and completely demolished by the devastating earthquake of 1693.  It was reconstructed at the start of the 18th century by Mario Spada from Ragusa and Rosario Boscarino from Modica in the Late Baroque style. The statues of the Apostles line the entrance to the church on Corso Umberto, the town’s main artery.

To enter Upper Modica (Alta) take Via Garibaldi from Saint Peter’s Church. Walk about 250 steps to the Church of Saint George with a panoramic view of Lower Modica. The rose-colored limestone church has twelve columns and five naves with a central dome and two lateral domes. In the church, admire the inlaid silver holy chest in front of the altar. It was made in Venice in the 14th century and donated to the church by the Chiaramonte earls.

To learn more about Sicily read www.vino-con-vista.com Travel Guides and

Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites

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Incredible Easter with Fireworks in Florence Italy: Lo Scoppio del Carro

English: Capture of Jerusalem during the First...

English: Capture of Jerusalem during the First Crusade, 1099, from a medieval manuscript Deutsch: Mittelalterliches Gemälde der Belagerung Jerusalems durch die Kreuzfahrer 1099 Suomi: Jerusalemin valtaus 1099. Keskiaikaisen käsikirjoituksen kuvitusta. Polski: Zdobycie Jerozolimy podczas I krucjaty (1099 r.) – rysunek ze średniowiecznego rękopisu Italiano: Conquista di Gerusalemme durante la Prima Crociata, nel 1099, da un manoscritto medievale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Photo by User:Gilabrand. Dome of the Rock view...

Photo by User:Gilabrand. Dome of the Rock viewed through Bab al-Qattanin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scoppio del Carro (Florence)

Image via Wikipedia

English: Jerusalem, Dome of the rock, in the b...

English: Jerusalem, Dome of the rock, in the background the Church of the Holy Sepulchre Deutsch: Jerusalem, Felsendom, im Hintergrund die Grabeskirche (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Easter morning, an ornate 500-year- old,  30-foot cart is paraded through the streets of Florence Italy by a team of  white oxen covered with flowers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FmiZNeYbto&feature=fvwrel.

English: Scoppio del Carro2 (Florence) Italian...

English: Scoppio del Carro2 (Florence) Italiano: Scoppio del Carro2 (Firenze) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The oxen cart is escorted by men dressed as Roman soldiers, city officials,  musicians and flag-throwers dressed in medieval costumes from the Porta al Prato to  the magnificent Piazza del Duomo . This annual event is called Lo Scoppio del Carro. This “Explosion of the Cart” celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and a new beginning.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIlWMQoTnhs&NR=1

After the 11:00 Easter Mass in the Duomo, the “Explosion of the Cart” will occur in front of the Baptistery at noon. The cart is pre-loaded with fireworks. A wire that stretches from the altar inside the Duomo is rigged with a mechanical dove with an olive branch in her beak called the “Columbina” (little dove) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LT5qr1xqbKo&feature=related.

The olive branch and the dove symbolize the Holy Spirit as well as Easter peace. After the parishoners sing “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” (Glory to God in the Highest) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MuHQ2cxPr8&feature=fvst, the Cardinal of Florence will light a fuse that travels from the Church to ignite the cart in the Piazza. The fire is ignited by historic flints from Jerusalem. During this event, the Bells from Giotto’s Bell Tower will be  joyously ringing.

The traditional annual event lasts for about twenty minutes. A successful explosion signifies a good harvest and good business in the coming year which translates into good news for the wine-makers of Tuscany.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui8SLFG6h84&feature=related

Lo Scoppio del Carro festivities originated in the First Crusade when Europeans seiged the city of Jerusalem in an attempt to claim Palestine for Christianity. Bishop Ranieri took over Jerusalem during the First Crusade and on July 15, 1099, Pazzino di Ranieri de Pazzi‘s army defeated Jerusalem and hung a Christian banner on the walls of the Holy City.  Pazzino de Pazzi, a wealthy Florentine, was the first man to scale the walls of Jerusalem. As a reward, his commander-in-chief, Godfrey IV de Buillon gave him three chips of stone from the Holy Sepulcher of Christ which he brought back to Florence in 1101.

Scoppio del carro

Scoppio del carro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These flints were held by the Pazzi family for many years and were used to spark the “New Fire” which symbolized new life. The fire was shared with other families to help ignite things around the house like candles and fireplaces. These lights were put out on Good Friday and then lit again on Easter Sunday.

scoppio-del-carro1_17

scoppio-del-carro1_17 (Photo credit: bwohack)

The city of Florence assumed the responsibility and the tradition of passing the fire from Jerusalem. For many years, the stone chips were kept in the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Porta, but in 1785, the Holy Sepulcher stones were moved to the Chiesa degli Santi Apostoli. Watch this slide presentation to see the event:

http://firenze.repubblica.it/cronaca/2012/04/08/foto/lo_scoppio_del_carro-32965499/1/

The capture of Jerusalem by the Crusaders on 1...

The capture of Jerusalem by the Crusaders on 15 July 1099 1. The Holy Sepulchre 2. The Dome of the Rock 3. Ramparts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Holy Fire has traditionally been struck from these ancient flints at Eastertide to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ. In 1494, the Cart Explosion was lit in front of the Baptistery for the first time. They were also lit on the street corner of the Pazzi family. The lighting in front of the Pazzi family was discontinued in 1900. Over 500 years ago, the exciting tradition of lighting fireworks on Easter Sunday assumed its present form in Florence.

 

Interior of the Pazzi Chapel.

Interior of the Pazzi Chapel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scoppio del carro 2013 31-03-2013 11-00-32

Scoppio del carro 2013 31-03-2013 11-00-32 (Photo credit: Hari Seldon)

To learn more about Italy read my Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com. Happy Easter!! Buona Pasqua

 

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Insights into the Vatican in Italy: UNESCO’s Holy City near Rome

St. Peter's Square in the early morning.

Image via Wikipedia

English: Wide angle View of the altar inside S...

English: Wide angle View of the altar inside St. Peter’s Basilica (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Façade of St. Peter's Basilica as see...

English: Façade of St. Peter’s Basilica as seen from Saint Peter’s Square. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Crepuscular rays in Saint Peter's Bas...

English: Crepuscular rays in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A 5x6 segment panoramic image taken b...

English: A 5×6 segment panoramic image taken by myself with a Canon 5D and 70-200mm f/2.8L lens from the dome of St Peter’s in Vatican City in Rome. Français: Image panoramique composée de 5×6 photos prises par David Iliff à l’aide d’un appareil Canon 5D et une lentille 70-200mm f/2.8L à partir du dôme de la Basilique Saint-Pierre au Vatican. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Vatican City is the world’s smallest independent state and occupies 109 acres. It has been a sovereign state since 1929 and is ruled by the Pope.

The Vatican is the  residence of the spiritual leadership of the Roman Catholic Church.

Its territory is surrounded by the Italian capital city Rome. Priests and nuns make up most of the population.

The Vatican City is a small remnant of the former Papal States of central Italy. These Papal States were conquered by the forces of Italian unification in the mid-19th century.  At that time, the popes became “prisoners in the Vatican”.

They were unwilling to leave the confines of the Apostolic Palace until 1929. Finally, the Italian Fascist government negotiated the Lateran Treaty that created the current mini-state.

Francis, the current pope is the first Latin American to be elected to the position. Formerly archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was chosen to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, who reigned from 2005 until 2013.

 

Swiss Guards, dressed in traditional ceremonial dress, are responsible for the security of the Pope

 

Pilgrimage

The Vatican City itself packs many imposing buildings into its small area: St Peter’s Basilica (completed in the early 17th century) and the Vatican Museums and Art Galleries that are repositories of the priceless art collections of the popes.

Pilgrims travel from all over the world to gather in St Peter’s Square for various ceremonies, such as this beatification of Pope John Paul II in May 2011.

Magnificent works of art are housed in the Holy City. Rome’s grand churches were built in the following order: Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and Neo-Classical.  Most of the exquisite Baroque monuments and buildings were erected during the 16th and 17th centuries. Many ancient churches have received newer facades.

Sack_of_Rome_by_the_Visigoths_on_24_August_410...

Sack_of_Rome_by_the_Visigoths_on_24_August_410_by_JN_Sylvestre_1890. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On May 6, 1527, the Sack of Rome was perpetrated by German Lutheran and Spanish Catholic troops who resented the wealth of the papacy. The soliers entered the Vatican as Pope Clement VII was saying a mass in the Sistine Chapel. Swiss Guards were being slaughtered in St. Peter’s Square and the pope was brought to safety in Castel Sant’Angelo.

Sack of Rome of 1527

Sack of Rome of 1527 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. Peter's Basilica, believed to be the buria...

St. Peter’s Basilica, believed to be the burial site of St. Peter, seen from the River Tiber. The iconic dome dominates the skyline of Rome. St. Peter’s Basilica from the River Tiber. The iconic dome dominates the skyline of Rome. Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Christianity became the dominant religion of Western Civilization when the Roman Empire converted to Christianity. St. Peter’s Basilica, believed to be the burial site of St. Peter, seen from the River Tiber. Saint Peter’s Basilica. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Roman Emperor Constantine (306-337 AD) joined the Christians and before he moved to Constantinople he built several churches in Rome. San Giovanni in Laterano, St. Peter’s Basilica and San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura were all built during Constantine’s reign. Talent and leadership abandoned the newly divided empire and successive waves of Barbarians invaded Rome including the Visigoths, Vandals and the Ostrogoths. By 800 AD, Emperor Charlemagne asserted papal authority and launched another power struggle between the Church and imperial authority. By 1309, the pope moved to the safety of Avignon.

Tomb of pope Julius II by Michelangelo, church...

Tomb of pope Julius II by Michelangelo, church San Pietro in Vincoli; Rome, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rome’s imperial legacy lived on in the Catholic Church where Roman senators became bishops, scholars became monks, and philosophers became theologians. The pope or high priest adopted the title originally held by the emperor; “Pontifex Maximus.” Look for this word in the Latin inscriptions in Rome. The grandeur of church rituals is reminiscent of the glory days of Julius Caesar.

The papacy’s supremacy returned to Rome in 1377. In the 1500’s, a glorious rebirth of Rome flourished when the popes invited the most talented architects, painters and sculptors to rebuild Rome’s grandeur during the Renaissance. On April 18, 1506 Pope Julius II (Giuliano Della Rovere) laid the cornerstone for the new Basilica of Saint Peter. Saint Peter’s magnificent basilica was built above the site where Peter the Apostlewas crucified, martyred and buried in the year 64.

Ancient statue of St. Peter in St. Peter's Bas...

Ancient statue of St. Peter in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome. Possibly the work of Atnolfo di Cambio. Thought by some historians to be much older. Crop of original pic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christ Handing the Keys to St. Peter by Pietro...

Christ Handing the Keys to St. Peter by Pietro Perugino (1481-82) Fresco, 335 x 550 cm Cappella Sistina, Vatican. Ελληνικά: Λεπτομέρεια από την νωπογραφία του Πιέτρο Περουτζίνο, Ο Χριστός Παραδίδει τα Κλειδιά στον Πέτρο, 335 x 600 cm, Καπέλα Σιξτίνα, Πόλη του Βατικανού. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1506, Bramante was commissioned by Pope Julius II to renovate St. Peter’s Basilica, originally built by Constantine from 324-329. Emperor Constantine built a glorious crown for St. Peter’s tomb over the site where his bones were preserved. St. Peter was the first apostle and the first pope. Since Rome is a place of pilgrimage, a “Scave Tour” is available with advanced reservations and allows you to visit the tomb of St. Peter and the archeological excavations beneath the basilica. Travel from the Baroque church to the Romanesque sanctuary to the Roman cemetery and tomb of Peter the Apostle. The crypt is located under the Papal Altar.

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides At www.vino-con-vista.com

English: Bernini's "Gloria" surmount...

English: Bernini’s “Gloria” surmounting the “Cathedra Petri”, also by him. Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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A Tuscan Winery Tour at Captivating Vino con Vista Castello Banfi in Montalcino Italy

A close-up view of sangiovese grapes to be mad...
Image via Wikipedia
Coat of arms of Montalcino

Coat of arms of Montalcino (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bottle & glass of a 1961 Brunello di Montelcin...

Bottle & glass of a 1961 Brunello di Montelcino wine from Tuscany. This Italian wine is made from Sangiovese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Italian wine Brunello from Tuscany made fr...

The Italian wine Brunello from Tuscany made from Sangiovese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brunello vineyard, Montalcino

Brunello vineyard, Montalcino (Photo credit: Conlawprof)

Abbey of Sant'Antimo, Montalcino, Tuscany

Abbey of Sant’Antimo, Montalcino, Tuscany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sangiovese grapes in a vineyard of Montalcino,...

Sangiovese grapes in a vineyard of Montalcino, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tuscany is Italy’s quintessential wine region. It is the birthplace of one of Italy’s blockbuster red wines, Brunello di Montalcino. This  is an opulent wine made entirely from sangiovese grapes. It has an intense ruby-red color and displays the complex aromas of black cherry, rasberry and violets.

English: The Municipality of Montalcino within...

English: The Municipality of Montalcino within the Province of Siena, Tuscany, Italy Italiano: Il comune di Montalcino nella Provincia di Siena, Toscana, Italia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Montalcino is surrounded by defensive medieval walls that were built in the 13th century.

 Montalcino has remained practically unchanged over the centuries.

 

The Montalcino fortress was built at the highest point of the town in 1361; designed by the Sienese architects Mino Foresi and Domenico di Feo.

Montalcino is west of Pienza, close to the Crete Senesi in Val d’Orcia.

Montalcino is the perfect  destination for wine lovers with it’s 14th-century castle, encircled by olive groves and majestic vineyards.

Here’s a good link: A day trip to Montalcino

Montalcino

Montalcino (Photo credit: littlestar19)

Castle (Fortezza) at Montalcino, Siena, Italy....

Castle (Fortezza) at Montalcino, Siena, Italy. Photo taken by Type17, 18:50hrs June 24th 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Montalcino is divided into quarters called contrade. They are: Borghetto, Travaglio, Pianello and Ruga. Each contrade has their own colours, songs and distinct drum rhythms. Twice a year they dress in  Medieval attire and compete in an archery contest under the walls of the Castel Fortezza.

English: View of Montalcino from the Castle (F...

English: View of Montalcino from the Castle (Fortezza). Taken Sept 8th 2006 by me. Canon EOS 20D, 10mm focal length (16mm effective length) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Montalcino

Montalcino (Photo credit: fondelli.nadia)

Montalcino, Toscana, Italia

Montalcino, Toscana, Italia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Montalcino, take a Winery Tour of Castello Banfi. You will learn about the restrictive government regulations that prescribe wine-making practices in Italy. These rules define areas where specific wines can be made using the acronyms DOCG, DOC, and IGT.

Brunello di Montalcino earned a reputation as one of Italy’s rarest wines. At the end of WWII, the only commercial producer recorded in government documents was the Biondi-Santi. The high price and prestige of there Brunello de Montalcino encouraged other producers to emulate Biondi-Santi’s success. By the 1960s, there were 11 producers making Brunello. By 1980 there were 53 producers in Montalcino. In 1980, the Montalcino region was the first Italian wine region to be awarded Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) designation.

Português: Garrafa de vinho Brunello di Montal...

Português: Garrafa de vinho Brunello di Montalcino de Biondi Santi – 1985 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brunello di Montalcino DOCG designation means  “Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita” (the most prestigious/elite Italian wines).  This means that the wine has the following characteristics:

The location is certified and guaranteed

Provides more stringent government regulations

Requires longer aging periods and lower yields per vine

montalcino fortress

montalcino fortress (Photo credit: tonyduckles)

Brunello is Tuscany’s rarest and most expensive wine. It is produced in the walled medieval village of Montalcino, south of the Chianti Classico zone. The climate is warmer and the hills are steeper. The wine is aged longer and it must be aged in oak barrels to enhance the character of the wines.

Tuscany

The Banfi Winery was the first winery in the world to be awarded international recognition for exceptional environmental, ethical and social responsibility. It won the 2009 VinItaly International Award and has been designated Italy’s Premier Vineyard estate for 11 consecutive years.

Tuscany

The winery is nestled on 7100 acres of land and it is owned by two wine-making brothers from Long Island, New York.

Tuscany

They have a state of the art winery with a glass museum.

Tuscany

Taste their Brunello di Montalcino at the Winery’s Enoteca.

Tuscany

Tuscany

 Dine at their Tuscan Taverna Tuscany

The restaurant is located in the vaulted cellars of the Castello. Enjoy three and five-course tasting menus of traditional Tuscan cooking on rustic wooden tables situated under gorgeous brick arches.

Tuscany

 You can even stay in the restored rooms and suites of the Castello Il Borgo.

Montalcino

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides to Italy andVino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites

Sangiovese vines of Brunello di Montalcino in ...

Sangiovese vines of Brunello di Montalcino in Tuscany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To learn more about wine tasting in Tuscany visit www.vino-con-vista.com. Florence and Tuscany now available for iPad. Salute!!

Montalcino

Montalcino (Photo credit: Un ragazzo chiamato Bi)

Montalcino

Montalcino (Photo credit: littlestar19)

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Ospitalita Italiana: Top Chicago Italian Restaurants certified “Authentic”

Equestrian statue representing Garibaldi, La S...

Image via Wikipedia

English: Italian statesman Giuseppe Mazzini

English: Italian statesman Giuseppe Mazzini (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1866, four years after s...

Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1866, four years after surviving a bullet wound misdiagnosed by Partridge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Leonardo da Vinci replica at Fabio Piccolo Fiore in NYC

Leonardo da Vinci replica at Fabio Piccolo Fiore in NYC

Rome: Spanish Steps

Rome: Spanish Steps

 

phil stefani's 437March 17th was the official date of the 150th Anniversary of Italian Unification (1861-2011).

Happy Birthday Italy

Chicago celebrates Italy's 150th birthday

The Risorgimento was a movement led by heroic Italian patriots like Camillo Cavour, Giuseppe Mazzini and Giuseppe Garibaldi. Their efforts resulted in the establishment of the Italian nation. Although Napoleon attempted to unify Italy, his defeat led to oppression and dismal economic and political turmoil. Today Italian national brands like Armani, Versaci and Ferrari are a reflection of Italian ingenuity and quality craftsmanship.

Thank God they didn’t unify the culinary traditions that celebrate the diversity of the historical influences and regions of Italy. The cuisine is the cornerstone of signature dishes around the world.

Coca Pazzo's Tarimi Su

On March 17th,  Fulvio Calcinardi, the executive director of the Italian American Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Milan Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International awarded 18 Chicago-area restaurants with the “Ospitalilita Italiana Quality Seal.” Here’s a video from the Chamber of Commerce that describes the Award Criteria http://youtu.be/NFzOZmZ-a0I

Chicago Osptalita ItalianaThe Italian Quality Seal Award recognizes authentic Italian Restaurants and is granted by the Italian Government. This honor is bestowed for their authenticity and culinary contributions to Italian Culture. I love that this event took place on St. Patrick’s Day. Did you know that St. Patrick was the son of a Roman?

The Quality specifications are determined by Italy’s National Institute of Tourist Research and was launched in Italy in 1997.  The project was extended beyond Italy’s borders and each establishment must meet 10 stringent criteria and submit proof of their authenticity.

The award ceremony took place at the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in Little Italy on Taylor Street in Chicago. Participants were able to taste the cuisine of many of Chicago’s premier Italian restaurants where the chef’s lovingly prepared some of their signature dishes.

Taylor Steet in Chicago

Italian American Sports Hall of Fame

The seal was created in 1997 and generated a list of criteria that includes proof of authenticity. It is like a “Baldrige Award” for authentic Italian restaurants and esteemed Italian chefs. Each restaurant must employ at least one Italian speaking employee and the menus must be written in proper Italian. At least 20% of the wines must be DOP-certified and the head chef must be proficient in authentic Italian cooking . They must submit at least five recipes with the region and ingredients that inspired the menu.

The 18 Chicago-Area Restaurants that earned the coveted award are:

Ospitalita Italiana Chicago

I love these Italian Restaurants!

  • Spiaggia Restaurant, 980 N. Michigan (Chef/Partner Tony Mantuano)
  • Piccolo Sogno, 464 N. Halsted (Chef/Owner Tony Priolo)

Piccolo Sogno in Chicago

piccolo sogno quality award

  • Coco Pazzo, 300 W. Hubbard (Executive Chef/Partner Chris Macchia)

Coco Pazza Quallity AwardCoco Pazzo in Chicago

  • Merlo on Maple, 16 W. Maple (Chef Luisa Silvia Marani)

    YUM!

Merlo on Maple in Chicago

  • Tocco, 1266 N. Milwaukee (Chef/Owner Bruno Abate)

Tocco in Chicago

Tocco Restaurant in Chicgo

Porchetta cooked to Perfection at Tocco

Vivere at The Italian Village, 71 W. Monroe

Taylor Street Italian Festival 2012

Taylor Street Italian Festival

Italian Expo 2011 121

Volare, 201 E. Grand (Chef Massimo Campagnini)

Volare Restaurant in Chicago

Volare Restaurant on Grand in Chicago

  • Pelago Ristorante, 201 E. Delaware (Chef/Owner Mauro Mafrici)
Pelago Ristorante in Chicago

Mauro’s Pelago Restaurant is one of my favorites in Streeterville on Delaware

Pelago Restaurant in Chicago

Mrs. Mafrici from Pelago Restaurant in Chicago

  • Quartino, 626 N. State (Chef/Partner John Coletta)
Quartino Restaurant in Chicago

John wrote a great CookBook

Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush, 437 N. Rush (Executive Chef Federico Comacchio)

  • Riccardo Trattoria, 2119 N. Clark (Chef/Owner Riccardo Michi)
  • 312 Chicago (Chef Luca Corazzina)

312 Chicago's Chef Luca Corazzina

  • Via Carducci La Sorella, 1928 W. Division (Chef Luis Hernandez)
  • Vivere (at Italian Village), 71 W. Monroe (Chef Robert Reynaud)
  • La Cantina (at Italian Village), 71 W. Monroe (Chef Robert Duerscheidt)
  • Ristorante Agostino, 2817 N. Harlem (Chef Anna Fiasche)
  • Sergio’s Cucina Italiana, 280 N. Rohlwing Rd., Itasca (Chef Sergio Abate)
  • Gaetano’s, 7636 W. Madison, Forest Park (Chef Gaetano Di Benedetto)
Ravioli at Phil Stefani's 437 Rush

Ravioli at Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush

Linguini at Phil Stefani's 437 Rush

Linguini at Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush

 

The wine and Prosecco were provided by Casa Vinicolo Zonin

Italian Wine and Prosecco

Italian Wine  A great time was had by all!!!

Here are a few Italian restaurants that I like with alfresco dining that were not recognized with a formal award:

1. Anteprima is located at 5316 Clark Street in Andersonville

http://www.anteprimachicago.net/

2. Zia’s in Edison Park and Zia’s Lago Vista on Ashland in Lakeview are both outstanding! The latter has plenty of outdoor seating

http://www.ziaslakeview.com/

3. Club Lago’s northern Italian cuisine has been around for over 60 years at 331 W. Superior in River North.

http://www.clublago.com/

4. Viaggio At The Park on Fullerton in Lincoln Park also has an outdoor seating area

http://www.viaggiochicago.com/

5. Topo Gigio in the heart of Old Town on Wells Street has plenty of outdoor space. It has been around for over 25 years.

http://topogigiochicago.com/

6. Autre Monde in Berwyn, was founded by four Spiaggio alums has a patio and greenhouse. http://www.autremondecafe.net/

7. Due Lire on 4520 N. Lincoln in Lincoln Square http://www.due-lire.com/

 

Buon Appetito!!

Dr. EveAnn Lovero loves her Ducati Motorcycle

Dr. EveAnn Lovero loves her Ducati Motorcycle

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Vino con Vista Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com.
 

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Vino con Vista Pisa: A UNESCO Site in Italy

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, one of the most fam...
Image via Wikipedia

Pisa was a former Roman naval base and commercial port. Trade with Muslim Spain, North Africa and Lebanon generated tremendous wealth for this maritime power from the 11th to 13th centuries  Arabic numerals were introduced to Europe through Pisa.  By 1406, the city was conquered by Florence.

The iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa, and its spiral staircase of 294 steps is one of the most famous Italian monuments in the world. The Piazza dei Miracoli or Piazza of Miracles, hosts four gleaming Medieval masterpieces: the Leaning Tower is also the Bell Tower, the Camposanto (the graveyard), the Baptristy and the Cathedral. The Baptistry and Cathedral ; Duomo of Santa Maria Assunta are Pisan Romanesque.” It was constructed with the intention of preserving “holy land” from Palestine.

The UNESCO  World Heritage site stands in a large green expanse, known as the “Field of Miracles” and was inscribed in 1987. The Piazza del Duomo houses a group of splendid monuments known throughout the world.

English: Interior view of the duomo of Pisa

English: Interior view of the duomo of Pisa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Leaning Tower of Pisa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here are some UNESCO photos of Pisa, Italy: http://www.ourplaceworldheritage.com/custom.cfm?&action=site&regionid=9&site_country=ITALY&site_name=Piazza del Duomo, Pisa &siteid=49

Pulpit

Pulpit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These four masterpieces of medieval architecture were influenced by Islamic architecture.  They include:  the Cathedral (1064), the Baptistry (1154), the Campanile (1173) which is the famous gravity defying “Leaning Tower of Pisa” and the cemetery (1277).  The unstable subsoil caused the Tower to tilt and sudside.  The cemetery houses Roman sarcophagi and frescoes damaged by WWII bombs that have beeen restored.

The Duomo of Pisa in the Piazza dei Miracoli, ...

The Duomo of Pisa in the Piazza dei Miracoli, showing the Baptistry. The Leaning Tower cannot be seen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pisa’s Duomo is considered the finest Pisan-Romaneque building in Tuscany with its tiered façade, colonnades, arcades and beautiful bronze doors. Giovani Pisano’s magnificent carved pulpit represents the life of Christ (1301-11).  The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo contains casts of the fountain stones of each of the buildings beginning in 1064.

English: Cathedral of Pisa (Duomo di Pisa), Pi...

English: Cathedral of Pisa (Duomo di Pisa), Pisa, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Andrea del Sarto’s “St Agnes and Lamb”; Tino da Camaino’s “tomb of Emperor Henry VII, as well as Cimabue’s 1302 mosaic “Christ in Majesty” are housed in the Duomo.  In the Duomo Museum, Giovanni’s “Madonna and the Crucifix” was carved in ivory in 1299; the natural shape of the tusk contributes to her stance.

 

 

 

 

The Baptistry of the Cathedral of Pisa.

The Baptistry of the Cathedral of Pisa. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The white marble Romanesque Baptistry was designed by Diotisalvi in 1152 and completed in 14th century. It was structurally renovated between 1990 and 1999. It contains a beautiful pulpit by Nicola Pisano and a central font by Guido Bigarelli of Como. The cylindrical structure has amazing acoustics.  The roof of the Baptistry is double-domed..

Pisan artists had a great influence on monumental art in Italy from the 11th to the 14th century, which is reflected in the work of Bonanno and Giovanni Pisano. The National Museum of St. Matthew on the banks of the Arno River, has a wonderful collection of Tuscan painting and sculptures including: Francesco Traini’s “Scenes from the Life of St. Domenic”, Fra Angelo’s “Christ” and Donatello’s bust of San Rossore.

There are many Events in Pisa:

Attend the annual  “Unica Terra di Vino” in December.This wine Festival will be held at the Stazione Leopolda and features 60 producers from the Pisa Province.

The International Pisa Marathon is on December 19th and starts at the Piazza dei Miracoli.

Corso Italia and Borgo Stretto are draped with holiday lights. There are Holiday Markets on Via Paparelli, under the Logge di Bianchi and at Largo Ciro Menotti.

Attend the Pisa Gospel Festival in December.

Christmas concerts are held in many churches: the Church of San Nicola on December 5ht, Santo Stefano on December 10th and the church of San Francesco on December 19th featuring the music of Bach and Vivaldi.

Opera Primaziale will perform on December 18th in the Cathedral of Pisa in Piazza dei Miracoli.

The Church of San Martino will host a presepi exhibit until January 9th.

On December 29th attend the Volterra Mercato & Gusto.

Attend the annual Cigoli Artistic Nativity Scene and Market of Solidarity at the Santuario Maria Madre dei Bambini in Cigoli Miniato. This is one of the largest nativity scenes in Tuscany.

English: Leaning Tower - Pisa.

English: Leaning Tower – Pisa. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are many “Vino con Vista” opportunities at the cafes near the Leaning Tower.  In Marina di Pisa, have some lunch and a glass of Bianco Pisano at Miracles Café on Via P. Agostino da Montrefeltro on the seafront terrace.  Visit the Castellina Maritima Winery on Via Bagnoli (www.terriccio.it).  Order a Foresta on Via Litoraneaz for a great view.

There is a newly renovated Bagni Di Pisa Natural Spa Resort (www.bagnipisa.com).  It was the former summer resort of the Grand Duke of Tuscany.  For a real treat, stay at the Relais dell’Orologio on Via della Faggiol (www.relaisdellorologio.com).

There are two Buon Ricordo restaurants to in Pisa:

Ristorante Enoteca Dante e Ivana in Tirrenia @ Viale Tirreno.  Enjoy the “Tomato Soup with Tyrrhenian batarga” to get the charming collector plate.  It works well with a glass of Bianco Pisano di San Torpe. The seaside veranda is a lovely place to dine and enjoy the view.

Ristorante-Enoteca Del Duca inVolterra @ Via di Castello, 2.  The signature dish is “Ribollita with wood pigeon and volterra truffles.” This soup should be accompanied by a glass of red wine.  The restaurant is located in the prestigious Palazzo Inghirami.

Happy Holidays from Vino con Vista

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @  www.vino-con-vista.com

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Italy’s Vino con Vista Lake District: Lake Como, Garda or Maggiore in Lombardy

View upon the Lake Maggiore from the baroque g...
Image via Wikipedia

The Lake District of Lombardy is breathtaking!!  It rises from the Alpine heights along the Swiss border. The glacial erosion juxtaposed quaint villages and soaring mountains to create idyllic surroundings. Many wealthy Italians built villas on these lakes that have been converted into luxuriously appointed hotels.

(Italian version) Category:Maps of Lombardy Lo...

(Italian version) Category:Maps of Lombardy Lombardy Lombardy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday I met someone who asked me about having a “Vino con Vista” destination wedding in Italy.  I immediately asked if they had considered the Lake District.  This area is the perfect destination for weddings, honeymoons and sophisticated travel enthusiasts.

Mount Mottarone between Lake Maggiore and Orta...

Mount Mottarone between Lake Maggiore and Ortasee, near Stresa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The spectacular scenery has been praised as the closest thing to heaven by authors from the time of Virgil to Ernest Hemmingway. This region resembles the beauty of Seattle, considered one of the most scenic cities in the United States.

Italiano: Un calice di Franciacorta Rosé

Italiano: Un calice di Franciacorta Rosé (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Take a cruise along one the beautiful lakes. Have the designated driver navigate, as you sip your red Valtellina Sfurzat or Franciacorta and marvel at the elegant panoramic view. This is an incredible place for a “Vino con Vista!!” The region produces dry reds and sparking white wines. This is a great place to sip a Mimosa or a Bellini.

In Brescia, on the western side of Lake Garda visit the Fratelli Berlucchi winery. Lombardy’s vineyards encompass Valtellina Superiore, Sfurat, Franciacorta and Garda Classico Chiaretto. Winery tours can be arranged at Enoteca del Bardolino in Berlucchi and other local wineries near Brescia.

An excellent find: Ca' del Bosco's Terre di Fr...

An excellent find: Ca’ del Bosco’s Terre di Franciacorta (Photo credit: Sifu Renka)

1. Lake Como is north of Milan and is shaped like a wishbone. The chic towns of Bellagio and Cernobbio are on Lake Como.  Stay at Villa D’Este in Lake Como www.villadeste.com a sister property of Villa La Massa in Tuscany www.villalamassa.com

Lake Garda, Brescia, Italy.

Lake Garda, Brescia, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. Lake Garda is the largest lake and is located on the eastern edge of Lombardy. Lake Garda is 60 miles east of Milan and is surrounded by four noteworthy cities: Verona to the east, Mantua to the south, Trento is northeast and Brescia to the west. Ferries and hydrofoils transport exuberant tourists around the lakes between Easter and September. Lake Garda is 32 miles long and is arguably the most beautiful Italian Lake in the region. Stay at Grand Hotel Villa Feltinelli in Lake Garda www.villafeltrinelli.com or Hotel du Lac et du Park in Lake Garda www.hoteldulac-riva.it.

Lake Garda, Brescia, Italy.

Lake Garda, Brescia, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are gondola races on Lake Garda in the summer on Saturdays thru mid-August.

Mount Mottarone between Lake Maggiore and Orta...

Mount Mottarone between Lake Maggiore and Ortasee, near Stresa Français : Montagne Mottarone entre le lac majeur et le lac d’Orta près de Stresa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3. Lake Maggiore is 25 miles north of Milan and stretches into Switzerland. On the western side of Lake Maggiore, visit the town of Stresa where you can board a cable-car to the snow-capped peak of Monte Mottarone to experience spectacular views. When you return from this scenic ride, visit the Borromean islands near Stresa. Isola Bella houses the 17th century Palazzo Borromeo with six grotto rooms that are worth visiting.

Stresa - Air View (Postcard)

Stresa – Air View (Postcard) (Photo credit: roger4336)

Take a boat ride from Stresa to visit 50 acres of Botanical Gardens at Villa Taranto near Pallanza. Stay at Grand Hotel Majestic in Lake Maggiori in Verbania www.slh.com/majestic for beautiful views of the lake, mountains and the Borromini Islands or consider Hotel Villa Aminta in Lake Maggiori or Regina Palace in Lake Maggiori www.regina-palace.it

Sacro Monte di Ghiffa, (Verbania), Italy, View...

Sacro Monte di Ghiffa, (Verbania), Italy, View of the park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Overlooking the Lake Maggiore, you can find the Sacred Mountain of Ghiffa. This is a Roman Catholic devotional complex in the comune of Ghiffa in Piedmont located in northern-western Italy. It is one of the nine Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy, included in UNESCO World Heritage list.

Sacro Monte di Ghiffa. Figure

Sacro Monte di Ghiffa. Figure (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sacro Monte di Ghiffa, (Verbania), Italy, The ...

Sacro Monte di Ghiffa, (Verbania), Italy, The St. John the Baptist Chapel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To learn more about Northern Italy and great places in Italy visit www.vino-con-vista.com

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Cefalu is Sicily’s Best Kept Vino con Vista Secret

The Christ Pantokrator.

The Christ Pantokrator. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cefalù

Cefalù (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cefalù

Cefalù (Photo credit: girolame)

Cefalù

Cefalù (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cefalù, Sicily

Cefalù, Sicily (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

is especially noteworthy

is especially noteworthy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The façade of the Duomo.

The façade of the Duomo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On my recent trip to Italy, my bus driver was from Cefalu in Sicily.  I spent alot of time talking to him about how this delightful town located about 55 minutes east of Palermo exceeded my expectations. The Palermo-Messina trains stop in this charming town.

Christ Pantokrator in the apse of the Cathedra...

Christ Pantokrator in the apse of the Cathedral of Cefalù, Sicily, Italy. Mosaic in Byzantine style. Italiano: Cristo Pantocratore nell’abside della Cattedrale della città siciliana Cefalù (Italia). Mosaico in stile bizantino. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cefalu is a charming sea-side resort town nestled between the mountains and the glistening cobalt water of the sea. It is a short train ride from Palermo on the northern Tyrrhenian coast with outstanding beaches and a beautiful Norman cathedral with splendid mosaics.

Walk along the sea wall to La Calura and admire the ancient rocks named Tallarita, Baranello and Passarello. The Italians love to name the rock formations. The Temple of Diana is visible atop the mountains overlooking Cefalu.

Cefalu-bjs2007-03

Cefalu-bjs2007-03 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The magnificent twin-towers and the Norman Cathedral were built in 1131 by Roger II following his shipwreck along the coastline of Cefalu. The structural and architectural trappings of the cathedral are similar to Monreale.  It is adorned with lancet windows.

Cathedral of Cefalù (Italy), front view

Cathedral of Cefalù (Italy), front view (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 20th century stained glass replacement windows are covered with abstract designs created by Michelle Canzoneri. The Duomo has spectacular mosaics and houses a magnificent Christ as Pantocrator. In the square, enjoy some delightful marzapan treats with your coffee.

English: Cefalu, Sicily, apsis & choir of Norm...

English: Cefalu, Sicily, apsis & choir of Norman cathedral (mosaic “Christus Pantocrator”) Italiano: Cristo Pantocratore nel mosaico della cattedrale di Cefalù (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some of the fun tourist attractions in and around Cefalu include:

1. The Public Lavatoio that is located in the center of town; precursor to the public Laundromat.

The Wash house in Cefalù (Sicily).

The Wash house in Cefalù (Sicily). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. Drive up to the top of the mountain and visit the sanctuary of St. Gibilmanna in Pizzo San Angelo. This was the first church dedicated to the Madonna in Sicily. The monastery belongs to Cappuchin Friars. The sanctuary is located 2600 feet above sea level with a panoramic view of the majestic mountains. 

After visiting the local attractions, dine at LoScoglio Ubriaco overlooking the water. Plan your next day perched on a beach chair that you can rent at Beach Café del Moto. Think about taking a day trip from Cefalu to Sicily’s other exotic locations like Taormina or the Aeolian islands.

For a great Vino con Vista visit Filippino on Piazza Municipio.  E Pulera on via Isabella Conti Vainicher and the Kasbah Café on via Maurolico 25 offer outstanding food with pleasant outdoor seating. Purchase some local wine and cheese at Enoteca Le Petit Tonneau after you stroll along the water front and appreciate the natural beauty that this charming town exudes. In August, the town has an annual festival called Madonna della Luce which includes an evening boat procession along the coastline.

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides to Italy.

Cefalù

Cefalù (Photo credit: Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho)

To learn more about Sicily visit www.vino-con-vista.com

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Saint Paul Outside the Walls: a UNESCO Basilica in Rome

Roma - Basilica di San Paolo fuori le mura 12

Roma – Basilica di San Paolo fuori le mura 12 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Wa...

English: Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls (Rome) – the tomb of St. Paul Italiano: Basilica di San Paolo fuori le mura (Roma) – la tomba di san Paolo Polski: Bazylika św. Pawła za Murami w Rzymie – grób św. Pawła Apostoła (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Italiano: Roma, basilica di san Paolo fuori le...

Italiano: Roma, basilica di san Paolo fuori le mura: candelabro pasquale (Pietro Vassalletto e Nicola d’Angelo) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

San Paolo Fuori le Mura was erected in the 4th century.  It  is one of the four patriarchal basilicas of Rome built at the request of Roman Emperor Constantine I over the burial place of  Paul the Apostle.The big mosaic of the facade of Saint Paul out...

Front of the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside th...

Front of the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls – Roma – Italy. Italiano: Facciata della Basilica di San Paolo fuori le Mura a Roma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apse mosaic of the Basilica of Saint Paul Outs...

Saint Paul Outside the Walls is sometimes called the “Basilica Ostiense” because it is located on the Ostian Way. Paul the Apostle was brought to Rome as a prisioner. He was martyred between the years 64 and 67, during the persecution of Emperor Nero. His body was claimed by a Roman woman who buried it in her family tomb near a vineyard on the road to Ostia. Emperor Constantine placed the Apostle’s body in a bronze sarcophagus with a marble slab over  it. At the request of Emperor Constantine in 324,  a basilica was built over St. Paul’s tomb.

Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls (Rome...

Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls (Rome) – interior Polski: Wnętrze bazyliki św. Pawła za Murami w Rzymie Italiano: Basilica di San Paolo fuori le mura (Roma) – interno (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This first edifice was expanded under Valentinian I in about 370. Since many pilgrims came to visit the site, Emperor Valentine II made plans for a larger building. Emperor Theodosius began the new building and Emperor Honorius completed it.

English: Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Wa...

English: Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls (Rome) – the tabernacle of the confession Italiano: Basilica di San Paolo fuori le mura (Roma) – ciborio di Arnolfo di Cambio Polski: Bazylika św. Pawła za Murami w Rzymie – grób św. Pawła, przykryty gotyckim baldachimem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rom, Sankt Paul vor den Mauern, San Paolo fuor...

Rom, Sankt Paul vor den Mauern, San Paolo fuori le mura Italiano: Statua di San Paolo di fronte alla facciata della Basilica di San Paolo fuori le Mura a Roma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pope Leo III, further embellished the building and it became the largest and most beautiful church in Rome under his papacy.  Of all the churches of Rome, this one preserved its primitive character for 1435 years. In 1823 it was almost completely destroyed by a fire.

St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome

In 1823,  it was rebuilt and enlarged by the architect Poletti and modified by Guglielmo Calderini. It was completed in 1854.

Roma - Basilica di San Paolo fuori le mura - resti

Roma – Basilica di San Paolo fuori le mura – resti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Portrait of Pope Honorius I in the Basilica of...

Portrait of Pope Honorius I in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, Rome Italiano: Ritratto di Papa Onorio I nella Basilica di San Paolo fuori la Mura, Roma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Necropolis of Saint Paul outside the Walls in Rome

The interior of the current basilica has 80 monolithic columns of Montorfano granite divided into five naves. On the upper part of the walls, frescoes illustrate scenes from the life of St Paul.  Against the internal wall of the facade there are six large alabaster columns presented by the Viceroy of Egypt to Gregory XVI.

St. Paul Outside the Walls Frescoes in Rome

Saint Paul Outside the Walls is located at the site where Paul was executed and buried.

Tomb of Saint Paul in Rome

It is located outside the Aurelian Walls. The the basilica was damaged during the Saracen invasions in the 9th century. Pope John VIII (872–882) fortified the basilica and the monastery forming the town of Joannispolis (Giovannipoli) which existed until 1348, when an earthquake totally destroyed the town.

Fortified Walls in Rome

Map of Saint Paul Outside the Walls

Interior of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome

The Basilica was founded where his followers erected a memorial, called a cella memoriae. In the chapel of the relics, lie the chains that bound Paul the Apostle when he was improsioned in Rome In the 5th century, this church was larger than the Old St. Peter’s Basilica.

The front of the basilica has ten monolithic columns of red Baveno granite. A huge statue of St. Paul dominates the entrance to the new building. The inscription on the base of the statue says “To the preacher of truth, the teacher of nations”.

Facade of Saint Paul Outside the Walls

The facade mosaic is the work of Filippo Agricola and Nicola Consoni. In the typanum, Christ is seated in the center giving his blessing. On his right side is Saint Peter and on his left side is St. Paul. Below the Lamb of God, the four rivers of Paradise flow. Twelve sheep represent the Apostles who approach the Lamb from the holy cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

Here’s a Virtual Tour of the entrance and central courtyard: http://www.vatican.va/various/basiliche/san_paolo/vr_tour/Media/VR/St_Paul_Courtyard/index.html

Facade Mosaic

It was rebuilt by the architect Poletti and reconsecrated 1855 with the presence of Pope Pius IX and fifty cardinals. Many countries made contributions to the reconstruction efforts: the Viceroy of Egypt sent pillars of alabaster, the Emperor of Russia sent precious malachite and lapis lazuli for the tabernacle.

Saint Paul

In the right corner there is a statue of St. Luke the Evangelist. Saint Paul is in the front of the basilica.

Saint Luke

Under the portico, the wall niches have statues of St. Peter and St. Paul by Gregorio Zappala.

Popes Leo XII, Pius VIII and Gregory XVI, personally oversaw the reconstruction of the church. In 1854 Pope Pius IX was able to celebrate the completion of the reconstruction.

Under Pope Gregory the Great (590–604), the basilica was extensively modified. He had the pavement was raised to place the altar directly over Paul’s tomb. The tomb is covered by a Gothic baldachino by Adolfo di Cambio completed in 1285.

Tomb of St. Paul

Here’s a virtual tour of St. Paul’s Tomb http://www.vatican.va/various/basiliche/san_paolo/vr_tour/Media/VR/St_Paul_Tomb/index.html. To make a portion of the tomb visible to religious pilgrims, the floor was lowered forming a confessio where people can pray. Directly below the altar, a grill-covered window reveals the stone sarcophagus. Carbon dating of the contents of the tomb indicated that the remains in the sarcophagus are from someone who lived in the first or second century indicating that they are the remains of the apostle.

Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls (Rome...

Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls (Rome) – the tabernacle of the confession Italiano: Basilica di San Paolo fuori le mura (Roma) – ciborio di Arnolfo di Cambio Polski: Bazylika św. Pawła za Murami w Rzymie – grób św. Pawła, przykryty gotyckim baldachimem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over Saint Paul’s tomb, Arnolfo di Cambio‘s Gothic  tabernacle is resting on four porphyry columns.  The four cornices above the niches of the baldachin have statues of Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint Timothy and Saint Bartholomew.  Excavations located a first century tomb with a marble slab covering it with the Latin inscription “Paulo Apostolo Mart”. You can see a plaster copy of the slab in the Church Museum located off of the cloister.

Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls (Rome...

Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls (Rome) – the tabernacle of the confession Italiano: Basilica di San Paolo fuori le mura (Roma) – ciborio di Arnolfo di Cambio Polski: Bazylika św. Pawła za Murami w Rzymie – grób św. Pawła, przykryty gotyckim baldachimem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. Paul’s Tabernacle

Arnolfo di cambio

Arnolfo di cambio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. Peter statue by Arnolfo di Cambio inside t...

St. Peter statue by Arnolfo di Cambio inside the Vatican Basilica, dressed with a vestment on St. Peter and Paul feast. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Arnolfo di Cambio also created the bronze Saint Peter statue in St. Peter’s Basillica and the ptesepe in the lower level of Santa Maria Maggiore.

Italiano: Presepe di Arnolfo di Cambio. Basili...

Italiano: Presepe di Arnolfo di Cambio. Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, Roma, Italia . English: Manger by Arnolfo di Cambio, Rome, Santa Maria Maggiore, Italy . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

San Paolo Fuori le Mura’s interior has 80 monolithic columns of Montorfano granite from the isolated mountain on Lake Maggiore. It is divided into five naves. Above the arches over the granite columns, all the way around the interior of the Basilica, there are circular mosaic portraits of all the Popes, from the first to the present.  Only the current pope’s portrait is illuminated.  According to legend, when this Basilica runs out of space for these portraits of the popes, the world will end.

Statue of St. Paul Apostle in the Basilica San...

Statue of St. Paul Apostle in the Basilica San Paolo fuori le Mura (Rome) Polski: Figura św. Pawła Apostoła w bazylice Świętego Pawła za Murami w Rzymie Italiano: Statua di San Paolo Apostolo nella Basilica di San Paolo fuori le Mura a Roma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the upper part of the walls, between the large windows,  there are 36 frescoes with the scenes from the life of St Paul. Against the internal wall of the facade there are six large alabaster columns presented by the Viceroy of Egypt to Gregory XVI.

Roma - Basilica di San Paolo fuori le mura - 9

Roma – Basilica di San Paolo fuori le mura – 9 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a virtual tour of the central nave of the  basilica http://www.vatican.va/various/basiliche/san_paolo/vr_tour/Media/VR/St_Paul_Nave/index.html

In the Apse, there is a mosaic from 1220 showing a majestic Christ wearing imperial colors with St. Paul and St. Luke on his right and St. Peter and St. Andrew on his left. Chirst is holding a book that says “Come blessed of my Father and receive the kingdom prepared for you.”

Apse Mosaic

The palm trees represent paradise. The papal chair has a relief of Christ instucting Peter to feed the sheep.

Jesus

Saint Peter and Saint Andrew

St. Paul and St. Luke in Rome

Here’s a virtual tour of the Apse http://www.vatican.va/various/basiliche/san_paolo/vr_tour/Media/VR/St_Paul_Apse/index.html

Portrait of Honorius III - Detail of the apse ...

Portrait of Honorius III – Detail of the apse mosaic of the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls (1220) – Roma – Italy Pope Honorius III ordered the mosaic and, following the Roman Catholic tradition, is represented near Christ’s feet. Pope Honorius III (1148 – 1227), born Cencio Savelli, was Pope from 1216 to 1227. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Honorius_III (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 You can see Hononius III at the foot of Jesus is the apse mosaic.
The graceful cloister of the monastery was erected between 1220 and 1241. The spiral columns of the cloister were built by the Vassalletto family in 1214 and survived the fire.
Cloister of the monastery of San Paolo fuori l...

Cloister of the monastery of San Paolo fuori le mura (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a virtual tour of the lovely rose garden in the Cloister: http://www.vatican.va/various/basiliche/san_paolo/vr_tour/Media/VR/St_Paul_Cloister/index.html
The death of St. Paul - relief on the doors of...

The death of St. Paul – relief on the doors of the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls (Rome) Italiano: La morte do san Paolo – rilievo sulla porta della Basilica di San Paolo Fuori le Mura a Roma Polski: Śmierć św. Pawła – płaskorzeźba znajdująca się na drzwiach Bazyliki św. Pawła za Murami w Rzymie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From 1215 until 1964 this was the seat of the Latin Patriarch of Alexandria. The Holy Door was last opened in 2000 and there is a large plaque above the door commemorating the event.

The Holy Door

The Holy Door (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The door pictured below on the right, is the work of Antonia Maraini and was cast in Florence in 1931. The cross on the bronze door is highlighted in silver and the horizontal bar bears the names of the evangelists. The verticle potion of the cross, has portraits of the Apolstles. The panels on the door depict scenes from the life of Saint Peter on the left and Saint Paul on the right. The figure of Christ shows him giving the keys to Saint Peter.

Holy Door

Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Silver

Visit the Pinocoteca with “Flagellation” by Bramante and other interesting works of art and tour the interesting Museum http://www.vatican.va/various/basiliche/san_paolo/vr_tour/Media/VR/St_Paul_Museum/index.html.

See some of the fragments of the original basilica. Then stop at the where you can enjoy a Vino con Vista.

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Italy Travel Guides. To learn more about Rome visit www.vino-con-vista.com

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The Truth about Bernini’s Baroque “Fountain of the Four Rivers” in Piazza Navona in Rome

The "Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi" (Fou...
Image via Wikipedia
Animals on the "Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi...

Animals on the “Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi” (Fountain of the four rivers) by Gianlorenzo Bernini in piazza Navona in Rome, Italy: the land snake. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Animals on the "Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi...

Animals on the “Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi” (Fountain of the four rivers) by Gianlorenzo Bernini in piazza Navona in Rome, Italy: the crocodile. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The "Fontana dei fiumi" (Fountain of...

The “Fontana dei fiumi” (Fountain of the four rivers) by Gianlorenzo Bernini in piazza Navona in Rome, Italy. Picture by Alers, August 2004. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Rome, Piazza Navona (fountain of the ...

English: Rome, Piazza Navona (fountain of the Four Rivers – piece) Italiano: Piazza Navona, Roma (fontana dei Quattro Fiumi – particolare) Polski: Rzymski plac Navona (fontanna czterech rzek – fragment) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Animals on the "Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi...

Animals on the “Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi” (Fountain of the four rivers) by Gianlorenzo Bernini in piazza Navona in Rome, Italy: the lion. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The "Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi" (Fou...

The “Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi” (Fountain of the four rivers) by Gianlorenzo Bernini in piazza Navona in Rome, Italy, topped by the “obelisk of Domitian”. Picture by Stefan Bauer 03-09-2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Piazza Navona is Rome’s fabulous Baroque piazza. The charming cafes and famous fountains make it the perfect “Vino con Vista” destination.

It was originally Emperor Domitian’s Circus Agonalis, an oblong sports stadium and the remnants are visible under the street.

Rome's Piazza Navona

 The piazza is located in the center of Centro Storico. The area has been inhabited for over 2000 years and was built above Domitian’s ancient stadium designed for Olympic games in 85 AD.

English: Piazza Navona, Rome Français : La pla...

English: Piazza Navona, Rome Français : La place Navone à Rome Italiano: Piazza Navona, Roma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Piazza Navona, Bernini’s sumptuous baroque “Fountain of the Four Rivers” graces the piazza; topped with the “Obelisk of Domitian.”

Rome's Piazza Navona

Pope Innocent X (Giovanni Battista Pamphilj) commissioned Bernini to design the fountain in 1651 near the Pamphilj Palace. The fountain was executed by a large group of sculptors under Bernini’s supervision.

The fountain symbolizes the four continents using symbolic figures of four rivers. The navigability of Ganges River is symbolized by a long oar and represents Asia. It was created by Claude Poussin.

Piazza Navona in Rome

The Danube represents Europe and touches the Pamphili papal coat of arms (symbolized by the Pamphilj dove) because it is the closest river to Rome. It was created by Antonio Raggi.

Piazza Navona in RomePiazza Navona in Rome

The Rio de la Plata (above on the right) is sitting on a pile of coins (plat means silver in Spanish) and symbolizes the Americas. It was sculpted by Francessco Baratta.

The Nile represents Africa and the head is cover with a veil because the river had an unknown source of water. It was sculpted by Antonio Fancelli.

Allegorical statue of river Danube. Detail fro...

Allegorical statue of river Danube. Detail from the “Fountain of the Four rivers” by Gianlorenzo Bernini, in Piazza Navona, Rome. 16/X/2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is rumored that Bernini intentionally placed a veil over the face of the “Nile” river statue to prevent the statue from looking at the façade of the church designed by his arch-rival Boromini. Boromini designed the church behind the fountain with the large dome and twin towers (St. Agnes in Agony). However, the façade of that church was actually completed after the fountain was finished.

"Fontana dei fiumi" (Fountain of the...

“Fontana dei fiumi” (Fountain of the four rivers) by Gianlorenzo Bernini in piazza Navona in Rome, Italy: coat of arms of pope Innocentius X Pamphili. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To learn more about Rome visit www.vino-con-vista.com

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides to Italy and Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites

 Bernini's Piazza Navona Piazza Navona in Rome

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