Category Archives: UNESCO WOrld Heritage Sites in SIcily

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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Easter and Holy Week Rituals in Sicily: Buona Pasqua

English: Cathedral of San Giorgio, Modica, Sic...

English: Cathedral of San Giorgio, Modica, Sicily, Italy. Français : Cathédrale San Giorgio, Modica, Sicile, Italie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

English: Coat of Arms of Caltanissetta, Sicily...

English: Coat of Arms of Caltanissetta, Sicily, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Coat of arm of Sicily

English: Coat of arm of Sicily (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A baroque church in Modica

A baroque church in Modica (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many towns in Sicily have a

 

Petralia Sottana, Sicily

Petralia Sottana, Sicily (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

strong tradition of religious rites and ceremonies that date from the Spanish Domination of the 15th-17th centuries. These rites are demonstrated during mystic Holy Week celebrations.

 

On Good Friday at 5:00 p.m., the Society of the Passion of Christ  leaves their parish church and is joined by all the other Confraternities on Via Roma. They make their way to Chiesa dell’Addorlarato. The statue of  “Our Lady  of the Seven Sorrows” is carried to to the Cathedral where the Urn of the Dead Christ awaits her. At 7:00 p.m., thousands march in a solemn and silent torch-lit  procession behind men dressed in white hooded costumes. These costumes represent medieval fraternities of artisans and artists (Confraternities). Today there are 15 of the original 34 Confraternities still in existence. They take turns carrying marble statues of a deceased Christ and “Our Lady of Sorrows.” The group is accompanied by 24 symbols of Christ’s martrydom including the cross containing a reliquary of the “Crown of Thorns” and tools of flagellation.  Watch this video of Easter Rituals in Enna http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQ3kX-uGRec&feature=related.

 

Holy Week celebrations begin on Palm Sunday with the Procession of the Confraternities, the L’Ura  from their individual churches to the Duomo  in solemn Eucharistic adoration.  The Baroque Duomo was founded by Eleonora, the wife of the 13th century Swabian King Frederick II.  The Cathedral has a spacious 16th century interior. The Confraternities are accompanied by the town band on their way to the Cathedral.

 

On Easter Sunday the ritual involves “A Paci” when the statues of the Resurrected Christ and Mary are reunited in the Cathedral Square under a joyous celebration of ringing bells.

 

Some of the other towns in Sicily where you can witness elaborate Holy Week (Settimana Santa) and Easter (Pasqua) rituals include:

 

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

 

Caltanissetta http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYUq5jXAB-8&feature=related

 

Corleone http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gMksfWbHhU

 

Vizzini http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SO-KekZSTY

 

and Petralia Sottana U “Ncuontru http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ePVTL00S3U

 

Petralia Sottana (PA), Panorama parziale.

Petralia Sottana (PA), Panorama parziale. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

 

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

 

 

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Buon Natale and Christmas: Holiday Events in Tuscany

Piazza del Campo with Palazzo Pubblico and Tor...
Image via Wikipedia

If you follow my posts, you know that there are many exciting Holiday Events in Italy.  There are some interesting events you may want to attend in Tuscany over the holidays. Tuscany is divided into ten provinces.

Tuscany stretches over the slopes of the Apennines and borders the Tyrrhenian Sea. The landscape is mostly hilly with a flatter area along the sea called Maremma. Visit the wineries across the Chianti hills from Siena to Florence. The two notable wine towns of Montepulciano and Montalcino are also located in the province of Siena in Tuscany.

Siena

Siena (Photo credit: ho visto nina volare)

On of my favorite Tuscan towns is Siena. The historic center became an inscribed UNESCO site in 1995. Siena’s yellowish brown buildings are the embodiment of a gothic medieval city.  Her golden age came to a screeching halt with the Black Death of 1348.

Enlightened travelers will love this charming city in the heart of Chianti country about 21 miles south of Florence.  Siena is the birthplace of Saint Catherine (1347), the patron saint of Italy. She received the stigmata at Pisa and her head is still housed in the Basilica of San Domenico.

The brick,  shell shaped brick Piazza del Campo is one of Italy’s most triumphant piazzas, large enough to feature a semi-annual 350 year old summer bareback horse race called the “Palio delle Contrade.”  The Piazza’s surface is divided inato nine segments by colored paving stones, symbolizing the Council of Nine. Their members governed the city in her medieval heyday.  The Council met at the Palazzo Pubblicoon the eastern part of the square.

Torre del Mangia towering above of the Palazzo...

Torre del Mangia towering above of the Palazzo Pubblico. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The residents of Siena were fierce rivals of the Florentines.  The distinctive 330 foot city watch tower Torre del Mangia bears witness to their intense rivalry.  Climb to the summit of the Gothic Cathedral; the summit of the tower offers a superb panoramic view of Tuscany.

Throughout the centuries, the residents preserved their city’s Gothic appearance, acquired between the 12th and 15th centuries. In this period, the work of many artists including Duccio, the Lorenzetti brothers and Simone Martini influenced the course of European art. Many artists were influenced by Byzantium of the late 15th century. The entire historic city center of Siena, built around the Piazza del Campo, was devised as a work of art that blends into the surrounding landscape. In the southwestern quadrant of the city, the Duomo houses masterpieces by Michelangelo, Bernini and Donatello.  Visit Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s, “Allegory of Good and Bad Government” (1318), in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena.

There are many Holiday Events is Siena and other charming provinces of Tuscany:

In the Province of Siena

“Un Natale Speciale” in the town of Chiusi from December 6-25

The Feast of San Lucia on December 13th in the Church of Saint Lucia in Siena

Festa dell’Olio in mid-December

A New Year’s Eve Concert in Piazza del Campo in Siena

“Mostra dei Presepi” is the 16th Annual event in Bottolle (Citta dei Presepi) in Sinalunga Siena from December 12th to January 16th

In Montepulciano attend the Festa e Fiera di Natale

More Events in Tuscany

In Equi Terme witness the “Presepi Viventi”–living Nativity Scenes

Fiera de San Michelle on December 8th in Lucca

The Barga Chocolate Festival on December 4th and 5th in Lucca

In Lucca between December 25 and January 1st there are weekly Puccini concerts at the Basilica of St. John

In Arezzo attend the Honey Festival on December 12-13 in Piazza Risorgimento

Slow Christmas Exhibition in Cutigliano Pistoia from December 4th-12th

Happy Holidays from Vino con Vista

Buon Natale and Happy Holidays from www.vino-con-vista.com

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Taormina’s 60th Annual Film Festival 2014 in Sicily

View of Isola Bella from above the beach.
Image via Wikipedia

Explore the historical allure of Sicily’s Taormina SicilyVista opportunities. It is located in the Messina province.  The east coast of Sicily overlooks the Ionian Sea and is considered part of the Ionian Riviera.

Taormina

Taormina has inspired many famous authors. D.H. Lawrence wrote the erotic and scandalous book, Lady Chatterly’s Lover in 1928. This story involved an aristocratic English woman’s affair in Taormina. She was married to a wheelchair-bound World War I hero. Goethe recorded his love of Sicily in his travel diary in 1787, Journey to Italy. He stated, “To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all, for Siciy is the clue to everything.”

This beach town is a haven for sun worshippers. Take the funicular (motorized lift) to the beach or hop on a cable car to Mazzaro and enjoy the Isola Bella Beach and nature reserve. Travel to Giardini Naxos to view the excavations of Sicily’s first Greek colony http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmWVpfz0wgs&feature=related.  This seaside resort has a great beach and is loaded with cafes and bars.

The Alcantara Gorge is outside Taormina.  Go for a boat ride to see waterfalls and remnants of Mt. Etna’s lava flow from about 1000 years ago; fascinating cliffs were formed by incisions cut into the volcanic rock.

As you stroll along Corso Umberto you will find charming cafes and restaurants.  Head over to Piazza IX Aprile, the main square of Taormina. Visit the 13th century fortress-like Cathedral of San Nicolo embellished with an 16th century rose window and massive bronze doors.

Visit the church of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria with a Baroque interior built over a Hellenistic temple. Inside the church, the ruins of the ancient temple can be seen under the floor. Try to catch one of the local weddings that seem to take place daily.

Taormina’s lovely municipal gardens were designed by Florence Trevelyan and other women from England in the early 1920s. They are meticulously landscaped with beautiful structures, statues and fountains.

In this province of Messina Sicily, I love the well-preserved Greco-Roman Theater in Taormina. Built by the Greeks in 300 B.C. and remodeled and enlarged by the Romans, it is the second-largest ancient theater on the island. Visit Siracusa to see the largest one. The historic Greco-Roman amphitheater is carved out of the hillside and has a panoramic view of Calabria and Mt. Etna. It has a natural terrace, overlooking the sea. It is amazing to watch some of the summer performances that are still offered in this 3rd century B.C. theater.

Vino Con Vista Sicily

Vino con Vista Sicily

In June, the theater is the venue for the Taormina Film Festival. The 60th annual Taormina Film Fest will take place from June 14th to 21st,  in the with stars like Melanie Griffith, Eva Longoria, Isabella Ferrari, Valeria Solarino, and Vittoria Puccini, the Taormina Film Fest celebrated his sixtieth birthday with a “festival entirely dedicated to women, featuring Claudia Cardinale, the muse of Visconti, Fellini and Sergio Leone, as the godmother of the event.” You can attend screenings and previews. On June 17th there will be a tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Food lin Sicily

 For details visit: www.taorminafilmfest.it
Sicilian Wine

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

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Forza Azzurri: Vino con Vista Turin and Italian Unification

English: Map of unification of Italy, 1815-70

English: Map of unification of Italy, 1815-70 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Coat of Arms of the Dukes of Savoy after Emman...

Coat of Arms of the Dukes of Savoy after Emmanuel Philibert (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Palazzo Madama a Torino File:Brogi, Giacomo (1...

Palazzo Madama a Torino File:Brogi, Giacomo (1822-1881) – Torino – Palazzo Madama (1865s).jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Meeting with Victor Emmanuel in Teano

Meeting with Victor Emmanuel in Teano (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Palazzo Madama, Torino, Italy

Palazzo Madama, Torino, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vittorio Emanuele II di Savoia
Image via Wikipedia

Italian Unification was the political and social movement know as il Risorgimento (the Resurgence). The movement attempted to unite Italy under one flag. Italy was officially united into a nation state on March 17th, 1861. On this day, Vittorio Emanuele II, the King of Piedmont-Sardinia proclaimed the birth of a new Italian Kingdom in Turin.

This day has been declared a national holiday and many of Italy’s museums and monuments will be free. In Rome, there will be fireworks and concerts. Milan is celebrating with a free concert and Palermo will have a parade at Villa Trabia.

Turin is the largest city in the region of Piedmont and it was historically under Austro-Hungarian domination. Piedmont is located between the Alps and the Po Valley with soaring peaks and charming vined-cloaked hilly landscapes. It is the home of Italian auto maker FIAT www.turismotorino.org.

Turin was Italy‘s first capital. Her piazzas, palaces and churches are brimming with the remnants of the powerful House of Savoy. The amazing residences of the Royal House of Savoy are UNESCO World Heritage sites. They were inscribed in 1997 and include the Palazzo Reale, the Royal Armory, the Library and Stables.

When Emmanuel-Philibert, Duke of Savoy, moved his capital to Turin in 1562 he began a series of buiding projects. These projects were continued by his successors to demonstrate the power of the ruling house. The Savoy complex of buildings radiates from the Royal Palace in Turin to many country residences and hunting lodges in the surrounding countryside.

“These architectural masterpieces represent a comprehensive overview of European monumental architecture in the 17th and 18th centuries. These structures embody distinctive grandiose style and grace; depicting the prevailing doctrine of absolute monarchs.” UNESCO

In 2011, Turin celebrated 150 years of unification with special events in many regional cultural venues. Turin has more than 40 museums including the National Museum of the Risorgimento, the Egyptian Museum and the Automobile Museum.

Prior to March 17, 1861, Italy was divided into small city-states ruled by other countries like Spain and Austria. In 1861, Italy won her independence following the Risorgimento aided by Garibaldi’s military prowess. The Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed and Torino became the capital of the new kingdom.

Italian sports teams wear Azzurro Blue (azure), the official color of the House of Savoy.  At national sporting events,  the Italians chant “Forza Azzurri” which means “Go Blue.”  Here’s the soccer team in their Azzurro uniforms “Italia Championi del Mondo” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGiuX82im2s&feature=related

Visit the Pinocoteca dell’Accademia Albertina with eight rooms of fine arts and the Galleria Sabauda for Renaissance art. Bellini, Fra Angelico and Fra Filippo Lippi masterpieces are housed in these galleries.

The original Holy Shroud (Sacra Sindone) of Turin is kept in Turin’s Duomo in a silver casket inside a marble coffer. The replica is available for viewing. Carbon testing in the late 1980’s indicated that the shroud dates back to the 12th century; this invalidates the original theory of the shroud.

Facts about the Province of Turin:

The life of “Vittorio Emanuele II: The Gentleman King” will be highlighted with documents, pictures and artifacts in three locations in the province of Turin. Castle Racconigi, the location of his wedding to Archduchess Maria Adelaide of Hapsburg-Lorraine, will display the legend of  “children and families.” In the Gallery of the Shroud of Turin in Palazzo Reale, battle highlights of the Risorgimento will be exhibited.

Turin was the Hollywood of Italy. The “Zombies, Vampires, Mummies and Ghosts” visit the Museo Nazionale del Cinema on Via Montebello.

Get tickets for the  Turin Philharmonic Orchestra.

Holiday Events in Turin:

1. Mercatino di Natale on Via Roma in Turin

2. Presepi da Gustare on December 11th in Comune di Venaus

3. Mercatino di Fine Anno in Centro Storico of Oulx on December 30th

4. Mercatini di Natale in Comune di Sestrieve on December 18 and 19

5. Fiera Regionale del Bovino da Carne in Carmagnola December 10-12

6. Cioccolatorrino in Bardonecchi at Piazza delle Stretta on January 4th

7.  Il Bosco Incantato on Vie del Borgovecchio December 27th thru January 6th

Additional holiday events in Piedmont:

In Alagna, admire the Ice Nativity Scene on Christmas Eve

The Bonfire Celebration in Roatto on Christmas Eve

The torchlight re-enactment of Christmas Eve in Schierano

The “Living Nativity Scene” in Cessole and Maranzana on Christmas Eve

The cafes in Piazza San Carlo present perfect “Vino con Vista” opportunities. Sip wine and enjoy tasty agnolotti (ravioli) and tajarin all’uovo pasta. Your Moscato d’Asti will be served under a fabulous Murano glass chandelier.

King Vittorio Emanuele II would have probably preferred a glass of Barolo wine produced from Nebbiolo grapes to celebrate the unification of Italy. Try a glass of Barbaresco with some agnolotti filled with ricotta or stewed meat and garnished with white truffles. Another regional specialty is Oca alla Piedmontese.

In Piedmont, Barolo the “King of Wines”, Barbara and Barbaresco come from the vineyards of Langhe close to Liguria. This area is one of the most prestigious red wine producers in Italy.  More interesting red wines from Piedmont include Premetta, Torette, Pinot Noir and Petit Rouge. Brachetto d’Acqui, sweet Moscato d’Asti and sparkling Spumante are also produced here. The Provencia di Asti is located in the Piedmont region.

My absolute favorite everyday Italian wine is Barbera. It is produced in the town of Alba, which is also famous for white truffles. Barbera d’Alba is fruity and lighter than Barolo. Dolcetto d’Alba is also quite appealing. Most Italian wine lovers prefer the region’s prestigious Barolo.

The Buon Ricordo options in the Piedmont Region include:

1. Ristorante Torino in Alessandria at Via A. Vochieri 108 (www.bioristorantetorino.it). The signature dish is an extraordinary Rabbit with Peppers.

2. Ristorante La Contea in Neive at Piazza Cocito, 8 (www.la-contea.it) offers a Piedmonte calf-tail braised in Barbaresco  with a charming collector plate showing a cow’s tail wrapped around a glass of red wine. The restaurant is located in the center of town in the picturesque village of Langhe.

To learn more about Italy read www.vino-con-vista.comTravel Guides and

Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites
 

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Celebrate the Feast Day of Saint George in Vino con Vista Ragusa Sicily

English: Dome of the cathedral of Ragusa Ibla ...

English: Dome of the cathedral of Ragusa Ibla Italiano: Cupola del Duomo di San Giorgio a Ragusa Ibla (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ragusa

Ragusa (Photo credit: Gustavo Caprioli)

English: Cathedral of San Giorgio in Ragusa Ibla.

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

Ragusa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sicily. It is divided into two parts:  Modern and Ibla.  Ragusa Ibla is the lower part of the town and has medieval remains and elegant Baroque buildings and monuments.

In Ragusa, visit the beautiful churches near Piazza Duomo.  The imposing Cathedral of St. George (San Georgio) with the majestic neo-classical dome is one of the most significant works of Baroque Sicilian.  The church was built on top of the church of Saint Nicholas after the earthquake of 1693. Climb 250 steps to see the beautiful church that was designed by Rosario Gagliardo and completed in 1775.

Saint George is the patron saint of Ragusa. The feast of Saint George is celebrated on the last day of May when his statue is carried out of the Basilica and paraded through the streets with a Holy Chest (Santa Cassa) in a lively procession http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVjihqlF-x4&NR=1.

On his annual feast day, the statue of Saint George, the dragon-slaying knight, has an event packed day. He watches the fireworks in Ragusa http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mvf–DqSJmQ&feature=related before he returns to his noble post inside the church.

In Ragusa 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 masks located in the keystones of the windows which represent three powers.  The first mask represents the poor deformed man with his tongue sticking out with some missing teeth.  This mask represents the power of he who has nothing has nothing to lose.  Another mask represents a tradesman with a turban and moustache.  This mask symbolizes that he who has everything and can do anything thanks his money.  The central mask symbolizes the nobleman, sculpted in the frontal position.  This represents that he who can do anything, even if it is illegal, represents the power of the aristocracy.

I love the detailed balconies in Ragusa

On Piazza Duomo there is a lovely fountain and the Palazzo Donnafugata.  The Palazzo houses an art gallery with canvases by Hans Memling, Ribera, and Antonello do Messina.

There are many Vino con Vista opportunities in the province of Ragusa: dine at Il Duomo, a Michelin-rated favorite on Via Capitano Bocchieri 31 or Locanda Da Serafino on Via XI Febbraio 15.

Bagglio la Pergola on Contrada Selvaggio is a great place for lunch in Ragusa.  The scacce and mpanate are little stuffed pizzas.  The Ragusans love their pasta and serve it many ways. Pasta a picurara, brood di maiale, trippa alla ragusana, maccarunedda, Mpanatigghi, and cuccia are all regional specialties.

Toast to the delightful cuisine with a glass of  red Cerasuolo di Vittoria or enjoy some of the dessert wines like moscato, solicchiato, perpetuo or stravecchio Siciliano.  There is an excellent Pasticceria on Corso Vittorio Venato where you can stock up with sweets.

There is an 18th century farmhouse “Ermeo Dell Giubiliana” on the way to Marina di Ragusa that is an interesting agriturismo option.  Or consider staying at The Mediterraneo Palace on via Roma 89 or Rafael on Corso Italia 40.

These enchanting towns are isolated by the Iblean Mountains. Unfortunately, they are still at risk of eruptions from Mount Etna and earthquakes.

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

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

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Vino con Vista in Ferrara: A UNESCO Site in Emilia Romagna

Este Castle of Ferrara, Dawn Room, fresco port...

Este Castle of Ferrara, Dawn Room, fresco portraying the Time and the Fates (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Este Castle of Ferrara, Ducal Chapel, fresco o...

Este Castle of Ferrara, Ducal Chapel, fresco of the ceiling depicting the four Evangelists (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The Este Castle of Ferrara, Italy
Image via Wikipedia
Ferrara

Ferrara (Photo credit: ChrisYunker)

PALAZZO DEI DIAMANTI - FERRARA-

PALAZZO DEI DIAMANTI – FERRARA- (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Palazzo dei Diamanti, which houses the Pinacot...

Palazzo dei Diamanti, which houses the Pinacoteca Nazionale, Ferrara – Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Balloons of the Ferrara Balloons Festival

Balloons of the Ferrara Balloons Festival (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ferrara

Ferrara (Photo credit: ChrisYunker)

Equestrial bronze monument to Niccolò III of H...

Equestrial bronze monument to Niccolò III of House of Este of 15th century. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: coat of arms of Ercole I d'Este. Ital...

English: coat of arms of Ercole I d’Este. Italiano: stemma nobiliare di Ercole I d’Este. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1995, the entire town of Ferrara was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as an exceptional example of a Rennaisance town on the Po Delta  www.ferrarainfo.com. Ferrara is located around a ford over Italy’s longest river, the Po.  It is one of the region’s former fortified walled towns.

“Ferrara, which grew up around a ford over the River Po, became an intellectual and artistic centre that attracted the greatest minds of the Italian Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries. Here, Piero della Francesca, Jacopo Bellini and Andrea Mantegna decorated the palaces of the House of Este. The humanist concept of the ‘ideal city’ came to life here in the neighbourhoods built from 1492 onwards by Biagio Rossetti according to the new principles of perspective. The completion of this project marked the birth of modern town planning and influenced its subsequent development.”

UNESCO

Este Castle of Ferrara, Hall of Coats of Arms

Este Castle of Ferrara, Hall of Coats of Arms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ferrara is in Emilia Romagna, about 31 miles northeast of Bologna. It has many places from the  14th and 15th  centuries from the House of Este.

Este Castle of Ferrara, Fresco in the Dawn Room

Este Castle of Ferrara, Fresco in the Dawn Room (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Corso Ercole I d'Este, Street in the Rennaissa...

Corso Ercole I d’Este, Street in the Rennaissance town center of Ferrara, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

The D’Este family took control of the town in the 13th century under Nicolo II and held power until 1598 when the family was forced to move to Modena.  The city became an intellectual and artistic center that attracted the greatest minds of the Italian Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries under the reign of the Este court. The city of the Renaissance and its Po Delta became an inscribed UNESCO site in 1995.

Leonello D'Este portrayed by Pisanello.

Leonello D’Este portrayed by Pisanello. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ferrara is the birthplace of Girolamo Savonarola, the Domenican Friar who ruled Florence from 1494 until his execution in 1498. He was the infamous perpetrator of the “Bonfire of the Vanities.”  Ferrara is also famous for hot air balloons–are these events somehow related?? Ferrara is also the birthplace of Cosme Tura (1430-1495).  He was the court painter and sculptor for his patrons Borso d’Este and his successor Ercole. Two of his masterpieces are housed in the National Art Gallery of Palazzo dei Diamanti. They depict scenes from the life of St. Maurelio.

The Este Castle was commissioned by Nicolo II and built by Bartolino da Novara in 1385 to defend the d’Este family against popular revolts and is an outstanding example of Italian military architecture. The superb House of Este’s ducal residences were decorated by immortal masters like Piero della Francesca, Jacopo Bellini and Andrea Mantegna.  The towers and moats of the medival Castello Estense were founded in 1385.

Este Castle of Ferrara, Gothic Room

Este Castle of Ferrara, Gothic Room (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Romanesque-Gothic Ferrara Cathedral was built around 1135 and was decorated with marble patterns in the late 13th century. It has impressive reliefs over the tympanum of the “Last Judgement” on the façade.  The new cathedral museum is housed inside the church of San Romano and contains sacred relics, paintings and sculptures. Visit the church of San Georgio, the city’s patron saint. Built in the 10th century, it was the city’s cathedral until the 12th century. The Church of Sant’Antonio in Polesine has beautiful frescoes from the 13th and 14th centuries.

Ferrara

Ferrara (Photo credit: ChrisYunker)

The d’Este summer retreat, Palazzo Schifanoia was commissioned by Alberto V d’Este in 1385. It  is decorated with beautiful murals by Ferrara’s best 15th century painter, Cosimo Tura. The “Hall of Months” is frescoed by Francesco del Cossa, Ercole de Roberti and Cosme Tura. It is the home of the Civic Museum of Ancient Art which displays bronze , ceramics and frescoes.

Este Castle of Ferrara, The Hall of the Games

Este Castle of Ferrara, The Hall of the Games (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the Piazza Ariostea, on the last Sunday of May you can attend the dramatic Palio de San Giorgio, a bareback horse- riding extravaganza between the 8 town districts that was made official in 1279 to win the precious drape of St. George, the patron saint of Ferrara www.paliodiferrara.it.

Este Castle of Ferrara, Ceiling of the Governm...

Este Castle of Ferrara, Ceiling of the Government Hall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you miss the big event, have a “Vino con Vista” and order a glass of Albana di Romagna, Sangiovese di Romagna, Trebbiano di Romagna or Lambrusco di Sorbara at a local cafe. Visit the Osteria Al Brindisi, the world’s oldest wine bar on via Adelardi.  While you sip your wine, think about how Nicolo Este III had his wife and her lover brutally murdered.  This may prevent you from running off with some Italian hottie!

The cuisine recalls the courts of d’Este and is famous for salama sauce and cappelletti stuffed with turkey or pumpkin. I love the cappellacci di zucca stuffed with butternut squash and Parmigiano Reggiano flavored with nutmeg and covered with a delightful buttery sage sauce. Dine at La Providenza or Il Don Giovanni, both restaurants are located on Ercole d’Este.  Get your Buon Ricordo collector plate at Trattoria e Locanda La Chiocciola in Quartiere di Portomaggiore @ Via Runco, 94/F (www.locandalachiocciola.it).  The collector plate depicts the signature “Snail Timbale” served with mashed potatoes, shallots and herbs served in this charming bed and breakfast.

The Palazzo dei Diamanti has many special exhibits. When I  was there, I saw works by French 18th century still-life master Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin on loan from major international museums. To learn more about Italy read www.vino-con-vista.com Travel Guides.

 

Ferrara

Ferrara (Photo credit: ChrisYunker)

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The Glistening Mosaics in Ravenna are Amazing: UNESCO Sites in Italy

The 6th century Byzantine mosaic in the apse o...
Image via Wikipedia
Mausoleum der Galla Placidia in Ravenna, Italien.

Mausoleum der Galla Placidia in Ravenna, Italien. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Facade of the Basilica of Sant'Apolli...

English: Facade of the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy. Italiano: Facciata della basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo a Ravenna. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: 6th century Byzantine mosaic in the a...

English: 6th century Byzantine mosaic in the apse of the basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe (Ravenna, Italy) Italiano: Mosaico bizantino nel catino absidale di Sant’Apollinare in Classe a Ravenna (secolo VI). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Saint Apollinaris, first bishop of Ravenna. De...

Saint Apollinaris, first bishop of Ravenna. Detail from the 6th century Byzantine mosaic in the apse of the basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Make plans to visit Ravenna if you want to see amazing glistening mosaics.

“It has a unique collection of early Christian mosaics and monuments. All eight buildings – the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Neonian Baptistery, the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, the Arian Baptistery, the Archiepiscopal Chapel, the Mausoleum of Theodoric, the Church of San Vitale and the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe – were constructed in the 5th and 6th centuries. They show great artistic skill, including a wonderful blend of Graeco-Roman tradition, Christian iconography and oriental and Western styles.” UNESCO

English: Mosaic in basilica of Sant'Apollinare...

English: Mosaic in basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe (Ravenna) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, ...

Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy: The Three Wise Men” (named Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar). Detail from: “Mary and Child, surrounded by angels”, mosaic of a Ravennate italian-byzantine workshop, completed within 526 AD by the so-called “Master of Sant’Apollinare”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo (mo...

English: Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo (mosaic of Justinian I) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Baroque side chapel in the byzantine ...

English: Baroque side chapel in the byzantine basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy. Italiano: Cappella laterale barocca nella basilica bizantina di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo a Ravenna. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Mausoleum of Theodoric in Ravenna is the o...

The Mausoleum of Theodoric in Ravenna is the only extant example of Ostrogothic architecture. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, Em...

Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. Mosaics along the north side of the nave. Upper register: scenes from the life of Christ. Intermediate register: saints and prophets. Lower register, from left to right: the virgin martyrs, the three Wise Men, Madonna and Child between four angels. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Good Shepherd, mosaic in Mausoleum of Gall...

The Good Shepherd, mosaic in Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna, 1st half of 5th century (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Church tower of the Basilica of Sant'...

English: Church tower of the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy. Italiano: Campanile rotondo della basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo a Ravenna. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Main nave of the byzantine basilica o...

English: Main nave of the byzantine basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy, shiowing the mosaic of the “Procession of the Saint martyrs”. Italiano: Navata della basilica bizantina di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo a Ravenna, con il mosaico della Processione dei santi martiri. 日本語: サンタポリナーレ・ヌオヴォ聖堂内部 投稿者撮影。 Category:イタリア画像. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in ...

English: Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy: “Christ surrounded by angels and saints”. Mosaic of a Ravennate italian-byzantine workshop, completed within 526 AD by the so-called “Master of Sant’Apollinare”. Italiano: Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo a Ravenna: “Cristo attorniato da angeli e santi”. Mosaico di scuola ravennate italo-bizantina, completato entro il 526 d.C. dal cosiddetto “maestro di Sant’Apollinare”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ravenna Italy

Ravenna Italy

English: Cross. Detail from the 6th century By...

English: Cross. Detail from the 6th century Byzantine mosaic in the apse of the basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe (Ravenna, Italy) Italiano: Croce gemmata. Particolare del mosaico bizantino nel catino absidale di Sant’Apollinare in Classe a Ravenna (secolo VI). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Built in 548 A.D. The sights of Raven...

English: Built in 548 A.D. The sights of Ravenna are mostly from the period when Ravenna was the capital of the Western Roman Empire. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prepare to be awe-struck by the amazing glistening mosaics in Ravenna! Ravenna, a UNESCO site in Italy,  houses early Christian Monuments in the Romagna Region www.turismoravenna.it .

Ravenna was initially the seat of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, the Visigoth Empire and finally the Byzantine Italian Empire under Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora until the 8th century.  Ravenna was the capital of the Western Roman Empire for 150 years.

In 402 A.D., the Roman Emperor Honorius transferred the Western Roman Empire from Milan to Ravenna for security purposes and the city engaged in a imperial face-lift. The Galla Placidia Mausoleum was built in the 5th century as a family tomb by the Empress with magnificent mosaics in gold and peacock blue. When Cole Porter was on his honeymoon in Ravenna, he was so moved by the mosaics that he wrote the legendary song “Night and Day” about the 900 glistening stars in the copula.

Ravenna

Ravenna

Italy 2013 Summer with Kids 902 Italy 2013 Summer with Kids 929

Ravenna Italy

Ravenna Italy

Here’s the UNESCO Long Description of each building in Ravenna:

“The early Christian religious monuments in Ravenna are of outstanding significance by virtue of the supreme artistry of the mosaic art that they contain, and also because of the crucial evidence that they provide of artistic and religious relationships and contacts at an important period of European cultural history.

In the reign of Augustus the port of Classis was established at Ravenna. Following the barbarian invasions of the 5th century, Honorius made it his capital. His sister, Galla Placidia, lived in Ravenna during her widowhood in the first half of the 5th century, and made it a centre of Christian art and culture. With the deposition of Romulus Augustulus in 476, Ravenna entered into a period of prosperity and influence. It was taken by Belisarius in 540 and remained the centre of Byzantine control in Italy until 752. Its subsequent history was one of decline and stagnation. After 1441 it was under Venetian and then papal rule.

The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, built in the second quarter of the 5th century, has a plain bare exterior lightened by pilasters that meet in arches and is crowned by a brick dome concealed by a small quadrangular tower. The interior is lavishly decorated. The lower part is clad in panels of yellow marble and the remainder is entirely covered in mosaics. The building is in the western Roman architectural tradition.

The Neonian Baptistery, built by Bishop Orso in the early 5th century, was decorated with mosaics by his successor, Neone, around 450. The interior consists of four apses, articulated into two orders of arches, rising to the great cupola. The large mosaic medallion at the apex of the dome shows the Baptism of Christ by John the Baptist. This is the finest and most complete surviving example of the early Christian baptistry.

The Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo was built in the early years of the 6th century. Inside the interior is divided by 24 marble columns into a nave and two aisles, with a rounded apse. At the present time mosaics cover the two side walls at the foot of the nave, from the ceiling to the tops of the supporting arches, in three decorated fascias. Those in the upper two fascias are in traditional Roman style whereas those in the third show strong Byzantine influence.

The Arian Baptistery, built by Theodoric next to his cathedral, was reconsecrated with the overthrow of the Arian heresy in 561 and became an oratory dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It is a small brick building, octagonal in plan with four flat sides and four with protruding apses. Only the dome retains its mosaic decoration. The iconography of the mosaics is of importance in that it illustrates the Trinity, a somewhat unexpected element in the art of an Arian building as the Trinity was not accepted in this doctrine.

The Archiepiscopal Chapel, the private oratory of the orthodox bishops, was built around 500. The chapel is in the shape of a Greek cross with an apse on the eastern arm; it is covered by a cross-vault and preceded by a rectangular vestibule. The Iower part of the walls is covered with marble, with mosaics above.

The Mausoleum of Theodoric wasbuilt by Theodoric shortly before his death in 526. It is in two storeys, the lower 10-sided with a niche and a small window in each side. The significance of the mausoleum lies in its style and decoration, which owe nothing to Roman or Byzantine art, although it makes use of the Roman stone-construction technique of opus quadratum , which had been abandoned four centuries before. It is the unique surviving example of a tomb of a barbarian king of this period.

The Church of San Vitale was completed around 547. It was fronted by a large quadroportico, converted into a cloister when the church became part of a Benedictine monastery. There are two storeys, the upper one encircling the dome. The apse, which is semi-circular on the interior and polygonal on the outside, is flanked by two small rectangular rooms terminating in niches and two semi-circular sacristies.

The Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe was built in the first half of the 6th century, commissioned by Bishop Ursicinus. The narthex is incorporated in the central body of the facade, framed by two pilasters.” UNESCO

I loved the Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo that was erected by Ostrogoth King Theodoric the Great as his palace chapel during the 6th century. There are magnificent mosaics, depicting Jesus’ miracles and parables; and the Passion and Resurrection.

The enthroned Christ with four angels was incredible!

When UNESCO inscribed the church on the World Heritage List, its claimed: “both the exterior and interior of the basilica graphically illustrate the fusion between the western and eastern styles characteristic of the late 5th to early 6th century. This is one of the most important buildings from the period of crucial cultural significance in European religious art”.

Ravenna Italy

Ravenna Italy

Ravenna Italy

Ravenna Italy

Ravenna Italy

Ravenna Italy

Ravenna Italy

Ravenna Italy

Dante; Dante Museum, Ravenna, Italy

Dante; Dante Museum, Ravenna, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Dante Alighieri's portrait by Sandro ...

English: Dante Alighieri’s portrait by Sandro Botticelli. Tempera 54,7 x 47,5 cm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ravenna’s proximity to the sea and unique collection of early Christian mosaics and monuments make it an incredibly desirable travel destination. The Torre del Pubblico leans more than the Tower of Pisa.  Dante’s tomb is located on Via Dante Alighieri. Beautiful beaches are found in the Punta Marina di Ravenna.

Domenico di Michelino, La Divina Commedia di D...

Domenico di Michelino, La Divina Commedia di Dante (Dante and the Divine Comedy). 1465 fresco, in the dome of the church of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence (Florence’s cathedral). Dante Alighieri is shown holding a copy of his epic poem The Divine Comedy. He is pointing to a procession of sin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ravenna flourished under the Byzantine Empire. All eight artistically noteworthy buildings including:  the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Neonian Baptistery, the Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo, the Arian Baptistery, the Archiepiscopal Chapel, the Mausoleum of Theodoric, the Church of San Vitale and the Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare in Classe were constructed in the 5th and 6th centuries.

The octagonal baptistery contains a beautiful mosaic of John the Baptist and Christ.

Ravenna 1996_0016

Ravenna 1996_0016 (Photo credit: thomas alan)

Ravenna’s mosaics are considered to be the finest in the world outside Istanbul.  “The artistry of the mosaics and monuments presents an enlightened blend of Greco-Roman, Christian iconography, oriental and Western genres.  Ravenna provides a glimpse into artistic and religious relationships during an important period of European cultural history.” UNESCO

Ravenna

Ravenna

Italy 2013 Summer with Kids 955 Italy 2013 Summer with Kids 949 Italy 2013 Summer with Kids 959 Italy 2013 Summer with Kids 970 Italy 2013 Summer with Kids 971 Italy 2013 Summer with Kids 977

Beautiful Mosaics in Ravenna Italy

Dante gazes at Mount Purgatory in an allegoric...

Dante gazes at Mount Purgatory in an allegorical portrait by Agnolo Bronzino, painted c. 1530 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Basilica of San Vitale is amazing! The church was begun by Bishop Ecclesius in 526, when Ravenna was under the rule of the Ostrogoths. The church has an octagonal plan.

San Vitale in Ravenna

San Vitale in Ravenna

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Ravenna offers an array of annual events including the prestigious summer “Ravenna Festival” with opera performances, classical music and ballet. In September, the Basilica of San Francesco conducts Progetto Dante: “La Divina Commedia nel Mondo” with readings from Dante’s Divine Comedy. The Basilica was built in the 5th century and completely re-built between the 10th and 11th centuries. Dante Alighieri’s funeral was held here in 1321.

If you need some nourishment between mosaics, go to Ca de Ven. This enoteca in Romagne was outstanding! Make plans to attend the Giovinbacco Festival in November @ www.giovinbacco.it in the Province of Ravenna when they celebrate the evolution of Sangiovese de Romagna wine.

Ravenna

Ravenna

English: The 6th century Byzantine mosaic in t...

English: The 6th century Byzantine mosaic in the apse of the basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe (Ravenna, Italy) Italiano: Mosaico bizantino nel catino absidale di Sant’Apollinare in Classe a Ravenna (secolo VI). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Dante's death tomb in Ravenna.

Dante’s death tomb in Ravenna. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the peaceful Piazza dell Popola, or beside the Marina di Ravenna, you can enjoy a pleasant “Vino con Vista.”  Have a glass of Rosso Ravenna, Bianco Ravenna or Sangiovese de Romagna Superiore Riserva with your Parmigiano Reggiano.  Ravenna is famous for its olive oil from Brisighella, and the vineyards from prestigious Albana.

Think about that Ducati or Ferrari you’ve had your eye on as you watch the Italians enjoy their testosterone infused rides. If you prefer, you can plan your next mosaic tile project as you sip your delicious Lambrusco at one of the charming cafes.

If you dine at Gigiole on Piazza Couvour or Antica Trattoria al Gallo 1909 on via Maggione, try some Tagliatelle Bolognese.  In this region, they love cheese and butter; so don’t forget to take your cholesterol medication.

Dine at the Buon Ricordo destination at the Ristorante Hotel Tino in Massa Lombarda @ Via Resistenza, 22 (www.tinomassalombarda.it).  The “Ossobuco del Cavaliere” comes with a charming collector plate depicting a knight on horseback.  The veal is served with saffron risotto. Dine in the charming courtyard of this hotel.

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides to Italy.

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

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Travel Tips for Modena: A UNESCO Site in Emilia Romagna Italy

English: The Palazzo Comunale (right) and Duom...

English: The Palazzo Comunale (right) and Duomo (left) in Modena, Italy. Italiano: Palazzo Comunale (a destra) e Duomo (a sinistra) di Modena. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

duomo di modena

duomo di modena (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

'Nativity with the Two Midwives', oil on canva...

‘Nativity with the Two Midwives’, oil on canvas painting by Pellegrino Aretusi, Galleria Estense, Modena, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Facciata del Duomo di Modena, romanico, del 1099.
Image via Wikipedia

Modena’s Cathedral has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. It was designed by architect Lanfranco and sculptor Wilgelmo and construction began in 1099. It is heralded as the highest expression of Romanesque art in Europe. In Modena, the Torre Civica and Piazza Grande are also World Heritage sites.

In medieval times, Modena was the seat of Queen Matilda of Tuscany.  The Romanesque 12th century cathedral was the work of two great artists, Lanfranco and Wiligelmus.  It was founded in 1099.  The façade of the Duome has a magnificent 13th century rose window by Anselmo da Campione and a beautiful  pulpit from the 15th century. The interior has a nave and two aisles and houses a masterpiece sculpted by Anselmo da Campions. The Cathedral Museum contains noteworthy collections

The Piazza del Duomo has a soaring 285 foot Campanile tower that is leaning more than the Tower of Pisa. “These structures portray the faith of their builders and the power of the family that commissioned the contruction, the Cannosa dynasty.”  UNESCO

More interesting places to visit include :

1. The church of Sant’Agostino that was built in 1338 and houses the “Descent from the Cross” by Antonio Begarelli. The church of San Bartolomeo was built in 1607 and contains furnishings and paintings from the 17th century.

2. The Galleria Estense (Este Gallery) contains important paintings and sculptures from the 14th-18th centuries. Noteworthy highlights include: Tintoretto’s “Madonna in Glory” and Bernini’s 1651 sculpture of the “Bust of Duke Francesco I d’Este” who married Lucrezia Borgia. There are also works by Correggio, Veronese, Tintoretto and Reni.

3. Palazzo Ducale was built during the reign of Francesco I and was designed by Avanzini over the remains of the Obizzo Castle. Visit the d’Este Library and the Ghirlandina Tower alongside the Cathedral.

4.  Have an outstanding Vino con Vista at Modena’s annual “Balsamica” Festival in May and June. Designed to highlight their traditional Balsamic Vinegar, this Food and Wine Event offers cooking seminars and allows visitors to sign up for tours of vinegar making facilities. Foodies will love Modena’s aromatic stuffed pork trotters.

Ferrari 348 ts

Ferrari 348 ts (Photo credit: Damors)

5.  Modena is an intriguing blend of old and new.  It is a former medieval ducal capital that is known for its production of balsamic vinegar and exotic cars. Exotic cars like the Ferrari and Maserati are built here.  Enzo Ferrari was born in Modena in 1898 and his sexy designs continue to make his wheels the most sought after rides in the world! Think about the new or vintage red Ferrari you could order from the Galleria Ferrari in Maranello on Via Dino Ferrari 43.  Visit the Maserati factory@ 322 Viale Ciro Menotti. If you have a few million dollars burning a hole in your pocket, you may be able to score a coveted 1960 Ferrari; you will look great driving your 250GT California Spider in Italy. It worked for Ferris Bueller! If  I win the lottery, that’s what I’m buying!!

After you place your order for your new Ferrari, dine at Montana on Via Settembre, near the dealership.  Modena is known for cold cuts like zamponi di Modena and Prosciutto di Modena. This is also a great place to enjoy some Tortellini or Tagliatell alla Bolognese with some Lambrusco or Sangiovese to celebrate your new wheels.

English: Luciano Pavarotti in Vélodrome Stadiu...

English: Luciano Pavarotti in Vélodrome Stadium, 15/06/02. Cropped version. Français : Luciano Pavarotti au Stade Vélodrome de Marseille, France, le 15 juin 2002. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

6. Legendary tenor, Luciano Pavarotti was born near Modena in 1935.  As you sip the local Lambrusco and listen to Luciano Pavarotti music in a café at Parco Amendola think about how Lamborghini expanded his tractor factory into a world class auto plant in the nearby town of Sant’Agata.

English: Luciano Pavarotti in Vélodrome Stadiu...

English: Luciano Pavarotti in Vélodrome Stadium, 15/06/02 Français : 41 Luciano Pavarotti – Stade Vélodrome (15/06/02) « … une consigne pour poser notre matériel (un Olympus C-200 en ce qui me concerne), … pour les autres … des bêtes à XXXXX euros “plus cher que ton éducation” aura la finesse de penser tout haut un des photographes à propos d’une des filles de la consigne … » Hum ! photo Hum ! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

7. You may want to visit the Collezione Umberto Panini on the SP 486 Highway to admire 40 Maseratis.  These cars are owned by the retired business mogul.  Tour the factories in Modena’s Crocetta district.

8. The top restaurants in town are:  Osteria Francescana on via Stella 22, Fini on rua Frati Minori 54 and Hosteria Giusti on Vicolo Squallore 46. Stay at the Canalgrande in Modena in a 16th century villa.

9. Don’t forget to test drive a Ferrari in Maranello!

Ferrari 308

Ferrari 308 (Photo credit: dave_7)

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

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

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10 Reasons to Travel to Urbino: A UNESCO Site in Le Marche

Federico III da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino. P...
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see filename (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: "Euclid of Megara" (lat: Ev...

English: “Euclid of Megara” (lat: Evklidi Megaren), Panel from the Series ‘Famous Men’, Justus of Ghent, about 1474, Panel, 102 x 80 cm, Urbino, Galleria Nazionale delle Marche. This picture is meant to represent the famous mathematician Euclid of Alexandria, who was, in medieval times, wrongly identified with Euclid of Megara, the disciple of Socrates. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Le Marche, not far from the Adriatic Sea, the savvy traveler will find the small hill town of Urbino.  It is perched between the Foglio and Metauro Rivers.

Urbino

Urbino (Photo credit: kekkoz)

Le Marche enjoys more than 100 miles of clean Adriatic coastline with long stretches of sandy beaches. The regional capital is Ancona where an annual “Summer Jamboree Festival” is held with bands from all over the world. www.summerjamboree.com

Urbino was declared a dukedom in the middle of the 15th century and has a Ducal Palace with cellars and servants quarters. Raphael and Bramante were famous local Renaissance artists. Urbino’s historic center has a magnificent array of medieval and well-preserved Renaissance buildings nestled in a picturesque countryside setting that was inscribed by UNESCO in 1998. The historic center has interesting sites that include: The Oratory of St. John the Baptist, Raphael’s birth house, the churches of St. Francis and St. Dominic, the Oratory of St. Gaetano, the cloistered convent of St. Claire and of the Church of St. Bernardino. There is a fabulous VIno con Vista panorama of the city from the Albornoz Fortress.

Battista Sforza, Duchess of Urbino. Portrait b...

Battista Sforza, Duchess of Urbino. Portrait by Piero della Francesca. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Urbino’s illustrious past rivals Florence in terms of its cultural significance during the Renaissance.  This town attracted many humanist scholars and Renaissance artists in the 15th century.  These trailblazers ultimately influenced cultural developments elsewhere in Europe. Urbino became a Ducal city during the Renaissance.

For more information visit: http://www.le-marche.com/

Portrait of a Young Woman (best known as La Mu...

Portrait of a Young Woman (best known as La Muta), Raphael, 1507-1508, Galleria Nazionale delle Marche. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Urbino was the birthplace of Raffaello Sanzio in 1483. He  lived at Casa Natale di Raffaello and his former residence warrants a visit. The birthplace of Raphael is a small 14th-century building with a charming interior courtyard. What was probably the artist’s first important work, a Madonna and Child, is located in the first-floor room where he was born in 1483. His superb artistic skills adorn the walls of the Vatican in his legendary “School of Athens” masterpiece.

Italiano: Scuola di Atene English: The School ...

Italiano: Scuola di Atene English: The School of Athens – fresco by Raffaello Sanzio (w) Español: La escuela de Atenas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Urbino: Palazzo Ducale & Duomo

Urbino: Palazzo Ducale & Duomo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. Visit the elegantly proportioned Palazzo Ducale that was built for Duke Federico da Montefeltro and his wife Battista Sforza as a defensive structure in 1460 designed by architect by Luciano da Laurana and Francesco di Giorgio Martini.

It is one of the most beautiful architectural works of the Italian Renaissance. The palace is perched high on a hill with panoramic views of the countryside.  The façade of the palace is flanked by two dominating towers. Montefeltro was a patron of the arts who ruled Urbino from 1444-1482. The 3rd Sunday in August, attend “Festa del Ducca” in Urbino to honor  the Duke.

Galleria Nazionale delle Marche

Galleria Nazionale delle Marche (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3.  The palace houses the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche  (The Marche National Gallery) and holds the most significant collection of Marchigiana art.  This museum is the home to works by Raphael, Piero della Francesca, Tizano, Paolo Uccello and Luca Signorelli.

4.  The elegant, Neo-Classical Duomo was rebuilt after the earthquake of 1789.  It was done by Giuseppe Valadier, Architect of the Holy See.The impressive cathedral is in Piazza Duca Federico and has a beautiful painting of the “Last Supper” by Federico Barocci. The cathedral/Duomo was largely rebuilt in the late 18th century, during the papacy of Pius VII who completing the reconstruction left unfinished during the reign of Clement XI.

Urbino

Urbino (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Urbino, Marche, Italia

Urbino, Marche, Italia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5.  Have a “Vino con Vista” at La Vecchia Fornarina close to Piazza della Republica.  It is the oldest restaurant in Urbino.  Order some fish stew with a glass of Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi (DOC) , a crisp white wine. Order some red Piceno (DOC) vino at the Mamiani Hotel on Via Bernini and enjoy the beautiful view. Duke Federico preferred sour cherry wine made from marasca cherries called Visner.  After dinner, order some chocolate and sip some chilled Visner as you toast Federico Montefeltro. He was the enlightened lord that was instrumental in transforming this lovely city. Distilled wines like aniseed liqueurs are popular in this region (Mistra and Anisetta).

6. Visit the Umani Ronchi Winery.  Try some Medoro Marche Sangiovese or Le Busche Marche Bianco (www.unmanironchi.com). Visit the International Wine Label Museum in Cupramontana.

7.  A haven for Foodies, the cuisine has been influenced by Romagna to the north and Abruzzi to the south. From polenta to porchetta and white truffles, the regional specialties of the Marches include:  “Olive all’Ascolana” stuffed with mince, eggs, cheese and dipped in egg and breadcrumbs and fried in olive oil; Stoccafisso in Potacchio, Brodetto and Coniglio in Porchetta.  Fossa cheese is aged while buried in a pit. “Vincisgrassi” is lasagne with mushrooms, truffles and chicken livers covered with bechamel sauce and baked to perfection. Cannelloni, maccheroncini di Campofilone and cresce tagliate are popular first courses in the Marche. In sea-side areas the “Arrosto Segreto” is made with mackerel, anchovies and sardines; this cooking process allows the fish to be cooked on both sides at the same time like a fish panini. In Urbino, the delicious braciola is stuffed and braised in white wine. Try some Prosciutto di Montefeltro. You can sign up for Cooking School at:  http://www.latavolamarche.com

8.  In August, attend the “Sagra delle Frittelle” of Massignano in the Ascoli Piceno fortress. This Fritter Fest is a 50 year old Italian Food Festival. The Macerata Opera Festival is held in Sferisterio from July 15 to August 15 www.maceratagallery.it.

9.  More notable holy places include: the 14th-century Oratory of St John the Baptist with outstanding frescoes by Luca Signorelli and the 14th century Church of San Francesco with an interior that was redesigned in the 18th century. The Church of San Domenico is basically a 13th-century structure with an articulated portal that was added during the Renaissance period, surmounted by a beautiful oriel window by Luca della Robbia. The Santa Chiara and San Bernardino monasteries are good examples of Renaissance architecture.

10.  Attend glorious “Holiday Festivals and Events” in the town of Candelara in December in the province of Macerata and also in the town of Fano in Giardini Amiani.

Italiano: Veduta della città di Urbino dalla c...

Italiano: Veduta della città di Urbino dalla collina del castello. Si ammira la Cattedrale e il Palazzo Ducale sulla sinistra. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

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

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