Tag Archives: Pope Julius II

Alghero’s Cathedral of Santa Maria in Italy

Catalan Gothic cathedral's bell tower in Alghe...

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Alghero is a beautiful coastal city of medieval origin situated in the northwestern coral coast of Sardinia. This town is 300 miles off the coast of Spain near Barcelona. They speak Italian as well as Catalan.

The recently refurbished cathedral of Santa Maria (Cattedrale di Santa Maria Immacolata di Alghero)  stands in Piazza del Duomo on Via Sant’Erasmo. Some of its oldest structures provide an outstanding example of the late Catalan-Gothic period.  This cathedral has been the bishop’s seat since 1503.

Door of the Cathedral’s Bell Tower in Alghero Sardinia

This cathedral is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It has an elaborate apse and an octagonal bell tower with a pyramidal cuspid. Some of the construction has dramatically transformed the interior and the façade. The original facade was replaced in 1862. The changes include four neo-classical Doric Columns supporting a triangular pediment  and a new central staircase.

The bell-tower is behind the church. It was part of the first phase of late Gothic construction and was modeled after the Cathedral of Barcelona. It has an octagonal barrel and pointed arch openings. It is crowned with a slender pyramid-shaped spire with polychrome majolica that is commonly used in Catalonia.  The distinctive Gothic  bell tower can be visited during high season.

Campanile of Santa Maria Cathedral in Alghero Sardinia

In 1503 Pope Julius II  implemented a major overhaul of the dioceses of Sardinia. He was supported in his efforts by King Ferdinand II. The first part of the building was finished during the first half of the XVI century and Alghero’s noble families guaranteed the financing needed to complete the project.

alghero Sardinia

Ornate lions in the cathedral of Alghero

The Cathedral was consecrated in 1730; 400 years after its foundation.  It houses the neoclassical marble mausoleum of the Duke of Monferrato, brother of King Carlo Felice  of Savoy, who died in 1799. This  mausoleum was sculpted by Felice Festa in 1807.

The interior space has three naves, separated by pillars and columns.  There are six chapels adorned with interesting sacred art. The first chapel to the right is dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament and it has an imposing altar consecrated in 1824. The carved marble is decorated the center with a circular temple reminiscent of the Temple of Vesta in Rome.

The Virgin protects the sailors in Alghero Sardinia

The Baptism in Alghero’s Cathedral

The presbytery has five chapels which include the base of the bell tower. It is surrounded by a balustrade, made ​​of inlaid marble with a coral hue. On the sides of the stairway to the altar there are two marble lions that resemble their kindred spirits in the Cathedral of Cagliari.

The balustrated high altar has a group of sculptures depicting the Immaculate Conception accompanied by angels.

The main altar of the cathedral in Alghero Sardinia

There is an elegant pulpit . Behind the wooden choir, in the apse there are five Gothic radial chapels.

Cathedral of Alghero Sardinia

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

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St. Peter’s Basilica in Italy’s Vatican City

Rome - St. Peter's Basilica from St. Angelo Bridge

Rome – St. Peter’s Basilica from St. Angelo Bridge (Photo credit: David Paul Ohmer)

English: Interior of St. Peter's Basilica in V...

English: Interior of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Rome Česky: Uvnitř Baziliky svatého Petra, Vatikán, Řím (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. Peter's Basilica in Rome seen from the roo...

St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome seen from the roof of Castel Sant’Angelo. Location: Rome Taken: September 2004 Source: Own photo Photographer: Wolfgang Stuck (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. Peter's Basilica at Early Morning

St. Peter’s Basilica at Early Morning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

Inside St. Peter's Basilica

Inside St. Peter’s Basilica (Photo credit: diluvienne)

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: Statue of St Peter by Arnolfo di Camb...

English: Statue of St Peter by Arnolfo di Cambio in St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City (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)

St Peter's Basilica

St Peter’s Basilica (Photo credit: JP..)

Saint Peter’s Basilica is built above the site where Peter the Apostle was crucified, martyred and buried in the year 64.

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)

St. Peter was the first apostle and the first pope. He is always carrying his key.

Saint Peter's Square

Saint Peter’s Square (Photo credit: jimmyharris)

St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City

St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City (Photo credit: kvsankar)

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. Pay hommage to St.Peter in the Basilica.

Bronze Statue of St. Peter in St. Peter's Basilica in Italy

The Basilica contains the work of some of Italy’s finest sculptors. Vatican City is the world’s smallest country and occupies 109 acres; it has been a sovereign state since 1929 and is ruled by the Pope.

St. Peter’s Square is equipped with large video screens. When pilgrims and tourists converge upon the area for festivities, spectators have a bird’s eye view of the main event.

St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican

 The red granite obelisk was brought to Rome from Egypt by Emperor Caligula in 37 AD.  It was moved to this square in 1587 by Domenico Fontana.

Emperor Caligula's obelisk at St. Peter's Basilica in Italy

The statues surrounding the obelisk represent the zodiac. There are two 17th century fountains in the square. The fountain on the right (1613) is by Carlo Maderno who also designed the façade of the church. The fountain on the left was added by Bernini in 1675 by Carlo Fontana.

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)

Columns and Corinthian pilasters decorate the façade. The central balcony above the main entrance is the “Loggia of Benedictions” where the pope delivers the benediction after his election and gives his weekly blessing. Below the cupola, Bernini’s workshop created 13 statues: Christ the Redeemer, John the Baptist and eleven apostles. St. Peter and St. Paul’s 19th century statues welcome visitors on the ground floor of the basilica.

St. Peter’s statue by Giuseppe de Fabris holds the golden key that he received from Christ.

Statue of St. Peter by Giuseppe de Fabris

 St. Paul’s statue by Adamo Tadolini holds the sword that symbolizes his decapitation in Rome.

The dome of the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatica...

The dome of the St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The building on the right is the Pope’s residence. The Pope appears every Sunday at noon to say the Angelus and give his apostolic blessing. The colonnade surrounding the square was designed by Bernini between the years 1656 and 1666. They represent two outstretched arms welcoming the faithful to the Basilica. There are 140 statues of saints watching over the Basilica above the colonnade.

St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, Italy

St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are five bronze entrance doors. These sacred doors are symbolic and functional. From left to right these doors represent: Death, Good and Evil, the original door from the old basilica, the Sacraments and the Porta Santa (Holy Door). The Holy Door is only opened during Jubilee years so that religious pilgrims can receive the Pope’s special blessing.

Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Scu...

Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Sculptor: Vico Consorti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Holy doors at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City

English: Michelangelo's Pietà in St. Peter's B...

English: Michelangelo’s Pietà in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. Français : La Pietà de Michel-Ange située dans la Basilique Saint-Pierre, au Vatican. (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 Romevisit www.vino-con-vista.com. Buon Viaggio–

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Treasures of the Vatican Museums in Rome Italy: Musei Vaticani

Statue of the river Nile, Museo Chiaramonti, V...

Statue of the river Nile, Museo Chiaramonti, Vatican Museums, Rome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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see filename (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vatican Museum

Vatican Museum (Photo credit: ccheviron)

Vatican Museums, Vatican City. A ceiling in th...

Vatican Museums, Vatican City. A ceiling in the Raphael Rooms. Français : Musées du Vatican, Vatican. Un plafond dans les chambres de Raphaël. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Musei Vaticani

Musei Vaticani (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Vatican Museums ( Musei Vaticani) are located inside the Vatican City. Pope Julius II founded the museums in the early 16th century. These museums include the Museo Chiaramoni and display magnificent statues and works of art that have been collected by the Roman Catholic Church.

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Vatican - musei Italiano: La targa sull’ingres...

Vatican – musei Italiano: La targa sull’ingresso dei Musei Vaticani (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An Egyptian mummy kept in the Vatican Museums.

An Egyptian mummy kept in the Vatican Museums. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Augustus of Prima Porta, statue of the emperor...

Augustus of Prima Porta, statue of the emperor Augustus in Museo Chiaramonti, Vatican, Rome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The collection includes: mummies, classical sculptures of emperors, tapestries, stained glass and some of the important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world.

I love the beautiful tapestries.

A Ignudo, Sistine Chapel

A Ignudo, Sistine Chapel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sistine Chapel ceiling, Michelangelo, The Liby...

Michelangelo’s masterpieces in the Sistine Chapel and the work of Raphael in the Stanza della Segnatura are some of most visited destinations in these museums.

The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Prophet Jonah, as depicted by Michelangelo...

The Last Judgement

The Last Judgement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Piece of the Raphael Room

A Piece of the Raphael Room (Photo credit: Alias Rex)

Scala a Chiocciola Vatican Museums Vaticano Ro...

Scala a Chiocciola Vatican Museums Vaticano Roma Rome Lazio Italia Italy Castielli CC0 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ceiling of one corridor in Vatican Museums, Va...

Ceiling of one corridor in Vatican Museums, Vatican City, Rome Česky: Strop jedné z chodeb ve Vatikánských muzeích, Vatikán, Řím (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sa...

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sanzio, 1509, showing Plato (left) and Aristotle (right) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Raphael even included Michelangelo in his famous “School of Athens” frescoes in the Vatican Museums. The central figures in the masterpiece are Plato and Aristotle.

Raphael- School of Athens, detail showing R's ...

Raphael- School of Athens, detail showing R’s portrait of Michelangelo as Heraclitus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are ornate ceilings everywhere. I love the magnificent helix staircase and the Gallery of the Maps. The topographical maps represent regions of Italy. They were painted on the walls by friar and geographer Ignazio Danti from Perugia. The maps were commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII (1572–1585). It took Danti three years (1580–1583) to complete the 40 fresco panels of the Map Room.

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @


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Top Treasures of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel in Italy

Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam. The Book ...

Image via Wikipedia

English: Spectacular spiral staircase in the V...

English: Spectacular spiral staircase in the Vatican Museums in Rome (Italy) designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1932. Español: Espectacular escalera de caracol del Museo del Vaticano en Roma (Italia), diseñada por Giuseppe Momo en 1932. Nederlands: Spectaculaire wenteltrap in de Vaticaanse Musea in Rome (Italië) ontworpen door Giuseppe Momo in 1932. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A Colossal Statue of Ceres, identifie...

English: A Colossal Statue of Ceres, identified by the harvest grain in her right hand. From the Vatican Museums, Rome, Italy. (March 2005) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So-called “Apoxyomenos” (“the Scraper”). Marbl...

So-called “Apoxyomenos” (“the Scraper”). Marble, Roman copy of the 1st century AD after a Greek bronze original ca. 320 BC. From the Trastevere in Roma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Museo Pio-Clementino in the Vatican Museums.

Museo Pio-Clementino in the Vatican Museums. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Musei Vaticani: Braccio Nuovo (inside).

Musei Vaticani: Braccio Nuovo (inside). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Carlo Brogi (1850-1925) - "Rome - Vatican...

Carlo Brogi (1850-1925) – “Rome – Vatican – Museo Pio-Clementino – Augustus in his older age”. Catalogue # 8262. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Fresco of Mercury - Vatican Museum - ...

English: Fresco of Mercury – Vatican Museum – Rome, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vatican Museums

Vatican Museums (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A spiral staircase inside one of the Vatican M...

A spiral staircase inside one of the Vatican Museums (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Augustus of Prima Porta, statue of the emperor...

Augustus of Prima Porta, statue of the emperor Augustus in Museo Chiaramonti, Vatican, Rome (with white background). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bust of Augustus of the Prima Porta type. Roma...

Bust of Augustus of the Prima Porta type. Roman artwork, most of the bust is a modern restoration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Vatican Museums ( Musei Vaticani) are located inside the Vatican City. They display works from the immense collection acquired by the Roman Catholic Church throughout the centuries. The collection includes some of the most renowned classical sculptures like the Apoxyomenos (Athlete Washing) in the Museo Pio Clementino that houses works of Greek and Roman sculpture. This statue was discovered in 1849 when it was excavated in Trastevere. This statue is a 1st century Roman copy of an original Greek bronze by Lysippus.

Athlete Washing at the Vatican Musuem

I can’t resist the ancient “giant head ” sculptures in Rome! They truly relflect the egos that have dominated this town for centuries.

Classic vatican giant head

The museums contain some of the most important masterpieces of sacred Renaissance art. The intricate and elaborate Roman mosaic floors were made from tesserae colored marble.

Roman Mosaic floor of Neptune at the Vatican Museums

Many Roman military leaders were commemorated with statues throughout Rome. The statues were originally painted with vibrant colors like this replica of the Prima Porta Augustus shown below. The original marble Augustus of Prima Porta is also in the museum.

The famous statue of Augustus Caesar was discovered in 1863, in the Villa of Livia at Prima Porta (first door), a suburb of Rome on the right bank of the Tiber River. Augustus Caesar’s wife, Livia Drusilla, retired to the villa after his death. The sculpture is now displayed in the Braccio Nuovo of the Vatican Museums.

English: Torso of the statue, now in the Bracc...

English: Torso of the statue, now in the Bracchio Nuovo of the , Rome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Augustus of Prima Porta, statue of the emperor...

Augustus of Prima Porta, statue of the emperor Augustus in Museo Chiaramonti, Vatican, Rome (with white background). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are 54 galleries (salas) in the museums. The last one is the Sistine Chapel. You will witness one of the oldest and most comprehensive art collections in the world! Let’s take a look at some of Vatican Museum’s treasures and masterpieces.

Vatican Museum Treasures

The Goddess of Fertility

1.Pope Julius II founded the museums in the early 16th century. They were visited by 4,310,083 people in the year 2007.

The Vatican Museums trace their origin to one marble sculpture, purchased 500 years ago; the sculpture of Laocoon.

The story of Laocoön was the subject of a play by the Greek writer Sophocles. According to Greek mythology, Laocoön was killed after attempting to expose the ruse of the Trojan Horse by striking it with a spear. The snakes were sent by Athena, and were interpreted by the Trojans as proof that the horse was a sacred object. The most famous account of these events is in Virgil‘s Aeneid. Laocoön warned his fellow Trojans against the wooden horse presented to the city by the Greeks. In the Aeneid, Virgil gives Laocoön the famous line Equo ne credite, Teucri / Quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentes, or “Do not trust the Horse, Trojans: Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks even bearing gifts.” This line is the source of the saying: “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.”

The statue was unearthed in 1506 near the site of the Domus Aurea of the Emperor Nero in Rome, in the vineyard of Felice De Fredis  near the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.

Laocoon in Vatican Museums

Pope Julius II,  an enthusiastic classicist,  sent Giuliano da Sangallo and Michelangelo Buonarroti  to examine the discovery. On their recommendation, the pope immediately purchased the sculpture from the vineyard owner. The pope put the sculpture of the Trojan “Laocoön and His Sons” who were named Antiphantes and Thymbraeus in the grips of a sea serpent on public display at the Vatican exactly one month after its discovery. It is believed that the scultures wre from the island of Rhodes and there names were Agesander, Athenodros and Polydorus.

2.   The Stanze della Segnatura are  four rooms decorated by Raphael. They formed part of the apartment situated on the second floor of the Pontifical Palace that was chosen by Julius II della Rovere (pontiff from 1503 to 1513) as his own residence and used also by his successors. The pictorial decoration was executed by Raphael and his school between 1508 and 1524. I love Raphael’s “Baptism of Constantine” and the “Deliverance of Saint Peter.”

Raphael’s Baptism of Constantine

Raphael’s ceiling

Raphael’s Deliverance of St. Peter

3. The Sistine Chapel houses Michelangelo’s brilliant frescoes on the ceiling and lunettes above the windows. Here’s a virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel http://www.vatican.va/various/cappelle/sistina_vr/index.html

In 1473, Pope Sixtus IV commissioned Giovannni De Dolci to build a chapel for Papal ceremonies.  This Sistine Chapel is located in the Vatican Museum a few blocks away from St. Peter’s.  It is famous for its architecture and its elaborate decorative frescoed interior. Many Renaissance artists including Michelangelo, Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Pinturicchio and others contributed to the magnificent art display in the Chapel.

Commissioned by Pope Julius II, Michelangelo painted the chapel ceiling between 1508 and 1512.

Sistine Chapel Ceiling by Michelangelo

He resented the commission but  the ceiling and The Last Judgement (1535–1541) is Michelangelo’s crowning achievement in painting. The “Last Judgment” is located on the wall behind the main altar and was completed in 1541.

Saint Jerome holding his flayed skin with Michelangelo’s self-portrait

Pope Paul III commissioned Michelangelo’s “Last Judgment” (1536-1541).  It represents a vortex of divine, human and diabolical bodies. Some souls are blessed and reach paradise and others are damned and cast down into an inferno.

Vatican Last Judgement Information Board

There are information boards in the  Cortile della Pigna that will help you navigate the art in the Chapel.

Check out the  large Roman bronze pinecone that was once a fountain. It is positioned in front of the niche in the courtyard.

Michelangelo’s Ceiling in the Sistine Chapel

One of the primary functions of the Sistine Chapel is that it is a venue for the election of each successive pope in a conclave of the College of Cardinals. During a conclave, a chimney is installed in the roof of the chapel. The smoke from the chimney serves as a signal. If white smoke appears, it is generated by burning the ballots of the election. The white smoke signifies the election of a new pope. If a candidate receives less than a two-thirds majority, the cardinals send black smoke up the chimney. This is created by burning the ballots along with wet straw and chemical additives, therefore it signals that the election has not been successful.

4. The Gallery of the Busts (Galleria dei Busti) is where many ancient busts are displayed  in the Museum of Antiquities.

Ancient busts at the Vatican Museum

The Bust Room in the Vatican Museum

5. The Map Room at the Vatican Musuems is incredible. The barrel vaulted ceiling of the “Gallery of Maps” is the hallway that leads to the former residences of the popes. The map room illustrates stories of the saints and events charted on the wall maps. It is located on the west side of the Belvedere Courtyard in the Vatican. This magnificent hallway contains a series of painted topographical maps of Italy. The maps are based on drawings by friar and geographer Ignazio Danti. The gallery was commissioned in 1580 by Pope Gregory XIII.It took Danti three years (1580–1583) to complete the 40 panels.

A Map of Sardinia at the Vatican Museums

6. The Sarcophagus of Saint Helen, the mother of Constantine is located in Sala a Croce Greca. The ornate object is carved from red porphyry stone with Roman horsemen and barbarian prisoners from the 4th century.

St. Helen’s Sarcophagus

7. The  Pinacoteca Vaticana was commissioned by Pope Pius IV in 1790. The collection was first housed in the Borgia Apartment, until Pope Pius XI ordered construction of a proper building. The designer was Luca Beltrami. The art gallery contains paintings by Giotto, Lippi, Leonardo da Vinci and Caravaggio including:

Leonardo da Vinci’s Saint Jerome

Fra Filippo Lippi’s Coronation of the Virgin

1.  Giotto, “The Stefaneschi Altarpiece”
2. Fra Angelico, “Madonna and Child with St. Dominic, St. Catherine and the Angels
3. ”Filippo Lippi, “Coronation of the Virgin”
4.   Bellini, “Pieta” (1471)
5. Pinturicchio, “Adoration of the Magi” (in the Borgia Apartment)
6. Leonardo da Vinci, “St. Jerome” (1480) Raphael’s Oddi Altarpiece,  “Crowning of the Virgin” (1503) and “The Foligno Madonna”

Caravaggio’s Entombment

7. Caravaggio’s, “The Deposition” shows Christ’s hand brushing againstthe tombstone.Saint John the Evangelist and Nicodemus, the Pharisee and doctor of law, struggle to support his body.The Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene are bent toward Jesus.This painting was originally commissioned for a church in Rome but it was moved here when itwas returned from France.

“The Vatican Museums Under the Stars”  Exhibit is open from May 6-July 15 every Friday. Get your tickets on-line, get there early and proceed to the Sistine Chapel immediately. I was fortunate enough to almost have the entire Chapel to myself!!

After admiring the amazing art, helix staircase and sculptures collected by the papacy since the 15th century in the Vatican Museum, have a Vino con Vista by enjoying a glass of Cesanese or Montepulciano di Abruzzo wine in one of the charming neighborhood cafes like Bar Santa Anna or Pizzeria il Migliore on via Santa Anna.

Vatican Museums Helix Staircase by Giuseppe Momo in 1932

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

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