Assisi Medieval City;Photo credit-Nigel Richards with Stonewash Magazine

“Around 1000 BC a wave of immigrants settled in the upper Tiber valley as far as the Adriatic Sea, and also in the neighborhood of Assisi. These were the Umbrians, living in small fortified settlements on high ground. From 450 BC these settlements were gradually taken over by the Etruscans. The Romans took control of central Italy by the Battle of Sentinum in 295 BC. They built the flourishing municipium Asisium on a series of terraces on Monte Subasio. Roman remains can still be found in Assisi: city walls, the forum (now Piazza del Comune), a theatre, an amphitheatre and the Temple of Minerva (now transformed into the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva). In 1997, the remains of a Roman villa were also discovered containing several well preserved rooms with frescoes and mosaics in a condition rarely found outside sites such as Pompei.”

“In 238 AD Assisi was converted to Christianity by bishop Rufino, who was martyred at Costano. According to tradition, his remains rest in the Cathedral Church of San Rufino in Assisi. The Ostrogoths of king Totila destroyed most of the town in 545. Assisi then came under the rule of the Lombards as part of the Lombard and then Frankish Duchy of Spoleto. The thriving commune became an independent Ghibelline commune in the 11th century. Constantly struggling with the Guelph Perugia, it was during one of those battles, the battle at Ponte San Giovanni, that Francesco di Bernardone, (Saint Francis of Assisi), was taken prisoner, setting in motion the events that eventually led him to live as a beggar, renounce the world and establish the Order of Friars Minor.”

“The city, which had remained within the confines of the Roman walls, began to expand outside these walls in the 13th century. In this period the city was under papal jurisdiction. The Rocca Maggiore, the imperial fortress on top of the hill above the city, which had been plundered by the people in 1189, was rebuilt in 1367 on orders of the papal legate, cardinal Gil de Albornoz. In the beginning Assisi fell under the rule of Perugia and later under several despots, such as the soldier of fortune Biordo Michelotti, Gian Galeazzo Visconti and his successor Francesco I Sforza, dukes of Milan, Jacopo Piccinino and Federico II da Montefeltro, lord of Urbino. The city went into a deep decline through the plague of the Black Death in 1348.” “The city came again under papal jurisdiction under the rule of Pope Pius II (1458–1464).”  – Wikipedia

 




 

Castle Saint Angelo at Vatican; Photo Credit-Nigel Richards with Stonewash Magazine

Castle Saint Angelo at Vatican; Photo Credit-Nigel Richards with Stonewash Magazine

 

Castle Saint Angelo at Vatican; Photo Credit-Nigel Richards with Stonewash Magazine

Castle Saint Angelo at Vatican; Photo Credit-Nigel Richards with Stonewash Magazine

“Legend holds that the Archangel Michael appeared atop the mausoleum, sheathing his sword as a sign of the end of the plague of 590, thus lending the castle its present name. A less charitable yet more apt elaboration of the legend, given the militant disposition of this archangel, was heard by the 15th-century traveler who saw an angel statue on the castle roof. He recounts that during a prolonged season of the plague, Pope Gregory I heard that the populace, even Christians, had begun revering a pagan idol at the church of Santa Agata in Suburra. A vision urged the pope to lead a procession to the church. Upon arriving, the idol miraculously fell apart with a clap of thunder. Returning to St Peter’s by the Aelian Bridge, the pope had another vision of an angel atop the castle, wiping the blood from his sword on his mantle, and then sheathing it. While the pope interpreted this as a sign that God was appeased, this did not prevent Gregory from destroying more sites of pagan worship in Rome.”

“The popes converted the structure into a castle, beginning in the 14th century; Pope Nicholas III connected the castle to St Peter’s Basilica by a covered fortified corridor called the Passetto di Borgo. The fortress was the refuge of Pope Clement VII from the siege of Charles V’s Landsknechte during the Sack of Rome (1527), in which Benvenuto Cellini describes strolling the ramparts and shooting enemy soldiers.”

“Leo X built a chapel with a Madonna by Raffaello da Montelupo. In 1536 Montelupo also created a marble statue of Saint Michael holding his sword after the 590 plague (as described above) to surmount the Castel.[6] Later Paul III built a rich apartment, to ensure that in any future siege the pope had an appropriate place to stay”  – Wikipedia

 




 

Arch of Constantine

Arch of Constantine; Photo Credit-Nigel Richards with Stonewash Magazine

 

“The Arch of Constantine (Italian: Arco di Costantino) is a triumphal arch in Rome, situated between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill. It was erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine I’s victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312.[a] Dedicated in 315, it is the largest Roman triumphal arch.[1] The arch spans the Via triumphalis, the way taken by the emperors when they entered the city in triumph.”

“Though dedicated to Constantine, much of the decorative material incorporated earlier work from the time of the emperors Trajan (98–117), Hadrian (117–138) and Marcus Aurelius (161–180), and is thus a collage.[2] The last of the existing triumphal arches in Rome, it is also the only one to make extensive use of spolia,[3] reusing several major reliefs from 2nd century imperial monuments, which give a striking and famous stylistic contrast to the sculpture newly created for the arch. This earned it the derisive nickname of Cornacchia di Esopo Aesop’s Crow.”

“The arch is 21 m high, 25.9 m wide and 7.4 m deep. It has three archways, the central one being 11.5 m high and 6.5 m wide and the lateral archways 7.4 m by 3.4 m each. Above the archways is placed the attic, composed of brickwork reveted (faced) with marble. A staircase within the arch is entered from a door at some height from the ground, on the west side, facing the Palatine Hill. The general design with a main part structured by detached columns and an attic with the main inscription above is modelled after the example of the Arch of Septimius Severus on the Roman Forum” – Wikipedia

 

View of the Duomo/The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy; Photo Credit-Nigel Richards with Stonewash Magazine

View of the Duomo/The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy; Photo Credit-Nigel Richards with Stonewash Magazine

 

 

View of the Duomo/Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy; Photo Credit-Nigel Richards with Stonewash Magazine

View of the Duomo/Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy; Photo Credit-Nigel Richards with Stonewash Magazine

 

 

View from Florence/Ponte Vecchio; Photo Credit-Nigel Richards with Stonewash Magazine

View from Florence/Ponte Vecchio; Photo Credit-Nigel Richards with Stonewash Magazine

 

 

View of the Duomo/The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy; Photo Credit-Nigel Richards with Stonewash Magazine

View of the Duomo/The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy; Photo Credit-Nigel Richards with Stonewash Magazine

“The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (Italian pronunciation: [katteˈdraːle di ˈsanta maˈriːa del ˈfjoːre]; in English “Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flowers”) is the main church of Florence, Italy. Il Duomo di Firenze, as it is ordinarily called, was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style with the design of Arnolfo di Cambio and completed structurally in 1436 with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi.[1] The exterior of the basilica is faced with polychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink bordered by white and has an elaborate 19th-century Gothic Revival façade by Emilio De Fabris.”

“The cathedral complex, located in Piazza del Duomo, includes the Baptistery and Giotto’s Campanile. These three buildings are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site covering the historic centre of Florence and are a major attraction to tourists visiting Tuscany. The basilica is one of Italy’s largest churches, and until development of new structural materials in the modern era, the dome was the largest in the world. It remains the largest brick dome ever constructed”

“Santa Maria del Fiore was built on the site of an earlier cathedral dedicated to Saint Reparata. The ancient structure, founded in the early 5th century and having undergone many repairs, was crumbling with age, according to the 14th-century Nuova Cronica of Giovanni Villani, and was no longer large enough to serve the growing population of the city. Other major Tuscan cities had undertaken ambitious reconstructions of their cathedrals during the Late Medieval period, such as Pisa and particularly Siena where the enormous proposed extensions were never completed.”

“The bridge spans the Arno at its narrowest point where it is believed that a bridge was first built in Roman times, when the via Cassia crossed the river at this point. The Roman piers were of stone, the superstructure of wood. The bridge first appears in a document of 996. After being destroyed by a flood in 1117 it was reconstructed in stone but swept away again in 1333, save two of its central piers, as noted by Giovanni Villani in his Nuova Cronica. It was rebuilt in 1345, Giorgio Vasari recorded the tradition in his day, that attributed its design to Taddeo Gaddi, besides Giotto one of the few artistic names of the trecento still recalled two hundred years later. Modern historians present Neri di Fioravanti as a possible candidate. Sheltered in a little loggia at the central opening of the bridge is a weathered dedication stone, which once read Nel trentatrè dopo il mille-trecento, il ponte cadde, per diluvio dell’ acque: poi dieci anni, come al Comun piacque, rifatto fu con questo adornamento. The Torre dei Mannelli was built at the southeast corner of the bridge to defend it.”

“It has always hosted shops and merchants who displayed their goods on tables before their premises, after authorization of the Bargello (a sort of a lord mayor, a magistrate and a police authority). The back shops (retrobotteghe) that may be seen from upriver, were added in the seventeenth century.” – Wikipedia

sideview of St Francis Cathedral

sideview of St Francis Cathedral; Photo Credit-Nigel Richards with Stonewash Magazine

 

 

Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain; Photo Credit-Nigel Richards with Stonewash Magazine

“The Trevi Fountain (Italian: Fontana di Trevi) is a fountain in the Trevi district in Rome, Italy, designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Pietro Bracci. Standing 26.3 metres (86 ft) high and 49.15 metres (161.3 ft) wide,[1] it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world. The fountain has appeared in several notable films, including Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita.”

“The fountain at the junction of three roads (tre vie) marks the terminal point of the “modern” Acqua Vergine, the revived Aqua Virgo, one of the aqueducts that supplied water to ancient Rome. In 19 BC, supposedly with the help of a virgin, Roman technicians located a source of pure water some 13 km (8.1 mi) from the city. (This scene is presented on the present fountain’s façade.) However, the eventual indirect route of the aqueduct made its length some 22 km (14 mi). This Aqua Virgo led the water into the Baths of Agrippa. It served Rome for more than 400 years.”

“The fountain was refurbished in 1998; the stonework was scrubbed and all cracks and other areas of deterioration were repaired by skilled artisans and the fountain was equipped with recirculating pumps. In January 2013, it was announced that the Italian fashion company Fendi would sponsor a 20-month, 2.2-million-euro restoration of the fountain; it will be the most thorough restoration in the fountain’s history. Restoration work began in June 2014 and was completed in November 2015. The fountain was reopened with an official ceremony on the evening of November 3, 2015. The restoration included the installation of more than 100 LED lights to improve the nighttime illumination of the fountain” – Wikipedia

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