The Royal Palace of Caserta is a former royal residence in Caserta, southern Italy, constructed for the Bourbon kings of Naples.

 It is one of the largest palaces erected in Europe during the 18th century. In 1997, the palace was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Its nomination described it as "the swan song of the spectacular art of the Baroque, from which it adopted all the features needed to create the illusions of multidirectional space".

In terms of volume, the Royal Palace of Caserta is the largest royal residence in the world with over 2 million m³ and covering an area of about 235,000 m².

Main façade of the palace.
The garden, a typical example of the baroque extension of formal vistas, stretches for 120 ha, partly on hilly terrain. It is also inspired by the park of Versailles. The park starts from the back façade of the palace, flanking a long alley with artificial fountains and cascades.
Grand Staircase of Honour.
There is a botanical garden, called "The English Garden", in the upper part designed in the 1780s by Carlo Vanvitelli and the German-born botanist, nurseryman, plantsman-designer, John Graefer, trained in London and recommended to Sir William Hamilton by Sir Joseph Banks. It is an early Continental example of an "English garden" in the svelte naturalistic taste of Capability Brown.
The throne room.
The palace was listed as a world heritage site in 1997. According to the rationale, the palace, "whilst cast in the same mould as other 18th century royal establishments, is exceptional for the broad sweep of its design, incorporating not only an imposing palace and park, but also much of the surrounding natural landscape and an ambitious new town laid out according to the urban planning precepts of its time."
The Diana and Actaeon Fountain at the feet of the Grand Cascade.
The Royal Palace of Caserta is the largest royal residence in the world declared by the UNESCO World Heritage Site.Click to Tweet
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Caserta_-_Palatine_Chapel Caserta_Fuente_de_Eolo
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Manarola is a small town, a frazione of the comune (municipality) of Riomaggiore, in the province of La Spezia, Liguria, northern Italy. It is the second smallest of the famous Cinque Terre towns frequented by tourists.

The large wheel which can be at the origine of the name of the village.

Manarola may be the oldest of the towns in the Cinque Terre, with the cornerstone of the church, San Lorenzo, dating from 1338. The local dialect is Manarolese, which is marginally different from the dialects in the nearby area.

The name "Manarola" is probably a dialectical evolution of the Latin, "magna rota". In the Manarolese dialect this was changed to "magna roea" which means "large wheel", in reference to the mill wheel in the town.

Manarola's primary industries have traditionally been fishing and wine-making. The local wine, called Sciacchetrà, is especially renowned; references from Roman writings mention the high quality of the wine produced in the region. In recent years, Manarola and its neighboring towns have become popular tourist destinations, particularly in the summer months.

Tourist attractions in the region include a famous walking trail between Manarola and Riomaggiore (called Via dell'Amore, "Love's Trail") and hiking trails in the hills and vineyards above the town. Manarola is one of the five villages of the Cinque Terre.

Mostly all of the houses are bright and colourful. Manarola was celebrated in paintings by Antonio Discovolo (1874-1956).

Manarola (CinqueTerre, Liguria, Italy)

CinqueTerre, Liguria (Italy)

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Tuscany houses many museums with masterpieces by the greatest artists of all time, from Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, to Botticelli, Giotto and Donatello. 

Depending on your interests in history, art or sculpture - Tuscany has it all, spanning across time, styles and periods.

See reviews and photos of art museums in Tuscany

Below, a list of the top museums in Tuscany that you should not miss!

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
The Uffizi is one of the world's top museums, with some of the most important works from the Renaissance inside. Admire magnificent works of art and sculpture, from Botticelli's Birth of Venus and Spring to the only example of Michelangelo's painting on panel to splendid works by Raphael and Titian.

Civic Museums in San Gimignano.
Must-sees during your visit to San Gimignano are the Palazzo Comunale, Pinacoteca and Torre Grossa, the tallest tower in the city from which you can enjoy a unique 360° view over all of San Gimignano. If you have time, also visit the Archeological Museum where the second floor houses the Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery, a mix of the ancient past and more relatively recent past.

The Accademia in Florence.
The Accademia Gallery museum houses the David, Michelangelo's most famous sculpture. Gaze in admiration but don't forget to admire the other works by Michelangelo and other artists in the famous museum, including works by Botticelli, Ghirlandaio and Allori.

Siena's Cathedral - The Duomo in Siena.
Siena's Gothic cathedral is full of treasures, including its marble pavement, Piccolomini library frescoes and incredibly ornate interiors. We highly recommend a visit into this wonder of Siena's past!
Read also: Getting to Tuscany by train.
Duomo of San Gimignano.
No matter how short your visit in San Gimignano might be, you must visit the cathedral to admire the marvelous cycle of frescoes that recount stories from the New and Old Testaments painted by illustrious artists of the 14th-century Sienese school and the extraordinary Renaissance jewel, the Chapel of Santa Fina. Then head to the Museum of Sacred Art next door to admire the exquisite "Madonna of the Rose"
The Bargello Museum.
Primarily a sculpture museum, you'll be treated to early Michelangelo marbles and Giambolognabronzes and Cellini works then on to a room full of famous works by Donatello, considered by many the greatest sculptor since antiquity. The museum houses more than sculpture, it is definitely a museum worth exploring!

Pitti Palace & Boboli Gardens.
The Pitti Palace houses important collections of paintings and sculpture, works of art, porcelain, silver and period costumes. The rooms contain works by Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio and many others. The beautiful Boboli Gardens, grand example of Italian Renaissance gardens, are on the hill behind the palace.

First Sunday of the Month is a day of Art & Culture.
Get your fix of art, culture and history for free on the first Sunday of the month, when Italian State museums open their doors to everyone! Here's the list of State museums across all of Tuscany, to be used on those first Sundays as well as the rest of the month (with opening hours).
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    Michael the Archangel is mentioned five times in Holy Scripture, in particular, in the book of Daniel, he portrayed as the supreme ruler of the heavenly army and warrior against the enemies of the Church, whilst in the book of Revelation, Michael is prince of the angels faithful to God; he fights and defeats  the dragon (Satan) and the rebel angels.

    Thus, St. Michael is revered in the Christian tradition as a defender of the Christian people, very much a warrior; he challenges the enemies of the Church.

    The cult of the Archangel spread from the east and took root in the Mediterranean region particularly in Italy, where it arrived with the expansion of Christianity.
    Saint Michel
    The oldest and most famous place of veneration of Saint Michael in the west, is the Sanctuary of San Michele in Monte Sant’Angelo, which was erected on the promontory of Gargano in the fifth century.
    Read also: Getting to Tuscany by train.
    Very soon this sanctuary became an important centre for the spread of the veneration of Saint Michael in Europe and Italy and it came to represent the ideal model for all subsequent sanctuaries set up along the lines of that at Gargano: mountain summits, hills, high places and deep caves were regarded from earliest times as the most appropriate places for the veneration of angels and of Michael in particular.
    Saint Michel 2
    In 708 or 709, in France, on a promontory of the Normandy coast, a sanctuary was consecrated to the Angel under the title “Mont Saint-Michel au péril de la mer”, due to the phenomenon of high and low tides which made the surroundings quite dangerous.

    The Sacra is “of Saint Michael” because its birth, its growth, its history and its constituent parts all centre around the veneration of St. Michael which first came to the Susa Valley in the V or VI century. Its location on high ground, in a highly evocative setting is redolent of these two earlier establishments dedicated to the Archangel Michael on Gargano and in Normandy.
    Founded between 983 and 987 on the rocky spur of Mount Pirchiriano, it is at the midpoint of a pilgrimage route of over two thousand kilometres that connects a significant part of Western Europe from Mont Saint-Michel to Monte Sant’Angelo.
    This monument is a symbol of Piedmont Region and a place that inspired the writer Umberto Eco to conceive the best-seller  “Il nome della rosa” ( The name of the rose ) , the Sacra of San Michele is an ancient abbey built between 983 and 987 on the top of mount Pirchiriano, 40 km from Turin. From it’s towers you can admire Turin and a breathtaking view of the Val di Susa. Inside the main Church of the Sacra, dating from the twelfth century, are buried members of House of Savoy  (one of the oldest royal family in the world).
    Dedicated to the cult of the Archangel Michele, defender of the Christian people, the Sacra di San Michele fits inside a ruote of pilgrimage (long over 2000 km) wich runs from Saint-Michel ( France ) to Monte Sant’Angelo (Puglia).

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The Vatican Grottoes extend under part of the nave of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, three meters below the current floor, from the main altar (the so-called papal altar) to about one half of the nave; They form a real underground church that occupies the space between the current floor of the basilica and the ancient Constantinian basilica of the fourth century.

Those that are improperly called "caves" actually represent the gap between the old Constantinian basilica and the current one: walking in the "caves" as you walk in what was the basilica built by the emperor and lasted until the sixteenth century.
Read more: Mysteries And Wonders Of The Vatican Necropolis.
The plant of the Vatican grottoes, which branch into niches, corridors and side chapels, is that of a three-nave church (the so-called old caves) with chapels that house the tombs of the popes; the semicircular apse of the church, with chapels and funeral monuments, (the so-called new caves) has the ideal center of St. Peter's Chapel, which corresponds, above the caves, the papal altar and the dome of Michelangelo, and, in the necropolis underground, the tomb of the Apostle Peter, the first Pope of Rome.

The Vatican grottoes are a suggestive monumental complex for the so many historical memories. In addition to preserving the tombs of several popes, the caves are rich in works of art from the ancient basilica.

Among the most important works of art preserved in the Vatican grottoes we must certainly remember the tomb of Pope Boniface VIII, by Arnolfo di Cambio. Also important is the tomb of Cardinal berardo eroli by Giovanni Dalmatian and fragments of frescoes attributed to Pietro Cavallini.

The sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, and the tomb of Pope Sixtus IV in bronze (created by Antonio Pollaiolo in 1493) are preserved in the St. Peter's Treasury Chamber (access to the right aisle of the basilica above).









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The Vatican Necropolis lies under the Vatican City, at depths varying between 5–12 meters below Saint Peter's Basilica.

The Vatican sponsored archeological excavations under Saint Peter's in the years 1940–1949 which revealed parts of a necropolis dating to Imperial times.

The work was undertaken at the request of Pope Pius XI who wished to be buried as close as possible to Peter the Apostle.

It is also home to the Tomb of the Julii, which has been dated to the third or fourth century.

The necropolis was not originally one of the underground Catacombs of Rome, but an open air cemetery with tombs and mausolea.
Read more: Sacroprofano Splendor Of The Vatican Grottoes.






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