Month: December 2016

Colosseum and Trevi Fountain in Rome: Italian places you should visit before you die

Colosseum and Trevi Fountain in Rome: Italian places you should visit before you die

The beautiful Trevi Fountain in Rome is a bastion of the city’s impressive history and an icon of the ancient empire.

One of the first water sources in Rome, the fountain was a literal life-saver for many citizens, bringing fresh, clean water into the center of the city.

The Trevi Fountain is actually made from the same stone as the world-famous Colosseum. Though no one would dream about skipping the Colosseum during a visit to Rome, be sure to take the time to visit the inside as well – there’s more to the historic structure than what can be seen just from the outside and you’ll need to go underground to really understand its impact on Ancient Rome!

If you’re planning to visit the Trevi Fountain in the near future, practice your throwing arm to make sure you can clear the barriers with your coin! The Trevi Fountain is actually made from the same stone as the world-famous Colosseum.

The 2 Pizzas that every person should see

The 2 Pizzas that every person should see

1. Piazza della Signoria, Florence

In medieval cities, each piazza had its own function: one served as the city’s political center, another as its religious base, and a third as the nucleus of its economy. Florence’s Piazza della Signoria was the political center of not only the city but the entire Italian Renaissance. Oddly shaped and imposingly large, perhaps no other public space in Italy better represents the power and vision of a single family and their political project.

2. Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa

The Piazza dei Miracoli is probably the least traditional Italian piazza on this list.

It’s home to Pisa’s cathedral, battistero, “Monumental Cemetery”, and a certain crooked tower that you might have heard of. The Leaning Tower of Pisa took 177 years to complete, but after just five years of construction the subsoil began to sink, causing the tower to lean.

Today, you’ll find most tourists at a particular point in front of the tower getting the “I’m propping up the Leaning Tower of Pisa” shot.

2 Things you didn't know about the Florence Duomo

2 Things you didn’t know about the Florence Duomo

The Dome is one of the most significant architectural achievements of the Renaissance

A dome of the size and shape of the Florence Duomo that could support itself without collapsing was thought completely impossible to build before the Renaissance. In that time, they used a special herringbone brick pattern and a system of internal chains that ringed the outer dome like the metal rings on a barrel to help evenly distribute the weight.

The Dome has survived about 600 years, but a visit to the top isn’t for everyone

The dome has survived wars, storms, and multiple earthquakes.

Also, today visitors can climb the 463 steps to the tiptop of the dome for sweeping views of the city, but be warned, the Florence Dome climb isn’t for everyone. The stairs were originally built simply to help workers get up and down the cathedral walls for construction and maintenance; no one thought they would to be used by the general public. Not only are there hundreds of steps, but they are small, steep and narrow.

 

Leather from Florence: a perfect gift for Christmas

Leather from Florence: a perfect gift for Christmas

With its famous Chianina cows and a thriving central business hub in Florence, Tuscany has all the ingredients to make excellent leather.

35% of national leather production still takes place in this area today! Though you can find authentic Italian-quality leather throughout all of Tuscany and even nearby Umbria, Florence is still the best place to buy that incredible handmade purse, coat, or belt you’ve been dying to have.

Head to Santa Croce to see what the biggest brands are selling, or if you only have one day in Florence take a lunchtime tour of the massive San Lorenzo Market which boasts dozens of stores and booths selling any and all leather products.

Everything made of Italian leather it’s a good choice to give as a present this Christmas!

3 things you didn't know about the Leaning Tower of Pisa

3 things you didn’t know about the Leaning Tower of Pisa

1- Multiple engineers tried, over hundreds of years to correct the famous lean

When construction began again on the third story in the 13th century, engineers tried to stop the tilt by building straight upwards, but the center of gravity was thrown off and the tower simply began to lean in a different direction.

As construction continued the tower eventually settled back into its southward tilt, where it has stayed ever since.

2- The most famous structurally unsound building in the world is open to visitors

Since its restoration and slight un-tilting, the structure’s integrity is monitored constantly and the building hosts large numbers of visitors every day.

If you want to climb to the top you should book tickets in advance.

3- The tower is currently stable

The tower has survived centuries of well-meaning but misguided attempts to right it, including various engineers who added levels and arches of all different heights and one overzealous group who dug around the tower to open an underground tour.

Someone finally got it right in the 21st century and as of 2001, the tower was officially declared stable for at least the next 200 years.