Discover Italy’s Art Cities: Venice, Florence and Rome
Venice is Pure Romantic Magical Atmosphere
Whether you’ve been to Venice two or 20 times, there’s always something new to discover. Indeed, even the most seasoned visitors get lost in the city’s labyrinthine network of islands, bridges, pedestrian alleys, and canals. And therein lies the beauty of the destination: afternoons spent wandering from palace to piazza, exploring the small art museums, shopping the stalls that line the streets, and encountering a fresh side of Venice, a fascinating amalgamation of influences—Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and Italian—every time you round a corner.
Swoon-worthy beauty is Venice’s calling card. Canals and bridges crisscross the Italian city, people gather in 17th-century palazzi, Renaissance masterpieces hang in museums, and not a single car traverses its stone paths. Experience this beloved city in-depth with our Venice travel virtual experiences.
IF YOU DON’T WANT TO FALL IN LOVE WITH VENICE DO NOT WATCH THIS VIDEO.
The city built on water was never afraid to attempt the impossible. When plague struck, Venice consulted its brain trust of Mediterranean doctors, who recommended a precaution that has saved untold lives since: quarantine. Under attack by Genovese rivals, Venice’s Arsenale shipyards innovated the assembly line, producing a new warship every day to defeat Genoa. After Genoa backed Christopher Columbus’ venture to the New World, Venice’s shipping fortunes began to fade – but Venice wasn’t about to relinquish the world stage, going on to become the launching pad for baroque music and modern opera.
Basilica Di San Marco
St Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco in Italian) is the most famous of the many churches of Venice and one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture in the world. Located just off the Grand Canal, the gleaming basilica overlooks the Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) and adjoins the Doge’s Palace. San Marco is a cathedral but has not always been so: it was the Dodge’s chapel until it became the seat of the Archbishop of Venice in 1807.
Dodge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale in Italian) is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, an impressive structure composed of layers of building elements and ornamentations. From its 14th and 15th-century original foundations to the significant Renaissance. The structure is made up of three large blocks, incorporating previous constructions. The wing towards the St. Mark’s Basin is the oldest, rebuilt from 1340 onwards. The wing towards St. Mark’s Square was built in its present form from 1424 onwards. The canal-side wing, housing the Doge’s apartments and many government offices, dates from the Renaissance and was built between 1483 and 1565.
Teatro La Fenice
The Phoenix Theater (Teatro La Fenice in Italian) was built in 1792 It’s a 326-seat jewel box of an opera house continues to please music fans and socialites more than 200 years later.
The name ‘phoenix’ proves to be appropriate, because the building was destroyed by fire in 1836 and in 1996. Rossini and Bellini staged operas here, Verdi premiered Rigoletto and La Traviata , and international greats Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Britten composed for the house, making La Fenice the envy of Europe.
HOW DOES VENICE WORKS? THE INCREDIBLE CITY NOBODY SEES.
Venice is not just a stage set. It is also a city with a resident population, which has productive activities, transportation, and services. But how does the Venice system work? How to the tides in the lagoon behave? How are the canals formed? And the embankments? What’s under the buildings? Watch this incredible video to get to know the Venice backstage.
Directed by Nicolò Scibilia (www.teodolinda.it). Motion graphics: pholto. Produced by Insula spa, an operational division of Venice Municipality. www.venicebackstage.org
Related Tours & Sightseeing
Florence, The Birthplace of The Renaissance
Florence’s museums, palaces, and churches house some of the greatest artistic treasures in the world. The most popular and important sites in Florence include the Cathedral, the Baptistery, theUffizi, the Bargello, and the Accademia. The churches of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce are veritable art galleries, and the library of San Lorenzo is a magnificent exhibition of Michelangelo’s architectural genius. Wander some of the oldest streets in the city until you reach the Arno River, cross the Ponte Vecchio, and experience the “newest” area of Florence, the Oltrarno. Be sure to set aside time to see the vast and varied art collection housed in the Pitti Palace. When you grow weary of museums and monuments, head outdoors. Spend a day at the Boboli Gardens or climb the hill to the church of San Miniato al Monte to experience an enchanting view of Florence.
“Monalisa” – Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was a painter, architect, inventor, and student of all things scientific. His natural genius crossed so many disciplines that he epitomized the term “Renaissance man.” Today he remains best known for his art, including two paintings that remain among the world’s most famous and admired, Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. Art, da Vinci believed, was indisputably connected with science and nature. Largely self-educated, he filled dozens of secret notebooks with inventions, observations and theories about pursuits from aeronautics to anatomy. But the rest of the world was just beginning to share knowledge in books made with moveable type, and the concepts expressed in his notebooks were often difficult to interpret. As a result, though he was lauded in his time as a great artist, his contemporaries often did not fully appreciate his genius—the combination of intellect and imagination that allowed him to create, at least on paper, such inventions as the bicycle, the helicopter and an airplane based on the physiology and flying capability of a bat.
“The Three Graces” – Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, Italian, April 6 or March 28, 1483 – April 6, 1520), known as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form, ease of composition, and visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur. Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period.
God Creates Adam, Sistine Chapel – Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni | March 1475 – 18 February 1564), was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer of the High Renaissance who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art.Considered to be the greatest living artist during his lifetime, he has since also been described as one of the greatest artists of all time.
A Fantastic Ballet of Colors and Lights in a Legendary City
“Luminescence” in Florence
“La notte di Firenze si trasforma in uno spettacolo visivo magico e sorprendente. Le antiche pietre si illuminano di arte, forme e colori. Un sogno fatto di visioni, luce, energia, magia e illusione.” The Florence night is transformed into a magical vision. The old stones are illuminated by art, shape and colors. A dream made of visions, light, energy, magic and illusion.
The Uffizi Gallery | Galleria degli Uffizi
The Uffizi Gallery (Italian: Galleria degli Uffizi, pronounced [ɡalleˈriːa deʎʎ ufˈfittsi]) is a prominent art museum located adjacent to the Piazza della Signoria in central Florence, region of Tuscany, Italy. The building of Uffizi complex was begun by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 for Cosimo I de’ Medici so as to accommodate the offices of the Florentine magistrates, hence the name uffizi, “offices”. The construction was later continued by Alfonso Parigi and Bernardo Buontalenti and completed in 1581. The cortile (internal courtyard) is so long and narrow, and open to the Arno at its far end through a Doric screen that articulates the space without blocking it, that architectural historians treat it as the first regularized streetscape of Europe. Vasari, a painter and architect as well, emphasized its perspective length by the matching facades’ continuous roof cornices, and unbroken cornices between stories and the three continuous steps on which the palace-fronts stand. The niches in the piers that alternate with columns filled with sculptures of famous artists in the XIX century.
The Uffizi was designed by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 for Cosimo I de’Medici to house the Granducal Magistratures of Tuscany. Over time, the top floor loggia became an exhibition of the dynastic collection of ancient sculpture, artwork and artifacts. The eastern wing of the building incorporated the ancient Florentine church of San Pier. Click on the image to experience a virtual tour.
Experience a virtual tour of the Uffizi Gallery
Image credit: FineArt America
Rome is an Exciting Journey Into History
Rome is Italy’s capital. Rome is a sprawling cosmopolitan city with nearly 3,000 years of globally influential art, architecture and culture on display. Ancient ruins such as the Roman Forum and the Colosseum evoke the power of the former Roman Empire. Vatican City, headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, boasts St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums, which house masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes.
Located just east of the Roman Forum, the massive stone amphitheater known as the Colosseum was commissioned around A.D. 70-72 by Emperor Vespasian of the Flavian dynasty as a gift to the Roman people. In A.D. 80, Vespasian’s son Titus opened the Colosseum–officially known as the Flavian Amphitheater–with 100 days of games, including gladiatorial combats and wild animal fights. After four centuries of active use, the magnificent arena fell into neglect, and up until the 18th century it was used as a source of building materials. Though two-thirds of the original Colosseum has been destroyed over time, the amphitheater remains a popular tourist destination, as well as an iconic symbol of Rome and its long, tumultuous history.
Piazza San Lorenzo
Piazza San Lorenzo
Piazza San Lorenz. Piazza San Lorenzo is Full of life, especially during summer days.
Trastevere is beyond doubt one of Rome’s most characteristic neighbourhoods, where amidst tiny lively alleys, Roman trattorias, small markets, shops and artisan workshops, it is still possible to get lost to find the essence of the most authentic and genuine Rome.
From Santa Maria in Trastevere to Piazza Trilussa, through Vicolo del Cinque, Via della Scala, Vicolo del Moro or Vicolo del Bologna, you can still feel in the air the smells of typical products of old Rome. By sunset, young people gather here to have a chat or to drink a beer in company in one of the many pubs and night bars of the area.