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Catania Cathedral faces the city’s main square, and is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site.
As you stand in Catania’s main square and look at the exterior of the cathedral, you’ll be impressed by its beautiful Baroque features. The many lovely marble figures decorating the exterior and grounds of the building add to its uniqueness. It’s easy to see why the cathedral is one of Catania’s most popular buildings — both during daylight hours and at night.
Catania Cathedral is also known as Saint Agatha Cathedral in honor of a young Christian martyr named Agatha who was killed at this site in the third century. Agatha was said to have been a beautiful and pious young girl born into a good family. …
One of the main reasons we picked Milan as a travel destination was our desire to see Leonardo da Vinci’s greatest work, the “Last Supper”.
It’s not easy getting the opportunity to see this masterpiece in person. There are a limited number of timed tickets issued for viewing of the Last Supper, so it is vital that you try to reserve your tickets just after they are issued because they sell out quickly — often within a day or so of being released. I got up in the middle of the night to buy ours — successfully, thank goodness. If you can’t arrange the purchase of your tickets in advance, it is likely you can take a city tour in Milan …
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a beautiful shopping arcade in Milan near the Duomo, is the oldest shopping mall in Milan and one of the oldest in Europe.
In 1860 the government of Milan held a competition for the redevelopment of the area between the Duomo and the Scala Opera House. The winning design was submitted by Bolognese architect, Giuseppe Mengoni. The first stone of the mall was laid in 1865 by King Victor Emmanuel II, after whom the arcade is named. The Gallerie was opened for business about 2 years later, but work on the structure continued for another decade, especially on the grand entrance from Piazza del Duomo. In a sad note of irony, Mengoni fell to his …
One of the great places to explore when visiting Venice is the Franciscan church of Santa Maria dei Frari (St. Mary of the Friars, commonly known as the Frari Church).
As with many things in Venice, the Frari Church is an old building. The church was originally constructed between 1236 and 1338, then rebuilt in Gothic style two centuries later. It’s considered a minor basilica and is dedicated to the Assumption of St. Mary, Mother of Jesus.
While the church is well known for its spacious architecture, it is best known for the many fine monuments and terrific works of Venetian Renaissance art it displays. This beautiful art is still situated exactly where the artists knew it would be placed and where it …
We stumbled upon this market as we were wandering around Madrid, rather than my usual method of researching and then visiting. Our first glance of the San Miguel market is what you see above. An attractive building of steel and glass that, to me at least, seemed inviting.
Mercado de San Micuel is close to the Plaza Mayor in Madrid. The market opened in 1916 and while not large, is spacious, bright and quite lovely. About ten years ago, after a change in ownership and a remodel, the market transformed from a general market to an upscale venue that focuses on premium food products. As such, it’s a popular place for locals and tourists to pick up lunch or a snack …
When my wife and I travel in Europe, we tend to focus each trip on a small region. Generally we visit one or two major cities, each for 5-7 days including day trips into the countryside. Also, if our schedule allows and we find one of interest, we will go on a food tour in the cities we’re visiting.
When we visited Milan this past fall, we enjoyed a very fine food tour. Our guide was Paulo, a professional guide who works for different companies around the city of Milan. Our particular tour was focused on the city’s popular Brera neighborhood. He did a great job guiding us through sights in Brera and explaining the city’s food cultural traditions and dishes.
If its magnificent Duomo is the heart of Milan, then the Piazza which faces this church certainly is the town’s main gathering place and foremost tourist attraction. Always filled with throngs of people, the cathedral’s rectangular square has several sights worthy of note besides its famous church (we’ll learn more about the Duomo in a future blog).
The piazza was created in the 14th century and developed over the years as construction on the Duomo progressed. Most of the buildings and monuments you see date to the 19th century. Our rented apartment was across the street from the Piazza, so we visited it often and frequently walked through it on the way to restaurants or to see an attraction. It was …
Just north of Milan’s Duomo and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a popular park known as Piazza della Scala, named for the city’s famous Teatro alla Scala opera house directly opposite this piazza. It’s a place of space and refuge in a busy and crowded area of the city. Other buildings on the Piazza include Palazzo Marino (Milan’s city hall) and Palazzo della Banca Commerciale Italiana.
To me the most interesting feature of the square was situated at its center, where a thoughtful monument of Leonardo da Vinci sits. It was crafted by sculptor Pietro Magni (1872). Milan was Leonardo’s home for much of his early adult life — likely the most productive in his life — and the city proudly remembers it’s adopted son.