Bargello, Florence


FIRENSE – Cortile e scala del Bargello
Bargello courtyard & staircase

Official Website

The Bargello, also known as the Palazzo del Bargello, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, or Palazzo del Popolo (Palace of the People), is a former barracks and prison, now an art museum, in Florence, Italy. . . . The word bargello appears to come from the late Latin bargillus (from Gothic bargi and German burg), meaning “castle” or “fortified tower”. During the Italian Middle Ages it was the name given to a military captain in charge of keeping peace and justice (hence “Captain of justice”) during riots and uproars. In Florence he was usually hired from a foreign city to prevent any appearance of favoritism on the part of the Captain. The position could be compared with that of a current Chief of police. The name Bargello was extended to the building which was the office of the captain.
. . .
Construction began in 1255. The palace was built to house first the Capitano del Popolo and later, in 1261, the ‘podestà’, the highest magistrate of the Florence City Council. This Palazzo del Podestà, as it was originally called, is the oldest public building in Florence. This austere crenellated building served as model for the construction of the Palazzo Vecchio. In 1574, the Medici dispensed with the function of the Podestà and housed the bargello, the police chief of Florence, in this building, hence its name. It was employed as a prison; executions took place in the Bargello’s yard until they were abolished by Grand Duke Peter Leopold in 1786, but it remained the headquarters of the Florentine police until 1859. When Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor Peter Leopold was exiled, the makeshift Governor of Tuscany decided that the Bargello should no longer be a jail, and it then became a national museum.

Wikipedia.

TERMINOLOGY
The word “bargello” appears to derive from the late latin noun bargillus, meaning “castle” or “fortified tower“. Bargello was the title attributed to a military captain, precisely the “Captain of justice”, who from 1554, under Duke Cosimo I, made arrests, conducted interrogations, and carried out death sentences.

THE PALACE
The Bargello was used as a prison until 1786, when the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo abolished capital punishment. Consequently, from this time on, the Bargello no longer held executions. The Bargello next served as the headquarters of the Florentine police until 1859. When Pietro Leopoldo II was exiled, the makeshift Governor of Tuscany decided that the Bargello should no longer be a jail, thereby becoming a national museum. Construction of the palace began in 1255 when Lapo Tedesco, an Italian architect of the XIII century, incorporated the old palace, the tower of Boscoli, the property of an ancient Florentine family, as well as certain houses and towers belonging to the Badia Fiorentina. Subsequently, the palace was merged with a new building on Via dell’Acqua, and in 1295, its arcaded courtyard was created. Between 1340 and 1345, the famous Italian architect Neri di Fioravante added another story to the building. The Bargello was designed around an open courtyard with an external staircase leading to the second floor. An open well is located in the center of the courtyard.
Florence Inferno

The National Museum has its setting in one of the oldest buildings in Florence that dates back to 1255. Initially the headquarters of the Capitano del Popolo (Captain of the People) and later of the Podestà, the palace became, in the sixteenth century, the residence of the Bargello that is of the head of the police (from which the palace takes its name) and was used as prison during the whole 18th century. Its walls witnessed important episodes of civic history. It was the meeting place of the Council of the Hundred in which Dante took part. It wituessed sieges, fires, executions, the most famous perhaps being that of Baroncelli, involved in the Pazzi plot against the Medici, which Leonardo also witnessed. During the 14th and 15th century, the palace was subjected to a series of alterations and additions, still preserving its harmonious severity, best seen in the beautiful courtyard, the balcony and the large hall on the first floor.

The building’s use as National Museum began in the mid-19th century. Today it is the setting for works of sculpture, mainly from the grand ducal colleotions, and for many examples of “minor” Gothic decorative arts.
Museums in Florence

The entrance of the museum gives access to the inner courtyard, where criminals were executed until 1786. The walls are decorated with coats of arms representing high ranking officials and city districts. . . . The staircase on the inner court leads to an arcaded gallery known as the Verone, where you’ll encounter a number of marble sculptures by GiamBologna, a Flemish artist who worked in Florence for most of his life.
A View on Cities

Guidhall (Palazzo dell’Arte della Lana), Florence


FIRENZE – Palazzo dell’Arte della Lana
c.1910

The Arte della Lana was the wool guild of Florence during the Late Middle Ages and in the Renaissance. It was one of the seven Arati Maggiori (“greater trades”) of Florence, separate from the Arti Minori (the “lesser trades”) and the Arti Mediane (the “middle trades”). The Arte della Lana dealt in woollen cloth and cooperated with the other corporations of bankers and merchants in administering the commune, both under the podestà and the Republic of Florence.

At the height of the industry the Arte della Lana directly employed 30.000 workers and indirectly about a third of Florence’s population, and produced 100,000 lengths of cloth annually. The Arte della Lana saw all the processes from the raw baled wool through the final cloth, woven at numerous looms scattered in domiciles throughout the city. Like other guilds, the Arte served only to coordinate the activities of its own members, who did not generally own the means of production or directly manage the processes. Its syndics ensured that quality standards were met and contracts were honored. The predecessor and until the mid-14th century the rival of the Arte della Lana was the powerful Arte di Calimala, a corporation of importers of raw cloth, who dyed and finished it.

The guildhall, the Palazzo dell’Arte della Lana, was completed in 1308, with an attached fortifiable tower-house. From its interior, where some 14th-century frescoes remain, a gallery designed by Bernardo Buontalenti links the palazzo with the church of Orsanmichele. The palazzo is now the seat of the Società Dantesca.
Wikipedia.

Wikimedia Commons: interior photos

Temple of Minerva, Assisi, Italy


Assisi – Tempio di Minerva
Published: L. Vignati, c.1910

The Temple of Minerva is an ancient Roman building in Assisi, Umbria, central Italy. It currently houses a church, Santa Maria sopra Minerva, built in 1539 and renovated in Baroque style in the 17th century. The temple was built in the 1st century BC[1] by will of Gnaeus Caesius and Titus Caesius Priscus, who were two of the city’s quattuorviri and also financed the construction. The attribution to the goddess Minerva derives from the finding of a female statue, although a dedication stone to Hercules has been found, and the temple was likely dedicated to this male demi-god. In the Middle Ages the temple housed a tribunal with an annexed jail, as testified by one of Giotto’s frescoes in the St. Francis Basilica, which portrays the church windows with bars.

Of the ancient temple, the façade has been preserved, with six Corinthian columns supporting the architrave and a small pediment. The columns were originally covered by a very strong plaster, which was perhaps colored. The cella was completely demolished during the church’s construction, in the 16th century, while a small section of the temple was found in the 20th century near the altar.
Wikipedia.

The Temple of Minerva was built in the 1st century BC by the quatorvirates Gneus Cesius and Titus Cesius Priscus at their own expense. In Roman times, the piazza in front of the temple was the main city center, and some early Christian martyrs were likely executed here. By the late 4th and 5th centuries, paganism was basically outlawed and the Temple of Minerva was abandoned. Fortunately, however, it was not destroyed. Sometime in the late sixth century, Benedictine monks restored the temple and made use of it. The divided the interior into two floors, creating living rooms in the upper part and the church of San Donato in the lower part.

In the 13th century, the monks leased the temple to the newly-formed Comune of Assisi, which made the temple its headquarters from 1215 to 1270. The Temple of Minerva/San Donato was used as the municipal jail until the 15th century. In 1456, the temple returned to sacred use and the church of San Donato was reopened. In the meantime, the Italian Renaissance inspired a newfound appreciation for classical art and architecture. In the years 1527-1530, the magistrates of Assisi ordered restoration projects to be undertaken. Then, in 1539, Pope Paolo III, making a visit to Assisi, ordered the Temple of Minerva to be completely restored and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, queen of true wisdom. The temple then took the name of Santa Maria sopra Minerva (St. Mary over Minerva).
Sacred Destinations.

From the year 295 BC, Assisi became part of the comune of Rome, the latter having been victorious over the Italian confederacy. In the year 88 BC, the city became a “Municipium romanum” (Roman municipality), with all the rights and regulations afforded to Rome. During the reign of the emperor Augustus, the city of Assisi was transformed into a well organized residential and turistic centre (during the years 28-25 BC). The grand Forum (a rectangle measuring 44 x 88 meters inside) was constructed; various temples were built, the city walls were completed, the baths and the (healing) springs of mineral waters were opened, and the theatre was constructed alongside the amphitheatre. Among the many monuments constructed was the Temple of Minerva, which at that time dominated the Forum complex and even today, still dominates the “Piazza del Comune”, the heart of Assisi and a wonderful example of medieval architecture.
Franciscanum.it

Pantheon, Rome


ROMA – Pantheon

No date or publisher information, c.1910

Street view

Unofficial website
Webcam (Piazza della Rotonda)
Media Centre for Art History: panoramas & photos of details

The Pantheon, from Greek Πάνθειον Pantheion, “[temple] of all the gods”) is a former Roman temple, now a church, in Rome, Italy, on the site of an earlier temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD). It was completed by the emperor Hadrian and probably dedicated about 126 AD. Its date of construction is uncertain, because Hadrian chose not to inscribe the new temple but rather to retain the inscription of Agrippa’s older temple, which had burned down. The building is cylindrical with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns (eight in the first rank and two groups of four behind) under a pediment. A rectangular vestibule links the porch to the rotunda, which is under a coffered concrete dome, with a central opening (oculus) to the sky. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. The height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same, 43 metres (142 ft). It is one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings, in large part because it has been in continuous use throughout its history and, since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been in use as a church dedicated to “St. Mary and the Martyrs” but informally known as “Santa Maria Rotonda”
Wikipedia.

The purpose of the building is not known for certain but the name, porch and pediment decoration suggest a temple of some sort. However, no cult is known to all of the gods and so the Pantheon may have been designed as a place where the emperor could make public appearances in a setting which reminded onlookers of his divine status, equal with the other gods of the Roman pantheon and his deified emperor predecessors. We are told, for example, by Pliny, the 1st century CE Roman author, that there were once statues of Venus (wearing a pearl once owned by Cleopatra), Mars, and Julius Caesar inside the Pantheon.
Ancient History

Gate of St Paul & Gate of San Sebastian, Rome, Italy


ROMA. Porta S. Paolo – II.

Google Street View.

The Porta San Paolo (San Paolo Gate) is one of the southern gates in the 3rd-century Aurelian Walls of Rome, Italy. . . . The original name of the gate was Porta Ostiensis, because it was located of the beginning of via Ostiense, the road that connected Rome and Ostia where functioned as its main gate. Via Ostiense was an important arterial road, as evidenced by the fact that upon entering the gate of the same name, the road split, with one direction leading to the famous Emporium, the great market of Rome. The gatehouse is flanked by two cylindrical towers, and has two entrances, which had been covered by a second, single-opening gate, built in front of the first by the Byzantine general Belisarius (530s–540s). The structure is due to Maxentius, in the 4th century, but the two towers were heightened by Honorius.
Wikipedia.

St. Paul’s Gate (Porta San Paolo, in Italian) is part of the complex of the Aurelian Walls, built by order of the Emperor Aurelian in 275 CE, and presents itself as one of the best preserved city-gates in the whole circuit of walls. The current name came into use during the Middle Ages because of its proximity to the Basilica of St.Paul outside the Walls, which could be reached by means of the Ostian way, beginning its course, leading to Ostia (hence its name) precisely from this gate.

In its original phase it consisted of two twin arches with two semicircular towers. Restoration and refurbishment works were carried out under the rule of the emperors Maxentius (306-312 CE) and Honorius (401-403 CE) so as to change its aspect, that currently shows an entrance arch placed before the original two-arched gateway. The Gate underwent several modifications also in the next centuries. During the Greek-Gothic war, in 594 CE, the Goths of Totila entered Rome through it. The Gate now appears isolated, but it was originally connected to that stretch of the Aurelian Walls descending from the hill of San Saba as far as the Pyramid of Caius Cestius. It was isolated from the walls as early as in 1920 to facilitate the traffic flow in the square, whilst the stretch of the wall that connected it to the Pyramid was destroyed during the bombing in 1943.
Soprintendenza Speciale

Imperium Romanum: Porta Ostiensis (Porte Aureliane) is a useful page but it’s in Italian. Google Translate’s attempt.


ROMA Porta S. Sebastiano con Arco di Druso

Gate of San Sebastian with Arch of Drusus

Google Street View.

The Porta San Sebastiano is the largest and one of the best-preserved gates passing through the Aurelian Walls in Rome (Italy). Originally known as the Porta Appia, the gate sat astride the Appian Way, the regina viarum (queen of the roads), which originated at the Porta Capena in the Servian Wall. . . .The original structure was constructed by Aurelian ca. AD 275 and included a double-arched opening surmounted by bow windows and two semi-cylindrical towers. The façade was faced with travertine. After a later restoration, the towers were enlarged, increased, and linked, through two parallel walls, to the preexisting Arch of Drusus.
Wikipedia (Porta San Sebastiano)

The Arch of Drusus is an ancient arch in Rome, Italy, close to the First Mile of the Appian Way and next to the Porta San Sebastiano. . . . Only the central part of this arch is now standing, but it was originally triple, or at least with projections on each side, although never finished. It is built of travertine, faced with marble, and on each side of the archway are columns of Numidian marble with white marble bases. The archway is 7.21 metres high. The Aqua Antoniniana, the branch of the Aqua Marcia, ran over this arch, but the brick-faced concrete that is visible on the top seems to belong to a later period. The arch may possibly be the Arch of Trajan.
Wikipedia (Arch of Drusus)

The real name of this monumental gate, one of the largest and best conserved in the Aurelian Walls, was Appia, from the name of the important arterial road which it opened out onto. In the Middle Ages the name was corrupted into Daccia and Dazza, over which the name Porta S. Sebastiano eventually prevailed, in honour of the Christian martyr buried in the church on the Via Appia not far from the walls. The present appearance of the Gate is the result of many architectural transformations, which succeeded each other through the course of the centuries, and which can be divided into five periods from the antique period onwards:
[continued]
Museo delle Mura

Rome in the Footsteps of an XVIIIth Century Traveller

Imperium Romanum: Porta Appia (Porte Aureliane) is a useful page with lots of pictures but it’s in Italian. Google Translate’s attempt.

The Blue Grotto, Capri, Italy


On back:
CAPRI – Grotta Azzurra
Publishers: Trampetti & Migliaccio, Naples; c.1910

During Roman times, the grotto was used as the personal swimming hole of Emperor Tiberius as well as a marine temple. Tiberius moved from the Roman capital to the island of Capri in 27 AD. During Tiberius’ reign, the grotto was decorated with several statues as well as resting areas around the edge of the cave.

During the 18th century, the grotto was known to the locals as Gradola, after the nearby landing place of Gradola. It was avoided by sailors and islanders because it was said to be inhabited by witches and monsters. The grotto was then “rediscovered” by the public in 1826, with the visit of German writer August Kopisch and his friend Ernst Fries, who were taken to the grotto by local fisherman Angelo Ferraro.
Wikipedia

The Blue Grotto is 60 meters long by 25 meters wide. The clear blue waters below the boat are 150 meters deep. The unearthly blue light effect is caused by the refraction of daylight through the above water cave opening and a larger submerged opening. The acoustics inside the grotto are famously beautiful. At the back of the main cave, three connecting branches lead to the Sala dei Nomi, or “room of names”, named after the graffiti signatures left by visitors over the centuries. Two more passages lead deeper into the island, before it becomes inaccessible. For many years it was thought that the fissures at the back of the cave may have been ancient stairways leading up to the Emperor’s pleasure palaces, but it now seems that these are merely natural passages which narrow and then end, no palace in sight.

Three statues of the sea gods Neptune and Triton were recovered from the grotto floor in 1964 (now on display at a museum in Anacapri), and seven statue bases were found in 2009. The Roman historian Pliny the Elder described the statues in the grotto as “playing on a shell” – the position of the now missing arms of the Triton statue, usually depicted with a conch shell, indicate that these were the statues that he saw in the 1st century AD. Four more statues may yet be hidden in the sandy depths.
Atlas Obscura

Hotel Danieli, Venice


Hötel Royal Danieli – Venise
Approdo dalla riva e Vestibolo

Published G. Zanetti, Venezia

Street View (exterior)
Street view (inside)

Synonymous with the splendour of Venice, the Hotel Danieli is considered one of the most famous hotels in the world. Its remarkable history begins in the 14th century when the hotel’s main building—the Palazzo Dandolo—was commissioned by the noble Venetian family Dandolo. Of the four Dandolos that served as the Doge of Venice, Enrico garnered the greatest fame when he conquered Constantinople in 1204 and returned to the city with a bounty of gold, marble and Byzantine artwork, some of which was later incorporated into the Palazzo Dandolo’s interiors.

Several centuries later, in 1822, Giuseppe Dal Niel rented part of the palazzo and converted it into a hotel, renaming it after his nickname “Danieli”. Little by little he bought all the floors and finally became sole owner. It was in the winter of 1833, that the scandalous love affair between George Sand and Alfred de Musset unfolded in Room 10.

In 1895, Mr. Genovesi and the Campi Bozzi & C. become the new owners of the hotel. They completed expensive renovations, adding electrical power, vapour radiators, and elevators to further the hotel’s reputation for luxurious accommodation. At this time, the hotel was also connected via bridge to the Casa Nuova Palace—the former seat of the Customs office—located across the Rio del Vin.
Hotel Danieli, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice

Church of Trinita dei Monti, Rome, Italy

Street View

The church of the Santissima Trinità dei Monti, often called merely the Trinità dei Monti, is a Roman Catholic late Renaissance titular church in Rome, central Italy. It is best known for its commanding position above the Spanish Steps which lead down to the Piazza di Spagna. The church and its surrounding area (including the Villa Medici) are the responsibility of the French State.

In 1494, Saint Francis of Paola, a hermit from Calabria, bought a vineyard from the papal scholar and former patriarch of Aquileia, Ermolao Barbaro, and then obtained the authorization from Pope Alexander VI to establish a monastery for the Minimite Friars. In 1502, Louis XII of France began construction of the church of the Trinità dei Monti next to this monastery, to celebrate his successful invasion of Naples. Building work began in a French style with pointed late Gothic arches, but construction lagged. The present Italian Renaissance church was eventually built in its place and finally consecrated in 1585 by the great urbanizer Pope Sixtus V, whose via Sistina connected the Piazza della Trinità dei Monti (outside the church) to the Piazza Barberini across the city.

In front of the church stands the Obelisco Sallustiano, one of the many obelisks in Rome, moved here in 1789. It is a Roman obelisk in imitation of Egyptian ones, originally constructed in the early years of the Roman Empire for the Gardens of Sallust near the Porta Salaria.
Wikipedia

Monumental Cemetery, Pisa


PISA – Camposanto – Esterno lato meridionale (G. Pisano)

On back:
G. Barsanti e figli – Grandi gallerie di sculture – Pisa

Google Maps.
Image from Google Street View

The history of the Monumental Cemetery began in the 12th century, when Archbishop Ubaldo Lanfranchi (1108-78) brought back shiploads of holy dirt from Golgotha (where Christ was crucified) during the Crusades.

In 1278, Giovanni di Simone (architect of the Leaning Tower) designed a marble cloister to enclose the holy ground, which became the primary cemetery for Pisa’s upper class until 1779. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the walls of the Camposanto were decorated with frescoes by Taddeo Gaddi, Spinello Aretino, Benozzo Gozzoli, Andrea Bonaiuti, Antonio Veneziano, and Piero di Puccio.
Sacred Destinations.

Wikipedia.

Sforza Castle, Milan


Milano – Torre Filarete
c.1910

Google Street View

Given its distinctive and recognisable shape, the tower, which owes its name to the architect Antonio Averulino, also known as il Filarete, has become a symbol of Milan. The tower that Averulino designed in 1452 was elegant and embellished with marble inserts, however his plans were executed by Lombard architects, who lacked the imagination of their Tuscan counterpart. Less than a century after its completion in 1521, the tower, which had been converted into a gunpowder magazine, collapsed. The current edifice is the result of a tireless study of the available documents and iconography, by Luca Beltrami, in order to reconstruct the tower as faithfully to the renaissance original as possible. Inaugurated in 1905, the Filarete tower was dedicated to King Umberto I, assassinated only 5 years earlier in Monza. Beltrami inserted a clock into the top cubic section of the tower, whose radiant sun motif was inspired by the Sforza coat of arms. In addition he commissioned Luigi Secchi to sculpt a statue of Saint Ambrose in late 14th century style for the niche, as well as a Candoglia marble bas-relief portraying Umberto I on horseback. Finally, in commemoration of the Sforza, Beltrami decided to add to the tower the painted coats of arms of Francesco, Galeazzo Maria, Gian Galeazzo, Ludovico il Moro, Massimiliano and Francesco II.
Castello Sforzesco (Official Website)