Verona Arena, Verona, Italy


Verona | Interno Dell’Anfiteatro
1900s
Publisher: Gustavo Modiano & Co, Milan

Google Street View.

The Verona Arena is a Roman amphitheatre in Piazza Bra in Verona, Italy built in 30 AD. It is still in use today and is internationally famous for the large-scale opera performances given there. It is one of the best preserved ancient structures of its kind. In ancient times, the arena’s capacity was nearly 30,000 people. . . . The building itself was built in AD 30 on a site which was then beyond the city walls. The ludi (shows and games) staged there were so famous that spectators came from many other places, often far away, to witness them.[citation needed] The amphitheatre could host more than 30,000 spectators in ancient times. The round facade of the building was originally composed of white and pink limestone from Valpolicella, but after a major earthquake in 1117, which almost completely destroyed the structure’s outer ring, except for the so-called “ala” (wing), the stone was quarried for re-use in other buildings. Nevertheless, it impressed medieval visitors to the city, one of whom considered it to have been a labyrinth, without ingress or egress.[1] Ciriaco d’Ancona was filled with admiration for the way it had been built and Giovanni Antonio Panteo’s civic panegyric De laudibus veronae, 1483, remarked that it struck the viewer as a construction that was more than human.
Wikipedia.


Amfitheater van Verona, Fratelli Alinari, c. 1880 – c. 1895 (from Rijksmuseum).

The Roman amphitheatre, the Arena, is the most renowned Veronese monument. Today the Arena is set in the historical centre and acts as a backdrop for Piazza. But once upon a time, when the Romans built it, the monument was located at the margins of the urban area, outside the circle of the walls. The Arena summarises in itself almost twenty centuries of local history. Through time, it has become the very symbol of the city. Its cult has far away roots, that go back to Carolingian humanism. The fame that the amphitheatre has enjoyed in the civic consciousness of the Veronese has gradually led the monument to increasingly assume the character of the very symbol of ancient nobility. From here the measures for its conservation and many deep restorations originate. The Arena has always served the special purpose of spectacular events. During Roman times, for example, it was used for spectacles of gladiator fighting. In Medieval times and until the mid eighteenths century, games and tournaments were common events at the Arena.
Verona.com


Amphitheatre at Verona, 1898 (from Wikimedia Commons)

The Verona Arena dates back to the I century, built during Augustus’ Empire. Its central area is composed by sand (hence the name Arena, which in Latin means sand). All around there are 45 big stone steps “bleachers”, which can contain 30.000 viewers. After the Roman period, the Arena hoted games, tournaments and celebrations, but also trials and public executions. In 1183 an earthquake destroyed the external order of arches that surrounded the Arena. Today only a small part of it still stands. The interior perimeter of 72 arches is in perfect conditions. During the Middle Ages legal disputes were resolved here: each defendant could choose a trial by combat (yes, like in Game of Thrones) using professional wrestlers. Even Dante witnessed one of these trials and mentioned it in his Inferno. In the nineteenth century the Verona Arena hosted mostly equestrianisms, races, gymnastics, comedies and tombola games. In 1805 Napoleon assisted a bullfighting and in 1857 Emperor Franz Joseph participated to a tombola game.
My Corner of Italy

Vesuvius, Italy


Napoli. | Il Vesuvio-Cratere in eruzione
(Crater of Vesuvius erupting)
1900s
Publisher: Ettore Ragozino, Galleria Umberto-Napoli

Probably a modified/fabricated image, published just before the 1906 eruption.

Mount Vesuvius is a somma-stratovolcano located on the Gulf of Naples in Campania, Italy, about 9 km (5.6 mi) east of Naples and a short distance from the shore. It is one of several volcanoes which form the Campanian volcanic arc. Vesuvius consists of a large cone partially encircled by the steep rim of a summit caldera caused by the collapse of an earlier and originally much higher structure.

The eruption of 5 April 1906 killed more than 100 people and ejected the most lava ever recorded from a Vesuvian eruption. Italian authorities were preparing to hold the 1908 Summer Olympics when Mount Vesuvius violently erupted, devastating the city of Naples and surrounding comunes. Funds were diverted to reconstructing Naples, and a new site for the Olympics had to be found./em>
Wikipedia.


Napoli. | Il Vesuvio-Carozza della Funicolare
(The Funicular car Vesuvia)
c.1904
Publisher: Ettore Ragozino, Galleria Umberto-Napoli

Read more

Roman Forum, Rome


ROMA – Foro Romano.
Postmarked 1898

Google Street View.

Roma Antiqua: 3D Virtual Tour

The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum (Italian: Foro Romano), is a rectangular forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum. For centuries the Forum was the center of day-to-day life in Rome: the site of triumphal processions and elections; the venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches; and the nucleus of commercial affairs. Here statues and monuments commemorated the city’s great men. The teeming heart of ancient Rome, it has been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world, and in all history. Located in the small valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, the Forum today is a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and intermittent archaeological excavations attracting 4.5 million or more sightseers yearly.
Wikipedia.

Three columns on the left:
The original Temple of Castor and Pollux was built in 484 BC by the roman dictator Postumius who vowed to build the temple if obtained a victory over the Tarquin Kings who had previously ruled Rome. According to the legend, Castor and Pollux, mythological twin brothers, helped the Roman army to victory. In republican times the temple served as a meeting place for the Roman Senate, and from the middle of the 2nd century BC the front of the podium served as a speaker’s platform. and announced the victory at the forum. Only three pillars remain of the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the current ruins dating from its last reconstruction in 6 A.D
Tribunes and Triumphs

In the centre:
The Basilica Julia (Italian: Basilica Giulia) was a structure that once stood in the Roman Forum. It was a large, ornate, public building used for meetings and other official business during the Roman Empire. Its ruins have been excavated. What is left from its classical period are mostly foundations, floors, a small back corner wall with a few arches that are part of both the original building and later Imperial reconstructions and a single column from its first building phase. The Basilica Julia was built on the site of the earlier Basilica Sempronia (170 BC) along the south side of the Forum, opposite the Basilica Aemilia. It was initially dedicated in 46 BC by Julius Caesar, with building costs paid from the spoils of the Gallic War, and was completed by Augustus, who named the building after his adoptive father. The ruins which have been excavated date to a reconstruction of the Basilica by the Emperor Diocletian, after a fire in 283 AD destroyed the earlier structure.
Wikipedia.

Media Centre for Art History: panoramas

Colosseum & Meta Sudans, Rome


ROMA – Anfiteatro Flavio e Colosseo con la meta sudante
Flavian Amphitheater and Colosseum with the Meta Sudans
Publisher: F. Fichter, Rome

Google Street View.

The Flavian Amphitheatre, more commonly known as the Colosseum, stands in the archaeological heart of Rome and welcomes large numbers of visitors daily, attracted by the fascination of its history and its complex architecture. The building became known as the Colosseum because of a colossal statue that stood nearby. It was built in the 1st century CE at the behest of the emperors of the Flavian dynasty. Until the end of the ancient period, it was used to present spectacles of great popular appeal, such as animal hunts and gladiatorial games. The building was, and still remains today, a spectacle in itself. It is the largest amphitheatre in the world, capable of presenting surprisingly complex stage machinery, as well as services for spectators.
Parco archeologico del Colosseo

Parco archeologico del Colosseo online resources

The Meta Sudans was a large monumental conical fountain in ancient Rome. The Meta Sudans was built some time between 89 and 96 under the Flavian emperors, a few years after the completion of the nearby Colosseum. It was built between the Colosseum and the Temple of Venus and Roma, close to the later Arch of Constantine, at the juncture of four regions of ancient Rome: regions I, III, IV, X (and perhaps II). A meta was a tall conical object in a Roman circus that stood at either end of the central spina, around which racing chariots would turn. The Meta Sudans had the same shape, and also functioned as a similar kind of turning point, in that it marked the spot where a Roman triumphal procession would turn left from the via Triumphalis along the east side of the Palatine onto the via Sacra and into the Forum Romanum itself.

Photos from the end of the 19th century show a conical structure of solid bricks next to the Arch of Constantine, surrounded by its own original, reflecting stone pool. The ruins of Meta Sudans survived until the 20th century. In 1936 Benito Mussolini had its remains wantonly demolished and paved over to make room for the new traffic circle around the Colosseum.

Wikipedia.

Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence, Italy


Firenze. – Loggia dell’ Orcagna
Publisher:Attilo Scrocchi (1906-1945)

Google Street View.

The Loggia dei Lanzi, also called the Loggia della Signoria, is a building on a corner of the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy, adjoining the Uffizi Gallery. It consists of wide arches open to the street. The arches rest on clustered pilasters with Corinthian capitals. . . . Sometimes erroneously referred to as Loggia dell’ Orcagna because it was once thought to be designed by that artist, it was built between 1376 and 1382 by Benci di Cione and Simone di Francesco Talenti, possibly following a design by Jacopo di Sione, to house the assemblies of the people and hold public ceremonies, such as the swearing into office of the Gonfaloniers and the Priors. Simone Talenti is also well-known from his contributions to the churches Orsanmichele and San Carlo. . . . The name Loggia dei Lanzi dates back to the reign of Grand Duke Cosimo I, when it was used to house his formidable landsknechts (In Italian: “Lanzichenecchi”, corrupted to Lanzi), or German mercenary pikemen. After the construction of the Uffizi at the rear of the Loggia, the Loggia’s roof was modified by Bernardo Buontalenti and became a terrace from which the Medici princes could watch ceremonies in the piazza.
Wikipedia

The Loggia dei Lanzi is a beautiful arched gallery that was built in the 14th century at the Piazza della Signoria right in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. This famous loggia served as a model for many loggias that were later built across Europe. The original purpose of the loggia was to shield dignitaries from the elements during ceremonies, public meetings and events. Today it houses a number of statues, the most notable being a statue showing Perseus after he killed Medusa.
A View on Cities

Construction occurred between 1376 and 1382. The beautifully proportioned open gallery was designed in a late Gothic style, a clear precursor to the soon to be popular Renaissance style. Michelangelo, one of the most prominent Renaissance artists, even proposed to extend the gallery along all sides of the Piazza della Signoria, but Cosimo I de’ Medici, Duke of Florence, eventually decided it would be too expensive. The loggia originally served to house the assemblies of the people, and hold public ceremonies and the official ceremonies of the Florentine Republic.
Florence Inferno

Temple of Hercules Victor, Rome


ROMA Tempio di Vesta
1920a

Google Street View

Media Center for Art History (images & panoramas but not a lot of variation)

The Temple of Vesta is the popular name given to the round temple near the Tiber River in Rome (now Piazza Bocca della Veritá). The association with Vesta is due to the shape of the building but in fact it is not known to which god the temple was dedicated. It may have been dedicated to Hercules Olivarius, patron of the Portus Tiberinus oil merchants, as three or four temples to the Greek hero are known to have stood in the area of the Forum Boarium where there was also a Great Altar to Hercules. The temple is Greek in style and was probably the work of an eastern Greek architect. The building also uses that quintessential Greek building material, Pentelic marble, from near Athens. At the time of construction Pentelic marble was one of the more expensive building materials and so was rarely used for large projects. The columns, entablature and cella walls were constructed with this marble whilst the inner cella wall was lined with tufa and stucco.
Ancient History Encyclopedia

The Temple of Hercules Victor (‘Hercules the Winner’) or Hercules Olivarius is a Roman temple in Piazza Bocca della Verità, in the area of the Forum Boarium close to the Tiber in Rome, Italy. It is a tholos – a round temple of Greek ‘peripteral’ design completely encircled by a colonnade. This layout caused it to be mistaken for a temple of Vesta until it was correctly identified by Napoleon’s Prefect of Rome, Camille de Tournon. Despite (or perhaps due to) the Forum Boarium’s role as the cattle-market for ancient Rome, the Temple of Hercules is the subject of a folk belief claiming that neither flies nor dogs will enter the holy place. The temple is the earliest surviving marble building in Rome. The Hercules Temple of Victor is also the only surviving sacred temple in ancient Rome that is made of greek marble.Today it remains unsolved who this temple was dedicated for and for what purpose.
Wikipedia

With a history of continuous occupation stretching back over 2,000 years, the Temple of Hercules represents a palimpsest of architectural layers and uses. The temple is the only surviving ancient sacred structure in Rome that is made of Greek marble. It is composed of Pentelic marble that is originating in the quarries of Mount Pentelikon in the plain of Attica. The temple’s famed columns are slender that exhibit no swelling or entasis, instead extending directly upwards giving the structure a lofty appearance.
Chronology of Architecture

Medici Chapels, Florence, Italy


Firenze – Cappelle Medicee – Sagrestia Nuova – Michelangiolo

Google Street View.

Official Website

The Medici Chapels are two structures at the Basilica of San Lorenzo, Florence, Italy, dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, and built as extensions to Brunelleschi’s 15th-century church, with the purpose of celebrating the Medici family, patrons of the church and Grand Dukes of Tuscany. The Sagrestia Nuova (“New Sacristy”) was designed by Michelangelo. . , ,The Sagrestia Nuova[1] was intended by Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici and his cousin Pope Leo X as a mausoleum or mortuary chapel for members of the Medici family. It balances Brunelleschi’s Sagrestia Vecchia, the “Old Sacristy” nestled between the left transept of San Lorenzo, with which it consciously competes, and shares its format of a cubical space surmounted by a dome, of gray pietra serena and whitewashed walls. . . .The Sagrestia Nuova was entered by a discreet entrance in a corner of San Lorenzo’s right transept, now closed. Though it was vaulted over by 1524, the ambitious projects of its sculpture and the intervention of events, such as the temporary exile of the Medici (1527), the death of Giulio, now Pope Clement VII and the permanent departure of Michelangelo for Rome in 1534, meant that Michelangelo never finished it. Though most of the statues had been carved by the time of Michelangelo’s departure, they had not been put in place, being left in disarray across the chapel, and later installed by Niccolò Tribolo in 1545.
Wikipedia.

A corridor leads down to the Sagrestia Nuova (New Sacristy), a cramped inner chamber that is the real draw of the Medici Chapels, a smorgasbord of Michelangelo: sculpture, architecture, and drawings. Sangallo probably started the chapel, but Michelangelo took over in 1520 to turn it into a final resting place for the Medici, the architecture drawn along cold, hard lines of dark gray pietra serena stone and white plaster and using tricks of perspective in the upper reaches to make the chapel seem airier.

There are basically three groupings of Michelangelo statues here. To the left is the tomb of Lorenzo II, Duke or Urbino (grandson to Lorenzo the Magnificent), looking pensive under his helmet, with his finger to his lips. To the right is the tomb of Giuliano, Duke of Nemours (third son of Lorenzo the Magnificent), with a serpentine neck and a nude-style breastplate modeled on ancient Roman statues. Much more famous (and compelling) than the figures of these undistinguished Medici are the allegorical figures just below them, reclining along the slow curves of the tomb architecture: Day (the male) and Night (female) beneath Giuliano, twisting their nude bodies across from Dawn and Dusk under Lorenzo.
ReidsItaly.com