Visiting the Historic Mantua, Italy – “Sleeping Beauty” – Very Significant City During the Renaissance Period.

One of the main features of the old town of Manuta - Palazzo Ducale standing on Piazza Sordello, Italy.

One of the main features of the old town of Manuta – Palazzo Ducale standing on Piazza Sordello, Italy.

While I was traveling in Northern Italy a few years ago, I have also visited a historic city of Mantua (in Italian Mantova) located in Po Valley, almost the equal distance between Venice (Venezia) and Milan (Milano) and very close to Verona. The old part of Mantua was declared as UNESCO World Heritage site. I have spent there only a few hours and was able to see some of the most important historic landmarks of this town.

Mantua, located in the Lombardy region of Italy,  is quite well preserved, full of historic building, works of art and other monuments, but somehow it is not really very popular and crowded with tourists, as many other historic places in Italy. Some local people even call Mantua “Bella addormentata” – the Sleeping Beauty. Indeed the city seems a bit asleep with lack of crowds and all these historic buildings, which seem as they were frozen in time.  You might remember that Mantua is actually the town where Romeo, from William Shakespeare’s  “Romeo and Juliet” story, was banished for killing Tybalt.

By the way, Lombardy (Lombardia in Italian),  one of the twenty administrative regions of Italy, is situated in the North-West of the country. With the surrounding mountains, many alpine lakes and numerous monuments, Lombardy is one of the most beautiful and richest parts of Italy.  Its surface of 23,861 km2 (9,213 sq mi) makes Lombardy the 4th largest region of Italy. About 10 million people live there, which is around 1/6th of Italy’s population. Lombardy’s capital is Milan and it is the second-largest city in Italy.  It is also a region of famous Italian lakes of glacial origin, which are situated in Lombardy’s  northern highlands. They are lakes Maggiore, Lugano (both shared with Switzerland), Lake Como, Iseo, Idro and finally Lake Garda, which is the largest in Italy. I have visited several of them when traveling in Northern Italy and I have already written on this blog about my visits to Lake Garda and Lugano.

A view on the front of the Palazzo Ducale in Mantua from Piazza Sordello, Northern Italy.

Short History of Mantua.

This city has very long and interesting history reaching back to Etruscan times in 6th century BC, and even further to the legendary times around 2000 BC, when it was founded. Etruscans believed that the city was re-founded by Ocno, whose name derives from Mantus, the Etruscan god of the underworld – Hades. The city was conquered by Romans during Punic wars.  They have confused the name Mantus with Manto, a daughter of prophet Tyresia (Tyresias).

Buildings in Ducal Palace complex, Mantua, Italy.

Buildings in Ducal Palace complex, Mantua, Italy.

 

Buildings in Ducal Palace complex, Mantua, Italy.

Buildings in Ducal Palace complex, Mantua, Italy.

The ancient famous poet Publius Virgilius Maro  (Virgil) was born near Mantua in 70 BC.

The city went through many wars being invaded by Goths, Byzantines, Longobards and Franks. In the 11th century it belonged to marquis Boniface of Canossa. The last ruler of this family, the countess Matilde of Canossa, according to legend, has ordered the construction of the oldest still standing church of Mantua’s, “Rotonda di San Lorenzo” (1082). It is believed that this church stands in the place where once the temple of the Roman goddess Venus was located.

You can see this antique church in the picture below. I have visited it and noticed that, as other churches in this Roman style, its intriour is pretty dark since only very little light is able to get in through a few very small windows. There was a little artificial light but not enough to take any good pictures with my camera without using flash or tripod. The church has very little decor and some remains of old frescoes are still visible.

Rotonda di San Lorenzo, Mantua, Italy.

Rotonda di San Lorenzo, Mantua, Italy.

Back to the history of this city, after the death of Matilde, the city was so called “free commune”.  In 1198 Alberto Pitentino has changed the course of the river Mincio creating around the city 4 artificial lakes, which reinforced its natural protection from possible outside invaders.

Exploring the ineriour courtyard of Palazzo Ducale area in Mantua, Italy.

Exploring the ineriour courtyard of Palazzo Ducale area in Mantua, Italy.

One of the most prominent families related to this city is Gonzaga, who ruled Mantua for more than 200 years, starting in the 14th century.  Under their rule, Mantua had one of its best periods, when it has become an important center of the Renaissance culture and one of the most prominent cities of this era.  During this time many of city’s architectural landmarks and works of art were created. Gonzaga were investing in developing the city directing the creation of many buildings. They were avid art collectors and sponsors attracting numerous artists to Mantua. Many of the monuments still remaining in the city were created, or redesigned during this period.

One of the orchards besides Palazzo Ducale, Mantua, italy.

One of the orchards besides Palazzo Ducale, Mantua, italy.

Weak and vicious Vincenco II was the last ruler from the direct line of Gonzaga family. After his death in 1627, the city slowly declined under the Gonzaga Nevers, a French branch of the family. During the war for the succession over Mantua, in 1630 with the army, a terrible plague was brought to the city.  It was a huge disaster for Mantua and its citizens, from which it has never recovered do the previous splendor. The last ruler from this French Gonzaga’s line, Duke Ferdinand, when escaping from Mantua to Venice after his defeat, carried away about a thousand of pictures. When he died in 1708 he was declared deposed and his family lost Mantua forever.  The new rulers were the Habsburgs from Austria.

A view on the Cathedral of Saint Peter (Saint Pietro) in Mantua, Italy.

A view on the Cathedral of Saint Peter (San Pietro) in Mantua, Italy.

 

Piazza Sordello with the view on the the Cathedral of San Pietro (Saint Peter) in the background, Mantua, Italy.

Piazza Sordello with the view on the the Cathedral of San Pietro (Saint Peter) in the background, Mantua, Italy.

 

Postcards, guidebooks and souvenirs sold on the Piazza Sordello in Mantua, Italy.

Postcards, guidebooks and souvenirs sold on the Piazza Sordello in Mantua, Italy.

Mantua had again some good period when it was ruled by them and it was then, when the Royal Academy of Sciences, Letters and Arts, the Scientific Theater and many palaces were build. During Napoleon wars it was shortly part of France and in 1814 it again belonged to Austria.

"Torre dell' Orologio" (Clock Tower) at the Piazza di Erbe, Mantua, Italy.

“Torre dell’ Orologio” (Clock Tower) at the Piazza di Erbe, Mantua, Italy.

 

A close-up of the "Torre dell' Orologio" at the Piazza di Erbe, Mantua, Italy. This is a very interesting clock from the XIV century, which not only shows time of the day, but also many astrological aspects. It moves through lunar phases, celestial spheres, planets and zodiac signs. It was very popular and had great influence on human life of this era helping people to determine when to sow seeds, bottle wine, get married or travel. This clock was one of the first mechanical clocks which was build.

A close-up of the “Torre dell’ Orologio” at the Piazza di Erbe, Mantua, Italy. This is a very interesting clock from the XIV century, which not only shows time of the day, but also many astrological aspects.  It moves through lunar phases, celestial spheres, planets and zodiac signs. It was very popular and had great influence on human life of this era helping people to determine when to sow seeds,  bottle wine, get married or travel.  This clock was one of the first mechanical clocks which was build.

 

A detail from the "Torre dell' Orologio" at the Piazza di Erbe, Mantua, Italy.

A detail from the “Torre dell’ Orologio” at the Piazza di Erbe, Mantua, Italy.

 

After further wars for the Italian independence and unification of the country, finally in 1866  Mantua was united with Italy by the king of Sardinia.

The house of a merchant Boniforte da Concorezzo, build in the middle of XV-th century. It was one of the most beautifully decorated houses I have seen in the Mantua's Old Town.

The house of a merchant Boniforte da Concorezzo, build in the middle of XV-th century. It was one of the most beautifully decorated houses I have seen in the Mantua’s Old Town.

 

Close-up of some details from the house of a merchant, Old Town, Mantua, Italy.

Close-up of some details from the house of a merchant, Old Town, Mantua, Italy.

One of the Most Beautiful Mantua’s Churches – the Basilica of Sant’Andrea.

One of the buildings I was the most impressed with when visiting Mantua, was the Basilica of Sant’Andrea. It is a Roman Catholic church and cocathedral. It is one of the most important works of architecture of 15th century Renaissance era in  Northern Italy. The building of this church was commissioned by Ludovico III Gonzaga and started in 1471 following the design of famous architect Leon Battista Alberti,  one year before his death. This site was previously occupied by a Benedictine monastery, of which the bell tower from 1414 still remains. The building of the Sant’ Andrea basilica was finally completed 328 years later.  When designing this church, Alberti was inspired by the Roman basilicas  and triumphal arches, which he incorporated into the facade and interiour design. His project of this church has become an inspiration for many architects and designs of churches that followed.  Despite changes and addition done to the design after Alberti’s death, the basilica is considered as one of Alberti’s most important works. It looms over the Piazza Mantegna.

I was particularly impressed with very elaborate relief around the doors of this church. It was depicting mythological events and many animals were presented in great detail, as you can see in several of my pictures below.  I was not able to find information who has designed this door. Was it Alberti or somebody else?

A beautiful door leading to the Basilica of Sant'Andrea on Piazza Mantegna in Mantua, Italy. You can see many detail from the relief surrounding this door below.

A beautiful door leading to the Basilica of Sant’Andrea on Piazza Mantegna in Mantua, Italy. You can see many detail from the relief surrounding this door below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The interiour of the church was also very impressive and elaborate, but the dim light and only short time I was able to spent there, didn’t allow me to take pictures good enough to present them here.

Is Mantua Worth Visiting?

To summarize, Mantua, even if not as famous as some near-by cities like Milan, Venice or Verona, is certainly worth visiting, especially if you already are in Northern Italy. It could make a great day trip from Lake Garda, Milan or Verona.  There are many more interesting places to see there, which I was not able to visit myself in the short time I was in this city. Perhaps I will be able to return to explore it further.

The Copyright Info.

This article and all photographs in this blog post are copyrighted by me, Renata Ratajczyk. If you would like to use any of them in your publications or on your website, please contact me. I will be adding some of the pictures from this article and many more images from Italy to my Light Vision website, where you can license images or buy them as prints. I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and seeing my photographs from this beautiful part of of Italy.  I will be posting more articles soon, so please remember to subscribe to my blog to be notify about future updates. Thank you.

You May Also Like to Read:

  1. Visiting Lake Garda, Italy.
  2. Sanctuary of Madonna Della Corona, Italy.
  3. City of Lugano, Switzerland, on the border with Italy.
  4. Gardens of Versailles, France.
  5. Gadens of Spiazzi village – an article on my Vibrant Garden blog.
  6. Giardino Sigurtà” in Northern Italy – on my Vibrant Garden blog.
  7. Niagara Parks Botanical GardenPart 1 and Part 2 on my Vibrant Garden blog.

 

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Decorate Your Walls with Rhododendron Flowers.

One of my floral fine art prints - pink blooming Rhododendrons, museum quality print on 36 x 24" stretched canvas offered for the next 5 days only at a special promotional price by Fine Art America.

One of my floral fine art photographs – pink blooming Rhododendrons, museum quality print on 36 x 24″ stretched canvas is offered for the next 5 days only at a special promotional price by Fine Art America. The watermark on the front will not be visible on the print.

Starting today, I am running a special promotion on one my my floral fine art photographs printed on 36 x 24″ museum quality stretched canvas. It is now offered for the next 5 days only at this specific size and a special promotional price by Fine Art America. They provide full money back warranty. The watermark on the front will not be visible on the print.

I took this picture in one of Toronto’s parks when Rhododendrons were in full bloom. Then I have added some soft focus effect to enhance the painterly, romantic feel of this photograph.

How It Can Help You to Decorate Your Home or Office.

This photograph could work very well to add a subtle elegance and a splash of colour to your walls. I think it is especially well suited for the living rooms, perhaps to be placed about your sofa or dining table.  It can also work great in offices and hallways, particularly in places that might otherwise look too bland and seem like they need some boost  to make the energy flow.  Pinks and reds can add this needed boost to help with energy flow and to provide the “pop” to this areas.  This print can also work great in waiting rooms and hospitals, especially in places when people need to relax. Beautiful views of nature can certainly help them to release the stress and provide a moment of mental escape.

Pink Blooming Rhododendrons, fine art print offered at various sizes and printing media via Fine Art America.

Pink Blooming Rhododendrons, fine art print offered at various sizes and printing media via Fine Art America.

How to Buy this Photograph Printed on 36×24″ Archival Museum Quality Stretched Canvas.

To buy this photograph at this size and promotional price, please follow this link. This promotion will run for only 5 days and after this time, this size of print and promotional price will no longer be available. After the promotion will be over, you will be still able to buy this photograph printed at other sizes and printing media.

Normally this photograph is available printed on archival photographic or watercolour paper, canvas, metal and acrylic. It is printed and shipped directly to you by Fine Art America and, as I have mentioned, they provide full money back warranty. It is also available as greeting cards. If you buy this photograph via Fine Art America, I will receive some percentage from sales. Please contact me if you have any questions.

Please Share this Post and Subscribe to Light Vision Blog.

If you like this post, please share it with whoever else could be interested. Thank you. I also invite you to subscribe to my blog to receive automatic updates. There are links to subscribe via e-mail or follow this blog on the right from this article. I look forward to your comments and hearing from you.

The Copyright Info.

This article, as well as all of my original photographs used for printing on various Fine Art America products, are copyrighted by me, Renata Ratajczyk.  Please contact me if you would like to use any of them in your publication or if you have questions regarding purchasing my work in the form of fine art prints.

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Visiting Lugano – a Beautiful City in Switzerland, Close to the Italian Border.

 

Lugano, Switzerland.

Lugano, Switzerland.

A few years ago, while traveling in Italy, I have also visited a very beautiful city of Lugano located by the lake of the same name, close to the Italian border and surrounded by the mountains of Lugano Prealps.

Lugano, Switzerland. The view on the Lake Lugano and the surrounding mountains.

Lugano, Switzerland. The view on the Lake Lugano and the surrounding mountains.

 

About the City of Lugano.

 

Lugano, Switzerland.

Lugano, Switzerland.

 

Lugano is the largest town in the region of Ticino and is not only very popular tourist destination in Switzerland, but also an important Swiss financial and business center. Even if located in Switzerland, the city seems Italian, since most of the people there speak in this language. It is a pretty big town with the population of  71,500, and when you include people living in the nearby smaller cities, which are part of this agglomeration, this number rises to over 145,000. It is actually the 9th largest Switzerland’s city and the biggest one in the Ticino region. An interesting fact is also that it is the largest city with Italian speaking majority outside Italy. 

 

Lugano, Switzerland.

Lugano, Switzerland.

It is really a enchanting, elegant city with wonderful views on the lake and surrounding mountains, a lot of green areas with many parks, a variety of trees and abundance of coloruful flowers, including many camellia trees and other subtropical plants. The mild climate of Lugano makes it even more popular tourist’s destination, particularly in spring, when the camelias are in bloom. I was there in June and many of them were still blooming as well as hundreds of blue and pink hydrangeas and many other flowers.

 

Lugano, Switzerland.

Lugano, Switzerland.

There are also many elegant building with arches and elaborate metal railings of their balconies, often dressed with an abundance of flowers. The city has many charming villas, captivating old churches, museums, numerous fountains and other monuments. I was impressed not only with the beauty of this city, but also with its cleanness, number of flower decorating the streets and because it seems to be designed to make people living there as comfortable as possible. There are many walkways and some streets are cars free. Along the shore there is not only a lot of greenery, but also multiple bunches making it easy to just sit and relax admiring beautiful views on the lake.

In Lugano, I have noticed many elegant stores, several of them selling famous Swiss watches, knifes and other regional items. I was also able to visit their antique market with many interesting and unique items on display offered for sale.

Watches on display in one of the stores in Lugano, Switzerland.

Watches on display in one of the stores in Lugano, Switzerland.

 

Here you can see even more watches on display in one of the stores in Lugano, Switzerland.

Here you can see even more watches on display in one of the stores in Lugano, Switzerland.

 

I was surprised by the number of people walking with their dogs and there was a big variety between dog’s breeds. The town is very clean and orderly. Historic town center is traffic-free, which makes a great place for a walk.

 

Exploring Lake Lugano.

 

Antique Market, Lugano,Switzerland.

Antique Market, Lugano,Switzerland.

 

Books on display in the Antique Market, Lugano,Switzerland.

Books on display in the Antique Market, Lugano,Switzerland.

 

One of the most popular attractions of Lugano is lake Lugano and the surrounding mountains, which a variety of outdoor activities. I was there just a few hours, so I didn’t have time to explore them further.  The main focus of my stay there was the shore and old part of the city.  At least I was able to appreciate its beautiful vistas and relax in Paco Civico Villa Ciani, visit a few squares and churches.

 Paco Civico Ciani, Lugano, Switzerland.

Paco Civico Villa Ciani, Lugano, Switzerland.

 

The view on Lake Lugano from the Paco Civico Ciani, Lugano, Switzerland.

The view on Lake Lugano from the Paco Civico Ciani, Lugano, Switzerland.

It it amazing, that in the Lugano area there is more than 300 km (190 miles) of mountain biking trails. In fact, it is the largest number of such trails in Switzerland. As I have mentioned, the lake itself is a great place to relax, either by taking a walk along its shores, particularly in a very beautiful and colourful Parco Ciani, where I have spent a few hours while there, or by cooling in the water of lake Lugano.  Parco Civico Cianni is located along part of the Lugano’s shore and it is quite big – 63,000 sqare meters. It is really a very beautiful place with many old and original looking trees, as well as an abundance of flowers. At the time when I was there, I was particularly impressed with the number and beauty of hydrangeas they had in bloom, as well as some big camellia trees, which were also blooming. You can read my article about this park and see more pictures from there on my other blog – Vibrant Garden here.

Hydrangeas blooming in Parco Civico Ciani, Lugano, Switzerland.

Hydrangeas blooming in Parco Civico Ciani, Lugano, Switzerland.

The lake is 48.7 square kilometers (18.8 sq miles), of which 63% of which are in Switzerland and 37% in Italy.  As many alpine lakes, some parts of the lake are very deep reaching 279 meters (915 ft). Nevertheless, thanks to so mild climate, the water during the summer is usually warm with an average temperatures ranging from 19.5 °C (67.1 °F) to 24.0 °C (75.2 °F). No wonder that many people are bathing in the lake, which is allowed in any of about 50 bathing establishments along Swiss shores. There are also companies offering boat trips to various destinations. It is also possible to rent a boat or take a water taxi.

Lugano, Switzerland.

Lugano, Switzerland.

I wished I could go to one of the summit for breathtaking views of the city, but we had to continue driving. If you have time it is certainly worth to go to to either the nearby Monte Brè (933 meters – 3,061 ft)), to the north (Switzerland’s sunniest spot), or to  Monte San Salvatore (912 meters (2,992 ft)), to the south. Monte San Salvatore is well visible in many of my pictures taken from the shore while I was in Parco Civico Villa Ciani. You can reach both mountains by the by funicular railways. To arrive to the railway just take a frequently running city bus or drive there if you have a car.

I Wish I Could Visit Lugano Again.

 

The view on Lake Lugano, Switzerland.

The view on Lake Lugano, Switzerland.

 

It is certainly a place well worth seeing and I hope I will be able to return there soon. I highly recommend you visit it as well and allow to see it at least 2-3 days, particularly if you would like to explore the surrounding mountains.

 

One of the impressive fountains in Lugano, Switzerland.

One of the impressive fountains in Lugano, Switzerland.

The Copyright Info and Please Share this Article.

This article and all photographs in this blog post are copyrighted by me, Renata Ratajczyk. If you would like to use any of them in your publications or on your website, please contact me. I will be adding most of the pictures from this article and many more images from Italy to my Light Vision website, where you can license images or buy them as prints. I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and seeing my photographs from this amazingly beautiful part of of Switzerland.  Please share this article with whoever else might be interested in reading it and I also look forward to your comments. I will be posting more articles soon, so please remember to subscribe to my blog to be notify about future updates. Thank you.

You May Also Like to Read:

  1. Visiting Parco Civico Villa Ciani, Lugano, Switzerland – on my Vibrant Garden blog.
  2. Visiting Lake Garda, Italy.
  3. Gardens of Versailles, France.
  4. Gadens of Spiazzi village – an article on my Vibrant Garden blog.
  5. Giardino Sigurtà” in Northern Italy – on my Vibrant Garden blog.
  6. Niagara Parks Botanical Garden – on my Vibrant Garden blog.

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Sunset at the Beach, Yucatan Peninsula Mexico – Limited Time Promotion for this Canvas Print.

Beautiful Sunset at the Beach, Yucatan Peninsula Mexico.

Here is another of my photographs presently offered at a special promotional price printed on 24×20″ archival canvas.

Sunset at the Beach Yucatan Peninsula Mexico, 24x20" archival canvas print.

Sunset at the Beach Yucatan Peninsula Mexico, 24×20″ archival canvas print. The watermark at the lower right corner will not appear on the final print.

I have taken this picture while on vacation in Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico a few years ago. As you can see it was a perfect evening. The sun was just setting down reflecting beautiful golden light on pretty calm at this time sea.  Rhythmic waves were quietly washing onto the sandy beach.  There was a slight breeze coming from the sea and moving nearby palm trees and my dress, while I was walking barefoot along the shore. The warm water of the sea was washing and gently massaging my feet. It was a perfect time just to relax and enjoy this beautiful evening.  Thanks to my camera, I was able to catch this perfect moment and now share it with you, so you can enjoy it as well.

How It Can Help You to Decorate Your Home.

I think this photograph could be great to decorate a living room to bring there a feeling of calmness and relaxation. It could also work perfectly in the bedroom. You might look at it while in your bed and feel like instantly transported to this beautiful place, which can help you to relax and fall asleep.  If you have a room where you like to meditate, this print could also work perfectly there, or anywhere else where you would like to bring the feeling of serenity and open up the space.

How to Buy this Photograph Printed on 24×20″ Archival Canvas.

To buy this photograph at this size and promotional price, please follow this link. This promotion will run for only 5 days and after this time, this size of print and promotional price will no longer be available. After the promotion will be over, you will be still able to buy this photograph printed at other sizes and printing media.

This Photograph Is Also Available in Other Sizes and Media.

Sunset At The Beach Yucatan Peninsula Mexico - non cropped version of the same image as above. When printed on 24x20" canvas the photograph will be slightly cropped on both sides, but you can also order it printed on other size and media. Please follow the link for more information. They can also frame it for you.

Sunset At The Beach Yucatan Peninsula Mexico. It is non-cropped version of the same image as above. When printed on 24×20″ canvas the photograph will be slightly cropped on both sides, but you can also order it printed at other size and media. Please follow the link for more information. They can also frame it for you.

Normally this photograph is available printed on archival photographic or watercolour paper, canvas, metal and acrylic. It is printed and shipped directly to you by Fine Art America and they provide full money back warranty. It is also available as greeting cards. If you buy this photograph via Fine Art America, I will receive some percentage from sales. Please contact me if you have any questions.

Please Share this Post and Subscribe to Light Vision Blog.

If you like this post, please share it with whoever else could be interested. Thank you. I also invite you to subscribe to my blog to receive automatic updates. There are links to subscribe via e-mail or follow this blog on the right from this article.

Copyright, Commenting and Sharing this Article.

This article, as well as all of my original photographs used for printing on various Fine Art America products, are copyrighted by me, Renata Ratajczyk.  Please contact me if you would like to use any of them in your publication or if you have any questions regarding purchasing my work in the form of fine art prints. I look forward to your comments and hearing from you.

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Visiting the Sanctuary of Madonna Della Corona in Northern Italy.

Madonna della Corona Sanctuary in Northern Italy.

Madonna della Corona Sanctuary in Northern Italy.

About the Sanctuary of Madonna Della Corona in Italy.

A few years ago, while in Italy, I have visited the famous an very picturesquely located sanctuary of Madonna Della Corona in a little village of Spiazzi in Northern Italy. The sanctuary is attached to a the side of a solid rock east from Monte Baldo and it sits at the high of  774 meters above sea level. It is overlooking the surrounding mountains and beautiful valley of Adige river. It really looks impressive glued to the solid rock. It is certainly very popular with pilgrims and tourists – it is estimated that about 40,000 people visit this place each year.

The History of the Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona.

Approaching the sanctuary of Madonna della Corona in Spiazzi, in Northern Italy.

Approaching the sanctuary of Madonna della Corona in Spiazzi, in Northern Italy.

The history of this sanctuary dates back to around the year 1,000 when hermits from Verona lived in the Baldo area. Probably sometimes in the second half of 13th century a small monastery with a chapel dedicated to St. Mary of Montebaldo was build in the place where the current church is located. At this time it could be only reached by a dangerous and narrow path among the rocks.

A local legend says that in the year 1522 a sculpture of a Madonna della Corona has miraculously appeared there transported by angels from the island of Rhodes, when the island was invaded by Muslim army of Suliman II. This date is considered as the beginning of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Corona (Madonna della Corona).

The admired by pilgrims Sculpture of Madonna della Corona sanctuary.

The admired by pilgrims sculpture of Madonna della Corona.

There is also a possibility, that the sculpture of Madonna della Corona was actually created much later around the beginning of 19-th century. The figure of Pieta (Madonna lamenting Jesus’s death) is pretty small, only about 70 cm high, made of local stone and painted. It stands on a pedestal with the following words written on it in Latin: “HOC OPUS FECIT FIERI LODOVICUS D CASTROBARCO D 1432″, which is recognized as a proof that the statue was actually made and given to the sanctuary in 1432 by a nobleman Lodovico Castelbarco from the city of Rovereto.

So it seems that the origin of this considered as miraculous Pieta statue is not entirely clear, but I like the romantic story of the supernatural apparition of this Madonna sculpture the most.

Closer view on the Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona, Italy.

A closer view on the Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona, Italy.

Between (1490-1521) a bigger church measuring 18x7m was build in place of the original chapel. In the 15th century a wooden access bridge was also constructed (1458) making the shrine much more accessible to pilgrims. It seems that making the sanctuary easier to reach for people was very important since in the sixteenth century two sets of stone stairs leading to the church were also created, which exist till this day.

People climbing the stairs to the sanctuary of Madonna della Corona, Italy.

People climbing the stairs to the sanctuary of Madonna della Corona, Italy.

In about 100 years from the date of previous church modernization, the sanctuary was consider too small and in 1625 the work has began on building even a bigger church over the older one. The new sanctuary was build 4 meters (about 12 feet)  above the previous place of worship and the old church was incorporated under the presbyter. The construction of this new church was finally finished in 1685.

Over the centuries, the church went through further modernization and improvements and the last major construction was done between 1975 to 1978. One of the most important events for this church in modern times was the visit of Pope John Paul II on April 17th, 1988.

My Impressions About the Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona.

Inside the sanctuary of Madonna della Corona.

Inside the sanctuary of Madonna della Corona along the hallway there are thousands of photographs of people along the walls, as well as many votive figurines and some paintings.

I think the Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona is really worth visiting, especially if you are already in Lake Garda area. This beautiful, uniquely located church has a rich history and surrounding it legends. Once inside this place of devotion, you can see how important it was, and still is, for many people. As the way of their appreciation for this sanctuary, and perhaps miracles they have received, many people have left, or maybe sent here, their pictures, which are particularly visible inside a long hallway. It is also a form of prayer to have a picture of yourself in this considered so miraculous place.

Thousands of small photographs are arranged on boards attached to the walls creating multinational and historic mosaics. Many of the pictures seem to be telling stories of time past long ago, other bring to mind more contemporary events. Along with the photographs, you will find here many devetionalia, including probably hundreds of small figurines, mostly depicting Madonna by herself or with Jesus.

Apart from being an important place of pilgrimage, the church is certainly quite impressive architectural achievement. It  was initially build in a very hard to reach location and on the side of a solid rock. During its construction some materials have to be lowered on ropes from above the rock. I can only imagine how laborious, time consuming and dangerous it was. The location of the church has also contributed to its unique design since side of the rock was incorporated into the structure of the building. Till this day part of the walls are still a solid rock to which the church is attached.

The sanctuary seems to have meditative atmosphere, which is accentuated by beautiful surrounding, not too overpowering decor,  and dim light inside the church.  Many people praying and lighting votive candles add to the religious aura.

As I have already mentioned, the church is also worth visiting because of its beautiful surroundings. There are several ways in which you can reach this place and either way you go, you can admire many beautiful views of the nearby mountains, alpine forest and meadows. If you go to Spiazzi and ascend along a walkway from there, you will be also able to see an interesting interpretation of the Way of the Cross, which I tell you more about below.

A collection of Madonna figurines in the sanctuary of Madonna della Corona.

Madonna figurines from the collections in the hallway of the sanctuary of Madonna della Corona.

How to Get to the Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona.

Walking from the village of Spiazzi.

I think one of the best ways to get there is just to take a walk down from the small village of Spiazzi along the very picturesque path with view on the nearby mountains. That’s how I have reached the sanctuary in about 20 minutes walk. It is a pretty easy, fast way to arrive this place comparing to taking the long path and many stairs from Brentino. As an added bonus you will see along the road many about life-size bronze cast sculptures by the Veronese architect Raffaele Bonente. They are depicting the Stations of the Cross – from the condemnation of Jesus Christ by Pilate to his resurrection.

I think the proportions of this figures are somehow off since they seem to have too short legs comparing to the rest of the body, but they are still worth seeing. I like how realistic they look with very expressive faces and dynamic movements. I also like the fact that they are placed in this beautiful, natural settings.

When you start descending towards the sanctuary, you will first see the condemnation of Jesus by Pilate and the last scene of the Way of Cross is close to the sanctuary.

The Way of the Cross from Spiazzi village to the Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona. Here is the first station you will see on the way - Jesus is condemned by Pilate.

The Way of the Cross from Spiazzi village to the Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona. Here is the first station you will see on the way – Jesus is condemned by Pilate.

 

Jesus meets his mother.

Jesus meets his mother.

The village of Spiazzi itself is a nice place to visit and is located a few kilometers drive from amazing Lake Garda in Norther Italy. I have written another article about visiting Spiazzi on my other blog and you can read it here.  You might also like to check my short article about Lake Garda and the area.

How to Get to Spiazzi by Car or Public Transportation.

If you are driving here are the direction to get to Spiazzi:
From the A4 Milan-Venice, take exit Peschiera del Garda and continue driving towards Spiazzi (km 38); or from the A22 Brennero-Modena, take exit at Affi, in direction to Spiazzi  (20 km).

St. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

St. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

You can also reach Spiazzi by public transportation. If you take  a train, get off at the station of Peschiera del Garda or Verona Porta Nuova and then take a bus, line Spiazzi Caprino.

Angel beside the tomb of Jesus Christ.

Angel beside the tomb of Jesus Christ.

Other More Difficult Way to Reach the Sanctuary from Brentino Beluno via “Il Sentioro della Speranza”.

You can also try more difficult and ambitious way of reaching the sanctuary via the path called “Il Sentiero della Speranza” (this name could be roughly translated as “Path of Hope”). You will walk along a winding path through the mountains and on some pretty steep stairs from Brentino Beluno. Along this way, you will go about 2,425 meters (about 2,5 km). It is circa 2 hours walk and the altitude difference is around 600 meters.  This path is very popular with pilgrims and many tourist. I have never tried it yet, so I can not tell you how difficult it is to reach the sanctuary via this way, but I think if you are in good physical condition and not afraid of steep stairs this walk seems like worth giving it a try. You will certainly have some beautiful views on the way.  If you are interested in waling this way, you can see some videos from this trail and listen to Italian speaking guide here.

Contact Information and the Opening Hours for the Sanctuary of Madonna Dellla Corona.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Address: Santuario Madonna della Corona, I – 37010 Spiazzi/ Ferrara di Monte Baldo

Tel. :(+39) 045 7220014 .

A view from the terrace beside the sanctuary of the Madonna della Corona onto the surrounding mountains.

A view from the terrace beside the sanctuary of the Madonna della Corona onto the surrounding mountains.

The sanctuary is open all year long  and at the time when I am writing this article, the hours are as follows:
November to March: from 8 to 18
April to October: from 7 to 19.30

The Copyright Info.

This article and all photographs in this blog post are copyrighted by me, Renata Ratajczyk. If you would like to use any of them in your publications or on your website, please contact me. I will be adding most of the pictures from this article and many more images from Italy to my Light Vision website, where you can license images or buy them as prints. I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and seeing my photographs from this amazingly beautiful part of of Italy.  I will be posting more articles soon, so please remember to subscribe to my blog to be notify about future updates. Thank you.

You May Also Like to Read:

  1. Visiting Lake Garda, Italy.
  2. Gardens of Versailles, France.
  3. Gadens of Spiazzi village – an article on my Vibrant Garden blog.
  4. Giardino Sigurtà” in Northern Italy – on my Vibrant Garden blog.
  5. Niagara Parks Botanical Garden – on my Vibrant Garden blog.

 

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Spring is Almost Here. I Am Running a Limited Time Promotion for One of My Spring Flowers Canvas Prints.

Limited Time Promotion on One of My Irises Prints on Canvas.

Spring is almost here and I see more crocuses coming in our area, even if it is still pretty cold. We had rain for a few days and more rain is on the way. Today we finally have a sunny break and I though to celebrate the spring, it is a good time to run a special promotion for one of my fine art floral prints on canvas.

Flowering purple Irises. Add some spring flowers to your walls.

Flowering purple Irises. Add some spring flowers to your walls.

I have photographed this irises a while ago in one of the parks in Toronto area.  This photograph is presently offered via Fine Art America as fine art print of multiple sizes and could be printed on a variety of media, including watercolour, canvas, metal, wood, acrylic and photographic papers.

At the moment I am running a special promotion for this artwork printed a bit cropped on both sides to fit on 20×16″ stretched canvas. This photograph is normally not offered at this size by Fine Art America. This is limited time promotion and will expire in about 5 days.

Purple Irises - fine art print on 20x16" canvas. This size print is only available for a limited time.

Purple Irises – fine art print on 20×16″ canvas. This size print is only available for a limited time.

If you buy this print, or any other size via their website, they print the artwork and then send it to you. They provide full money back warranty in case you don’t like the print.
For some printing media framing is also available. The artwork won’t have any watermark on it.

I think they have very reasonable prices and I make a small commission of each of my artworks sold via their website.  They also offer art printed as greeting cards and on various products, including cell-phone cases, pillows, duvet covers and much more.

If you like this photograph, I invite you to buy it either as part of this special promoting in the form of 20×16″ canvas print or just buy any size and printing media you want.

Please Share this Post.

If you like this post, please share it with whoever else could be interested. Thank you. I also invite you to subscribe to my blog to receive automatic updates.

 

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Add an European Flavour to Your Home or Office with Photographs from France.

Beautiful modern sculpture of a woman in Luxemburg Garden, Paris, France.

Beautiful modern sculpture of a woman in Luxemburg Garden, Paris, France.

Featuring Some of My Photographs from France – Paris and Loire Valley.

Today I would like to show you some more of my photographs from France.  A few of them are from the amazing royal garden – the Gardens of Versailles, others are from a few other places I have visited when I was there several years ago.

A Classic Fine Art Nude Sculpture of a woman in the Chateau De Versailles Garden Paris France.

A Classic fine art nude sculpture of a woman in the Chateau De Versailles Garden, France.

If you would like to know more about the Gardens of Versailles, please have a look at my article written last year. I have also mentioned on this blog one more interesting place I have seen in France Château de Montrésor. It is a small castle and garden comparing to the royal gardens, but still a place very much worth visiting when you are in France and taking a tour of the Loire Valley.  The angel sculpture I have featured in my previous article is from this garden.

Another beautiful classic sculpture of a naked woman in the Chateau De Versailles Garden, France.

Another beautiful classic sculpture of a naked woman in the Chateau De Versailles Garden, France.

About Travelling in France.

Chateau De Versailles Garden In France

Chateau De Versailles Garden In France.

Travelling in France is usually not cheap, especially if your original currency is not Euro. The exchange rates could be quite high, so your stay might cost you more than if you would, for example, stay at a comparable quality hotels in Northern America.

We were travelling on a budget with a bus tour and all was already booked for us. We have stayed for a couple of days in a small hotel besides Paris to save money. I remember the rooms there were so small that they were only able to fit two single beds with great difficulty and it was very little space left to walk around. The bathroom was the smallest I have ever seen beside a hotel room. I could hardly fit under the shower and I am not a very big person. There was only a curtain and when we were taking shower, there was no way to stop water from running on the bathroom floor.

A Classic lion's sculpture Luxembourg Garden Paris France.

A Classic lion’s sculpture in Luxembourg Garden, Paris France.

Other disadvantage of this hotel was really rather bad breakfast. They were counting how much bread they gave us, coffee tasted awful and seemed greatly diluted with water. Besides a tiny cube of butter and a little container with fruit jam, they didn’t offer us anything else.  So I must say this was the worst breakfast served by a hotel I ever had and everybody after eating it went out hungry and rather disappointed. We were surprised they were trying to save money in this way and even diluted coffee!!! How much you can save on it? Certainly  I would not recommend this hotel to anybody, even at the lower price. Fortunately we have stayed there only 2 nights, so it was Ok. At least we paid less for the hotel and we were just sleeping there since for most of the day we were away visiting various places in Paris.

One more disadvantage of staying at this hotel was pretty long and slow commute to Paris. Perhaps it was not that far from Paris, but there was a lot of traffic in the morning, as usually is besides big cities.  I don’t remember now how long it took as to finally arrive to a place where we could leave the bus and take the subway, but I think it was at least one hour or maybe even two.

A classic Satyr's sculpture In the Luxembourg Garden Paris, France.

A classic Satyr’s sculpture In the Luxembourg Garden Paris, France.

Once there, we could finally see this amazing city full of so many beautiful monuments, museums, historic gardens and fine caffes, restaurants and other places where one can just sit down and enjoy the surroundings.  Perhaps I will tell you more about this trip another time.

One more tip when traveling in Paris. I think it is best to just use public transportation and also take a walk when possible. You would be much better off doing that instead of trying to drive in this huge and crowded city where finding good and affordable parking spaces could be very hard.  Besides, when you take a public transportation, you could see much more faster and cheaper and you don’t have to waste your time to go back to your car to continue traveling to a different location in the city.

Add a Classic, European Flavour to Your Home or Office Displaying Pictures from France.

You can now choose from several of my pictures from France in my Fine Art America France Gallery if you would like to buy any of them. You will see there photographs already included in this article and some more. They are offered in various sizes and printing media, including canvas, metal, watercolour, glossy or mat prints, framed or unframed. They are directly sold by Fine Art America, and this reliable and well established company provides full money back warranty.  Once you buy the prints, or other products with my artwork, I will receive some percentage from sales. Thank you for considering decorating your space with my photographs. They could also make great gifts. To see what is presently available there, please visit my France Gallery.

The amazing looking Chateau Chambord In the Loire Valley, France.

The amazing looking Chateau Chambord in the Loire Valley, France.

Copyright, Commenting and Sharing this Article.

This article, as well as all of my original photographs used for printing on various Fine Art America products, are copyrighted by me, Renata Ratajczyk.  Please contact me if you would like to use any of them in your publication or if you have any questions regarding purchasing my work in the form of fine art prints.

Also please share this article with whoever else might be interested in reading it. If you like my blog, please subscribe or follow it, to receive automatic updates.  I now usually post here once per week or every second week.

I look forward to your comments. Have you been in France yourself? How did you like it? What have you seen there? Are there any particular places you think we should also visit while in France?

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This Beautiful Male Angel Continues to Be the One of My Most Viewed Pictures on the Fine Art America.

Angel from Montrésor, France

Angel from Montrésor, France

This photograph of a beautiful, about life-size, male angel continues to be one of the most viewed of my images on the Fine Art America website. I wonder why?

Perhaps because it is so amazing sculpture and looking almost alive. I would like to know if the artist created it just from his imagination or somebody was posting for him. And if it was a young man, who he was? Certainly his face is so beautiful and full of expression.

How the artist got such idea to create this sculpture? Was it done on somebody’s request or just to express his creative vision? Perhaps he has seen this angel in his dream…

I often wonder what are the stories behind art. Some we might discovered, others we would probably never know, especially if the artist and his/her models and sponsors are long time gone.

I think it is often very interesting to know why the artist created the artwork and how he/she did it. I am glad some artists kept journals and there are sometimes other historical records we can explore.  I think it is also a good idea for contemporary artists to keep some documentation of the process of creating their work, and if possible, to share it with other people who might be interested. That’s one of the reasons I write this blog.

If you are an artist yourself and don’t have any written record about your art and creative process, consider creating it. If not for yourself, do it for future generations who might enjoy your art and knowing the story behind how and why it was created. Also if your artwork is really unique, one of a kind, have it photographed well, so in case you sell it, or your art will be damaged or destroyed, at least you will have a picture of it. If you have high quality photographs or scan of paintings or drawings, you can also make more money from your art by selling it as fine art prints.

I have photograph art for artists in the past and I know that sometimes it is not an easy task. A good picture can make a huge difference on the way how your present yourself, your art and how successful you can be as an artist. So make sure what you show is of high quality.

Back to the sculpture of the angel I have photographed, If have already wrote about it in one of my previous posts. Presently my photograph of this artwork is available as fine art prints in various sizes and printed media, framed or unframed, directly from the Fine Art America website. It is also offered there as  greeting cards and in some other forms.  Fine Art America provides full money back warranty.

If you like this angel, perhaps it can now also decorate your home?

Please share this post with whoever might be also interested in reading it. Thank you. I also invite you to comment on my posts and to follow this blog to receive automatic updates.

 

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Star Dancers – #1 Was the Most Popular of My Artworks Last Week on the Fine Art America Website.

Star Dancers - #1, fine art mandala.

Star Dancers – #1, fine art mandala.

Star Dancers – #1, was the most popular of my artworks last week on the Fine Art America.

I have created this artwork by digitally combining various images of stars and the outer space. I wanted to create artwork that would be deeply spiritual, calming and good for enhancing meditation.  I have used toned down complimentary colours mostly in shades of blue and green (considered as calming colours, related to the Throat and Hearth chakras). I have balanced them with shades of yellow and orange (energizing, helping to purify the body, associated with Solar Plexus and Sacral chakras).

The colours seem to be pulsating from the center in the shape of flower or star.

I hope you will find this image useful in bringing you into the state of deep meditation and for balancing the above mentioned chakra centers.

In any case, I think it can also work well as a room decor. This artwork is available as print of various sizes and could be ordered framed or unframed directly from the Fine Art America here.  They provide 100% money-back guarantee in case you are not happy with the artwork for any reason. You can return it within 30 days of the date of purchase.  This image is also available as a greeting card. Here is a PDF document for you to download with all the pricing and sizes available.

If you would like to see more artworks from this series please visit my “Gemstones and Star Powers Gallery” on the Fine Art America website.

All artworks from this collection are also available for licensing to be used in a variety of publications or advertising. They could work well on book and magazine covers, business cards, fabric and other products design. You can license them directly from my Photo Shelter website here.

I look forward to your comments and if you have any questions regarding this, or my other artworks, please contact me.

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Gallery

Visiting Lake Garda and area in the Northern Italy.

This gallery contains 16 photos.

Lake Garda and Area, Northern Italy. A few years ago, while on a bus tour of Northern Italy, I have visited a strikingly beautiful Lake Garda located in the Alpine region of Dolomite Mountains. This amazingly beautiful, largest Italian lake … Continue reading