trip to the amalfi coast

Why planning a Trip to the Amalfi Coast

A Trip to the Amalfi Coast is the perfect destination for your honeymoon or for a romantic escape with your partner. Discover why the Amalfi Coast is so special!

The Sorrento Peninsula, which includes Amalfi Coast, is a beautiful area in the South of Italy, in the region of Campania. It has everything you could ask from a relaxing, romantic holiday: look one way from Sorrento and you’ll see Vesuvius looming up next to Naples. Turn your head to the other direction and here are the dramatic cliffs of the Amalfi Coast: a paradise for couples and newlyweds! Sorrento and the near cities are rather crowded and full of tourist shops. But it’s worth putting up with this and have the chance to enjoy its unique beaches, villages and history!

The Sorrento Peninsula offers an infinite series of breathtaking natural views and seaside resorts, but is also made special by its architectural and historical wonders. The history of the peninsula is long and complex: having been ruled by so many different cultures, the buildings and monuments, together with the food and popular traditions, are eclectic and varied. Despite this, the population has a strong cultural identity and is a wonderful example of hospitality and generosity.

The most attractive area in the Salerno Peninsula is the world-famous Amalfi Coast.
The main cities you’ll definitely have to add to your itinerary of a
Trip to the Amalfi Coast are Amalfi, Ravello and Positano. Start fresh in the morning and allow 8 hours time to visit all three cities. Let’s start with Amalfi!

AMALFI, THE WEALTHY MARITIME REPUBLIC

trip to the amalfi coast
A picturesque interlacing of alleys overlooks the blue sea with its amazing colors reflecting the unique landscape of Amalfi, the town which gives its name to the entire coast.
Dominated by the Cathedral of Sant’Andrea (St. Andrew), Amalfi offers visitors so many testimonies of its glorious past as a Maritime Republic. Famous is also the beautiful Baroque fountain of Sant’Andrea, meeting point for young people in the area. Built in 1760, it is the starting point for the parade of Sant’Andrea, which takes place every 30th November and 27th June through the streets and the beach of Amalfi.

RAVELLO, THE PEARL OF THE AMALFI COAST

trip to the amalfi coast

Another must-see of the Amalfi coast is Ravello, elegant and refined village, tucked in the green and full of luxurious villas (perfect venues for a wedding!). The heart of the city is represented by Piazza Vescovado, with the wonderful architecture of Palazzo Rufolo and the Cathedral with its majestic portal and 10 feet high bell tower. Ravello has been declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996 and is today a favourite destination for intellectuals and music ad art lovers. Ravello also known all over the globe for its Music Festival, organized in the Spring in the garden of Villa Rufolo, where an evocative setting and the emotion of the music create an experience of great intensity.

POSITANO, A PARADISE ON EARTH

trip to the amalfi coast
A Trip to the Amalfi Coast won’t be complete without a visit to Positano, a true paradise on earth. This city is often compared to Montecarlo, for its vertically developed buildings and a tangled overlay of streets, shops and alleys that make the colorful views of Positano a must for any nature lover and photograph-addicted!
The main street divides the city in two parts and any area is linked to one another by small staircases, another symbol of the city. Its warm climate makes Positano the perfect destination during the Summer as well as during the autumn and spring, since the temperature rarley goes below 6°C, even during the winter!
In the town center you can visit the Parish Church of Santa Maria Assunta with its large dome, tiled in majolica and sheltering precious works such as polychrome marble altars. After visiting the main sites you can relax with some shopping and buy souvenirs in unique local handcrafts shops. Typical of Positano are also linen hand-made shirts and dresses!

Did this blog aroused your curiosity? If you need help planning your Trip to the Amalfi Coast, we are here for you. Send us an email and we’ll do our best to plan the trip of a lifetime!

Fountains in Italy

Discover the 10 best Fountains in Italy

Fountains in Italy are among the most beautiful architectural elements you can admire during a journey. We have selected 10 among the most important Fountains in Italy, linking them to interesting legends and traditions.

Fountains in Italy are so many and so different in shape and size that is difficult to count them all and describe them in a few words. The tradition of building fountains can be traced as early as the Ancient Rome Age: Romans’ relationship with water was very strong and this is of course witnessed by the majesty of their baths, aqueducts and fountains.
For most ancient cultures, and Rome was not an exception, water was vital and was therefore considered a gift from the gods. The several water springs located all over the region of Lazio (which contains Rome) were all dedicated by the Romans to the god Fons, while every single source had its own tutelary god or nymph.

The very first fountains in ancient Rome had a merely practical function: to bring water to the population and to livestock, of great importance in a culture who relied so much on breeding as a source of food and wealth. The first fountains were mostly made of rock and in the shape of a simple square, simply featuring a spout to bring water out.

But it wasn’t long before romans started building more decorated fountains. Architectonical elements, statues, apsis and floreal elements were used to adorn fountains all over the city.
Later on, the abundance of water in the whole region, inspired romans to channel it through aqueducts, making it possible to build fountains everywhere in the city, not only near natural springs. This led also to the building of bigger fountains, which sometimes were as big as monuments.

Today all italian cities have their own fountains adorning squares and streets: from the huge and majestic ones, like Trevi Fountain, to the small and ubiquitous small fountains scattered all through the territory, which are a continuous source of fresh drinking water for the lucky tourists!

We have collected for you ten of the most beautiful Fountains in Italy, along with curiosities and traditions linked to them.

1. Trevi Fountain in Rome

trevi fountain rome

One of the most monumental Fountains in Italy, Trevi Fountain is the fruit of long-running, discontinuous working by different architectects, including Bernini. It was actually completed by architects Nicola Salvi and Giuseppe Pannini, who put the finishing touches on the fountain between 1732 and 1766.
With its 85 feet height and 65 feet width, it’s the biggest fountain in the entire city of Rome. In the center of Trevi Fountain a statue of god Oceanus dominates the scene, on top of a shell-shaped chariot, pulled by two horses. To each side of the god the architects put a statue: those of the gods of Health and Abundance.
The fame of Trevi Fountain has two different reason. First of all, Rome’s biggest fountain appeared in more than one  movie, the most famous being Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita” and “Roman Holiday”, starring Audrey Hepburn. Not everyone knows about these movies, but we’re sure most tourists know the legend linked to Trevi Fountain. The original legend says that if you  throw a coin into the fountain – with your back to it – that will make sure you return to Rome. This is such a popular tradition that Rome’s Council drags each day an average of 3,000 euros coins from the bottom of the fountain! Part of the money is used to fund charity projects, for example it was used to build a supermarket for the poors, an idea of Italian Red Cross

2. Fountain of Neptune in Bologna

Fountain of Neptune Bologna

Another God of the Waters is the main character of another of the best Fountains in Italy: a bronze sculpture of Neptune, the God of the Sea, takes centre stage on the Fountain of Neptune, in the eponymous Piazza in Bolgona, north of the country.
This monumental bronze and marble fountain is an early work by Giambologna, completed about 1567: Neptune’s figure is depicted extending his reach in a lordly gesture of stilling and controlling the waters, sorrounded by nereids. The statue of the god Neptune was placed at the exact point where the cardo and the decumanus – the proto-typical main streets of any Roman city – intersected.

An interesting legend is worth mentioning: it says that before an important exam, students must walk around twice Neptune’s Fountain counter clock-wise, if he wants to pass the exam, just like architect Giambologna did to celebrate when he finished working on the fountain.

3. Fountain of the Four Rivers in Rome

fountain of the four rivers rome

The fountain, located in Piazza Navona, in Rome, was created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, one of the most celebrated sculptors in history. The giant statues adorning the fountain symbolize what were considered the world’s four greatest rivers (the Nile, the Ganges, the Danube and the Rio de la Plata) and the four continents that were known at the time. The sculptures rest on a big rock that rises from a circular basin and are surrounded by animals and flora of each continent. The fountain culminates in a tall obelisk that rests on a large plinth.

4. Fountain of the Elephant in Catania

fountain of the elephant catania

If you decide to visit the wonderful Region of Sicily, pay a visit to Catania to admire its famous “elephant fountain”: the elephant figurine inserted in the fountain, which balances an obelisk on its back, is made from the black lava of Mount Etna and some say it might date back to ancient Roman times. But this fountain, made by architect Vaccarini, is definitely more recent, having been completed only in 1736.

5. Arethuse Fountain in Sicily

arethuse fountain sicily

Continue your trip of Sicily and reach one more example of Fountains in Italy: on the Ortygia island, near the city of Siracusa, you can admire an enormous fountain, whose legend will remember you how romantic Italy can be! Ancient Greek legend says that Goddess Artemis turned the nymph Arethusa into this fountain, so that she could avoid losing her virginity, which was endangered by the passionate river god Alpheus. In turn, God Alpheus asked to be turned into a river, so that, flowing into the sea-water spring, he could finally unite to her beloved Arethusa.

6. Fountain of the 99 Spouts in L’Aquila

fountain of the 99 spouts l'aquila

The Fountain of 99 spouts is one of the most icon monument in L’Aquila, in the Abruzzo region, probably erected in 1272. Trapezoidal based, it is made up of two separate basins and intertwined slabs made of white and rose stone, which were take from a nearby cave. The fountain main feature is a series of 99 stone masks called “cannelle”, literally “spouts”. Water comes out from the most of them. According to the legend, the spouts represent the lords of the 99 castles that united to found in L’Aquila in XIII century. In fact, it is said that L’Aquila is made up of 99 squares, 99 churches and 99 fountains.
After undergoing serious damages after the earthquake of 2009, the Fountain of 99 spouts has been recently restored with funds raised by Italian National Trust (FAI).

7. Barcaccia Fountain in Rome

barcaccia fountain rome

The abundance of water in centre Italy inspired the Romans to channel it through their monumental aqueducts. Aqueducts became important centuries later also for the Catholic Church, which used them to manifest its power on earth: still today you can see the family crests of the main Popes branded onto many Fountains in Italy!
The most famous example of this is the “Barcaccia Fountain” in Piazza di Spagna (right in front of the Spanish Steps, also known as Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti). This Fountain was built between 1627 and 1629 and is the work of Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s father, Pietro. The peculiar name of the fountain, Barcaccia (literally, “ugly boat”) refers to the legend saying that a boat was found in this Piazza, after the great flood of the River Tiber in 1598.

The boat has recently been restored and polished and remains one of tourists’ favourite spots for taking a picture to remember them of their journey in Rome.

8. Bargello Fountain in Gubbio

Bargello fountain gubbio

This characteristic and well-preserved fountain in Gubbio, dating back from the 14th century, takes its name from the palace it stands in front of, tradtionally the residence of the “Bargello”, the magistrate in charge of the city police. This fountain is also called “la fontana dei matti” (“the fountain of the madmen”) and is very famous among Italians. This popularity is due to a funny legend, according to which visitors can gain the license of “matto di Gubbio” (literally, “madman of Gubbio”) if they are baptized with its waters and after running three times round it!

Geologic studies have tried to explain this strange tradition: peculiar rock formations that surround the city of Gubbio show that the territory has been contaminated for a long time by highly toxic iridium!

9. Fountains in the Palace of Caserta

caserta palace fountains

The Palace of Caserta is a former royal residence in the city of Caserta, southern Italy, near Naples. Built for the Bourbon kings of Naples it is one of the largest buildings erected in Europe during the 18th century. In 1997 it was even was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Inside this huge Palace, several fountains can be admired, adorning a monumental park which was modeled after that of Versailles. Their names are:

  • The Fountain of Diana and Actaeon
  • The Fountain of Venus and Adonis
  • The Fountain of the Dolphins
  • The Fountain of Aeolus
  • The Fountain of Ceres

The Fountains waterway, fed by a Caroline aqueduct,  shows Vanvitelli’s ability to create optical illusions: the linear canal shows a discontinuous articulation, alternating big basins, little waterfalls and wide segments of grass land: a solution which, together with the slope on which the fountains are built on, creates an optical artifice that makes the street seems shorter than it actuall is (around 3 km). The most evocative aspects of the waterway are of course the fountains, decorated with a very rich sculptural apparatus.

10. Babuino Fountain

babuino fountain rome

The fountain of the Babuino (meaning Baboon) gives its name to Via del Babuino, which runs parallel to wider Via del Corso, the main shopping street in Rome. A small statue of Silenus (the ancient Greek woodland satyr) is reclined and adorns a fountain just outside the church of St Athanasius, which used to be a fountain horses could drink from. His wicked grin and his grubby brown torso makes this statue look a lot like a Babbon and make it one of the most impressive among the “talking statues” of Rome.

If you want to know what the Talking Statues of Rome represent, read our article on the Talking Statues of Rome!

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birthday of rome

The Birthday of Rome: legends and facts on 21st April

“Rome wasn’t built in a day”: but when did they start building Rome? If the legend is correct, the first stone in Rome was set on April 21st, 753 BC.
The Birthday of Rome is still celebrated in a glorious way: take the once in a lifetime chance to celebrate the eternal city and enjoy this special atmosphere!

 The Legend about the Foundation of Rome

The legend regarding the birthday of Rome is an amazing one and allows us to understand a little bit more about the history of the city. According to the legend, Rome was founded by two twins, Romulus and Remus, who were orphans and survived being suckled by a she-wolf. To reinforce the relationship between Rome and the Gods, the two twins were said to be the children of the God of War, Mars, and Rhea Silvia, daughter of King Numitor of Alba Longa.

The legend of Romulus and Remus is quite a dramatic one. Rhea Silvia’s uncle, Amulius, wanted her daughter to remain a vestal virgin and forced her to give away her children, which were drowned in River Tiber. Maybe because they had Gods as ancestors, the two twins survived and were washed by the River Tiber to the foot of Palatine Hill. There, they were found by a she-wolf, who suckled them and let them survive.
This is why the symbol of Rome is still the image of a she-wolf with two children underneath and why one of the two football teams of Rome, AS Roma, has a wolf as its symbol.

One day the twins were rescued by a shepherd and grew up with a group of shepherd warriors, eventually becoming heads of the tribe. When they were told that they were the heirs to the throne of Alba Longa, they stroke an attack against the empire, managed to defeat Amulius and established their own city in the place where the shepherd found them years before.

Unfortunately, the legend has a dramatic epilogue: misunderstandings led the twins to quarrel and Romulus killed Remus. Being the only heir, Romulus became the king of the newly founded city and called it Rome.

Why is the birthday of Rome celebrated on 21st April?

It was a Roman scholar, Marcus Terentius Varro, who in 1 BC set an exact date for the founding of Rome: the chosen date was April 21st because it was the day of the festival sacred to Pales, goddess of shepherds; in her honour, Rome celebrated the Par ilia (or Palilia).

Romans had given several dates as an option for the founding of the city during the years. The dates which varied between 753 BC and 728 BC, but at the end Varro decided to set the date to 753 BC.

This date is also supported by what more than one archaeologist found in their excavations. Recent discoveries on Palatine Hill in Rome supported the date of Rome’s founding as chosen by Varro. A series of fortification walls was found on the north slope of Palatine Hill, walls which can be dated to the middle of the 8th century BC, exactly when legend says that Romulus plowed a furrow (sulcus) around the Palatine Hill to mark the boundary of the new city he was founding.

The Celebrations Birthday of Rome on 21st April

Visiting the city on the birthday of Rome will give you the unmissable chance of seeing the city at its best. Rome’s birthday celebrations involve lots of activities like concerts, reenactments of historic events, parades and other cultural celebrations at Circus Maximus. Take some time to admire the Colosseum lights up with gladiator displays and fireworks.

Many archaeological sites of Rome will be involved in the celebrations, for example Circus Maximum, Campidoglio Square (on the Capitol Hill) and the Roman Forum, between 21st and 24th April 2016.

Below are some of the main events you may want to see:

Thursday 21st April

  • 3 pm at Circus Maximum: historical reenactment of the “plowing of the furrow” (“Tracciato del Solco”), the moment when Romulus started the founding of Rome 2769 years ago.
  • 4 pm at Circus Maximum: an amazing show to reenact the “Festa della Palilia”, the religious ceremony held in Ancient Rome on 21st April, when sheep and shepherds, so important to Rome’s economy and culture, were purified.
  • 5 pm at Circus Maximum: equestrian event “Horses in Rome”, telling the story of the deep relationship between Rome and horses, with a spectacular event organized by the cultural association “Roman Carnival: Equestrian Theatre Academy” together with the “Museum of Vintage Carriages”.

Friday 22nd April and Saturday 23rd April

  • 2-4 pm at Circus Maximum: Gladiators Games with the children of Rome at the “castrum”.

Sunday 24th April

  • 10-11 am at the Circus Maximum: “Commissio Feriarium”, a suggestive reenactment of the ritual ceremony of fire ignition.
  • 11am – 1 pm a massive group, consisting of 2000 people from all over Italy and Europe,  will parade from the Circus Maximum, passing through the Theatre of Marcellus, Capitoline Hill, Venezia Square, Roman Forum and Colosseum, coming back to Circus Maximum.
  • 2-5 pm at Circus Maximum: shows and historical reenactments made by the groups which joined the parade.
  • 5 pm at Circus Maximum: Grand finale, with an amazing reenactment of the battle between Rome and Britannia, which took place in 44 AD.

Don’t forget to visit the photographic exhibition of the “Birthday of Rome”, organized by the association “Fotografiamo”. It will be open to visitors from 21st April to 23rd April 2016.

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