Video PostCard from RomeCabs: ASSISI

Buon giorno and thank you for visiting Stefano’s RomeCabs Transfers and Tours Travel Blog.

In this Postcard from RomeCabs series, we feature the Umbrian town of Assisi that rests peacefully high up on the slope of Mount Subasio.

 .

Video PostCard from RomeCabs: ASSISI

 .

.

Most often recognized as the birthplace of Saint Francis and Saint Claire, Asisis is a magical hilltop town is one of the most beautiful medieval settlements in Italy.

Retaining its original stone style of medieval architecture built of pale grey and pink stone quarried nearby, Assisi is so well preserved that it still looks brand new – not a town that’s at least 1,000 years old.

Both RomeCabs and Stefano Rome Tours offer day tours to Assisi that also includes a visit to Santa Maria degli Angeli – the famous cathedral in the town by the same name located at the foot of Assisi.

Santa Maria degli Angeli church houses the famous Porziuncola ( a tiny stone church where the Franciscan movement started), and is respected at the place where Saint Francis passed away on October 3, 1226.

Must See Churches in Assisi on a Day Tour:

.

Saint Francis Basilica

 

Assisi in A Day with RomeCabs

Saint Francis Basilica – Assisi in A Day with RomeCabs

.

The Saint Francis Basilica consists of a Lower Level and Upper Level and it includes spectacular vibrant frescoes by the masters of that time, Giotto and Cimabue.

The construction of the basilica started immediately after the canonization of Saint Francis in 1228 on a plot of donated land on the west hillside of Assisi known as “Colle d’inferno” (Hill of Hell) as criminals were previously executed there.

After the construction of the Basilica, it became known as the “Hill of Paradise”, blessed by the presence of the Saint’s body that is buried in a tomb beneath the basilica.

 

Saint Claire Basilica

.

Basilica of Saint Claire / Santa Chiara in Assisi

Basilica of Saint Claire / Santa Chiara in Assisi

.

The simple basilica of Saint Claire houses the remains of Saint Clare beneath the high altar.  

Also notable, is the large cross that originally hung in the once decrepit San Damiano monastery that is believed to have spoken to Francis and helped in his conversion from a life of debauchery to monastic.  

Also featured in the basilica are preserved personal articles that once belonged to Saints Francis and Claire.

 

San Damiano Convent

.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

San Damiano Convent – Assisi Day tour with Stefano’s RomeCabs

.

San Damiano Convent is significant for the Franciscans as this is where young Francis first received his calling when, as tradition recalls, a large crucifix hanging inside the church (now found inside the Basilica of Saint Claire) spoke to Francis and called on him to rebuild His church.
Taking the command literally, young Francis began to rebuild it stone by stone. It wasn’t until later that the meaning could have been interpreted as rebuilding the spiritual aspect of the church which was considered corrupt in those days.

This rebuilt church was later expanded to become the convent of Saint Claire, the first female follower of Saint Francis and the founder of the Order of the Poor Clares. Saint Claire lived and died here at the San Damiano convent.

 

Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva

.

Santa Maria Sopra Minerva Church - Assisi Day Tour with Stefano's RomeCabs

Santa Maria Sopra Minerva Church – Assisi Day Tour with Stefano’s RomeCabs

.

The Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, located in the town’s main square, Piazza del Commune, is quite fascinating as it was built inside a 1st century BC Roman pagan temple dedicated to goddess Minerva.

The church was built in 1539, but it was renovated in a highly ornate Baroque style in the 17th century that gives the small church the appearance of a jewelry box of gold and powder blue.

Whether you visit Assisi by on an extend stay, or if you take a Day Trip, it is one of the most impressive, peaceful, and spiritual Medieval towns in Italy.

.

Thank you for visiting our Travel Blog. If we can assist with your upcoming trip to Italy with private Airport Transfers, Civitavecchia Transfers, Day Tours or Shore Excursions, please visit our website below:

Stefano's RomeCabs Tours

Stefano’s RomeCabs Tours

.

.

.

.

Video Postcard from RomeCabs: Medieval Village (Arezzo Back in Time Festival)

 

Buon giorno and welcome to Stefano’s RomeCabs Tour and Transfer Travel Blog

In this week’s Video Postcard, we feature another era from the fabulous annual festival in Arezzo: Back in Time:

.

Video Postcard from RomeCabs: Medieval Village (Arezzo Back in Time Festival)

 .

 .

Each year the fabulous Tuscan town of Arezzo hosts a 3 day festival called “Back in Time” (yes, in English! Although about 90% of the visitors who came to attend and enjoy the festival were Italian speaking)

The festival features multiple eras that are part of the region’s historic fabric: Etruscan Era, Roman Era, Medieval Era, and Renaissance Era. Each historical time is situated in different locations in the town created to fit the theme.

The park near the Cathedral and the Medici Fortress showcased the Medieval Era with Medieval games, chivalry competitions, sword fighting, jousting, music, and a Medieval Village where many groups set up their own camps under large white fabric tents and canopies.  

The Medieval Village was particularly interesting since sometimes visitors just observe authentically costumed participants interacting in their own camps as they might have in the Medieval times: start a cooking fire, sharpen their tools, eat at the communal picnic-like tables, or make things by hand.

At other other times, visitors were invited to step into the camps to mingle with the re-enactors and learn about the Medieval life, the tools used, and crafts they made.  

Unlike the opulent Renaissance era with rich vibrant fabric clothing, large feathered hats, and expensive looking boots and accessories, the Medieval era was very simple and monochrome.  The clothing were simple and earth toned (fabrics likely dyed with plants), and with metals very expensive for the average person, items like swords and mallets were a commodity.  

While a Renaissance era dweller may have sported a sword at his hip for self defense, his medieval counterpart may have used a scythe as a defense weapon.

By 14th century wealth began to flow into Italy as Europe began to experience economic growth due to new trade routes on land and sea that linked Italy’s ports to other networks in Europe.  Cultural and architectural achievements throughout Europe opened the opportunity for the Renaissance (re birth) to flourish in Tuscany.  The dark Medieval architecture of wood was rebuilt into large palaces with marble facades.  The stark Medieval life of survival and ignorance was transformed into a life of plenty and enlightenment.

It is quite interesting to see these 2 consecutive eras beautifully juxtaposed just a short distance from each other in Arezzo.

For more information on this amazing festival, click below:
.

AREZZO: BACK IN TIME FESTIVAL

.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Watch our previous Video Postcard from Arezzo and learn about Renaissance Court Dances:

Video Postcard from RomeCabs: Arezzo – Renaissance Court Dance

Summer Festival in Rome: Along Tiber River – Lungo il Tevere

What is Ferragosto – the Italian August 15 Holiday

.

Arezzo is also part of Stefano Rome Tours UNDER THE TUSCAN FUN tour that takes you on a fun filled journey through Tuscany to visit Arezzo and Cortona.

 .

Arezzo (Tuscany, Italy)

 .

For more information on Stefano’s RomeCabs and our Day Tours, Shore Excursions and Transfers, please visit our website below:

 

Stefano's RomeCabs Tours

Stefano’s RomeCabs Tours

.

.

.

Postcard from RomeCabs: Arezzo – Renaissance Court Dance

 

Buon giorno and welcome to Stefano’s RomeCabs Transfers and Tours Travel blog.  

In this week’s Video Postcard from RomeCabs, we are featuring the first of a few spectacular vignettes from one of Italy’s greatest historical festivals that revisits 4 incredible eras in Italy’s history: Etruscan, Roman, Medieval and Renaissance.

.

Video Postcard from RomeCabs: Arezzo – Renaissance Court Dance

.

.

Each year, Arezzo (one of the most prominent cities in Tuscany that is rich in history and culture), hosts the 3 day event called: AREZZO: BACK IN TIME

It does just that! It takes the visitors back in time to all of these incredible eras as hundreds of talented re-enactors and professionals recreate pieces of history for us to enjoy.

This Video Postcard features a Renaissance Court dance performed outdoors by a group of talented and well costumed dancers show us the moves their ancestors have mastered centuries ago.  

The Renaissance era was a time where wealth propelled advances in art, music, science, philosophy, medicine, and technology.  This period changed the face of humanity and still inspires it today. You can easily recognize this age of opulence in the flamboyant fashions where fine colorful fabrics and bulked clothing adorned the well off.

 

COURT DANCERS

Court dancers were primarily upper class nobility such as Kings, Queens, Dukes, Duchesses, Lords, and Ladies.  On festive occasions and banquets, the courtiers danced in couples or groups, displaying grace and dancing abilities in their finest costumes.

Dancing schools were created where the dance masters taught dance classes at court to those who aspired to a higher social status and impress their peers.  Many small steps created patterns, some steps included jumping on the right foot and kicking the left foot to the front, slide the feet, tapping, stomping, circling about and more.

By the 16th century, more instruments such as the violin were added to the the small orchestra that provided music to the dances. 

As time passed through the Renaissance into the Baroque eras, both the dances and instruments became more complex.

It is said that the love and passion for court dancing didn’t disappear…. It was replaced by ballroom dancing.

Thank you very much for visiting our blog, and stay tuned for more Video Postcards and vignettes from Italy and it’s fascinating places and events.
.

For more information on AREZZO:  BACK IN TIME, visit their official website.

.
Arezzo is also part of the “UNDER THE TUSCAN FUN” tour provided by our sister company Stefano Rome Tours.
.

For more information on Stefano’s RomeCabs Transfers, Day Tours and Shore Excursions, please visit our website below:

.

Stefano's RomeCabs Tours

Stefano’s RomeCabs Tours

.

 

.

 

.

Postcard from RomeCabs: TRAJAN’S FORUM

 

Buon giorno and welcome to Stefano’s RomeCabs Transfer and Tour travel blog.  

This week’s Video Postcard from Rome features the ancient Trajan’s Forum which is one of the Seven Wonders of Ancient Rome.
.

Video Postcard from RomeCabs: TRAJAN’S FORUM

.

.

Trajan’s Forum was last and largest of the monumental public squares that was built in Ancient Rome (Imperial Fora).

Built by the famous architect Apollodorus of Damascus, Trajan’s Forum was commissioned by Emperor Trajan (Marcus Ulpius Traianus) with the spoils from his conquest of Dacia (modern day Romania) in 106 AD.  The Forum was inaugurated in 112 AD, and the victory column in 113 AD.

.

Emperor Trajan bust

Emperor Trajan bust

.

Paved with marble and lined with stunning architecture, statues and trees, Trajan’s Forum was a sight to behold.  

All the buildings (with the exception of 2 libraries that were built of brick) were made of marble.

The 980 feet by 607 feet Forum was flanked by large colonnaded porticos and exedrae – roofed semicircular recess set into the structure facade on both sides of the forum.

The entrance to the Forum was on the south side through a triumphal arch topped with a statue of Trajan riding his triumphal chariot (the arch or the chariot no longer exists, but images of it remained stamped on ancient Roman coins).

.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0071.JPG

Trajan’s Forum at Night with RomeCabs Night Tour

.

The main structure that occupied the center of Trajan’s Forum was the colossal Basilica Ulpia. This public judicial building (the Roman version of town hall) separated the temple form the main courtyard.

This was one of the most important Roman basilicas following the other significant Basilicas Aemilia and Julia located in the Roman Forum.  Basilica Ulpia’s vast interior was richly decorated and topped with gilded bronze roof tiles.  

After construction of Basilica Ulpia was completed, much of the political activities moved from the Roman Forum to Trajan’s Forum and it remained this way until the construction of Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine in 312 AD.

The architecture of the Roman basilicas was adopted by Emperor Constantine as the plan for Christian churches.

Many of the columns that separated the aisles inside the basilica still exist standing, although many have fallen over time.

.

Trajan Forum Photo SM

Trajan Forum on RomeCabs Seven Wonders of Ancient Rome Tour

.

The most famous column of all is Trajan’s triumphal column that towers over the forum.  Standing at almost 100 feet, the column was assembled with marble drums – each weighing about 30 tons at 12 feet in diameter.  

.

Trajan Column SM

Trajan Column on RomeCabs Seven Wonders of Ancient Rome Tour

.

A frieze telling the story of Trajan’s victorious military campaign over Dacia winds around the column shaft 23 times.

Originally surmounted with a statue of Trajan, it disappeared during the middle ages and replaced with a statue of Saint Peter in the 1500’s.

.

Trajan Column Detail SM

Detail of Trajan’s Column

.

A stop to admire the impressive Trajan’s Forum is included in our SEVEN WONDERS OF ANCIENT ROME tour.

Thank you very much for visiting our blog. For more information on our Airport Transfers, Civitavecchia Transfers, Day Tours, and Shore Excursions, please visit our website:

 

Stefano's RomeCabs Tours

Stefano’s RomeCabs Tours

 

See you soon in Italy!
Stefano’s RomeCabs Team

.

.

.

Video Postcard from RomeCabs: ROMAN FORUM

 

Buon giorno and welcome to Stefano’s RomeCabs Transfer and Tours blog.

This post features this week’s latest postcard from Rome:

.

Video Postcard from RomeCabs: ROMAN FORUM

.

 .

The Roman Forum is one of the most well recognized ancient Roman ruins located near the Coliseum.

For centuries the Roman forum was the center of ancient Roman public life. It was the political, judicial, religious, and commercial center of the Roman empire.

 .

Roman Forum, Rome

 .

Located in the small valley between Capitoline Hill and Palatine Hill the Roman forum has been the most famous meeting place in all of the world and throughout history.

It still gathers people even today with about 4.5 million visitors each year.

.

Santa Maria Antiqua Church: Medieval Sistine Chapel

.

.

Roman Forum with RomeCabs

Roman Forum

.

Originally the area of the Roman forum used to be a marshy late into which waters from the surrounding hills drained into. This made it unlivable.

 Eventually the valley was drained by the Etruscan king Tarquins with the Cloaca Maxima: one of the world’s earliest sewage systems that can still be seen today in existence inside the Roman Forum. With the marshy water emptied into the Tiber River,  this valley became  livable and people began to settle and build.

.

Top 10 Must See Places in Rome – RomeCabs Travel Video

.

Scattered ruins of temples and buildings give visitors a glimpse of what the Roman form was like doing the glory days of the Roman empire.

The Roman forum developed over time as it grew in importance and in architecture filling the form with large public buildings and temples the dramatically reduced the open area where people can gather.

You can enjoy the remains of the once impressive Temples of Castor and Pollux, Saturn, Vesta, Antonius and Fausta, Caesar, Romulus and more.

.

Roman Forum with RomeCabs

Roman Forum

.

Triumphal arches in the Roman Forum are the Arch of Titus and Arch of Septimus Severus.

Basilicas of Ancient Rome include Maxentius and Constantine, Julia and Aemilia.

Basilicas of Ancient Rome are not to be confused with the Christian basilicas of today. In Ancient Rome, basilicas were the Town Halls of Roman life.  The current basilicas got their names from the architectural plans  of the Roman basilicas which they adopted.

.

10 Easy Ways to Survive Rome in the Summer

.

For more information about our Rome tours that include a visit to the Roman Forum please visit our website:

Stefano's RomeCabs Tours

Stefano’s RomeCabs Tours

.

Thank you very much for choosing Stefano’s RomeCabs for your Transfers and Tours in Rome and beyond. We look forward to showing you beautiful places in Italy!

Stefano’s RomeCabs Team

 

.

Video Postcard from RomeCabs: Baths of Caracalla

 

Buon giorno and welcome to Stefano’s RomeCabs, Rome’s leading company for private reliable Transfers, Day Tours and Shore Excursions in Italy.

Our latest video Postcard features one of Seven Ancient Roman Wonders:
.

Video Postcard from RomeCabs:  Baths of Caracalla

.

 

.
Within walking distance from the Colosseum and Circus Maximus – almost secluded-  is an expansive Roman complex that is often overlooked by tourists. As grandiose as it is (with walls still standing at 30 meters tall), it’s equally lesser known.  

The good news about that is that you won’t find the Baths of Caracalla crowded with visitors and long ticket and security lines.  

With many fewer visitors you almost feel as though you have the place to yourself and imagine what this magnificent ancient bath complex must have been like in ancient Roman times: even though the ceilings and walls have collapsed, opulent ornaments gone, and impressive statues removed and found new homes in museums throughout Italy.

.

Going back to 3rd century AD:

.

Baths of Caracalla model

.

Emperor Caracalla ruled for only 6 years (211 – 217), and initiated the construction of what should have been the ancient world’s most impressive Roman public baths. As with many Roman emperors, Caracalla was also assassinated, and did not see the completion of his imperial baths.

It is estimated that it took about 13,000 prisoners of war, 6,000 tradesmen, 21 million bricks, and about 6,300 cubic meters of marble to complete what became Rome’s 2nd largest bath complex.

Upon completion, the imperial baths of Caracalla included a park, swimming pools, public libraries, gymnasium, frigidarium (cold rooms), tepidarium (warm rooms), and caldarium (hot rooms).  The bath complex was not just for bathing, but a place for leisure, study, or hold meetings.

 

Baths of Caracalla
As public baths, they open to everyone at no charge, and were able to accommodate up to 1,600 bathers at a time. The buildings were heated by a hypocaust – and underground heating system where water provided by a dedicated aqueduct was heated by burning wood or coal.

 .

Imperial Baths of Caracalla with RomeCabs

Imperial Baths of Caracalla

..

The baths were in continuous use for 400 years until it was destroyed in the 6th century by the Ostrogoths during the Gothic War.

Although largely in ruins due to damages by nature and man, the Baths of Caracalla have for centuries served as an inspiration for architects worldwide, and also inspired awe in the millions of visitors who walked through the impressive colossal ruins.

For more information on our SEVEN WONDERS OF ANCIENT ROME tour that includes a visit to the Baths of Caracalla, please visit our website:
.

Stefano's RomeCabs Tours

Stefano’s RomeCabs Tours

.

Thank you very much for choosing Stefano’s RomeCabs for your Transfers and Tours in Rome and beyond.  We look forward to welcome you to Italy!

Stefano’s RomeCabs Team

 

 

..

 

.

 

.

Video Postcard from RomeCabs: Vatican Museums

 

Buon giorno and welcome to Stefano’s RomeCabs transfer and tour travel blog. Our goal is to make you a trip to Italy as easy and enjoyable as possible.

This travel blog features the most recent addition:

.

Video Postcard from RomeCabs: the Vatican Museums

 

 .

The Vatican Museums are located within the Vatican city, not in Rome.  

There are 54 galleries inside the Vatican Museums, making the Vatican museums one of the largest museums in the world.

Extensive exhibitions of many of the world’s most treasured masterpieces are featured throughout the many individual museums, galleries, and  halls, have been collected by popes throughout the centuries since the Renaissance era.

The Vatican museums have been founded by Pope Julius II in early 16th century to showcase a special marble sculpture that you can admire inside the Cortile del Belvedere (The Belvedere Courtyard).

The sculpture is of Laocoon and his Sons  was discovered in 1506 buried in what used to be a vineyard near the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica in Rome.

.

Laocoön and his Sons - Belvedere Courtyard, Vatican Museums with RomeCabs

Laocoön and his Sons – Belvedere Courtyard, Vatican Museums

.

The different museums were founded by various other popes to feature specific collections of Renaissance works of art, Etruscan artifacts discovered during archaeological excavations, ancient Egyptian objects, and more.

Not to miss are also the Papal apartments frescoed by the famous artist Raphael and his workshop called the Raphael Rooms (Stanze di Raffaello):

Room of Heliodorus, Hall of Constantine, Room of the Signature, Room of the Fire in the Borgo.  

The most famous painting in all of these rooms is the School of Athens (inside the Room of the Signature)
.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0165.JPG

School of Athens by Raphael. Rooms of the Signature – Vatican Museums

.

Also to be enjoyed is Sala Rotonda, a circular room shaped like a miniature Pantheon complete with a faux coffered dome above, and lined with  ancient statues of pagan gods and Roman emperors.

The Gallery of the Maps is a long vibrant hall with Renaissance era maps painted on the walls making it the world’s largest pictorial geographical study.  The ornate ceiling adds to the magnificence of this Gallery.
.

Hall of the Maps, Vatican Museums

Hall of the Maps, Vatican Museums

.

What most visitors anticipate at the end of their Vatican Museums visit is to enter the Sistine Chapel (Capella Sistina) and admire than breathtaking frescoes by Michelangelo: the Sistine Chapel Ceiling depicting 9 scenes from the Book of Genesis, and the Last Judgment fresco on the altar wall.

The Vatican Museums is part of Stefano’s RomeCabsRome in A Day” Day Tour and Shore Excursion from Civitavecchia, as well as “Christian Rome Tour” with Stefano Rome Tours.

 

RomeCabs Banner wtih Website

Stefano’s RomeCabs Tours

.

.

Other VIDEO POSTCARDS  and TRAVEL BLOGS you might enjoy:
.
.

VIDEO POSTCARD FROM ROMECABS: VILLA D’ESTE, TIVOLI

.

VIDEO POSTCARD FROM ROMECABS: PIAZZA NAVONA

..

10 MUST SEE PLACES IN ROME IN A DAY

.

Enjoy photos of St Peter’s Basilica inside the Vatican on our FLICKR PHOTO GALLERY:

.

Vatican

 

.

Thank you very much for choosing Stefano’s RomeCabs for your Tours in Rome and beyond.

We look forward to showing you beautiful places in Italy!

Stefano’s RomeCabs Team