Residences of the Royal House of Savoy – UNESCO World Heritage Centre

When the Duke of Savoy, Emmanuel-Philibert (1553-6O), decided to move the seat of his court from Chambéry to Turin in 1562, he assigned an unexpected and decisive role to the latter. The new capital of the Duchy was still a small, fortified medieval town that had remained on the fringes of the main cultural developments of the Renaissance. As a result of the impetus of Emmanuel-Philibert, his successors developed a vast building programme throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, giving the town and its region a Baroque style, the pivot of which is the residences. These pleasure and hunting residences, built in the countryside along the PO, on the hills, and further away in vast wooded areas, also serve as reference points in a system of large estates important in both economic and strategic terms. This programme was the symbol of the absolute power of the Savoy rulers, who built a state and a European capital. They acquired the throne of the Kingdom of Sicily with Victor-Amadeus Il(l713) and that of the Kingdom of Italy with Victor- Emmanuel II (1861), which they kept until the foundation of the Republic in 1946.

Série sobre Turim – Series about Turin – Torino – 16-01-2009 - IMG_20090116_9999_244

The construction of these buildings involves a town planning system that provides links between one palace and another and between the palaces and the villas, at the same time giving an architectural unity and solemnity to the areas that house the seats of power. Thus the group of buildings in the “Command Area,” which are connected with each other starting from the ducal residence and where central power was exercised in its different political, administrative, and cultural forms, together with the palaces of the House of Savoy (Palazzo Madama, Palazzo di Carignano), form the central node, which has a direct relationship with the outlying residences by means of a radial plan, the form of which can be traced from its centre, Turin. They are rapidly accessible from the capital through a network of straight tree-lined roads, which ensure the cohesive and the functional aspects of the ensemble.

This system is underpinned by large-scale planning projects. Although the organization of the defences of Turin was Emmanuel-Philibert’s major preoccupation, he succeeded in establishing his residence in the former bishop’s palace. Between the end of the 16th century and the 18th century, his successors carried out three large expansion projects centred on the Piazza Castello. The first urban and architectural renovation schemes, launched by Charles-Emmanuel I to the plans of the architect Ascanio Vitozzi (late 16th/early 17th century), were designed to create a “Command Area” to the north-east of the city that would be more in keeping with princely rank and be more practical in defensive terms. The former ducal palace, which was slightly away from the centre, was rebuilt on a new orientation so as to be in direct contact with the Piazza Castello. It was also linked with the southern part of the city by opening a new road (1612-15, the present Via Roma) in the direction of the Mirafiori ducal residence in the country (now demolished). This project was a major innovation, since it established bipolarity in urban and territorial terms.

In 1673, Charles-Emmanuel II (1638-75) commissioned Amedeo di CastelIamonte to extend the town eastwards in the direction of the PO. The new main axis, the Via PO, linked the Piazza Castello with the bridge crossing the river in the direction of the hills where the Villa della Regina was built. The opportunity was also taken to extend the Piazza Castello eastwards, and the State Secretariats and the Royal Theatre were later built along its sides.

Victor-Amadeus II (1675-1730) commissioned Michelangelo Garove, Antonio Bertola, and (from 1716) Filippo Juvarra to carry out the third extension. This was in the direction of the western access to the city, running from the Porta Susina to the Castello di Rivoli and the Palazzina di Stupinigi.

Charles-Emmanuel III (1730-73) inherited several projects from his father. He planned the Palazzo Reale, the State Secretariats, and the theatre on the Piazza Castello, and organized a vast rebuilding and extension programme for the residences, involving Filippo Juvarra, followed by Benedetto Alfieri when Juvarra left Turin in 1735.

The relationships and dynastic links that the House of Savoy established with the royal courts in Paris, Lisbon, Madrid, Munich, and Vienna as well as the towns of Italy created a cosmopolitan artistic and cultural milieu at the court of Turin. Emmanuel-Philibert laid the foundations of a court tradition that had not previously existed in Turin. As the two superb volumes of the Theatrum Sabaudiae, published in 1682, demonstrate, the Dukes of Savoy were tireless builders. With ceaseless perseverance, they enriched their family heritage and commissioned internationally famous architects, artists, and gardeners such Ascanio Vitoti, Carlo and Amedeo di Castellamonte, Guarino Guarini, Filippo Juvarra, Michelangelo Garove, Benedetto Altieri, Daniel Seiter, Francesco Solimena, Sebastiano Ricci, Charles Andre Vanloo, Claudio Francesco Beaumont, Francesco Ladatte, Michel Benard, and many others.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation

Assisi, the Basilica of San Francesco and Other Franciscan Sites – UNESCO World Heritage Centre

Assisi represents a unique example of continuity of a city-sanctuary within its environmental setting from its Umbrian-Roman and medieval origins to the present, represented in the cultural landscape, the religious ensembles, systems of communication, and traditional land use. The Basilica of San Francesco is an outstanding example of a type of architectural ensemble that has significantly influenced the development of art and architecture. The interchange of artistic and spiritual message of the Franciscan Order has significantly contributed to developments in art and architecture in the world.


The city of Assisi is built on the slopes of the hill of Asio, at the foot of Subasio Mountain. The form of the urban settlement is elongated and extends from the south-east towards the north-west. The Roman plan of the city is based on the set of terraces.

The most important event in the history of medieval Assisi was undoubtedly the life and work of Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), who initiated the Franciscan Order and who was canonized in 1228. His companion, Clare, also later canonized, founded the sister order to the Franciscans. After the canonization of St Francis, it was decided to build a monumental church in his honour. This construction was followed by the Basilica of Santa Chiara to honour St Clare. The construction of the Basilica of San Francesco was started in 1228. The lower basilica is entered through an exquisite Gothic portal; the interior is completely covered with frescoes. The earliest of these date from 1253 and are by an unknown artist, the Maestro di San Francesco. Furthermore, the paintings include allegories attributed to Giotto and his school in the presbytery, the Virgin with a Child on the Throne by Cimabue, and the Crucifixion by Giotto, the paintings by Pietro Lorenzetti and his assistants, and the Chapel of St-Martin by Simone Martini. The upper basilica has a magnificent east front in white limestone, with a large rose window in the centre. In the interior, the walls are decorated with series of paintings relating to the faith and life of the saint.

The Cathedral of San Rufino probably dates from the 8th century; it was rebuilt by Bishop Ugone around 1036 as a cathedral. The west front is a masterpiece of Umbrian Romanesque architecture, connected with the cathedral and the church of San Pietro of Spoleto. The interior of the church was completely restructured by Galeazzo Alessi in 1571 in simple Renaissance forms. The construction of the basilica to honour St Clare started in 1257, under the direction of Fra’ Filippo da Campello. In the exterior the structure is characterized by three large flying buttresses, and close to the apse there is a square bell tower. The plan of the church is based on a Latin cross and the whole interior is painted with a cycle of frescoes illustrating the legend of St Clare by several artists. Originally built outside the city walls, the Benedictine abbey of San Pietro is recorded from 1029; in the mid-12th century it adopted the Cluny reform and it passed later to the Cistercians. The interior is austere, divided in three naves by massive pillars. The Roman temple, traditionally dedicated to Minerva, is relatively well preserved. It was first converted into a church and then, in 1212, into a prison. From 1456 the building was again used as a church, dedicated to Santa Maria della Minerva in 1539.

The Carceri are located in a valley of the Mount Subasio and consisted originally of a series of caves for St Francis and his companions. From the 15th to the early 19th centuries a small convent was gradually built on the site of the saint’s grotto. San Damiano is a monastic complex, essential for the understanding of the religious awakening of St Francis, as well as being the convent of St Clare, where she also died. Santa Maria degli Angeli is a Renaissance church designed by Galeazzo Alessi in the 16th century to protect the original chapel of Porziuncola, the site from where St Francis sent his order to their mission and the site where he died. The three surviving chapels contain important early paintings, and are carefully preserved as religious relics. The Sanctuary of Rivotorto contains a small medieval complex, preserved as a relic and relating to a site of Franciscan pilgrimage.


LA CORSA DEI CERI, la tradizione si rinnova

La “Corsa dei Ceri” di Gubbio è una delle manifestazioni più belle, antiche, straordinarie, stupefacenti, pazze, spettacolari, uniche e assolutamente da vivere, se non la più antica nel panorama della tradizione italiana.

In realtà, anche se sono passati più di 800 anni, dal 1160 D.C., che questo rito incredibile e folle si svolge, non è un festival storico ma una celebrazione contemporanea e molto attuale.





I cittadini di Gubbio quando arriva il 15 maggio e il 15 settembre si fermano, e chi vive al di fuori di Gubbio ritorna nella loro città per rivivere l’esperienza.
Vivere la Corsa dei Ceri a Gubbio è un turbine di emozioni , un groppo allo stomaco che ti prende e ti accompagna per tutta la giornata, quando le candele vengono sollevate, e la corsa si fa intensa alla vetta del Monte Ingino, quando le taverne sono aperte fino a sera e migliaia di persone cantano, e ballano in giro per Gubbio.

Ogni candela pesa 300 kg, ma la difficoltà non sta nel peso: la difficoltà è quella di tenere la candela in equilibrio, è quella di correre con tanti chili sulle spalle, si corre in salita, in discesa , tra la folla, e soprattutto quando tutti sono completamente ubriachi.
Non c’è un vincitore, il premio è l’onore, le candele iniziano in una determinata sequenza e arrivano sempre nella stessa sequenza.


Portare una candela, aiutare la loro squadra anche per pochi metri è un grande onore, e ancora oggi dopo 800 anni, un ragazzo diventa un uomo a Gubbio dopo aver preso la candela, il giorno di San Ubaldo ……




LA CORSA DEI CERI, Race of Candles

La “Corsa dei Ceri“, (Race of Candles) of Gubbio – Umbrie – is one of the most beautiful, ancient, extraordinary, amazing, crazy, spectacular, unique and absolutely a living manifestation of Italian history, if not the oldest Italian folklore display.
In fact, even if there are more than 800 years, since 1160 a.C. that this amazing and crazy party takes place, not a historical festival, a celebration today, very current.





The citizens of Gubbio when it arrives on May 15 and September 15 stop, if you live outside Gubbio take leave and return to their city.

It ‘a whirlwind of emotions live the Corsa dei Ceri in Gubbio, a lump in his stomach that takes you and accompanies you throughout the day, when the candles are’ lifted ‘, the wild ride to the summit of Mount Ingino to evening, when the taverns open and thousands of people sing, dance, and they fight for the entire Gubbio.
I could write pages and pages on the traditions, the preparations of the Corsa dei Ceri, but this event is to be lived rather than to describe, because so many words you can say the Corsa dei Ceri, but I wanted to offer a video – below – so that can realize the uniqueness of this extraordinary day, called in English “Saint Ubaldo Day, Wikipedia
It ‘a party life, and it tells a person who has participated in this festival only 2-3 times, though I live 30 miles fromGubbio… must see for Your next holidays in Italy 

Each candle weighs 300 kg = 660 lbs, and is brought about, but it’s not the weight of the difficulty: the difficulty is that of keeping the candle in balance, is to run with so many pounds on his shoulders, running uphill , running downhill, into the crowd, all when everyone is completely drunk, and of course while doing all this, every person who carries a candle, is ‘changed’ during the race with another, and this must be done without drop the candle, why?
There is not who wins or loses, the honor is the prize, the candles start in a certain sequence and always arrive in the same sequence, but I assure you, that men who carry the candle have the physique of players American football, to make you understand, and of course they never do a workout because the candles must be inside the church until the day of Saint Ubaldo ….


Bring a candle, to help their team, for even a few meters is an honor, and even today, after 800 years, a boy becomes a man in Gubbio after he took the candle, the day of Saint Ubaldo


Thanks to Italian Culture Blog


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