Mausoleum of Hadrian Turned into Castel Sant’Angelo

Castel Sant'Angelo from the South by Caspar van Wittel. Oil on canvas.
Castel Sant’Angelo from the South by Caspar van Wittel. Oil on canvas.

When you are heading to the Vatican, you can’t avoid seeing an amazing ancient bridge (foot traffic only) decorated with angel sculptures, and a mighty, brown building of original architecture near it. The Castle of the Holy Angel in the center of Rome, Italy, started its history as a mausoleum of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 139 AD. In 250 years, it became a castle when the young and rising power, the Christian Church, started to replace pagan Roman buildings with Christian ones.

Read the rest of this entry »

If You Are Lazy, Don’t Visit Bergamo, Italy!

The Upper Town of Bergamo, Italy.

The Upper Town of Bergamo, Italy.

While my wife was occupied with real estate, I was sent to explore a new destination: the city of Bergamo, Lombardy, Italy. My number one task was to stay there for ten days and to find out if this city is a comfortable place to live after retirement. The second task was to practice my Italian.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Holy City in Cappuccino Style, Assisi, Umbria, Italy

The city of Assisi, Perugia, Italy.

Pietro di Bernardone was a successful silk merchant in Assisi, Umbria. Like every normal man and businessman, he wanted to have a son who would continue the family business letting his father relax under the tender sun of Italy when time and age would demand their tribute. But his wife, a French noblewoman, Pica de Bourlemont, gave birth exclusively to girls. There were already six of them, when upon his return from another business trip to Provence, France, Pietro found out about the birth of his first son. History is silent on how many months the father was absent.

Pietro was so happy that he named his boy Francesco (Francis) because he adored France. Apparently, France was a brilliant country even in the 12th century. Francis grew to be a smart, fun, and good-looking boy, very attractive to the girls, and his father’s wealth made this attractiveness irresistible. The young man had nothing against such a destiny and was enjoying the life of a rich loafer until his father put him to work in their shop. In this, Francis was also successful. It was no wonder, because most of his buyers were women.

Read the rest of this entry »