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  • Day24

    Awesome Landscapes

    April 24, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

    On Tueday we found our way to Perugia, the capital city of both the region of Umbria and the province of Perugia. The history here is mind-boggling, and dates back to the 3rd century BC! Equally astounding are the views from virtually anywhere you go in this hilltop city. From our hotel room we can look across the valley and see, 24kms away, the city of Assisi, home of St-Francis, which we plan to visit while we're here.

    Rather than try to cramp everything into this one blog, I'm going to break our seven day stay here into small chunks, starting with a few photos of the views. Enjoy!
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    Betty Jay for the soul.

  • Day28

    Basilica San Domenica

    April 28, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    Just down the street from our hotel in Perugia is the Basilica San Domenica. We first saw it when we arrived here and immediately decided we wanted to pay it a visit. Like so many of the buildings and monuments we've visited, this place is ENORMOUS. To get an idea of its size, look at the photo of Brenda standing next to the entrance door.

    Originally built in two phases between 1304 and 1458, it was rebuilt in 1632 following a series of collapses.

    Not only is the size of the structure impressive, but so is the artwork, stained glass and carvings. Particularly striking are the 14th-century funerary monument to Pope Benedict XI, carved in marble and extremely detailed, and the 21-meter-tall stained-glass window that dates to 1411. The pipe organ is a "recent" addition and dates to the 16th century.

    As we toured the church, we found exposed portions of original frescoes that had, at some time, been plastered over during renovations.

    It boggles the mind to think how much beautiful art may be hidden behind the more modern walls. But then, I suppose the same can be said for this entire city, that has been built up over Etruscan ruins.

    And previous to that, Etruscan builders would have covered up traces left behind by Neanderthals 200,000 years ago.

    Time marches on.
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    Betty Jay

    yes those doors are mind-boggling!

  • Day24

    Scary Dark Places

    April 24, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    As one walks through Perugia, you are struck by the antiquity of the place. Many of the masonry walls surrounding you date back over eight hundred years. The stone carving is exquisite and the passages, tunnels and archways are unbelievably well conceived and engineered, even by today's standards. Of course, they would have to be in order to remain standing for so long.

    But I have to admit, sometimes passing through these dark portals, where so many countless others have previously trodden, wearing away the stairs and cobblestones, I get a serious case of the creeps.

    One such place in particular is Rocca Paolina, a Renaissance fortress that was built in 1540-1543 for Pope Paul III, thus the name.

    So large was the project, it destroyed many Etruscan, Roman and medieval buildings, as well as over a hundred tower-houses, gates, churches and monasteries. It turned the former streets of the historic city center into underground passageways, which Brenda and I briefly visited on Wednesday. Despite a temperature of 20°C outside, the air within the Rocca was very cool and damp and we had only begun our exploration when we decided we would have to return another day wearing warmer clothing.

    As is usually the case with these huge structures, photos cannot convey their vastness and breadth, but hopefully the attached images show a little of the magic we're experiencing.
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