If you visit the town of Sirmione on a peninsula at the southern tip of Lake Garda, you will not miss the Rocca Scaligera. The imposing castle from the 13th century, which is considered one of the most beautiful moated castles in Europe and is therefore known far beyond the Italian borders, is the most famous attraction and at the same time the gateway to the 8,000-inhabitant city. The Rocca Scaligera is surrounded by thick walls. Inside the fortress, which consists of both fired bricks and natural stones, there are three corner towers in addition to the 47 meter high main tower. From the main tower you have a great overview of the city of Sirmione, its port and the entire Lake Garda. Inside the Italian national monument,
The castle is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. from April to September, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from October to March. In the autumn and winter months, the Rocca Scaligera is closed on Mondays. The castle, which is surrounded by wide moats, can be reached via a large drawbridge at the main entrance. Among other things, the town hall, a post office and a prison are housed in the castle.
If you are traveling in Lombardy, you should definitely make a detour to the city of Mantua. The landmark of the medieval city of 50,000 inhabitants, which is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, is the Palazzo Ducale in the heart of the city. The impressive palace, which is also known as the Ducal Palace and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site for several years, was built between the 12th and 17th centuries. On the 34,000 square meter palace grounds, the Renaissance comes alive again in several buildings around the Palazzo del Capitano, which was built at the end of the 13th century. In addition, a small church and a castle belong to the palace grounds. The palace served mainly as the prestigious residence of the Italian princes. In total, there are over 500 different halls and rooms in the Palazzo Ducale, in which visitors can see countless art treasures and pictures. The individual buildings are connected by elaborately designed gardens and courtyards. The palace grounds were extensively restored in the 20th century. Also extremely worth seeing in the Palazzo Ducale is an extensive collection of tapestries and the numerous valuable frescoes.
The Palazzo Ducale is open to visitors every day except Mondays from 8.15 a.m. to 7.15 p.m. As part of guided tours there is, among other things, exciting information about the eventful history of the entire palace complex.
If you spend your vacation in Milan, you can’t ignore La Scala in Milan. After all, the Teatro alla Scala is one of the most famous opera houses in the world and therefore an absolute must for Milan visitors and opera fans from all over the world.
And those who don’t watch any of the famous operas will get their money’s worth in the impressive building. Despite the simple-looking facade in neoclassical style, La Scala in Milan is also one of the most popular photo opportunities in Italy. The interior of the opera house, on the other hand, is very splendid. The red-clad boxes are particularly characteristic. Between 2001 and 2004, the stage technology and the acoustics of La Scala in Milan were also brought up to the state of the art.
The opera season opens on December 7th
The Teatro alla Scala, which opened in 1778, has around 2,200 spectators in four box tiers, two galleries and on the stalls. The Toscanini main foyer, which has been faithfully restored and one of the highlights of La Scala in Milan, is reserved for box ticket holders during the performances. Just like the luxurious royal box, the main foyer, which has a special marble floor, can also be visited as part of an opera tour. The opera season at La Scala starts on December 7th each year. Numerous celebrities from all over the country can be found in the boxes on this day.
Basilica of San Francesco in Assisi
A study tour through Umbria will also bring you to Assisi, home of St. Francis and St. Clara. The Basilica San Francesco and its monastery can be seen from afar above the small town in central Italy. The church is not only a popular place of pilgrimage but also one of the seven most important places of worship in the Catholic Church.
Imposing double church
The Basilica San Francesco consists of the upper church and the lower church. Although St. Francis wanted to be buried in true imitation of Christ on the hill where the executions took place, construction began as early as 1228, two years after his death. The saint’s grave is now located exactly under the altar of the lower church and is one of the most important pilgrimage sites. The older lower church is to be assigned to the Romantic period while the upper church was built in the Gothic style and is considered the first building of the mendicant order Gothic. The lower church is painted with rich frescoes, among others by Giotto and Cimabue, and the continuous images and the low ceiling give it a very special atmosphere. The upper church is built according to the order of the Franciscans, but nevertheless very splendidly furnished for a mendicant order. The nave has no side chapels as the Franciscans did not employ any additional priests. The originator of the great fresco cycle is still controversial: Giotto and Cavallini are suspected to be painters. The 1997 earthquake severely damaged the upper church, but around two thirds of the precious frescoes could be restored.
Franciscan mother monastery
The Sacro Convento, the heart of the Order, is located on the slopes of Monte Subasi, on the top of which stands the Basilica. The library was once able to compete with that of the Paris Sorbonne University and the library in Avignon. In the 15th century the monastery served as the summer residence of the popes, in the 17th century the guest wing was expanded to accommodate the streams of pilgrims. Today the monastery houses a theological institute.