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Canada: Toronto, Ontario – Two Views of Toronto’s CN Tower

The CN Tower and a reflection of the Tower in an office building nearby, The tower held the record for the world’s tallest free-standing structure for 32 years until 2007 when it was surpassed by the Burj Khalifa. It still remains the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere.


Canada: Toronto, Ontario: Views from the CN Tower Toronto

Until 2009, The CN Tower was the world’s tallest tower but in that year the Canton Tower was built and surpassed it. It’s still in the top 10 free-standing structures in the world, coming in at #9.

Canada: Toronto, Ontario – Telephone in Casa Loma, Toronto

High tech telephones can be found in most of the rooms (even his bathroom) of Sir Henry Pellatt’s castle-like home, Casa Loma – and this was in 1913! 

Italy, Rome: Inside St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome

St. Peter’s Basilica is the largest church in the world with the tallest dome in the world. This Renaissance architecture was designed over the centuries by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

On 1 January 1547, Michelangelo, then in his seventies, was Pope Paul III’s 3rd choice to be the superintendent of the building program. So way beyond the Sistine Chapel, he was the principal designer of most of the building as you see it today.

 Michelangelo, who did not want this job, wrote “I undertake this only for the love of God and in honour of the Apostle.” In order to take the assignment, he insisted he be given a free hand to achieve his ultimate design by whatever means he saw fit.

The Basilica is supposedly the burial site of Saint Peter, first Bishop of Rome whose tomb is supposedly directly below high altar.

Italy, Rome: Vatican Entrance, Rome

Entrance to the Vatican Museums. Michelangelo’s ceilings in the Sistine Chapel is right near here.

Italy, Rome: The Vatican, Rome

Who would think on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in September, that we could have the whole Vatican plaza and the view of St. Peter’s Cathedral all to ourselves?

Italy, Florence: View From the Ponte Vecchio, Florence

The Arno River as seen from the Ponte Vecchio (old bridge) in Florence, Italy.

Italy, Florence: Ponte Vecchio Fountain

It makes sense that a bust/fountain on the Ponte Vecchio would be of a sculptor and goldsmith, Benvenuto Cellini. Cellini did not have any connection with the jewelry shops on the bridge, which are there today because when he was alive, butcher shops lined the bridge. The artist, in a shout out to Cellini, used motifs taken from the pedestal of Perseus, Cellini’s masterpiece. The inscription on the monument states: “To Benvenuto Cellini ­ Master ­ The Goldsmiths of Florence.”

Italy, Florence: Ponte Vecchio, Florence

The Ponte Vecchio (old bridge) is a medieval stone bridge and the only one to cross the Arno River until 1218. This one is “newer”, having been rebuilt after a flood in 1345. It’s famous because it has shops built along it, as was once was the practice. Originally it was butchers, now it’s jewelers, art dealers and souvenir sellers.

Italy, Florence: Florence’s Bronze Doors to the Gates of Paradise

Florence’s Baptistry of the Duomo is renowned for its three sets of artistically important bronze doors which have relief sculptures. The south doors were created by Andrea Pisano, and the north and east doors by Lorenzo Ghiberti.

It was Michelangelo who gave the East doors their fame, calling them “the Gates of Paradise”. The 17-foot-tall gilded doors, weighing 4 1/2 tons, are casts of the original doors created in Ghiberti’s 15th-century workshop.

The Italian poet Dante Alighieri and many other notable Renaissance figures, including members of the Medici family, were baptized in this baptistry.