The Italians call them Palazzi, those grand buildings we might call palaces. But a palazzo isn’t always a magnificent structure; it could be a big apartment building, a palazzo condominio. A Palazzo Reale is a royal palace, but the word Reggia can also mean a royal palace, as in Reggia di Caserta, the largest royal palace in the world. It’s found outside Naples in the Campania region and was modeled after the Palace of Versailles.
A Palazzo can hide ancient buildings below, as in Rome’s Palazzo Valentini, where you can see Roman houses, baths, and even a Roman Road. But that’s not all. At the end of your tour you’ll see a fully self-contained, air-raid shelter that was built under the courtyard when WWII broke out, with an exit tunnel heading onto the Trajan׳s Forum.
Palazzi can form into clusters, like the famous Rolli Palaces you will see in Genoa on Via Garibaldi (formerly called Strada Nuova), where lavish Renaissance and Baroque mansions were built between the 16th and 18th centuries to host visiting dignitaries. During Rolli Days around the end of May they’re open and free to visit.
Even tiny Fivizzano in the rural Lunigiana has a famous palace. It’s the Palazzo Fantoni which documents an interesting time in the village; Jacopo da Fivizzano started printing books here between 1470 and 1474. Not only that, but fellow citizen Agostino Fantoni created the first type-writing machine and began to study carbon paper here. Today the palazzo houses the museum of printing, Il Museo della Stampa. On the tour you’ll get to see not only the exhibits, not only the whole Palazzo, but also Mussolini’s typewriter. I imagine it was the mouthpiece of Fascism in its day.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to make a reservation to see all this unless it’s a festival day and happens to be open, but here is some contact info I found on the web:
Tel. 0585/942152 (Francesco Leonardi)
Martha is a true garden lover, a fact which has induced us to hit the road in search of well-arranged and sweet-smelling places in Italy. She has a list of her favorite gardens and parks in Italy, as well as 5 gardens in Tuscany not to miss.
Fast Cars and Walter
When we visited Sardinia with our Friends Walter and Sharon Sanders it was Walter who drove us all around Sardinia. Then, when we had parted company, he went out and traded his buy-back lease car for a Ferrari for a short time. Did he enjoy his fling? See Driving a Ferrari Spider to find out.
Thanks for reading. Be sure to pass this on to anyone you think would be interested. And—happy travels!