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The Jewel of the “Santa Catalina” Palace

“Ignorance is bliss”, a very popular phrase that is used when people do certain actions (whatever they are), ignoring  the good or bad consequences that may result from said action. We can say that something of this sort has happened with the staircase, dome and the structure that supports the “State” Staircase of the Santa Catalina Palace found on the grounds of La Fortaleza in Old San Juan, in Puerto Rico. A jewel that in 2015 was returned closely to its splendor of the 19th century.

This structure not only faced natural deterioration over the years as caused by time, humidity or pollutants, but also faced the worst of interventions, a product of ignorance, when it was covered countless times with thick layers of ordinary paint, hiding its original coloring and beauty.

Thanks to the restoration efforts of committed professionals and students, in 2015, the ignorance boldly embodied in the staircase through the years, was returned as close as possible to its origins in the year 1845, when Puerto Rico was a Overseas Province of Spain. Today, the Santa Catalina Palace and its staircase are a heritage site of Puerto Rico and a world heritage site, declared by UNESCO.

Continue reading “The Jewel of the “Santa Catalina” Palace”

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The San José Church of Old San Juan; from our point of view

Close to turning 500 years old, the long-awaited re-opening of the San José Church of Old San Juan took place on Friday, March 19, 2021. An ideal date, coinciding with the celebration of the Year of San José (Saint Joseph), as designated by Pope Francis, on the occasion of celebrating 150 years of being declared patron of the universal Church. Continue reading “The San José Church of Old San Juan; from our point of view”

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La Villa d’Este, much more than fountains

Before starting the work to create the fabulous fountains of the “Villa d’Este”, it was necessary to convert into a great palace what had been, the monastery and cloister where Benedictines and Franciscans lived. The official residence of the governor of Tivoli needed to be a dignified palace, not only to accommodate renowned families such as the D’Estes and Borgias, but also worthy of a Cardinal who aspired to be Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Continue reading “La Villa d’Este, much more than fountains”

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“Complesso di San Firenze”

In the 17th century, the Congregation of the Oratory of Saint Phillip Neri in Rome arrived at Firenze when Pope Urban VIII presented them with a plot of land in “Piazza San Firenze” that included a church of the same name. The Oratorians or Philippians Fathers had the mission of building a large complex on the spot. The “Complesso di San Firenze” is located in front of the “Palazzo Gondi” that has it posterior facing the “Piazza della Signoria”. Continue reading ““Complesso di San Firenze””

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Chiesa Santa Maria ai Monti, Rome

The “Chiesa Santa Maria dei Monti” or “ai Monte” is located in the Monti district in Rome, one of the oldest and largest sections of the city. The Monti rises from the foot of four of the seven hills of Rome; Esquiline, Viminal, Quirinal and Coelian. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the Celio sector and the Coelian hill were separated to form a separate district. Continue reading “Chiesa Santa Maria ai Monti, Rome”

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Holy Trinity, Firenze

Originally outside the city walls, the “Chiesa and Badía Santa Trinita” (Holy Trinity) was founded by the Vallombrosian monks at the end of the 11th century, in Firenze, Italy. Currently, it is located on Via de’Tornabuoni and in front of a small piazza that bears its name. The Vallombrosianos order was founded by the Benedictine Saint John Gualbert in the early eleventh century, in the town of Vallumbrosia located in the northern part of Italy. Continue reading “Holy Trinity, Firenze”