Via Nazionale is a street in Rome from Piazza della Repubblica leading towards Piazza Venezia.
Already begun as via Pia, named in honour of Pius IX who had wanted to connect Stazione Termini to the city centre, the street was completed at the end of the 19th century through the ambition of several figures of the Risorgimento to create a « new Rome » as a capital of the unified Kingdom of Italy.
The enlargement of this artery was necessary to create a link between Rome’s central station and the most populous part of the city, and the new road was extended to the east bank of the river Tiber by the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. However, the construction works ripped the heart out of the city by demolishing buildings in its path (including palazzi such as the National Dramatic Theatre), which substantially modified the previous street’s route.
Source : Wikipedia.org
The Fontaines de la Concorde are two monumental fountains located in the Place de la Concorde in the center of Paris. They were designed by Jacques Ignace Hittorff, and completed in 1840 during the reign of King Louis-Philippe. The south fountain commemorates the maritime commerce and industry of France, and the north fountain commemorates navigation and commerce on the rivers of France.
Before in the French Revolution, during the period 1753-1772, when the square was called Place Louis XV, the architect Jacques-Ange Gabriel designed a plan for a monumental statue of Louis XV with two fountains, but, because of a lack of sufficient water, it was never carried out. Gabriel did complete the building of the Ministry of the Navy overlooking the square- its presence later nfluenced the choice of the themes of the Fontaines de la Concorde.
During the French Revolution, the square was renamed Place de la Revolution, the guillotine was placed there, and King Louis XVI and thousands of others were beheaded near the site of the present fountains. In 1795, after the Reign of Terror ended, the square was renamed the Place de la Concorde. After the restoration of the Monarchy in 1816 the square was renamed in the Memory of King Louis XVI.
The completion of the Canal de l’Ourcq in 1824, bringing water from outside the city to the Center of Paris, made it possible to build new fountains in the Place de la Concorde. In 1829, during the rule of King Charles X, the city sponsored a competition for a new plan for the square, which was to include no less than four fountains. One of the entrants in the competition was Jacques Ignace Hittorff, a German by birth, who had previously designed decorations for festivals, funerals, and the 1825 coronation of Charles X. The plan of Hittorff featured four fountains in four quadrants surrounding an equestrian statue of Louis XVI. His plan was not selected.
After the 1830 July Revolution, the new King, Louis-Philippe, renamed the square Place de la Concorde and rejected the earlier project for the Place. In 1831, when the viceroy of Egypt, Mohammed Ali, gave the King the gift of an obelisk dating from the time of Ramses II from Luxor, Louis-Philippe selected Hittorff to design a setting for the obelisk in time for the 1833 July festival, intended to commemorate the anniversary of his rule. Shortly afterwards Louis-Philippe gave him a commission to redesign the entire square.
Hittorff worked on the design for the square and for four fountains from 1833 to 1840, consulting closely with Claude Philibert Barthelot Rambuteau, the Prefect of the Seine. The principal influence on his fountain designs were the twin fountains in Piazza San Pietro in Rome, which also are placed on either side on an obelisk, and which Hittdorff had seen on a visit to Rome in the 1820s. Another influence was Piazza Navona in Rome, where two fountains were placed on either side of an obelisk. Like the fountains of Piazza Navona, the Fontaines de la Concorde were placed on an axis that connected the Church of the Madeleine and the Rue Royale to the north and the bridge to the Palais Bourbon to the south.
Twelve different sculptors worked on the statuary of the fountains, closely supervised by Hittorff, who made sure that the entire ensemble would be harmonious and balanced. A prominent feature of the design of both fountains was a mushroom-shaped cap above the central vasque. Water was to jet from the top of the cap and then cascade downward into a circular vasque, then down into a large circular basin below. The major figures of the fountains were made of cast iron, florentined, or painted with bronze and gold paint. The smaller figures of the tritons and nereids were made of bronze.
Between 1833 and 1840, Hittdorff modified the plans several times. In 1835, when a government committee reported that the water supply would not be sufficient for four new fountains, he reduced the number to two. The obelisk was put in place on the square on October 25, 1836. Both fountains were completed in May, 1840.
In 1862-63, the fountains were restored, and the bronze and gold paint was replaced with a bronze coating.
The sculptors who worked on the fountain were:
* Auguste-Hyacinthe Debay (The Atlantic and the Mediterreanean)
* Antoine Desbouefs (Coral and Fish)
* Achille Joseph Valois (Shells and Pearls)
* Isidore-Hippolyte Brion (Maritime navigation, Astronomy and Commerce)
* Jean-François-Theodore Gechter (The Rhône and the Rhine)
* François-Gaspard Lanno (Flowers and Fruit)
* Honoré-Jean Husson (Wheat and Grapes)
* Jean-Jacques Feuchère (River Navigation, Industry and Agriculture)
* Jean-Jacques Elshoecht, Louis-Parfait Merlieux, Antonin-Marie Moine (tritons and neriads)
Source : Wikipedia.org
The Fiat 500 (Italian: cinquecento, Italian pronunciation: [ˈtʃiŋkweˈtʃɛnto]) is a car produced by the Fiat company of Italy between 1957 and 1975, with limited production of the Fiat 500 K estate continuing until 1977. The car was designed by Dante Giacosa.
Launched as the Nuova 500 in July 1957, it was marketed as a cheap and practical town car. Measuring only 3 meters (~10 feet) long, and originally powered by a tiny 479 cc two-cylinder, air-cooled engine, the 500 redefined the term « small car » and is considered one of the first city cars.
In 2007 Fiat launched a similar looking, retro-styled car, the Fiat Nuova 500.
To meet the demands of the post-war market which called for economy cars, the Fiat 500 was rear-engined on the pattern of the Volkswagen Beetle, just like its bigger brother, the 1955 Fiat 600. Several car makers followed this now nearly vanished design at the time and were quite successful, but only the Fiat 500 was used as the template for other car makers in Europe. The Neckar version manufactured in Heilbronn under a complicated deal involving NSU, was introduced in October 1961.In Upper Austria the firm of Steyr-Puch also produced cars based, by agreement, on the Fiat 500.
Despite its diminutive size, the 500 proved to be an enormously practical and popular vehicle throughout Europe. Besides the two-door coupé, it was also available as the « Giardiniera » station wagon; this variant featured the standard engine laid on its side, the wheelbase lengthened by 10 cm (4 in) which yielded a usable rear seat, a full-length sunroof, and larger brakes from the Fiat 600.
Sports models were produced by Abarth. An Austrian variant, produced by Steyr-Daimler-Puch, the 1956-1969 Steyr-Puch 500, had a motorcycle-derived Puch boxer twin motor, a sports model of which was the 1964-1968 Steyr-Puch 650 TR2.
Production of the 500 ended in 1975, although its replacement, the Fiat 126, was launched two years earlier. The 126 was never as popular as its predecessor in Italy, but was (and still is) enormously popular in the former Eastern Bloc countries, where it is famed for mechanical durability and fuel economy.
Source : Wikipedia.org
An old picture made with a Sony Alpha 100
La Défense is a major business district for the city of Paris. With a population of 20,844, it is centered in an oval freeway loop straddling the Hauts-de-Seine département municipalities of Nanterre, Courbevoie and Puteaux. The district is at the westernmost extremity of Paris’ 10 km long Historical Axis, which starts at the Louvre in Central Paris and continues along the Champs-Élysées, well beyond the Arc de Triomphe before culminating at La Défense.
Around its 110-metre (360 ft)-high Grande Arche and esplanade (« le Parvis »), the district holds many of the Paris urban area’s tallest high-rises. With its 77.5 acres (314,000 m2), its 72 glass-and-steel slick buildings including 14 high-rises above 150 metres (490 ft), its 150,000 daily workers and 3.5 million square metres (37.7 million sq ft) of office space, La Défense is Europe’s largest purpose-built business district.
Source : Wikipedia
Montmartre is a hill (the butte Montmartre) which is 130 meters high, giving its name to the surrounding district, in the north of Paris in the 18th arrondissement, a part of the Right Bank. Montmartre is primarily known for the white-domed Basilica of the Sacré Cœur on its summit and as a nightclub district. The other, older, church on the hill is Saint Pierre de Montmartre, which claims to be the location at which the Jesuit order of priests was founded. Many artists had studios or worked around the community of Montmartre such as Salvador Dalí, Modigliani, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh. Montmartre is also the setting for several hit films. This site is served by metro line 2 stations of Anvers, Pigalle and Blanche and the line 12 stations of Pigalle, Abbesses, Lamarck – Caulaincourt and Jules Joffrin.
The toponym Mons Martis (« Mount of Mars ») survived into Merovingian times, Christianised as Montmartre, signifying ‘mountain of the martyr’; it owes this name to the martyrdom of Saint Denis, who was decapitated on the hill around 250 AD. Saint Denis was the Bishop of Paris and is the patron saint of France.
The hill’s religious symbolism is thought to be even older, as it has been suggested as a likely druidic holy place because it is the highest point in the area. No archeological evidence supports the claim.
In the 18-19th c., there were a number of gypsum mines in Montmartre. A fossil tooth found in one of these was identified by Georges Cuvier as an extinct equine, the paleotherium. His sketch of the entire animal in 1825 was matched by a skeleton discovered later.
Source : Wikipedia.org
An old picture from 2007 that I found when I was cleaning my NAS.
The Prize of the President of the Republic is a race horse trotting up that takes place in June on the Hippodrome de Vincennes in Paris.
It is a Group I race reserved for 4-years-old horses, Geldings excluded, having won at least 38 000 € (in 2009 terms).
It runs on the distance of 2 850 meters (great track). The 2009 allocation is € 240 000, 120 000 € for the winner. (Source Wikipedia)