Lake Como (Lago di Como in Italian, also known as Lario; Lach de Comm in Insubric; Latin: Larius Lacus) is a lake of glacial origin in Lombardy, Italy. It has an area of 146 km², making it the third largest lake in Italy, after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore. At over 400 m (1320 ft) deep it is one of the deepest lakes in Europe and the bottom of the lake is more than 200 metres (656 ft) below sea-level.Lake Como has been a popular retreat for aristocrats and wealthy people since Roman times, and a very popular tourist attraction, which boasts many artistic and cultural gems. It is famous for its numerous villas and palaces (such as Villa Olmo, Villa Serbelloni and Villa Carlotta). Currently, many celebrities have or had homes on the shores of Lake Como, such as Matthew Bellamy, Madonna, George Clooney, Gianni Versace, Ronaldinho and Sylvester Stallone. Lake Como is widely regarded as being one of the most beautiful lakes in Italy.
The lake is shaped much like the character « Y ». The northern branch begins at the town of Colico, while the towns of Como and Lecco sit at the ends of the southwestern and southeastern branches respectively. The small towns of Bellagio, Menaggio and Varenna are situated at the intersection of the three branches of the lake: a triangular boat service operates between them.Lake Como is fed in large part by the Adda River, which enters the lake near Colico and flows out at Lecco. This geological conformation makes the southwestern branch a dead end, and so Como, unlike Lecco, is often flooded.The mountainous pre-alpine territory between the two southern arms of the lake—between Como, Bellagio and Lecco—is known as the Larian Triangle, or Triangolo lariano. The source of the river Lambro is here. At the centre of the triangle, the town of Canzo is the seat of the Comunità montana del Triangolo Lariano, an association of the 31 municipalities which represent the 71,000 inhabitants of the area.
The lake’s name in Latin is Larius, Italianized as Lario, but this name is rarely used; it is usually called Lago di Como (literally « Lake of Como »). In guidebooks the lake may be variously described as « Lake Como », « Lake of Como », or « Como Lake. » The lake’s name comes from the town of Como, known to the Romans as Comum.While the town of Como is referred to as « Como », the lake itself is never referred to solely by this name. (This is not true of another lake in Italy, Lake Garda, where « Garda » may refer to either a town on its shores, or the lake).
Source : Wikipedia
The Pont Neuf (French for « New Bridge » is the oldest standing bridge across the river Seine in Paris, France. Its name, which was given to distinguish it from older bridges that were lined on both sides with houses, has remained.
Standing by the western point of the Île de la Cité, the island in the middle of the river that was the heart of medieval Paris, it connects the Rive Gauche of Paris with the Rive Droite.
The bridge is composed of two separate spans, one of five arches joining the left bank to the Île de la Cité, another of seven joining the island to the right bank. Old engraved maps of Paris show how, when the bridge was built, it just grazed the downstream tip of the Île de la Cité; since then, the natural sandbar building of a mid-river island, aided by stone-faced embankments called quais, has extended the island. Today the island is the Square du Vert-Galant, a park named in honour of Henry IV, nicknamed the « Green Gallant. »
As early as 1550, Henry II was asked to build a bridge here because the existing Pont Notre-Dame was overloaded, but the expense was too much at the time.
Painting of the Pont Neuf project as approved by King Henry III in 1577. The bridge was ultimately completed in 1606 with a less ornate design.
In 1577, the decision to build the bridge was made by King Henry III who laid its first stone in 1578, during which year the foundations of four piers and one abutment were completed.A major design change was made in 1579 requiring the widening of the bridge to allow houses to be built (though they never were) made the piers on the long arm longer. These piers were built over the next nine years. After a long delay beginning in 1588, due in part to the Wars of Religion, construction was resumed in 1599.The bridge was completed under the reign of Henry IV, who inaugurated it in 1607.
The Île de la Cité looking upstream from the West, with the Pont Neuf spanning the Seine.
The bastions give the Pont Neuf its fortified air.
Like most bridges of its time, The Pont Neuf is constructed as a series of many short arch bridges, following Roman precedents. It was the first stone bridge in Paris not to support houses in addition to a thoroughfare, and was also fitted with pavements protecting pedestrians from mud and horses; pedestrians could also step aside into its bastions to let a bulky carriage pass. The decision not to include houses on the bridge can be traced back directly to Henry IV, who decided against their inclusion on the grounds that houses would impede a clear view of the Louvre, which he extended substantially during his reign.
The bridge had heavy traffic from the beginning; it was for a long time the widest bridge in Paris. The bridge has undergone much repair and renovation work, including rebuilding of seven spans in the long arm and lowering of the roadway by changing the arches from an almost semi-circular to elliptical form (1848-1855), lowering of sidewalks and faces of the piers, spandrels, cornices and replacing crumbled corbels as closely to the originals as possible. In 1885, one of the piers of the short arm was undermined, removing the two adjacent arches, requiring them to be rebuilt and all the foundations strengthened.
A major restoration of the Pont Neuf was begun in 1994 and was completed in 2007, the year of its 400th anniversary.
Under the wide arches, on the paved quais, the destitute of Paris called clochards have always huddled.
At the point where the bridge crosses the Île de la Cité, there stands a bronze equestrian statue of King Henry IV of France, originally commissioned from Giambologna under the orders of Marie de Médicis, Henri’s widow and Regent of France, in 1614. After his death, Giambologna’s assistant Pietro Tacca completed the statue, which was erected on its pedestal by Pietro Francavilla, in 1618. It was destroyed in 1792 during the French Revolution, but was rebuilt in 1818, following the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy. Bronze for the new statue was obtained with the bronze from a statue of Louis Charles Antoine Desaix and cast from a mold made using a surviving cast of the original. Inside the statue, the new sculptor François-Frédéric Lemot put four boxes, containing a history of the life of Henry IV, a 17th-century parchment certifying the original statue, a document describing how the new statue was commissioned, and a list of people who contributed to a public subscription.
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 Pont au Change
The Pont au Change is a bridge over the Seine River in Paris, France.
The bridge is located at the border between the first and fourth arrondissements. It connects the Île de la Cité from the Palais de Justice and the Conciergerie, to the Right Bank, at the level of the Théâtre du Châtelet.
Pont au Change in 1577.
Several bridges bearing the name Pont au Change have stood on this site. It owes its name to the goldsmiths and money changers who had installed their shops on an earlier version of the bridge in the 12th century. The current bridge was constructed from 1858 to 1860, during the reign of Napoleon III, and bears his imperial insignia.
The Pont au Change is featured in the novel Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Police Inspector Javert finds himself unable to reconcile his duty to surrender Jean Valjean to the authorities with the fact that Valjean saved his life. He comes to the Pont au Change and throws himself into the Seine.
(Source From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)