Concert in St. Mark's Place, Venice, Italy

This photochrome print of Saint Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco) in Venice is part of “Views of Architecture and Other Sites in Italy” from the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company (1905). The basilica, shown here, was originally built in 832, shortly after the remains of Saint Mark the Evangelist, the patron saint of Venice, were said to have been brought to the city from Alexandria, Egypt by two Venetian merchants. The church was destroyed in a fire, rebuilt at the end of the 10th century, and again in the 11th century. On the right side of the square can be seen the base of the 99-meter brick Campanile, or bell tower, which dates from the 16th century. The square was the main gathering place in the city. The 1906 edition of Baedeker's Italy: Handbook for Travellers noted: "The Place of St. Mark is the heart of Venice, and from this beats new life in every direction, through an intricate system of streets and canals, that bring it back again to the same centre. On summer-evenings all who desire to enjoy fresh air congregate here. The scene is liveliest when the military band plays...and possesses a charm all its own. In winter the band plays on the same days... and the Piazza is then a fashionable promenade.”

Feeding Pigeons in St. Mark's Place, Venice, Italy

This photochrome print of Saint Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco) in Venice is part of “Views of Architecture and Other Sites in Italy” from the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company (1905). The square, or piazza, is framed by the Saint Mark’s Basilica, the marble Doge's Palace, the Procuratie, and the library of Saint Mark's. The basilica, shown here, was originally built in 832, shortly after the remains of Saint Mark the Evangelist, the patron saint of Venice, were said to have been brought to the city from Alexandria, Egypt by two Venetian merchants. The church was destroyed in a fire, rebuilt at the end of the 10th century, and again in the 11th century. The church's exterior is elaborately decorated with gilded bronze horses dating from the mid-13th century, numerous arches and domes, marble and carvings, and Byzantine mosaics. Visible on the left is the Renaissance-styled clock tower, which dates from the 15th century. The three massive bronze flag posts flying the flag of the Kingdom of Italy and the colors of Saint Mark date from 1505, and are by the Italian sculptor and architect Alessandro Leopardi (1482–1522). The 1906 edition of Baedeker's Italy: Handbook for Travellers informed readers: "A large flock of pigeons enlivens the Piazza. In accordance with an old custom pigeons were sent out from the vestibule of San Marco on Palm Sunday, and these nested in the nooks and crannies of the surrounding buildings. . . . Towards evening they perch in great numbers under the arches of Saint Mark's. Grain and peas may be bought for the pigeons from various loungers in the Piazza."

The Bridge of Sighs, Venice, Italy

This photochrome print of the Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri) in Venice is part of “Views of Architecture and Other Sites in Italy” from the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company (1905). Made of white limestone and containing two stone-barred windows, the 11-meter-wide bridge was built in 1595–1600 by Antonio Contino (1566–1600). Greatly admired for its decorative Italian Renaissance architecture, the bridge connects the interrogation rooms and prison in the Palazzo Ducale with a newer prison, the Palazzo delle Prigioni, located across the Rio di Palazzo. The bridge’s name was coined in the 17th century, when it was said that convicts on their way to prison would sigh longingly as they took in the view of Venice for the last time. The name was popularized in the 19th century by the English poet Lord Byron, whose "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" includes the lines: “I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs; A palace and a prison on each hand."

View of the Forum, Rome, Italy

This photochrome print of the Roman Forum is part of “Views of Architecture and Other Sites in Italy” from the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company (1905). Located between Palatine Hill and Capitoline Hill, the Forum was the nexus of political, business, and social life in ancient Rome. It contained a marketplace, temples, a senate house, and law courts. Visible on the left, on the west end of the Forum, are the massive ruins of the Temple of Saturn, the oldest temple in the Forum, dedicated to the Roman god of agriculture. The temple was consecrated in 498 BC, burned down by the Gauls in the early fourth century BC, and rebuilt in 42 BC under Lucius Munatius Plancus (circa 87 BC-15 BC). An inscription on the temple reads: "The Roman Senate and people restored what fire had consumed."

Interior of Coliseum, Rome, Italy

This photochrome print of the inside of the Coliseum is part of “Views of Architecture and Other Sites in Italy” from the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company (1905). In 64–68 AD the Emperor Nero built an extravagant palace in the center of Rome. After he died, his successor, Vespasian (Titus Flavius Vespasianus), had an amphitheater built on the site of the lake within Nero's palace. Construction began around 70 AD and was completed circa 82 AD under Vespasian's son Titus. The structure consists of three levels of arcades with alternating Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns. It forms an ellipse, measuring approximately 190 meters long by 155 meters wide, and is about 50 meters high. The tiered seating could accommodate about 50,000 spectators who surrounded an oval-shaped arena that comprised the fighting stage. On this stage, gladiators, typically slaves, criminals, prisoners, or other individuals who had lost their rights as citizens, would fight to the death. The term “arena” comes from the Latin word for sand, which was spread on the stage to absorb blood from the fighters. Beneath the stage was an extensive complex that included tunnels and animal cages. Trap doors on the stage were used to add surprise to the spectacle. The Coliseum remained a center of Roman entertainment for nearly 500 years.

Vesta's Temple, Rome, Italy

This photochrome print of the Temple of Vesta in Rome is part of “Views of Architecture and Other Sites in Italy” from the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company (1905). The temple is dedicated to Vesta (in Greek, Hestia), the goddess of the hearth. Located on the eastern side of the Roman Forum, the temple originally was built in circa the third century BC with reeds and a straw roof, the style of many Latin dwellings of the period. Because of its susceptibility to fire, the temple was rebuilt around the third century AD. The temple is a cylindrical structure with a colonnade of pillars and a simple, low metal-covered cupola. The guardians of the temple, the six Vestal Virgins, or priestesses, maintained the sacred fire that was said to represent the endurance and strength of the Roman state. The temple also contained the Palladium, the protective wooden statue of the goddess Minerva (in Greek, Athena), brought by Aeneas from Troy, that was said to have protected the city during the Trojan War. The temple was excavated and identified in 1877 by the Italian archeologist Rodolfo Lanciani (1845–1929).

The Leaning Tower, Pisa, Italy

This photochrome print of the Leaning Tower in Pisa is part of “Views of Architecture and Other Sites in Italy” from the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company (1905). Also known as Il Campanile, the marble and granite structure was built to serve as the bell tower (campanile) of the Cathedral of Pisa. Construction began in 1174 according to a design by the architect Bonnanno Pisano, but was interrupted numerous times. The tower was not completed until 1350, nearly two hundred years later. Fifty-seven meters high, the tower is built in the Pisan-Romanesque style. It has eight stories and approximately three hundred steps. The tower’s characteristic lean—the top of the tower is more than four meters out of line with its base—is attributed to the unstable soil on which the structure was built. The tower is also known for the experiment said to have been performed in 1589 by the scientist Galileo Galilei, who dropped two cannon balls of different masses to demonstrate that heavier and lighter objects fall at the same speed.

The Arch of Peace, Milan, Italy

This photochrome print of the Arch of Peace (Arco della Pace) in Milan is part of “Views of Architecture and Other Sites in Italy” from the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company (1905). This 23-meter marble structure stands in the Piazza Sempione, at one end of the Simplon Road, the strategic route through the Alps taken by Napoleon I when he invaded northern Italy in 1800. Napoleon later commissioned the arch to commemorate his victories. Construction began in 1806 under the direction of the architect Luigi Cagnola (1762–1833), but the work was not completed during Napoleon’s rule. In 1826, Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria ordered that the arch be completed and dedicated to the peace that was restored in 1815 when Napoleon was defeated and driven from power. Construction was completed in 1838 under the direction of the architect Francesco Peverelli (1789–1854), who took over the work after the death of Cagnola. The neoclassical structure consists of three arcades and four marble Corinthian columns, with numerous sculptures by Pompeo Marchesi (1790–1858). At the top, the arch is capped by several bronze pieces, which include two figures on horseback at both corners, and the Sestiga della Pace, a sculpture of a carriage drawn by six horses by Abbondio Sangiorgio (1798–1879).

Lugano, San Salvatore, Tessin, Switzerland

This photochrome print of Mount San Salvatore in the canton of Ticino (Tessin) is part of “Views of Switzerland” from the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company (1905). This 912-meter peak is located near Lugano, the largest town in Ticino. Baedeker’s Northern Italy including Leghorn, Florence, Ravenna and routes through France, Switzerland, and Austria (1913) advised travelers that “the curiously shaped summit to the S. of Lugano commands a celebrated panorama” and that the finest excursion from Lugano was to the mountain.

Chillon Castle, Montreux, Geneva Lake, Switzerland

This photochrome print of the Chillon Castle is part of “Views of Switzerland” from the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company (1905). Located in southwestern Switzerland on the shore of Lake Geneva in Montreux, this castle was first mentioned in written sources in the 12th century. Its exact date of construction is unknown. Baedeker’s Switzerland and the adjacent portions of Italy, Savoy, and Tyrol (1913) informed readers that “[the] Castle of Chillon, with its massive walls and towers . . . stands on an isolated rock [1.8 meters] from the banks, with which it is connected by a bridge." The architecture of the castle, which served as both a fortress and a residence, reflects the influences of three historical eras: the Savoy, Bernese, and Vaudois periods. The castle consists of a network of one hundred interconnected buildings, including a prison, which famously held the “Prisoner of Chillon,” François Bonivard, who inspired Lord Byron’s 19th-century poem of the same name.