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Meraviglie
Intermediate
71 Videos

Alberto Angela, the well-known science popularizer on Italian television, takes us on a journey to discover the "Wonders" that make Italy a "peninsula of treasures." The sites we visit, recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, range from artistic and architectural masterpieces to incredible natural wonders.

Videos
Showing 1-71 of 71 Totaling 4 hours 9 minutes

Meraviglie - EP. 1 - Part 1

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Alberto Angela, well-known presenter of historical TV documentaries, takes us on a journey to discover some of the "wonders" — both man-made and natural — of this "treasure peninsula" called Italy. The journey begins at the Royal Palace in Caserta.

Meraviglie - EP. 1 - Part 2

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

It's hard to fathom the scale of this royal palace. We learn how many workers it took and how long it took to build. The grand staircase is of amazing dimensions, and, when seen from the top, our host seems like a small dot at the bottom of it.

Meraviglie - EP. 1 - Part 3

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

We visit the magnificent, immense Throne Room, with its small but elegant throne, and vaulted, frescoed ceiling.

Meraviglie - EP. 1 - Part 4

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Alberto Angela takes us from the public throne room to the private chambers of the Royal Palace. In order to obtain the desired wall coverings, a whole complex was built for manufacturing silk. It's still operating today. Incredibile!

Meraviglie - EP. 1 - Part 5

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

The narrator makes us aware of the vast number of people necessary to run the Palace. We visit the most intimate place in the Palace: the queen's dressing room and bathroom. It is fascinating to learn all the ways in which it was outfitted to both pamper and protect the queen.

Meraviglie - EP. 1 - Part 6

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

If we thought the interior of the Royal Palace of Caserta was amazing, we should get ready for even more amazement as we go outside and see the spectacular park — a true capolavoro (masterpiece) — which Luigi Vanvitelli, architect and engineer, designed, giving water the starring role.

Meraviglie - EP. 1 - Part 7

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Exploring the gardens further, we come upon a grotto, as well as what looks like an ancient Roman site, replete with original statues. It was all part of Vanvitelli's plan.

Meraviglie - EP. 1 - Part 8

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

We leave the Royal Palace of Caserta and head towards Cilento in Campania where there is a huge Benedictine monastery. When we see the term convento, we might assume it is a convent for nuns, but in Italian, un convento can be a religious community for either monks or nuns (or both).

Meraviglie - EP. 1 - Part 9

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Alberto Angela takes back in time, to a city that came about in a totally different way: splendid Matera in Basilicata. It's definitely worth a trip.

Meraviglie - EP. 1 - Part 10

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Matera is all about caves and grottoes. There were many natural caves that were expanded to be used as dwellings and churches, and other man-made grottoes as well.

Meraviglie - EP. 1 - Part 11

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

We enter a fascinating church carved right into the rock: the Church of the Madonna di Idris. There are some surprising discoveries awaiting us.

Meraviglie - EP. 1 - Part 12

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

We see the inside of house built into the rock. It is fascinating to learn how families coped with the problems of water, humidity, and cramped quarters.

Meraviglie - EP. 1 - Part 13

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Living conditions were so different at the time of the cave dwellings. Imagine having a mule and rabbits running around the house! The government eventually put a stop to this type of dwelling, and much was gained, but much was lost. On the other hand, people had to live somewhere. The Civita, the oldest part of Matera, filled up quickly around the imposing cathedral, and there was no more room for building houses.

Meraviglie - EP. 1 - Part 14

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

In Matera, various epochs shake hands, as Alberto Angela put it. Matera continues to amaze us with what's hidden underneath the piazza of the Baroque quarter: Il Piano.

Meraviglie - EP. 1 - Part 15

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

There is more to tell about the incredible, huge cistern in the center of Matera. With this, the episode concludes, with an invitation to join in the next journey of discovery.

Meraviglie - EP. 2 - Part 1

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

We're in the south of Italy, where many cultures have merged. Alberto Angela takes us to visit the magnificent Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, Sicily.

Meraviglie - EP. 2 - Part 2

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

The temple dedicated to Concordia was built on an ancient seabed from two million years ago, and is one of the most remarkable structures from the Greek world. Alberto Angela explains why it is the only one still standing.

Meraviglie - EP. 2 - Part 3

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Alberto Angela talks about how Akragas came to be, how its name changed over time, and about what information has been obtained from archeological digs.

Meraviglie - EP. 2 - Part 4

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Alberto Angela shows us how the Greek Temple of Zeus was built to be seen from great distances.

Meraviglie - EP. 2 - Part 5

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Although we don't know their function, the Telamons, gigantic statues alternating with the semi-columns of the Temple of Jupiter, were as high as a six-story building. A reconstruction of the temple in the Pietro Griffo Regional Archeological Museum allows us to imagine just how imposing they must have been.

Meraviglie - EP. 2 - Part 6

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

The Ephebe of Agrigento is considered to be one of the masterpieces of Greek sculpture of the fifth century B.C. in Sicily. It is held in the Regional Archeological Museum of Agrigento, in which we also find a Roman sarcophagus in marble from the second century A.D. with scenes depicting the life of a child who died at an early age.

Meraviglie - EP. 2 - Part 7

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

We say goodbye to Agrigento's Valley of the Temples and get a close look at the awesome Riace Bronzes in Reggio Calabria. The two life-size Greek bronzes date to the 5th century BC and were discovered off Riace by a scuba diver in 1972.

Meraviglie - EP. 2 - Part 8

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

The first stop is Italy's easternmost point, the Punta Palascìa and its 19th century lighthouse. Alberto Angela then shows us another site in the Apulia region, Castel del Monte, a breathtaking crown-shaped castle built by Frederick II in the early 1200s.

Meraviglie - EP. 2 - Part 9

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Wonderful aerial photography shows Castel del Monte and its crown-like octagonal shape. Frederick II was particularly fond of the castle because it was an ideal location to hunt small game with his falcons.

Meraviglie - EP. 2 - Part 10

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Alberto Angela takes us inside Castel del Monte and helps us imagine what it might have looked like when it was "alive." He uses the term piano nobile, which indicates the floor of a mansion where the noblemen or landowners lived, as opposed to the floors where the servants' quarters and kitchens would have been.

Meraviglie - EP. 2 - Part 11

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

As opposed to the classical palaces of the powerful, with their throne rooms and great halls, Castel del Monte has some smaller and more intimate spaces, conducive to more personal encounters. Over the centuries, the castle was exploited in different ways, well into modern times.

Meraviglie - EP. 2 - Part 12

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

We visit the land of the trulli, curious dry stone huts. Alberto Angela gives us some background about these unique dwellings.

Meraviglie - EP. 2 - Part 13

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Alberto Angelo tells us the fascinating story of how trulli are built. Some of the most characteristic trulli can be found in Alberobello.

Meraviglie - EP. 3 - Part 1

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

We are now in the heart of Italy: Tuscany. One of the most beautiful and important cities in Tuscany is Siena with its very particular piazza.

Meraviglie - EP. 3 - Part 2

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Alberto Angela brings medieval Siena to life, with the help of some breathtaking aerial shots.

Meraviglie - EP. 3 - Part 3

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

The Siena Cathedral is one of the most notable examples of Italian Romanesque-Gothic cathedrals, and is well worth a visit, for both the beauty of the exterior and the unique marble artwork on the interior.

Meraviglie - EP. 3 - Part 4

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Alberto Angela focuses on one of the floor inlays depicting the story of Siena according to tradition. Siena shares a city symbol with Rome.

Meraviglie - EP. 3 - Part 5

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Alberto Angela explores the Piccolomini Altarpiece with sculptures by Michelangelo, and the beautiful frescoed Piccolomini Library within the walls of the Siena Cathedral

Meraviglie - EP. 3 - Part 6

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

The Siena Cathedral is large, but it was supposed to have become much, much bigger. Alberto Angela tells the fascinating story.

Meraviglie - EP. 3 - Part 7

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

We have a look at two important medieval manuscripts in the State Archives. They are the original Constitution of the Republic of Siena. Alberto Angela gives us some fascinating facts concerning it that reaffirm how wise the rulers of that republic were.

Meraviglie - EP. 3 - Part 8

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

How could accounting books be so fascinating? The ones from the State Archives in Siena are veritable works of art and tell some interesting stories.

Meraviglie - EP. 3 - Part 9

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Alberto Angela shows us a volume from 1554 that bears witness to one of the most dramatic moments in Sienese history. We then go on to the beautiful city of Pienza.

Meraviglie - EP. 3 - Part 10

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

The Republic of Siena ends in the 16th century and power goes to Florence, where we go next, to see some of the architectural wonders there.

Meraviglie - EP. 3 - Part 11

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

This video focuses on one of the most famous artists of all time, Leonardo da Vinci. In particular, we start looking at one of his greatest masterpieces, the Last Supper.

Meraviglie - EP. 3 - Part 12

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

We look at Leonardo's Last Supper from close up — the details, the symbolism — but also from the refectory floor, seeing how Leonardo's genius made the fresco part of the room itself.

Meraviglie - EP. 3 - Part 13

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Two geniuses left their indelible marks on civilization: Leonardo with the Last Supper and Michelangelo with his David.

Meraviglie - EP. 4 - Part 1

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

This episode will take us to Umbria. We start with one of the most beautiful cities in the region, Assisi, a city that's practically synonymous with the Franciscan monastic order and its founder, Saint Francis.

Meraviglie - EP. 4 - Part 2

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

People often wonder how the Basilica of St. Francis could be as imposing and rich as it is, when the saint to whom it is dedicated had taken an oath of poverty. Alberto Angela explains this and other contradictions.

Meraviglie - EP. 4 - Part 3

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

What did Saint Francis look like? There are clues in a fresco in the lower basilica of the church dedicated to him in Assisi.

Meraviglie - EP. 4 - Part 4

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

We move from the lower basilica to the upper one, which has an entirely different feel to it. Here, we are surrounded by a show of light and color in colorful frescoes and stained-glass windows.

Meraviglie - EP. 4 - Part 5

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Alberto Angela points out how realistic Giotto's frescoes are compared to earlier ones. He also mentions the important fact that Saint Francis composed one of the first poems in the vernacular

Meraviglie - EP. 4 - Part 6

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

We move from Umbria to Tuscany and visit the evocative ruins of the abbey of San Galgano. Next will be Pisa, a prime example of how Tuscany, in medieval times, was experimenting with very "modern" ideas.

Meraviglie - EP. 4 - Part 7

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Alberto Angela gives us a look at one of the most famous monuments in the world. We look at the Leaning Tower of Pisa through the lens of those who wanted it built.

Meraviglie - EP. 4 - Part 8

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Why does the Leaning Tower of Pisa lean? Alberto answers this question and others about one of the most famous monuments in the world.

Meraviglie - EP. 4 - Part 9

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

We go inside the Pisa Cathedral and see how marvelous it is, from the granite columns to the majestic pulpit designed by Giovanni Pisano, which, miraculously, survived the fire of 1595.

Meraviglie - EP. 4 - Part 10

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

We learn a great deal about the third structure at the Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa: the Baptistery. We learn about wonders we can see and wonders we can't see.

Meraviglie - EP. 4 - Part 11

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Alberto Angela recounts some interesting facts and legends surrounding the roof of the Bapistery and the Camposanto [cemetery].

Meraviglie - EP. 4 - Part 12

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Alberto Angela takes us through what is actually a gallery of ancient art inside this cemetery, and focuses on the sarcophagi, each with its story to tell.

Meraviglie - EP. 4 - Part 13

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

We're still at the Camposanto in Pisa. Alberto Angela shows us a wonderful fresco of the Last Judgment, and tells us the story of the artist as well as what is depicted.

Meraviglie - EP. 4 - Part 14

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

The fresco depicting the Last Judgement is almost like a photograph of the Middle Ages. Alberto Angela shows us where the sinners ended up and what happened to them in Hell.

Meraviglie - EP. 4 - Part 15

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

The final segment of this tour of Umbria and Tuscany brings to the walls of Pisa and its famous schools of higher learning. As usual, Alberto Angela gives us some insight into how and why things happened as they did, as Pisa developed into one of the most beautiful and important cities in Italy.

Meraviglie - EP. 5 - Part 1

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

We go to the northern part of Italy: Piedmont, and here, in the southern part of the region, called le Langhe, what's worthy of being a World Heritage Site is about the land itself and what it produces, rather than about art and architecture.

Meraviglie - EP. 5 - Part 2

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

This segment is about how the famous wine Barolo came into being. It all started in the Grinzane Castle in the mid-1800s.

Meraviglie - EP. 5 - Part 3

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

The Grinzane Castle houses a Museum of Peasant Civilization. Alberto Angela shows us a huge wine press and explains how it worked.

Meraviglie - EP. 5 - Part 4

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

We discover an amazing spot in the Italian Alps that overlooks the Chisone valley: an eighteenth-century fortified boundary wall, one of the longest in the world.

Meraviglie - EP. 5 - Part 5

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Alberto Angela takes us to some of the most beautiful mountains in the world, the Dolomites. How did they become so popular? It's a fascinating story.

Meraviglie - EP. 5 - Part 6

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Alberto Angela takes us to the place where the best wood for making stringed instruments can be found: the Paneveggio Forest.

Meraviglie - EP. 5 - Part 7

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Alberto Angela explains how these wooden boards of red spruce become important parts of stringed instruments. The Dolomites are also a very unique place in terms of the land itself and how it is managed by the people who live there.

Meraviglie - EP. 5 - Part 8

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

We finally learn where the name "Dolomites" comes from. We also learn the fascinating story of how these mountains came to be.

Meraviglie - EP. 5 - Part 9

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Alberto Angela gives us a simplified but fascinating description of how the Alps, and the Dolomites in particular, were formed from the sea. He goes on to tell a completely different story involving the Dolomites.

Meraviglie - EP. 5 - Part 10

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

There is a legend about the Dolomites, which has to do with a famous rose garden.

Meraviglie - EP. 5 - Part 11

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

We say goodbye to the Dolomites and, after enjoying the extraordinary panorama from those peaks, go on to Venice, one of the most marvelous cities in the world.

Meraviglie - EP. 5 - Part 12

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

Amazing aerial views of Venice and the Venetian Lagoon provide an introduction to this episode on the Veneto Region. Andrea Palladio, one of the world's greatest architects, was from Vicenza and some of his most famous villas are highlighted in this segment.

Meraviglie - EP. 5 - Part 13

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

The city of Vicenza and its surroundings enjoyed an architectural golden age in the middle of the 16th century with, as its shining star, architect Andrea Palladio. Alberto Angela tells us the story of how it all came about.

Meraviglie - EP. 5 - Part 14

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

We visit the interior of Villa Coldogno and see to what extent Andrea Palladio was ahead of his time as an architect, and how he was able to combine functionality and elegance.

Meraviglie - EP. 5 - Part 15

Difficulty: difficulty - Intermediate Intermediate

Italy

This episode of Wonders concludes, as we await more treasures to discover.

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