The origins of the Jubilee
The Jubilee originates from the Jewish tradition that fixed, every 50 years, a year of land rest (with the practical purpose of making stronger the subsequent harvests), but it went beyond that to include the return of confiscated land and the liberation of slaves. Originally, the Jubilee was basically a more intensified Sabbatical year.
The word “Jubilee” is derived in the Bible from the Hebrew yobel, which means “ram’s horn”. The ram’s horn announced the beginning of the Jubilee, hence the term Christian Jubilee.
In the Catholic Church, the Jubilee (or Holy Year) is the period during which the Pope grants unlimited absolution to the faithful who come to Rome and make certain religious practices. The initial rite of the Jubilee is the opening of the Holy Door, which is only opened during the Holy Year and which remains closed during all other years: The Holy Father is brought to the door walled chair of the St. Peter’s Basilica, who beats three times with a silver hammer singing in Latin: "Open to me the gates of righteousness."
After beating the door twice the door is opened, and the Pope enter first holding a cross in his right hand and a burning candle on the left hand. The same ceremony is performed by cardinals in the other three major basilicas in Rome: St. John Lateran, St. Paul Outside the Walls and St. Mary Major.
This rite of the opening of the Holy Door illustrates symbolically the idea that, during the Jubilee, the faithful are offered an “extraordinary pathway” towards salvation.
The Jubilee ends when the Pope and cardinals wall up the holy doors of the respective basilicas the following Christmas Eve.
Visit Italy during the Jubilee year
If you are traveling to Rome for the Holy Jubilee Year, do not miss all the wonderful attractions of Italy! Universally renowned for its historic and artistic, Italy (also known as the Bel Paese, literally “beautiful country”) is definitely one of the best travel destinations you can think off. Tons of ancient monument, natural landscapes, wonderful mountains and beaches with crystal-clear sea, and last but not least great food and wine culture.
But what are the main attractions that have made Italy so desirable among tourists around the world?
10. Lake Como (North of Milan)
A few kilometers away from Milan, the Lake Como is one of the largest lakes in Italy as well as one of the most fascinating and beautiful natural areas in the world. Formed by the intersection of three branches, it is the deepest lake in Europe, and its origins date back to the Ice Age.
The lake is mostly famous for the beautiful villages located along its banks, characterized by breathtaking sceneries: among those places is the town of Como and the small village of Bellaggio.
If you’re staying in Milan, you can visit this beautiful area through a day trip excursion.
9. Cinque Terre
The Cinque Terre is universally considered one of the most particular places in Italy. Declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO for their beauty and historic importance, this destination is made of five villages overlooking the sea of the Ligurian Coast.
In order to explore the Cinque Terre you can rely on a guided tour, departing from Florence or from Milan, depending on where you are staying.This will give you the opportunity to explore those beautiful fishing villages, traveling by boat or train from a destination to another, discovering their ancient traditions and admiring incredible sceneries out of time.
8. Archaeological site of Pompeii
The archaeological site of Pompeii is one of the most important in its kind (along with that of Herculaneum), as it gives to its visitors the opportunity to admire and walk through an authentic ancient Roman town in a condition of perfect preservation.
On the morning of 79 AD the Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the entire city under 6 meters of ashes and volcanic materials, and because of that the city has remained intact over the centuries till the present days.
Joining a guided tour of Pompeii will make you feel like traveling back in time, living in first person the atmosphere of public life in ancient Roman times, between the ruins of private Roman residences, markets, public baths and gladiators training rooms.
7. Uffizi Gallery and Galleria dell’Accademia (Florence)
Located on the top floor of a U-shaped building, the Uffizi houses an artistic heritage of inestimable value, including thousands of art works, including The “Birth of Venus by Botticelli”, as well as masterpieces by Caravaggio, Michelangelo, Piero della Francesca and much more.
The Galleria dell'Accademia is mainly famous for the universally-famous David by Michelangelo, a gorgeous marble sculpture that has become an icon of Italian art, but also other art works.
The most complete way to visit those museums skipping the long lines is with a guided tour that includes both museums in just one day!
6. Milan’s Duomo
This majestic religious builgins is the 4th biggest Cathedral of Europe and one of the most beautiful example of Gothic architecture. This white-marble façade will amaze your eyes with an incredible complex of spires and sculptures.
You can visit its interior and the underground and learn about its history. With a guided tour you can also access its terraces, where you can walk among the spires and admire breathtaking views on Milan.
5. Amalfi Coast
Located in the lower part of the Campania region, in Southern Italy, the Amalfi Coast was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO for the incomparable beauty of its villages: for example, Positano, famous for its fine renowned ceramics; Cetara, a small fishermen village that still retains its ancient charm; Amalfi, rich in history and culture with its narrow alleys and its magnificent Cathedral.
4. Florence Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
Officially known as Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (“Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower" in English) but better known as the Duomo, this impressive religious building is the main one in all Florence.
Designed in 1296 by architect Arnolfo di Cambio, the structure has been through some changes over the centuries and today is magnificent as ever. The 15th century dome that caps the building is a universally known masterpiece, overlooking the entire historic centre.
The interior of the cathedral are wonderfully decorated by frescoes of the most important artists of the early Renaissance. Also, don’t miss a visit to the 278 feet high Bell Tower, designed by Giotto di Bondone in 1334.
Being one of the largest and historically most important cathedrals in Italy, a tour of the Florence Cathedral is absolutely a must if you visit the city!
3. The Leaning Tower of Pisa
Among the most visited monuments in the world and favorite subject for tourists’ selfies, the universally famous Leaning Tower ofPisa had to be first on our list.
In the intentions of its designers, the tower had to be the bell tower of the nearby Cathedral: but a ground subsidence, which occurred in the early stages of the project, has sealed the fate (and fame) of the tower for eternity. Over the centuries there have been numerous attempts to resettle the Tower of Pisa to its original position, but all have failed. And now, Pisa owns a monument unique and charming in its own special way… Make sure to climb the tower, thanks to a guided tour with skip-the-line tickets included!
The Leaning Tower is located in Piazza dei Miracoli (“Square of Miracles”), where also are the Pisa Cathedral, the Baptistery and the Monumental Cemetery.
2. Water canals of Venice
The city of Venice is a magical travel destination, unique in the world, pervaded by a timeless romantic charm. No trip to Italy would be complete without a visit to this enchanting gem full of art and culture.
Founded in the 5th century, its urban structure is spread over 118 small islands separated by canals and connected by bridges and walkways. The whole city is a splendid aggregate of palaces, churches, squares and other architectural masterpieces, but the real protagonist of the city is the water: Venice has developed its life-style having water all around, moving from the narrow canals up to the renowned Grand Canal, which is the main waterway in the city.
Visiting Venice is a wonderful experience, and it gets even better with a gondola ride.
1. Colosseum (Rome)
We’re talking one “Seven wonders of the world”, the Colosseum is one of the greatest and most famous monuments ever made.
Dating back to the 80AD, the Colosseum was the biggest amphitheatre at that time, and was able to hold house over 50.000 spectators! Designed as a place to entertain Ancient Romans with brutal gladiators’ fights, the arena had an elevator system and the possibility to flood the stage for mock naval battles.. Through a guided tour you can visit its interior and the complex underground set of rooms and passageways: an essential eXPerience if you visit Rome for the first time!