A dome is an architectural element that resembles the hollow upper half of a sphere. The precise definition has been a matter of controversy. There are a wide variety of forms and specialized terms to describe them. A dome can rest upon a rotunda or drum, can be supported by columns or piers that transition to the dome through squinches or pendentives. A lantern may itself have another dome. Domes have a long architectural lineage that extends back into prehistory and they have been constructed from mud, stone, brick, metal and plastic over the centuries; the symbolism associated with domes includes mortuary and governmental traditions that have developed over time. Domes have been found from early Mesopotamia, they are found in Persian, Hellenistic and Chinese architecture in the Ancient world, as well as among a number of contemporary indigenous building traditions. Dome structures were popular in Byzantine and medieval Islamic architecture, there are numerous examples from Western Europe in the Middle Ages.
The Renaissance architectural style spread from Italy in the Early modern period. Advancements in mathematics and production techniques since that time resulted in new dome types; the domes of the modern world can be found over religious buildings, legislative chambers, sports stadiums, a variety of functional structures. The English word "dome" derives from the Latin domus from ancient Greek δόμος, which, up through the Renaissance, labeled a revered house, such as a Domus Dei, or "House of God", regardless of the shape of its roof; this is reflected in the uses of the Italian word duomo, the German/Icelandic/Danish word dom, the English word dome as late as 1656, when it meant a "Town-House, Guild-Hall, State-House, Meeting-House in a city." The French word dosme came to acquire the meaning of a cupola vault by 1660. This French definition became the standard usage of the English dome in the eighteenth century as many of the most impressive Houses of God were built with monumental domes, in response to the scientific need for more technical terms.
A dome is a rounded vault made of either curved segments or a shell of revolution, meaning an arch rotated around its central vertical axis. The terminology used has been a source of controversy, with inconsistency between scholars and within individual texts, but the term "dome" may be considered a "blanket-word to describe an hemispherical or similar spanning element." A half-dome or semi-dome is a semi-circular shape used in apses. Sometimes called "false" domes, corbel domes achieve their shape by extending each horizontal layer of stones inward farther than the lower one until they meet at the top. A "false" dome may refer to a wooden dome. "True" domes are said to be those whose structure is in a state of compression, with constituent elements of wedge-shaped voussoirs, the joints of which align with a central point. The validity of this is unclear, as domes built underground with corbelled stone layers are in compression from the surrounding earth; the Italian use of the term finto, meaning "false", can be traced back to the 17th century in the use of vaulting made of reed mats and gypsum mortar.
As with arches, the "springing" of a dome is the level. The top of a dome is the "crown"; the inner side of a dome is called the "intrados" and the outer side is called the "extrados". The "haunch" is the part of an arch that lies halfway between the base and the top; the word "cupola" is another word for "dome", is used for a small dome upon a roof or turret. "Cupola" has been used to describe the inner side of a dome. Drums called tholobates, are cylindrical or polygonal walls with or without windows that support a dome. A tambour or lantern is the equivalent structure over a dome's oculus. A masonry dome outward, they are thought of in terms of two kinds of forces at right angles from one another. Meridional forces are compressive only, increase towards the base, while hoop forces are in compression at the top and tension at the base, with the transition in a hemispherical dome occurring at an angle of 51.8 degrees from the top. The thrusts generated by a dome are directly proportional to the weight of its materials.
Grounded hemispherical domes generate significant horizontal thrusts at their haunches. Unlike voussoir arches, which require support for each element until the keystone is in place, domes are stable during construction as each level is made a complete and self-supporting ring; the upper portion of a masonry dome is always in compression and is supported laterally, so it does not collapse except as a whole unit and a range of deviations from the ideal in this shallow upper cap are stable. Because voussoir domes have lateral support, they can be made much thinner than corresponding arches of the same span. For example, a hemispherical dome can be 2.5 times thinner than a semicircular arch, a dome with the profile of an equilateral arch can be thinner still. The optimal shape for a masonry dome of equal thickness provides for perfect compression, with none of the tension or bending forces against which masonry is weak. For a particular material, the optimal dome geometry is called the funicular surface, the comparable shape in three dimensions to a catenary curve for a two-dimensional arch.
The pointed profiles of many Gothic domes more approximate this optimal shape than do hemispheres, which were favored by Roman and Byza
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with 383,084 inhabitants in 2013, over 1,520,000 in its metropolitan area. Florence was a centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of that era, it is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, has been called "the Athens of the Middle Ages". A turbulent political history includes periods of rule by the powerful Medici family and numerous religious and republican revolutions. From 1865 to 1871 the city was the capital of the established Kingdom of Italy; the Florentine dialect forms the base of Standard Italian and it became the language of culture throughout Italy due to the prestige of the masterpieces by Dante Alighieri, Giovanni Boccaccio, Niccolò Machiavelli and Francesco Guicciardini. The city attracts millions of tourists each year, the Historic Centre of Florence was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982; the city is noted for Renaissance art and architecture and monuments.
The city contains numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Palazzo Pitti, still exerts an influence in the fields of art and politics. Due to Florence's artistic and architectural heritage, it has been ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Florence is an important city in Italian fashion, being ranked in the top 15 fashion capitals of the world. In 2008, the city had the 17th highest average income in Italy. Florence originated as a Roman city, after a long period as a flourishing trading and banking medieval commune, it was the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, it was politically and culturally one of the most important cities in Europe and the world from the 14th to 16th centuries; the language spoken in the city during the 14th century was, still is, accepted as the Italian language. All the writers and poets in Italian literature of the golden age are in some way connected with Florence, leading to the adoption of the Florentine dialect, above all the local dialects, as a literary language of choice.
Starting from the late Middle Ages, Florentine money—in the form of the gold florin—financed the development of industry all over Europe, from Britain to Bruges, to Lyon and Hungary. Florentine bankers financed the English kings during the Hundred Years War, they financed the papacy, including the construction of their provisional capital of Avignon and, after their return to Rome, the reconstruction and Renaissance embellishment of Rome. Florence was home to the Medici, one of European history's most important noble families. Lorenzo de' Medici was considered a political and cultural mastermind of Italy in the late 15th century. Two members of the family were popes in the early 16th century: Leo X and Clement VII. Catherine de Medici married King Henry II of France and, after his death in, reigned as regent in France. Marie de' Medici married Henry IV of France and gave birth to the future King Louis XIII; the Medici reigned as Grand Dukes of Tuscany, starting with Cosimo I de' Medici in 1569 and ending with the death of Gian Gastone de' Medici in 1737.
The Etruscans formed in 200 BC the small settlement of Fiesole, destroyed by Lucius Cornelius Sulla in 80 BC in reprisal for supporting the populares faction in Rome. The present city of Florence was established by Julius Caesar in 59 BC as a settlement for his veteran soldiers and was named Fluentia, owing to the fact that it was built between two rivers, changed to Florentia, it was built in the style of an army camp with the main streets, the cardo and the decumanus, intersecting at the present Piazza della Repubblica. Situated along the Via Cassia, the main route between Rome and the north, within the fertile valley of the Arno, the settlement became an important commercial centre. In centuries to come, the city experienced turbulent periods of Ostrogothic rule, during which the city was troubled by warfare between the Ostrogoths and the Byzantines, which may have caused the population to fall to as few as 1,000 people. Peace returned under Lombard rule in the 6th century. Florence was conquered by Charlemagne in 774 and became part of the Duchy of Tuscany, with Lucca as capital.
The population began to grow again and commerce prospered. In 854, Florence and Fiesole were united in one county. Margrave Hugo chose Florence as his residency instead of Lucca at about 1000 AD; the Golden Age of Florentine art began around this time. In 1013, construction began on the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte; the exterior of the church was reworked in Romanesque style between 1059 and 1128. In 1100, Florence was a "Commune"; the city's primary resource was the Arno river, providing power and access for the industry, access to the Mediterranean sea for international trade. Another great source of strength was its industrious merchant community; the Florentine merchant banking skills became recognised in Europe after they brought decisive financial innovation to medieval fairs. This period saw the eclipse of Florence's powerful rival Pisa, the exercise of power by the mercantile elite following an anti-aristocratic movement, led by Giano della Bella, that resulted in a set of laws called the Ordinances of Justice.
Of a population estimated at 94,00
Switzerland the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated in western and southern Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities; the sovereign state is a federal republic bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2. While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of 8.5 million people is concentrated on the plateau, where the largest cities are to be found: among them are the two global cities and economic centres Zürich and Geneva. The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the late medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648; the country has a history of armed neutrality going back to the Reformation.
It pursues an active foreign policy and is involved in peace-building processes around the world. In addition to being the birthplace of the Red Cross, Switzerland is home to numerous international organisations, including the second largest UN office. On the European level, it is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, but notably not part of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Eurozone. However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties. Spanning the intersection of Germanic and Romance Europe, Switzerland comprises four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French and Romansh. Although the majority of the population are German-speaking, Swiss national identity is rooted in a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy, Alpine symbolism. Due to its linguistic diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names: Schweiz. On coins and stamps, the Latin name – shortened to "Helvetia" – is used instead of the four national languages.
Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product according to the IMF. Switzerland ranks at or near the top globally in several metrics of national performance, including government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic competitiveness and human development. Zürich and Basel have all three been ranked among the top ten cities in the world in terms of quality of life, with the first ranked second globally, according to Mercer in 2018; the English name Switzerland is a compound containing Switzer, an obsolete term for the Swiss, in use during the 16th to 19th centuries. The English adjective Swiss is a loan from French Suisse in use since the 16th century; the name Switzer is from the Alemannic Schwiizer, in origin an inhabitant of Schwyz and its associated territory, one of the Waldstätten cantons which formed the nucleus of the Old Swiss Confederacy. The Swiss began to adopt the name for themselves after the Swabian War of 1499, used alongside the term for "Confederates", used since the 14th century.
The data code for Switzerland, CH, is derived from Latin Confoederatio Helvetica. The toponym Schwyz itself was first attested in 972, as Old High German Suittes perhaps related to swedan ‘to burn’, referring to the area of forest, burned and cleared to build; the name was extended to the area dominated by the canton, after the Swabian War of 1499 came to be used for the entire Confederation. The Swiss German name of the country, Schwiiz, is homophonous to that of the canton and the settlement, but distinguished by the use of the definite article; the Latin name Confoederatio Helvetica was neologized and introduced after the formation of the federal state in 1848, harking back to the Napoleonic Helvetic Republic, appearing on coins from 1879, inscribed on the Federal Palace in 1902 and after 1948 used in the official seal.. Helvetica is derived from the Helvetii, a Gaulish tribe living on the Swiss plateau before the Roman era. Helvetia appears as a national personification of the Swiss confederacy in the 17th century with a 1672 play by Johann Caspar Weissenbach.
Switzerland has existed as a state in its present form since the adoption of the Swiss Federal Constitution in 1848. The precursors of Switzerland established a protective alliance at the end of the 13th century, forming a loose confederation of states which persisted for centuries; the oldest traces of hominid existence in Switzerland date back about 150,000 years. The oldest known farming settlements in Switzerland, which were found at Gächlingen, have been dated to around 5300 BC; the earliest known cultural tribes of the area were members of the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures, named after the archaeological site of La Tène on the north side of Lake Neuchâtel. La Tène culture developed and flourished during the late Iron Age from around 450 BC under some influence from the Gree
Alfonso V of Aragon
Alfonso the Magnanimous was the King of Aragon, Majorca and Corsica, Sicily and Count of Barcelona from 1416, King of Naples from 1442 until his death. He was one of the most prominent figures of the early Renaissance and a knight of the Order of the Dragon. Born at Medina del Campo, he was the son of Ferdinand I of Eleanor of Alburquerque, he represented the old line of the counts of Barcelona through the female line, was on his father's side descended from the House of Trastamara, the reigning House of Castile. By hereditary right he was king of Sicily and claimed the island of Sardinia for himself, though it was in the possession of Genoa. Alfonso was in possession of much of Corsica by the 1420s. In 1421 the childless Queen Joanna II of Naples adopted and named him as heir to the Kingdom of Naples, Alfonso went to Naples. Here he hired the condottiero Braccio da Montone with the task of reducing the resistance of his rival claimant, Louis III of Anjou, his forces led by Muzio Attendolo Sforza.
With Pope Martin V supporting Sforza, Alfonso switched his religious allegiance to the Aragonese antipope Benedict XIII. When Sforza abandoned Louis' cause, Alfonso seemed to have all his problems solved. After an attempt to arrest the queen herself had failed, Joan called on Sforza who defeated the Aragonese militias near Castel Capuano in Naples. Alfonso fled to Castel Nuovo, but the help of a fleet of 22 galleys led by Giovanni da Cardona improved his situation. Sforza and Joanna retreated to the fortress of Aversa. Here she repudiated her earlier adoption of Alfonso and, with the backing of Martin V, named Louis III as her heir instead; the Duke of Milan, Filippo Maria Visconti, joined the anti-Aragonese coalition. Alfonso requested support from Braccio da Montone, besieging Joanna's troops in L'Aquila, but had to set sail for Spain, where a war had broken out between his brothers and the Kingdom of Castile. On his way towards Barcelona, Alfonso destroyed Marseille, a possession of Louis III.
In late 1423 the Genoese fleet of Filippo Maria Visconti moved in the southern Tyrrhenian Sea conquering Gaeta, Procida and Sorrento. Naples, held by Alfonso's brother, Pedro de Aragon, was besieged in 1424 by the Genoese ships and Joanna's troops, now led by Francesco Sforza, the son of Muzio Sforza; the city fell in April 1424. Pedro, after a short resistance in Castel Nuovo, fled to Sicily in August. Joanna II and Louis III again took possession of the realm, although the true power was in the hands of Gianni Caracciolo. An opportunity for Alfonso to reconquer Naples occurred in 1432, when Caracciolo was killed in a conspiracy. Alfonso tried to regain the favour of the queen, but failed, had to wait for the death of both Louis and Joanna herself. In her will, she bequeathed her realm to René of Louis III's younger brother; this solution was opposed by the new pope, Eugene IV, who nominally was the feudal lord of the King of Naples. The Neapolitans having called in the French, Alfonso decided to intervene and, with the support of several barons of the kingdom, captured Capua and besieged the important sea fortress of Gaeta.
His fleet of 25 galleys was met by the Genoese ships sent by Visconti, led by Biagio Assereto. In the battle of Ponza that ensued, Alfonso was taken prisoner. In Milan, however, he impressed his captor with his cultured demeanor and persuaded him to let him go by making it plain that it was not in Milan's interest to prevent the victory of the Aragonese party in Naples. Helped by a Sicilian fleet, Alfonso recaptured Capua and set his base in Gaeta in February 1436. Meanwhile, papal troops had invaded the Neapolitan kingdom, but Alfonso bribed their commander, Cardinal Giovanni Vitelleschi, their successes waned. In the meantime, René had managed to reach Naples on 19 May 1438. Alfonso failed, his brother Pedro was killed during the battle. Castel Nuovo, where an Aragonese garrison resisted, fell to the Angevine mercenaries in August 1439. After the death of his condottiero Jacopo Caldora, René's fortune started to decline: Alfonso could capture Aversa, Benevento and Bitonto. René, whose possession included now only part of the Abruzzi and Naples, obtained 10,000 men from the pope, but the cardinal leading them signed a truce with Alfonso.
Giovanni Sforza came with a reduced corps, as troops sent by Eugene IV had halted his father Francesco in the Marche. Alfonso, provided with the most impressive artillery of the times, again besieged Naples; the siege began on 10 November 1441. After the return of René to Provence, Alfonso reduced the remaining resistance and made his triumphal entrance in Naples on 26 February 1443, as the monarch of a pacified kingdom. In 1446 he conquered Sardinia. Alfonso, by formally submitting his reign to the Papacy, obtained the consent of Pope Eugene IV that the Kingdom of Naples would go to his illegitimate son Ferdinand, he died in Castel dell ` Ovo in 1458. At the time, Alfonso was at odds with Callixtus III, his Spanish possessions were ruled for him by his brother John king John II of Aragon. Sicily and Sardinia were inherited by his brother. Alfonso was a powerful and faithful supporter of Skanderbe
Integrated Authority File
The Integrated Authority File or GND is an international authority file for the organisation of personal names, subject headings and corporate bodies from catalogues. It is used for documentation in libraries and also by archives and museums; the GND is managed by the German National Library in cooperation with various regional library networks in German-speaking Europe and other partners. The GND falls under the Creative Commons Zero licence; the GND specification provides a hierarchy of high-level entities and sub-classes, useful in library classification, an approach to unambiguous identification of single elements. It comprises an ontology intended for knowledge representation in the semantic web, available in the RDF format; the Integrated Authority File became operational in April 2012 and integrates the content of the following authority files, which have since been discontinued: Name Authority File Corporate Bodies Authority File Subject Headings Authority File Uniform Title File of the Deutsches Musikarchiv At the time of its introduction on 5 April 2012, the GND held 9,493,860 files, including 2,650,000 personalised names.
There are seven main types of GND entities: LIBRIS Virtual International Authority File Information pages about the GND from the German National Library Search via OGND Bereitstellung des ersten GND-Grundbestandes DNB, 19 April 2012 From Authority Control to Linked Authority Data Presentation given by Reinhold Heuvelmann to the ALA MARC Formats Interest Group, June 2012
Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. It is one of the plastic arts. Durable sculptural processes used carving and modelling, in stone, ceramics and other materials but, since Modernism, there has been an complete freedom of materials and process. A wide variety of materials may be worked by removal such as carving, assembled by welding or modelling, or molded or cast. Sculpture in stone survives far better than works of art in perishable materials, represents the majority of the surviving works from ancient cultures, though conversely traditions of sculpture in wood may have vanished entirely. However, most ancient sculpture was brightly painted, this has been lost. Sculpture has been central in religious devotion in many cultures, until recent centuries large sculptures, too expensive for private individuals to create, were an expression of religion or politics; those cultures whose sculptures have survived in quantities include the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean and China, as well as many in Central and South America and Africa.
The Western tradition of sculpture began in ancient Greece, Greece is seen as producing great masterpieces in the classical period. During the Middle Ages, Gothic sculpture represented the agonies and passions of the Christian faith; the revival of classical models in the Renaissance produced famous sculptures such as Michelangelo's David. Modernist sculpture moved away from traditional processes and the emphasis on the depiction of the human body, with the making of constructed sculpture, the presentation of found objects as finished art works. A basic distinction is between sculpture in the round, free-standing sculpture, such as statues, not attached to any other surface, the various types of relief, which are at least attached to a background surface. Relief is classified by the degree of projection from the wall into low or bas-relief, high relief, sometimes an intermediate mid-relief. Sunk-relief is a technique restricted to ancient Egypt. Relief is the usual sculptural medium for large figure groups and narrative subjects, which are difficult to accomplish in the round, is the typical technique used both for architectural sculpture, attached to buildings, for small-scale sculpture decorating other objects, as in much pottery and jewellery.
Relief sculpture may decorate steles, upright slabs of stone also containing inscriptions. Another basic distinction is between subtractive carving techniques, which remove material from an existing block or lump, for example of stone or wood, modelling techniques which shape or build up the work from the material. Techniques such as casting and moulding use an intermediate matrix containing the design to produce the work; the term "sculpture" is used to describe large works, which are sometimes called monumental sculpture, meaning either or both of sculpture, large, or, attached to a building. But the term properly covers many types of small works in three dimensions using the same techniques, including coins and medals, hardstone carvings, a term for small carvings in stone that can take detailed work; the large or "colossal" statue has had an enduring appeal since antiquity. Another grand form of portrait sculpture is the equestrian statue of a rider on horse, which has become rare in recent decades.
The smallest forms of life-size portrait sculpture are the "head", showing just that, or the bust, a representation of a person from the chest up. Small forms of sculpture include the figurine a statue, no more than 18 inches tall, for reliefs the plaquette, medal or coin. Modern and contemporary art have added a number of non-traditional forms of sculpture, including sound sculpture, light sculpture, environmental art, environmental sculpture, street art sculpture, kinetic sculpture, land art, site-specific art. Sculpture is an important form of public art. A collection of sculpture in a garden setting can be called a sculpture garden. One of the most common purposes of sculpture is in some form of association with religion. Cult images are common in many cultures, though they are not the colossal statues of deities which characterized ancient Greek art, like the Statue of Zeus at Olympia; the actual cult images in the innermost sanctuaries of Egyptian temples, of which none have survived, were evidently rather small in the largest temples.
The same is true in Hinduism, where the simple and ancient form of the lingam is the most common. Buddhism brought the sculpture of religious figures to East Asia, where there seems to have been no earlier equivalent tradition, though again simple shapes like the bi and cong had religious significance. Small sculptures as personal possessions go back to the earliest prehistoric art, the use of large sculpture as public art to impress the viewer with the power of a ruler, goes back at least to the Great Sphinx of some 4,500 years ago. In archaeology and art history the appearance, sometimes disappearance, of large or monumental sculpture in a culture is regarded as of great significance, though tracing the emergence is complicated by the presumed existence of sculpture in wood and other perishable materials of which no record remains; the ability to s
Palermo is a city of Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Metropolitan City of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence. Palermo is located in the northwest of the island of Sicily, right by the Gulf of Palermo in the Tyrrhenian Sea; the city was founded in 734 BC by the Phoenicians as Ziz. Palermo became a possession of Carthage. Two Greek colonies were established, known collectively as Panormos or "All-Port"; as Panormus, the town became part of Empire for over a thousand years. From 831 to 1072 the city was under Arab rule during the Emirate of Sicily when the city first became a capital; the Arabs shifted the Greek name into Bal ` the root for Palermo's present-day name. Following the Norman reconquest, Palermo became the capital of a new kingdom, the Kingdom of Sicily and the capital of the Holy Roman Empire under Emperor Frederick II and King Conrad IV; the population of Palermo urban area is estimated by Eurostat to be 855,285, while its metropolitan area is the fifth most populated in Italy with around 1.2 million people.
In the central area, the city has a population of around 676,000 people. The inhabitants are known as Palermitani or, panormiti; the languages spoken by its inhabitants are the Italian language and the Palermitano dialect of the Sicilian language. Palermo is Sicily's cultural and tourism capital, it is a city rich in history, art and food. Numerous tourists are attracted to the city for its good Mediterranean weather, its renowned gastronomy and restaurants, its Romanesque and Baroque churches and buildings, its nightlife and music. Palermo is the main Sicilian industrial and commercial center: the main industrial sectors include tourism, services and agriculture. Palermo has an international airport, a significant underground economy. In fact, for cultural and economic reasons, Palermo was one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean and is now among the top tourist destinations in both Italy and Europe, it is the main seat of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale.
The city is going through careful redevelopment, preparing to become one of the major cities of the Euro-Mediterranean area. Roman Catholicism is important in Palermitano culture; the Patron Saint of Palermo is Santa Rosalia. The area attracts significant numbers of tourists each year and is known for its colourful fruit and fish markets at the heart of Palermo, known as Vucciria, Ballarò and Capo. Palermo lies in a basin, formed by the Papireto and Oreto rivers; the basin was named the Conca d'Oro by the Arabs in the 9th century. The city is surrounded by a mountain range, named after the city itself; these mountains face the Tyrrhenian Sea. Palermo is home to a natural port and offers excellent views to the sea from Monte Pellegrino. Palermo experiences a hot-summer subtropical Mediterranean climate, mild with moderate seasonality. Summers are long and dry due to the domination of subtropical high pressure system, while winters experience moderate temperatures and changeable, rainy weather due to the polar front.
Temperatures in autumn and spring are mild. Palermo is one of the warmest cities in Europe, with an average annual air temperature of 18.3 °C, it's one of the warmest cities in Italy. It receives 2,530 hours of sunshine per year. Snow is a rare occurrence having snowed about a dozen times since 1945. Since the 1940s to nowadays there have been at least five times when considerable snowfall has occurred. In 1949 and in 1956, when the minimum temperature went down to 0 °C, the city was blanketed by some centimetres of snow. Snowfalls occurred in 1981, 1986, 1999 and 2014; the average annual temperature of the sea is above 19 °C. In the period from November to May, the average sea temperature exceeds 18 °C and in the period from June to October, the average sea temperature exceeds 21 °C. Palermo is surrounded by mountains; some districts of the city are divided by the mountains themselves. It was difficult to reach the inner part of Sicily from the city because of the mounts; the tallest peak of the range is La Pizzuta, about 1,333 metres high.
However the most important mount is Monte Pellegrino, geographically separated from the rest of the range by a plain. The mount lies right in front of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Monte Pellegrino's cliff was described in the 19th century by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, as "the most beautiful promontory in the world", in his essay "Italian Journey". Today both the Kemonia are covered up by buildings. However, the shape of the former watercourses can still be recognised today, because the streets that were built on them follow their shapes. Today the only waterway not drained yet is the Oreto river that divides the downtown of the city from the western uptown and the industrial districts. In the basins there were, many seasonal torrents that helped formed swampy plains, reclaimed during history.