The Italian Court is a palace in Kutná Hora. Originally, it was the seat of the Central Mint of Prague, named after the Italian experts who were at the forefront of the minting reform. After its reconstruction at the end of the 14th century, the Italian Court became a part-time royal residence.
For many centuries, the Italian Court was the centre of the state economic power: it contained the royal mint and was the residence of the king during his visits to Kutná Hora silver mines. The history of building reaches back to the late 13th century, when it served the function of a town castle: a safe storehouse of the silver ore and an important part of the town fortifications. It was separated from the town itself by moats, which survive in the lower section as cellars; the water in the moat also protected the castle from fires.
Following the reform of the mints by King Wenceslas II, all of the previously functioning coinage-works were situated in the Italian Court and coins of a unified value “the Prague groschen” began to be struck. During the 14th century the castle was completely rebuilt; although the greatest flourishing of the building activity came at the end of the century, under the reign of Wenceslas IV. The reconstruction was done by the workshop of Petr Parléř, which was then completing the church of St. James and starting his work on St Barbara's Church.
The royal mint and the office of the supreme master minter came to an end in the 18th century after the great fire of 1770; the town hall was relocated into the Italian Court.
Currently, the building serves as a museum of coin minting; the most interesting interiors, such as the royal chapel and hall of audience are open to the public.
Inside the authentic cellars here is the museum “Unveiling of the mysterious face of Kutná Hora.References:
The two-tiered Roman amphitheatre is probably the most prominent tourist attraction in the city of Arles, which thrived in Roman times. Built in 90 AD, the amphitheatre was capable of seating over 20,000 spectators, and was built to provide entertainment in the form of chariot races and bloody hand-to-hand battles. Today, it draws large crowds for bullfighting as well as plays and concerts in summer.
The building measures 136 m in length and 109 m wide, and features 120 arches. It has an oval arena surrounded by terraces, arcades on two levels (60 in all), bleachers, a system of galleries, drainage system in many corridors of access and staircases for a quick exit from the crowd. It was obviously inspired by the Colosseum in Rome (in 72-80), being built slightly later (in 90).
With the fall of the Empire in the 5th century, the amphitheatre became a shelter for the population and was transformed into a fortress with four towers (the southern tower is not restored). The structure encircled more than 200 houses, becoming a real town, with its public square built in the centre of the arena and two chapels, one in the centre of the building, and another one at the base of the west tower.
This new residential role continued until the late 18th century, and in 1825 through the initiative of the writer Prosper Mérimée, the change to national historical monument began. In 1826, expropriation began of the houses built within the building, which ended by 1830 when the first event was organized in the arena - a race of the bulls to celebrate the taking of Algiers.
Arles Amphitheatre is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, together with other Roman buildings of the city, as part of the Arles, Roman and Romanesque Monuments group.