I have visited Monticello for the second time this year, and every time I go I learn something new.

Monticello is a National Historic Landmark just outside Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.  It was the estate of Thomas Jefferson, the author of the United States Declaration of Independence, third President of the United States, and founder of the University of Virginia.

The house, which Jefferson designed, was based on the neoclassical principles described in the books of the Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. It is situated on the summit of an 850-foot (260 m)-high peak in the Southwest Mountains south of the Rivanna Gap. Its name comes from the Italian "little mountain."

Monticello also appeared on the reverse of the two-dollar bill from 1928 to 1966, when the bill was discontinued. The current bill was introduced in 1976 and retains Jefferson's portrait on the obverse but replaced Monticello on the reverse with an engraved modified reproduction of John Trumbull's painting Declaration of Independence instead. The gift shop at Monticello hands out two-dollar bills as change.  For more information go to:

And here's what I learned yesterday:

Jefferson imported many of the items in his house from Paris, where he was once the Ambassador.

I was impressed with the wine and beer cellars at his house.  To get a bottle he used something called a "dumbwaiter." This is like a little elevator for bottles, attached to the chimney. This allowed him to have bottles sent to his dinning room from the basement.

He knew how to speak seven different languages. And he didn't like reading translated books.


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