One of the most popular regions in Italy, Tuscany stretches from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Apennines. Its main cities include Florence, Pisa, Siena, Lucca, Arezzo and Livorno. Drive between stunning sites like Florence’s cathedral and Uffizi Gallery and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Or join a bike tour and pedal past sun-baked olive groves and vineyards. Don’t miss the towers of San Gimignano or serene northern hill towns. For a more modern take, hit one of Florence’s hip clubs, such as Space Electronic.
|TOP RATED ATTRACTIONS|
|TOP RATED RESTAURANTS|
|1.||Pitti Gola e Cantina|
|3.||A Gambe di Gatto|
|4.||Vini e Vecchi Sapori|
|6.||La Buca di Enea|
|8.||Antica Osteria da Divo|
Venice makes you a believer in fairy tales. Cars are banned, so the only way to get around the 1,500-year-old city is by foot or by water. From these vantage points, you’ll be awed by the magical beauty. La Serenissima, “the most serene one,” is filled with palaces and art, fine shopping and excellent food. Relax in Piazza San Marco, visit the basilicas, drink a bellini at Harry’s Bar and wander the alleyways and bridges. Consider an off-season trip to have more of the city to yourself.
|TOP RATED ATTRACTIONS|
|TOP RATED RESTAURANTS|
|2.||Osteria Antico Giardinetto|
|3.||Osteria Ae Sconte|
|6.||Sangal Venice Restaurant|
|7.||Ristorante La Caravella|
|9.||Al Bacco Felice|
“When in Rome, do as the Romans.” That classic advice leads to a wealth of options: Should you follow Augustus and Caesar, whose Rome is filled with spectacular ancient structures? Or Michelangelo and Da Vinci, whose city invites artistic pilgrimage? Maybe you’ll discover the Rome that enchants lovers and sightseers alike? Rome encompasses all this and more. Explore the seven hills, stop for an espresso by the Spanish Steps, sip a Chianti in a hidden piazza. The many charms of Rome await.
Constructed to honor all pagan gods, this best preserved temple of ancient Rome was rebuilt in the 2nd century AD by Emperor Hadrian, and to him much of the credit is due for the perfect dimensions: 141 feet high by 141 feet wide, with a vast dome that was the largest ever designed until the 20th century.
Though its population numbers only in the few hundreds, the Vatican—home base for the Catholic Church and the pope—makes up for them with the millions who visit each year. Embraced by the arms of the colonnades of St. Peter’s Square, they attend Papal Mass, marvel at St. Peter’s Basilica, and savor Michelangelo’s Sistine Ceiling.
Legend has it that as long as the Colosseum stands, Rome will stand; and when Rome falls, so will the world. One of the seven wonders of the world, the mammoth amphitheater was begun by Emperor Vespasian and inaugurated by Titus in the year 80. For “the grandeur that was Rome,” this obstinate oval can’t be topped.
You couldn’t concoct a more Roman street scene: caffè and crowded tables at street level, coral- and rust-color houses above, most lined with wrought-iron balconies, street performers and artists and, at the center of this urban “living room,” Bernini’s spectacular Fountain of the Four Rivers and Borromini’s super-theatrical Sant’Agnese.
This fabled labyrinth of ruins variously served as a political playground, a commerce mart, and a place where justice was dispensed during the days of the emperors (500 BC to 400 AD). Today, the Forum is a silent ruin—sic transit gloria mundi (so passes away the glory of the world).
Catch a bird’s-eye view of the Roman Forum from Michelangelo’s piazza, atop one of the 77highest spots in Rome, the Capitoline Hill. Here you’ll find the Capitoline Museums and beloved Santa Maria in Aracoeli.
One of the few fountains in Rome that’s actually more absorbing than the people crowding around it, the Fontana di Trevi was designed by Nicola Salvi in 1732. Immortalized in Three Coins in the Fountain and La Dolce Vita, this granddaddy of all fountains may be your ticket back to Rome—that is, if you throw a coin into it.
8-The Spanish Steps
Byron, Shelley, and Keats all drew inspiration from this magnificent “Scalinata,” constructed in 1723. Connecting the ritzy shops at the bottom with the ritzy hotels at the top, this is the place for prime people-watching. The steps face west, so sunsets offer great photo-ops.
Originally constructed as a mausoleum for Roman emperor Hadrian, this cylindrical fortress, which towers over the city’s skyline, has great views and opulent Renaissance-era salons.
Located just across the Tiber River, this time-stained, charming neighborhood is a maze of jumbled alleyways, traditional Roman trattorie, cobblestone streets, and medieval houses. The area also boasts the oldest church of Rome—Santa Maria in Trastevere.
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