A European country with a long Mediterranean coastline, has left a powerful mark on Western culture and cuisine. Its capital, Rome, is home to the Vatican as well as landmark art and ancient ruins. Other major cities include Florence, with Renaissance masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s "David" and Brunelleschi's Duomo; Venice, the city of canals; and Milan, Italy’s fashion capital
Capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, is home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture. One of its most iconic sights is the Duomo, a cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and a bell tower by Giotto. The Galleria dell'Accademia displays Michelangelo’s “David” sculpture. The Uffizi Gallery exhibits Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” and da Vinci’s “Annunciation.”Another architectural highlight is the Ponte Vecchio, a medieval stone-arch pedestrian bridge that’s packed with jewelry stores. Near the bridge, on the south bank of the Arno River, is massive Palazzo Pitti, once home to the powerful Medici family, showing works by such renowned artists as Raphael and Titian. On the north bank, the Piazza del Signoria is one the city’s most visited squares thanks to the imposing Palazzo Vecchio (the town hall) and the much-photographed statue “Perseus with the Head of Medusa” by Cellini.
The capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region, is built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It has no roads, just canals – including the Grand Canal thoroughfare – lined with Renaissance and Gothic palaces. The central square, Piazza San Marco, contains St. Mark’s Basilica, which is tiled with Byzantine mosaics, and the Campanile bell tower offering views of the city’s red roofs.The Gothic pink-and-white-marble Doge’s Palace sits on the east side of the piazza. Before the Christian holiday of Lent, this area becomes the epicenter of Venice's Carnival, where partygoers dress in elaborate masks and costumes. A gondola ride away are the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, an influential gallery of modern art, and the Galleria dell'Accademia, a museum of Renaissance-era paintings and sculpture, including Michelangelo's David. The covered Rialto foot bridge leads to a market that supplies many of the city's fish-focused Venetian restaurants.
Italy’s capital, is a sprawling, cosmopolitan city with nearly 3,000 years of globally influential art, architecture and culture on display. Ancient ruins such as the Forum and the Colosseum evoke the power of the former Roman Empire. Vatican City, headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, has St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums, which house masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes.The 18th-century Spanish Steps sit at the heart of Rome’s high-end shopping district, with designer boutiques lining Via Condotti and Via Borgognona. Visitors toss coins into the iconic, baroque Trevi Fountain. The Pantheon, dating to the second-century A.D., holds Raphael’s Renaissance-era tomb. Rome’s hearty cuisine includes such traditional dishes as carbonara, amatriciana and saltimbocca. After-dark activities range from seeing one of Verdi’s classic operas at Teatro dell’Opera to club-hopping in working-class Testaccio, once the city’s slaughterhouse district