Fontana di Trevi is an absolute must while in the city. Probably the most famous fountain in the world, it was constructed in 1762 by Nicola Salvi. It also is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome with about 2,824,800 cubic feet of water circulating through the system every day. You can see hundreds of tourists throwing coins into the fountain every day, since it is said that doing this ensures your return to Rome one day. The "proper" way how to do this is to use your right hand and throw the coin over you left shoulder. Interestingly, all the money collected from the fountain are used to feed Rome's citizens in need.
The largest amphitheatre of the Roman Empire is a must-see when in Rome. The Colosseum once hosted gladiator fights, animal fights and even water battles. The building was a present from the emperor Vespasian to his people and (unlike today) the entrance used to be free. Therefore the games and the fights were very popular. Built and modified under the rule of the Flavian dynasty, the Colosseum remains an important heritage of the ancient Roman culture. Not only are there many films that feature the Colosseum (e.g. Roman Holiday or To Rome With Love), it is even one of the important locations in the famous game franchise – Assassin’s Creed. When visiting the Colosseum be prepared for the crowds of tourists and long ticket queues, often longer than an hour. To avoid the queues completely you can buy your tickets online or buy them at the Roman Forum entrance (which is very close to the Colosseum) where the queues are much shorter. The regular tickets will get you to the most important parts of the complex but if you want to get further than that (e.g. the underground) you will need to buy the guided tour tickets. Being in the centre of the city, the Colosseum is well accessible by the public transport - metro (Line B – Station: Colosseo), bus (Lines 75, 81, 673, 175, 204) or tram (Line 3).
The Pantheon is not only one of the best preserved pieces of Ancient Roman architecture but it also has the largest unreinforced concrete cupola in the world. It is well-known for its oculus that lets the daylight (but also the rain) in through the top of the dome. Originally, the temple was dedicated to Roman gods, but in 608 AD it was turned into a Christian church. Most likely, the Pantheon owes its remarkable condition to this fact. Nowadays, the place is dedicated to St. Mary and the Martyrs and every Saturday, international masses are celebrated there. The Pantheon is one of the key locations in both Dan Brown’s book and the film based on it, both titled Angels & Demons. It was also used as a burial site. Among people buried there, you can find even the important Renaissance painter Raphael. The entrance to the Pantheon is free; only the guided tours are charged and need to be booked in advance. Usually, the place is crowded with tourists and you might spend some time queuing. There are not many public restrooms near the Pantheon. However, there are many restaurants and cafés nearby. If you decide to use public transport in order to get there, the Pantheon is best reachable by metro (Line A – Station: Barberini) or by bus (Lines – 30, 40, 62, 64, 81, 87, 492 – Station: Largo di Torre Argentina).
The forum used to be the centre of the Ancient Rome, surrounded by the most important government buildings, shrines and arches of which sadly only fragments are left today. Among the most important ones that survived (at least partially) till today are: Curia Julia (the seat of the Senate), Regia (the headquarters of the Roman kings) or the Arch of Titus. The route of the spectacular military parades – the triumphs – always led through the Roman Forum. Also, the main street of the Ancient Rome – Via Sacra – led through the square. According to the legend it was there where Romulus, the king of Rome, met his opponent Titus Tatius, the king of the Sabines, for negotiation which led to peace and dual kingship. If you wish to visit both the Roman Forum and Colosseum, you should consider buying the tickets at the Roman Forum gates rather than at the Colosseum entrance because the Colosseum queues are much longer. The Roman Forum is well-reachable by public transport. You can get there by metro (Line B, station: Colosseo), by bus (Lines 75, 81, 673, 175, 204) or by tram (Line 30).
Piazza Navona, the famous square in Rome, began its existence as an ancient Roman stadium. Even today, its heritage is recognizable in its stadium shape. The most prominent feature of the baroque square is definitely the Fountain of the Four Rivers (Nile, Danube, the Ganges and Río de la Plata) by Bernini. There are two more fountains situated in Piazza Navona – Fountain of Neptune and Fontana del Moro. Piazza Navona appears in Dan Brown's novel Angels & Demons. Even the film adaptation was partially filmed there. There are many restaurants serving traditional Italian food situated either in the square or nearby. Also, it is the traditional location of the Christmas markets.
The main and the most famous square of Venice is always bustling with life. It is surrounded by many famous sights such as the St Mark's Basilica, dominating the square with its five domes and detailed exterior decoration. There are other buildings representing different architectural styles – the Doge's Palace as a fine example of Gothic architecture or the beautiful Clock Tower from Renaissance period. If you want to see the square from above, there is no better way than to climb to the top of the Campanile. The viewing platform offers great views of the square including the mysterious white lines drawn on its pavement. They were probably used to mark the places for market stalls.
This Gothic style building in the heart of Venice, is definitely a must -see. The City State of Venice was once a rich and important place and therefore the seat of its government and the residence of the elected Doge is quite spectacular. The construction of the palace started in 1340 and was finished in the 15th century. Nowadays, it is home to the largest oil painting in the world called Paradise (by Tintoretto). The famous lover and womaniser Giacomo Casanova also visited the Doge’s Palace. In fact, he was imprisoned there for witchcraft. You can visit the cell where he was held and from which he managed to escape. If you plan to visit the palace, you should consider buying the tickets online in advance. Otherwise, you will spend a long time queuing.
An absolute must see of Venice! The architecture is a mix of Italian and Byzantine styles and actually one of the best examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture that you can see. It's definitely worth going inside as well, its gilded interior with gold ground mosaics is just incredible. The treasury houses a unique collection of Byzantine metalwork.
Crossing the Arno River, this closed medieval bridge with arches is one of the oldest structures in Florence. The current bridge dates back to 1350, when it was rebuilt after a damaging flood. Originally, the bridge was used as a fortification and it featured four towers (including the Manelli Tower, which is the last one still standing). Later, around 40 shops were built along the bridge, but due to the pollution and noise they made, shopkeepers were evicted in the 16th century and they were replaced by goldsmiths and silversmiths. There are still shops today, although now it's mostly jewelers and souvenir stalls. The Vasari Corridor was added to the bridge in the 16th century by the Medici family and it served as a private connection between the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace. The passageway has four big windows in the middle, which supposedly replaced the original ones in 1938 so that Adolf Hitler could enjoy panoramic views of the river.
A great place where to head to when you want to buy for some vegetables, fruits or fish. In fact, it has been a busy marketplace for many centuries (its existence dating back to the 11th century). You can find plenty of fresh local products there. However, there is no telling which specific products you may come across because all goods sold there are rather seasonal. Also, if you want to be sure to get what you want, you might need to head for the market sooner rather than later because if you get there by the time the market closes, most of the goods will likely be sold.
Nicknamed 'Il Duomo', this cathedral is probably the most famous sight of Florence. The construction started in 1296 by Arnolfo di Cambio in Gothic style and it was finished in 1436 by Filippo Brunelleschi, a Florentine architect and sculptor, one of the leading Italian Renaissance architects. It boasts a huge dome and a radiant Gothic Revival facade, which mixes pink, white and green marble. The clock above the entrance dates back to 1433 and it still works. Once you're inside, note the mosaic pavements and marvelous frescoes. The complex consists of the cathedral, a Romanesque baptistery, and Giotto's Campanile - richly decorated tower in Gothic style designed by Giotto. The admission to the cathedral is free, however, you must reserve the tickets for climbing the Brunelleschi's Dome beforehand. Dress appropriately, it is not allowed to enter the cathedral with bare shoulders and legs, sandals, hats and sunglasses.
The largest church in Italy and the fifth largest one in the world. It was built in Gothic style and its construction took six centuries. It began in the 14th century and was finished in 1965. Archbishop of Milan is seated there. The cathedral is a true gem in the very heart of Milan. Its interior houses more than three thousand marble statues. The roof of the cathedral is also worth visiting because it offers a spectacular view of Milan. Due to its enormous popularity, there are usually long queues that might take more than an hour.
This impressive square has served as a hub of the city for centuries. There are smashing historical buildings around, dominated by Palazzo Vecchio, the town hall of the city. It takes its name after Signoria of Florence, the government of medieval and renaissance Florence. The square witnessed the return of the Medici in 1530 and the Bonfire of the Vanities which happened in 1497 and involved destroying many valuable works of art. It was prompted by the Dominican priest Savonarola, who was later excommunicated and burned at the stake here. The location is marked in the middle of the square. The square boasts the Fountain of Neptune created by a sculptor Bartolomeo Ammannati in the 16th century. It also features several statues, such as an equestrian statue of Duke Cosimo I, and a copy of Michelangelo's David. The original can be found in Galleria dell'Accademia.
This unique building is one of the oldest in Florence and is renowned for its unusual octagonal shape and carved bronze doors with sculptures above them. The facade is decorated with green and white marble mosaics, making it a great example of Florentine Romanesque architecture. The origins of the baptistery are still unknown, but it was probably built on the site of a Roman temple dating back to the 4th century AD. Since then, it was enlarged, remodeled and finally consecrated as baptistery around the 12th century. Numerous notable people were baptized here, including the Medici family. The interior is decorated with mosaics made of marble and it features many works of art, as well as tombs of important individuals. The tomb of Baladassare Cossa (Antipope John XXIII) was created by Donatello and Michelozzo in the 15th century. The ticket allows the holder to visit the Cathedral, Cathedral Dome, Giotto's Bell Tower, Baptistry, Crypt and the Opera Museum. It is valid for two days and each monument may be visited only once.
Part of the cathedral complex, the free-standing bell tower in Piazza del Duomo was designed in Gothic style by Giotto di Bondone, a well-known Italian painter and architect. Andrea Pisano continued with Giotto's work after his death and the construction was finished by Francesco Talenti, who added the rooftop terrace. Note the richly decorated facade made out of red, white and green marble. It also boasts numerous sculptures. The tower is more than 84 meters high and boasts 7 bells. There are 414 steps leading to the top and there are no elevators, but it's definitely worth the climb as you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the city and its surroundings.
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the world's oldest shopping malls. Housed within a four-story double arcade in central Milan, the Galleria is named after Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of the Kingdom of Italy. It was designed in 1861 and built by Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1877.
La Scala is an opera house in Milan, Italy. The theatre was inaugurated on 3 August 1778 and was originally known as the Nuovo Regio Ducale Teatro alla Scala. The premiere performance was Antonio Salieri's Europa riconosciuta. Most of Italy's greatest operatic artists, and many of the finest singers from around the world, have appeared at La Scala during the past 200 years. The theatre is regarded as one of the leading opera and ballet theatres in the world and is home to the La Scala Theatre Chorus, La Scala Theatre Ballet and La Scala Theatre Orchestra. The theatre also has an associate school, known as the La Scala Theatre Academy, which offers professional training in music, dance, stage craft and stage management.
Sforza Castle is in Milan, northern Italy. It was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan, on the remains of a 14th-century fortification. Later renovated and enlarged, in the 16th and 17th centuries it was one of the largest citadels in Europe. Extensively rebuilt by Luca Beltrami in 1891–1905, it now houses several of the city's museums and art collections.
Via Monte Napoleone, also spelled Via Montenapoleone, is an upscale shopping street in Milan, Italy, famous for its ready-to-wear fashion and jewelry shops. It is the most important street of the Milan fashion district known as the Quadrilatero della moda where many well-known fashion designers have high-end boutiques. The most exclusive Italian shoemakers maintain boutiques on this street. In 2009, architect Fabio Novembre designed a months-long art installation, titled Per fare un albero, ‘To make a tree’ in conjunction with the city of Milan's Department of Design, Events and Fashion and Fiat — featuring 20 full-size fiberglass planter replicas of the company's 500C cabriolet along Via Monte Napoleone.