Top Things to see

• Be fascinated by Rome's historical sites - the Colosseum, the Forum and the Pantheon. At the Trevi Fountain, visitors guarantee their return to Rome by throwing a coin into the waters.  
• Enter the Vatican City, an independent sovereign state best known for the magnificent St Peter's Basilica. Among the principal features of the Vatican Palace (the Pope's residence) are the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum.  
• Explore Venice (Venezia), a work of art in itself. St Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace overlooking St Mark's Square, have gained fame through Canaletto paintings. The Galleria dell'Accademia  displays hundreds of Venetian paintings.  
• Discover the sights of Turin. Its Egyptian Museum is the second-largest in the world after Cairo. The city's symbol is the Mole Antonelliana, housing the Museum of Cinema. A copy of the famous Turin Shroud may be viewed in the cathedral.  
• In Milan (Milano), appreciate Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, The Last Supper, which may be viewed at the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. La remains the undisputed world capital of opera.  
• Soak up the romantic sights of Verona, the setting of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. The Casa di Giulietta (Juliet's House) attracts thousands of visitors each year. The Roman Arena, built in AD290, is the site of an annual opera festival.  
• Discover early Byzantine and Christian monuments decorated with stunning mosaics in Ravenna, including the splendid Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, a UNESCO World Heritage site.  
• Visit Florence (Firenze) and see Brunelleschi's revolutionary design for the Duomo (cathedral). Cross the medieval Ponte Vecchio bridge, see the art collections of the Uffizi Gallery  and Michelangelo's famous statue of David at the Galleria dell'Accademia.  
• Admire Siena's extraordinary humbug-striped cathedral (Duomo). Go in September to see its intricate patterned floor (pavimento) which is covered most of the year. 
• Visit the Basilica di San Francesco in Assisi, the birthplace of St Francis, founder of the Franciscan order of monks.  
• Stand in the stunning Piazza del Campo in Siena, the shell-shaped heart of this walled medieval city in southern Tuscany. See it at its best early in the morning or at sunset.

• See the place where pizza was invented, Naples. The impressive Museo Archeologico Nazionale houses an excellent collection of Greco-Roman artefacts, including mosaics from Pompeii.  
• Understand how first-century Romans lived their daily lives when you see the remains of Pompeii and Herculaneum, engulfed in the great eruption of AD79.  
• Sail to Sicily to see the remains of successive invading cultures. The most important ancient Greek sites include the temples of the Valle dei Templi at Agrigénto, said to be better preserved than any in Greece itself. The catacombs at the Capuchin Monastery contain thousands of mummified bodies.

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