Also known as the Palazzo della Signoria, this famous palace has seen at least three stages of construction, from the 13th through 16th centuries. Today the palace houses the offices of the City Council and much of it is still open to the public.

A simple mansion on the banks of the Arno, near the Leaning Tower and duomo, the Palazzo Reale was built in the 16th century as a summer escape for the Medici family.

It is believed that Galileo used the tower here to observe the stars. Now the place is home to the Soprintendenza dei Beni Culturali, the national institute for preservation of archaeological and artistic treasures as well as city structures and buildings.

The Royal Palace in Naples is one of the four residences used by the Bourbon Kings during their 18th and 19th century rule. Today, however, what we see is the result of numerous additions and changes, including some post-World War II restoration to repair bomb damage.

A series of statues along the western façade depicts the rulers of dynasties who ruled Naples since the twelfth century. The palace and grounds house the Teatro di San Carlo opera house,  as well as a museum showing furniture, porcelain and pictures, and a number of city offices.

For centuries the home of Milan's rulers, the foundations of this Neoclassical palace date back to an 11th century town hall; the site has been rebuilt a number of times since.

The palace was badly bombed during W.W.II and parts of the building remain unrepaired, as a reminder of war’s tragedy. This rich history is an incongruous backdrop for exhibits of contemporary art, photography, textiles and fashion, as well as eminent 20th century artists, including Mondrian, Kandinsky, Picasso, Matisse, Klee, Sironi and Morandi.

The Museo Nazionale di San Matteo is located in a former Benedictine Convent dating from the 11th century.

The walls of the building still have original paintings and decorative patterns from the late Middle Ages and hint at Islamic influence during Italy’s middle ages. The collection is largely Tuscan sculpture and paintings from the 12th to the 15th century, including masterworks by Giovanni and Andrea Pisano, Nino Pisano and Masaccio.

Once a family palace, the Palazzo Correale is now a museum devoted to Neapolitan paintings, decorative arts, and porcelains. Its 17th century collections are among the finest anywhere.

You may also see stunning 18th century inlaid tables, porcelains, Rococo portrait miniatures, regional Greek and Roman archeological finds, medieval marble work, glasswork and old-master paintings.

But the gardens are the real attraction,with palm and citrus trees, floral nurseries, and a world-class view of the Sorrento coast and Gulf of Naples.

One of the great scientists of his time,  Alessandro Volta was an 18th physicist known for his pioneering work in electricity; his 1776 electrochemical cell was the first battery of its kind, and the volt was named after him.

Volta was well known in his day; Napoleon made him a count in 1801. The Como museum in his honor, also know as the Voltian Temple, displays some of his original instruments and experiments.

Musei Civici degli Eremitani, is located next door to the famous Cappella dei Scrovegni. 

Formerly the monastery of the Eremitani, this three-part museum houses an archeological collection on the ground floor and an extensive assembly of 14th to 19th century art upstairs. It's a fairly long walk through tracts of ordinary stuff, but there are works by masters including Bellini, Giotto, Giordano, Titian, Tintoretto and Tiepolo, too.

The only active volcano on the European continent, Mt. Vesuvius is best known for its eruption in AD79, when it rained ash and molten lava on the city of Pompeii. It is still considered a dangerous volcano, primarily because of the population living nearby.

It has not erupted since 1944.

See also: The Ruined City of Pompei