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

Ferries arrive at the charming seaside port of Marina Grande, where the arms of two quays welcome the visitor to the beautiful island of Capri. A funicular sweeps you up the hill to the town with its legendary views.

Until 1928, the marina was a natural reef, and passengers rowed ashore from their boats in dinghies. Now it is a spacious seaside resort with a wide beach and international visitors.

Piccola means small, and so Marina Piccola is a smaller marina across the island from Marina Grande. It is a small village on the island’s southern landing place, set in a charming inlet at the foot of Monte Solaro.

A lido is a beach, and not surprisingly, there are several nice ones here, as well as some excellent restaurants and cafés.

Originally a cluster of fishermen’s houses overlooking two small beaches, Marina Piccola is located near the famous Faraglioni and Siren's rock, dedicated to mythical enchantresses.

Next to the Teatro Grande in Pompeii is its better-preserved little brother, Teatro Piccolo, built in 75 B.C.  It is the earliest example of a Roman theater with a roof, and is an excellent example of ancient theatrical architecture.

With a capacity of about a thousand, the theatre was used mainly for musical performances.

See also: Ruined City of Pompei