The Colosseum – or Coliseum – is probably the most iconic symbol of Imperial Rome, as well as one of the great works of Roman architecture and engineering.

The first permanent amphitheater to be built in Rome, this enormous amphitheater was inaugurated by Titus in the 1st century. Although it is now near ruins, the Colosseum was used for almost 500 years for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles, including mock sea battles, executions, reenactments of famous battles, and Classical dramas.

A UNESCO World Heritage site, this famous Italian Renaissance church is one of the most striking monuments of the 15th century, and it holds one of the world’s great masterpieces in its refectory, The Last Supper, by Leonardo da Vinci.

The church itself was built in the late 1400’s, and an addition by the architect Bramante was added a few years later. In The Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci cleverly painted the perspective to look like it is part of its setting.

A modest 15th century church and former Franciscan convent, Santa Maria Degli Angeli is located at the end of an elegant shopping street.

The spectacular frescos inside are done by Bernardino Luini in a realistic Renaissance style, reminiscent of his mentor and colleague Leonardo da Vinci. The frescoes include Luini’s version of the Last Supper as well as depictions of the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child.

The former seat of the Della Scala family, now housing one of the finest art galleries in the Veneto region, with pieces from the late Roman and early Christian periods to Medieval and Renaissance art, as well as jewelry and suits of armor.

Built in the 14th century as a fortress, rebuilt in the 15th century and then falling to ruin, this historic site was restored again following Italy’s unification in the 19th century.

It is now used to house a number of cultural institutions and civic museums, including the Pinacoteca del Castello Sforzesco, which holds Michelangelo's last sculpture, the Rondanini Pietà, Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Trivulzianus manuscript and other treasures.

“Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona, where we lay our scene, from ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.”

These opening lines of Shakespeare’s most famous play are arguably what has made “fair Verona” famous. The building was owned by the Dal Cappello family, whose coat-of-arms remains, in the 12th century.

Many people consider the frescoes in the 14th century Cappella degli Scrovegni to be one of the masterpieces of European art, and the main reason for visiting Padua.

The chapel is architecturally simple and unadorned except for three marble altar statues by Giovanni Pisano and the series of frescoes by Giotto lining its walls. It tells the story of the Virgin through the annunciation, nativity, crucifixion and resurrection, and was intended to inspire worshippers with Christ's sacrifice and mankind’s salvation. Even if you're not an expert, the works are quite extraordinary.

The Bridge of Sighs, or Ponte dei Sospiri, connects Venice’s old prisons to the interrogation rooms in the Doge's Palace. Built of white limestone between 1600 and 1603, the enclosed bridge has windows with stone bars.

According to one version of the story, the name was given by Lord Byron in the 19th century from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice from the bridge’s windows.

The richly frescoed and decorated 13th century Basilica di Sant' Antonio houses the remains of St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost or mislaid objects, for whom the church was named.

Faithful pilgrims visit, as they have for centuries, in search of everything from lost items to lost love. Not only is his body entombed here, but his well-preserved jawbone, vocal chords and tongue are on display, apparently in honor of his legendary, eloquent preaching ability.

The mausoleum of the city's patron saint, the Basilica di San Marco is the most famous Venetian church and one of the best examples of Byzantine architecture anywhere. It has been called Chiesa d'Oro – "church of gold" – for its opulence, gilded mosaics, and its status as a symbol of wealth and power.

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