Rome

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Italy's capital is one of the great cities of Europe. It's a large, busy metropolis that lives in the here and now, yet there's no other place on earth where you'll encounter such powerful evocations of a long and spectacular past, from the Colosseum to St. Peter's. Indeed, more than Florence, more than Venice, Rome is Italy's treasure storehouse. Here, the ancient Romans originated what we now call Western Civilization; centuries later Michelangelo painted the Sistine Ceiling, Bernini sculpted baroque nymphs and naiads that still dance in marble fountains, and Fellini filmed La Dolce Vita. Today, ancient Rome rubs shoulders with the medieval, the modern runs into the Renaissance, and the result is the world's finest open-air museum.