For travelers making their way through Italy, the Colosseum is a must see. This huge Amphitheater is the largest of its kind ever built by the Roman Empire and has remained a model for sports facilities right up to modern times. Built as a venue for public spectacles and shows – even mock sea battles, it had a wooden floor that was 83 by 48 meters. Underneath it were two stories of tunnels, rooms, cells, and passages for gladiators, workers, wild animals, and storage. Today, the structure stands in stark contrast to the modern development that surrounds it and is a prominent reminder of ancient times and the extensive history of Rome.
The still smoking volcano of Mt. Vesuvius looks down on the remains of the city it destroyed in AD 79. But that same eruption also preserved many of the city’s art treasures: frescoes, mosaics, and sculptures that were encased in the lava as it cooled. Several centuries of excavations have revealed the remains of houses, markets, baths, temples, theaters, streets, and human remains. Visitors can tour the site, walk along the old streets scarred by the tracks of chariots, and see the engineering used by Romans more than 2,000 years ago.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is actually just one of many attractions in the city of Pisa, but its fame, gained from its flaw, is world renown. Work began on the tower in the 1100s, and the sinking, which led to the lean, began by the time the tower reached the third story. Prior to restoration work in the 1990s, it was predicted to topple over by the year 2000. Today, visitors can climb up the stairs of the tower for a fabulous view over the city. The Leaning Tower, also known as La Torre Pendente, stands on the Piazza dei Miracoli, a setting it shares with the beautiful Romanesque Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and a round freestanding baptistery.