This route begins in Milan, northern Italy, and travels southward to Naples. Enroute, there are many very special locations worthy of stops, some of them for several days or more. A photo album of the best of these sights will follow tomorrow.
Milan – This huge, sprawling city is noted for as the fashion center of Italy. However, there are several incredible tourist sights which make it a must-see destination for any visitor to this fabulous country. Paramount is the remarkable Duomo, with its many statues and spires. Also here is La Scala, perhaps the world’s most famous opera house, and Leonardo Da Vinci’s incredible painting, The Last Supper.
Parma – Food is the main focus of any visit to this Italian city. This area is the origin of parmesan cheese and the Italian ham known as prosciutto. Besides the culinary attraction, the city center also possesses several architectural gems.
Bologna – Another of Italy’s cuisine centers, the city of Bologna is located in the Po Valley, one of Italy’s most important farming areas. Here also is the world’s oldest university, founded in 1088 AD. Those who stroll the city center will also find a number of striking Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings.
Florence – The epicenter of the Renaissance is famous all over the world as a Mecca of Art and Architecture. From Michelangelo’s David, to the famous Duomo, the city has enough important tourist attractions to warrant several days.
Arezzo – This wonderful Tuscan city has many interesting churches, palaces and squares. It was also the setting for Roberto Benigni’s film, Life is Beautiful.
Montepulciano – This adorable Tuscan village is one of the most important wine-producing towns in Italy. Its Vino Nobile is well-known throughout the world. The hill town is also wonderful to walk with delightful piazzas and churches and great views of the Tuscan countryside.
Orvieto – This walled hill town of Umbria has a dramatic location above steep cliffs. It is famous for its striking cathedral, made from white travertine with black stripes. Artwork by such notable artists as Fra Angelico and Luca Signorelli adorn the interior.
Rome – Little needs to be said about "the Eternal City." There are so many attractions and must-sees here that even a tourist-week is not enough to do the city justice. Where else in the world can a visitor walk down a narrow alleyway and emerge in a beautiful Medieval piazza or next to ruins from Ancient Rome.
Cassino – This village south of Rome is famous for its mountain, Monte Cairo, the abbey which occupies its apex, and the World War II battle which demolished the once-splendid monastery. The ruins have been lovingly restored and this spot is definitely worth an hour or two detour from the highway.
Caserta – This town is famous for the Royal Palace, Reggia di Caserta, It is listed as a World Heritage Site because of its Baroque architecture. The Versailles-like residence has some 1200 rooms and extensive gardens.
Naples – This "working-class" city is shunned by many for its squalor and filth, but it remains a slice of the "real" Italy. Pizza orginated here, yet it also contains many important buildings, such as, the Castel Nuovo and Castel dell’Ovo. The city’s archaeological museum is also notable for its Ancient Roman treasures.
Pompeii – Just south of the city of Naples is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. This wealthy Roman city was preserved by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Much of the city has been excavated and gives visitors an unprecedented look at daily life in the Roman Empire.