After nearly a decade of construction–a relatively quick time period for a project of such a grand scale–Titus officially dedicated the Colosseum in A.D. 80 with a festival including 100 days of games. A well-loved ruler, Titus had earned his people’s devotion with his handling of recovery efforts after the infamous eruption of Vesuvius in A.D. 79, which destroyed the towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii. The final stages of construction of the Colosseum were completed under the reign of Titus’ brother and successor, Domitian.
While the Coliseum stands, Rome shall stand; when the Coliseum falls, Rome shall fall; when Rome falls, the world shall fall. - Venerable Bede
Milan: the world's capital of fashion and design
Even though the capital of Italy is Rome, Milan is the center of fashion and design. This northern Italian metropolis is much more than the gray and industrial city that meets the eye. A leisurely stroll by the trendy neighborhood of Brera confirms that Milan deserves a second chance. Beyond postcards depicting its classic Gothic cathedral, the impressive Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and the Teatro alla Scala, emerges another Milan, enjoyable and always elegant. One of the city’s noblest areas is the "fashion quadrilateral" comprising four streets: Via Monte Napoleone, Via Manzoni, Via della Spiga and Corso Venezia. The most luxurious firms—both Italian and foreign—are based there: from Bottega Veneta, Alberta Ferretti and Prada to Chanel, Dior, Hermes, Burberry and Kenzo, among others. Nearby, you find imposing houses with beautiful courtyards, simple on the outside, but flowery inside. To poke around this neighborhood is to discover high ivy-covered walls, lattice doors, miniature fountains and stony soils unsuitable for the high heels worn by the Milanese women. Here luxury is understated, and facial surgery seems less obscene than in other latitudes. This is also the fashion district, the place where you need to be and where you can spot, among bikes and trams, celebrities like filmmaker Nani Moretti.
Brera is an ode to romance, which is evident in every little boutique offering unique and delicate items. Giusy Bresciani with its original raffia hats, Callegaro serving its famous raspberry tarts or the always-crowded Mozzarella Bar with its appetizing proposals are fine examples of classic Milanese style. Life explodes in Brera during the aperitif or cocktail hour, which is a favorite after-work activity. In Milan, one always feels underdressed among the comings and goings of the stunning and elegant Milanese: not surprising, design is in the city´s DNA. But it is not advisable to categorize these city dwellers as trendy. Remember that Milan is also the city that lovingly preserves Da Vinci’s The Last Supper in the refectory of the 15th-century church of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
Venice: The floating city
Venice, the capital of the Veneto region, has a population of more than 270,000, according to the latest census (2004). It is located in the north-east of Italy on numerous small islands in the Venetian Lagoon.
The "City of Bridges", as it is usually called, stretches along the mouths of the Po and the Piave rivers. Out of the 270,000 inhabitants, about 62,000 live in the historical center, or city of Venice, about 176,000 live in the mainland or "Terraferma", behind the lagoon, in locations like Mestre and Marghera, and all others live on islands throughout the lagoon (there are about 100 islands around Venice). Also known as a famous place for sweethearts, lovers, artists and poets, Venice is a magical city, which stretches across numerous small islands. It is often refered to as the city of "gondole", which are the means of transportation used to cross the numerous canals passing through the city.
In the center of Venice; typical view from the street
In Venice you'll find many historical buildings, both with modern interiors and also with the traditional designs which are common all over the city. Renting a holiday apartment in Venice means you can soak up the romantic atmosphere at affordable prices. If you prefer more traditional accommodation, there are many cheap hotels in Venice. Gondolas, in fact, are the most famous and romantic means of transportation for experiencing the city. The gondola is the symbol of Venice, which has made it famous all over the world.
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