Italy's cities each possess a special personality. Rome resonates with antiquity, its streets made for chariots and foot traffic, its ruins within feet of modern buildings. Florence retains its Renaissance grandeur and flavor: Brunelleschi's dome, and Giotto's campanile, of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Il Duomo) are visible from every corner. Sitting in the specter and shadow of Mount Vesuvius and bearing its scars, Naples—even to those who savor its delights and love the Napolitani —simply defies description. Venice, a magical city of influences Byzantine and Baroque, gave birth to—and serves as a living repository for—great art, regardless of the period in which it was generated. Whether riding in a vaporetto along the Giudecca, skirting the Zattere, or exploring the Grand Canal, the sights and smells emanating from the water and its surroundings are similar to what Vincenzo di Biagio Catena (1470-1531) experienced when he resided in La Serenissima.
Torpy JM. Portrait of a Nobleman. JAMA. 2011;306(15):1630. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1383