This impressive fountain is one of the Tuscan town's best, and easiest to spot—it's in the center of Piazza del Campo, the main square and home to Siena's famous horse race, il Palio. Siena itself is filled with architecture-as-art—earning it a UNESCO designation as the "embodiment of a medieval city."
Any trip to Italy is a little bit of a history lesson, but anyone looking to go way back in time should head to the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna. A classic example of Byzantine art and architecture, the mosaic-filled church was built beginning in 526.
It's impressive medieval skyline, which is visible for miles as you approach, charms from a distance, but once you're seated at a café in this tiny Tuscan town, sipping a glass of Vernaccia and snacking on salumi—that's when the real love affair begins.
GOLDEN MOSAICS OF SAN MARCO, VENICE The light reflects on the mosaic walls, arches, and ceilings made of hundreds of thousands of tiny golden tesserae or tiles in the Cathedral San Marco in Venice. It looks like golden fire ablaze in the afternoon sun.
Brunelleschi's Duomo is a feat of architecture, sure, but it also makes an ideal observation deck. If you can make your way up the 463 steps (no elevator, and some passages that would make the claustrophobic run screaming), you'll be rewarded with pristine, 365-degree views of the city and all of Tuscany stretched beyond. For a view of the Duomo, climb Giotto's Bell Tower next door instead.