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Clockwise, from below: St. Peter’s Basilica at dusk, Rome; the Roman Forum in Rome; the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Athens; houses line the canals of Venice; a street in Athens IF YOU WANT TO FEEL AT THE HEART OF AN EMPIRE, THE COLUMNS OF THE FORUM BEST EVOKE ANCIENT ROME ROME If you want to feel at the very heart of an empire, on the spot where Julius Caesar addressed his public, the columns and arches of the Forum best evoke ancient Rome. It is easily combined with the obligatory Colosseum, but do walk up to Palatine Hill, where the city’s aristocracy built palaces 2,000 years ago. Here, you can look down on the Roman Forum and Circus Maximus, the famous stadium where chariots raced. Meanwhile, St. Peter’s Basilica and the treasures of Vatican City deserve a full day on their own. ATHENS Viewable from so many points in this always-bustling city, the Parthenon tops the giant rock of the Acropolis. Its Doric columns, dedicated to Athena, loom over the temples of Nike and Erechtheion. It is the emblem of classical Greece and, if you have never explored Athens before, should be at the top of your list. However, there is much more to Greece’s capital. The National Archaeology Museum has one of the world’s greatest collections of antiquities, with the sculptures being especially inspiring. For an insight into Greek life, wander through the village-like Plaka District, where picturesque lanes are filled with flowers, shops and tavernas and dotted with ruins. CORFU Most Greek island capitals are sleepy, dusty places. Corfu Town 42 VIKING.COM EXPLORE MORE 2020

MEDITERRANEAN is far more grandiose, boasting two formidable forts and the park-like Spianada Square fronted by an elegant paved esplanade. Off here, narrow lanes wind between Venetian and Greek architecture to sights such as St. Spyridon, considered the island’s most sacred church, with its distinctive bell tower. Alternatively, you can take a tour to admire Corfu’s emerald beauty from two outstanding viewpoints: Lakones, overlooking the west coast’s lovely bays shining bright blue in the dazzling sunlight, and Mt. Pantokrator, the highest point, from which you can see pretty much the whole island. EXPLORE MORE 2020 VIKING.COM 43