The Palau de la Música Catalana (or Palace of Catalan Music, in English) is the most stunning concert hall I’ve ever seen in my life and the only one declared World Heritage by UNESCO. Built between 1905 and 1908 by the architect by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, this music auditorium is situated in Barcelona, Spain. Besides having formidable acoustics, the Palau de la Música Catalana is richly decorated with stained glass, mosaics, ceramics, sculptures, murals, and wrought iron elements!
Did you know that Avignon is the second oldest city in France? Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, Avignon is the perfect starting point for a trip to the famous lavender fields in Provence! On this Avignon itinerary, you’ll discover numerous interesting museums and fascinating religious temples, as well as iconic monuments in the historic center (such as the Papal Palace, the Episcopal Ensemble, and the Avignon Bridge, which have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995)!
The Jerónimos Monastery (in Portuguese, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos), officially the Monastery of Santa Maria de Belém, is a Manueline-style monument that was built by King Manuel I. Situated in Belém, one of the most touristy areas of Lisbon, it’s the most visited cultural space in Portugal. The Jerónimos Monastery was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983 and declared one of the “7 Wonders of Portugal” in 2007. In addition, it gained the status of National Pantheon in 2016!
Casa Vicens in Barcelona is a summer residence that Antoni Gaudí i Cornet designed for Manuel Vicens i Montaner (a stockbroker). Built between 1883 and 1885, it’s considered Antoni Gaudí’s oldest masterpiece, as it was the first major commission the architect received. Forerunner of the Catalan modernist movement, the Casa Vicens combines oriental architectural influences, decorative elements from Hispanic Islamic art, and finishings with plant and naturalistic motifs!
With so many palaces, Sintra looks like something out of a fairy tale and is one of the best destinations for a day trip from Lisbon. However, after reading this Sintra itinerary, you’ll see why it’s so much better to spend 2 days in Sintra! A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995, the Cultural Landscape of Sintra houses iconic monuments, such as the National Palace of Pena, the Moorish Castle, the National Palace of Sintra, the Quinta da Regaleira, and the Palace of Monserrate, among others!
Vatican City (in Latin, Civitas Vaticana; and in Italian, Città del Vaticano) is a sovereign city-state situated in Rome. With just over 40 hectares, its foundation dates back to the Roman Empire, when Saint Peter was crucified on the spot. And, since then, the Vatican became the biggest and most important Catholic sanctuary! Nowadays, the perfect Vatican City itinerary includes visiting the Vatican Museums, strolling through Saint Peter’s Square, and entering Saint Peter’s Basilica!
Palau Güell is a building in Catalan Modernist style, which was designed by Antoni Gaudí. Built between 1886 and 1890, the palace is located in the historic center of Barcelona. When Eusebi Güell commissioned this first major work from Antoni Gaudí, the young architect was still far from becoming one of the most celebrated Catalan artists of all time. But the truth is that, after Palau Güell, Eusebi Güell became Antoni Gaudí’s most important patron and client!
Rome is not only one of the best places to visit in Italy but also the capital of the country. Inhabited for almost three millennia, the Eternal City is linked to the foundation of Western and Christian civilization. Besides, Rome it’s the only city in the world with a country within its territory: the Vatican! Among the best things to do in Rome, are the Colosseo, the Piazza Navona, the Foro Romano e Palatino, the Fontana di Trevi, the Pantheon, the Piazza di Spagna, and the Castel Sant’Angelo!
The Roman Forum (or Foro Romano) was the commercial, political, administrative, judicial, and religious center of Ancient Rome. And the Palatine Hill, one of the 7 hills of the Italian capital, was the place chosen by the Roman emperors to install their palaces. Dozens of houses and monuments were built in a 2-hectare area, in addition to other buildings and public structures. And, nowadays, these ruins make the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill one of the largest archaeological complexes in Europe!
The Colosseum (or Flavian Amphitheater) is the most visited monument in Italy and a true icon of this country. Elected one of the “New 7 Wonders of the World”, this oval amphitheater is also a masterpiece of architecture and a symbol of the Roman Empire. The Colosseum was built in the 1st century AD, to host great public shows (such as gladiator games and animal hunts). Located in the largest archaeological complex of Ancient Rome, it’s still the largest amphitheater in the world!