In Europe, 76 destinations off the beaten path
Looking beyond Rome, Paris or London? Consider Europe's lesser-known destinations, such as Monschau, Germany, a town so quaint you can hardly believe it isn't a theme park or San Marino, one of Europe's oldest and smallest countries (drive through it slowly).
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Vatican City( Susan Spano / Los Angeles Times )
In ancient times, a low hill on the west side of the Tiber River in Rome overlooked a sports field, or circus, marked by a red granite obelisk from Egypt. In AD 64, the Apostle Peter was crucified and buried in its shadow, incising the place in history.
Today people come here to see Michelangelo's Pieta, the Raphael rooms, the ancient Laocoan statue or to study some of the crowning architectural achievements of the Italian Renaissance. Some just want to be able to say they've visited the smallest country in the world. Others come as religious pilgrims.
-- Susan Spano
Read more: A trove of tiny treasures
Pictured: "Sphere Within a Sphere" by Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro.