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Rome's Top 10 : Villas and Palaces
A little gem of gracious living, decorated by some of the greatest artists of the Renaissance, including Raphael. The loggias are now glassed in to protect the precious frescoes, but they were originally open, embodying the ideal of blending indoor and outdoor spaces – a concept borrowed from ancient Roman villa designers .
Rome's Top 10 : Artistic Masterpieces
The saint here is being pierced by a smirking angel’s lance, and is Bernini at his theatrical best. He sets this religious ecstasy on a stage flanked by opera boxes from which members of the commissioning Cornaro family look on .
Hong Kong's Top 10 : Restaurants
From its epic Sunday brunches, through to the speechless aplomb of its candlelit dinners, this sleek patrician of the South-side has a stately lead over the competition.
Hong Kong's Top 10 : Walking Routes and Promenades
Taking about an hour to complete at a gentle pace, this loop around Victoria Peak, formed by Harlech and Lugard Roads, offers jaw-dropping city panoramas to the north, boundless sea views to the south, and glimpses of millionaire homes among the greenery en route .
Madrid's Top 10 : Entertainment Venues
For most of the year this cultural centre hosts temporary art exhibitions. During the annual Summer Arts Festival, however, opera, plays and concerts are also on the programme, many of the events staged outdoors.
Madrid's Top 10 : Religious and Cultural Fiestas - Top 10 Celebratory Cakes
The feast day of Madrid’s patron saint is celebrated with a procession to the Ermita de San Isidro. Madrileños dress up in traditional costumes and picnic on rosquillas. There is also a fair, brass bands and sports events. San Isidro also marks the beginning of the bull-fighting season.
Beijing's Top 10 : Markets and Malls
Hong Qiao is best known for pearls, with a huge range available, freshwater and seawater, up on the third floor. The floors below are a tight compress of clothing, shoes, electronics, and more, while in the basement is a pungent, but fascinating market for fish, frogs, and snakes .
Beijing's Top 10 : Souvenirs - Top 10 Galleries
A Chinese invention and still widely employed today for fine-quality clothing and embroidery. Genuine silk garments are expensive but look out for cheaper household accessories such as silk cushions or bags.
Chicago's Top 10 : Ethnic Neighborhoods
Named after a city in the former Czech Republic, whose immigrants settled here in the mid-1800s, this neighborhood now claims the Midwest’s largest Mexican community. It’s anchored by the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum and animated by street vendors, mariachi music, and Mexican restaurants.
Chicago's Top 10 : Festivals & Events - Top 10 Sports Teams & Events
Chicago is a city of neighborhoods with upwards of 100 neighborhood festivals to prove it. Virtually every summer weekend features an event or three ranging from the gay-oriented North Halsted Market Days to the ethnic Korean Street Festival.
Munich's Top 10 : Munich – the Bavarian Hollywood - Top 10 Munich Filmmakers
Second only to Berlin’s film industry, Geiselgasteig has been a centre for film since 1910. Major productions have been shot here well into the modern era, including Petersen’s Das Boot, and films by Bergman and Fassbinder.
Munich's Top 10 : Markets & Fairs - Top 10 Munich Characters
For a special experience, be sure to visit the Viktualienmarkt, founded in 1807. Formerly a farmers’ market, it has evolved into a shopping destination for gourmets.
Seattle's Top 10 : Nightlife - Top 10 Local Microbrews
This Belltown café opened in the early 1990s, just after major Seattle bands such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Mudhoney changed the face of rock music. It’s still a destination for new talented bands, local or touring, appealing to audiences who favor college rock radio and singer-songwriters.
Seattle's Top 10 : Urban Retreats
Between 1904 and 1909, the Olmsted Brothers turned these 45 acres of hilltop into a bucolic grass meadow with a fantastic view. The park now houses the Seattle Asian Art Museum, the Volunteer Park Conservatory, and an observation tower .
Spa Time: GoldenEye, Jamaica (Part 3) - Massages and spider monkeys
The spa offers a wide menu of treatments – some for fertility, others simply for wellbeing and relaxation. I opted for the latter and while drifting off during my Xocolate massage, I heard a rustle of leaves and, lo and behold, there was a large spider monkey swinging through the trees right in front of me.
Spa Time: GoldenEye, Jamaica (Part 2) - Mayan gold
At the height of the Maya civilization, Mayans believed the most important thing in society was family and the fertility of their crops. They also believed that, in order to create new life, your body’s energy has to be aligned and in balance.
Spa Time: GoldenEye, Jamaica (Part 1)
If you’re looking for a laid back Caribbean experience with a bit of celebrity magic thrown in, GoldenEye might be just the place for you. Located in Oracabessa on the north coast of Kamaica, GoldenEye is the quintessential cool resort.
Barcelona's Top 10 : Best Shopping Areas
Barcelona’s grand avenue of lavish Modernista buildings is fittingly home to the city’s premier fashion and design stores. From the international big league (Chanel, Gucci, Swatch) to Spain’s heavy hitters (Loewe, Camper, Zara, Mango), it’s all here.
Barcelona’s Top 10 - Night-time Hot Spots
Venture underground – quite literally – to this popular, hopping jazz club-cum-nightclub in a vaulted space beneath Plaça Reial. Nightly live jazz sessions kick off around 11pm. DJs take over later with dance-inducing sounds.
Toronto's Top 10 : Children's Attractions - Top 10 Places to Eat with Kids
A truly magical place for children, Canada’s largest museum makes a special effort to have plenty of hands-on exhibits. The much-loved Dinosaur Gallery and mummy cases are strictly “don’t touch,” but the Hands-On Biodiversity Gallery enchants and educates youngsters with interactive exhibits .
Toronto's Top 10 : Family Events - Top 10 Festivals
The “Ex” is an 18-day extravaganza with 65 rides on a frenetic midway, themed pavilions, performers of all kinds – from musicians to dancers to jugglers – nightly fireworks, and a dazzling international airshow starring the world-renowned Canadian Air Force Snowbirds.
Boston's Top 10 : Performing Arts Venues
Opened in 1900, Symphony Hall is one of the world’s most acoustically perfect concert venues (it is a National Historic Landmark) and is the home of the internationally renowned Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Boston's Top 10 : Dance & Live Music Venues
One of Inman Square’s greatest assets, where murals of Duke, Dizz, and Lady Day inspire top jazz bands to go, go, go. Call ahead to learn if samba or swing lessons are scheduled.
New York's Top 10 : Bars and Lounges
Maxfield Parrish’s famous mural of Old King Cole, rich mahogany paneling, and sumptuous seating set the stage for New York’s most famous hotel bar, which has only been admitting women since 1950. Lush, luxurious, and very expensive, the soft piano music sets a mood that makes it easy to clinch a deal or spark a romance.
New York's Top 10 : Music Venues - Top 10 Dance Clubs
Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, and Ray Charles have all played this Greenwich Village venue. The emphasis is on jazz, but blues, Latin, R&B, soul, and big band also feature.
Paris Top 10 : Riverfront Sights
Although the top of the Eiffel Tower can be seen above rooftops across the city, one of the best views of this Paris landmark is from the Seine. The Pont d’Iéna lies at the foot of the tower, bridging the river to link it to the Trocadéro Gardens.
Paris Top 10 : Historical Novels set in Paris - Top 10 Foreign Writers who Lived in Paris
The 1862 novel by Victor Hugo (1802–85) is an all-too-vivid portrayal of the poor and the dispossessed in early 19th-century Paris. At its centre is the tale of nobleman Jean Valjean, unfairly victimized by an unjust system.
London's Top 10 : Art Galleries
The National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery - Located adjacent to each other at the top of Trafalgar Square, these comprehensive galleries make up the core of Britain’s art collection .
London's Top 10 : Museums
This museum of decorative arts is one of London’s great pleasures, with 145 astonishingly eclectic galleries. One of the highlights is the huge Fashion collection, with exhibits dating from 1600 to the present day. The museum also has collections of jewellery, textiles, metalwork, glass, paintings, prints, sculpture and rooms full of Indian and Far Eastern treasures .
Berlin's Top 10 : Performing Arts Venues
Germany’s “temple” of classical music still presents the best performers in the world. Designed by Scharoun, the concert hall has unique acoustics, much appreciated by artists and audience alike. Concerts by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra are very popular and are often sold out for weeks ahead .
Berlin's Top 10 : Bars & Lounges
The Felix, in the basement of the Adlon, is the jewel in the crown of Berlin’s nightlife, welcoming the city’s hippest crowd. Getting in is as hard as finding a quiet spot in the stylish dance club, but on special weeknights, quieter jazz programmes are offered.
San Francisco's Top 10 : Children's Attractions
Direct encounters with farm animals at Family Farm, and visits with zoo babies, which may include gorillas, snow leopards, rhinos, or alpacas, make this a must-do for the youngsters.
San Francisco's Top 10 : Performing Arts Venues
The San Francisco Opera Company is the second largest in the country and performs from June to January. The excellent San Francisco Ballet, one of the nation’s oldest, mostly performs at the Opera House, too .
Washington, D.C.'s Top 10 : Green Spaces
The gleaming glass-walled conservatory building is a beautiful home for this “living plant museum.” Microclimates, such as desert, oasis, and jungle, reveal the variety and beauty of plant adaptations.
Washington, D.C.'s Top 10 : Memorials and Monuments - Top 10 Statues
Daniel Chester French designed the enormous statue of a seated Abraham Lincoln in 1915, and it is among America’s most inspiring sites, especially for its association with African-Americans’ struggle for equality and opportunity .
Rome's Top 10 : Squares and Fountains
The elongated oval of Rome’s loveliest square hints that it is built atop Domitian’s ancient stadium . This pedestrian paradise is filled with cafés, street performers and artists, milling tourists, kids playing football, and splashing fountains.
Rome's Top 10 : Churches
Legend recounts that on this spot, where a magnificent oak grew, Nero died and was buried. The site was thought cursed, but in 1099, in a vision, the Virgin told Pope Paschal II to fell the oak, dig up the evil emperor’s bones and build a chapel .
Hong Kong's Top 10 : Areas of Natural Beauty
On the Sai Kung Peninsula, survive the knuckle-whitening ascent of Sharp Peak (all loose rocks and narrow paths), and the land plunges down to your well-earned reward: the sparkling waves and white sand of Hong Kong’s finest beach, Tai Long Wan .
Hong Kong's Top 10 : Modern Buildings
Sir Norman Foster’s striking, Bladerunner-esque edifice cost a whopping HK$5.2bn, making it the world’s priciest pile when it opened in 1985. The headquarters of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation are reputed to have some of the best feng shui around – the building sits on a rare confluence of five “dragon lines” and enjoys unimpeded harbour views.
Madrid's Top 10 : Children's Attractions
The Retiro’s central location makes it an obvious place to visit if the children are in the mood to run wild. On Sunday afternoons (1pm), take them to the puppet show in the open-air theatre near the lake. They won’t need to know Spanish as the sense of fun is infectious .
Madrid's Top 10 : Parks and Gardens
In 1767, Carlos III broke with tradition by allowing members of the public into the Retiro, providing they were “washed and suitably dressed”. However it was not until the 1860s and the advent of the First Republic that the partitions separating the royal enclosure from the public area were finally torn down for good .
Beijing's Top 10 : Places of Worship
There are currently about 200,000 Muslims in Beijing. The majority live in the Niu Jie district, which is where you find this mosque, also known as the Niu Jie Mosque. It is the city’s oldest and largest Islamic place of worship.
Beijing's Top 10 : Museums
What the Metropolitan Museum is to New York and the British Museum to London, the China National is to Beijing. The building is currently undergoing a massive restoration program and is slated to reopen in 2010.
Chicago's Top 10 : Arts Venues
This imposing Art Deco building is largely devoted to performances by the Lyric Opera. Each year (September through March), the company stages work by everyone from Wagner to Gilbert and Sullivan. Touring classical dance troops and musicals fill the off-season bill.
Chicago's Top 10 : Blues & Jazz Joints
The largest of Chicago’s blues joints, Kingston Mines packs its Lincoln Park locale with students, young professionals, and a broader spectrum of tourists. Two stages provide non-stop musical entertainment from 8pm to near 4am (5am on Saturdays).
Munich's Top 10 : Traditional Pubs - Top 10 Munich Beers
Anyone visiting Munich should make the pilgrimage to this venerable beer hall – symbolic of all Bavarian pubs and the most famous pub in the world. Locals, too, simply can’t stay away. Brass bands play daily at noon and again after 6pm.
Munich's Top 10 : Festivals & Open-Air Events
This music theatre festival was founded in 1988 by composer Hans Werner Henze. The city of Munich commissions young composers to write their first full work for the festival. Now a bi-annual event, the festival has become an established highlight in the cultural life of the city, with a broad programme.
Seattle's Top 10 : Getting Physical - Top 10 Places to Rent Gear
Lake Union is the most convenient point, being so close to downtown and its Ship Canal links to Lake Washington and Shilshole. When there’s no wind, the currents are barely an issue even for novices. More adventurous river-runners find their rapid transit in challenging whitewater courses closer to the mountains.
Seattle's Top 10 : Seattle Pastimes - Top 10 Cafés
Seattle’s signature beverage comes in myriad forms. The rampant availability of whole bean, latte, espresso, and basic drip created a coffee craze even before Starbucks went global.
Barcelona’s Top 10 : Best Restaurants & Tapas Bars
A funky, flower-filled oasis in El Raval, this juice-bar-café-restaurant is the place for organic, multi-cultural cuisine. Start your day with muesli or muffins and a fresh papaya or pear juice. The lunch and dinner menu might include Japanese tofu, Peruvian ceviche or a Cuban chicken and mango chutney dish.
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