Rome and Venice are two of my favorite cities. But to enjoy these classic destinations fully, you need to be prepared for changes in 2010. Knowing about a few recent developments will make your visit smoother this year.
You're walking along a street in Roman Pompeii at the start of the first millennium when you notice a spectacular stone building. You reach out towards it and your guide informs you it's a temple to the god Jupiter, built in 200 BC. With a flick of your wrist you save the data and, school assignment complete, you step out of your Cocoon and back into your living room.
We 're standing in a dusty square trying to conjure up an image of a bustling gathering place with white marble floors, gleaming columns and fashionable people buying and selling wine, beautiful fabrics and exotic treasures -- imagine SoHo in New York, I tell the kids. Powerful politicians work just across the way. In our imaginations, there are gorgeous bronze statues everywhere. In reality, all that's left are a few crumbling columns.
Six of the seven Ancient Wonders of the World have vanished into history, like the Lighthouse of Alexandria, which crumbled into the sea after an earthquake, and the Statue of Zeus, destroyed by fire thousands of years ago. Only the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt remain on the list.