A city’s customs, repertoire of arts, architectural and social achievements, and distinct flavors are, collectively, what we come to know and to cherish when we celebrate its culture.
Be it a city of ancient ruins dating back to humankind’s first permanent civilizations, or striking modern constructions that surge toward the sky like glass-and-steel beams of light, these are the cities Travel + Leisure readers flock to when they seek an injection of arts and culture.
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Take Il Duomo in Florence, for example. This staggering cathedral, with its first stones dating back to 1296, could very well be considered the city’s trademark.: the single structure that stands as a summation of Florence’s religious and artistic Renaissance. Without it, would the city still linger in travelers’ minds with the same unrelenting grasp?
And what of our No. 1 city for culture and the arts this year? Even the faintest whisper about the City of Light conjures immutable images of Monet’s gardens, the Mona Lisa’s unnerving half-smile, the palace of Versailles’ glittering hall of mirrors.
We seek culture everywhere we travel: it is the unmistakable character or quality of a city that reminds us at every turn that we are somewhere unforgettable and unique.