The history of Europe begins with the arrival of the first Homo sapiens sometime after 45000BC. From those prehistoric times to the present day, great civilizations have come and gone, wave upon wave of migrations washed across the continent and numerous wars been fought. The story of Europe has left behind a rich and fascinating legacy of archaeological sites, imposing castles, inspiring cathedrals and diverse cities.
The two dominant and probably the most studied civilisations of the Ancient World, are the empires of Ancient Greece and Rome and they left behind many interesting sites that can be visited today. Whilst the archaeological splendours of ancient Rome spread far beyond the shores of Italy, the magnificent Colosseum, Forum and Parthenon in Rome itself are still seen as some of the finest Roman antiquities. The cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii near Naples were buried and then preserved by the volcanic ash from Vesuvius which erupted in AD79, and they also make for a highly memorable visit. Important sites of Ancient Greece include the Parthenon temple on Athens’ acropolis, Delphi, Olympus and further afield in Sicily is the splendid Valley of the Temples at Agrigento.