The imperial splendor of St. Petersburg's Hermitage Museum has been recreated on the banks of the Thames. Featuring marquetry floors copied from the Winter Palace's throne room, lavish chandeliers and gilded furnishings, the new Hermitage Rooms at Somerset House-an 18th century mansion that still houses Britain's tax office-will present annual exhibitions drawn from the museum's 3-million-item collection. Hermitage founder Catherine the Great (1729-96) is the focus of the inaugural, 10-month-long show, which opens on Nov. 25. The display, which fills five rooms, includes art works, jewelry and decorative items accumulated by the Empress during her 34-year reign.
The massive white-marble Victor Emmanuel monument in Piazza Venezia-long derided by Romans as "the wedding cake" and "the typewriter"-presents a jarring contrast to the city's ancient masterpieces. But the building's height could yet salvage its reputation. Visitors can now ascend 61 m to the roof for a magnificent panoramic view of the Eternal City. Opened to the public this month for the first time in 30 years, the monument was built between 1885 and 1911 in honor of Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of unified Italy. (Its base houses the tomb of the unknown soldier and the rarely opened Risorgimento Museum.)
China's south western Guizhou province has opened a walking route featuring the local battlefields and resting places the Red Army passed through during its epic Long March in 1934. Today's adventurers and history buffs can expect to trek in more comfortable conditions than those experienced by Mao Zedong and his followers. Of the 100,000 Communists who retreated from General Chiang Kai-Shek's nationalist armies in Jiangxi, in China's southeast, fewer than 1 in 3 survived the two-year, 10,000-km journey across 18 mountain ranges and 24 rivers to Yanan, in the remote northwest near the Soviet border. For more details, contact China tourism offices.
His guitar-smashing onstage antics helped define an era, but it was Jimi Hendrix's playing that made him an idol to teenage boys around the world. An unscathed Gibson Flying V with the rocker's own psychedelic decorations is one of the highlights of "Dangerous Curves: Art of the Guitar," billed as the first comprehensive look at the instrument as an art object. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts exhibition features 120 instruments from the 16th century to the present, including one of only two guitars made by 17th century Italian violin maker Antonio Stradivari, dainty 19th century lyre guitars, and electric models. Through Feb. 25.