Medieval Europe is often portrayed as a dark time of pestilence, filth, violence, intolerance and ignorance -- a disconnect between the splendor of the Roman empire and the cultural explosion of humanism during the Renaissance. The truth is far more complicated.
Geniuses like Fibonacci, Averroes, Aquinas and Dante didn't exist in a vacuum. Universities that are still in existence today were founded during this time, Aristotle was revived, books came into their own, and the mathematical and scientific advances of the Muslim world filtered into art, design and architecture from the periphery of the continent. These 11 spots reveal a glimpse of the cultural and artistic splendor of the Middle Ages. You can find more medieval travel spots on Trazzler.