The University of Virginia is simply called "The University" by many associated with it, annoying its rivals. Unquestionably, though, it is one of the nation's most notable public universities, founded and designed by 76-year-old Thomas Jefferson, who called himself its "father" in his own epitaph. Even if you're not an architecture or history buff, the green terraced expanse called the Lawn, surrounded by redbrick, columned buildings, is inviting. The Rotunda is a half-scale replica of Rome's Pantheon, suggesting Jefferson's Monticello and the U.S. Capitol. Behind the Pavilions, where senior faculty live, serpentine walls surround small, flowering gardens. Edgar Allan Poe's room—where he spent one year as a student until debt forced him to leave—is preserved on the West Range at No. 13. Campus tours (daily at 10, 11, 2, 3, and 4) begin indoors in the Rotunda, whose entrance is on the Lawn side, lower level.
The University of Virginia Art Museum, one block north of the
Rotunda, exhibits art from around the world from ancient times to the present day. Bayly Bldg., 155 Rugby Rd., 22904. 434/924–3592. Free. Tues.–Sun. noon–5.