Today, historians generally avoid the term "Dark Ages" to describe the period of European history that followed the fall of the Roman Empire. Though there was a good deal of ensuing conflict, misery, and frightful diseases, the term obscures the significant cultural and societal advancements of the era. Still, there's no denying that Western Europe experienced a major shift beginning in the 14th century.
The rediscovery of classical texts, the burgeoning humanist movement, and the invention of the printing press all contributed to the Renaissance, a period of major innovation and exploration. Today, artifacts from the Renaissance era offer insights into this cultural bonanza. Below are some of the most beautiful and intriguing Renaissance artifacts that can be found in modern museums.