What Famous Monuments are found in Italy?
Italy preserves most of the Unesco World Heritage Sites in the world. From natural wonders to incredible historic buildings, from archaeological sites to world-renowned museums. From north to south the riches follow one after another and in this article we want to tell you about the ones that have stolen the hearts of Italians and foreign tourists. In the list you will not find the famous Vatican Museums, excluded because technically they are located in the Vatican City, which was a State in itself, but certainly on a trip to Rome they must be included in your itinerary!
Here are the 20 most famous and visited monuments in Italy!
20 - Sassi of Matera, Matera
They have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993. They represent the oldest part of Matera, one of the oldest in the world, and are developed in what today are the districts of Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisiano.
Its particularity? the buildings are carved into the rock and have been inhabited since the Paleolithic. Over the centuries they have been adapted to different times and situations, for example during the Middle Ages incredible churches were built, including the cathedral of Matera. To enjoy the Sassi in all its beauty, we recommend walking through the streets and reach the Belvedere di Murgia Timone viewpoint.
19 - Valley of the Temples, Agrigento
Sicily is a wonderful island, a mix of history, culture and nature, between historical and archaeological sites of great importance and wonderful beaches and nature reserves. One of the most visited attractions is definitely the Valley of the Temples, an archaeological park where several Doric temples are preserved in excellent condition. These temples date back to Hellenic times and were dedicated to the different Greek gods. They are located in what was the ancient Akragas, which is the original nucleus from which the city developed.
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998, inside is also the Pietro Griffo Regional Archaeological Museum, where you can admire almost 6,000 artifacts and discover the history of this incredible territory, from Prehistoric to Greco-Roman times.
18 - Royal Palace of Venaria, Turin
About 10 kilometers from Turin is one of the most visited attractions of the beautiful country. This is a true architectural masterpiece: it is one of the most beautiful Savoyard residences present on Piedmontese soil.
The complex, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 and open to visitors and the public since 2007, includes not only the Royal Palace (which extends over 80,000 square meters), but also a wonderful garden of about 60 hectares. It is well integrated between the historic center of Venaria and La Mandria Park. Among the things to see absolutely are the Sala di Diana, the Galleria Grande, the Chapel of Sant'Umberto and the stables of Juvarriane.
17 - Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, Turin
It is one of the most visited museums in Turin. It is located in the historic center of the city, in via Accademia della Scienza, between the famous Piazza Castello and Piazza San Carlo.
This museum is the oldest museum entirely dedicated to the Egyptian civilization in the world! It therefore represents a mandatory stop on a trip to Turin (we recommend that you visit it early in the morning, as soon as it opens, to avoid the crowds and school groups).
The museum is divided into different levels and rooms: it is distributed 5 different floors (from the basement to the third floor), and inside you can see gods truly unique finds of the Nilotic culture! Among the most important exhibits of the museum are the Book of the Dead of Luefankh, the Canvas of Gebelein, the Tomb of the Unknowns, the Gallery of the Kings and the Tomb of Kha and Merit. You can also admire the Predynastic Mummy, one of the oldest (dating back to 3500 BC) and one of the flagships of the exhibitions.
16 - Royal Palace of Caserta, Caserta
Caserta is a place that became world famous thanks to the wonderful Royal Palace. This is the largest royal residence in the world by volume! Built from 1752 at the behest of Carlo Borbone, whose Bourbon family is the historical owner of the Royal Palace.
Inside you can visit the immense royal apartments, the TerraeMotus collection, the Court Theater and the Staircase of Honor.
And after visiting the Palace, you can not miss a walk in the Parco Reale, a huge park of 120 hectares. It develops in length (about 3.3 km), according to an innovation introduced by the architect who followed the project, Luigi Vanvitelli, and takes the name of "Effetto Cannocchiale", as soon as you leave the Palace you will see that the park extends at a loss! These gardens are inspired by the gardens of the great villas and palaces of the 1700s, including Versailles in France.
15 - Pantheon, Rome
It is a temple built to pay homage to all the deities. It is located in Piazza della Rotonda, in the heart of Rome, where ancient Rome stood centuries ago. It was originally built in 27 BC during the reign of Emperor Agrippa, while what you can admire and visit today is the reconstruction commissioned by Hadrian, between 120 and 124 AD.
The amazing thing about the Pantheon is its wonderful architecture, which develops in a circular plan, whose central structure, called Rotunda, has a height of 30 meters. What is striking is the incredible dome, with an internal diameter of 43 meters that made it the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. A stop to be included in an itinerary in Rome!
14 - Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence
This is one of the most visited museums in Italy, it is located in Florence and inside it preserves the largest number of Michelangelo's works in the world! In fact, there are seven.
Among all, the one that stands out is the very famous David by Michelangelo, considered a true masterpiece of sculpture! 520 cm high (including the base), it represents the biblical hero David before his fight against the giant Goliath. It was created between 1501 and 1504, Michelangelo started it when he was only 26 years old. In addition to David, in the Accademia Gallery you can see other wonderful works, such as Michelangelo's Slaves, The Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna and The Coronation of the Virgin by Jacopo di Cione.
13 - Uffizi Gallery, Florence
In Florence there is another amazing museum that attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. We are talking about the famous Uffizi Gallery, one of the most beautiful museum complexes in the world! For the visit it is absolutely advisable to purchase tickets online with priority access, so as not to waste time in the long queues that inevitably form! Without a doubt, this gallery represents one of those museums to visit at least once in a lifetime.
This complex is divided into three different museums: the famous Uffizi, the Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens. The first is located on the banks of the Arno, near the Ponte Vecchio and on the same side of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, while the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens on the opposite side. Inside are preserved and exhibited works of the caliber of Botticelli's Birth of Venus (one of the most famous paintings in the world), Botticelli's Spring, Michelangelo's Tondo Doni, Titian's Urbino Venus and Leonardo da Ganar's Annunciation.
12 - Last Supper, Milan
In beautiful Milan, among the many things to see, there is this museum, born around its main attraction: The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. The famous painting is located inside the Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, on the wall of what was once the refectory. But not only that, here you can also visit the convent and the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, which houses paintings by Botticelli, Leonardo, Caravaggio, Titian and others.
For this visit it is important to prepare and book your ticket well in advance: in fact, the Last Supper can only be visited in small groups (35 people with tickets every 35 minutes). This decision was taken to try to avoid further deterioration and damage to the work, which has already been restored several times.
11 - Verona Arena, Verona
It is located in Piazza Brà, Verona. It is an ancient Roman amphitheater, one of the best preserved. There is no precise date of construction of the arena and its dating is still much debated among different historians, it is assumed that it was built during the first century AD.
Once the center of Roman life, gladiator fights and shows with wild or exotic animals took place here. Even today it represents the center of city life and is the location of numerous concerts and events, from those held inside to those held in Piazza Bra. Theater, opera, opera, but also modern music concerts, attend an event inside the Arena is truly a unique experience, one of those things to try at least once in a lifetime.
10 - Trevi Fountain, Rome
It is probably one of the most famous and well-known fountains in the world. This is the largest and most beautiful fountain in the capital, located on the facade of Palazzo Poli and designed by Nicola Salvi.
It is visited by millions of tourists every year and is crowded at any time of the day. That's why we advise you to visit it early in the morning, while the city is waking up, or at night, when it's all lit up. When you visit, there is absolutely one thing to do: Turn your back to the fountain and throw a coin, it is said that it will bring good luck and you will return to Rome.
9 - Ponte Vecchio, Florence
It is the symbol of Florence and one of the oldest bridges in the world! It was first built between 972 and 974, after its deterioration it was rebuilt in 1177 and 1345 and was restored in 1944. Today on the bridge you can admire wonderful workshops of artisans and goldsmiths, but once here were the butchers' stores, which were then moved because they were considered inappropriate for the area and the beauty of the bridge.
This is definitely one of the most visited and photographed spots: a photo in front of the Ponte Vecchio is a must! This means that it is always crowded with tourists and at some times of the day it is also difficult to pass. Our advice is to admire it in all its beauty early in the morning or in the evening lights.
8 - Imperial Forums, Rome
They are located in the heart of Rome and include five monumental squares dating back to a period from 46 BC to 113 AD.
Then you can admire: the Forum of Caesar, the Forum of Augustus, the Forum of Nerva, the Forum of Trajan and the Temple of Peace. The Roman Forum, on the other hand, was the ancient Republican Square. A forum in Ancient Rome represented the core of the administrative, political and commercial life of an inhabited center.
This wonderful area runs along the homonymous street, Via dei Fori Imperiali, which begins at the Colosseum, then crosses the heart of the city and reaches Piazza Venezia, where the famous Altare della Patria is located. Certainly a suggestive walk, which will take you back in time!
7 - Excavations of Pompeii, Pompeii (Naples)
Italy has another historical site of worldwide importance: we are talking about the archaeological site of Pompeii, located in the homonymous town in the province of Naples. From the excavations you can admire the ancient city of Pompeii, brought to light by the long excavations begun in 1748 at the behest of Charles Bourbon and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997. Today it is one of the best preserved cities of Roman times.
The city was completely submerged by lava and ashes from the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD and this is the reason why the remains have been so well preserved over the centuries. As it is one of the most visited archaeological and historical sites in Italy, we absolutely recommend you to book your visit with priority entrance in advance, so as not to lose time in the queue.
6 - Piazza San Marco, Venice
Every itinerary in Venice can only start from Piazza San Marco, one of the most important monumental squares in Italy! This has always been the center of life in Venice, so much so that it is the only one to have been given the name "piazza". In fact, as you walk through the streets, you will find that all the other areas are called "campos". It is divided into three parts: the square itself, the Piazzetta di San Marco and the Piazzetta dei Leoncini.
Here are some of the most important attractions of Venice, starting from the Basilica of San Marco and its Campanile. The famous Palazzo Ducale, seat of the Doge and state magistrates, overlooks the Piazzetta San Marco. Within walking distance you will also find the Bridge of Sighs and the Royal Gardens of Venice.
5 - Leaning Tower, Pisa
It is one of the most famous and beloved Italian monuments in the world, a monument that is now become a true symbol of the beautiful country, also known as the Tower of Pisa. It is located in the wonderful complex of Piazza dei Miracoli and is the bell tower of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Here you can also visit the Baptistery of San Giovanni and the Monumental Cemetery.
In front of the tower you will find many people determined to take the classic remote photo in which they pretend to hold the tower, and now it has become a necessity!
The works began in 1173 and continued until 1350, it consists of eight floors with a total height of 56 meters. Its slope was caused by a land subsidence. Given the large influx of tourists every year, it is absolutely recommended to buy a priority ticket, to avoid long queues.
4 - Milan Cathedral, Milan
In Milan, a self-respecting itinerary can only start from Piazza Duomo, where its cathedral stands majestically, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and symbol of the city. Not everyone knows that its full name is the Metropolitan Basilica Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is dedicated to Santa Maria Nascente. Its construction lasted centuries, it is one of the churches that took the longest time to build: the works began in 1386 and continued for 500 years, until the end of the 19th century.
After admiring its imposing facade, go inside to admire its five naves and the incredible windows, which will immediately catch your attention. A visit to the Terraces is a must. You can walk among the marvelous spires and admire them up close. In addition, from here you will have a beautiful view of the whole city. Finally, the Scurolo di San Carlo and the Museo del Duomo are also worth a visit.
3 - Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence
The cathedral is worth a visit if you go to Florence. It is the symbol of the city and of Italy. The cathedral contains treasures of inestimable value. Its construction began in 1296 at the behest and expense of the Florentine municipality, which entrusted the project to Arnolfo di Cambio. The works lasted 72 years and Giotto also participated.
But what to see in the wonderful complex of the cathedral of Florence? Certainly Brunelleschi's dome, whose internal decorations were created by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari, who reproduced the Last Judgment. Walk the 463 steps of the Dome and admire this masterpiece! And don't forget to visit also Giotto's bell tower, where Giotto, Pisano and Arnoldi worked!
2 - Grand Canal, Venice
It is one of the wonders of Italy, the main canal that crosses the entire historic center of Venice! Shaped like an "S", with its 4 kilometers long, it divides it into two parts, connected to each other by different bridges.
You can visit and admire the beauty of the canal in different ways: by vaporetto, by gondola or on foot. If you want to go by vaporetto, the best line is line 1, and from the boat you can admire some of the most important buildings of the city such as the Palazzo Ca 'd'Oro, the Accademia Gallery, the Church of Santa Maria della Salute and the Rialto Bridge. On foot you will enjoy it, however, from another perspective and you will have to cross the Rialto Bridge, the Accademia Bridge, the Scalzi Bridge and the Constitution Bridge. Finally, you can enjoy a wonderful gondola ride, slower and more pleasant than the vaporetto, but certainly much more expensive!
1 - Colosseum, Rome
And here we are at the end of the most famous Italian monument, which is its true symbol in the world: the Colosseum of Rome.
Originally known as Amphitheatrum Flavium, it is thelargest amphitheaterin the world! It is located in the heart of the city and once was. Construction began in 69 AD during the Vespasian Empire and was completed in 10 years and opened in 80 AD. This was the place of entertainment for all the Roman people, a stage for bloody fights between gladiators. Inside it probably housed between 40,000 and 87,000 people.
Today, the interior has largely collapsed, as you can no longer see the base of the arena, which at the time was probably made of wood. But a visit is an absolute must, it is one of those monuments to see at least once in a lifetime! Also in this case, as for several attractions mentioned above, the influx of tourists is very high, so we recommend the purchase of tickets without queues.