Italy it retains most of the Unesco Heritage sites in the world. From natural wonders to incredible historical buildings, passing through archaeological sites and museums known internationally. From North to south riches follow one after the other and in this article we want to tell you about those that have stolen the hearts of Italians and foreign tourists. In the list you will not find the famous Vatican Museums, excluded as they are technically located in Vatican City, which was a State in itself, but certainly in a trip to Rome they are to be included in your itinerary!
Here is for you i 20 most famous and most visited monuments in Italy!
20 - Sassi of Matera, Matera
They were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. They represent the oldest part of Matera, one of the oldest in the world, and develop in what today are the districts of Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisiano.
Their particularity? The buildings are carved into the rock and have been inhabited since the Paleolithic. Over the centuries they have adapted to different eras and situations, for example during the Middle Ages incredible churches were built, including the cathedral of Matera. To enjoy the Sassi in all their beauty we advise you to walk 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 natural reserves. One of the most visited attractions is definitely the Valley of the Temples, a archaeological park in which several Doric temples are preserved in excellent condition. These temples date back to the Hellenic period and were dedicated to the different Greek gods. They are located in what was once the ancient Akragas, which is the original nucleus from which the city later developed.
Declared in 1998 UNESCO World Heritage Site, inside there is also the Pietro Griffo Regional Archaeological Museum, where you can admire almost 6.000 artifacts and discover the history of this incredible territory, starting from Prehistory up to the Greco-Roman era.
18 - Royal Palace of Venaria, Turin
About 10 kilometers from Turin is one of the most visited attractions in the beautiful country. This is a real architectural masterpiece: it is about one of the most beautiful Savoy residences present on Piedmontese soil.
The complex, declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 and open to visitors and to the public since 2007, it includes not only the Royal Palace (which is spread 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 the La Mandria Park. Among the things to see absolutely there are the Sala di Diana, the Galleria Grande, the Chapel of Sant'Umberto and the Juvarriane Stables.
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 Egyptian civilization in the world! It therefore represents an obligatory stop on a trip to Turin (we advise you to 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 spread over 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 you will find 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 3.500 BC) and one of the flagships of the exhibitions.
16 - Royal Palace of Caserta, Caserta
Caserta is a place made world famous thanks to the wonderful Royal Palace. This is the Largest Royal Residence in the world by volume! Built starting in 1752 at the behest of Carlo Borbone, whose family of the Bourbons 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 cannot miss a walk in the Parco Reale, an immense 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 as soon as you leave the Palace you will see the park extend at a loss eye! These gardens are inspired by the gardens of the great villas and palaces of the 1700s, including Versailles, in France.
15 - Pantheon, Rome
It's 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. Originally, it was built in 27 BC during the empire of Emperor Agrippa, while what you can admire and visit today is the reconstruction commissioned by Hadrian, between 120 and 124 AD.
What is striking about the Pantheon is his wonderful architecture, which develops on a circular plan, whose central structure, called Rotonda, has a height of 30 meters. What catches the eye 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! There are, in fact, seven.
Among all, the one that stands out is the very famous David by Michelangelo, considered a true masterpiece of sculpture! 520 cm tall (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. Besides the David, in the Accademia Gallery you can see other wonderful works, such as Michelangelo's Slaves, Giambologna's Rape of the Sabine Women and Jacopo di Cione's Coronation of the Virgin.
13 - Uffizi Gallery, Florence
In Florence there is another incredible 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 recommended to purchase tickets online with priority access, to avoid wasting time in the long lines that inevitably form! Surely, this gallery represents one of those museums to visit at least once in a lifetime.
This complex it 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 Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens on the opposite side. Inside, works such as Botticelli's Birth of Venus (one of the most famous paintings in the world), Botticelli's Spring, Michelangelo's Tondo Doni, Titian's Venus Urbino and the Annunciation by Leonardo da Win.
12 - Last Supper, Milan
In beautiful Milan, among the many things to see, there is this museum, born around his main attraction: Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper. 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 Ambrosiana Art Gallery, which inside houses paintings by Botticelli, Leonardo, Caravaggio, Titian and others.
For this visit it is important to prepare and book your entrance well in advance: in fact, the Last Supper can only be visited in small groups (35 people with entrances 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 - Arena of Verona, Verona
It is located in Piazza Brà, Verona. It is about an ancient Roman amphitheater, one of the best preserved. There is no precise date of construction of the arena and its dating is still very contested between different historians, it is assumed that it was built during the st century AD
Once the center of Roman life, fights between gladiators 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, attending 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 day. For this reason we advise you to visit it early in the morning, while the city is waking up, or in the evening, when it is all lit up. When you visit it there is one thing to do absolutely: turn your back to the fountain and toss in a coin, it is said that it will bring good luck and that 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 built for the first time between 972 and 974, following 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 shops of butchers, who were then moved because they were deemed inappropriate for the area and the beauty of the bridge.
This is definitely one of the most visited and most photographed points: a photo in front of the Ponte Vecchio is a must! This means that it is always crowded with tourists and that in some hours 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 which include five monumental squares which date back to a period ranging from 46 BC to 113 AD
You can then 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 administrative, political and commercial life of an inhabited center.
This wonderful area develops along the homonymous street, the Via dei Fori Imperiali, which starts from 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 - Pompeii excavations, Pompeii (Naples)
Italy holds another historical site of world importance: we are talking about the archaeological site of Pompeii, located in the homonymous locality, 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 UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Today it is one of the best preserved cities of the Roman era.
The city was completely submerged by the lava and ash of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD and this is the reason why the remains have been preserved so well over the centuries. As it is one of the most visited archaeological and historical sites in Italy, we absolutely recommend you book your visit with priority entrance in advance, so as not to waste time in line.
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 that has been awarded the name "piazza". In fact, walking through the streets, you will find that all the other areas are called "fields". It is divided into three parts: the square itself, the Piazzetta di San Marco and the Piazzetta dei Leoncini.
Here they 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 of the state magistrates, faces onto 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 best known and most loved Italian monuments in the world, a monument that it is now become a real symbol of the beautiful country, also known as the Tower of Pisa. It is found in the wonderful complex of Piazza dei Miracoli and it 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 intent on taking the classic remote photo in which they pretend to hold the tower, and by now it has become a must!
Construction work 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 subsidence of the land. Given the large influx of tourists every year, it absolutely is the purchase of the priority ticket is recommended, in order 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, masterpiece of gothic architecture and symbol of the city. Not everyone knows that its full name is Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica 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 be built: the works began in 1386 and continued for 500 years, until the end of the nineteenth 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 mandatory, to walk among the wonderful spiers and admire them up close. Moreover, from here you will have a beautiful view over the whole city! Finally, the Scurolo di San Carlo and the Duomo Museum are also worth seeing.
3 - Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence
The cathedral is absolutely worth a visit if you go to Florence. It is the symbol of the city and of Italy, this 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 the 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 also visit 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 of length it divides it into two parts, joined together 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 travel it 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 Palazzo Ca 'd'Oro, the Accademia Gallery, the Church of Santa Maria della Salute and the Bridge of Rialto. 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, the one that is its true symbol in the world: the Colosseum of Rome.
Originally known as Amphitheatrum Flavium, it is thelargest amphitheater in the world! It is located in the heart of the city and once was. The construction began in 69 AD during the Vespasian Empire was completed in 10 years and was inaugurated in 80 AD This was the place of entertainment for all the Roman people, a stage for bloody fights between gladiators. Inside it probably held between 40.000 and 87.000 people.
Today the interior has largely collapsed, as you cannot see the base of the arena, which at the time was probably made of wood. But a visit is absolutely a must, it is one of those monuments to see at least once in a lifetime! Also in this case, as for several aforementioned attractions, the influx of tourists is very high, so we recommend the purchase of skip-the-line tickets.