What is famous in Italy? Everything! Italy is everyone’s tourist’s favourite. If you want to understand humanity, the country holds some of the oldest remains of ancient years. It is from its Roman origin to early colonies of the Greeks and remains of various periods in history. It has the most number of heritage sites in the world, and there are more yet to discover. If you are looking to spend a family vacation, Italy offers stunning places to make your trip more memorable. There are plenty of natural wonders of beaches and mountains to relax too. We listed below the best attractions you must see in Italy and added unique places to visit too.
What is Famous in Italy?
Glorious past of the Roman Empire
The Roman Empire took pride by building one of the world’s most iconic architectural wonder, the Colosseum. Under the rule of Emperor Vespasian, construction of the Colosseum began between A.D. 70-72. His son, Emperor Titus continued the legacy before its completion under the rule of Emperor Domitian.
The Colosseum stands with a size of 620 by 513 feet. The dome was with an elaborate design, marble seats and semi-circular column. It has about 50,000 seating capacity. With distinction, it is the largest amphitheatre in the world. For hundreds of years, the Colosseum saw itself hosting countless gladiatorial battles. There are various forms of shows too before going into decline during the 6th century. After surviving the test of time and natural disasters over the centuries, the Colosseum still stands today. It warmly greets its new generation of visitors.
Vatican City and the Vatican Museum
A nation within a nation
The City of Vatican only has 109 acres of land. However, it is a state within a state. It has its own media outlets, banking and communication systems. The Vatican was the prime seat of the papacy. Catholic or not, a trip to Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums is a trip of a lifetime you shouldn’t miss. The vast labyrinth full of priceless world treasures collected by the Roman Catholic Church. It shows the varying types and beauty of art from each period of the world’s existence. From paintings, sculptures, almost all forms of art are present inside the Vatican Museums. They include UNESCO World Heritage Sites and of course, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel painting.
Make a wish or just appreciate its beauty
A trip to Italy won’t be complete without paying homage to the Fontana di Trevi. It is one of its most famous landmarks in Rome with intricate designs. The fountain is also the biggest Baroque-style fountain in Rome. With its enormous size of 85 feet in height and 65 feet in width. Many and the rest of the world considered it as the most beautiful fountain ever created in the history of mankind.
The famed Italian architect Nicola Salvi designed the Trevi Fountain. Various people managed the construction in different eras before its completion in 1762 by Pietro Bracci. Aside from being iconic, the fountain also found another role among the tourists. Tradition says that throwing your first coin with your right hand over your left shoulder while facing back from the fountain ensures another trip to Rome in the future. The second coin you throw will secure a new romance while the third coin will seal a marriage!
The origin of modern society
From being a marshland, the Etruscans developed the area of the Roman Forum. It was the centre of what was once the most powerful empire of the ancient world. Foro played an integral part in the sustained success of the Roman Empire at that time. During its prime, the Roman Forum (Foro) was the place where the concept of what a modern city should look like was born. It is the place where the ideas of today developed. The society flourished around the world before succumbing during the Middle Ages.
At the turn of the 18th century, the modern world discovered the Roman Forum. And from there on offered a detailed view on how the ancient Romans lived. It was through the excavation of historical sites such as the Palatine Hill and Arch of Septimius Severus. They also include the Temple of Castor and Pollux, Temple of Cesar, Domus Tiberiana and other magnificent wonders that once faded from the earth’s surface makes it interesting
A temple to honour the anciets gods
The original purpose of the Pantheon is to serve as a site to “honour all Gods” in which it acquired its name. Among its contemporary Ancient Roman monuments, it is the best preserved of all. In fact, even the original marble flooring of the Pantheon is still there after more than 2,000 years since its estimated time of construction! The Pantheon is a world record holder being the most significant unsupported dome in the world since its completion. It was also the previous title holder as the largest dome in the world for 1,300 years before newly constructed ones existed. It is proud of its perfect round proportion and most of all, with the groundbreaking light materials and advanced engineering concepts used at that time.
Another highly impressive feature of this dome is its ultimate sundial, why? Every 21st of April, the sunlight passes right into the dome’s Oculus (the eye or opened hole above the dome) up to the grille above the closed door. This process creates a pleasing lighting effect. It is surprising to know that the Romans celebrate April 21st as their city’s founding date! Quite amazing isn’t it? From its initial purpose as a temple honouring the gods, the Pantheon evolved into a church. Today it is serving as the church for St. Mary and the Martyrs.
Florence Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore
The symbol of the Renaissance period
Italy is unmatched when it comes to its religious architectural wonders. At the forefront of these prestigious collections is the Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore) that reigns supreme in Florence. Designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, the cathedral incorporates the best of Renaissance architecture. It is evident on its exterior and interior look and mosaic pavements that features an impressive blend of colours that became an instant attraction itself. The clock above the entrance inside the church has been working since 1443! Currently, the Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore stands as the 4th largest cathedral in the world.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa
Ready for any photo opportunity!
For 200 years since August 1173, the 60-meter Leaning Tower of Pisa was under construction before finally lording over the town of Pisa as one of the finest Romanesque architecture. Tilted at an angle of 5.5 degrees, the ten-year restoration done from 1990-2001 slightly corrected the tower making it leaning only at 3.99 degrees. The tower is part of the four buildings to complete the Piazza Dei Miracoli(Field of Miracles). Aside from the Leaning Tower of Pisa serving as the campanile (bell tower), its contemporary structures include the Cathedral (Duomo di Pisa), the baptistery and the Cemetery (Campo Santo).
Albeit lacking in height by today’s standards on what a tower should look like, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is a medieval architectural wonder in Europe. It is due to its longevity for withstanding over an extended period of time despite its apparent physical flaw. Comprising of 207 columns, this eight-story tower made of white marble has undergone through various restorations over the past centuries to ensure its stability. Today, visitors can now climb to the topmost level of the tower, the bell chamber, by taking the spiral staircase consisting of 297 steps!
Located at Lombardy, Lake Como can be as panoramic as what one can imagine. With its pristine waters, scenic mountain view that blends well with the towns, Lake Como has become a favourite place of the wealthiest since the Roman times, with the ostentatiously built villas that continue to stand up to this day that continues to mesmerize the crowd. Aside from its stunning views, Lake Como is also a hotspot among sports-minded people particularly those who are into swimming, cycling and trekking. The majestic town of Bellagio offers an additional sparkling attraction for tourists.
Castel del Monte
Uniquely designed castle on top of the hill
Employing the best of Romanic, Gothic, Classical and Islamic architecture, the 13-century wonder Castel del Monte sits at the Murge plateau in Apulia, Southern Italy. Frederick II of Swabia made the construction of the castle in 1240. Upon its completion, it was the home to the Court of Frederick II of Hohenstaufen. The whole villa was built meticulously. Natural light passes through its windows both during summer and winter.
The octagonal floor plan of the castle and the consistent presence of the number eight as the guiding element in building the entire structure continues to baffle visitors and experts coming to visit the site. Due to its strange, almost perfect design planned by complicated mathematics and astrology, as well as to what its original purpose it was built for, this octagonal castle earned its moniker as the Citadel of Mysteries. In 1996, the UNESCO recognised the significance of Castel del Monte being a unique masterpiece of medieval military architecture. The Castel Del Monte today still sits in its original location and is now part of the precious 50 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy.
One of Italy’s finest sceneries
If there’s a scenic place that sets no boundaries between the clear blue sky and the pristine sea, it’s the Amalfi Coast. Geographically, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is in the Sorrentine Peninsula. Amalfi Coast is another must-visit Italian destination as on it seats some of Italy’s finest places for dining and relaxation. It is also a prime host for a nostalgic hiking experience.
Amalfi has a Mediterranean type of climate and thirteen municipalities purely dedicated to warmly host visitors all over the globe. It is no doubt that with its eminent villas, vibrant relaxation spots and panoramic natural sceneries, the Amalfi Coast is considered by tourists as truly a home away from home. Aside from its 11,231 coastal area surrounding the Gulf of Naples and Gulf of Salerno, it is also the home of Sfusato Amalfitano or the limoncello liqueur and is also the place where Ravello, deemed as one of the most romantic towns in Italy can be visited.
Window to ancient living
When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D., an accidental life-size diorama was made. It dramatically captured the Italian way of life in the ancient world. The burgeoning town of Pompeii. A famous relaxation hub for the wealthy vacationers of Rome that was buried under the thick debris of earth. Pompei faded from the living memory along with the nearby towns of Stabiae and Herculaneum. But in 1748, a group of explorers excavated the discovery of the century. After aeons of being buried, the people of Pompeii finally saw daylight once again. The devastated town was found impressively intact, with preserved loaves of bread still evident.
The earth-encrusted bodies of its people still bear the horror of the day when Vesuvius erupted. The disturbing discovery of Pompeii offers the finest of what dark tourism can offer. The life-size figures preserved by the volcanic eruption are a clear testament to the richness of the culture of Naples and Italy as a whole. Pompeii provides a one-of-a-kind cultural immersion with a twist.
Piazza del Campo
A beautiful and historical square in Siena
At the heart of Siena, Tuscany is where the community, beauty and history meet. Piazza Del Campo or simply “il Campo” is dubbed as one of the greatest medieval squares of Europe. It features the very prominent Fonte Gaia (Fountain of the World), a fountain made by Jacopo della Quercia as the part of the town’s conduit water system. The principal streets of Siena converge with the square’s location. Thus it played a vibrant role in the early economy of Siena being the central market hub and popular venue for fairs. The edges of the piazza serve as the venue of the world-famous Palio di Siena, a bi-annual horse racing event that has been taking place since the medieval ages!
The Palio di Siena always takes place every July 2 and August 16 of each year. Aside from the Palio di Siena, the Piazza del Campo also witnessed the rise and fall of various combat games which used to dominate the square over the past centuries. Aside from its significance as a great sporting venue, il Campo also takes pride in its grandiose edifices that lords over the residents. For example, the Chapel of the Virgin which has been standing since 1348 offers a glimpse of Siena’s vibrant past. Also standing at 88 meters (289 feet) is the Torre del Mangia or Mangia Tower. It was Italy’s third tallest secular tower during its time. Up to this day, Piazza del Campo retains its identity as the most frequented meeting place of Sienese.