Ah, Italy! The place where beauty, history, tradition, culture and good food meet and give life to one of the most beautiful countries in the world! A country full of beautiful and famous monuments that every year attract many tourists from all over the world. In fact, in 2019 Italy was the fourth most visited country in the world, with 94 million tourists! If you haven’t visited it yet, this article is perfect for you: I’ll tell you about the 10 most beautiful and famous monuments in Italy and I will certainly give you some good ideas if you’re planning a trip to our country. If you have already been here, then read the article and let us know which monuments you have already seen and which ones you haven’t.
The 10 most famous monuments of Italy
10. The Uffizi Gallery (Florence)
In tenth place we have the Uffizi Gallery: it is a beautiful museum in the heart of Florence, which houses a collection of priceless works of art, derived directly from the collections of the great Medici family. The exhibition includes works ranging from the twelfth to the eighteenth century, arranged in chronological order in different venues. Here you can find the best collection of Florentine Renaissance works in the world (where else could it be, if not in Florence?).
9. The Trevi Fountain (Rome)
In ninth place is the Trevi Fountain: it is the largest fountain in Rome, built between 1732 and 1762, with a height of 26 meters, in late baroque style. At the centre of the majestic fountain there is a rocky cliff, at the top of which stands the majestic statue of the god Ocean, with a robust physique and a proud and haughty look, who is pulled on his chariot by two winged horses, representing the two moments of the sea: the calm and the storm; as a matter of fact, the horse on the left is known as the “agitated horse”, and the one on the right as the “placid horse”. On the sides of the great Ocean we find the statues of Salubrity and Abundance, respectively on the left and right of the god. In short, the Trevi Fountain is a true artistic masterpiece.
8. The Sassi di Matera (Matera)
In eighth place we find the Sassi di Matera: these are two districts of Matera in Basilicata, formed by buildings and rupestrian architecture carved into the rock of the Murgia materana, which make up the historic center of the city. UNESCO declared the Sassi of Matera a World Heritage Site in 1993, and the city of Matera has been designated European Capital of Culture for 2019. The view of the city is spectacular to say the least: the colour of the stone and the irregular shape of the buildings make this landscape unique in the world. If you travel through Basilicata, a visit to Matera is an absolute must!
7. The Verona Arena (Verona)
In seventh place is the Verona Arena, icon of the city: it is one of the ancient amphitheatres that have come down to us with the best degree of conservation. The arena has an elliptical base, with a size of about 75 x 44 meters, and has a maximum capacity of about 30,000 people, although today, because of the stage, it can host “only” 22,000. Every year it is the venue for many festivals and performances by international singers and musicians.
6. St Mark’s Basilica (Venice)
In sixth place is St Mark’s Basilica, one of the symbols of the wonderful city of Venice. Again, we are talking about a monument with a very long history: imagine that the first St Mark’s Church was built on this very spot in 832 AD: after a fire, however, it was rebuilt in 978. The Basilica we see today dates back to a reconstruction that began in 1063, and was consecrated in 1094. Well, you can see it with your own eyes: it is an architectural masterpiece full of artworks, from the smallest to the largest, each one with its own history. When you visit Venice, don’t forget to visit the Basilica inside too! Here, in fact, are kept the remains of St Mark inside a crypt, and the famous “Treasure of St Mark“, a collection of no less than 283 precious objects, which are partly in St Mark’s Basilica (such as the beautiful Golden Pall) and partly in the Doge’s Palace (located right next to the basilica).
5. The Royal Palace of Caserta (Caserta)
In fifth place we have the Royal Palace of Caserta: a majestic royal palace with a huge park attached. It is the largest royal residence in the world for volume, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997. Historically, the Royal Palace belonged to the Bourbon family of Naples, who built it in 1751 to rival in magnificence and grandeur with the Royal Palace of Versailles. Built in the Italian Baroque style, the palace was finished in 1845 and includes 1200 rooms and 1742 windows, not to mention the precious collections of paintings that are housed here.
The enormous park attached to the Palace, filled with beautiful fountains, is 3 km long and covers an area of 120 hectares. If you are visiting Naples, you should definitely include a stop here at the Royal Palace of Caserta in your itinerary. Believe me, it will be worth it!
4. The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Pisa)
In fourth place we find the Tower of Pisa, one of the most iconic symbols of the beautiful Italy. It is a 57 meters high bell tower, which was built starting from 1173 and which, as you can see from the photograph, “hangs”: its characteristic inclination is in fact due to a collapse of the ground, which occurred in the early stages of construction. As a matter of fact, the Tower of Pisa is inclined by no less than 3.97° compared to the vertical axis, which means that the top of the bell tower is displaced by almost half a metre from its normal position. Anyway, don’t be afraid: these values are expected to remain unchanged for at least another 300 years!
3. The Ponte Vecchio (Florence)
In third place we find Ponte Vecchio: it is one of the main symbols of the city of Florence and one of the most famous bridges in the world. It was built for the first time between 972 and 974 AD, then rebuilt in 1177 and 1345, and finally restored after 1944. After all, it is called “old bridge” for a good reason!
The Ponte Vecchio, which crosses the river Arno, is characterized by the presence of two lines of artisan workshops, mainly goldsmiths, often with a back-shop protruding outside the body of the bridge, supported by “beccatelli”. If you happen to visit Florence, a stop at Ponte Vecchio is a must: it is also a beautiful place to take magnificent photographs!
2. Milan Cathedral (Milan)
In second place is Milan Cathedral: symbol of the capital of Lombardy, the Duomo is located in the homonymous square in the heart of the city. It is the largest church in Italy: in fact, St. Peter’s Basilica, which is larger, is located in the territory of Vatican City, independent from Italy. The present church was built starting from 1387: the work was led by the Duke of Milan Gian Galeazzo Visconti, who proposed an even more ambitious project than the original one. The construction of the cathedral continued for many centuries, and to this day it is still subject to continuous restoration and maintenance: for this very reason, the Duomo of Milan is used as an antonomasia to refer to something endless, which is never finished.
An undisputed architectural and artistic masterpiece of mainly neoclassical and neogothic style, the Duomo of Milan also contains a Great Museum that houses the Treasure of the Duomo, a very rich collection of works of goldsmith’s art and artistic masterpieces that testify to the entire history of the cathedral. Imagine that, every year, more than 6 million people visit the Duomo of Milan!
1. The Colosseum (Rome)
In first place, ladies and gentlemen, there could only be the magnificent Colosseum, one of the most famous symbols of Rome and Italy. Originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Colosseum is the largest amphitheatre in the world, capable of holding up to 87 thousand spectators. Declared World Heritage Site already in 1980 together with the historic center of Rome, in 2007 it was also included among the New Seven Wonders of the World. Its construction was begun by the Roman Emperor Vespasian in 71 AD and the building was inaugurated for the first time by Emperor Titus in 80 AD. The measurements of the Colosseum are incredible: with a perimeter of 527 meters and a height of 48.5 meters, the grandeur of its structure is indisputable. If you have been to Rome you will surely remember it very well! The name “Colosseum” became popular only from the Middle Ages, and derives from the Latin word “colosseum”, which means “colossal”, “monumental”, “massive”, referring precisely to the magnificence of the amphitheater.
In ancient times it was used for gladiator shows and other public events, such as theatrical performances based on classical mythology. In 2018, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill received in total more than 7 million visitors from all over the world.
Well, what can we say, if you are planning a trip to Italy you are simply spoilt for choice! These, in our opinion, are the monuments that you absolutely must visit at least once in your life, but Italy is full of wonders to discover, so the list is potentially endless! That’s why we suggest that you also watch our video about the most unknown Italian places that everyone should visit.
Have you already visited Italy? If so, which monuments and cities have you seen? If not, which ones would you like to see? In addition to these 10 that we have presented to you, what other monuments have you seen or would you like to see? Let us know in the comments below!