When contemplating which Italy landmarks to visit, it’s easy to let the number of choices overwhelm you! Between natural landmarks, historic Italian landmarks, and man-made landmarks in Italy, the options are endless. Despite its relatively small size, Italy is pretty long, meaning it can take a while to get from the north to the south. Depending on where you are based while in Italy, or if you are planning an Italian road trip, you may have easier access to some Italy landmarks more than others.
Table of contents
- Stunning Italian Landmarks You Can’t Miss!
- Blue Grotto – Capri
- Bologna Porticoes – Bologna
- Bologna’s Twin Towers – Bologna
- Colosseum – Rome
- Doge’s Palace – Venice
- Duomo – Florence
- Duomo – Orvieto
- Hadrian’s Villa – Tivoli
- Juliet’s Balcony – Verona
- Lago di Braies – South Tyrol
- Lake Como Villas
- Leaning Tower of Pisa – Pisa
- Monster Park – Bomarzo
- Palatine Chapel – Palermo
- Pantheon – Rome
- Piazzale Michelangelo – Florence
- Pompeii – Pompei
- Ponte Vecchio – Florence
- Reggia di Venaria Reale
- Rialto Bridge – Venice
- Roman Forum – Rome
- Saint Mark’s Basilica – Venice
- Saint Peter’s Basilica – Rome (Vatican City)
- San Marco Campanile – Venice
- Trevi Fountain – Rome
- Trulli – Alberobello
- Valley of Temples, Agrigento
- Vatican Museums – Rome (Vatican City)
- Venetian Lagoon Islands – Venice
Table of Contents
Stunning Italian Landmarks You Can’t Miss!
Blue Grotto – Capri
The Blue Grotto, aka Grotta Azurra, is a small cave off the coast of Capri. One of the most famous coastal Italian landmarks around the world, the Blue Grotto is a popular tourist destination when visiting the area.
Although you can’t swim in the grotto (legally), you can rent a rowboat and take a ride through the cave. Thus, many visitors wait until after the ticket office has closed and the rowboats have left (after 5:30 PM) to swim in the cave. We definitely don’t recommend you do this! Since the waters can rise in the cave, and the waves can slam unsuspecting swimmers into the rocks, it creates a dangerous situation.
Bologna Porticoes – Bologna
Lori – Italy Foodies
Bologna Italy may be known as one of Italy’s best food cities, but it’s the historic city’s well-preserved medieval architecture that will steal your heart. Almost 40km (25 miles) of covered porticoes line the sidewalks of Bologna, allowing visitors to explore the city regardless of weather. They truly define the look and feel of the city. So much so in fact that in 2021, they were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bologna’s porticoes were originally built starting in the 13th century to accommodate the growth of the University of Bologna and the ever-growing population. They became necessary to hold up the weight of upper floors as landlords expanded them outward to avoid paying additional taxes.
Some of the most interesting porticoes from both the Middle Ages are in the Piazza de San Stefano and the long corridor from Porta Saragozza to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca at the top of the Colle della Guardia hill. This portico, known as the Portico di San Luca, connects the historic center with the famous sanctuary overlooking the city. The uninterrupted 3.8 km portico walk is a perfect way to see the entire city in one walk.
The porticoes are each unique, colorful, free to explore, and especially beautiful at night! They’re one of the best famous Italian landmarks to visit while you’re in the region.
Bologna’s Twin Towers – Bologna
Cláudia & Jorge – Travel Drafts
Another landmark in Italy Bologna is known for are its medieval towers. The most iconic are the Twin Towers, Asinelli and Garisenda. The Twin Towers are next to each other and were built by rival families.
The Asinelli Tower is the taller of the two at 97 meters; the Garisenda tower is 47 meters. The towers were the homes of the richest families in Bologna, who built them for defensive purposes. However, they also served as status symbols – the taller the tower, the more important was the family.
Besides their epic height, the towers (especially the Garisenda tower) are known for their inclination, due to unstable soil. From the right angle, it looks like they are bending toward each other.
You can visit the Asinelli Tower, climbing its 498 stairs to the top. From there, you are able to enjoy the stunning views of Bologna. You need to buy a ticket in the tourist office in Bologna, Piazza Maggiore, and the fee is €5. The opening hours are from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Besides the towers, Bologna is also famous for the Alma Mater Studiorum, one of the oldest Universities in the World, the Porticoes, and, of course, the food. As you can see, there are a few historic Italian landmarks in Bologna, so it’s definitely a city worth visiting!
Colosseum – Rome
Dymphe – Dymabroad
One of the most famous landmarks in Italy is the Colosseum. You can find this wonderful and iconic sight in the capital of Italy, Rome.
The Colosseum is an ancient amphitheater that dates back to the Roman Empire. The construction of the Colosseum started in the year 72 during the Flavian dynasty that ruled the Roman Empire.
In the past, gladiatorial games and other public events took place here. For example, dramas and re-enactments of historic battles. Also, there were mock sea battles.
Nowadays, the amphitheater still stands, although it has sustained damage over the years. You can get inside the Colosseum and walk through landmarks by yourself. Placards line the way, from which you can learn more about the Colosseum. Also, you could book a guided tour.
You can find the Colosseum next to the Roman Forum. Here, you can find more ancient buildings and visit another of the most famous Italian landmarks.
You can buy tickets to access the Colosseum online and at the entrance of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. This ticket also gives you access to the sites of the Roman Forum during the same day.
The opening hours differ throughout the years, but the Colosseum always opens at 9 AM. During April, May, June, July, and August, the site closes at 7:15 PM. In September, the closing time is 7 PM. During October, the Colosseum closes at 6:30 PM. For November and December, it closes at 4:30 PM. The cost to visit the Colosseum is €16.
Doge’s Palace – Venice
Dan – Urban Abroad
Doge’s Palace in Venice is located only a few meters away from St. Mark’s Square and the St. Mark’s Basilica. This is the palace where the Doge of Venice was residing during the Serenissima Republic days.
It was built back in the year 1340, but over the years many changes and extensions have occurred. It is one of the most iconic historical landmarks of Italy and is also a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Even if you only have one day in Venice to explore, this is one of the many landmarks that you can’t afford to miss!
The Palace consists of three wings and two floors. Once inside, you can walk through all the spaces where the Doge resided and made political decisions for the republic. Among these rooms, you can stop by the Doge’s apartments, the kitchens, the institutional chambers, and also get to the prisons by crossing the famous Bridge of Sighs. The largest room in Europe is the Chamber of the Great Council. On the walls you’ll see paintings of famous Venetian artists of the time such as Carpaccio, Bellini and Titian.
To get access to the Doge’s Palace, purchase your ticket at the ticket office on the ground floor or online. The admission cost is €26 per person and €14 for children, families, students and seniors.
With the same ticket, you’ll have access to the Correr Museum in St. Mark’s Square. Once here, you can also visit St. Mark’s Square, the basilica, and climb the bell tower and admire the romantic Bridge of Sighs from afar. Venice has plenty of other famous Italian landmarks to visit, as you can see!
Duomo – Florence
Diane Bishop – Slow Stroll Travel
They say all roads lead to Rome. But in Florence, all roads lead to the Duomo. Millions of visitors each year come to marvel at the towering, red-tiled Duomo and climb its more than 400 steps to the top. They are rewarded by breathtaking views of the city, the Arno river, and the Tuscan hills.
Engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi, the Duomo is the symbol of Florence and the Renaissance.
To this day, it is the largest brick dome in the world. It rises almost 400 feet above the city streets.
The Duomo is the crowning glory of the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, the largest church in Europe when it was completed in 1436. Today it is the 4th largest church in the world.
Monday through Saturday 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM, except for religious ceremonies or special events. Sundays: 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. It is free to enter the church and view the Duomo.
If you want to climb the Duomo, you must purchase the “Grande Museo del Duomo” pass for €18. The ticket is good for 72 hours. It can also be used to visit the other monuments in Piazza del Duomo: the Baptistery, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Crypt and the Opera Del Duomo Museum.
Once you have purchased a ticket, request a reservation to climb the Duomo. During peak tourism—May through September—expect to reserve the ticket at least two to three days in advance. The ticket office is located near the Duomo at Piazza San Giovanni 7.
Because the Duomo is part of an active cathedral, there is a strictly enforced dress code. Chest and shoulders must be covered. Pants and dresses must reach below the knees. Hats, sunglasses, bulky backpacks and bags are not allowed.
Duomo – Orvieto
As you can see, Italy is full of Duomi! In addition to the one in Florence, the Duomo in Orvieto is a stunning example of the city church, the place which city life revolved around since its inception in the 1300s.
While the exterior is a sight to behold, consider paying the small fee to explore the church’s interior. There, some seriously disturbing art awaits you – not at all what you’d expect from the outside. On the ceiling is an intricate portrayal of hell in the most macabre sense of the word.
The Duomo is one of the most popular and well-known Italian landmarks in the region of Umbria and among the best things to do in Orvieto.
Hadrian’s Villa – Tivoli
Hadrian’s Villa (aka Villa Adrianna) is one of the best-preserved archaeological sites and landmarks in Italy. Since its inception as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, tourists from across the globe come to marvel at its ancient beauty.
Roman Emperor Hadrian built this incredible residential complex between 118 and 138 AD. The property spans around 300 acres and includes buildings, baths, theaters, gardens, temples, and plenty of fountains in keeping with true Italian style.
Only 98 acres are accessible to the public. Still, even though you can only experience ⅓ of the property, it’s easy to take a walk back in time to the ancient days of Rome.
Be sure to visit the Great and Small baths, the Canopus, the Vestibule, and the Pecile for the ultimate experience at Hadrian’s Villa, one of the most stunning Italian landmarks.
Juliet’s Balcony – Verona
If you’re venturing outside of the major Italian cities that are popular with tourists and happen to make your way to Verona, you’ve got to make a stop at Juliet’s Balcony. That’s right, that Juliet, of Shakespearean fame.
Although the small size of the balcony coupled with the huge throngs of tourists below make for a somewhat underwhelming experience, it’d be a shame to visit Verona and not at least pass by this famous Italian landmark.
Lago di Braies – South Tyrol
Lago di Braies may very well be one of the most beautiful of Italy’s natural landmarks. Nestled in the snow-capped Dolomites, the crystal clear (and freezing cold) alpine water glitters beneath the sun with the reflection of the surrounding trees and mountains. It is truly one of the most picturesque scenes in the entire country.
Lago di Braies is perfect for a picnic or a boat ride. Be sure to pack a lunch as there aren’t any restaurants in the immediate vicinity. And your camera, if you want that iconic Instagram shot!
It’s a great stopover on a train from Rome to Vienna.
Lake Como Villas
Sasha – The Alternative Travel Guide
Lake Como is a famous, picturesque place in northern Italy. It’s just near Como town, which has become a landmark because of its location in the middle of mountain ranges and quaint villages.
International celebrities actively buy real estate on Lake Como and come here for holidays. One of the first residents was George Clooney, then Angelina Jolie, Bill Murray, Drew Barrymore, and Brad Pitt. The tranquil Lake Como area has gone from being a paradise to a place frequented by paparazzi and fans.
Como is famous not only because celebrities live here, but above all for its historic villas. One of the most beautiful historic villas is Villa Melzi in Bellagio. Villa Melzi is a wonderful historic villa built in 1808-1810. The complex was built for Francesco Melzi d’Eril (1753-1816), Duke of Lodi, and vice president of the Italian Republic under Napoleon.
It is designed in the Neoclassical style and features a large park. The three-story white building looks elegant against a backdrop of tall palm trees, mountains, and blue water.
The architect paid great attention to landscape design during construction. You can see Renaissance, Classicist, Egyptian, Roman, and Etruscan sculptures in the garden. There is an artificially created lake with water lilies and a colorful bridge in the park.
There are sequoias, Japanese maples, palms, pines, oleanders, cypresses, and azaleas. From the garden, paths descend to the water. A noteworthy thing to see is also the chapel with a round dome with the tomb of the Melzi family. Inside the chapel, there are sculptures of famous masters. The entrance to the Villa Melzi d’Eril costs €8.
The entirety of Lake Como and its Villas comprise one stunning Italian landmark to visit during your travels.
Leaning Tower of Pisa – Pisa
Alya – Algarve Family
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the most famous landmarks in Italy, as well as the world. It’s a must-see attraction in Italy. The tower is a free-standing bell tower of the Cathedral of Pisa. It’s a part of the Piazza dei Miracoli (the Square of Miracles) complex that includes the Cathedral, the Baptistery, and the cemetery of Camposanto.
In 1987 the entire square was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The white marble lining tower with hundreds of columns looks truly spectacular on the green loan of the square.
The construction of the Leaning Tower of Pisa started in 1173 and was completed two centuries later in 1399. The tower has 251 stairs. The incline of the tower started in the early days of its construction when only two of seven floors were completed. The soft ground that the tower was built on couldn’t support its heavy weight.
At one stage the incline of the tower was 5.5 degrees and was increasing every year. After restorative works that were carried out between 1993 and 2001, the incline was reduced to 3.9 degrees.
The tower is open to the public from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. The ticket price is €20.
Monster Park – Bomarzo
Lisa – Travel Connect Experience
Located about 90 km from Rome and 20 km from Viterbo, the Gardens of Bomarzo are one of the most interesting Italian landmarks to visit in northern Tuscia. Tuscia is a geographical and archaeological area that stretches between Lazio, Abruzzo and Tuscany. It is characterized by the presence of the remains of the Etruscan civilization.
Also known as “Monster Park” and “Sacred Wood”, the gardens are now a popular destination for families with children, although they were conceived by the creator, the noble Vicino Orsini, as an initiation path for adults. There is a clear connection with the alchemic-mysterious tradition widespread in Italy in the 16th century, which is also the basis for the realization of the nearby Villa Lante and the Palazzo Farnese in Caprarola.
The themes represented by the sculptures in the garden, their arrangement and the engravings in dialectal Italian found on the artworks have been the subject of study and interest since the re-discovery and restoration of the gardens in the first half of the last century. The deep meaning of the whole is still hidden.
The sculptures recall mythological characters and animals and often have a “monstrous” aspect: Hercules and Caucus, Proteus, the Sphinxes, Nymphaeum and Venus, Ceres, Pegasus, the Leaning House, the Orc, and many others. The works are created from peperino stone blocks naturally present in the area.
The path allows you to visit all the sculptors in about two hours. The cost of the entrance ticket is €11. If you are passing through here, add to your itinerary the picturesque Civita di Bagnoregio or Viterbo, a town surrounded by hot springs.
Palatine Chapel – Palermo
Caroline – Veggie Wayfarer
The Palatine Chapel in Palermo is located in the heart of the historical center of the capital of Sicily. From the outside, the building housing the chapel might appear slightly austere. Certainly nothing to merit a UNESCO World Heritage Status! However, just wait until you head through the doors of the main entrance, past the metal detector and up two flights of stairs. This is where the magic begins.
The chapel is an eclectic mix of Byzantine, Norman and Fatimid architecture, a perfect reflection of the ruling class in 12th century Sicily. This opulent chapel is covered in millions of gold mosaic tiles. Together they depict an astonishing array of biblical scenes of which the level of detail is unrivaled on the island.
The Palatine Chapel is located in one of the island’s foremost Norman Palaces. To this day, the palace is still the official seat of the regional government. Visit the rest of the Palace and make sure to save some time to pop into the gardens too. After finishing your tour around the Norman Palace, fuel up on some of the best Palermitan Street Food before exploring more of the city.
Tickets to the Palatine Chapel cost €8,50 and can be bought at the ticket office opposite the main entrance. Opening hours are Monday to Saturday from 8:15 AM to 5:40 PM (last tickets sold at 5:00 PM); Sunday and holidays from 8:15 AM to 1:00 PM. On Sundays, there are no visits to the Palatine Chapel between 9:45 AM and 11:15 AM due to religious functions.
Pantheon – Rome
The Pantheon in the midst of Rome is one of the most iconic Italian landmarks in the country. Construction of the building began in 27 BCE per the instruction of Marcus Agrippa. It’s one of the few buildings in the Eternal City that has been kept entirely intact.
It houses the graves of some of the most influential Italian citizens, including many kings and the renowned painter, Raphael.
It’s situated in the stunning Piazza Navona, which is a famous Italian landmark in itself. Be sure to check out Bernini’s famous Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi while you’re there. There’s also a fun toy shop in Piazza Navona that’s worth a visit as well. If you want to spend the night in Piazza Navona, a stay at Eitch Borromini, one of the most beautiful hotels in Rome, has a number of rooms that overlook the square and the dome of the Pantheom.
Piazzale Michelangelo – Florence
Pamela – The Directionally Challenged Traveler
Florence seen from above has a singular beauty and the best place to view it is from Piazzale Michelangelo.
The Piazzale Michelangelo is an open space located between the Palazzo Vecchio and the Duomo. It was built in 1869 and was designed by Giuseppe Poggio. Today it’s a breathtaking open space featuring a bronze replica of Michelangelo’s David.
The view from the piazza is not just a perfect Instagram photo, but a moment of wonder. Be sure to put down your camera for a few minutes and take in the view. You’re looking at the city that was the birthplace of some of the greatest artists, scientists, and thinkers who have ever lived.
The walk from the Duomo to Piazzale Michelangelo takes you through the heart of the city, though much of it is uphill. If you’re taking a road trip through Italy, don’t worry, you can drive up to the Piazzale. There’s plenty of parking at the top. Florence buses 12 and 13 also stop here for easy access by public transportation.
If you’re planning on getting to the piazza for sunset, be sure to get there about an hour early. This is the busiest time for tourists and photographers so be sure to get your viewing spot early!
The Piazzale Michelangelo is one of the beautiful Italian landmarks that showcases the beauty of Florence.
Pompeii – Pompei
Kelly – Girl with the Passport
One of the best landmarks to visit in Italy is Pompeii. In fact, it’s an incredibly fascinating, all-together haunting set of ruins that remind visitors of the awesome power of volcanoes like Mount Vesuvius.
When Mount Vesuvius erupted, it covered the entire town in a thick layer of ash, or pumice stone fragments.
As a result, the entire site is incredibly well-preserved and provides visitors with a fascinating look at what life was really like for people in ancient Italy.
So, to enjoy the ruins for yourself. Catch a train from Naples and embark on an easy, 35-minute trip to Pompeii that is easy to do even if you plan to travel Italy solo.
You can visit anytime between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM daily. Still, try to get there early in the day since there is a lot to see and do.
You’ll also want to wear comfy shoes since you’ll be doing a lot of walking over uneven surfaces.
Also, avoid wasting time waiting in a long queue by booking tickets well in advance. Tickets start at €16 per person and are valid for one full day.
Then, upon arrival, highlights include walking down ancient Roman streets, stepping inside ancient homes, visiting vast temples, admiring amphitheaters, and peaking inside an old brothel.
Related: Day Trip From Naples To Sorrento
Ponte Vecchio – Florence
Lori – Travlin Mad
Whether you’re visiting Florence for just a day or staying longer, every Florence itinerary should include a visit to the Ponte Vecchio. This stunning bridge is the centerpiece over the River Arno that evokes the history and mystery of the Renaissance city.
The historic Old Bridge dates to as early as 966 and was originally built to aid in defense of the city.
Decades later in the 13th century, the river became contaminated and less sanitary when local butchers, fishmongers and tanners moved their businesses to the bridge and dumped scraps and other waste materials straight into the river. This caused the area to have a pretty rank odor, and eventually Ferdinand I decreed only goldsmiths and jewelers be allowed to have shops on the Ponte Vecchio.
Today, jewelers of all kinds as well as other artisans can still be found selling some of the most beautiful gift items and souvenirs. Take a stroll underneath the bridge and sit a while along the embankment watching the boat tours glide by, or take a tour yourself!
Around the Christmas holidays, the bridge has also become a popular art installation when unique images and films are reflected off the bridge, creating a magical and festive holiday experience. Regardless of when you visit Florence, you’ve got to pay a visit to one of the most beautiful Italian landmarks in the region.
Reggia di Venaria Reale
Or – My Path in the World
Ruled by the House of Savoy for quite a few centuries, the region of Piedmont is home to its UNESCO-listed royal residences. If you’re looking for things to do in and around Turin, the Reggia di Venaria Reale is a Savoy palace you do not want to miss. It’s among the most popular Italian landmarks in Piedmont.
Commissioned by Duke Charles Emmanuel II, the 17th-century Baroque palace served as his hunting lodge. Amongst the architects who designed this masterpiece are Amedeo di Castellamonte and Filippo Juvarra.
From the Great Gallery to the stunning vast gardens, every corner here boasts unbelievable beauty, and the surrounding Alpine views are not too shabby either.
Easily reachable by bus number 11 or the Venaria Express shuttle bus, the Italian landmark is located only 11 km away from Turin’s city center. About 2.5 km away from the palace, you can also visit the Castle of La Mandria.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM, and Saturday to Sunday from 9:30 AM to 6:30 PM.
Price: You must reserve a timeslot in advance on the official website, and several types of tickets are available, including the recommended All in a Palace, which costs €20. Note that you can mark that you have purchased the Torino+Piemonte Card, in which case the admission is free.
Rialto Bridge – Venice
Milijana – World Travel Connector
Magnificent Venice is all about canals and bridges. There are about 300 bridges in Venice. But one bridge stands out among them – the Rialto Bridge or the Ponte di Rialto in Italian.
Beautiful Rialto Bridge is the main bridge on the Grand Canal, a top tourist attraction, and a landmark of Venice.
The present-day stone bridge was built from 1588 to 1591. It is the oldest bridge in Venice and one of the four bridges over the Grand Canal, the largest canal in Venice. The other three bridges on the Grand Canal are the Academy Bridge (the Ponte dell’ Accademia), the Constitution Bridge (the Ponte di Costituzione) and the Scalzi Bridge (the Ponte degli Scalzi). But none of them can compare to the beauty of Rialto Bridge. As you can see, the elegance of the wide-arched Rialto Bridge distinguishes it from others.
The Rialto Bridge connects San Marco and San Polo districts in Venice. It is a pedestrian bridge and free to walk (no entrance fee). It is usually overcrowded during days since it is a top tourist attraction in Venice. When in Venice, expect long lines of people waiting to cross this iconic bridge.
The most exciting time to visit Venice is during the Venice Carnival. So, head to Venice during the Carnival for lifelong memories of Venice. Buy yourself one of the gorgeous Venetian masks, take a gondola ride on the Grand Canal and enjoy the views of one of Venice’s best Italian landmarks from a gondola during one of the most spectacular carnivals in the world!
Roman Forum – Rome
The Roman Forum is one of the most beautiful ancient landmarks in Italy in the center of Rome, adjacent to the Colosseum. The Forum served as the focal point of political, religious, and social activities during ancient times. This stretch of land is nestled between Palatine Hill and Capitoline Hill and is now littered with the ruins of temples and monuments. A whopping 4.5 million tourists come to visit the Roman Forum every year.
Saint Mark’s Basilica – Venice
Saint Mark’s Basilica was and is the center of public and religious life in Venice. Originally meant to be an extension of Doge’s Palace, the Basilica was created to hold the body of Saint Mark the Apostle, who was named the protector of Venice.
Be sure to visit this treasured famous Italian landmark to see the evolution of styles, incredible mosaics, and vast collection of ancient columns. It’s an ancient sight to behold in the hustle and bustle of modern day Venice.
Saint Peter’s Basilica – Rome (Vatican City)
Angela – Rome Actually
One of the most popular highlights in Rome, Saint Peter’s Basilica is a huge, gorgeous Renaissance church packed with artwork and steeped in history. Built on top of the former 4th-century Constantinian basilica, of which travelers can still see traces from the crypt, some of the masterpieces St. Peter’s Basilica hosts include Michelangelo’s La Pietà sculpture, the bronze canopy known as St. Peter’s Baldachin by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and the funerary monument to Pope Clemens XIII by Antonio Canova and many others.
The basilica sits on the site of an ancient Roman cemetery and the Circus of Caligula, later known as Nero’s Circus, where they used to persecute early Christians and where it’s believed Saint Peter was martyred and crucified upside down. The ancient cemetery is where his tomb is preserved, right below St. Peter’s Baldachin and the majestic dome designed by Michelangelo, and is open to visitors. Prior booking with an email to the Excavations Office is mandatory.
Entering Saint Peter’s Basilica is free of charge, while climbing the dome costs €10 and visiting the ancient necropolis €12.
Once you are done with your basilica tour, visit Castel Sant’Angelo (the Hadrian Mausoleum) on the other end of Via della Conciliazione, see the art of the Vatican Museums if you haven’t already, and take a walk around the lovely Borgo Pio for a taste of the ancient Papal State.
San Marco Campanile – Venice
Stephanie – The World As I See It
One of the top Italian landmarks to add to your northern Italy itinerary is San Marco Campanile! Also known as St. Mark’s Campanile, it towers over the main square in Venice. First built in the 12th century as a watchtower, San Marco Campanile has seen a lot of changes. It would later be rebuilt in the 16th century and again in 1902.
The tower stands 323 feet tall and is the tallest structure in Venice. One fun fact about the Campanile is that Galileo used it as an observatory. He even showed off his telescope to dignitaries there.
Visiting the tower is one of the top things to do in Venice and one of the best Italian landmarks to visit! From the top of the tower, you’ll be rewarded with epic views of Venice! Plus, if you time your visit right, you can catch the sunset.
A few things to keep in mind when visiting the San Marco Campanile in Venice is that there is an entrance fee of €8. Opening times from spring through fall are 8:30 AM to 9:00 PM. However, there are reduced hours in the winter.
Other top things to do in the area include visiting the Doge’s Palace and the National Archaeological Museum, taking a gondola ride, and dining at Florian Caffe.
Trevi Fountain – Rome
The Trevi Fountain is not only the most famous fountain landmark in Italy, but probably the most recognizable fountain in the world. This baroque sculpted fountain was designed by the famous Bernini, whose work you will see all over the Eternal City.
In the center of the fountain, you can see a depiction of Neptune on his seashell chariot pulled by tritons and two winged horses. One horse appears to be docile while the other one appears more feral, representative of the changing nature of the sea’s tides.
If you’re hoping to get some photographs here without the crowds, be sure to get up for sunrise for the best chances.
Trulli – Alberobello
Nadine – Le Long Weekend
The Puglian town of Alberobello is a truly unique place to visit in Italy. Although it’s not the only place you’ll find the iconic cone shaped houses known as Trullo, it’s the town with the highest concentration of them! In fact, the UNESCO town of Alberobello has more than 1500 trulli – they even have a trullo church! The Trulli of Alberobello are some of the best Italian landmarks to check out on a visit to southern Italy.
These whitewashed buildings were originally built without mortar, a fact that enabled them not to be seen as permanent structures, and therefore allowing the owners to escape paying property taxes. Nowadays however, they’re definitely seen as a permanent installation, and many of these historical buildings have been converted into impossibly charming restaurants, boutiques, and even boutique accommodation for a unique place to stay in Puglia!
While you could easily spend a few hours following the maze of streets through the trulli, don’t forget to pop over to the “newer” part of Alberbello, where you’ll also find plenty of fine history on display. Browse the museums, shop for traditional Italian food, and spot the few trullo that are scattered in this part of the town.
Alberobello is located in southern Puglia, halfway between Bari and Brindisi – the two closest international airports. It’s a fantastic location to discover other local attractions such as underground grottos, olive groves, vineyards, stunning beaches on either coast, and nearby Baroque cities such as Lecce.
Valley of Temples, Agrigento
Soumya – Stories by Soumya
One of the most stunning landmarks in Italy is the Valley of Temples in Agrigento, Sicily.
Located in western Sicily, Valley of Temples (or Valle dei Templi as it is locally known) is a group of beautiful Greek sanctuaries set against the backdrop of a lush green valley. It is one of the largest Greek ruins in the world and an exceptional UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Highlights include the Temple of Concordia (with a massive fallen statue of Icarus right in front of it), the Temple of Juno, and the Temple of the Dioscuri. You’ll also find an interesting collection of Christian necropolises right behind the Temple of Concordia. Be sure to visit the archaeological museum on site that displays several artifacts from the excavations.
You can club your visit to the Valley of Temples with a trip to the botanical gardens of Kolymbetra, located nearby.
The archaeological park is open every day from 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM. Tickets cost €10. You can add Kolymbetra Gardens for an additional €5. Find all details on their official website here.
The best time to visit Agrigento’s Valley of Temples is from March – May when the temperatures are milder and the place is not too crowded. Summer is also a good time though it can get exceptionally hot. Be sure to carry water, sunscreen, and a hat.
Vatican Museums – Rome (Vatican City)
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The Vatican Museum is one of the best museums in the world and one of the most famous Italian landmarks. An extensive collection of paintings and sculptures from ancient times makes it one of the best places to visit in Italy. If you love history, this incredible landmark cannot be missed during your visit to this country.
You should book your tickets online as they get sold out very quickly.
Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel tickets cost €17 or €8 for reduced tickets. There are plenty of options to choose from such as guided tours for groups, individuals or prime experience.
Exploring the Vatican Museum should take two hours to admire all artifacts from the Vatican collections. The most impressive is the Sistine Chapel with the world’s most famous paintings. The best time to visit the Vatican Museum is in the morning or during Italian Riposo (equivalent to Spanish Siesta). However, the museum is open for extended hours from 8:30 AM until 10:30 PM, which gives you plenty of choices to explore the incredible ancient exhibitions.
Another of the best Italian landmarks is located inside, the Bramante Staircase.
Located in Vatican City, it is the largest art museum in Italy. There is no better place to learn about history than visiting the Vatican Museums. Also, impressive art makes it one of the best landmarks to visit in Italy.
Venetian Lagoon Islands – Venice
The islands of the Venetian lagoon provide a beautiful option to get out of the noise and (sometimes unpleasant) smells of Venice and take a lovely day trip. Popular islands to explore include Murano, Burano, and Torcello.
Murano is the most popular if you want to discover the island’s world-famous blown glass industry. Burano is where you will find the colorful, vibrant fisherman’s houses lining the canals. Torcello is the best option for a day of relaxation – which, let’s face it, sometimes is a necessity given how crowded and crazy Venice can be.
You can also take any number of guided day tours that allow you to spend a little time in each of the three main islands, three beautiful Italian landmarks.