There are probably a hundred reasons or more to visit Italy. Aside from the warm climate, delicious food and fine wine, the country is every tourist’s delight with amazing cultural attractions and world-renowned monuments. We’ve chosen the top six historical monuments that all visitors must see when in Italy. Remember to include your favorites in your BUCKiTDREAM planner and don’t forget to share selfies on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
Get a Colossal Dose of Culture At the Colosseum (Rome) In the modern world where skyscrapers dominate the skies, the Colosseum is an architectural feat of epic proportions. It stands as a spectacular yet troubling monument to Roman imperial power and cruelty. Nonetheless, as the world’s largest amphitheater, this building is brilliant and although partially damaged because of earthquakes and stone-robbers, the Colosseum still stands as an iconic figure of Imperial Rome. It is one of Rome’s most famous tourist attractions and is also associated with the Roman Catholic Church, as the Pope leads a torchlit “Way of the Cross” procession that begins in the area around the Colosseum each Good Friday. If it is your first time in Italy, the Colosseum should be at the very top of your itinerary.
Kneel Before the Vatican Museums (Rome) The Vatican Museums are a huge complex made up of more than two dozen noticeable collections, any of which could be a self-sustaining gallery in themselves. There you will also discover the Sistine Chapel, one of the most famous tourist attractions in the world and probably the climax of the visit for every art history fan. While walking through the museums, you will know when you have reached the Sistine Chapel because not only will all eyes be fixed towards the ceiling, but there is a surprising hush that fills the room as you go in. Furthermore, the Vatican Museums are home to many priceless works of art such as the ‘Raphael Rooms’, and many galleries of sculpture, tapestries, and frescos. It’s a good idea to be organized when visiting The Vatican and being aware of dress code and booking tickets in advance will make your visit much smoother and enjoyable.
Pay a Visit To St Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco) This is the most well-known and valuable of the many churches of Venice as well as one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture. Situated just off the Grand Canal, the glistening Basilica soars above the Piazza San Marco and is adjacent to the Doge’s Palace. Look out for the many captivating details to admire on the outside, thanks to its incorporation of an array of artworks from antiquity to the Middle Ages. A specific feature among these is the oldest exterior mosaic (1260-70), one of the subjects being ‘The Translation of the Body of St. Mark’ which shows the oldest known image of St Mark’s Basilica.
Step Inside a Piece Of History At Duomo Florence’s Duomo is the city’s most iconic landmark. The complex is made up of five monuments – the Baptistery (famous for its bronze doors), Giotto’s Bell Tower (‘campanile’), the Cathedral Museum (‘Museo dell’Opera del Duomo’), Brunelleschi’s Dome (‘cupola’) and the crypt of Santa Reparata. They are all linked to the city’s main cathedral named Santa Maria del Fiore, but normally is just referred to as the Duomo. Tip – do some research on the history of these monuments before going, so that you can really appreciate them as some of the most significant buildings in the history of the world.
Pad Through the Pantheon (Rome) The Pantheon is not only a symbol of a true cultural revolution, it was the first temple built for the common people and its architecture and external beauty are extraordinary. Back in ancient times temples were forbidden places, meant only for priests and vestals. Today, the Pantheon is a remarkable church and one of the most famous attractions in Italy. There is more to this breathtaking Roman building than its postcard-worthy perfection, it remains the single largest, best-reserved dome in the entire world and is a true architectural wonder. Even Michelangelo said that this monument looks more like the work of angels, not humans and to see it today would almost be like being transported back to the ancient Roman Empire itself.
Marvel At the Magnificence Of St Peter’s Basilica (Rome) The ultimate symbol of the Vatican, this is one of the most stunning buildings in Rome, and in a city that seems to consist only of stunning buildings, this is saying something indeed. With a history going back 2,000 years, this building was created between 1506 and 1590, when the dome was finally completed. It sits on the site of the tomb of St. Peter; his relics were finally discovered and authenticated in the middle of the 20th century, making this church truly one of a kind. It is large and full of important tombs and artworks such as Pope John Paul II. One of the most significant pieces is the marble Pieta by Michelangelo. Also, making your way to the top of the dome will allow you to experience the outstanding view over the square below.
So there you have it, the top six monuments in Italy that you must see if you are ever in this magnificent country! Once you are there, you will without a doubt want to fully immerse yourself into the rich culture and history that Italy has to offer. If you fall in love with Italy as much as we did then why not also check out 6 places along the Via Emilia to experience on a road trip in Italy?