Italy is a country steeped in history, and as such, it is home to a wealth of famous landmarks. People from all over the world travel to Italy to marvel at its many priceless cultural, historical, and natural landmarks. Its location in the Mediterranean Sea and close proximity to France make it a desirable vacation spot.

Like France, Spain, the United States, and China, Italy is one of the world’s most visited countries. One of the main reasons for Italy’s fame is the sheer quantity and variety of its landmarks.

It doesn’t matter where in Italy you go, you’ll be able to enjoy scenic walks through picturesque mountain or coastal towns. All of Italy’s wonderful churches and ancient Roman ruins are yours to explore. Given the wide variety of landscapes, it is like there are several smaller ones within the same country.

In addition, the boot-shaped country’s UNESCO World Heritage sites showcase its way-ahead-of-its-time construction techniques. It can be difficult to single out specific landmarks.  There are many beautiful historic town centers and clusters of monuments found in many locations in Italy.

Are you visiting Italy soon but haven’t decided on your itinerary yet? If you want to have a fantastic vacation, this guide will tell you where to go to see the most impressive and well-known landmarks in Italy. Here, you’ll find many of Italy’s natural and cultural landmarks, as well as the country’s most important historical sites

17 Famous Landmarks In Italy

1. The Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy

The Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy is one of the best-known landmarks in the world.

The magnificent 4-degree leaning tower in Pisa in Tuscany is known as the Leaning Tower of Italy. The Pisa tower was on the voting list as one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, or Torre Pendente di Pisa in Italian, is a freestanding bell tower of Pisa Cathedral. The Pisa Cathedral, Pisa tower, baptistery, and cemetery stand at the Square of Miracles in Pisa and make up the famous Miracles Square complex. The entire complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture. The architect Bonanno Pisano set up the tower in the 12th century, but the construction took 177 years as it started leaning because of the unstable soil. The Pisa tower is 56 m tall, has eight floors, about 295 steps, and reclines for 4 degrees.

The spectacular Leaning Tower of Pisa is a top tourist attraction in Italy and a must-see in Tuscany. Climbing the Leaning Tower of Pisa is a must-do in Tuscany!

Pisa International Airport serves the city of Pisa. Besides that, Pisa is only one hour and 30 min drive from Florence International Airport.Pisa and the Leaning Tower are popular stops on a Tuscany road trip, a must-have road trip in a lifetime.

So book your flight to Pisa or Florence, rent a car at the airport and start your Tuscany trip. The Cathedral of Pisa and the Leaning Tower, the Cathedral and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Walls of Lucca, the Cathedral of Siena, and the Towers of San Gimignano await you on your trip to Tuscany!

Contributed by: Milijana of World Travel Connector 

2. The Sistine Chapel

Sistine Chapel Italy
The stunning ceiling of Sistine Chapel

Opening Hours: 

Monday -Saturday:  9aam -4 pm , Sunday: 9:00 am- 2:00 pm

Admission Fee :

€17 per person, Students and under 18- €8.

The Sistine Chapel is a must-visit destination for any traveler to Italy.

Even expats living in Italy return to visit this famous landmark time and time again due to the breathtaking painting and the cultural significance.

Located in the Vatican City, the chapel was built by Pope Sixtus IV between 1477 and 1480 and is home to some of the most renowned works of art in the world, including frescoes painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512.

These frescoes are located on the ceiling and depict scenes from the Book of Genesis, while The Last Judgment is painted on the altar wall.

The chapel is open to tourists most days between 9am and 4pm, with entrance fee of €17 per person. Students and children under 18 can enter for a reduced price of €8.

The chapel is closed on Sunday for mass – which is not open to the general public.

Note: You can only visit the chapel with entry to the Vatican, as the two are connected.

Visitors must follow a strict dress code – no shorts, mini-skirts or bare shoulders. Due to the heat in summer, it is best for women to wear long dresses and have a shawl they can wrap around their shoulders.

The Sistine Chapel is a truly awe-inspiring sight and should not be missed!

Contributed by:  Nina of Nina Out and About

3. Fontana di Trevi

Fontana di Trevi
The largest Baroque fountain in the Eternal City of Rome is one of the most famous landmarks in Italy. Nicola Salvi, an Italian architect, designed it in the 18th century. However, many other artists including Giuseppe Pannini completed this impressive project in the heart of Rome.

Fontana di Trevi is quite simple to access when visiting this incredible historic town and there is no better time to visit than during Italian Siesta. Some of the churches, restaurants, shops, and museums might be closed, but Fontana di Trevi is open to the public all the time without any entrance fees.

Many tourists toss the coins into the fountain believing they will return to Rome one day again. In fact, visitors throw around 3,000 Euros every day. Moreover, all money from the fountain are given to charities so don’t hesitate to throw a few coins into the fountain.

Fontana di Trevi is also a famous filming location and some scenes in the movie of The Lizzie McGuire from 2003 were filmed there. However, 12 years later, in November 2015 the fountain was restored to enhance its beauty in the evening by adding over 100 LED lights. So, make sure to visit Fontana di Trevi at night to admire its illumination.

Contributed by: Paulina from the UK Every Day

4. Aragonese Castle of Ischia

Aragon Castle of Ischia

Opening Hours:  

Daily from 9:00 am until sunset

Admission Fee:

€12 for adults, with discounts available for children, students, and groups.

The Aragonese Castle is located adjacent to the island of Ischia, and near the more famous island of Capri, just off the coast of Naples, Italy. The castle is technically its own island, connected to Ischia by a small land bridge. Dating back to 474 BC, the Aragonese Castle of Ischia has long been a refuge for various influential families, rulers, and communities.

Visitors can see the ruins of a former nuns’ cemetery, stunning views of the Ischia, the remains of a Bourbon prison, an ancient watch tower, and a crypt of nobles, among other sites.

You can visit the Aragonese Castle of Ischia on a day trip from Naples. From the Port of Ischia, it’s a 35 minute walk or a 10 minute taxi ride to the castle. Visitors usually spend several hours exploring the grounds of the castle, so bring sunscreen, water, and comfortable shoes. It is physically demanding to walk the ground of the castle – there are many steps and fairly steep ramps.

It is not clearly marked, but visitors with mobility issues can request to ride in the elevator to skip the first steep incline you’ll encounter. There are two cafes on the grounds that sell water, coffee, and food, so you can take a break if needed.

The Aragonese Castle of Ischia is open daily from 9am until sunset, and the last tickets are available 90 minutes before closing. Tickets are €12 for adults, with discounts available for children, students, and groups.

Contributed by:  Amber from Amber Everywhere

 5. Palermo Cathedral

Palermo Cathedral

The largest city on the Italian island of Sicily is Palermo. It’s the capital of Sicily and home to many famous architectural sites and landmarks, including the Palermo Cathedral (Cattedrale di Palermo). It’s a gorgeous cathedral that was founded in 1185, and dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

Although the Palermo Cathedral was built beginning in 1185, additions, alterations, and restorations were added to it throughout the following centuries. Because of this, you’ll notice the cathedral has a mix of various architectural styles, including Arab-Norman architecture.

It’s free to explore the outside and inside of the Palermo Cathedral, which is open daily from morning to evening. For a unique experience, climb to the roof of the Palermo Cathedral. To climb to the roof, you’ll purchase a ticket (it costs just a few euros) at the ticket office that’s located right inside the church, on the left.

Once you have your ticket, you’ll climb several steep flights of stairs up to the roof of Palermo Cathedral. There, you’ll have an alternate perspective of the church, as well as incredible views of the city. The roof ticket also includes a visit to the cathedral’s Royal Tombs and Chapel of the Beneficials.

Contributed by: Erin from Pina Travels 

6. Pompeii, Italy

Pompei ruins
Ancient ruins of Pompei in Naples Italy

Opening Hours: 

November 1 – MArch 31 : Daily: 9:00 am – 5:00pm

April – October 31 – Daily : 9:00 am – 7:00 pm

Admission Fee:

€16 per person

Just 14 miles (23 km) south of Naples, you’ll find Pompeii (Pompei, Italian), located at the southern base of Mount Vesuvius. Back in the year 79, a huge eruption of Vesuvius showered volcanic debris over the area and covered entire cities. One of them was Pompei which stayed hidden under the blanket of ash for many centuries. Unearthed in the 1700s, the Greco-Roman city frozen in time has been fascinating visitors and archeologists ever since.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pompeii is a large archeological site that takes hours to just walk through the ruins. You have the option to grab a booklet with a lot of information about each building or you can choose a tour (whether guided by an app or a real person).

Make sure to visit the Forum, the heart of the town. It’s enclosed by colonnades and bounded by the Temple of Jupiter. The basilica and the Temple of Apollo are also nearby. The Amphitheatre used to seat 12000 spectators and to this day is an impressive site. Some of the best frescoes in town can be found at the House of the Vettii and Villa of the Mysteries (Villa dei Misteri).

The archeological site of Pompeii is open for visitors daily from 9 a.m. to 5 pm (the last entrance is at 3:30 pm) during the low season (November 1 to March 31) and 9 a.m. to 7 pm (the last entrance is at 5:30 pm) during the high season (April 1 to October 31), except for January 1, May 1, and December 31.

The ticket costs 16 euros per person, includes access to Villa Regina (Boscoreale), and is valid for a day. There’s free entrance every Sunday of the month and reduced tickets are available.

The easiest way to get to the ruins is by train from Naples, using either the Circumvesuviana train  or Metropolitano train.

Contributed by: Cris from LooknWalk

7. Herculaneum ruins

Herculaneum ruins

Opening Hours: 

Daily except Wednesday

Admission Fee:

Adults: €13 , free for children under 18

This amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must see on your trip to Italy. While nearby Pompeii is much larger and more famous, the archeological site of Herculaneum will give you an intimate picture of what life was like in the Roman world during the first century.

Completely encased in 16 meters of ash by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE, this small town was excavated in the 18th century and is astonishingly well-preserved. Many of the multi-story buildings still stand, with interior artifacts, mosaics, decorations, and even organic materials such as fabric and food remaining intact.

While it really takes more than a day to explore the extensive site of Pompeii, you can thoroughly visit Herculaneum in just a couple hours. Some of the main buildings to see when visiting Herculaneum are the Men’s Baths, the Hall of the Augustales, and the House of the Wooden Partition.

For a more detailed visit, consider booking a guided tour with an expert, where you can learn fascinating facts about the town, culture, and time period you wouldn’t have known otherwise! It is truly a spectacular look into ancient history.

General entry tickets cost €13 for adults and are free for children under 18. You can book online or arrive early at the site to purchase there. Make sure to download a map of the site or ask for one at the ticket office when you arrive. Herculaneum Archeological Park is open every day except Wednesdays.

Contributed by : Megan from Megan Starr

8. Mole Antonelliana, Torino

Mole Antonelliana, Torino

Opening Hours: 

Daily :9:00 am -7:00 pm

Admission Fee:

12€ per person

Two things comes into mind if I say Turin: Gianduia and Mole Antonelliana. Well if you ask my husband he will say three, as a football fan Juventus should also be mentioned! But besides chocolate and sports, there is no doubt that Mole Antonelliana is one of Italy’s landmarks.

From the high of 167 meters, Mole Antonelliana is Turin’s tallest building and one of the tallest in Europe. Its name refers to its impressive size. In fact, when the construction was finished in 1889, it was the tallest brick building in Europe.

Since 2000, it hosts the Cinema’s National Museum. But the most interesting thing to do when visiting is to take the panoramic elevator that brings you to a panoramic terrace that has an incredible view on the city and the surrounding Alps.

To visit the Cinema’s National Museum and take the panoramic lift the full ticket cost is 12€. It’s best to book your tickets in advance on the Mole Antonelliana’s website. The Museum is open from 9 AM to 7 PM every day.

The best time to visit the panoramic terrace? At sunset when you can still admire the beauty of the Alps while having a glimpse of the city’s night lights.

Contributed by: Anita from Anita Beyond The Sea

9. Roman Forum

Roman Forum

Arguably, the most important forum in Ancient Rome, The Roman Forum is located opposite the famous Palatine and Capitoline hills in Rome, Italy. The ruins that remain here consist of buildings that were formerly used for public meetings, criminal trials, and the infamous gladiator combat fighting!

The Roman Forum is home to the most ancient buildings in the city, and the ruins that are still standing today, truly encapsulate the prominent history.

Visiting the Roman Forum will make you feel like you have been transported back in time; it is an experience like no other, making it a must-visit on any Rome itinerary.  The opening hours to visit the Roman Forum vary with each month, so it is best to check online and book your tickets in advance.

It can be unpleasant trying to purchase a same-day ticket at the Colosseum Ticket Office, due to the vast amount of people and tourists that visit this area of Rome. So, by booking online or choosing a guided entry/skip-the-line tour, you will be able to save yourself time and have a better experience.

They do allow free entry every first Sunday of the month, but the queues will likely be long, so it is advised not to visit on this day. Regular tickets will cost approximately €21.50.

Contributed by: Sam Opp of Find Love and Travel

10. Duomo in Milan

Duomo MIlan

Opening Hours: 

Daily from 8:00 am-7: 00 pm

Italy is a fantastic destination all year round for anyone wanting great food, welcoming locals and endless things to do. One of the reasons so many visit here is because of the massive amount of landmarks you can find across the country. And if you are searching for one of the most impressive landmarks in Italy to visit, add the Duomo in Milan to your list.

This massive Gothic cathedral is one of Italy’s most famous landmarks, and it’s easy to see why. The exterior is adorned with intricate sculptures and gargoyles, while the interior is filled with the most beautiful sites. It is the largest church in Italy and took over 600 years to complete.

Visitors can climb to the top of the cathedral for stunning views of the city, or explore the intricate sculptures and stained glass windows up close. The Duomo is open daily, from 8 am-7 pm. If you want to visit in the evening, the last admission into the Duomo is at 6:10 pm.

Tickets can be purchased at the entrance. And if you want to avoid the crowds, try visiting early in the morning or later in the evening. Tickets can also be purchased in advance, which is recommended if you’re visiting during peak season.

Contributed by: Lowri from Many Other Roads

11. Valley of the Temples, Sicily

Valley of the Temples

 

Opening Hours: 

Monday to Sunday 08.30 am – 8.00 pm.

Admission Fee:

10 € – adults, Free for visitors under 18.

The Valley of the Temples, also known as Valle dei Templi, is a fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the top attractions on the island of Sicily.

Situated on Sicily’s southern coast, where the ancient Greek town Akragas used to lie, this vast archaeological site is considered one of the world’s greatest examples of ancient Greek architecture. Anyone interested in learning about the island’s long and rich history should include this magnificent 1,300-hectare park in their Sicily itinerary.

The valley showcases the remnants of seven temples, all of which were constructed between the years 600 BC and 400 BC. One of the most outstanding structures here is the Temple of Concordia featuring a particularly well-preserved facade.

Other important highlights you shouldn’t miss are the Temple of Juno, the statue of the fallen Icarus and the Temple of Heracles, which is the oldest temple in the park.

Besides the various ruins, the valley is also home to the lush gardens of Kolymbethra, where you can walk among countless fig, lemon and almond trees. This is where the inhabitants of the town of Akragas cultivated their vegetables and fruits in ancient times.

The entrance ticket to the Valley of the Temples costs 10 euros for adults. Visitors under the age of 18 can explore the park free of charge. The site is open from Monday to Sunday 08.30 am – 8.00 pm.

Contributed by: Marjut from The Smooth Escape

12. Teatro di Marcello

Teatro di Marcello

Rome has no shortage of tourist attractions, but a stop by the Teatro di Marcello should definitely be added to the list.

The Theater of Marcellus is a majestic building that looks like a small Colosseum (which was actually built taking it as an example). The construction of the building was begun by Julius Caesar, who expropriated and demolished many of the buildings in the area to make way for the new theatre.

The building was completed by the emperor Augustus around 17 BC and subsequently renovated and transformed over the centuries, but used as a theatre until the fourth century. For a time, it was also used as a fortress, taking advantage of its higher position over the Tiber.

The biggest change was made in 1500 when the Savelli family commissioned the construction of a connected palace. Centuries later the building was bought by the Orsini family who remained the owners until the beginning of the twenty-first century when it was put up for sale.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to access it, but even from the outside, it is worth a visit. In the 1930s Rome municipality cleaned up and freed the caves and the area around the visible part of the theatre, so now you can clearly admire the solid semi-circular structure. The travertine facade, in triple order, is excellently preserved.

After the restructuring of the area, the passage leading to the Portico di Ottavia was also reopened, the beating heart of the Jewish quarter and one of the most beautiful areas where to stay in Rome.

Contributed by : Clotilde from A princess travelling with twins

13. Pantheon, Rome

Pantheon in Rome

Opening Hours: 

Daily : 09:00 am -7:00 pm

One of the most incredible landmarks in Italy is the Pantheon in Rome. Sitting in the historic center on Piazza della Rotonda, it resembles a Greek temple from the front. Historians believe that the present structure was rebuilt by Hadrian between the years 118 and 125 after the original Pantheon which was built between years 25 and 27 BC by Agrippa burned down in year 80. However, there is not much written information leading back to the building of the current structure.

The original Pantheon was a temple dedicated to the Roman Gods and the name comes from the Greek words Pan and Theos which consequently mean All Gods.

The most noteworthy and impressive feature of the Pantheon is the massive round dome letting natural sunlight onto the splendid marble floor. When it was built, it was the largest dome of its kind and only when you stand under it and gaze up you will truly understand how grand it is.

It is free to enter the Pantheon and is truly one of the must-things to add to your Rome itinerary. Opening hours are 09:00-19:00 with the last entry 30 minutes prior to closing time. There are also a couple of lovely restaurants on the square outside the Pantheon that make for the perfect place to have lunch with a view of one of the best preserved Roman buildings!

Contributed by: Linn Haglund of Brainy Backpackers

14. Uffizi Gallery, Florence Italy

Uffizi Gallery, Florence Ital

Opening Hours: 

Tuesday to Sunday, 8:15 am to 6:30 pm

Admission Fee:

12€ -per adult

The Uffizi gallery is one of the most prominent art museums in the world. Better known as Le Gallerie Degli Uffizi, it is located in the heart of the old town of Florence in Tuscany.

The building was constructed about 500 years ago by the Medici, a powerful banking family in the Renaissance period. The art collection, consisting of sculptures and fine art paintings, was prominently displayed to nobleman, religious clerics and businessman.

Today, the museum is state owned and houses some well-known paintings in the world, such as “The Birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli and “The Adoration of the Magi” by Leonardo Davinci.

The museum was extended most recently and an additional 14 rooms have been added. Nonetheless, the Uffizi is one of the most visited museums in the world, and the waiting time can be over 5 hours in peak season, so it is advised to book a ticket in advance online.

Visitors can marvel at Italian Renaissance art from Tuesday to Sunday, 8:15 am to 6:30 pm. They are closed on Mondays, and a regular ticket per adult is priced at only EUR 12. The courtyard between the two palace wings, known as Loggiato, can be accessed anytime without a ticket.

Here you will find almost life-sized statues of all the grand men of Florence, such as Dante Alighieri, Niccolò Machiavelli and Amerigo Vespucci.

Contributed by: Paul D’Souza from Paulmarina 

15. Ponte Vecchio, Florence – Tuscany

Ponte Vecchio, Florence Tuscany

The Ponte Vecchio is definitely one of the most wonderful landmarks in Italy. This stunning attraction is located in the Tuscan capital Florence and a visit to this colorful bridge is almost a must on any trip.

It is considered the oldest segmental bridge in the world and is also the oldest bridge on the Arno River in Italy. This imposing stone bridge is from the Middle Ages and it was built for ten years, between 1335 and 1345.

A special feature is the gapless row of small stores, whose balconies overhang the bridge and thus conjure up a really unique ambience. Only in the center of the bridge, three arcaded arches give visitors a view of the Arno River. In the Middle Ages, the butchers and tanners were located there. Later, from 1565, only the goldsmiths.

Today at the bridge you will find a wonderful pedestrian zone with many jewelers, but also international brand stores. Miraculously, the bridge has survived wars and natural disasters such as floods. Interesting is also the bust of Benvenuto Cellini, a famous goldsmith of the 16th century, which is located on the center of the bridge.

Contributed by: PlacesofJuma

16. Colosseum, Rome

Colosseum

The Colosseum sits next to the Roman Forum, located in the heart of the ancient city of Rome, Italy.

Originally named the Flavian Amphitheater after the emperor dynasty who built it, the arena took on the name of Colosseum from the massive statue of Colossus of Nero that used to stand next to the structure.

The Colosseum was initially constructed around 80 AD during the reign of Emperor Vespasian and completed by his son Emperor Titus. With more than 1 million enslaved people working on its construction, it only took ten years to build the first three floors of this ancient stadium. The arena was used for gladiatorial games, animal fights, and executions.

The Colosseum is open every day (except for January 1st and December 25th), and your entry ticket also gives you access to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

One of the best tips for visiting the Colosseum is to take a walking tour to learn more about the history of the building. There are several excellent walking tours you can take of the Colosseum; some even include visiting the underground area or walking on the arena floor.

Today, the Colosseum is considered one of the World’s New Seven Wonders. This famous landmark in Italy is one of the most iconic ancient buildings and must be included on any Rome itinerary.

Contributed by:  Lyndsay from The Purposely Lost

17. Palatine Chapel Sicily

Palatine Chapel Sicily
The beautiful interior of the Palatine Chapel of Palermo in Sicily

 

Opening Hours: 

Monday – Saturday: 8:30 am – 5:40pm

Sunday: 8:30 am – 1:00 pm

Admission Fee:

€/$ 8.5

The beautiful UNESCO- classified Palatine Chapel on the Mediterranean island of Sicily is one of the many places to visit in Palermo.  The chapel dates back to the Arab-Norman King Roger II who built it in the 12th century for his private use.

The architecture is a mixture of Byzantine, Norman and Fatimid resulting in the most opulent chapel in all of the city. What makes this chapel so spectacular are the 6000 tiny golden, hand-painted, mosaics that adorn the ceiling and depict various biblical scenes. After visiting the Palatine Chapel, make sure to browse around the rest of the Norman Palace and the beautiful gardens outside of the palace.

Lovers of golden mosaics might also be interested in visiting the nearby Duomo of Monreale and Duomo of Cefalu, both UNESCO- classified monuments that were also built under Arab-Norman rule.

The Palatine chapel is open from Monday to Saturday (08.30 to 17.40, last entrance ticket is sold at 17.00). On Sunday in theory the chapel is open from 08.30 to 13.00 but a mass is held inside the chapel from 09.45 to 11.15, during which time visits are not allowed. Tickets cost €/$ 8.5 and need to be bought at a little ticket booth in the park opposite the main entrance of the Norman Palace, where the Palatine Chapel is located

Contributed by: Caroline from Veggie Wayfarer

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