The most beautiful and famous landmarks in Italy: Italian monuments and iconic Italians landscapes of worldwide fame
Italy is full of famous landmarks, monuments and places so significant and beautiful to be recognized all around the world.
But if you were to make a list of the most famous Italian places of all, what would make the list?
Based on number of visitors, significance and worldwide fame, these are the most famous landmarks in Italy.
Famous landmarks in Italy chart
|Famous Landmarks in Italy||Location||Type of landmark|
|Rialto Bridge, Ridge of Sights, St Mark’s square||Venice||City buildings|
|St Peter Church and the Vatican||Vatican City, Rome||Church|
|Santa Maria del Fiore||Florence||Church|
|Leaning tower of Pisa||Pisa||Building|
|Piazza del Campo||Siena||Square|
|Cypresses in Val d’Orcia||Tuscany||Landscape|
|Three Peaks of Lavaredo||Alto Adige||Mountains|
|Trulli of Alberobello||Puglia||Buildings|
|Cinque Terre Coastline||Liguria||Scenic coastline|
|Amalfi Coast||Campania||Scenic coastline|
The Colosseum, Rome
The Roman Colosseum is the most visited attraction not just in Rome or Italy but one of the most popular tourists sites in the world.
On average, it receives 6 Million visitors per year and this number only includes those that buy a ticket to enter the amphitheater: the number of those who simply admire it from outside being even bigger!
The Colosseum is significant and famous under a couple of accounts.
First of all, it is the biggest Roman amphitheater in the world and it is, as such, unique.
Built in the I century AD, the Colosseum was used as a stadium and it is so big, it was able to host over 50K spectators, and audience bigger than many modern arenas can take.
The other thing that makes the Colosseum famous is how beautiful it is and how unique for its location: the theater stands in the middle of busy junction in Rome city center, the ancient city being inextricably linked with the modern one.
While a visit to the inside of the colosseum requires a ticket and advance booking, this is not a stand alone site away from the city but an inner city attraction you can see during your evening stroll in Rome, one of the things that make the Eternal City so unique!
You can find fun and interesting facts about the Colosseum here | Find how to get tickets here | Find how to include the Colosseum and other Rome landmarks such as the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain in your Rome city center itinerary here | Find nice hotels close to the Colosseum here.
Rialto Bridge, Grand Canal and San Marco, Venice
Venice is the second most visited place in Italy, a city so unique it is almost a landmarks itself. Venice lies in a lagoon in the North West of Italy and it is unique as it is entirely built in water, the foundations of its houses being rooted into water canals.
People flock to see Venice from all over the world and tend to seek out the city’s most famous monuments first.
Rialto Bridge, the stunning 1500s bridge crossing the Grand Canal, the Bridge of Sights, a beautifully melancholic bridge the condemned used to walk when sent to prison, and San Marks’ square and the Doges’ Palace, are some of the famous attractions in the city.
It is hard to overstate how beautiful Venice is.
Walking along its canals or catching a gondola to experience it from the water feels like stepping into a painting and walking through life as it must have felt during the Middle Ages, when Venice’s splendor was at its highest.
Venice travel resources: You can find our recommended Venice itinerary here | Find the best areas to stay in Venice | Find out how to plan a trip to Venice with kids | Find fun and interesting facts about Venice.
The Vatican City
The Vatican City or simply the Vatican is a small country within Italy and more precisely within the city of Rome.
It is the seat of the Pope and the heart of the Catholic church, which has its most significant church in St Peter Basilica, in the Vatican itself.
St Peter Church is a place like no other.
The original basilica was built over the tomb of apostles Peter, a location of strong symbolic meaning for the faithful, but it developed and grew as a building over the course of the centuries to become one of the most magnificent and beautiful churches in the world.
The way the basilica looks now is due to the masterful work of several artists of the caliber of Bernini, Michelangelo and Raffaello who designed the main square surrounding it, the basilica incredible dome, the Sistine Chapel and many areas of the inside of the Vatican building.
The Vatican has more, however, than St Peter church: the small city also has one of the most important museums in the world, the Vatican Museums, blessed by the presence of invaluable sculptures and paintings from the past near and far and it is home to the Sistine Chapel, one of the most famous works of art of all times.
Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence
Santa Maria del Fiore is the cathedral of Florence. Located right in the center of town, the church is magnificent and one of the most recognizable landmarks in Italy thanks to the large red dome by Master Brunelleschi.
Santa Maria del Fiore is a large religious complex made of three buildings: the church itself, Giotto’s belltower and the baptistry.
The visual impact of the three monuments is powerful: they are cladded in multicoloured marbles, a style that is typical of this part of Italy, and the geometrical patters of the colours is so precise and symmetric, it feels like the walls dance in front of your eyes!
The cathedral is only one of many Italian landmarks in Florence: Ponte Vecchio, Pizza della Signoria and Piazzale Michealgelo, from where you get views of Florence and its dome, are all among the most visited places in Italy.
Florence travel resources: You learn about all Florence main landmarks here| You can find learn how to include them in your Florence itinerary here | You can find our tips for visiting Florence with kids here | You can find out tips on the best place to stay in Florence here .
Leaning tower of Pisa
The leaning tower of Pisa is one of the most recognisable monuments s in the world.
round, white and leaning at a 3.9 degree angle, it is part of the large monumental complex of Piazza del Duomo in Pisa and it is a place that never ceases to attract curiosity and visitors.
The whole piazza dates back to the XIII century and it is now UNESCO World Heritage site, due to the harmony of its construction, the important influence it had on subsequent constructions and aesthetic in Italy and the importance it had in the history of science.
Galielo Galieli is said to have developed his theory of falling objects and gravity here.
The leaning tower of Pisa is usually what captured the attention of visitors: due to a weakness in the soil the tower was built on, the tower is significantly tilted, something that, strangely, seems to almost add to the beauty of the place.
However, there is more to Pizza del Duomo in Pisa than the tower: the cathedral and the baptistry, the two other parts of this complex, are elaborate and beautiful and the monumental cemetery beside them, il camposanto, has a cycle of frescos that is unique and invaluable
Pisa Travel Resources: You can find fun and interesting facts about the tower of Pisa here | You can learn how to visit Pisa as a day trip from Florence here | You can learn how to visit Pisa in a day here
Piazza del Campo, Siena
Piazza del Campo is a stunning medieval square in Siena, Tuscany.
The square is Unesco World Heritage Site and an incredible example of medieval urban architecture, arrived to us in remarkably good conditions.
The square has a distinctive shell shape, reminiscent of that of an amphitheater, and the focal point is the stunning and huge Palazzo Comunale, a medieval building with a tall tower dominating the piazza.
The square has strong visual impact and bears witness to the importance the town of Siena enjoyed over many decades in the Middle Ages especially.
Arch enemy of Florence, Siena dominated the surrounding countryside and its power brought to the city the wealth and grandeur that we now enjoy in the form of squares and churches.
Piazza del campo is the mosy famous landmark in the city however it is not the only one. Not far from it there is also another incredible site, Siena’s Duomo.
Siena’s duomo dominates the square by the same name and it a sight to behold: its tower has horizontal stripes, obtained by the use of cream and green marbles and, inside, it has important artwork and an incredible floor, occasionally open to the public and of unparalleled beauty.
Siena travel resources: You can learn how to visit Siena here
The Duomo of Milan
Milan’s Duomo is one of the most famous landmarks of Italy and a church of outstanding beauty and significance.
Located in Piazza Duomo, in Milan city center, is an example of late gothic architecture like no other in Italy and a church with an incredible history.
Originally started in the XIV century, the churched remained under construction for over 5 centuries and it is arguable still not not entirely finished.
Highlights are its elaborate facade, made up of thousands of sculpture, its incredible stained glass windows, its organ and the beautiful terrace on top.
Milan’s duomo is the most famous Milan landmark but not the only one.
Beside it, you find the elegant and beautiful Milano Galleria, close to it the iconic La Scala Opera Theater and, a short walk away, the Sforza Castle.
Milan resources: You can learn fun facts about Milan duomo here | Find our recommended Milan itinerary here | Discover how to visit Milan with kids here | Find interesting and fun facts about Milan here.
Val d’Orcia Cypresses, Tuscany
Some of the most popular images of Italy depict rolling hills, country roads and the silhouette of cypress trees.
Those images are from Val d’Orcia, Tuscany, one of the mosy famous landscapes and landmarks in Italy.
Val D’Orcia is located in South of Tuscany, and is considered one of the most beautiful areas in the whole of Italy.
The landscape here is pristine and soothing, the palette of colors ranging from warm yellows to the dark green of the cypress tree tops, and the countryside is dotted with historical hilltop villages, each a work of art itself,
Pienza, the ideal renaissance town, Bagno Vignoni, historical thermal town, San Quirico, Romanesque gem and the roads connecting them make up a cluster of beauty like not other and that entered the list of Unesco World Heritage Sites in 2004.
Val D’Orcia travel resources: you can learn how to include Val d’Orcia in your Tuscany itinerary here
3 Cime di Lavaredo, Drei Zinnen, Alto Adige
Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Drei Zinnen or Three Peaks of Lavaredo) are three famous peaks in the stunning Italian Dolomites, a stretch of Italian Alps in the North East of Italy.
The Dolomites entered the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2009 as area of outstanding natural beauty and are indeed a sight to behold, the Tre Cime (lit. Three Peaks) being only the best known of their many beautiful peaks.
The Dolomites are a paradise for skiers in winter and hikers in summer and they are also an area with a unique cultural make up: due to history, the culture here is a mix of Italian and Austrian/German influence, with strong traces in the architecture, food and language of the area.
Visiting the Dolomites is like entering a fairytale book. The area has beautiful mountains, green lawns, breathtaking hikes and pretty villages and small town with pointy churches and flowery balconies.
Dolomites travel resources: Find our favorite places in the Dolomites | Find tips for visiting the Dolomites with kids here.
Mount Etna, Sicily
Mount Etna is the highest active Volcano in Europe and one of the most iconic landmarks in Italy, when it comes to natural landscapes.
The volcano is located on the Eastern side of Sicily, Italy’s biggest island, and can be seen from several locations in the area, the closest and most significant for visitors being Taormina, Catania and the area of Scopello.
Mount Etna is beautiful and has the peculiarity of having hikes to its crater that are often open to visitors.
Trulli of Alberobello, Puglia
Trulli are a unique type of construction typical of Val d’Itria, in Puglia, in the South of Italy.
They are small houses with a round shape, whitewashed walls and pointy grey roofs and they are usually described as hobbit homes as indeed, they seem out of a fantasy book!
However, trulli are far from being a modern creation but rather, date back to the Milddle Ages.
In the XIV century, Roberto d’Angio’ gave this area to the Count of Conversano, a change that brought new inhabitants to this area.
To avoid paying the high tax on building that came with the area, the locals used local stones and material sot build temporary, easy to dismantle homes: the trulli were born.
Thanks to accidents of history, these temporary homes lasted up to out times and we can now enjoy them not just as a pretty Italian landmark but also as hotels and homes, Trulli are still very much in use!
Cinque Terre’s coastline, Liguria
Cinque Terre is one of the most photographed and recognisable areas in the whole of Italy, a stretch or high coast with colorful villages that seem to cling onto the rock, defying gravity.
Located in Liguria, in the North West of Italy, Cinque Terre are one of the most popular tourist destination in Italy and Unesco world heritage site since 1997.
What makes Cinque Terre special is how pretty the towns are but, more importantly, the unique way the land and its inhabitants coexist.
The area is characterized by tall cliffs with agricultural terraces and criss crossed by hiking trails connecting the 5 small villages that developed in the area for fishermen and land workers.
Amalfi Coast, Campania
The Amalfi Coast is one of the most beautiful areas of Italy and a famous Italian landmark, a stunning stretch of coast characterized by tall cliffs, blue waters and pretty villages sandwiched between the sea and the mountains.
The Amalfi coast takes its name from the historical town of Amalfi and attracts visitors because of its beauty, which you can enjoy from the sea or from the scenic coastal drive meandering along the cliffs, its delicious food and its pretty towns, made of small streets, sea views and pleasant shops.
The most famous towns on the Amalfi Coast are Amalfi itself, Positano (glamorous and scenic), Ravello (blessed by incredible sea views) and, a little farther on land or in the sea, Sorrento and the stunning island of Capri.
Amalfi Coast Travel resources: Find here our guide to the best places to see on the Amalfi Coast | Find here our travel guide to Amalfi town |Find out guide to the village of Minori | Find here our tips for visiting the Amalfi Coast with kids
I hope you enjoyed this quick overview of the most famous landmarks in Italy. Safe travel planning!