Italy is a country full of history. Tourists flock from everywhere to see the many wonders of this sunny Mediterranean country.
They say that, in Italy, every wall tells a story and every road leads to Rome. And this is more than just a pretty verse for tourists. From Antiquity to modern times, Italy is the home of much of what today is regarded as the pillars of western culture.
Thanks to archaeologists, historians, and great conservation efforts, much of this rich history is to this day preserved in both cities and the countryside. Almost everywhere in the country, you can find traces of a complex and long history that left its mark on the world.
But despite a large number of historical artifacts and buildings, Italy doesn’t feel old at all. A modern country where you can find all the comforts of top tourist destinations, like five-star hotels and Michelin-rated restaurants, Italy is also a mecca for fashion, cinema, and art lovers everywhere.
With so many places to see, missing the important things in this museum-like country can be easy, so we made this list of historical sites you can’t miss if you are planning on spending some days in Italy. Join us to explore some of the country’s most remarkable historical sites!
The Venetian Canals
Enjoying a gondola ride through the many canals of Venice is one of the best ways to experience the floating city, and also a way to join a centuries-old tradition for travelers. The canals function as the city’s streets, allowing transportation and navigation through the many islands that comprise the urban layout.
Among these, the Grand Canal of Venice is the largest and most popular of the waterways. Meandering in an S-shaped path through the city, with a view of the most spectacular palaces that belonged to the wealthiest families in the Venetian Republic. The best way to see some of these ancient mansions is from the water.
In any case, make sure to include some of the smaller, quieter canals in your explorations - some of the most tranquil areas of the city have remained almost unchanged for centuries!
Locally known as Villa Adriana, the Hadrian’s Villa is one of the best-preserved Roman villa complexes in the whole world. An important center of power during Emperor Hadrian’s reign, this villa was built around the year 120 AD, in Tivoli.
The whole complex spans almost 250 acres and has over 30 buildings among other minor structures and points of interest like a large swimming pool, lush gardens, fountains, and nymphaeums. Also, make sure you don’t miss the notorious Maritime Theater.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Tower of Pisa doesn’t need much introduction, since it’s one of the world’s most famous buildings due to its inclined structure that makes it look like it is about to fall down at any given moment. The tower's construction began in 1174, and it started leaning slightly very early on, due to an uneven settling of its foundations.
Visitors can admire the beautifully adorned marble structure from the inside if they fathom climbing the Tower of Pisa’s 300 steps! Just remember to get tickets or guided tours in advance, since it is certainly one of the city’s most popular historical landmarks.
Although home to less than 1,000 official residents and spanning only a hundred acres, the Vatican houses some of the world’s most invaluable works of art and historical buildings. At the heart of its many wonders, there is the grandiose Basilica of St. Peter, where visitors can find the tomb of St. Peter and Michelangelo’s ‘Pieta’.
Art lovers will be rejoiced to see some of the most famous works and frescoes by Renaissance artists like Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello. The many Vatican Museums house all kinds of historical relics and artworks, so make sure to take your time to wander through the city and explore its many secrets.
If you already have visited the ruins of Pompeii, the Roman city famously buried under the volcanic ashes of the Mount Vesuvius’ eruption in 79 AD, but still want to keep exploring the facts behind this fascinating historical event that - albeit catastrophic - helped preserve the daily life of Roman citizens at the time, the city Herculaneum might as well be your next stop.
This city was another one to be buried below the ashes of this tragic volcanic eruption but is far better preserved than its more famous contemporary. Hit even before Pompeii, its inhabitants had no time to escape or even realize what was happening for the most part.
Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can roam through the city’s many houses, temples, baths, and taverns. Some incredible details are still preserved, making it a true paradise for history and art lovers alike.
Let the Roman roads lead you - but do not forget modern comforts!
Italy is one of those countries that make tourists fall in love with their cities, sights, and friendly locals. But don’t forget about the many perks of Italian culture - food and luxurious accommodations make this country a favorite destination for tourists everywhere.
Remember that Italian food isn’t world-famous for nothing, and you definitely don’t want to miss its excellent cuisine. Have some authentic Italian pizza for lunch, delicious pasta with ‘salsa’ for dinner, and leave some room so you can try ‘gelato’ (ice cream) for dessert. After a long day of sightseeing and exploring the country’s rich history, you deserve it!