Italy is the home to the major works of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and other famous artists; for the architecture admirer there’s the Colosseum in Rome, St. Mark's Square in Venice and the Piazza del Campo in Siena, one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares, to name a few. Those looking for the countryside will love Tuscany, Umbria, Liguria, Campania or Sicily.
The Vatican in Rome has a fascinating and amazing architecture that attracts a large number of tourists every year. The Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo is among the top attractions in the Vatican. In the Sistine Chapel, the mirrors and the dome of the chapel are the most impressive beauties.
Rome boasts the remaining wonders of the Roman Empire and some of the world's best known landmarks such as the Colosseum. Florence, regarded as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, is Tuscany's most visited city, whereas nearby cities like Siena, Pisa, and Lucca also have rich cultural heritages. Umbria's population is small but it has many important cities such as Perugia and Assisi.
Referred to as “The City of Water”, Venice is the crown jewel of water cities. Romantic gondolas and Italian architecture along the Grand Canal helped earn this status. Stitched together with over 150 canals that have become central to its character, Venice has decayed since its heyday and has more tourists than residents, but with its romantic charm it remains one of the top tourist attractions in Italy.
The world famous Pisa Tower was built over a period of about 177 years. Soon after the construction started in 1173 the tower began to sink due to a poorly laid foundation and was left alone for almost a century. When the construction resumed the engineers built higher floors with one side taller than the other to compensate for the tilt and the tower was finally finished in the 2nd half of the 14th century. Since 2001, the famous tower in Pisa is again open to those wishing to climb it’s 296 steps.
Begun in 1296 in the Gothic style and completed in 1436, The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore is Florence’s beautiful cathedral and symbol of the city. The exterior of the basilica is faced with polychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink bordered by white. The basilica is one of Italy’s largest churches, and until the modern era, the dome was the largest in the world. It remains the largest brick dome ever constructed.
Pompeii is Italy's third and the world's 48th most visited destination, with over 2.5 million tourists a year. On August 24, 79 AD, the volcano Vesuvius erupted, covering Pompeii with ash and soil, and subsequently preserving the city in its state from that fateful day. Everything from jars and tables to paintings and people were frozen in time. Its excavation has provided an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of people living two thousand years ago.
Italy is the home to some of the most beautiful lakes and mountains in the world. Lake Como is part of the Italian Lake District and has been popular with visitors for well over 100 years for its combination of fresh air, water, mountains and good weather. The lake is shaped much like an inverted ‘Y’, with two branches starting at Como in the south-west and Lecco in the south-east, which join together half way up and the lake continues up to Colico in the north. The lake is famous for the attractive villas which have been built here since Roman times. Many have admirable gardens which benefit from the mild climate and are able to include tropical as well as temperate plants.