As the birthplace of the Roman Empire, the cradle of the Renaissance and the home of high fashion, Italy has no shortage of world-famous sights, both ancient and modern. Whether you’re exploring Italy on a short break in Rome or discovering new places in Florence, Genoa or Milan, check out our must-see sights in Italy to help plan your break and, hopefully, learn something new along the way…
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Top Fact: the tower leans at an angle of 3.99 degrees. This means the top of the tower is 4 metres displaced from the centre. In May 2008, the tower stopped moving for the first time in its history and has been declared stable for the next 200 years.
The Colosseum, Rome
Top Fact: famous for its gladiatorial contests, the Colosseum also showcased exotic animals from around the Roman Empire including rhinoceros, hippopotamuses, elephants, giraffes, lions, bears, tigers, crocodiles and ostriches.
Uffizi Gallery, Florence
Top Fact: one of the most visited art museums in the world, the Uffizi hosts millions of visitors each year and contains masterpieces by Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian and Caravaggio.
St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
Top Fact: covering nearly six acres, it is the largest church building in the world. The crypts below the Basilica house the tombs of 91 popes and even exiled British royalty in the form of Charles Edward Stuart, better known as “Bonnie Prince Charlie”.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan
Top Fact: nicknamed il salotto di Milano (Milan’s drawing room), the Galleria is a popular place to meet and shop with high-end boutiques including Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Armani, Prada & Versace.
Casa di Giulietta, Verona
Top Fact: although Romeo and Juliet are fictional characters and Shakespeare never visited Verona, the “Juliet balcony” has become a hugely popular tourist attraction with visitors recreating the famous scene between the star-crossed lovers – “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?”
Piazza San Marco, Venice
Top Fact: the piazza is surrounded by historic buildings including St Mark’s Basilica with its iconic bell tower, the Biblioteca Marciana, Palazzo della Zecca and the Doge’s Palace.
Piazza del Campo, Siena
Top Fact: twice a year, locals pack the square to watch the Palio di Siena, a traditional horse race run for three laps of the piazza. The race was featured in the James Bond film Quantum of Solace.
Capuchin Catacombs, Palermo
Top Fact: a macabre tourist attraction, the catacombs contain over 8000 bodies, some better preserved than others. The mummies are divided into categories including men, women, children, priests & monks.
Lighthouse of Genoa
Top Fact: built in 1543, it is one of the oldest lighthouses in the world and still among the tallest. Genoa’s local football match, played between Sampdoria and Genoa is called “Derby della Lanterna” after the lighthouse.