But Italy’s top attractions for tourists are not all art and architecture; the country is blessed with lakes, mountains, and a dramatic coastline that give it outstanding natural attractions, as well. This list of top places to visit is only the beginning of outstanding things to see and do in Italy
10. ROMAN FORUM
The Roman Forum may require a little imagination to understand exactly what this area once looked like. However, its historical significance as the heart of the Roman Empire cannot be overstated. Pillars, partial structures, and foundations of former temples, market halls, courts, and public buildings pay tribute to Ancient Rome, which stood here for a thousand years.
9. ST. MARK’S BASILICA
One of the most important tourist sites in Venice is St. Mark’s Basilica. Most visitors in Venice will find themselves in the famous square, Piazza San Marco, in front of the basilica, looking at the main west-facing facade. Next to the basilica is the Doge’s Palace, also filled with priceless masterpieces of Italian art.
8. CINQUE TERRE
Cinque Terre is a lovely coastal region with steep hills and sheer cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean. The five picturesque villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore can be reached by several means, joined to each other by walking paths, a railroad that tunnels through the headlands to emerge at each town, or a scenic narrow road high on the hillside above.
7. FLORENCE DUOMO SANTA MARIA DEL FIORE
Regarded as one of the finest cathedrals in the world, the Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore, or the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, dominates the Florence skyline. The cathedral was built between the 13th and 15th centuries, with the most famous piece being the extraordinary dome, completed by Filippo Brunelleschi in 1434. The cathedral’s bell tower stands close beside the cathedral in Piazza del Duomo, covered in the same patterned marble typical of Tuscan Romanesque architecture.
6. AMALFI COAST
The Amalfi Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a stunning stretch of coastline along the Sorrentine Peninsula, south of Naples and Sorrento. Hillside towns are built precariously along the steep mountainsides that cascade down to the sea. You can tour the coast by road or hop between towns by boat for different perspectives of the dramatic and almost vertical shore.
5. LAKE COMO
Lake Como is one of Italy’s most scenic areas, surrounded by mountains and lined by small picturesque towns. A haunt of the wealthy since Roman times, the lake has many opulent villas and palaces along its wooded shores, many of them surrounded by gardens that are open to the public. The mild climate that makes the lakeshore ideal for gardens is also a draw for tourists, with characteristics similar to that of the Mediterranean.
4. THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is actually just one of many attractions in the city of Pisa, but its fame, gained from its flaw, is world renown. Work began on the tower in the 1100s, and the sinking, which led to the lean, began by the time the tower reached the third story. Prior to restoration work in the 1990s, it was predicted to topple over by the year 2000. Today, visitors can climb up the stairs of the tower for a fabulous view of the city.
The still smoking volcano of Mt. Vesuvius looks down on the remains of the city it destroyed in AD 79. But that same eruption also preserved many of the city’s art treasures: frescoes, mosaics, and sculptures that were encased in the lava as it cooled. Visitors can tour the site, walk along the old streets scarred by the tracks of chariots, and see the engineering used by Romans more than 2,000 years ago.
2. VENICE CANALS
A gondola ride through the canals of Venice is a tradition that travelers have been enjoying for centuries. Venice is a city of islands, and the canals have long been the city’s main streets, connected by a labyrinth of narrow passageways. Lining the canals are old buildings that have remained relatively unchanged for hundreds of years, adding to the romantic charm.
The best way to see many of the grand palaces, whose fronts face the water, is from a Vaporetto ride along the Grand Canal.
For travelers making their way through Italy, the Colosseum is a must-see. This huge Amphitheater is the largest of its kind ever built by the Roman Empire and has remained a model for sports facilities right up to modern times. Built as a venue for public spectacles and shows – even mock sea battles, it had a wooden floor that was 83 by 48 meters. It’s a prominent reminder of ancient times and the extensive history of Rome.