What is Italy famous for?- Top 20 Most Popular Attractions in Italy

Italy Blog

Ancient ruins, world-famous museums, historic squares, and imposing cathedrals – Italy is full of sights. It’s hard to make a list of the best because they are all worth a visit. However, to help you with the wide range of Italian attractions, you will find the top 20 most popular attractions in Italy in this article.

What is Italy famous for

Rome, Florence, Venice – many Italian cities hold at least one of Italy’s most important sights for its visitors. The Colosseum, the Rialto Bridge, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa are just a few of the highlights worth seeing. Scenes of gladiator fights, buildings decorated by great artists, or stretches of land that are a sight all their own. Italy has a long history to tell. Listen to it and go on an extraordinary journey with the Italian attractions. Here are the top 20 most famous sights in Italy:

What is Italy famous for
#1 What is Italy famous for

1. Colosseum

The Colosseum is the most popular landmark of Rome, if not of all Italy. The imposing and world-famous architectural masterpiece impresses with an extent of 527 meters and a height of 48 meters. Today the Colosseum is a jewel. Back then, it was a bloody scene of bestial gladiator fights for the pleasure of the imperial families.

Colosseum in Rome
#2 What is Italy famous for

The mighty Colosseum had room for 50,000 spectators, and the entrance was free. However, only the free citizens of the city and the Roman Empire were allowed to enter. The largest amphitheater in the world is something you should not miss during a trip to Italy. After all, the Colosseum, called Amphitheatrum Flavium in ancient times, is one of the world’s seven new wonders! Although the Colosseum opens at 8:30 AM (8:30 hours) all year round, it closes at different times. So be sure to check out the closing hours on the day you visit.

Rome Colosseum
#3 What is Italy famous for

Since the Colosseum is the most popular attraction in Rome, the waiting line for tickets is usually very long. To avoid that, you should get the combined ticket for the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. The waiting line for tickets is much shorter at Roman Forum, so bus the combined ticket there. With that ticket, you can pass the waiting line in front of the Colosseum. Every first Sunday of the month, you can visit the Colosseum for free.

Rome Colosseum Attraction
#4 What is Italy famous for
  • Location: Rome
  • Opening hours: Every day from 8:30 AM (8:30 hours), closing time changes seasonally.
  • Entrance fee: 12 euros adults, 7,50 euros youths (18-25 years, EU citizens), free for all under 18 years
  • Additional info: The square around the Colosseum is a pedestrian zone. Public transportation will get you close, and you can walk the rest of the way

2. Leaning Tower of Pisa

Hardly any other structure stands for a city as much as the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Already after the construction of the third floor in the 12th century, the tower started to incline. The reason for the leaning was the subsoil. It was not firm enough to support the heavy tower and the floors. After the incline began, it became too risky for the builders, and construction was put on hold for a full 100 years.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa
#5 What is Italy famous for

Then in the 14th century, after another interruption in construction, the tower was completed. To compensate for the slope to the southeast, the subsequent floors were also built with a slope. Today, the leaning tower of Pisa shows a slope of four degrees. Very impressive sight if you look at it with your own eyes. There are seven bells, eight floors, and around 300 steps in the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It is located in Piazza Dei Miracoli, the Square of Miracles, which is 56 meters wide.

Pisa the leaning tower
#6 What is Italy famous for

Together with the cathedral, the cemetery, and the Baptistery, Pisa’s Leaning Tower is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To reduce the waiting in line, you should buy a ticket online in advance to go up the tower.

  • Location: Pisa
  • Opening hours: Every day from 10:00 AM (10:00 hours) until 6:00 PM (18:00 hours)
  • Entrance fee: 18 euros per person, no discount for students and children
  • Additional info: You are not allowed to take any bags inside the tower. You can put them in a locker.

3. Milan Cathedral

Milan is the fashion capital of Italy and also the capital of the Lombardy region. But Milan also has a lot to offer in terms of art and culture. The Milan Cathedral is the heart of the city and definitely belongs on the list of top sights in Italy.

Milan Cathedral
#7 What is Italy famous for

The highlight of this fashion city looks incredible. It took almost six centuries until the cathedral was completed. Napoleon Bonaparte was the last to lay hands on Milan Cathedral and put the finishing touches on it. Now the former monastery church shines in full bloom in Milan’s Cathedral Square. After St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, Milan Cathedral is the second-largest cathedral in all of Italy. Be sure to head up to the cathedral terraces. The view of Milan from up here is breathtaking.

Cathedral in Milan
#8 What is Italy famous for

The waiting line is usually very long due to the strict security checks. If you did not get skip-the-line tickets in advance, you would be waiting twice: in line for the ticket and line for the security checks. We recommend you to check the waiting line at the cathedral early in the morning when there are fewer people. Alternatively, the afternoon is also a good time to visit.

  • Location: Milan
  • Opening hours: Every day from 8:00 AM (8:00 hours) until 1:00 PM (13:00 hours)
  • Entrance fee: Free (Duomo), 7 euros (Duomo Terraces with stairs), 12 euros (Duomo Terraces with elevator)
  • Additional info: When visiting the cathedral, make sure you wear the right clothes. Legs and shoulders should be covered. Otherwise, you will not be allowed to enter.

4. Saint Mark’s Square in Venice

Saint Mark’s Square is the hotspot in Venice not only because of the many pigeons. The 175 meters long and 82 meters wide square on the Grand Canal shines majestically with numerous historic buildings. The world-famous Doge’s Palace is located there. Formerly the seat of administration and government and Napoleon’s home, the Doge’s Palace is now a modern art museum. The building’s secret passageways, which you can walk through, once connected the palace to the prison.

Saint Marks Square Venice
#9 What is Italy famous for

On the west side of Saint Mark’s Square is another important sight: Saint Mark’s Basilica, the most important church in Venice. Numerous mosaics, some of them still original, decorate the cathedral from the inside. You should also not miss Sant Mark’s Tower, the cathedral’s bell tower. It rises 99 meters on Saint Mark’s Square. Go up and enjoy a breathtaking view of Venice. If you want to see all the sights on Saint Mark’s Square in peace, it is best to plan a whole day.

Venice Saint Marks Square
#10 What is Italy famous for

Saint Mark’s Square and its buildings are the highlights of any trip to Venice. Therefore, you should get skip-the-line tickets for Doge’s Palace, Saint Mark’s Basilica, and Saint Mark’s Tower before your go there. This way, you will avoid unnecessary waiting lines at the ticket offices.

  • Location: Venice
  • Opening hours: Doge’s Palace every day from 8:30 AM (8:30 hours) until 5:00 PM (17:00 hours), Saint Mark’s Basilica from 9:30 AM (9:30 hours) until 5:00 PM (17:00 hours) Monday to Saturday and from 2:00 PM (14:00 hours) until 4:00 PM (16:00 hours) on Sundays, Saint Mark’s Tower every day from 9:30 AM (9:30 hours) until 1:00 PM (13:00 hours)
  • Entrance fee: Saint Mark’s Square free of charge, Doge’s Palace 19 euros (includes entrance to other museums), Saint Mark’s Basilica free of charge, Saint Mark’s Tower 8 euros
  • Additional info: Remember to cover your shoulders and legs when entering Saint Mark’s Basilica

5. Florence Cathedral

The Italians have plenty of churches and cathedrals in their beautiful country. In almost every major city, you will find a gem of these religious buildings. The cathedral of Florence is just such a one. The impressive cathedral was built in 1359 and is considered a Renaissance masterpiece.

Florence Cathedral
#11 What is Italy famous for

As you have probably already noticed, the domes of the Italian cathedrals are a highlight for themselves. This also applies to the dome of the cathedral in Florence. Brunelleschi created this outstanding dome, and it fascinates hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. The dome is 107 meters high and has a diameter of about 45 meters. No wonder that this cathedral is one of the largest churches in the world. If you like to walk, you should definitely get a ticket to visit the dome. But, keep in mind that you will have to climb 463 stairs before you can enjoy the wonderful view of Florence.

Cathedral in Florence
#12 What is Italy famous for

You can get a combination ticket for several attractions in Florence. The ticket, which costs 15 euros, is valid for 48 hours and you can use it to visit the cathedral in Florence.

  • Location: Florence
  • Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 10 AM (10:00 hours) until 5:30 PM (17:30 hours), and from 1:00 PM (13:00 hours) until 5:00 PM (17:00 hours) on Sunday
  • Entrance fee: Free for the cathedral, 8 euros for a ticket that includes the dome, the museum, the bell tower, the baptistery, and the crypt

6. Forum Romanum

If you visit the Colosseum in Rome, you should not miss another historical attraction in Italy. The Roman Forum in Rome is like the Agora in Athens: the former economic, political, religious, and cultural center of the city. This is where the Romans bustled, traded, and made judgments. Today, only ruins remained of this important historic place, but it is easy to imagine how Rome looked in the past.

Forum Romanum Rome
#13 What is Italy famous for

In the historic marketplace, built between the Palatine and Capitoline hills, there are numerous ruins of various buildings. Temples, basilicas, public buildings, and many other structures will take you on a journey back in time to Roman history. Walk on the paved main street, the Via Sacra, which will lead you past the destroyed buildings’ excavations and remains. The Temple of Romulus, the Arch of Titus, the Arch of Septimius Severus, the Temple of Castor, and Pollux are among the buildings that are still well preserved.

Rome Forum Romanum
#14 What is Italy famous for
  • Location: Rome
  • Opening hours: Every day from 8:30 AM (8:30 hours), closing time changes seasonally
  • Entrance fee: 12 euros adults, 7,50 euros youths (18-25 years, EU-citizens), free for all under 18 years old

7. Vatican Museums

Rome is home to a large number of the popular tourist attractions of Italy. Among them is Vatican City. The Vatican City is the smallest universally recognized state, which makes this place really special. Also, it is the only place in the world where Latin is an official language.

Vatican Museums Rome
#15 What is Italy famous for

The Vatican Museums are located in the accessible areas of the Vatican and are a must-see on your Rome sightseeing tour. They house a huge art collection, and you can see impressive and beautifully decorated rooms. The highlight of your visit to the Vatican Museums will undoubtedly be the world-famous Sistine Chapel. It is located at the end of the Vatican Museum. The ceiling painting is a masterpiece of the artist called Michelangelo. There you can see with your own eyes the work “The Creation of Adam.” Even those who are not art fans will be impressed.

Sistine Chapel Rome
#16 What is Italy famous for

The Vatican Museums attract thousands of tourists every day. Therefore, the waiting lines for tickets are often very long. You should book the tickets online before you start your tour. With an online ticket, you can pass the waiting line and go directly to the Vatican Museum.

  • Location: Vatican City, Rome
  • Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 9:00 AM (9:00 hours) until 4:00 PM (16:00 hours), closed on Sunday
  • Entrance fee: 17 euros plus 4 euros for “without waiting,” students and families pay a reduced entrance fee, free entrance for children up to 6 years old
  • Additional info: Free entrance on September 27

8. Saint Peter’s Basilica

If you are in the smallest country in the world, you should not miss another Italian sight: Saint Peter’s Basilica. It is located in Saint Peter’s Square and forms the center of the Vatican. The Basilica of Saint Peter, San Pietro by the Italians, is one of the seven pilgrimage churches in Rome. Also, it is one of the most important churches in the world.

Saint Peter's Basilica
#17 What is Italy famous for

The size of Saint Peter’s Basilica is quite impressive. It can hold up to 2,000 people, and the cathedral’s dome has a diameter of about 40 meters. You should definitely take a look at it because you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Vatican from the observation deck of the dome. In the summer, every Wednesday at 10:30 AM (10:30 hours), there is an audience with the Pope, which you can attend. But, be there early enough to get a good seat.

Saint Peter's Basilica Vatican
#18 What is Italy famous for
  • Location: Vatican City, Rome
  • Opening hours: Every day from 7 AM (7:00 hours) until 6 PM (18:00 hours)
  • Entrance fee: Free (cathedral), 6 euros (dome with stairs), 8 euros (dome with elevator)
  • Additional info: Saint Peter’s Basilica is closed during the Pope’s audience.

9. Spanish Steps

There is no other open staircase as famous as the Spanish Steps in Rome. The staircase consists of 136 steps, and it was created in 1723. Once you have climbed the Spanish Steps, you will reach the Trinita Dei Monti church, which can be visited from Monday to Friday and outside of mass hours on weekends.

Spanish Steps Rome
#19 What is Italy famous for

Keep in mind that Rome wants to protect its monuments, and therefore it is forbidden to sit on them. This ban on sitting has recently been extended to the Spanish Steps. If you disregard this rule, you could be fined up to 400 euros. So rather take a photo from a distance and take your little sightseeing break somewhere else. Near the Spanish Steps, more precisely just below them on Via Condotti, you can find a shopping paradise.

Rome Spanish Steps
#20 What is Italy famous for

Italians call the stairs Scalinata di Trinita Dei Monti. The foreigners have derived the name Spanish Steps from the Piazza di Spagna; the square is located directly under the stairs.

  • Location: Rome
  • Opening hours: Every day, all-day
  • Entrance fee: Free for all visitors

10. Trevi Fountain

With a height of 26 meters and a width of 50 meters, the Trevi Fountain is the largest in Rome. It is a trendy place for taking photos and is often very crowded. This place is also popular for pickpocketers, so be aware! You can find the fountain, whose construction began in 1732 and was completed in 1762, at Palazzo Poli in Piazza di Trevi.

Trevi Fountain
#21 What is Italy famous for

In the center of the fountain is enthroned Neptune, god of the sea, pulled by two horses. According to tradition, you should throw coins into the Trevi Fountain. Only those who throw the coins over their right shoulder into the fountain will make it back to Rome. A second coin toss will make you fall in love with a Roman man or woman. With a third coin, you can be sure that you will marry the person.

Trevi Fountain Rome
#22 What is Italy famous for

The best time to visit the Trevi Fountain is in the evening when the sun is setting. Then the water and the figures shine in a beautiful light.

  • Location: Rome
  • Opening hours: Every day, all-day
  • Entrance fee: Free for all visitors

11. Verona Arena

If you want to see the third largest of the preserved ancient amphitheaters of Italy, you should not miss Verona. There stands the Arena of Verona, which is very similar to the Colosseum in Rome. Verona’s amphitheater was built to host gladiator fights, but today, it is used as an open-air opera house and seats 22,000 spectators.

Verona Arena
#23 What is Italy famous for

If you are an opera lover, a concert in Verona’s old amphitheater is the perfect show for you. For the most expensive tickets, you will pay up to 170 euros. With these tickets, you will be seated at the very front of the theater on comfortable chairs. If you don’t want to spend that much, but still want to see a performance, you can also settle for cheaper tickets starting at 20 euros. But then you will sit on the stone stairs, so keep that in mind.

Arena Verona
#24 What is Italy famous for
  • Location: Verona
  • Opening hours: On Monday from 8:30 AM (8:30 hours) until 1:30 PM (13:30 hours), and from Tuesday to Sunday from 1:30 PM (13:30 hours) until 7:30 PM (19:30 hours)
  • Entrance fee: 10 euros, 7,50 euros for students, free entrance for children up to 7 years old

12. Pompeii

Pompeii tells the story of one of the most tragic events in humans history. It is located at the foot of an active volcano called Vesuvius, and lava masses buried it in 79 AD. The two volcanic eruptions had tragic consequences. Hardly any human life was left behind. Those who escaped were lucky, but those who stayed were buried by lava and ash.

Pompeii Italy
#25 What is Italy famous for

The once prosperous city of Pompeii was completely destroyed. Only the buildings’ archaeological excavations remain as witnesses of the past. But these remains are very well preserved by the ashes and tell you the history of the city. You can even see the sculptures that were created from the human remains found under the lava masses. They show you the unsuccessful struggle for survival during the volcanic eruption.

Pompeii
#26 What is Italy famous for
  • Location: Gulf of Naples, Campania
  • Opening hours: Every day from 9:00 AM (9:00 hours) until 5:00 PM (17:00 hours) in Winter, and 7:30 PM (19:30 hours) in Summer
  • Entrance fee: 13 euros, 7,50 euros for students, free for EU citizens under 18 years old
  • Additional info: Every first Sunday of the month, you can visit Pompeii for free

13. Angel Castle

Near the Vatican, on the right bank of the Tiber river, sits the famous Castel Sant’Angelo. The mighty fortress, which has a far-reaching story to tell and has had very different uses, should definitely be on your sightseeing list for Rome.

Angel Castle Rome
#27 What is Italy famous for

Even the way to Castel Sant’Angelo leaves an impression. The bridge is lined with beautiful statues and sculptures of angels. The builder was the Roman emperor Hadrian, who created a mausoleum for himself and his successors. Later, Castel Sant’Angelo was used as a fortress, it served as a refuge for many popes, and nowadays, it is an impressive museum. You can see the fascinating paintings, frescoes, and former furnishings inside the Castel Sant’Angelo. Furthermore, you can visit many of the halls, storerooms, and the mausoleum of Emperor Hadrian. Do not forget to go to the castle’s terrace from where you will have a beautiful view of Rome.

Rome Angel Castle
#28 What is Italy famous for
  • Location: Rome
  • Opening hours: Every day from 9:00 AM (9:00 hours) until 7:30 PM (19:30 hours)
  • Entrance fee: 10 euros for adults, 5 euros for EU citizens under 25 years old, free for children and teenagers under 18 years old

14. Villa Borghese

There is a particularly green spot in Rome, the Villa Borghese Park, between historical buildings and ruins. If you want to experience peace in Eternal City, this park is the perfect destination for you. The park has five square kilometers full of trees, meadows, and plants. In summer, you can find a shady spot under a tree to escape from the warm sun.

Villa Borghese Rome
#29 What is Italy famous for

There is a lake in the park where you can even sail around in a boat. A popular place for photos is a temple that stands there on the shore. Another popular destination in the green area is the Galleria Borghese. On two floors and in 20 halls, you will find various paintings and statues that belong to one of the world’s most famous private art collections. There is also the zoo that is currently home to 1,114 animals of about 200 species.

Rome Villa Borghese
#30 What is Italy famous for
  • Location: Rome
  • Opening hours: Every day, all-day, the zoo every day from 9:30 AM (9:30 hours) until 6 PM (18:00 hours)
  • Entrance fee: Free entrance to the park, 16 euros for the zoo

15. Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi is an original complex of buildings in Florence that housed the ministers and offices of Florence. But the exciting thing about the Uffizi is the art collection housed in the building and open to the public.

Uffizi Gallery Florence
#31 What is Italy famous for

There are over 1,000 different artworks in this world-famous museum, displayed in over 50 halls. If you are a lover of paintings, sculptures, printing, and art in general, the Uffizi is a must-see. But even if you are not into art, you should not miss seeing works from antiquity to the late Baroque. The Galleria Degli Uffizi offers something for anyone.

Florence Uffizi Gallery
#32 What is Italy famous for
  • Location: Florence
  • Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 8:15 AM (8:15 hours) until 6:50 PM (18:50 hours), closed on Mondays
  • Entrance fee: 20 euros for adults, 8 euros for children and teens ages up to 17 years old

16. Vesuvius

Mount Vesuvius is probably known worldwide as the monster that destroyed Pompeii in 79 AD. It is an active volcano located on the Gulf of Naples and is one of the popular destinations on a trip through Italy. Whether you go on a guided tour or your own up to the crater of Vesuvius, it is always worth it.

Vesuvius
#33 What is Italy famous for

Many tour buses drive far up to the crater rim, but you still have to walk around 200 meters. If you come in your own car, the paid parking lot is even further away, so you will have to walk about one kilometer to the crater rim. Or, you can take a paid shuttle bus that will bring you closer to the crater.

Vesuvius Volcano
#34 What is Italy famous for

From the ascent and descent, you should plan at least two hours. We advise you to plan even more. Because if you are already on top of the most famous volcano in the world, you should enjoy the moment to the fullest. Who knows when you will climb Vesuvius the next time. In total, Vesuvius is over 1,281 meters high. From the top, you can enjoy the view of the surrounding Campania region.

  • Location: Gulf of Naples, Campania
  • Opening hours: Every day from 9:00 AM (9:00 hours) until 7:00 PM (19:00 hours)
  • Entrance fee: 10 euros
  • Additional info: Vesuvius National Park is very easy to reach by car and public transport.

17. Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast, a beautiful stretch of the shore in Italy’s southwest, is a different kind of attraction but still an exceptional one. This coastal region is a dream destination for all celebrity travelers and all those who want to become one. Romantic places like Positano, Amalfi, Sorrento, and Ravello will take your hearts by storm. The landscape of rugged cliffs and a magnificent variety of flowers and plants is simply beautiful to see and experience.

Amalfi Coast
#35 What is Italy famous for

Furthermore, the clear sea, which shimmers in great blue and turquoise tones, invites you to swim. Colorfully painted house facades and the buildings built on cliffs are an eye-catcher for everyone. Positano is known for its beautiful Spiaggia Grande beach and winding alleys that wind their way up the cliff town. Amalfi, the biggest town on Amalfi Coast, offers the best historical and cultural sights. Sorrento will delight you with its busy Piazza Tasso and small shopping streets. And Ravello will introduce you to large luxurious villas that offer the most amazing views. No wonder the Amalfi Coast is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Italy.

Amalfi Coast Italy
#36 What is Italy famous for
  • Location: Campania region
  • Additional info: You can drive through Amalfi Coast by car. The route from Vietri Sul Mare to Positano is about 50 kilometers long. On this stretch, you will be surprised by surprising and breathtaking views.

18. Cinque Terre

If we started talking about the most beautiful stretches of coast in Italy, our attention should also fall on Cinque Terre. In Italian, Cinque Terre means five villages. These five villages are located on the Italian Riviera in Liguria. The coastline is about twelve kilometers long and impresses with the villages Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.

Cinque Terre
#37 What is Italy famous for

The five villages are located on the steep slopes of the rugged coast. On the one hand, the villages’ position is beautiful and a feast for the eyes, and on the other hand, the villages shine with colorful houses and small fishing boats. The flair of the five villages will inspire and captivate you. Another reason to visit Cinque Terre is the fact that the area is a national park and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. So nature lovers are also at the right place. You can come to Cinque Terre only by train. A single train ticket costs €4 per journey.

Cinque Terre Italy
#38 What is Italy famous for
  • Location: Liguria
  • Additional info: Cinque Terre is an absolute tourist magnet. The ideal time for visiting to avoid crowds is Spring or Autumn.

19. Rialto Bridge

Besides Saint Mark’s Square, Venice has many other popular sights. The Rialto Bridge is one of them. The 48-meter long and 22-meter wide bridge is probably the most famous structure in the city. It took three years to build it, from 1588 to 1591. At that time, the Rialto Bridge was intended to simplify and speed up the flow of traffic.

Rialto Bridge
#39 What is Italy famous for

The name of the bridge comes from the Rialto neighborhood in San Polo. It was once the most important commercial center of Venice. The Rialto bridge is always busy, and snapping a photo without having other tourists in the shot will be difficult. But, if you get up early in the morning and come to the bridge, it is possible to avoid the crowds.

  • Location: Venice
  • Opening hours: Every day, all-day
  • Entrance fee: Free for all visitors

20. Lake Garda

In the north part of Italy, you will find a popular vacation destination. Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy and is one of the most important sights in Italy. If you do not move your next Italy vacation to Lago di Garda, you should at least plan a day trip there. The scenery of the lake is unique. While bathing in the upper Italian lake, you can look at the mountain massifs all around.

Lake Garda Italy
#40 What is Italy famous for

There are no limits to the variety of activities on Lake Garda. You can hike, take a long bike ride, walk serenely along the lake and visit the various towns. In the region, there are also various amusement parks that you can visit with children. In winter, Lake Garda is a popular destination for sports enthusiasts. Skiing, snowboarding, and sledding through the mountain landscapes are just some of the activities you can do here. As you can see, Lake Garda is definitely worth a visit.

  • Location: Lombardy
  • Additional info: If you want to enjoy Lake Garda’s most beautiful view, climb the Tratto Spino peak of Monte Baldo. If you do not like walking, you can take the cable car and enjoy the panoramic view of the region from the top.