20 Famous Landmarks in Italy

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A land with a long history, there’s a treasure trove of landmarks in Italy that are instantly recognisable. Italy is a history lover’s dream destination, packed with Greek temples, Roman ruins, Baroque churches and from medieval castles. Italy’s UNESCO World Heritage sites reflect the mastery in architecture and building. With so many enchanting historic town centres, with clusters of monuments, in many places, it’s challenging to pick out individual landmarks. 

20 Landmarks in Italy For Your Bucket List

Top Tour

If you only have time for ONE tour, make it the Rome: Skip-the-Line Tour to Colosseum, Forum, Palatine Hill to see several landmarks in this city.

Rome Landmarks

The Roman Empire left a legacy of ruins right throughout Europe, but as there’s nowhere better to see Roman monuments than Rome.

It’s not surprising that the headquarters of the Roman Empire is a treasure trove of historical landmarks that deserve to be on everyone’s bucket list.

1- The Colosseum

famous monument in italy
The Colosseum is one of the most recognised historic landmarks in Italy.

One of the most famous landmarks in Italy is the Colosseum, which Emperor Vespasian completed in 80AD.

This is a 2000-year-old stone and concrete monument that was once an arena for gladiators to fight it out to the end.


The oval amphitheatre is vast enough to fit a football pitch and is as high as a 12-storey building.

With 80 entrances and seating to accommodate 50,000 spectators, it’s easy to imagine the crackle in the air as gladiators went to combat. 

These ancient warriors fought other gladiators and an assortment of wild animals.

The events were a form of entertainment sponsored by the Emperors to win the people’s hearts.

Touring the Colosseum is one of the best things to do in Rome at night. 

Recommended tours:

2- Roman Forum

famous Italian landmarks roman forum
When visiting the Roman Forum, you will discover its unique Roman landmarks.

During the 7th century BC, the Roman Forum was the political, social and commercial hub of the Roman Empire.

From above, the Roman Forum is a sprawling landmark of ancient Rome. 

It showcases well-preserved ruins that were once temples, churches and public buildings.

Within the Roman Forum are many individual landmarks that highlight the dominance of the Roman Empire.

These include The Rostra, where Roman leaders delivered speeches, the Arch of Septimus Severus and the Temple of Castor and Pollux.

Recommended tour: Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill Priority Access Guide

3- The Pantheon

italy landmarks pantheon
The Pantheon is one of the most well-known of all the Italy landmarks on the list.

Built during the reign of Hadrian (around 125AD), The Pantheon is one of the unique historical landmarks in Italy.

Not only is it the most well-preserved building from ancient Rome, but it’s also a jaw-dropping architectural structure with an impressive dome.

It’s mind-boggling to think how this landmark of ancient Rome has remained intact for over 2000 years.

What’s even more impressive is that the giant dome is the largest concrete dome in the world that is not reinforced.

The tomb of Renaissance painter Raphael is within the Pantheon.

The structure’s original purpose is a mystery, although it became a church in 609 AD.

It has remained a church ever since, and you can attend Sunday Mass.

Recommended tour: Pantheon Audio Guide Tour

4- Trevi Fountain

rome landmark
Make a wish at this landmark in Rome, and you’re sure to return one day.

If you throw a coin over your left shoulder, with your right hand, according to the legend, doing this will most likely ensure your return to Rome.

The Trevi Fountain is a Baroque work of art and a landmark of Italy that has appeared in numerous movies.

Completed in 1762, the fountain is next to Palazzo Poli near the Spanish Steps.

It attracts thousands who come to admire its beauty and put the legend to the test.

Recommended tour: Rome: Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus Tour

Other Historic Landmarks in Italy

5- Leaning Tower in Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of Italy’s landmarks attracting thousands of visitors.

The 12th-century tower was built in sandy soil and started leaning each year gradually.

Strangely, the tower in Tuscany has started leaning less and has straightened up by about 4 cm/1.5 inches. 

This might have resulted from work done to keep it from falling over.

The tower is now back to its tilt at the start of the 19th century. Skip the line and book your entrance ticket here.

6- Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

italian landmarks florence
Florence is full of stunning Renaissance landmarks, making it one of the most beautiful cities in Italy.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is the one architectural landmark that is an icon gracing Florence’s skyline.

Its beautiful Renaissance dome, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, is quite a sight and instantly identifies the city.

The Gothic Cathedral was constructed on the site of the 7th-century Santa Reparata church, the remains of which are in the crypt.

It took two centuries to complete this work of art, beginning from the 13th century, while the famous dome was a 15th-century addition.

The most significant work of art in the cathedral is Giorgio Vasari’s frescoes of the Last Judgment, completed in 1579.

Visiting the cathedral is one of the things to do in Florence you will love. 

Recommended tour: Florence: Duomo Cathedral Guided Tour

7- St Mark’s Basilica

italy landmarks in venice
This classic Venice landmark will draw you back again and again.

Venice’s most famous piazza, where thousands of pigeons flock to sit on people’s heads, is a vibrant spot that is surrounded by graceful architecture.

Piazza San Marco started in the 9th century as part of the grounds of the Doge’s Palace.

Today, it’s home to many of the most famous landmarks in Italy, including St Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace.

St Mark’s Basilica is the most photogenic of all the monuments around the square.

Its Byzantine architecture has appeared in magazines and images around the world.

The building was built in the 11th century to symbolise Venetian wealth.

Later, in 1807, the Roman Catholic church turned it into Venice’s cathedral.

Visiting the square is one of the top things to do in Venice. 

Recommended tour: Doge’s Palace & St. Mark’s Basilica with Terrace Access Tour

8- Pompeii Ruins

historical italy landmarks pompeii
An Italy landmark leftover from an ancient civilisation is a fascinating place to visit.

The ruins of ancient Pompeii were discovered in 1748, and much of the city was miraculously intact.

Pompeii’s amphitheatre was built in 70 BC.

It’s the oldest pre-Colosseum-style amphitheatre remaining in the world.

How it survived the eruption of Vesuvius is fascinating to ponder.

Recommended tour: Pompeii Ruins Skip-the-Line Small Group Tour

9- Milan Cathedral

landmark in italy milan cathedral
Milan Cathedral is one of the most famous architectural landmarks in Italy.

There are many reasons why Duomo di Milano is one of the most impressive Italy landmarks to see.

Not only is it the second-largest cathedral in the world, but it’s also one of the most beautiful, with distinctive spires.

A creation that started in the 14th century, the cathedral is a mosaic of different types of design where over 78 architects have left their mark.

Thousands of artisans and sculptors worked on this magnificent monument with 3,400 statues, 135 gargoyles and 700 figurines.

There’s a viewing platform where, on a clear day, the view of Milan framed by the snow-peaked Alps is stunning.

Skip the line and book your ticket to the Cathedral and rooftop here.

10- Basilica of the Sacre Monte di Varallo

In northern Piedmont, 66km from Vercelli, the Sacro Monte di Varallo is a cluster of 45 chapels, a unique Italian landmark.

Sacre Monte di Varallo is one of nine Sacri Monti (Sacred Mountains) part of a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Created by Franciscan friars in 1491 to simulate Jerusalem.

The main building is the 1614 Basilica, but you’ll want to explore the entire site.

Other chapels portray the life of Christ through frescoes and 800 life-size terracotta statues.

11- Mole Antonelliana

italy landmarks turin
The distinctive dome of the Mole in Turin makes it one of the unique Italy landmarks of all.

At 167.5 m (550 ft) high, Mole Antonelliana is an imposing structure with an unusual conical dome seen from just about anywhere in Turin.

Architect Alessandro Antonelli designed the 19th-century landmark in Italy’s first capital as a synagogue for the Jewish community.

These days, the building is home to the National Museum of Cinema, which has an impressive collection of cinema paraphernalia.

Visiting Mole Antonelliana is one of the things to do in Turin, not to be missed. 

If you’re visiting Turin at the right time of the year, check out Turin’s Slow Food Festival, Salone del Gusto. 

Recommended: Torino+Piemonte 2-Day City Card

12- Caserta Royal Palace

italy landmarks caserta
This royal palace is a lesser-known gem of a landmark in Italy.

Caserta is a palace complex built by King Charles III during the mid-18th century as Italy’s answer to Versailles and the Royal Palace in Madrid.

Located in the north of Naples, the complex is fit for royalty, with a palace, gardens, natural woodlands, hunting lodges, and a silk factory.

There are impressive fountains and a waterfall, four courtyards and three atriums.

Aqueduct Carolino’s viaduct “Ponti Della Valle” is a marvel of engineering, with infrastructure that served the palace and mills, ironworks and manufacturing industries.

Recommended tour: Caserta Royal Palace Ticket and Audio Guide with Train Option

13- Romeo and Juliette Balcony in Verona

landmarks italy verona
The entire old town of Verona is a landmark of Italian history.

It’s easy to see why Verona is one of Italy’s most beautiful cities.

Verona is also one of the most romantic places in Italy, known for its famous Juliet balcony from “Romeo and Juliet”.

Some of its famous landmarks and monuments date back to the medieval age when the wealthiest families in Verona flaunted their wealth.

The ‘Tower of the City’ in Piazza Delle Erbe is 84 m (275 feet) high and graces the skyline of Verona’s UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

Get the Verona Card with Arena Priority Entrance to save money on access to the city’s landmarks.

14- Rocca Maggiore

Rocca Maggiore in Assisi is a 12th-century castle and fortress atop a hill overlooking Assisi.

Set among the rolling hills of Umbria, Assisi was the birthplace of the patron saint of Italy, St. Francis.

The UNESCO World Heritage town is a treasure trove of historical sights.

They include the Basilica of San Francesco, which is St. Francis’ burial place, and the Basilica of Santa Chiara, home to the tomb of St. Clare.

Climb the Maschio tower for a panoramic view of Assisi and the Umbrian Valley.

Recommended tour: Assisi 3-Hour Small Group Tour & St. Francis Basilica Visit

Natural Landmarks in Italy

15- Mount Vesuvius

italy landmarks mount etna
Mount Vesuvius is a famous natural landmark in Italy.

Mount Vesuvius is the volcano that adorns the skyline of the Bay of Naples.

It’s a natural landmark in Italy that has erupted over 50 times and is part of the Campanian volcanic arc of volcanoes.

The most famous historical eruption occurred in 79 AD, burying Pompeii for over 2000 years.

Although Vesuvius’s last major volcanic eruption was in 1944, it’s still an active volcano that could potentially threaten the millions of people living around it.

Recommended tour: From Naples or Sorrento: Full-Day Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius Tour

16- Dolomites

natural italian landmarks dolomites
The Dolomites would have to be one of the best natural landmarks in Italy.

The Dolomites is a stunning natural landmark in Italy and a paradise for adventure seekers.

In winter, it’s the place to go skiing or snowboarding, while at other times of the year, it’s great for mountain climbing, hiking and cycling.

The 141,903-ha mountain range in the northern Italian Alps has 18 peaks higher than 3,000 m.

The landscapes are stunning, with sheer cliffs and deep valleys.

Recommended tour: From Venice: Dolomites, Lake Misurina, and Cortina Day Trip

17- Mount Etna

Sicily’s east coast is home to Mount Etna, an active stratovolcano 3,300 m high; it’s also Europe’s biggest active volcano.

The volcano has erupted many times since the Roman era, most recently in 2017, although its last major eruption was in 2008/2009.

If you’re an active traveller, climbing Mount Etna to look into the crater is a bucket list experience.

Recommended tour: Guided Volcano Summit Hiking Tour with Cable Car

18- Lake Garda

landmarks italy lake garda scaligero castle
Scaligero Castle on Lake Garda is one of the most eye-catching landmarks in Italy.

The largest lake in Italy straddles the provinces of Verona, Brescia and Trento.

Measuring 50 km – from north to south – and 20 km from east to west, Lake Garda is an impressive natural landmark in Italy when seen from the sky.

Covering an area of 370km² (143miles²), there’s plenty to see on and around the lake, including picturesque Scaligero Castle, a national monument of Italy.

Recommended: Gardaland Park Open Date Entry Ticket.

19- Lake Como

Mountains and charming villages dot the landscape around Lake Como, the third-largest lake in Italy, marking the scene in the shape of a Y.

One of the world’s most famous historic hotels, Villa d’Este, has an enviable position on the lake.

Stately gardens and lovely fountains surround the grand historic hotel.

Built in 1568, Villa d’Este became the home of Princess Caroline of Brunswick.

Recommended tour: From Milan: Lake Como, Bellagio, and Varenna or Menaggio

20- Torre Unicredit

italian landmarks milan
Can you guess where the tallest building in Italy is? This soaring Italian landmark is in one of the busiest cities in the country.

Torre Unicredit is the tallest of a host of modern Italy landmarks.

The tower is 231 m high. It has a spiral that stretches up to the sky, a shiny glass surface and contemporary curves that reflect natural light.

The urban areas around the skyscraper and the piazza are part of a significant urban renewal project.

For more amazing European Landmarks read:

Italy Landmarks

Italy Landmarks

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Christina Pfeiffer
Christina Pfeiffer is a writer, photographer and video blogger based in Queensland, Australia. She has lived in three continents and her career as a travel journalist has taken her to all seven continents. Since 2003, she has contributed travel stories and photographs to mainstream media in Australia and around the world such as the Sydney Morning Herald, CNN Traveller, The Australian and the South China Morning Post. She has won many travel writing awards and is a full member of the Australian Society of Travel Writers.