Lake Como is one of Italy’s most beautiful lakes. Framed by stunning hills filled with woodland and located just beyond the Rhaetian Alps, the lake provides an idyllic backdrop for photographs and is perfect for a quiet break away. Contrary to popular belief, there are places you can stay around the lake that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, and restaurants can be found within budget too!
Vatican City is an independent city within Rome and is not only a headquarters to the Roman Catholic Church, but also houses the Sistine Chapel, famous for Michelangelo’s painted ceiling. With construction beginning in around 4th Century A.D., Vatican City is now home to 1,000 residents, making this the smallest state in the world by population. Out of respect, you should wear long-sleeve shirts and a pair of long trousers. If you happen to miss out on the rule don’t worry – you can buy a cloak that will cover your arms and your legs!
The Colosseum was formerly an amphitheatre and is the largest ever built. Built between 70-80 A.D., the ancient Romans would congregate here to watch things such as gladiatorial combats, wild animal fights. Unfortunately due to natural disasters, predominantly earthquakes, this magnificent structure had collapsed on one side. This has been restored many times but as it is so old damage is expected – see it before it’s too late!
St Mark’s Basilica
St Mark’s Basilica is the most visited tourist attraction in Venice. The very first St Mark’s Basilica was built on this spot to house stolen relics in the 9th Century and now features enough mosaic to cover 1.5 American football fields. Many of the treasures within the Basilica were brought back from crusades, including the four bronze horses!
This stunning and huge monument hidden in Rome was designed by architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Pietro Bracci. In the centre of the fountain, a statue of Oceanus can be seen underneath an intricate arch. His chariot is being pulled by two seahorses; a wild one and a docile one to represent the moods of the ocean, and guiding these seahorses there are two Tritons, the elder holding a twisted shell to announce their passage. It is said that throwing a coin from your right hand over your left shoulder will ensure you return to Rome in the future.
Pompeii is a large archaeological site near Naples which was famously buried beneath a thick carpet of ash and pumice from Mount Vesuvius when it erupted in 79 A.D. The city was frozen in time until the year of 1748 when it was discovered by a surveying engineer. The site is well preserved and features excavated ruins of houses and streets that visitors can look around freely.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
The construction of the Leaning Tower of Pisa commenced in August 1173 and took 199 years to complete. The outcome? An unintentional tilt caused by shifting soil destabilising the foundations! Due to renovation work conducted between 1990 and 2001, the tower is now believed to be stable for the next two to three centuries. Fewf!
The Pantheon formerly stood as a temple to all Gods, however now stands as a Church in the City of Rome and is one of the best preserved ancient Roman monuments. The dome of the Pantheon is the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the entire world and stands at about 142 feet in diameter.
Duomo di Milano
Duomo di Milano is one of the largest cathedrals in Italy and Europe and is dedicated to St Mary of the Nativity. This extravagant structure took nearly six centuries to be built in its entirety and is home to around 3,400 statues, 135 gargoyles and 700 figures. You can also climb up to the roof where you can be blown away by stunning views that stretch across Milan, and on clearer days you can even see the snowcapped peaks of the Alps!
The Roman Forum
The Roman Forum was originally an Etruscan burial ground that was first developed in 7 Century BC and grew into a social, political and commercial hub of the Ancient Roman Empire. Now it stands as a stunning and impressive if slightly confusing landscape of ruins where you can see the remnants of temples, basilicas and public spaces.
The Baths of Caracalla
The Baths of Caracalla are some of the best preserved ancient buildings from the Roman times. These baths were the second largest in the City and could accommodate up to 1600 bathers at a time. The ruins of the baths still tower over tourists today and only visiting it in person will emphasise the true scale of this magnificent structure. The Baths of Caracalla were equipped with two libraries, a swimming pool for recreational use and sprawling gardens. Whilst the gardens are still there to be enjoyed, you will need to put your imagination to use when wandering around this extensive complex and viewing the excavated artefacts from centuries ago.
Valley of the Temples
The Valley of the Temples is one of Sicily’s most famous historical attractions and is highlighted by the well-preserved Temple of Concordia, which was built by the Ancient Greeks and is one of several hill-top temples that formerly acted as beacons for returning sailors. The site is so vast that it has been split into two sections, the Eastern zone and the Western Zone.