- Why is Italy the best place to visit?
- A Glimpse of Must-Visit Landmarks in Italy That Should Be On Your List
- 1. The Colosseum in Rome
- 2. The Roman Forum, Rome
- 3. The Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi), Rome
- 4. St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome
- 5. Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence
- 6. The Pantheon, Rome
- 7. The Leaning Tower of Pisa
- 8. Piazza del Campo, Siena
- 9. Cinque Terre, Genoa
- 10. Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral), Milan
- 10. Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Florence
- 11. Basilica di San Francesco, Ravenna
- 12. St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice
- 13. Doge’s Palace, Venice
- 14. Piazza San Marco, Venice
- 15. Mount Vesuvius
- 16. Pompeii, Pompeii
- 17. Rialto Bridge, Venice
- 18. Piazza Maggiore, Bologna
- 19. Verona Arena, Verona
- 20. The Sistine Chapel, Rome
- 21. Amalfi Coast
- FREQUENTLY – ASKED QUESTIONS
- To Sum It Up
- Explore Southern Europe
- You might also like:
Why is Italy the best place to visit?
So, why should Italy top your must-visit list? And why should you think of having a close encounter with the famous Italian landmarks?
You probably have learned many great stories about those landmarks that made Italy the country with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 58 all in all!
Being the birthplace of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance, thus making it rich in history and culture, are only some of the reasons Italy is a must-visit country.
Just the name of this country could take you to remember the famous Romeo and Juliet play by William Shakespeare or one of the best movies of all time, The Godfather. Maybe you got attracted to the cobbled streets of the Eternal City or the magical light of the Tuscan countryside that you’ve been fantasizing about after watching the movie Only You, which starred Robert Downey, Jr. and Marisa Tomei.
The reasons why you should make Italy on top of your list could go on and on. And the more you’ll want to be there once you get to read the list of must-visit landmarks in Italy.
A Glimpse of Must-Visit Landmarks in Italy That Should Be On Your List
1. The Colosseum in Rome
What is the Colosseum?
The Colosseum in Rome, one of the most famous Italian landmarks, is an amphitheater constructed during the rule of the Flavian emperors of the Roman Empire. That’s why it is also called the Flavian Amphitheatre.
The Structure of the Colosseum
The Colosseum is made of stone, concrete, and tuff in the shape of an ellipse. You would be surprised to find out that it is made of that soft, porous rock formed from volcanic ash or dust called ‘tufa’ in Italian or ‘tuff’ in English.
It stands tall in four stories, measuring 620 by 513 feet ( 189 by 156 meters), and could accommodate more or less than 50,000 people.
Why is the Colosseum famous?
This enormous arena is famous not only for its magnificent makeup but because of the history behind it. The emperors used it to host the renowned gladiator combats Rome was known for.
These things made the Colosseum a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980 and one of the famous Italian landmarks that more or less 7M people visit each year.
When was the Colosseum built?
Between 70 and 72 CE (“Common Era”), during the reign of the Roman Emperor Vespasian, the construction of the Colosseum began and was completed in 80 CE when it was already the reign of Vespasian’s son, Titus.
During 82 CE, the fourth floor was added by the emperor Domitian, the second son of the emperor Vespasian.
It’s a known fact that the construction of this historical landmark is greatly attributed to the enslaved Jews from Judaea after the Romans succeeded in blocking the whole city during the Siege of Jerusalem.
By Jean-Léon Gérôme – phxart.org under commons.wikimedia.org
Why was the Colosseum built?
The Colosseum was built to strengthen Rome again after the tumultuous year of the four emperors in 69 CE. In Addition, Emperor Vespasian wanted to use the Colosseum for entertainment, hosting gladiator fights, hunting animals, Naumachiae (mock naval battles), or mimic sea battles.
More Interesting Facts About The Colosseum
It took 60,000 Jewish slaves to build the Colosseum within nine years, but those years won’t be enough if it is made today.
Consequently, St. Peter’s Basilica was built from fallen pieces when the earthquake partially destroyed the Colosseum in ancient Rome.
Moreover, famous singers like Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Ray Charles, Andrea Bocelli, and Elton John held concerts with the Colosseum in the background, for it’s impossible to have shows inside it.
2. The Roman Forum, Rome
One of the most famous landmarks in Italy is the impressive Roman Forum. Accordingly, it’s a sprawl of ruins shouting of the great history behind it.
It’s a fact that the Roman Forum is the most important of all forums in ancient Rome. You must know that a Forum in ancient Rome is a multipurpose, open area located at the center of the old city. Also, public buildings and colonnades ( rows of columns supporting a roof) surround it. Hence, the forum served as a public meeting place for religious, political, or social activities.
When was the Roman Forum built?
The Roman Forum was built in the 7th century BCE at a site that used to be a swampy burial ground.
Initially, the forum was built as a marketplace where daily shopping happened. As time passed, it adapted to the needs of the people and was where public affairs were held.
And Historians believed that it was around 500 BC when public events in the Roman Forum started taking place.
More Interesting Facts About The Roman Forum
Tomb of the Great Romulus
The Tomb of the great Romulus is in the Roman Forum. Now, don’t start getting scared thinking that you’ll stumble onto the remains of the great historical figure Romulus once you’re in the Roman Forum. Consequently, people believed that Romulus, who founded Rome (hence the name) and killed his twin brother, Remus, is a myth, legend, and folklore. His grave or the spot where the Senate murdered him has a large black marble called the Lapis Niger.
One Ticket For 3 Famous Landmarks
You get to visit three famous landmarks for one ticket! After visiting the Colosseum, you may use the ticket as admission to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill because they are next to each other.
3. The Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi), Rome
What is the Trevi Fountain?
Trevi Fountain or Fontana di Trevi is the best known of the city’s many fountains because it is considered a late Baroque masterpiece. A Baroque masterpiece is a work produced leaning on to the Western style.
Why is the Fontana di Trevi famous?
The Fontana di Trevi is one of the famous landmarks in Italy because of its scenic wonder. Furthermore. It creates the drama with its grand pageantry of mythological and allegorical figures, rock formations that seem so natural, and the still-flowing water coming out of it.
Where is the Trevi Fountain?
The Fontana di Trevi is within the Quirinale district of Rome. The site used to have a demolished fountain in the 17th century because Nicola Salvi won the design competition for a new fountain in 1732. But It was Pietro da Cortona’s idea to combine the palace front and fountain.
And this fountain took almost 30 years to complete.
Why was the Trevi Fountain built?
The fountain was built to help supply water for Central Rome. And the primary water system is called the Aqua Virgo Aqueduct, built in 19BC. Consequently, It provided water used for Roman baths and the fountains of Central Rome.
More Interesting Facts About Fontana di Trevi
Because the fountain is located at the end of the aqueduct and the intersection of three roads, called Tre vie in English “three ways.”
Take note that according to legend, tossing coins into the Fountain could bring good luck. For example, tossing one coin means you’ll be going back to the Eternal City, which is Rome. Then, tossing two coins means going back and falling in love. And finally, three means you’ll go back, fall in love, and marry.
Coins for a Cause
The coins from the fountain are coins for a cause indeed. For instance, every night, they are collected and given to an Italian charity – Caritas. After the collection, they fund a supermarket program to help the needy by providing “debit cards” to help them get groceries.
Thieves in the Night
The coins from the Fontana di Trevi do not escape being stolen by thieves who come at night. Some thieves were caught, but the most famous was D’Artagnan. In fact, he stole coins from the fountain for 34 years and was only detected in 2002.
Santi Vincenzo E Anastacio o Fontana di Trevi
Santi Vincenzo E Anastacio O Fantana di Trevi is the 17th-century old parish church overlooking the Trevi Fountain.
You can reach Trevi Fountain by first, catching the metro to Piazza Barberini. Then, head west to Via del Tritone, after which go south to Via Stamperia. Finally, there you’ll see the square where the fountain is.
4. St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome
St. Peter’s Basilica, Basilica Sancti Petri in Italian, ranks second by the World Atlas as one of the most famous landmarks in Italy and is a sight to behold.
Why is the Basilica Sancti Petri famous?
Certainly, Basilica Sancti Petri is famous because of its dramatic structure. Furthermore, it is designed as a three-aisled Latin cross with a dome at the intersection, directly above the high altar. Consequently, this dome covers the shrine of St. Peter the Apostle. More importantly, this structure, referred to as the church of the Popes, is an important pilgrimage site.
In other words, it is not only one of the famous landmarks in Italy but is also one of the largest churches in the world, built during the Renaissance period.
Piazza San Pietro or St. Peter’s Square
Basilica Sancti Petri is located in St. Peter’s Square, a large plaza in front of the chapel.
During the reign of Pope Alexander VII, he directed Gian Lorenzo Bernini to redesign the Piazza because he wanted it to be able to accommodate more people. Above all, more people could watch the Pope giving his blessing through the chapel’s facade or from the window in the Vatican Palace.
When was the Basilica of St. Peter built?
Pope Nicholas’ reign from 1447 to 1455 prompted him to plan the church’s reconstruction. Before that, he saw the critical condition of the Old Basilica. For instance, the walls were not correctly positioned anymore, and the frescoes were covered with dust.
Hence, the construction of a new apse begun in 1452, and the continuous building of the different parts of the Basilica went on. Subsequently, this resulted in the Basilica’s reconsecration only in 1626.
More Interesting Facts
The Old Basilica
The Old Basilica, the one that stood before the New Basilica, was believed to mark where the tomb of St. Peter was situated during the reign of Emperor Constantine. Take note that Constantine is the first Christian emperor in Rome. Hence, the first Basilica was constructed between 319 and 322 AD and completed in 349 AD during his reign.
It used to be the largest church in Christendom until Yamoussoukro Basilica in Cote d’ Ivoire was completed in 1989.
Famous Architects of the Renaissance
No doubt that the grandeur of the church is because of the talents of famous architects of the Renaissance period, namely Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno, and Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
For more exciting facts worth knowing about Rome, we have the Top 10 Best Things to do in Rome that you may want to check out.
5. Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore or Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore used to be the world’s largest church when it was built in 1296 and was consecrated in 1436.
More importantly, It can accommodate 30,000 people and symbolizes Florence’s political and economic dominance.
Also known as the Duomo of Florence Cathedral is famous for its beauty with stained glass windows; a marble facade of green, red, and white; a collection of paintings and statues made by the legends of the Renaissance. And finally, its world-famous dome.
Since 1439, the Cathedral has been the seat of the Florence Council. Consequently, it is where Girolamo Savonarola preached. He is the religious reformer and instigator of the Bonfire of the Vanities.
More Interesting Facts About the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
The Cathedral had witnessed a murder in 1478 when Giuliano di Piero de Medici, co-ruler of Florence, was stabbed and killed. And this violence was known as the Pazzi Conspiracy. Indeed, it was a conspiracy when his rivals, archbishop of Pisa Pope Sixtus IV, and other conspirators planned his death.
Lorenzo the Magnificent, his brother and co-ruler, was also stabbed but escaped and later caused the archbishop’s hanging.
The Final Moves
The final moves that completed the building of the Cathedral came from the sculptor and architect Filippo Brunelleschi. With his innovations, the Cathedral was completed in 1436.
6. The Pantheon, Rome
The Pantheon is a circular concrete building with faced brick and a massive domed ceiling. It has a gabled roof with a triangular pediment supported by a porch of Corinthian columns. There are big bronze double doors below the porch that is 24 feet high.
Why is the Pantheon famous?
Firstly, the Pantheon is a famous Italian landmark for being one of the most well-preserved monuments of ancient Rome.
Secondly, It is a temple to all gods as the Greek word Pantheon means “honor all Gods.”
And finally, the Pantheon is open for free tours every week except when there is mass and national holidays.
7. The Leaning Tower of Pisa
photo by Heidi Kaden on Unsplash
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the bell tower of the Cathedral Complex that’s leaning. The construction of this tower began in 1173.
This 55- meter tower was falling at a rate of one to two millimeters per year for 800 years. Thus, causing the tower to lean.
But there’s so much to it than meets the eye. It is located in Tuscany, west of central Italy. Specifically, it is on the grounds of the cathedral complex of Tuscany known as Campo del Miracoli or Piazza Dei Miracoli, the “Square of Miracles.”
Why was the Leaning Tower of Pisa built?
The tower was built as the third and final structure of the cathedral complex for the Catholic church of the city of Pisa. The main reason is for it to be the bell tower of the cathedral complex.
Indeed, when it’s about famous landmarks in Italy, you won’t miss this famous tower. In fact, it is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world as it literally looks as its name implies – Leaning.
That’s why most historians believe that it is both beautiful and tragic because of its fascinating history.
Why is the Leaning Tower of Pisa leaning?
Since the very beginning of the construction of the tower, so many factors that could cause the tilt already existed. Obviously, if recognized earlier, the main factor would not have resulted in the tower becoming one of the most famous landmarks in Italy.
The tower engineers lacked the wisdom to understand the soil type and its effects on a structure with a height of 55 meters. It is acceptable that engineers and architects in 1173 lacked the idea of the type of soil’s effects on structures such as a tower. This mistake would be unacceptable today.
Simply put, the tower is built on an uneven type of soil that some parts are more challenging than the others. This wrong soil type for a tower causes the structure’s instability. Anyway, the incompetency of the builders of the tower brought it to fame.
Is the Leaning Tower of Pisa going to fall?
After numerous attempts to stabilize the tower, the government of Pisa found hope. Putting more soil underneath the foundations decreased the leaning by 17 inches (44 cm) to 13.5 feet (4.1 meters). Subsequently, the engineers completed stuffing the tower base in 2001, and visitors were allowed as the government reopened it to the public.
In May 2008, a total improvement of 19 inches (48 cm) in the tower’s tilting was recorded. Engineers are expecting the tower to be stable for the next 200 years.
It’s pretty impressive that from 1173 to 2001, the government exerted efforts to build and stabilize the Leaning Tower of Pisa. That’s 829 years!
Galileo and the Leaning Tower of Pisa
There’s a story that Galileo tested his theory that objects fall in the same acceleration. He did this by dropping two spheres of the same mass from the tower. Consequently, the two spheres reached the ground at the same time even though they had different weights. Because of this, he disproved the Theory of Gravity by Aristotle, which states that objects fall at speed proportional to their mass.
To get to where the tower is, first you can take a train in Florence to reach the city of Pisa. You’ll find that it’s less crowded in the morning, so it’s the best time to visit.
Then when you’re there, you can just watch the building from the outside free of charge and enjoy photoshoots. But if you’d like to go inside and take the 251 steps to the top of the tower, just pay the entrance fee. Then you’ll be 50 m above the ground and have a good bird’s eye view. Finally, from up the tower, you could enjoy the spectacular views the city could offer.
8. Piazza del Campo, Siena
The center of the city of Siena is Piazza del Campo, which is a large, shell-shaped square where civic gatherings happen.
Tourists would flock to Siena to view the Corsa del Palio (“Course of the Banner”), the semi-annual festival of medieval origin that certain cities in Italy conduct. This festival features bareback horse races amid colorful festivities, and tourists refer to it as Palio of Siena.
9. Cinque Terre, Genoa
The magnificent Cinque Terre in English means “Five Lands,” and it is on the east coast of Liguria, which is an hour from Genoa. Five small seaside villages comprise this beautiful tourist destination namely, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso.
The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are part of the Cinque Terre National Park, another UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Seven Reasons why Cinque Terre is a Traveler’s Favorite
We shall focus on seven main reasons why it is a traveler’s favorite.
Indeed, besides having colorful houses at the side of a cliff, gorgeous trails great for hiking, accessible transport services, and the beautiful Ligurian Sea, there are more reasons to love this great tourist destination.
1. Breathtaking twilight
Twilights are beautiful, but the more breathtaking a twilight is when you’re viewing it on the high cliffs in Corniglia over the Ligurian sea.
2. The five villages are adjacent to each other
The five villages, with colorful houses, are adjacent to each other. So, it’s like getting five at the price of one. The blue path connects all towns, so you can easily visit them. You better have the time.
3. It’s like a rainbow land
Looking at Cinque Terre, you’ll see a rainbow land with the blue waters of the Ligurian Sea, and the contrasting hues of the surrounding mountains, and the colorful houses. They all give this place that distinct beauty and drama.
4. You’ll eat well even in a foreign land.
You’ll feel like eating all the time, even if the food may be foreign to you. When visiting a new place, some people would have difficulty eating food from that place, but not in these “Five Lands. “They have delicious food! And if you love seafood, you’ll definitely love this place.
5. Take your dream hike
Take your dream to hike in one of these significant Italian Landmarks, where there are dozens of famous trails. One of them is Sentieo Azzurro, or the Blue Path, which links all five towns.
6. Experience a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Sometimes just hearing about a UNESCO World Heritage Site excites us. And what more if we are to experience it and more of them in one country? Indeed, to experience one of the most famous Italy landmarks, as beautiful as its history, will surely be most unforgettable.
7. The people are friendly
Italians are one of the friendliest people on the earth. Above all, you’ll surely feel the atmosphere of hospitality as you explore the villages. Moreover, the close connections each villager has may have contributed to this. Finally, it’s something that you won’t feel when visiting other landmarks in Italy.
10. Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral), Milan
photo by Jackie Jabson on Pexels
Milan is famous for its Gothic architecture design. And Gothic architecture is usually characterized by these elements: pointed arches, flying buttresses, ornate decoration, ribbed vaults, and large stained windows.
The Duomo di Milano or Milan Cathedral embodies a history of faith and art, traversing over six centuries. It is one of the largest Catholic cathedrals in the world.
Why was the Duomo Di Milano (Milan Cathedral) built?
Duomo di Milano was built to accentuate Milan and to celebrate the expansion of the Visconti territory.
The reign of Gian Galeazzo Visconti as the first Duke of Milan coincided with the construction of the Milan Cathedral in 1386.
In fact, it was built in the area once occupied by the churches of Sta. Tecla and Sta. Maria Maggiore.
What is the Milan Cathedral architecture?
Gothic Architecture was made famous by the Milan Cathedral. The Gothic facade was completed under Napoleon I. The lateral aspects, two crosses on top, and the apse are the parts that are emphasized on it.
Also, the apse has three huge Gothic windows made from finely carved marbles. Furthermore, you will find that all sides of the structure have a casing made of pink-colored Italian marble.
You won’t fail to notice the three arches, capitals, and flowers at the lower part of the apse. They also appear on the buttresses and above them, running along the row of gigantic statues.
These statues are covered by water gutters above them and enhance the lacelike ornamental crest.
Milan Cathedral’s magnificent architecture is evident even by looking at these statues enhancing this ornamental crest.
When you’re outside the Cathedral, you’ll be awed by several turrets, pinnacles, and more than 3,000 statues. In Addition, 52 pillars are 80 feet (24 meters) tall each and more than 10 feet (3 meters) in diameter. Unlike the interior’s capitals, these pillars have a crown of statues within their corners instead.
We have already introduced the Milan Cathedral in our Top 10 Things to do in Italy, but here are more facts that will make your curiosity spark.
Five Interesting Facts about Duomo di Milano
- It is the fifth-largest Christian church in the world. The entire Cathedral covers 109, 641 square feet – an entire city block! One of the world’s finest indeed!
- 3,400 Statues, 135 gargoyles, and 700 figures embellish the Milan Duomo. You’ll truly appreciate this display of magnificent art on the rooftop, the most famous silhouette in the city!
- The Terrazas is breathtaking! From there, you’ll be mesmerized by Milan on any given day, viewing the snow-capped peaks of the Alps. And the famous Madonnina, the gold-colored statue of Mary on the Cathedral’s highest pinnacle, will be in full view.
- Sync your watch by its sundial. On the floor near the main entrance is a sundial. Through a hole on the opposite wall, a ray of sunlight illuminates and strikes the clock, and the bronze tongue shines on June 21, which is the summer solstice, and the meridian on December 21, the winter solstice. It’s so accurate that it’s used to sync all the clocks in the city.
- The little red bulb above the arched part over the altar marks the spot where supposedly placed one of the nails of Jesus’ crucifixion. It’s best to visit on the Saturday closest to September 14 when the Archbishop of Milan goes up the apex in a wooden basket adorned with angels to recover the nail. The nail is then exhibited at the altar until the Monday after Vespers before it’s restored to its spot up the apse again.
10. Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Florence
The Museo del Opera del Duomo (Museum of the Works of the Cathedral) in Florence, Italy, also known as the “OPA,” is a museum that houses many of the original works of art created for the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, the duomo (Cathedral) of Florence.
The Museum is located east of the Cathedral near its apse. It opened in 1891 for public visits and caught the world’s attention for it houses the world’s most important collections of sculpture.
It was built by the government of Florence in the 13th century to manage the construction of the new Cathedral and its bell tower.
The whole structure is 6,000 square meters divided into 28 rooms on three floors. Consequently, these partitions made the unique masterpieces housed in it present themselves in a manner that will make the viewers appreciate them more.
The presentation is comparable to a shelf that has been categorized so that the audience will find pleasure after pleasure in the Museum within a museum.
- The Cantoria or singing galleries designed for the Cathedral by Donatello and Luca Della Robbia
- Donatello’s Penitent Magdalene
- The Deposition, a pieta that Michelangelo sculpted and made for his own tomb
11. Basilica di San Francesco, Ravenna
In 450, the bishop of Ravenna, Neo, built the Basilica di San Francesco to dedicate to Saint Peter and Saint Paul. This dedication made it famous as the Church of the Apostles.
The old church was demolished between the 9th and 10th centuries to build a bigger one and a tall bell tower that remains up to this day.
The new church was dedicated to Saint Peter and was named San Pietro Maggiore, handed over to the Franciscans in 1261 and rededicated to Saint Francis of Assisi.
Where Dante finished his Divine Comedy
In this beautiful city of Ravenna, Dante Alighieri finished his La Divina Commedia (The Divine Comedy) because, according to him, Ravenna is a paradise.
Dante died in 1321, and his funeral was held in the Basilica di San Francesco, where his remains still rest in the “Tomb of Dante,” which is right next to the church.
Flooded crypt of the basilica
The most striking feature is the flooded basement crypt. Being a marshland has been a constant problem of the city of Ravenna. The crypt is now a shallow, underground goldfish pond.
This basement is said to hold the remains of Bishop Neo, the one who conceived the Basilica in the 5th century. The beautiful basement crypt has a religious burial design. The ceilings are sloping into rows of stone columns, and the floor tile has intricate mosaic patterns.
12. St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice
Basilica di San Marco or St. Mark’s Basilica is a church located in the major seaport city of Venice. However, this catholic church is more famous as Chiesa d’Oro (Church of gold).
It was built in 829 and consecrated in 832 as a church to be the home of the remains of St. Mark, who replaced St. Theodore as the patron saint of Venice. St. Mark’s symbol of a winged lion became the official symbol of the government of Venice later on.
This church is located beside the Palazzo Ducale or Doge’s Palace and serves as the palace’s chapel. Although it only became the Cathedral of Venice in 1807.
As its famous name, the Church of Gold has a structure that dates back to the 11th century and looks radiant gold. It is said that the Hagia is the influence behind its design. Significant work was made to embellish the structure, with the main facade having an ornamented roofline that’s principally Gothic.
It took centuries to complete the gold ground mosaics that covered almost all the top sections of the inside of the Basilica.
The outside height of the domes was increased by raising hollow drums on a wooden framework and covering them with metal during the 13th century.
Its decadent design, gold mosaic-laden grounds, and Venetian power and wealth symbol gave it Chiesa d’Oro (Church of gold).
Inside the Basilica, you’ll find that throughout, it’s ornated with mosaics and gold and with different types of marble, including the floor embellished with marble and glass. All these parts glow in the restricted light.
The overall structure has that oriental feeling of exoticism. Also, because of all the elements of the art and culture of Venice, which is most of the Renaissance period, St. Mark’s Basilica will always be unique and a reflection of the culture of Italy.
Horses of Saint Mark-Lysippos
On the balcony above the portal of the Basilica is a statue called the Horses of St. Mark by the Greek sculptor Lysippos. This statue has been part of so much history as it was forcibly taken to Paris by Napoleon in 1797 but returned by Captain Dumaresq in 1815.
Before the horses got to St. Mark’s Basilica, they were displayed at the Hippodrome of Constantinople for a long time. In 1204, Doge Enrico Dandolo sent the horses back to Venice as Italy’s Fourth Crusade against Constantinople.
A Long restoration effort had been dedicated to St. Mark’s horses since the 1970s. The original horses that are gilded with copper and mercury are just kept inside St. Mark’s Museum. This Museum inside the Basilica now displays the actual horses. At the same time, the bronze replicas are the ones that are on the facade of the Cathedral.
In 293 CE Emperor Diocletian established the Tetrarchy. The Tetrarchy consisted of four rulers composed of two head emperors and two junior emperors. The head emperors must be a Diocletian and Maximian, while the junior emperors must be Constantius and Galerius. These four emperors divided the empire into four districts where each could rule individually.
The goal of this new system, of dividing an empire into subsections, was to help make governing easier and efficient. At first, this sectioning allowed the empire to be more self-sufficient but was stopped when wars started among the tetrarchs, which ended with Constantine as the only ruler.
To get to St. Mark’s Basilica, where the Piazza San Marco and Doge’s Palace are also located, you can take the Vaporetto, which is affordable through the Venetian canals. Then, you could walk to the Basilica, quite a long walk for it’s at the southern end of Venice but possible. Then you will find the bridge nearest to it, which is the Ponte dell’ Accademia.
13. Doge’s Palace, Venice
Palazzo Ducale or Doge’s Palace is the official residence of the doges in Venice. In the former government of Venice, the elected leaders were called Doges (Italian) or Dukes (English).
This palace was the meeting place of the councils and ministries leading the government. The palace structure is impressive, mainly because it was built around a courtyard with rich ornaments.
As years passed and it underwent renovations, the palace structure included varied architecture like Gothic, Moorish, and Renaissance.
The Doge’s Palace is a big, colored pink building topped with a line of white pinnacles. And, the palace overlooks the waterfront from the Piazzetta San Marco.
When was Doge’s Palace built?
The original Doge’s Palace was built in 814, but the masses burned it down in 976. It was renovated because a second fire destroyed it once more.
The present structure was built in the early 14th century, and the new structure in Venetian Gothic- style was completed in 1424. These undertakings included expanding the two identical facades facing a broad stone quay called Molo and the Piazzetta San Marco.
In 1438, the main gateway, or the Porta Della Carta, was designed by Bartolomeo Bon and Giovanni. Great fires took place after this event that it needed extensive renovations.
Some Most Famous Doges
The doges that really became famous because of their leadership skills and significant political influence were Enrico Dandolo, who promoted the Fourth Crusade, and Franceso Foscari, who triumphed in conquests on the Italian Mainland.
14. Piazza San Marco, Venice
For your information, the Piazza San Marco referred to here is in Venice and the one with the Doge’s Palace and Saint Mark’s Basilica. The other Piazza San Marco is the one in Florence.
St. Mark’s Square is the central public square of Venice, Italy, where it’s known as la Piazza or “the square.” The Piazzetta (little square) is an extension near the southeast corner of the Piazza approaching the San Marco Basin.
These two spaces, the Piazza and Piazzetta of Venice, make Venice’s social, political, and religious center.
Why did Napoleon refer to St. Mark’s Square as the “drawing room of Europe.”
A drawing room is what we call a living room these days, and it’s where we entertain visitors. That’s probably why Napoleon referred to St. Mark’s Square that way, as you’ll be delighted staying there, surrounded by significant structures like the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Cathedral. That being said, Napoleon definitely enjoyed the scenery.
15. Mount Vesuvius
Photo:Bill Chizek, www.billchizekphotography.com
Mount Vesuvius or Italian Vesuvio is an active volcano located in Southern Italy above the Bay of Naples on the plain of Campania (a mountainous region, Southern part of Italy).
Cone’s Size and Height
In 2013, the height of the cone of this active volcano was 4,203 feet or 1281 meters. This changes incredibly with each significant eruption.
There is a high semicircular ridge called Mount Somma, surrounding the cone at about 1,968 feet or 600 meters and rising to 3,714 feet or 1132 meters.
The Valle del Gigante is the Giant’s Valley, between Mount Somma and the cone.
At the peak of the cone is a large crater, 1,000 feet or 305 meters deep and 2,000 feet or 610 meters in diameter, which was formed in the 1944 eruption.
Photo by Sally Smith on Flickr
Are there people living in Mount Vesuvius?
More than two million people are residing in the proximity of Vesuvius and on its lower hills.
In Addition, there are industrial towns by the coast of the Bay of Naples and small rural centers on the northern part of the volcano.