Historic Sites To Visit In Italy

Italy is a spectacular destination packed with beautiful sights, landscapes, architecture, and history. There’s so much to see that most tourists frequently return for a second visit. Here are a few places of historical significance that you should consider going to.

The Colosseum – recognizable by almost everyone in the world, even by those who have never been to Italy. It’s depicted on the 5 cent euro coin in Italy, The Colosseum is an ancient oval amphitheater in Rome with a capacity of over 50 000 people, making it the largest ever built at the time. Construction began in the year 72 AD and finished 8 years later. It was renovated frequently during the centuries and could at some point hold even 80 000 people. It was used for public executions, gladiator fights, dramas and much more. The Colosseum was recognized as the most popular tourist attraction in the world in 2018. Robbed by many and shattered by earthquakes on numerous occasions throughout the years, it is still the most iconic attraction in Italy.

The Roman Forum. Also located in Rome, it is surrounded by the ruins of important government buildings from the Roman Empire, fairly close to the Colosseum. It used to serve as a venue for important public events like speeches, trials, etc. and was built for centuries by different emperors. Today, together with the Colosseum this “town square” is one of the most touristy places in Rome with millions of visitors every year.

Vatican City. This is an independent city within Rome with a population of only 1000. It is ruled by the Pope, the head of the catholic church with almost 1.3 million followers worldwide. Within this picturesque city, there are a few popular sights.

The Sistine Chapel is the official residence of the Pope. It is a truly remarkable building with breathtaking art all over the walls and ceilings, including Michelangelo’s frescoes, which he did at the beginning of the 16th century. The Sistine Chapel is one of a kind, housing precious wall paintings from different periods that deserves every tourist’s attention.

St. Peter’s Basilica is a renaissance church in Vatican City. Designed partly by Michelangelo himself, it’s the most notable work of the Renaissance and is the largest church in the world. According to the catholic tradition, Saint Peter’s remains were buried there, where it gets its name from. The Pope holds several liturgies in this church throughout the year, drawing audiences of thousands.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a famous building, the stance of which is a result of an unstable foundation. It began to lean during its construction in the 12th century. The building survived a few strong earthquakes and was additionally stabilized several times over the years. It is now a popular destination in Italy. The Tower of Pisa and a nearby baptistery, cemetery, and cathedral are part of the Piazza del Duomo UNESCO Heritage Site.

Florence is the capital city of Tuscany and has many historical sights, including its Town Hall – also an art museum, and a few squares and parks. The architecture you will see is astounding and the trip to there is worth it.

Italy is an incredibly diverse destination that provides you with a look back in time into the Roman Empire. It is a remarkable place to visit, which has awe-inspiring architecture, art, views, and cuisine.

 

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The Leaning Tower of Pisa

The leaning tower of Pisa is an unforgettable sight in the Italian city of Pisa in Tuscany, Italy. It was admitted to the World Heritage Unesco list, meaning it is one of the world’s greatest beauties. While most of us are familiar with the curious appearance of this old, leaning tower, few are familiar with the fascinating history of the monument. Read on to discover everything there is to know about the famous leaning tower.

The tower of Pisa was built as a bell tower for Pisa’s central church. At the time that the project started, Pisa was a rich Italian port which could afford to put money into expensive religious buildings.

The tower is typical of the architecture of the time (leaning notwithstanding!) with its Romanesque style and white marble foundations. The building itself is testament to the richness of the city at the time of its building, as it required nearly 15. 000 tonnes of white marble, a rare and expensive material.

Construction for the tower of Pisa (which was not always called “leaning”!) started in 1173. From the onset, technical problems caused it to start leaning, which architect after architect tried to understand and fix. When it was finally completed in the mid-1300s, the tower already had a pronounced lean.

In a way, the tower was doomed to lean from the onset and some argue that it should not logically be able to stand at all. It was built on very soft ground, which would cause any building to lean and possibly topple over. Moreover, the soil in this part of the city also moves for geological reasons making it yet more unstable. The tower has a very shallow foundation, as the water underground stopped the architect from giving it a deeper foundation. While architects managed to make the tower stand despite its strong lean, the tower is actually falling year after year. To this day, the tower keeps leaning a bit more each year. It is now over five metres off from the way it would stand correctly.

There is a lot of mystery concerning the building of the tower, and a lot of it concerns the architects. Some of the known architects involved are Bonanno Pisano, Giovani di Simone and Tommaso Pisano. However, the project took years and another dozen architects were involved whose identity was never revealed. These architects although they never rectified the lean that became noticeable after the first story was built, were very creative about trying to hide that flaw. For example, they placed columns and arches on the other side of the tower taller than on its Northern side in order to even out what was becoming a rapidly emerging lean.

Nowadays, the lean which architects tried so hard to hide during the nearly 200 years that it took to build the tower, is what makes it so special. It is hard to imagine hoards of tourists rushing to the tower each year and taking photographs of themselves propping it up with their hands were it a completely normal, straight tower. With its strange history and architectural curiosities, the leaning tower of Pisa is one of the most interesting and beloved sights in the whole of Italy, and of the world.

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