Rome-ing Italy: A Round-up of our Favourite Cathedrals, Piazzas & More!

Milan

Milan may have been long known as the fashion capital of the world, but this buzzy city is more than just frills and frou-frou. Featuring historic sites of Gothic architecture, the beautiful city is a must-visit.

  • Castello Sforzesco (Sforza Castle); a 15th Century ancient castle that now houses art pieces and more. 
  • Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II; the world’s oldest shopping mall!
  • Milan Cathedral; the largest church in Italy (St Peter’s Basilica is in Vatican City) and the seat of Archbishop Mario Delpini.
  • Piazza Alla Scala; a pedestrian square that features the Palazzo Marino, La Scala opera house, and more.

Pisa

This city is known worldwide for the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which is the bell tower of Pisa Cathedral. Pisa is also home to some 20 historic churches, all of which have charming stories of their own.

Florence

One of the wealthiest cities of the medieval era, Florence is a vibrant city with lots to see and do! This is where the Renaissance magic was born, and as such, is often referred to the “Athens of the Middle Ages”.

  • Florence Cathedral; a UNESCO world heritage site, the cathedral facade is reminiscent of 19th Century Gothic Revival architecture, with marble panels and intricately carved borders.
  • Il Porcellino “Little Pig”; if you want to return to the city of Florence, make sure you place a coin in the mouth of this bronze boar statue and rub his snout!
  • Ponte Vecchio; a stone bridge over the Arno River, with small jewellery and souvenir stores on it.

Rome

Perhaps the most famous city in Italy, the capital city Rome is most visited for its ancient ruins like the Colosseum. The Vatican City of the Catholic Church is also located here.

  • Piazza Navona; a bustling city plaza featuring Bernini’s fountain Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi as its dramatic centerpiece.
  • Colosseum; built right smack in the heart of Rome, this ancient amphitheater used to host gladiatorial battles and public shows.
  • St Peter’s Basilica; a holy site for Roman Catholics and the largest church in the world, this basilica is by far the most well known of ancient Renaissance buildings.
  • Pantheon; once a Roman temple, the Pantheon was converted into a church and remains impeccable preserved to this day.
  • Trevi Fountain; a massive Baroque fountain that stands at 6.3m tall and 49.15m wide.
  • Piazza San Pietro; named after St Peter, this is the landmark square in front of St Peter’s Basilica and Vatican City.

Siena

The historic site of Siena is a UNESCO world heritage site, and is famous for its medieval cityscape, which is characterized by its rustic brick buildings.

  • Piazza del Campo; the iconic square of Siena, which today hosts the city’s most exciting festivals and carnivals.
  • Siena Cathedral; yet another beautiful church, the Siena Cathedral has marble coupled with black-and-white details, which are symbolic colours of the city.

Venice

The romantic city of Venice needs no introduction: Linking 118 islands with bridges over the canals, this “Floating City” is most celebrated for its art, culture, and architecture.

  • Piazza San Marco; known to locals simply as La Piazza (“the square”), this central square is marked by the famous St Mark Basilica, which sits on the eastern end.
  • St Mark’s Clock Tower; on the north of the square is this impressive building, which at its base, is the entrance into Merceria.
  • Bridge of Sighs; connecting the city to the New Prison, this bridge got its depressing name from the fact that it is the path where the prisoners would last see the daylight.

Cinque Terre

A region fast gaining popularity in Italy, Cinque Terre means “five lands” and represents the five scenic coastal villages Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. You may choose to walk, take the train, or even boat to get to the different villages. Of course, the view is best by the sea, but it is also the most expensive option at 33 Euros for unlimited trips in one day.

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