At the time of writing, there are 55 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy. This makes Italy the country with the highest number of Heritage Sites in the world (tied with China). Since the vast majority of these are cultural landmarks, it’s no wonder that people from all over the world consider Italy as the ideal cultural holiday destination.
In fact, with 53.8 million tourists per year, Italy is the 5th most visited country in the world. The majority of international tourists who apply for an Italian visa have a clear idea of what they want to see and photograph during their holiday: from the leaning Tower of Pisa to the trevi fountain in Rome, Italian monuments are known worldwide.
What Is the Most Visited Monument in Italy?
With so many iconic landmarks, it would be impossible to pinpoint the most important or beautiful monument to see in Italy. However, one could make a list of the most visited monuments of the country (among those that collect the relevant data).
Undoubtedly, the Colosseum in Rome has repeatedly topped the list. In 2013, the Roman landmark welcomed more than 5.5 million people. The Colosseum’s popularity is also consistently on the rise.
Although over 2,000 years old, the amphitheater is impressively well preserved. It was used to entertain the Romans with athletic competitions, mock sea battles, and animal hunts but it’s probably most famous for the gladiators’ fights.
Tourists can visit the Colosseum on their own or by taking part in a guided tour. The Colosseum is centrally located and easy to reach, with many other Roman landmarks within walking distance.
Taking Pictures at the Leaning Tower of Pisa
This unique tower was built in the 1100s to serve as bell tower for the main cathedral. A shift in the soil underneath caused it to start leaning at the time of its construction. The leaning is very noticeable and the tower was believed to be on the verge of collapse for decades.
However, the structure has been reinforced and is now considered safe by the local authorities, who have reopened it to the public. Tourists from Italy and abroad flock to the square — called Piazza Dei Miracoli — to take pictures next to the tower, pretending to support it and prevent it from falling.
The leaning tower is not the only tourist attraction in Pisa. A charming medieval town in the Tuscany region, Pisa is known for the extraordinary local cuisine, an ancient and prestigious university, and the romantic sunset views on river Arno.
The Tragic End of Pompeii
One of Italy’s richest and best-preserved archaeological sites owes its pristine state to a natural disaster. The ancient city of Pompeii was destroyed in AD 79 by a volcanic eruption.
Mount Vesuvio is still considered an active volcano — although it is now safe to visit and even climb thanks to modern monitoring tools — and offers a unique view to tourists visiting Pompeii.
The ashes that covered Pompeii preserved every building in the city and today’s visitors can enjoy frescoes, mosaics, and sculptures that give a good idea of what life in the ancient Roman Empire must have been like. The streets are also well-preserved (even showing the tracks left by chariots on the stone) and represent an impressive example of Roman engineering.
Can You Still Throw Coins into the Trevi Fountain?
The Trevi fountain (or Fontana di Trevi in Italian) has been considered an architectonical gem in the heart of Rome for centuries, but its appearance in the classic movie La Dolce Vita and other movies made it internationally famous.
This is the largest baroque fountain in the Italian capital, stretching across 50 meters. Its impressive statues are made of fine Carrara marble, while the travertine stone gives the illusion of a sea reef.
The Trevi fountain tradition says that if one throws a coin into the fountain and makes a wish, the wish will become true. It’s perfectly legal to give it a try and toss a coin into the fountain’s pool.