Italy is full of striking architecture that dates back over two thousand years to ancient civilisations. It’s one of the only places in the world that you will find layers of history so close together, with an ancient ruin next to medieval structures and renaissance splendor. Italian architecture includes many styles: ancient, medieval, renaissance, baroque, neo classical, art nouveau and rationalist. Here is a collection of some the Italy’s most iconic buildings that capture the essence of the country’s culture.
Towers of San Gimignano – The towers dominate the skyline of San Gimignano and were built as a relay point for travelling pilgrims to and from Rome. Brothers Muzio and Silvio built the Castle of Mucchio and the Castle of Silvia in 63 B.C. which would stand as the basis for the town’s modern day appearance. The Torre Grossa is the highest tower in the town which can be climbed for sweeping views of the rolling countryside. Today only 15 towers remain in the town from a previous 72, which are now protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Villa D’Este, Rome – Tivoli is home to the beautiful palace and garden of Villa D’Este, one of the first giardini delle meraviglie (wonderland gardens). The villa was built for the son of Lucrezia Borgia and is renowned for its striking water features attracting many visitors, most notably the ‘Fountain of the Dragons’ and ‘Hundred Fountains’. Today it is considered one of the most glorious Renaissance locations to date with its 16th century influence.
Il Duomo di Firenze, Florence – The iconic peak of Florence’s most famous cathedral is the largest masonry dome ever built. The Florentines of the 13th century were puzzled at the concept of a convex rooftop, and so architect Fillipo Brunelleschi built a model of the dome as a visual representation.
Tower of Pisa, Pisa – Now here’s a name everyone knows! The tower was constructed in 1173. The church bell would undergo continuous renovations for a following 200 years surviving wars and engineering work. The famed lean occurs due to the soft soil that the tower is built on, tipping by an extra 1-2mm per year!
Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, Rome - The building was designed by Giovanni Guerrini, Ernesto Bruno La Padula and Mario Romano under Benito Mussolini’s direction to create a “new Roman Empire” in the 1940s. It now stands as a monument of Rome, and more recently the headquarters to Italian brand Fendi.