One of the many highlights in Italy is the spectacular architecture. Not only the age of some of Italy’s monuments but the style and sheer beauty is what strikes me. Spanning almost 3000 years, Italy’s diverse architectural styles reflect the numerous occupations by different countries.
Architectural styles range from Greek, Etruscan, Roman, Arab, Byzantine, Romanesque, Baroque, Gothic, Rococo, Neoclassical, and probably more than these. I often wonder how some of these monuments, like the Pantheon in Rome, were constructed long before the days of any motorized equipment. Completed around 126 AD, this structure is a classic example of ancient Roman architecture.
While it would be an impossibility to feature all of the architectural marvels in Italy in a single blog post, I have chosen the ones that still cause my heart to beat a little faster every time I see them. Magnificent is only one of the adjectives that describe these priceless landmarks in Bella Italia.
Of course the Milan Cathedral is one of the first that comes to mind. I still recall my emotions the first time I laid eyes on this Gothic architectural marvel that took close to six hundred years to build. One of the largest churches in the world, the facade alone captures everyone’s attention.
The Temple of Concordia in the Valley of the Temples in Sicily is one of the world’s best preserved Greek temples, dating back to the seventh century BC. I find it hard to fathom just how old this temple is and yet how well-preserved it is today.
I like the lines these columns make at the 14th-century Cloister of Santa Chiara in Naples. Fortunately my visit there was a day without crowds, allowing me to capture this view without people walking under the portico.
The dome at the Palermo Cathedral in Sicily is an example of Neoclassical style as the Neapolitan Ferdinando Fuga took over the restoration in the late eighteenth century.
The Venetian Gothic style Porticato Lippomano involves a steep uphill walk that leads to the top of the Castle hill in Udine.
Many of the buildings in the Friuli city of Udine are patterned after similar monuments in Venice, like the Clock Tower, or Torre dell’Orologio, which bears a striking resemblance to the one in Piazza san Marco.
The Amalfi Cathedral is another example of diverse architectural styles. While its predominant original style was Arab-Norman Romanesque, its later restorations included elements of Romanesque, Byzantine, Gothic, and Baroque styes.
When I went inside the Cathedral of St Andrew in Amalfi with its baroque and Romanesque architecture, I was stunned by its elegant beauty.
The Campanile in Florence, or Giotto’s Bell Tower, is a striking example of fourteenth-century Gothic architecture in Italy. The white, red, and green marble in intricate detail is impressive. I never get tired of seeing this work of art in Florence.
On lake Como many beautiful villas dot the landscape. Villa Melzi in Bellagio is one of the most popular tourist attractions on Lake Como, mostly because of the gardens. Built in the early nineteenth century, this is an example of Neoclassical architecture.
I know there are countless other monuments in Italy with rich historical value and architectural glory. What are your favorites? I’d love to hear about them, so please leave a comment, and maybe even a link to your Instagram or Twitter post with a photo of your favorite examples of architecture of Italy.
Grazie and Ciao.
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I agree that the architecture in many towns and cities of Italy are breathtaking. My favorite is the Duomo of Firenze.
Thank you so much, Jenn…I can certainly understand your affinity for Florence!
What a great idea for a blog post Margie, and Italian architecture could definitely fill volumes! I’ve been lucky enough to study Ancient Roman architecture over the last couple of years and there is no end to the amazing sites in Italy and around the world. The Pantheon has to be a favourite in Rome itself as is the Colosseum. I just love the buildings in (and the views from) Trajan’s Markets – the world’s first shopping mall 😀. Slightly off the tourist trail is the wonderful last commission of Michelangelo, Santa Maria Degli Angeli at Piazza della Repubblica. Scooped out of the ginormous Baths of Diocletian this is a spectacular blend of old and new – and gives a sense of scale of ancient bathing.
And more this century, I’m glad I visited Rome’s MAXXI museum – a very modern design from the late Zada Hadid. I’d love to see more of modern Rome – including its most modern church – Dives in Misericordia, designed by the same architect as the Ara Pacjs Museum in Rome.
I envy you your trips to Southern Italy, and what spectacular photographs you always take. I’ve tended to focus on the north so I’d definitely agree that Milan’s Duomo is stunning up close. In April I visited Turin (sadly I’ve been tardy in blogging this) but it is full of baroque splendour and royal palaces, including the Plazzina Di Caccia (hunting lodge) at Stupinigi, and the burial place of the Savoys, the Basilica of Superga – itself a little influenced by the Pantheon.
While most of my instagramming takes place here in London, Italian examples can be found on my account (marilyneb1).
I better stop wiring now!
Wonderful experiences, Marilyn…Thank you for all your comments, and the link to your Instagram page. I will check it out…
Un po' di pepe
Hands down il Pantheon is the most amazing architectural wonder! I never tire of visiting. The 3 Greek temples at Paestum are also high on my list-or at least they were when I saw them at age 11. I’ll have to check them out again!
Stacy di Anna
Really love this post, Margie, great idea to bring the different architecture styles together. My favorite is Florence’s Duomo, I must have a hundred pictures of it. It (she?) makes my heart beat fast and my eyes tear up every single time I see it!
Thanks Stacy…I have that same emotion when I see the Duomo and also the Pieta in St Peter’s Cathedral!! It never gets old!
Book Club Mom
It’s amazing to think about how these beautiful buildings were designed and constructed without computers or modern equipment. There’s the perception that our modern civilizations are so much more advanced, but imagine trying to design and build one of these with only brain power and brute strength. It’s very humbling!
I know, Barbara..It boggles my mind. I cannot even begin to imagine how much work it took! Thanks so much for all your support
Some good choices. I would have tried to squeeze in Palazzo Della Ragioni in Padova and Church of Santa Croce in Lecce.
Thanks Andrew…I totally agree with the Church of Santa Croce in Lecce..I still have to get to Padua!!
Fantastic review of some of the most impressive and iconic buildings in Italy! Complementi Margie!
Thank you so much Valerie. Glad we have now conencted..
Love the perspective you took those photos from! I have to add my personal favorite, though, Isola Bella, which sits in the middle of Lago Maggiore, one lake west of Lago Como. The entire southern end of the island is a garden. More images on http://www.learntravelitalian.com/ in the picture gallery (click bottom left on website).
Thanks Kathy! And thank you for the link to your photo gallery. I especially enjoyed the ones from Lago Maggiore since I haven’t been there! Grazie, amica
Prego! Glad I can contribute!
Prego! Glad I could contribute!
The architecture is amazing throughout this beautiful, amazing, wonderful country. It’s hard to believe, but every town is beautiful, every building grand, every corner a treat to explore and just take it all in. Thank you for another beautiful post! 🙂
Thank you Tony.. I know you understand since you have been there. It seems like it’s never enough. Italy has that draw, almost like an addiction! So glad you are making plans to return next year!
Beautiful photos and interesting stories
Thank you so much Teresa!! Hope to see you in Italy soon!! Un abbraccio!
We’re so spoilt in Italy aren’t we Margie – there’s fabulous architecture everywhere! Lovely photos, as always – keep ’em coming!! :o)
Thank you so much, Liz. Yes we are spoiled for sure in Italy. There is so much beauty in every village, town, and city! I appreciate your comments!! Grazie mille, amica