8 Must-Visit Historical Places in Italy for 2024

Historical Places in Italy
Historical Places in Italy

When you think of Italy, its remarkable history is sure to come to mind. From ancient times to the modern day, Italy has made countless contributions to Western culture that still leave a lasting impact today. Discover some of the most historical places in Italy in this guide.

Fortunately, many of these historical places in Italy have been preserved for us to admire. Any trip to Italy would be incomplete without exploring some of its remarkable historical landmarks.

To make the most of your visit, we’ve put together a list of our top eight favorite historical sites in Italy. Explore these fascinating destinations to discover the heart and soul of this incredible country.

I’ve visited Italy three times, most recently for a month last year, and I have visited most of these incredible attractions. As a fan of Roman history (I come from the Roman capital of Britain), these are definitely some of my favourite places to see in Italy.

Boring stuff: I have visited each of the places I recommend and give you my honest opinion, warts and all. All photos are my own unless otherwise stated and may not be reproduced without permission. Affiliate links may earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

Historical Places in Italy

These historical sites in Italy include some of the country’s most famous landmarks from the UNESCO-listed ruins at Pompei to the Trevi Fountain, St Mark’s Basilica and much more.

1. Pompeii and Herculaneum

Historical Sites in Italy - Pompei
Historical Sites in Italy – Pompei

Discover the Roman way of life like never before at Pompeii and its neighboring town Herculaneum. The aftermath of the 79 AD volcanic eruption left behind a perfectly preserved collection of Roman buildings.

Herculaneum boasts the well-preserved College of the Priests of Augustus, Roman baths, and theater, while Pompeii offers excellent-condition buildings like the Capitolium, Basilica, Surgeon’s House, and House of Mysteries.

Both towns also house stunning sculptures, mosaics, and wall paintings. These are the most famous buildings in Italy. Immerse yourself in the ancient Roman streets by taking a walk and capturing a snapshot of history.

I visited Pompei on my first trip to Italy many years ago and it remains one of my favourite historical places in Italy as it’s so well preserved.

Location: Vicolo del Panettiere, 80045 Pompei NA, Italy. Click here for directions.

2. The Pantheon

The Pantheon
The Pantheon

Discover the remarkable Pantheon, the ultimate preserved symbol of ancient Rome. Originally constructed in 27 BC by Augustus’ trusted advisor, Marcus Agrippa, the temple was later reconstructed by the Greek-loving Emperor Hadrian in 120 AD.

He transformed it into an extravagant version of a Greek temple, boasting impressive 40-foot tall columns made of Corinthian granite from Egypt, a grand pediment, and a portico.

This engineering feat was admired as a true masterpiece of precision and design. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness this unparalleled treasure of ancient history.

Location: Piazza della Rotonda, 00186 Roma RM, Italy. Click here for directions.

3. Saint Mark’s Basilica

Saint Mark's Basilica
Saint Mark’s Basilica

Discover the awe-inspiring history of Saint Mark’s Basilica, which was founded in the 9th century as a resting place for St Mark. Originally used as the private chapel of Venice’s Doge, it later became the city’s official cathedral.

After a fire destroyed the original structure, the rebuilt basilica now boasts Byzantine domes and marble exteriors. The Basilica’s claim to fame is its stunning 8000 square meters of mosaic art and epic domes.

Don’t miss the Cupola of the Prophets, which houses a gold altarpiece encrusted with over 2000 gemstones. The best view is from the main altar, which also houses St Mark’s sarcophagus.

To view the outstanding Italian buildings, you will need tickets in most places. They can be bought online, but some of the sites will not be available to residents of other countries.

You need to find a way to unblock any website. To remove website blocks all you need to do is use a VPN and switch to the appropriate remote server. VeePN has thousands of servers, so there are plenty to choose from. Even up to the choice of regions of Italy.

Location: Piazza San Marco, 328, 30100 Venezia VE, Italy. Click here for directions.

4. The Colosseum

The Colosseum
The Colosseum

Did you know that the Colosseum in Rome is the largest ancient amphitheater ever built, seating up to 50,000 spectators? Built over 8 years by thousands of slaves, this remarkable structure hosted everything from gladiatorial games to maritime battles.

Today, it remains one of the most iconic and awe-inspiring ancient sites in Rome. While the historic center of Rome boasts many other impressive landmarks, the Colosseum is undoubtedly the most magnificent of them all.

I’ve visited the Colosseum a couple of time and am always blown away by this incredible structure. Be sure to say hello to the many cats that live around this ancient Roman ruin and can usually be found basking in the sun nearby.

Location: Piazza del Colosseo, 1, 00184 Roma RM, Italy. Click here for directions.

5. Area Sacra di Largo Argentina

Discover Rome’s oldest temple ruins dating back to the 3rd century B.C. near the site of Julius Caesar’s murder at Largo Argentina’s Area Sacra. Despite being named Temple A, B, C, and D, no one knows to whom these temples were dedicated.

Today, these ruins are home to a friendly feline community that roams the area, delighting tourists and locals alike. Don’t miss the chance to see these incredible ruins beautifully lit up at night.

Location: Largo di Torre Argentina, 00186 Roma RM, Italy. Click here for directions.

6. Vatican City

Vatican City
Vatican City

Did you know that the Vatican is home to one of the world’s most magnificent art collections? The Vatican Museums are a must-see destination for art lovers and history buffs alike. With millions of visitors per year, this iconic site is a true gem of Western art.

Stroll through the corridors of the Vatican Museums and explore the treasures within, including the stunning Pinacoteca painting gallery, the Pio-Clementine sculpture gallery, the famous Raphael Rooms, the Borgia Apartments, and of course, the majestic Sistine Chapel.

Don’t miss your chance to witness these invaluable works of art up close and personal. The Vatican is actually its own city-state (like nearby San Marino) so don’t forget to bring your passport as you’ll need it to enter.

Location: Vatican City, Rome, Italy. Click here for directions.

7. Pianosa Island

Pianosa Island, located in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the western coast of Italy, is a captivating gem renowned for its natural beauty and rich historical significance.

This small island, measuring only about 10 square kilometers, boasts picturesque landscapes characterized by pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and rugged cliffs that attract nature enthusiasts and adventurers alike.

Despite its small size, Pianosa holds a remarkable historical legacy, having served as a Roman penal colony, a fortress during World War II, and even a high-security prison until the late 1990s.

Today, Pianosa stands as a unique destination for visitors seeking tranquility, historical exploration, and the chance to immerse themselves in the captivating allure of this Mediterranean jewel.

Location: 57034 Campo nell’Elba, Province of Livorno, Italy. Click here for directions.

8 The Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain
The Trevi Fountain

Discover the breathtaking Trevi Fountain, a magnificent Baroque monument in Italy masterfully crafted by architect Nicola Salvi. Its grandeur stands at 85 feet high and 65 feet wide, making it the largest fountain in Rome.

Admire the centerpiece “Ocean” figure while feeling the refreshing water flowing from 24 spouts. Don’t forget to toss a coin over your shoulder, a tradition believed to guarantee your return to Rome. Witness the fountain’s impact as over 3,000 euros are collected daily and donated to charity.

The Trevi Fountain is one of my favourite places in Rome. Be sure to try gelato from one of the nearby cafes or stands (mint choc chip of course). The fountain is just a short walk from the Spanish Steps of La Dolce Vita fame.

Location: Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Roma RM, Italy. Click here for directions.


From the ancient ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum to the awe-inspiring Pantheon, St Mark’s Basilica, and Colosseum, there are many incredible historic buildings in Italy that exemplify Rome’s grandeur. Don’t miss your chance to discover Vatican City’s priceless artworks or explore Pianosa Island.

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About the author:

Steve Rohan is a writer from Essex, England. He has traveled to over 60 countries, lived in Armenia, China and Hong Kong, and is now living the digital nomad life on the road.

Steve prefers “slow travel” and has covered much of the world by train, bus and boat. He has been interviewed multiple times by the BBC and recently featured in the documentary Scariest Places in the World. See the About page for more info.

Where I am now: Yerevan, Armenia 🇦🇲

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