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BlogDestinationsThe architecture-lover’s guide to Italy

The architecture-lover’s guide to Italy

Jul 24, 2018 by Jamie Gallerani

Imagine looking up while strolling down the street and seeing one of the world’s most magnificent buildings. Those moments aren’t too hard to come by in Italy, where architectural wonders are around almost every corner. If you love admiring dazzling architecture no matter where you travel, here’s a handful of destinations to visit on tour in Italy.


Visit the world’s oldest mall in Milan

Milan is practically synonymous with style, so it’s no wonder that it’s home to the oldest shopping mall in the world: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. This architecturally magnificent arcade links Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Scala in the heart of the city and is a favorite meeting place brimming with cafes and designer boutiques. Endless opportunities for window shopping, impressive history, architecture that will take your breath away—what’s not to love? After taking time to admire the mall’s beauty (and pick up a few souvenirs), be sure to visit the city’s other architectural claim to fame: the Gothic-style Milan Cathedral.

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Admire a different type of architecture in Alberobello

Do a double-take, because the cone-shaped limestone houses that line Alberobello’s quaint streets look like they could be straight out of a fairytale. Yes, locals actually live and work inside these UNESCO-recognized dwellings known as trulli, which often have rooftops decorated with religious or mystical symbols and give the Puglia region an allure all its own.

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Lay eyes on all things Baroque in Noto

If Baroque architecture intrigues you, the village of Noto, Sicily, is the place to go. The entire village was rebuilt in this distinct style after it was destroyed by an earthquake at the end of the 1700s, making it an architectural enigma. In Italy, where portions of cities and towns have more commonly been built over centuries in the prominent architectural style of the time, stumbling upon a place created at the same time in the same style is a rarity! See the stunning Baroque buildings while on tour in Sicily on our Traditions of Sicily: Villa Lunch & Noto Village excursion.

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Uncover the wonders of Siena Cathedral

The Tuscany region is a hub for some of Italy’s most breathtaking architecture (think: Il Duomo and other Renaissance masterpieces in Florence), and Siena’s Romanesque and Gothic cathedral is one of the icons. Here, the floor is made of inlaid marble mosaics that are so spectacular and fragile that they’re covered in special sheets for most of the year. You’ll need to head to Siena between August and October if you want a peek, but there’s even more to marvel at any time of year. Admire the cathedral’s white-and-green-striped marble columns and stunning stained glass, and step inside the adjoining Piccolomini Library, where breathtaking frescoes await.

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Learn why Pisa’s Leaning Tower leans

Builders hadn’t even gotten to the construction of the fourth story of Pisa’s infamous bell tower when the monument started to tilt in the 12th century. It turned out, a soft ground comprised of clay, sand, and shells made for a less-than-ideal foundation, but the flaw inadvertently made the tower one of the most famous in the world. Despite its precarious angle, you can still climb the icon’s almost 300 spiral steps!

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Trace royal footsteps in Trieste

The various empires that have ruled Trieste have left behind a cityscape dotted with spectacular architecture, and Castello di Miramare is no exception. This dazzling castle sits on a promontory facing the Gulf of Trieste and boasts an extravagant interior modeled during the Imperial Age. Step into history and admire the royal residence while extending your tour of Lake Como, the Italian Riviera & Venice.

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Check out what Italy has in store for art lovers, nature lovers, and history lovers!

About the author | Jamie Gallerani
It was Jamie’s homestay in Germany that made her fall in love with travel (and her studies in Florence that really sealed the deal). When she’s not writing and sharing the magic of seeing the world with others, she’s usually on the lookout for her new favorite memoir, testing out recipes at home, or visiting her family on Cape Cod.

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