Visiting Italy is like stepping back in time, where ancient buildings, time-worn roads, and crumbling ruins call to mind the country’s extensive past. If seeking out a destination’s history is at the top of your list when you travel, here are some of the fascinating places you should be sure to visit while on tour in Italy.
Magnificent historic landmarks anchor the skyline in every direction in “The Eternal City,” once considered the capital of the world. Walk in the footsteps of the ancients at the Colosseum and Roman Forum, two astonishing links to the past. Gaze up at the dome of the Pantheon, the world’s best-preserved ancient Roman monument. Then, add excursions to skip the lines and gaze at masterworks in the Vatican and go underground in the Catacombs, burial tunnels that snake beneath the city.
Located on the Italian heel is this beachy locale, where a fascinating history lends an air of intrigue to an otherwise relaxed vibe. Add our Otranto with Dinner & Wine Tasting excursion to go beyond the quiet charm and enter the town’s Romanesque cathedral. Inside, you’ll see the bones of over 800 martyrs behind the altar—a chilling remnant from the 15th-century Turkish invasion.
Pompeii is a time capsule situated near Mount Vesuvius, the infamous volcano that buried (and preserved) the entire city in ash over 2,000 years ago. Today, you can see countless ruins as you stroll along Pompeii’s ancient streets, where chariot tracks are still etched into the cobblestones and everything from homes and businesses line the sidewalks. You can step inside baths and temples, see relics of everyday life, and even view plaster casts of the victims who were caught in the volcano’s eruption.
Italy’s royal roots can be traced directly to Turin, which was named the unified country’s capital when the Kingdom of Italy was founded in 1861. With the creation of the kingdom came the crowing of Italy’s first king: Vittorio Emanuele II of Savoy. Today, remnants from the House of Savoy’s reign through 1946 can still be seen throughout the city, where porticoes, piazzas, and UNESCO-listed palaces set the backdrop for everyday life.
Spread over 118 small islands in the Adriatic Sea, Venice is a labyrinth of gondola-dotted canals and Gothic architectural wonders that sing an ode to the city’s rich maritime history. This UNESCO-listed “City of Masks” is still full of striking remnants from its golden age of art and music, and is considered one of the most romantic and culturally rich places in Italy.