In the great nation of Italy, people take the concept of beauty very seriously. It is imbued within every element of life, be it food, wine, or love. The building stock that this ancient society has built up over the centuries also reflects this mentality, as many structures that you will see will outclass almost any other comparable building anywhere else in the world.
During your travels in this gorgeous country though, you’ll want to see the best of the best, the monuments that proclaim to the world its love of all things beautiful. In this vein, here are five architectural highlights that you shouldn’t miss during your trip to Italy…
1) Roman Colosseum, Rome
Being the largest amphitheatre that the Romans built in their expansive empire, the Roman Colosseum’s mass has largely withstood the rigours of time, manifesting a sneak peek on how recreational life in the empire was almost 2,000 years ago. Standing 48 metres high with 240 arches over three distinct levels, this place was home to gladiatorial combats during the apex of the Roman Empire.
2) Piazza of San Marco, Venice
Known in English as St. Mark’s Square, the Piazza of San Marco has served as the public meeting place for Venetians for centuries. Surrounded by a basilica, Doge’s Palace, a clock tower and numerous cafes at ground level, the atmosphere is a sacred experience, as it is a rare place in today’s world that is free of motorized traffic and its incumbent noise.
3) Florence Cathedral, Florence
While churches can tend to be fairly uniform in many places in the West and even cathedrals possess similar characteristics to each other much of the time, the Florence Cathedral in the Italian city of the same name bucks that trend. The exterior’s trim design is intricate carved to a seemingly infinite detail, with many statues situated in alcoves and that are carved into the stone of the church. The interior is no less impressive, with a fresco of the Last Judgement painted onto the inside of one of the domed roofs, and the soaring arched ceiling will make you feel like an insignificant insect due to its largess.
4) Villa Rotunda, Vicenza
Originally built as a private home to house a Vatican priest in his retirement, the architect fashioned an estate so spectacular that it inspired countless buildings throughout the world for centuries to come. Drawing upon the Roman Pantheon itself for inspiration, this home has a domed roof, and has a pillared front porch that evokes ancient Greece.
5) Basilica of Saint Peter, Vatican City
The cathedral at is at the epicentre of the Roman Catholic Church, this epic religious institution is where the Pope himself holds sway over this leading world religion. Crowned by statues of saints and Jesus Himself, and possessing a dome that reminds you of a certain building back in the good ole U.S.A., the Basilica of Saint Peter is not only a must visit for those that call Catholicism their faith, but for those who appreciate ambitious architecture.
You won’t look at a building at home the same way again
While this nation can turn you into an architecture snob, it can also teach you to appreciate things that are truly beautiful. While it may spoil things that you once considered good looking, this place will also serve to break the spell of mediocrity that binds so many people to average, or good enough.