Cinque Terre, Portovenere and the Islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto) The Ligurian coast between Cinque Terre and Portovenere is a cultural landscape of great scenic and cultural value. The layout and disposition of the small towns and the shaping of the surrounding landscape, overcoming the disadvantages of a steep, uneven terrain, encapsulate the continuous history of human settlement in this region over the past millennium. http://www.5terre.com/FrameSet.php?LeftPriMenu=001&LeftSecMenu=001&LeftFile=index.php
The Archaeological Area of Agrigento Founded as a Greek colony in the 6th century BC, Agrigento became one of the leading cities of the Mediterranean world. Its supremacy and pride are demonstrated by the remains of the magnificent Doric temples that dominate the ancient town, much of which remains intact under latter-day fields and orchards. Selected excavated areas throw light on the later Hellenic and Roman town and on the burial practices of its palaeochristian inhabitants. http://wings.buffalo.edu/AandL/Maecenas/italy_sicily/Agrigento/section_contents.html
Hadrian's Villa,Tivoli Villa Adriana, an exceptional complex of classical buildings created in the 2nd century AD by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, reproduces the best elements of the material cultures of Egypt, Greece, and Rome in the form of an "ideal city." http://sights.seindal.dk/sight/901_Hadrians_Villa.html
Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto (South-eastern Sicily) The eight towns in south-eastern Sicily: Caltagirone, Militello Val di Catania, Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo, Ragusa and Scicli, were all rebuilt after 1693 on or beside towns existing at the time of the earthquake which took place in that year. They represent a considerable collective undertaking, successfully carried out at a high level of architectural and artistic achievement. Keeping within the late Baroque style of the day, they also depict distinctive innovations in town planning and urban building. http://www.travelplan.it/siracusa_guide_itineraries_noto.htm
Historic Centre of San Gimignano "San Gimignano delle belle Torri" is situated in Tuscany, 56 km south of Florence. It served as an important relay point for pilgrims on the Via Francigena to and from Rome. The patrician families, who controlled the city, built some 72 tower-houses (up to 50m high) as symbols of their wealth and power. Only 14 have survived but San Gimignano has retained its feudal atmosphere and appearance. The city also contains masterpieces of 14th and 15th-century Italian art. http://www.italiaplease.com/eng/category/travel/places/townandcities/sangiminiano/index.html
Villa Romana del Casale Roman exploitation of the countryside is symbolized by the villa, the centre of the large estate upon which the rural economy of the Western Empire was based. In its 4th century AD form the Villa Romana del Casale is one of the most luxurious examples of this type of monument. It is especially noteworthy for the wealth and quality of the mosaics which decorate almost every room, and which are the finest still in situ anywhere in the Roman world. http://sights.seindal.dk/sight/456_Villa_Romana_del_Casale.html
The Cathedral, Torre Civica and Piazza Grande, Modena The magnificent 12th-century Cathedral at Modena is a supreme example of Romanesque art, the work of two great artists (Lanfranco and Wiligelmo). With its associated piazza and the soaring tower, it testifies to the strength of the faith of its builders and to the power of the Canossa dynasty who commissioned it.
Su Nuraxi di Barumini During the late 2nd millennium B.C. in the Bronze Age, a special type of defensive structure known as nuraghi (for which no parallel exists anywhere else in the world) developed on the island of Sardinia. The complex consists of circular defensive towers in the form of truncated cones built of dressed stone, with corbel-vaulted internal chambers. The complex at Barumini, which was extended and reinforced in the first half of the 1st millennium under Carthaginian pressure, is the finest and most complete example of this remarkable form of prehistoric architecture.
Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy The nine Sacri Monti (Sacred Mountains) of northern Italy are groups of chapels and other architectural features created in the late 16th and 17th centuries and dedicated to different aspects of the Christian faith. In addition to their symbolic spiritual meaning, they are of great beauty by virtue of the skill with which they have been integrated into the surrounding natural landscape of hills, forests and lakes. They also house much important artistic material in the form of wall paintings and statuary. http://www.piemonteonline.it/pagine/isacrim/isacrim.htm
City of Verona The historic city of Verona was founded in the 1st century CE. It flourished particularly under the rule of the Scaliger family in the 13th and 14th centuries and as part of the Republic of Venice from the 15th to 18th centuries. Verona, a city of culture and art, has preserved a remarkable amount of monuments from antiquity and the medieval and Renaissance periods, and represents an outstanding example of a military stronghold http://veronait.ags.myareaguide.com/detail.html?cityguide=gen_intro
Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of Aquileia Aquileia, one of the largest and wealthiest cities of the Early Roman Empire, was destroyed by Attila in the mid-5th century. Most of it still remains unexcavated beneath fields, and as such it constitutes the greatest archaeological reserve of its kind. Its Patriarchal Basilica, an outstanding building with an exceptional mosaic pavement, also played a key role in the evangelization of a large region of Central Europe. http://www.aquileia.it/
Assisi, the Basilica of San Francesco and Other Franciscan Sites Assisi, an ancient sanctuary and a medieval hill town, is the birthplace of Saint Francis and fundamentally associated with work of the Franciscan Order. The masterpieces of medieval art, such as the Basilica of San Francesco and the paintings by Cimabue, Simone Martini, Pietro Lorenzetti, and Giotto, have made Assisi a fundamental reference point for the development of Italian and European art and architecture. http://www.christusrex.org/www1/francis/upper.html
The Castel del Monte in Computergraphics When the Emperor Frederick II built this castle near Bari in the 13th century, he imbued it with symbolic significance, as reflected in the location, the mathematical and astronomical precision of the layout and the perfectly regular shape. A unique piece of medieval military architecture, Castel del Monte is a successful blend of elements from classical antiquity, the Islamic Orient and north European Cistercian Gothic.
I Sassi di Matera This is the most outstanding, intact example of a troglodyte settlement in the Mediterranean region, perfectly adapted to its terrain and ecosystem. The first inhabited zone dates from the Palaeolithic, while later settlements illustrate a number of significant stages in human history. Matera is in the southern region of Basilicata. http://www.sassi.info/index_en.htm
Rock Art and Petroglyphs in VALCAMONICA Valcamonica, in the Lombardy plain, has one of the greatest collection of prehistoric petroglyphs to be found - more than 140,000 signs and figures carved in rock over a period of 8,000 years, depicting themes of agriculture, navigation, war and magic. http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/2384/index.html
Historic Centre of Urbino Urbino is a small hill town that experienced an astonishing cultural flowering in the 15th century, attracting artists and scholars from all over Italy and beyond, and influencing cultural developments elsewhere in Europe. Owing to its economic and cultural stagnation from the 16th century onwards, its Renaissance appearance has been remarkably well preserved. http://www.urbinoinrete.it/Urbino/Turismo/guida/inglese/indice.htm
Historic Centre of Naples From the Neapolis founded by Greek settlers in 470 B.C. to the city of today, Naples has retained the imprint of the successive cultures that emerged in Europe and the Mediterranean basin. This makes it a unique site, with a wealth of outstanding monuments such as the Church of Santa Chiara and the Castel Nuovo. http://www.italiaplease.com/eng/category/travel/places/townandcities/naples/index.html
Historic Centre of Florence Built on the site of an Etruscan settlement, Florence, the symbol of the Renaissance, rose to economic and cultural pre-eminence under the Medici in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its 600 years of extraordinary artistic activity can be seen above all in the 13th-century cathedral (Santa Maria del Fiore), the Church of Santa Croce, the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace, the work of great masters such as Giotto, Brunelleschi, Botticelli and Michelangelo. http://www.italiaplease.com/eng/category/travel/places/townandcities/florence/index.html
Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands) The Aeolian Islands provide an outstanding record of volcanic island-building and destruction and ongoing volcanic phenomena. Studied since at least the 18th century, the islands have illustrated two of the types of eruption (Vulcanian and Strombolian) to vulcanology and so have featured prominently in the education of all geoscientists for over 200 years. The site still continues to enrich the field of vulcanological studies. http://www.eolieonline.it/eng/isole.html
The 18th-Century Royal Palace at Caserta with the Park, the Aqueduct of Vanvitelli, and the San Leucio Complex The monumental complex at Caserta, created by the Bourbon king Charles III in the mid-18th century to rival Versailles and the Royal Palace in Madrid, is exceptional for the way in which it brings together a magnificent palace with its park and gardens, as well as natural woodland, hunting lodges and a silk factory. It is an eloquent expression of the Enlightenment in material form, integrated into, rather than imposed on, its natural setting. http://www.italiaplease.com/eng/category/travel/places/townandcities/caserta/
Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park with the Archeological sites of Paestum and Velia, and the Certosa di Padula The Cilento is an outstanding cultural landscape. The dramatic groups of sanctuaries and settlements along its three eastwest mountain ridges vividly portray the area's historical evolution: it was a major route not only for trade, but also for cultural and political interaction during the prehistoric and medieval periods. The Cilento was also the boundary between the Greek colonies of Magna Graecia and the indigenous Etruscan and Lucanian peoples. The remains of two major cities from classical times, Paestum and Velia, are found there. http://www.parks.it/parco.nazionale.cilento/Eindex.html
The City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto Founded in the 2nd century B.C. in northern Italy, Vicenza prospered under Venetian rule from the early 15th to the end of the 18th century. The work of Andrea Palladio (150880), based on a detailed study of classical Roman architecture, gives the city its unique appearance. Palladio's urban buildings, as well as his villas, scattered throughout the Veneto region, had a decisive influence on the development of architecture. His work inspired a distinct architectural style known as Palladian, which spread to England and other European countries, and also to North America. http://ville.inews.it/eindice.htm
The Trulli of Alberobello The trulli, limestone dwellings found in the southern region of Puglia, are remarkable examples of drywall (mortarless) construction, a prehistoric building technique still in use in this region. The trulli are made of roughly worked limestone boulders collected from neighbouring fields. Characteristically, they feature pyramidal, domed or conical roofs built up of corbelled limestone slabs.
The Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico), Padua The world's first botanical garden was created in Padua in 1545. It still preserves its original layout - a circular central plot, symbolizing the world, surrounded by a ring of water. Other elements were added later, some architectural (ornamental entrances and balustrades) and some practical (pumping installations and greenhouses). It continues to serve its original purpose as a centre for scientific research. http://www.cbft.unipd.it/pdtour/garden.html
The Historic Centre of the City of Pienza It was in this Tuscan town that Renaissance town-planning concepts were first put into practice after Pope Pius II decided, in 1459, to transform the look of his birthplace. He chose the architect Bernardo Rossellino, who applied the principles of his mentor, Leon Battista Alberti. This new vision of urban space was realized in the superb square known as Piazza Pio II and the buildings around it: the Piccolomini Palace, the Borgia Palace and the cathedral with its pure Renaissance exterior and an interior in the late Gothic style of south German churches. http://www.italiaplease.com/eng/category/travel/places/townandcities/pienza/index.html
L'Ultima Cena - Interactive The refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie forms an integral part of this architectural complex, begun in Milan in 1463 and reworked at the end of the 15th century by Bramante. On the north wall is The Last Supper, the unrivalled masterpiece painted between 1495 and 1497 by Leonardo da Vinci, whose work was to herald a new era in the history of art.
Crespi d'Adda Crespi d'Adda in Capriate San Gervasio in Lombardy is an outstanding example of the 19th- and early 20th-century 'company towns' built in Europe and North America by enlightened industrialists to meet the workers' needs. The site is still remarkably intact and is partly used for industrial purposes, although changing economic and social conditions now threaten its survival http://www.villaggiocrespi.it/xUK%20A1@%20HOME.htm
The Residences of the Royal House of Savoy When Emmanuel-Philibert, Duke of Savoy, moved his capital to Turin in 1562, he began a vast series of building projects (continued by his successors) to demonstrate the power of the ruling house. This outstanding complex of buildings, designed and embellished by the leading architects and artists of the time, radiates out into the surrounding countryside from the Royal Palace in the 'Command Area' of Turin to include many country residences and hunting lodges. http://www.regione.piemonte.it/piemonte_gallery/pagine_eng/temi/04_residenze.htm
Villa d'Este, Tivoli The Villa d'Este in Tivoli, with its palace and garden, is one of the most remarkable and comprehensive illustrations of Renaissance culture at its most refined. Its innovative design along with the architectural components in the garden (fountains, ornamental basins, etc.) make this a unique example of an Italian 16th-century garden. The Villa d'Este, one of the first giardini delle meraviglie, was an early model for the development of European gardens. http://www.villadestetivoli.info/storiae.htm
Piazza del Duomo, Pisa Standing in a large green expanse, Piazza del Duomo houses a group of monuments known the world over. These four masterpieces of medieval architecture - the cathedral, the baptistry, the campanile (the 'Leaning Tower') and the cemetery - had a great influence on monumental art in Italy from the 11th to the 14th century.
Ferrara, City of the Renaissance and its Po Delta Ferrara, which grew up around a ford over the River Po, became an intellectual and artistic centre that attracted the greatest minds of the Italian Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries. Here, Piero della Francesca, Jacopo Bellini and Andrea Mantegna decorated the palaces of the House of Este. The humanist concept of the 'ideal city' came to life here in the neighbourhoods built from 1492 onwards by Biagio Rossetti according to the new principles of perspective. The completion of this project marked the birth of modern town planning and influenced its subsequent development. http://www.italiaplease.com/eng/category/travel/places/provinces/ferrara/index.html
Venice and its Lagoon Founded in the 5th century and spread over 118 small islands, Venice became a major maritime power in the 10th century. The whole city is an extraordinary architectural masterpiece in which even the smallest building contains works by some of the world's greatest artists such as Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese and others. http://www.italiaplease.com/eng/category/travel/places/townandcities/venice/index.html
Historic Centre of Siena Siena is the embodiment of a medieval city. Its inhabitants pursued their rivalry with Florence right into the area of urban planning. Throughout the centuries, they preserved their city's Gothic appearance, acquired between the 12th and 15th centuries. During this period the work of Duccio, the Lorenzetti brothers and Simone Martini was to influence the course of Italian and, more broadly, European art. The whole city of Siena, built around the Piazza del Campo, was devised as a work of art that blends into the surrounding landscape http://www.italiaplease.com/eng/category/travel/places/townandcities/siena/index.html
Early Christian Monuments and Mosaics of Ravenna Ravenna was the seat of the Roman Empire in the 5th century and then of Byzantine Italy until the 8th century. It has a unique collection of early Christian mosaics and monuments. All eight buildings - the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Neonian Baptistery, the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, the Arian Baptistery, the Archiepiscopal Chapel, the Mausoleum of Theodoric, the Church of San Vitale and the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe - were constructed in the 5th and 6th centuries. They show great artistic skill, including a wonderful blend of Graeco-Roman tradition, Christian iconography and oriental and Western styles.
The Archaeological Areas of Pompei, Ercolano, and Torre Annunziata No visit to Naples is complete without a trip to Pompeii. When Vesuvius erupted on 24 August 79 AD it engulfed the two flourishing Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well as the many rich villas in the area. Since the mid 18th century these have been progressively uncovered and made accessible to the public. The vast expanse of the commercial town of Pompeii contrasts with the restricted but better preserved remains of the holiday resort of Herculaneum, whilst the superb wall paintings of the Villa Oplontis at Torre Annunziata give a vivid impression of the opulent life-style of the wealthier citizens of the early Roman Empire. http://www.virtualitalia.com/travel/campania_pompeii.shtml