10 Top Tourist Attractions in Italy.
Italy is home to the greatest number of UNESCOWorld Heritage Sites in the world.
High art and monuments are to be found everywherearound the country.
Its great cities of art, like Rome, Veniceand Florence are world famous and have been attracting visitors for centuries.
Besides its art treasures Italy also featuresbeautiful coasts, alpine lakes and mountains.
No wonder it is often nicknamed the Bel Paese(beautiful country).
With so many amazing sights, putting togethera top 10 list of tourist attractions in Italy is no easy task.
The following list however should give a goodindication of why over 40 million foreign tourists visit Italy ever year.
10: San Gimignano.
Nicknamed the medieval Manhatten, San Gimignanois a village in Tuscany famous for its 14 stone towers.
At the height of San Gimignano’s wealthand power, more than 70 towers were built to defend the town against enemy attacks.
After the plague devastated the city in 1348,San Gimignano’s power faded, which kept enemies away and preserved many of the city’smedieval towers.
9: Manarola (Cinque Terre).
Mestled in the Italian Riviera, Manarola isone of the oldest towns in Cinque Terre.
The “Five Lands” comprises of five villagesnoted for their beauty.
Part of Cinque Terre charm is the lack ofvisible modern development.
Paths, trains and boats connect the villages,and cars cannot reach it from the outside.
The towns sprout out of the mountainside toprovide a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean sea.
8: Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The world famous Pisa Tower was built overa period of about 177 years.
Soon after the construction started in 1173the tower began to sink due to a poorly laid foundation and was left alone for almost acentury.
When the construction resumed the engineersbuilt higher floors with one side taller than the other to compensate for the tilt and thetower was finally finished in the 2nd half of the 14th century.
Since 2001, the famous tower in Pisa is againopen to those wishing to climb it’s 296 steps.
7: Lake Como (Italian Lake District).
Lake Como is part of the Italian Lake Districtan area popular with visitors for well over 100 years for its combination of fresh air,water, mountains and good weather.
The lake is shaped much like an inverted ‘Y’,with two branches starting at Como in the south-west and Lecco in the south-east, whichjoin together half way up and the lake continues up to Colico in the north.
The lake is famous for the attractive villaswhich have been built here since Roman times.
Many have admirable gardens which benefitfrom the mild climate and are able to include tropical as well as temperate plants.
6: Positano (Amalfi Coast).
Positano is a small town located on the AmalfiCoast, a stretch of coastline renowned for its rugged terrain, scenic beauty, picturesquetowns and diversity.
The city seems to be scattered from top tobottom down a hillside leading to the coast.
Though Positano grew and prospered in medievaltimes, by the mid 19th more than half of the population was gone.
In the 20th century it went from being a poorfishing village to a very popular tourist attraction with the help of author John Steinbeckwho wrote about its beauty.
On August 24, 79 AD, the volcano Vesuviuserupted, covering the nearby town Pompeii with ash and soil, and subsequently preservingthe city in its state from that fateful day.
Everything from jars and tables to paintingsand people were frozen in time.
Its excavation has provided an extraordinarilydetailed insight into the life of people living two thousand years ago.
Today Pompeii is one of the most popular touristattractions of Italy, with approximately 2,500,000 visitors every year.
4: Piazza del Campo.
One of Europe’s greatest medieval squares,the Piazza del Campo is the principal public space of the historic center of Siena, Tuscany.
It is renowned worldwide for its beauty andarchitectural integrity.
The Palazzo Pubblico and its famous tower,as well as various palazzi signorili belonging to the wealthiest of Siena families surroundthe shell-shaped piazza.
The twice-per-year horse-race, Palio di Siena,involves circling the Piazza del Campo, on which a thick layer of dirt has been laid,three times and usually lasts no more than 90 seconds.
3: Santa Maria del Fiore.
Begun in 1296 in the Gothic style and completedin 1436, The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore is Florence’s beautiful cathedral and symbolof the city.
The exterior of the basilica is faced withpolychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink bordered by white.
The basilica is one of Italy’s largest churches,and until the modern era, the dome was the largest in the world.
It remains the largest brick dome ever constructed.
The Colosseum in Rome is the largest and mostfamous amphitheater in the Roman world.
Its construction was started by emperor Vespasianof the Flavian dynasty in 72 AD and was finished by his son Titus in 80 AD.
The Colosseum was capable of holding some50,000 spectators who could enter the building through no less than 80 entrances.
Spectators were protected from the rain andheat of the sun by sails called the “velarium”, that was attached around the top of the attic.
1: Canals of Venice.
Referred to as “The City of Water”, Veniceis the crown jewel of water cities.
Romantic gondolas, and Italian architecturealong the Grand Canal helped earn this status.
Stitched together with over 150 canals thathave become central to its character, Venice has decayed since its heyday and has moretourists than residents, but with its romantic charm it remains one of the top tourist attractionsin Italy.
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