Course  |  Italy’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites  |  Italy Online Training

Lesson 7:


Italy is known for its considerable architectural achievements, such as the construction of aqueducts, temples, and similar structures during ancient Rome, the founding of the Renaissance architectural movement in the late-14th to 16th century, and being the homeland of Palladianism, a style of construction which inspired movements such as that of Neoclassical architecture. Here you can find some example:

  • Caserta: the Royal Palace and the Park
    The Royal Palace at Caserta and its park, inserted as one of the 55 Italian UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997, are treasures of truly incomparable splendour. Commissioned by Charles III of Bourbon in the 1700s, Luigi Vanvitelli planned this palace, a triumph of the Italian Baroque and one of the most famous and important works by the Neapolitan architect. Every day visitors are left enchanted by the beauty of its interiors and by the magnificence of its exterior.
  • Villa d’Este, Tivoli
    The magnificent Villa d’Este in Tivoli is one of Italy’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Just a brief train ride from Rome, Villa d’Este was originally commissioned by Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este (Governor of Tivoli in 1550). The Cardinal, disappointed that he was not elected pontiff, wished to bring to Villa d’Este the luxury of the Ferrarese, Roman and French Courts and, above all, to match the luxury found in Hadrian’s Villa
  • Medici Villas and Gardens in Tuscany
    Set in gorgeous and magnificent Tuscany, immersed in the splendid countryside just outside favourite art cities like Florence and Lucca are the Medici Villas, built during the Florentine Renaissance and inserted onto the UNESCO World Heritage List in June 2013.
  • Venetian Works of Defence
    “Venetian Works of Defence between the 16th and 17th Centuries: Stato da Terra – Western Stato da Mar” is the 53rd UNESCO site in Italy, an important acknowledgement for Italy, which firmly occupies the number 1 spot in the UNESCO ranking of World Heritage Sites. The Venetian Works of Defence are collected in a transnational site that includes the most extensive and innovative defence networks built by the Serenissima, wall structures with exceptional historical, architectural and technological value.
  • The city of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas
    Vicenza, a city to live in its every detail, to discover street by street, to admire from the very first moment. It is one of the most beautiful places in Veneto and in all of Italy, where architecture happily marries with city planning: palazzi, villas, monuments and churches contribute to the harmonious splendour that forms this city. Vicenza possesses two criteria that were important in putting it on the map- that is, on UNESCO’s World Heritage List (1994): Palladio’s contribution to its art history; and its perfect integration of architectonic works with urban spaces, thus making it a model and significant reference for all of modern and contemporary Europe. The work of Andrea Palladio (1508–80), based on a detailed study of classical Roman architecture, gives the city its unique appearance.
  • Castel del Monte
    When 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 crown of rock resting on a hill at 540 metres above sea level, overlooking the western Murge plateau in Puglia. This is Castel del Monte, fortress commissioned by Frederick II around 1240 and included by UNESCO in the World Heritage List in 1996.
  • Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta 
    The historic centre in Ferrara in Emilia-Romagna, included by UNESCO in the World Heritage List in 1995, represents the concrete realization of the humanistic concept of “ideal city”, thanks to the ambitious project entrusted to the architect of the court Biagio Rossetti by Duke Ercole I d’Este between the late fifteenth century and early Sixteenth Century. The work, known as Addizione Erculea or Erculean Addition, has marked the beginning of modern urban planning, influencing subsequent developments. 
  • Residences of the Royal House of Savoy
    The Savoy residences located in the Region of Piedmont compose a complex of great historical, artistic and environmental value. Today listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, these structures were in part used as official residences, and as hunting facilities, the favourite activity of the royal family. The most important building is undoubtedly the Royal Palace, the official residence of the Savoys; it has already been restored several times and today houses the homonymous museum, where numerous, centuries-old objects and furnishings belonging to the sovereigns are held. 
  • City of Verona
    In a stretch of land designed in accord with the bends and twists of the River Adige, we find Verona, a visually-stunning city of excellence and one of the 55 Italian sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List.  2,000 years of history encased in an expanse of 77 sq mi: this is Verona, site of completely harmonious integration of the finest of artistic elements from several diverse historical epochs. Thanks to its geographic location, it was an important urban centre founded by the Romans in the First Century B.C. Significant traces still remain today of its prodigious past, including the Arena of the Roman Theatre, the Gavi Arch at Porta Borsari, and the archaeological site at Porta Leoni. 
  • Val di Noto and the Baroque
    Situated in southeastern Sicily, Val di Noto (the Noto Valley) – with its eight gorgeous late-Baroque cities – became one of the Italian UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2002. The eight cities are Caltagirone, Militello Val di Catania, Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo, Ragusa and Scicli. These cities already existed during the Medieval Age but were rebuilt (in part or entirely) after the catastrophic earthquake of 1693. Having followed the stylistic model predominant during the era, the cities’ architecture, urban plan and decorations constitute the culmination of one of the last periods of Baroque’s flourish in Europe.