UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy

Villa Foscari

Villa Foscari is designed by the Italian architect Andrea Palladio. It is also known as La Malcontenta, a nickname which it received when the spouse of one of the Foscaris was locked up in the house because she allegedly didn"t live up to her conjugal duty. The villa was commissioned by the brothers Nicolo and Luigi Foscari, members of a patrician Venetian family that produced Francesco Foscari, one of Venice"s ...
Founded: 1558-1560 | Location: Mira, Italy

Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta

Aquileia, one of the largest and wealthiest cities of the Early Roman Empire, was destroyed by Attila in the mid-5th century. The patriarchal basilica, an outstanding building with an exceptional mosaic pavement, played a key role in the evangelization of a large region of central Europe. The architectural development of the Basilica of Aquileia, dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the saints Hermagora and Fortunatus, start ...
Founded: c. 313 AD | Location: Aquileia, Italy

Villa Pisani

Villa Pisani was designed by Andrea Palladio about 1552, for Cardinal Francesco Pisani. Pisani was also a patron of the painters Paolo Veronese and Giambattista Maganza and the sculptor Alessandro Vittoria, who provided sculptures of the Four Seasons for the villa, which is in fact provided with fireplaces to dispel winter chill. Construction of the villa was under way by 1553, and it was completed in 1555. The central b ...
Founded: 1553-1555 | Location: Montagnana, Italy

Villa Piovene

Villa Piovene was commissioned in the 16th century for the aristocratic Venetian Piovene family, their architect believed to have been Andrea Palladio. It is part of the World Heritage Site 'City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto' since 1996. Villa Piovene was built around 1539–40 in competition to and within the immediate vicinity of Villa Godi, which rises only a few hundred metres. Rivalrie ...
Founded: 1539 | Location: Lugo di Vicenza, Italy

Villa Valmarana

The Villa Valmarana (also known as Valmarana Scagnolari Zen) is a Renaissance villa situated in Lisiera, a locality of Bolzano Vicentino. Designed by Andrea Palladio, it was originally built in the 1560s. The villa was nearly totally destroyed during World War II, but has been rebuilt. Even before the war damage, the building did not closely resemble the plan which Palladio published in his I Quattro Libri dell"Arch ...
Founded: 1560s | Location: Bolzano Vicentino, Italy

Scaliger Tombs

The Scaliger Tombs is a group of five Gothic funerary monuments in Verona, celebrating the Scaliger family, who ruled in Verona from the 13th to the late 14th century. The tombs are located in a court of the church of Santa Maria Antica, separated from the street by a wall with iron grilles. Built in Gothic style, they are a series of tombs, most of which are in the shape of a small temple and covered by a baldachin. Acc ...
Founded: c. 1329 | Location: Verona, Italy

Villa Godi

Villa Godi was one of the first projects by Andrea Palladio. The work was commissioned by the brothers Girolamo, Pietro and Marcantonio Godi, started in 1537 and concluded in 1542, with later modifications to the rear entry and gardens. The villa has been designated by UNESCO as part of the World Heritage Site 'City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto'. The villa and extensive gardens are open to ...
Founded: 1537-1542 | Location: Lugo di Vicenza, Italy

Villa Pisani

The Villa Pisani is a patrician villa designed by Andrea Palladio, located in Bagnolo, a hamlet in the comune of Lonigo. The Pisani were a rich family of Venetian nobles who owned several Villas Pisani, two of them designed by Andrea Palladio. The villa at Bagnolo was built in the 1540s and represents Palladio"s first villa designed for a patrician family of Venice (his earlier villa commissions were from provincial ...
Founded: 1540s | Location: Lonigo, Italy

Villa Emo

Villa Emo was designed by Andrea Palladio in 1559 for the Emo family of Venice and remained in the hands of the Emo family until it was sold in 2004. The building was the culmination of a long-lasting project of the patrician Emo family of the Republic of Venice to develop its estates at Fanzolo.  Since 1996, it has been conserved as part of the World Heritage Site 'City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the V ...
Founded: 1559 | Location: Fanzolo, Italy

Villa Cornaro

Villa Cornaro was designed by the Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio in 1552 and is illustrated and described by him in Book Two of his 1570 masterwork, I Quattro Libri dell"Architettura. Villa Cornaro was mainly constructed in 1553-1554, with additional work into the 1590s, after Palladio had died, for Giorgio Cornaro, younger son of a wealthy family. It represents one of the most exemplary examples of a ...
Founded: 1552-1554 | Location: Piombino Dese, Italy

Lombard Temple

The small church of Oratorio di Santa Maria in Valle (also known as Lombard Temple), next to the Natisone river, is a notable example of High Middle Ages art sometimes attributed to the 8th century, but probably later. Included in the old Lombard quarter, it was probably used as Palatine Chapel by the Lombard dukes and king"s functionaries. The fine decorations, statues and stuccoes (11th or 12th century) housed in t ...
Founded: 8th century | Location: Cividale del Friuli, Italy

Villa Serego

Villa Serego was built for the aristocratic Sarego family, and designed by Andrea Palladio. The villa is distinctive for its use of rusticated columns of the Ionic order. The villa was commissioned by the Venetian nobleman Marcantonio Sarego for an estate which came into his possession in 1552. A rough date for its execution is c. 1560-1570. In 1857 further construction took place, which makes the villa appear finished b ...
Founded: 1560-1570 | Location: Pedemonte, Italy

Villa Angarano

The Villa Angarano was originally conceived by Andrea Palladio who published a plan in his book I Quattro Libri dell"Architettura. Work was started on the wings of Palladio"s design in the 1540s or 1540s . A decision appears to have been reached to leave a pre-existing house in the middle of the site. The proposed Palladian villa was never built: Palladio"s patron may have been obliged to halt the project f ...
Founded: 1540s | Location: Bassano del Grappa, Italy

Villa Badoer

Villa Badoer was designed in 1556 by Andrea Palladio for the Venetian noble Francesco Badoer, and built between 1557 and 1563, on the site of a medieval castle which guarded a bridge across a navigable canal. This was the first time Palladio used his fully developed temple pediment in the facade of a villa. Villa Badoer has been part since 1996 of the UNESCO World Heritage Site 'City of Vicenza and the Palladian Vil ...
Founded: 1556-1563 | Location: Fratta Polesine, Italy

Villa Zeno

Villa Zeno in Cessalto is the most easterly villa designed by Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. The building is near the highway between Venice and Trieste, but was built to face a canal which served as the primary means of arrival. Palladio"s building for the Zeno family has been dated to the 1550s. It is illustrated in I Quattro Libri dell"Architettura, the architect"s influential publication of 157 ...
Founded: 1550s | Location: Cessalto, Italy

Villa Valmarana

Villa Valmarana (also known as Valmarana Bressan) is a patrician villa at Vigardolo, Monticello Conte Otto. The building is attributed to Andrea Palladio on the basis of an extant drawing of the villa that is undoubtedly by the great architect. The villa was constructed during the 1540s, so it is one of Palladio"s earlier works. It was commissioned by two cousins of the Valmarana family. The layout of the rooms sugg ...
Founded: 1540s | Location: Monticello Conte Otto, Italy

Villa Saraceno

Villa Saraceno has been dated to the 1540s, which makes it one of Andrea Palladio"s earlier works. In 1570 the building was illustrated in an imagined state in its architect"s influential publication 'Four Books of Architecture'.  Villa Saraceno is one of Palladio"s simpler creations. Like most of Palladio"s villas it combines living space for its upper-class owners with space for uses rela ...
Founded: 1540s | Location: Agugliaro, Italy

Villa Trissino

Villa Trissino is an incomplete aristocratic villa designed by Andrea Palladio, situated in the hamlet of Meledo. It was intended for the brothers Ludovico and Francesco Trissino. It should not to be confused with Villa Trissino at Cricoli, which is 20 km away, just outside Vicenza. Villa Trissino, like most of the Palladian villas, was to be the centre of an agricultural estate built for an aristocratic family. What sur ...
Founded: 1560s | Location: Meledo, Italy

Villa Gazzotti Grimani

Villa Gazzotti Grimani is a Renaissance villa, an early work of architect Andrea Palladio. In 1994 UNESCO designated it as part of the World Heritage Site 'City of Vicenza and Palladian Villas of the Veneto'. The villa was designed and built in the 1540s for the Venetian Taddeo Gazzotti and, like a number of Palladio"s buildings, it incorporates a pre-existing structure. In 1550, before the building was co ...
Founded: 1540s | Location: Vicenza, Italy

Villa Forni Cerato

The Villa Forni Cerato is a 16th-century villa in Montecchio Precalcino. Its design is attributed to Andrea Palladio and his client is assumed to have been Girolamo Forni, a wealthy wood merchant who supplied building material for a number of the Palladio"s projects. The attribution to Palladio is partly on stylistic grounds, although this is a complicated issue - the building departs from the Palladian norms. The v ...
Founded: 1540s | Location: Montecchio Precalcino, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Barnenez Cairn

The Cairn of Barnenez is the largest Megalithic mausoleum in Europe. It dates from the early Neolithic Age is considered one of the earliest megalithic monuments in Europe. It is also remarkable for the presence of megalithic art. Radiocarbon dates indicate that the first phase of the monument was erected between 4850 and 4250 BC, and the second phase between 4450 and 4000 BC. Pottery found in and around the monument indicates that it underwent a period of reuse in the Bronze Age, in the 3rd millennium BC.

The cairn was first mapped in 1807, in the context of the Napoleonic cadaster. Its first scientific recognition took place in the context of an academic congress in Morlaix in 1850, when it was classified as a tumulus. Privately owned until the 1950s, the cairn was used as a quarry for paving stones. This activity, which threatened to destroy the monument, was only halted after the discovery of several of its chambers in the 1950s. The local community then took control of the site. The cairn was restored between 1954 and 1968. At the same time, vegetation was removed from the mound and systematic excavation took place in and around the monument.

Today, the Barnenez cairn is 72 m long, up to 25 m wide and over 8 m high. It is built of 13,000 to 14,000 tons of stone. It contains 11 chambers entered by separate passages. The mound has steep facades and a stepped profile. Several internal walls either represent earlier facades or served the stability of the structure. The cairn consists of relatively small blocks of stone, with only the chambers being truly megalithic in character. The monument overlooks the Bay of Morlaix, probably a fertile coastal plain at the time of its erection.

Engraved symbols occur in several of the chambers and passages. They depict bows, axes, wave symbols or snakes and a repeated U-shaped sign. One of the carved slabs is in secondary use was originally part of a different structure, an interesting parallel to the situation in several other such monuments, including Gavrinis. The symbols on the engraved blocks resemble those found in other megalithic monuments in Brittany; in broader terms they belong to the cultural phenomenon described as megalithic art. One of the recurring symbols is sometimes interpreted as an anthropomorphic depiction (the so-called \'Dolmen Goddess\').

An exhibition in the modern entrance building explains the results of scientific excavation and displays some objects from the site.