UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy

Tarquinia Etruscan Necropolis

Tarquinia is known chiefly for its outstanding and unique ancient Etruscan tombs in the widespread necropoli or cemeteries which it overlies. Tarquinia has been awarded as UNESCO World Heritage status with near Cerveteri. The ancient burial grounds (necropoli), dating from the Iron Age (9th century BC, or Villanovan period) to Roman times, were on the adjacent promontories including that of today's Tarquinia. It was one ...
Founded: 800 BC | Location: Tarquinia, Italy

Late Baroque Town of Ragusa

The eight towns in south-eastern Sicily, including Ragusa, 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 ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Ragusa, Italy

Aquileia Roman Ruins

Today, Aquileia is a town smaller than the colony first founded by Rome. Over the centuries, sieges, earthquakes, floods, and pillaging of the ancient buildings for materials means that no edifices of the Roman period remain above ground. The site of Aquileia, believed to be the largest Roman city yet to be excavated, is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Excavations, however, have revealed some of the layout ...
Founded: 181 BC | Location: Aquileia, Italy

Villa Barbaro

Villa Barbaro, also known as the Villa di Maser, was designed and built by the Italian architect Andrea Palladio, with frescos by Paolo Veronese and sculptures by Alessandro Vittoria for Daniele Barbaro. The villa was probably built between 1558 and 1570. After the Barbaro family died out, the villa passed through the female line into the ownership of the Trevisan and then the Basadonna families, followed by the Manin. L ...
Founded: 1558-1570 | Location: Maser, 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 most note ...
Founded: 1558-1560 | Location: Mira, 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

Necropolis of Pantalica

The Necropolis of Pantalica is a collection of cemeteries with rock-cut chamber tombs in southeast Sicily. Dating from the 13th to the 7th centuries BC., there was thought to be over 5,000 tombs, although the most recent estimate suggests a figure of just under 4,000. Together with the city of Syracuse, Pantalica was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. In the 13th century BC, some Sicilian coastal settlements ...
Founded: 13th century BCE | Location: Sortino, 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 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 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

Ponte dell'Ammiraglio

The Admiral's Bridge (Ponte dell'Ammiraglio) is a medieval bridge of Palermo. It was built over the Oreto River during the era of the Norman Sicily by the ammiratus ammiratorum George of Antioch. In 2015, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of a series of nine civil and religious structures inscribed as Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale. According to a legend, the bridg ...
Founded: 1131 | Location: Palermo, Italy

Val Camonica Rock Drawings

The stone carvings of Val Camonica (Camonica Valley) constitute the largest collections of prehistoric petroglyphs in the world. The collection was recognized by Unesco in 1979 and was Italy"s first recognized World Heritage Site. Unesco has formally recognized more than 140,000 figures and symbols, but new discoveries have increased the number of catalogued incisions to between 200,000 and 300,000. The petrog ...
Founded: 7000 BCE | Location: Capo di Ponte, Italy

Castelseprio

Castelseprio or Castel Seprio was the site of a Roman fort in antiquity, and a significant Lombard town in the early Middle Ages, before being destroyed and abandoned in 1287. It is today preserved as an archaeological park. Castelseprio originated as a Roman fort that commanded an important crossroad. During the early Middle Ages, the Lombards occupied the Roman fort, turning it into a fortified citadel or smal ...
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Castelseprio, Italy

Villa Caldogno

Villa Caldogno is attributed to Andrea Palladio. It was built for the aristocratic Caldogno family on their estate in the village of Caldogno near Vicenza. A Latin inscription on the facade dates the completion of the building to 1570 when it belonged to Angelo Caldogno. However, Angelo"s father, Losco Caldogno, appears to have started to build in the 1540s, probably incorporating walls from a pre-existing building. ...
Founded: 1570 | Location: Caldogno, Italy

Sacro Monte di Ossuccio

The Sacro Monte di Ossuccio is one of the nine sacri monti ('Sacred Mountains' of Piedmont and Lombardy, series of nine calvaries or groups of chapels and other architectural features ) in the Italian regions of Lombardy and Piedmont, in northern Italy, which were inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 2003. The devotional complex is located on a prealpine crag some 200 metres above the wester ...
Founded: 1635-1710 | Location: Ossuccio, 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

Torba Abbey

Torba Abbey is a former Benedictine nunnery in the Castelseprio Archaeological Park. This in turn forms part of the serial site 'Longobards in Italy, Places of Power (568–774 A.D.)', comprising seven sites of especial importance for Lombard arts in architecture, pictures and sculpture, entered on the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites in 2011. History The first nucleus of the Castelseprio complex, of ...
Founded: 8th century AD | Location: Castelseprio, 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 Poiana

Villa Pojana or Poiana was designed by the Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. It is conserved as part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, 'City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto'. The Villa Pojana was built in the years 1548-1549 for Bonifacio Pojana. Bonifacio"s military background is expressed on the one hand by the severity and austere purity of the architecture and on the other hand by ...
Founded: 1548-1549 | Location: Poiana Maggiore, 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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Kisimul Castle

Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.

Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.

The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.