Are you thinking of visiting Italy, but aren't sure where to start? This guide will provide you with the most spectacular famous landmarks in Italy to plan the perfect trip around. You can even live in a campervan for a few months to see them all! While there are plenty of wonderful hidden gems in this country, it is equally important to check out the absolute must-see places as well. This article is divided into three sections: Northern Italy, Central Italy, and Southern Italy.
LAGO DI BRAIES, DOLOMITES. Lago di Braies, an incredible lake that's all over Instagram, is one of the highlights of any Dolomites itinerary. This lake is surprisingly easy to find and there's plenty of parking provided nearby. You don't need to book parking in advance but don't forget to pay for your ticket. You can visit Lago di Braies in 10 minutes, or you can stay there for an entire day, hiking the area and enjoying the incredible scenery. It's entirely up to you!
However, as with all famous landmarks, you need to be clever about when you visit. Let's face it - people go to Lago di Braies to take photos. This lake is one of the most photographed places in Italy. Thousands of people visit every day during the summer, and that's not an exaggeration. Tour buses arrive constantly, flooding the entire area with new and excited visitors.
You'll see girls in exotic dresses (or fancy wedding dresses), couples and influencers looking for that perfect shot, and hundreds of tourists trying to find the exact right angle. If you arrive after 9 am, forget it. Consider sleeping in a camper by the lake so that you can be there for sunrise or sunset, when the area is a lot quieter and you can take your time to find the best shot.
SCALIGERO CASTLE, SIRMIONE. The Sirmione Castle, named Rocca Scaligera or Scaliger Castle, is one of Italy's most famous artifacts. It's located in the Italian lakeside town of Sirmione in the region of Lombardy, on top of a small peninsula. Mastino della Scala founded the castle in the first half of the 13th century. It is indeed a unique example of ancient port fortification adopted by the Scaliger armada, built primarily as a shield against invaders and local attackers.
The Scaligero Castle is specially reserved for its finest medieval fortifications and ports. In the main area of the castle, you'll also find a tiny museum with local discoveries from the Roman era and a few old artifacts. This castle is worth visiting also thanks to its surroundings, which is filled with stunning landscapes and a large moat, where ducks and swans can be seen playing. Additionally, the castle has steps that lead up to its ramparts and towers, from where you can get a magnificent view of the lovely Lake Garda.
JULIET’S BALCONY (CASA DI GIULIETTA), VERONA. “In fair Verona, where we lay our scene…” Yes, it’s the beginning of one of the most epic Shakespearean plays ever written, but it also is a springboard for great sightseeing in beautiful Verona, Italy. One of the most sought out places of interest in Verona was born from the pages of Romeo and Juliet — Juliet’s Balcony (Casa di Giulietta). This is where visitors can find the infamous balcony that Juliet supposedly stood upon while Romeo declared his love for her. While the jury is still out on whether the love story is true or not, the balcony is still available for public view.
Nestled in the side of a medieval building, the balcony overlooks a small courtyard where a bronze statue of Juliet stands. It is said that anyone who rubs the right breast of the statue will have luck in love. Lining the walls in the courtyard are thousands of letters addressed to Juliet asking for guidance and love advice.
RIALTO BRIDGE, VENICE. The Rialto Bridge is the oldest of the four bridges across the Grand Canal, and also the most famous one. Connecting the districts of San Polo and San Marco, it’s named after the nearby Rialto Market, which has served as the main food market in Venice for the past 900 years. Building a bridge at this spot was a top priority, as it would make it easier for merchants to bring their wares to the market.
When it was first built in 1173, this bridge was the only place where you could cross the large canal that snakes for 3.8 km (2.3 mi) through the center of Venice. That 12th-century version was a pontoon bridge, but it has been rebuilt several times over the centuries. The covered bridge you see today was finished in 1591. Its unusual design was highly criticized, and architects of the time predicted that it would collapse. So far, though, it has stood the test of time.