Italy has been the most prominent artistic and architectural figure in Europe throughout history (neglecting the 1980’s political turmoil era) – there’s a reason Italy is one of the most sought out tourist destinations in the world. Italy has an extremely broad and diverse style of architecture, which cannot be classified merely by period but also by region. The country is very well known for its substantial architectural achievements – including the construction of domes, arches and other similar structures during Ancient Rome. Some of the most famous buildings in the world are located in Italy, including the Colosseum, Florence Cathedral, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and many other building designs found in Venice, Italy.
Italy’s architectural style is so internationally recognized that it has influenced architecture all over the world – referred to as Italianate architecture. Let’s take a look at some of the most famous Italian buildings:
The Roman Colosseum (or Coliseum) was originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre and is the largest amphitheater ever built in the Roman Empire. The Colosseum (in its time) could seat over 50,000 spectators who would sit and enjoy gladiator combat. It was built a long time ago (70s AD) by Jewish slaves that had been captured at the finale of the Great Jewish Revolt.
From the Greek Pantheion, meaning “Shrine of all the Gods”, the Pantheon was initially built as a temple for the seven deities of the seven planets that were part of the state religion back in Ancient Roman times. Since the 7th century however, the Pantheon has served as a Christian church to the Italians. Pantheon is perhaps the most-preserved building of all Roman architecture and claimed as the oldest significant piece of architecture with an intact roof.
St. Peter’s of Rome
The Basilica of Saint Peter is ranked second amongst the four major basilicas of Rome. The Basilica di San Pietro, as referred to by the Italians is one of the largest churches supporting the Christianity faith. The church has a massive capacity of over 60,000 people over an area of 5.7 acres (23,000 square meters). A very old tradition holds true to the fact that the body of St. Peter (one of the twelve apostles of Jesus) is buried below the altar; and for this reason, many Popes are buried there. The construction for the church took more than a 100 years to complete (from 1506-1626).
Piazza of San Marco
St. Mark’s Square (or the Piazza of San Marco) is considered the center of the city of Venice, Italy. The Piazza offers people the opportunity to enjoy a great urban space without the sounds of motorized vehicles (which are confined to the Grand Canal). Since the Piazza is the central landmark and gathering area for many people, it is also an extremely popular with tourists, photographers, and even pigeons.
The Palazzo Ducale (as referred to in Italian) is a gothic palace located in Venice, Italy. The construction mainly took place from 1309-1424 – the designer is however unconfirmed and the credit is attributed to Filippo Calendario at the moment for designing this beautiful piece of Italian architecture.