Italy is a magical country to visit and spend time; every region has something new to offer whether it is its food, the people, the history or its architecture. Its architecture is unsurpassed in Europe, historically Italy has everything and this shows within its architecture.
To many people the architecture of a country is it's main attraction and this could easily be said about Italy with it's millennia old stones, sumptuous remains of mysterious Etruscan kings, witnesses to ancient pagan rites, memories to a history whose origins is lost in the mists of time. Ancient temples that have stood for thousands of years and have amazed all those who run a hand over their immortal columns, such as the temples of Agrigento and Selinunte. Entire cities that remain like some amazing stage set to tell us about life as it was in the distant past. A life cut short, in ancient days, by the dramatic whim of a volcano, such as Pompeii and Herculaneum, or by the implacable advance of malaria, as in Ostia Antica and Paestum. Walls and buildings that have been witness to a boundless power, that of ancient Rome and its countless conquests. Places still capable of moving us deeply due to the ingenuity of their construction and the peerless historical heritage that they embody.
Italy has a wealth of religious architecture, towers and churches launched towards the sky. Striking spires, dainty cupolas, artistic facades, and bell towers jutting up towards the blue sky and towards an Italian heaven, mysterious naves that guard artistic masterpieces ancient and modern. Visit any Italian city, town or village and you will see churches everywhere, guardians of and witnesses to a faith thousands of years old and then tiny chapels on the mountain tops, systematic shrines on street corners, statues and frescoes for the protection of the home .
Small signs of popular devotion that stand as corollaries to the magnificence of the cathedrals. Italy loves religious architecture. A series of masterpieces that tell the entire story of western architecture: from the elegant Romanesque forms of Santa Maria all 'Aquila to the fanciful Gothic spires of the beautiful Cathedral in Milan, from the perfect example of Renaissance architecture in Florence Cathedral to the baroque wonder of Lecce Cathedral. Each one with its trusty bell-tower at its side to announce its presence; including the most famous one in the world: the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Italian squares or piazzas that seem to be picture perfect stage sets all complete with outdoor cafes to enable you to sit and watch the world un-fold in front of you. Buildings that were created to enchant and impress visiting dignities from an age gone by with luscious façades and interiors that house unimaginable riches and art treasures now have the same effect on those tourists visiting Italy. Towers constructed to bear witness to power that now regale unforgivable panoramas to those bold enough to climb to the top.
Streets resembling open-air museums. Bridges that create seem-less bonds between the banks of rivers such as the Rialto in Venice or Ponte Vecchio in Florence. Walls originally designed to defend a city have later been turned into wonderful imposing rings that have been giving communities a sense of security for centuries.
Ample flights of steps from which to savor the spectacle of a city's life. The taste for beauty is all pervasive, from the tiny village, to the old town, to cities great and small. Beauty touches every nook, every vista, everything. The ancient Italians left a world of elegant architecture and monuments behind for future generations to stare in amazement at.