There are all the reasons in the world to visit Italy, but here are 9 of the most compelling ones; their stunning churches. Religious or not, you can’t deny that these make really great tourist shots, even if you can’t take a selfie to save your life.
#1 Saint Mark’s Basilica, Venice
Fun fact: Napoleon stole some of the precious stones from the altarpiece, but there’s still plenty left for you to gaze over. Naughty Napoleon.
#2 Duomo di Siena, Siena
Fun fact: The focal point of the cathedral is not in the ceilings, but in the floors; crafted by 40 artists and artisans, comprising 56 panels that vary in size and shape. That, and the beautiful pink marble it’s made out of, which casts an unearthly light at sunset.
#3 Abbey of Monte Cassino, Montecassino
Fun fact: The Abbey of Monte Cassino, being in a strategically important location, has been sacked and destroyed a number of times, so what we see now is the rebuilt version, several times over.
#4 Chiesa del Gesu, Palermo
Fun fact: Also known as Casa Professa, most of the work done here was interestingly enough done by the Jesuit priests and not the commissioned artists. Who woulda thunk it?
#5 St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
Fun fact: St Peter, Jesus’s disciple himself is said to be buried here, hence the name. It is also considered one of the holiest regions in the city, if not the world.
#6 Santa Maria della Consolazione, Todi
Fun fact: Legend has it that a worker who was blind in one eye, had the sight of that eye restored when he wiped it with the same cloth that was used on the icon of Madonna.
#7 Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere, Rome
Fun fact: As legend states, on the day Christ was born, a stream of pure oil flowed from the earth on to the site of the church, signifying the coming of the Grace of God. This column next to the altar marks the spot. It’s also one of the oldest churches in Rome.
#8 Duomo, Milan
Fun fact: To upkeep the cathedral’s preservation, patrons were invited to ‘adopt’ one of the cathedral’s 135 gargoyles. Donors who contribute more than US$100,000 would have their name engraved under the gargoyle.
#9 Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence
Fun fact: The interior of Il Duomo Florence has a unique clock prominently displayed on the back wall. Designed by Paolo Uccello, it’s a 24-hour model that accurately tells the time, but the hands run backwards instead of in a clockwise direction!