World Wonders Project: Italy

June 7, 2012

This is part of a new Google project to bring UNESCO World Heritage Sites to life and make them available to people across the globe. So far there are 21 Italian sites listed from all over the country (you can learn about the rest at the World Heritage Centre's website). Click on the names below to explore each site further.

Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta

Under the rule of the House of Este, the city of Ferrara attracted great artists and scholars of the Italian Renaissance, and the city itself expanded according to Renaissance ideals of urban design.

Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre along northern Italy's Riviera is a series of villages that have been rather amazingly carved into a steep terraced-vineyard coastline.

Historic Center of Florence

Florence was Europe's most prosperous city at the end of the 13th century, and over the next two centuries it became its cultural capital as well, attracting the greatest artists of the Renaissance.

Piazza del Duomo, Pisa

The Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square), located in the center of Pisa in Tuscany, Italy, is home to a group of exceptional marble monuments, dating from the Middle Ages.

Historic Center of San Gimignano

The towers of San Gimignano bear unique testimony to the power struggle that raged between opposing political factions in Italy in the Middle Ages.

Historic Center of Siena

With medieval architectural landmarks, masterful art and innovative town planning, the Italian city of Siena has been one of Europe's most influential urban centers.

Historic Center of Urbino

In the 15th century, the city of Urbino attracted the greatest artists of Italy's High Renaissance, and the city itself became an embodiment of the Renaissance spirit.

Santi Quattro Coronati Cloister

Extraordinarily evocative of the Middle Ages, the Santi Quattro Coronati Cloister in Rome is a splendid example of cosmatesque architecture of the 13th century.

Temple of Hercules

The round Temple of Hercules in Rome, Italy, is a remnant of a Greek sanctuary that dates back to the second century B.C.

Temple of Portunus

The Temple of Portunus in Rome, Italy, is one of the most intact examples of an ancient Roman Temple because it was converted to a church in medieval times.

Villa Adriana, Tivoli

The ruins of Villa Adriana (Hadrian's Villa) near Tivoli, Italy, once an opulent estate, date from the 2nd century A.D.

Villa d'Este, Tivoli

The Villa d'Este in Tivoli, Italy, is an outstanding exemplar of 16th-century Renaissance garden design and architecture, which would be imitated for centuries to come.

18th Century Royal Palace at Caserta

The 18th century Royal Palace at Caserta, in Naples, Italy, and its park, together with the Aqueduct of Vanvitelli and the nearby complex at Leucio served as a royal enclave and as an industrial town.

Costiera Amalfitana

An ideal Mediterranean landscape, Costiera Amalfitana (Amalfi Coast) features diverse natural beauty and historic coastal settlements.

Historic Center of Naples

Founded by the Greeks in the 7th century B.C., the city of Naples bears the impression of the diverse powers that controlled it up to the unification of Italy in the 19th century.

Archaeological Areas of Pompei

The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the 1st century A.D. buried the towns of Pompei, Herculaneum and Oplontis (modern-day Torre Annunziata), which were unearthed centuries later.

Castel del Monte in Andria

Built by Frederick II in the 13th century in southeast Italy, the Castel del Monte is a visually arresting octagonal castle, showcasing varied architectural styles.

Rupestrian Churches of Puglia and the City of Matera

The rupestrian churches of Puglia and Matera, Italy, are among some of the most outstanding examples of rock-hewn buildings in the Mediterranean region.

The Trulli of Alberobello

Alberobello is home to a dense concentration of trulli, limestone cottages with cone-shaped roofs built between the mid-15th and late-18th centuries.

Su Nuraxi di Barumini

Su Nuraxi di Barumini is a complex of unique defensive stone structures called nuraghi, dating from circa 1500–800 B.C., found only on Sardinia.

Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto

After a 1693 earthquake in the region of Val di Noto in Sicily, urban planners and architects masterfully rebuilt eight towns in a regional Baroque style, using innovative techniques.