Top Archaeological Sites to Visit in Italy
Italy is home to a vast number of globally significant archaeological sites. Today, visitors have the chance to admire and actively explore ancient ruins that span the breadth of this remarkable country, which is celebrated worldwide for its rich and colourful past. Many of Italy’s archaeological zones are considered to be UNESCO World Heritage Sites thanks to their phenomenal beauty and historical importance. With this in mind, here is my guide to some of the top archaeological sites to be visited in Italy.
The Valley of the Temples
The splendid Valley of the Temples is located on the Italian island of Sicily, close to the charming city of Agrigento. This breathtaking archaeological site consists of numerous ancient structures including 8 striking temples, dating back as far as 430 BC. The city of Agrigento was formally known as Akragas, a thriving and archeologically significant Greek city founded overlooking the sea. If you are planning on visiting the Valley of the Temples, as far as accommodation goes, the southern part of the island offers some of the best holiday apartments in the whole of Sicily.
The Necropolises of Cerveteri and Tarquinia
These renowned Etruscan necropolises are situated in the splendid towns of Cerveteri and Tarquinia, just outside the capital city of Rome. They are home to some of the most ornate and fascinating tombs ever discovered, with beautiful and intricate carvings and paintings adorning many of the burial sites. The tombs vary vastly and subsequently attract large numbers of tourists and archaeological experts hoping to learn more about this outstanding ancient civilisation.
This awe-inspiring archaeological site is renowned worldwide for its historical value and harrowing story that has so often been portrayed in both film and literature. Both Pompeii and the neighbouring town of Herculaneum were buried beneath the ash as Mount Vesuvius erupted. Today, visitors can explore the preserved ruins of Pompeii with highlights including the temples of Jupiter and Apollo and the amphitheatre. Pompeii is considered to be one of Italy’s top tourist attractions drawing in a staggering number of visitors each year.
Rome’s Historical Centre
The majestic historical centre of Rome is a treasure trove for the avid archaeological explorer. The eternal city is home to vast numbers of remarkably well preserved ancient ruins, with many being accessible to the general public. The city’s top archaeological sites include the impressive Roman Forum, the Colosseum, the Palatine Hill, Circus Maximus, the Pantheon and the arches of Constantine and Septimius Severus. Many of Rome’s most spectacular archaeological sites are also located just a stone’s throw from one another meaning that you can easily explore the centro storico by foot.
Ostia Antica is located just a short drive from Rome and features numerous sites that have proven to be of great archaeological significance in recent years. The settlement dates back to the 4th century BC and boasts many ancient structures including the incredible Baths of Neptune, the Forum of the Corporations, the Collegiate Temple and the region’s impressive amphitheatre. The ruins of Ostica Antica attract large number of tourists travelling from Rome, however this wonderful archaeological site tends to be less crowded that other nearby historical attractions.
Italy boasts so many spectacular and unforgettable archaeological sites that you and your friends and family will no doubt be spoilt for choice during your visit. Subsequently, it’s always a good idea to plan your itinerary beforehand in order to really make the most of your fabulous Italian adventure. Don’t forget your camera as you will have the opportunity to admire countless extraordinary vistas as you discover Italy’s archaeological wonders.