Big or small, every city, town, and village in Italy, has a church for which the country is famous for. From magnificent cathedrals to small churches, it seems like every corner of the beautiful country has a church that has been around for centuries. Although it is difficult to figure out the exact number of churches in Italy, one should definitely not miss out on some of the famous ones.
Most Beautiful Churches In Italy
For those who’ve been planning to visit Italy soon, make visiting as many churches in Italy as possible, a top priority. It is a great way to learn about the country’s history and get a close look at the impressive craftsmanship that makes these cathedrals stand tall even today.
1. Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi
A bi-level architectural masterpiece, the Basilica of St. Francis was consecrated in 1253 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the most famous cathedrals in Italy known for its beauty and the highlight of many Christian pilgrimages in the country. This cathedral consists of two churches – an Upper Basilica in Gothic style, and a Lower Basilica in Romanesque style. They are adorned with medieval frescoes that were painted by artists like Pietro Lorenzetti, Giotto, and Cimabue.
Fun Fact: Do not miss out on exploring the High Altar which is flanked by delicate columns, and topped with a marble slab that was brought from Constantinople
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2. Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua
This majestic, eight-domed basilica was built in 1310 and is one of the most beautiful churches in Italy. The Basilica of St. Anthony combines elements of Gothic, Romanesque, and Byzantine styles. While the exteriors are spectacular, the interiors are awe-inspiring as well. The floors are in covered in checkerboard marble while impressive reliefs by Renaissance sculptors like Tullio Lombardo and Jacopo Sansovino cloak the walls.
Fun Fact: Checkout the seven bronze sculptures by Donatello at the main altar which illustrate St. Anthony’s miracles and the towering central crucifix
3. Cathedral of St. Agatha in Catania
Although eruptions of Mount Etna nearby and earthquakes have destroyed the Cathedral of St. Agatha several times, it has always been rebuilt and remains one of the most gorgeous churches in Italy as well as Sicily. In fact, it is definitely one of the most beautiful Italian Catholic churches that features a tri-level Sicilian Baroque façade carved out of Carrara marble. Corinthian columns and a bell tower dating back to 1387 adorn the façade. The interior features vaulted ceilings, exquisite wood carvings that depict St. Agatha’s life, and 17th century frescoes of saints. If you are in Sicily, make sure to make a trip to Catania to see St. Agatha’s Cathedral.
Fun Fact: The church bell is the third largest in the country after St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Duomo of Milan
4. Cathedral of St. Andrew in Amalfi
The Amalfi Coast is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy and it has a lot more to offer than charming coastal towns, and beaches. Being one of the most famous churches in Italy, the Cathedral of St. Andrew sits on top of a staircase in the heart of Amalfi, and looms majestically over Piazza Duomo. The cathedral features an Arab-Sicilian façade, medieval doors made of bronze, and an elaborate bell tower that is comprised of a central cupola that four turrets flank. Its rich Baroque interiors boast paintings from the 18th century depicting St. Andrew’s life and miracles that make it one of the most stunning churches in Italy.
Fun Fact: While visiting this church, stop to admire the silver bust of the saint, and a stunning cross that is made entirely of mother-of-pearl
5. The Duomo of Florence in Florence
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Yet one of the most beautiful Italian churches that one must see is that of the Duomo of Florence. Capped by a red-tiled cupola by Filippo Brunelleschi, it is one of the most iconic landmarks of the city. Its façade is neo-Gothic featuring green, white, and pink marble patterns, which complements the design of the 14th century campanile, or bell tower of the cathedral. While a lot of the artwork from the cathedral has been moved to the nearby Grande Museo del Duomo, it still is definitely one of the top churches in Italy that you should visit.
Fun Fact: You will find a number of famous frescoes inside including The Last Judgment by Vasari.
6. The Duomo of Siena in Siena
One of the top Gothic cathedrals in Italy, the 13th century Duomo of Siena has a black and white façade that is decorated with striking sculptures and intricate carvings. Other than the gorgeous floor mosaics and frescoes, one can also see the works of artists like Michelangelo, Donatello, Pisano, and Pinturicchio that makes it one of the best churches to visit in Italy. The most spectacular features of the Duomo of Siena are the amazing marble floor mosaics that date back to the 14th to 16th centuries. However, bear in mind that these mosaics are only displayed for a few months every year, typically around September.
Fun Fact: Checkout the spectacular Gate of Heaven Tour, the Baptistry, and the Crypt
An exploration of these churches is a great way to spend a few hours all by yourself every day during your stay. Although Milan Cathedral might be the largest church in Italy, these are some of the best churches in Italy that are worth a visit. Hence, be sure to visit these best churches for an unforgettable holiday in Italy.
Further Read: In Just 1 Euro, You Can Buy A House In Ollolai, Italy
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