Top 12 cathedrals & churches in Italy

You can stay at the medieval Tuscan Santuario della Verna, where St. Francis received the stigmata, Top 12 churches, Italy, Italy (Photo courtesy of La Verna)
You can stay at the medieval Tuscan Santuario della Verna, where St. Francis received the stigmata, Monasteries, General

The top cathedrals, churches, and duomos in Italy

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Leonardo da Vinci's Cenacolo (Last Supper) (Photo Public Domain)
The Last Supper
Milan: Magenta

Leonardo Da Vinci's fresco masterpiece, Il Cenacolo (The Last Supper), in Milan's Santa Maria delle Grazie church

 
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The mosaics of the transept (Photo by amberapparently)
Free
St. Mark's Basilica
Venice: San Marco

The gloriously mosaicked Basilica di San Marco

 
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The massive basilica (Photo by Roberto Ferrari)
Free
Basilica di San Francesco
Assisi centro storico

The basilica of St. Francis is covered in the greatest Gothic frescoes in the world

 
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The facade (Photo )
Duomo
Milan: Duomo

The Cathedral of Milan is one of the largest Gothic churches in the world, an intricate festival of soaring spires and statuary

 
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 (Photo by Viktória Nižninská)
Free
The Duomo
Florence: Centro Storico

Florence's Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Brunelleschi's dome

 
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The steps up to the top of the dome (Photo by Sailko)
The cathedral dome
Florence: Centro Storico

Climbing up between the cathedral dome's two layers to spectacular city views

 
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Inside the Pantheon (Photo by Rodney Campbell)
Free
The Pantheon
Rome: Tiber Bend

The glorious Pantheon is Rome's only intact ancient Roman temple

 
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The Baldacchino over the altar of St. Peter's (Photo by Jorge Royan)
Free
St. Peter's
Rome: Vatican

St. Peter's Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro) in Rome: Motherchurch of Christendom

 
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The Basilica of Santa Croce on Piazza Santa Croce (Photo by Augusto Mia Battaglia)
Santa Croce
Florence: Santa Croce

Santa Croce church is the Westminster Abbey of Florence: The tombs of Renaissance giants Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Galileo, and Rossini (plus some great Giotto frescoes—and a renowned leather school)

 
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Mosaic ceiling inside the Battistero di San Giovanni (Photo by Ricardo André Frantz)
The Baptistery
Florence: Centro Storico

Florence's Battistero di San Giovanni and Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise

 
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The Duomo
Around Siena's Duomo

Siena’s striped cathedral is a rich treasure house of Tuscan art.

 
 
Activities, walks, & excursions links
Useful Italian phrases

Useful Italian for sightseeing

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is?... Dov'é doh-VAY
...the museum il museo eel moo-ZAY-yo
...the church la chiesa lah key-YAY-zah
...the cathedral il duomo [or] la cattedrale eel DUO-mo [or] lah cah-the-DRAH-leh
     
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
Closed day giorno di riposo JOR-no dee ree-PO-zo
Weekdays (Mon-Sat) feriali fair-ee-YA-lee
Sunday & holidays festivi fe-STEE-vee
     
ticket biglietto beel-YET-toh
two adults due adulti DOO-way ah-DOOL-tee
one child un bambino oon bahm-BEE-no
one student uno studente OO-noh stu-DENT-ay
one senior un pensionato oon pen-see-yo-NAH-toh

Basic phrases in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) pro-nun-see-YAY-shun
thank you grazie GRAT-tzee-yay
please per favore pair fa-VOHR-ray
yes si see
no no no
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? PAR-la een-GLAY-zay
I don't understand Non capisco non ka-PEESK-koh
I'm sorry Mi dispiace mee dees-pee-YAT-chay
How much is it? Quanto costa? KWAN-toh COST-ah
That's too much É troppo ay TROH-po
     
Good day Buon giorno bwohn JOUR-noh
Good evening Buona sera BWOH-nah SAIR-rah
Good night Buona notte BWOH-nah NOTE-tay
Goodbye Arrivederci ah-ree-vah-DAIR-chee
Excuse me (to get attention) Scusi SKOO-zee
Excuse me (to get past someone) Permesso pair-MEH-so
     
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...the bathroom il bagno eel BHAN-yoh
...train station la ferroviaria lah fair-o-vee-YAR-ree-yah
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
information informazione in-for-ma-tzee-OH-nay

Days, months, and other calendar items in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
At what time... a che ora a kay O-rah
     
Yesterday ieri ee-YAIR-ee
Today oggi OH-jee
Tomorrow domani doh-MAHN-nee
Day after tomorrow dopo domani DOH-poh doh-MAHN-nee
     
a day un giorno oon je-YOR-no
Monday Lunedí loo-nay-DEE
Tuesday Martedí mar-tay-DEE
Wednesday Mercoledí mair-coh-lay-DEE
Thursday Giovedí jo-vay-DEE
Friday Venerdí ven-nair-DEE
Saturday Sabato SAH-baa-toh
Sunday Domenica doh-MEN-nee-ka
     
Mon-Sat Feriali fair-ee-YAHL-ee
Sun & holidays Festivi feh-STEE-vee
Daily Giornaliere joor-nahl-ee-YAIR-eh
     
a month una mese oon-ah MAY-zay
January gennaio jen-NAI-yo
February febbraio feh-BRI-yo
March marzo MAR-tzoh
April aprile ah-PREEL-ay
May maggio MAH-jee-oh
June giugno JEW-nyoh
July luglio LOO-lyoh
August agosto ah-GO-sto
September settembre set-TEM-bray
October ottobre oh-TOE-bray
November novembre no-VEM-bray
December dicembre de-CHEM-bray

Numbers in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
1 uno OO-no
2 due DOO-way
3 tre tray
4 quattro KWAH-troh
5 cinque CHEEN-kway
6 sei say
7 sette SET-tay
8 otto OH-toh
9 nove NO-vay
10 dieci dee-YAY-chee
11 undici OON-dee-chee
12 dodici DOH-dee-chee
13 tredici TRAY-dee-chee
14 quattordici kwa-TOR-dee-chee
15 quindici KWEEN-dee-chee
16 sedici SAY-dee-chee
17 diciasette dee-chee-ya-SET-tay
18 diciotto dee-CHO-toh
19 diciannove dee-chee-ya-NO-vay
20 venti VENT-tee
21* vent'uno* vent-OO-no
22* venti due* VENT-tee DOO-way
23* venti tre* VENT-tee TRAY
30 trenta TRAYN-tah
40 quaranta kwa-RAHN-tah
50 cinquanta cheen-KWAN-tah
60 sessanta say-SAHN-tah
70 settanta seh-TAHN-tah
80 ottanta oh-TAHN-tah
90 novanta no-VAHN-tah
100 cento CHEN-toh
1,000 mille MEEL-lay
5,000 cinque milla CHEEN-kway MEEL-lah
10,000 dieci milla dee-YAY-chee MEEL-lah


* You can use this formula for all Italian ten-place numbers—so 31 is trent'uno, 32 is trenta due, 33 is trenta tre, etc. Note that—like uno (one), otto (eight) also starts with a vowel—all "-8" numbers are also abbreviated (vent'otto, trent'otto, etc.).

 

More on religious travel

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The massive basilica (Photo by Roberto Ferrari)
Free
Basilica di San Francesco
Assisi centro storico

The basilica of St. Francis is covered in the greatest Gothic frescoes in the world

 
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A menorah in the window of a venue catering to Jewish tourists in the former Ghetto in Venice (Photo by Giovanni Dall'Orto)
The Jewish Ghetto
Venice: Cannaregio

The world's first ghetto was the walled quarter Venice created for its Jews in the 16th century

 
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 (Photo by Dennis Jarvis)
Catacombe di San Domitilla
Rome: Outside the walls

The Catacombs of San Domitilla offer the best, and spookiest, catacomb tour on Rome's Appian Way

 
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The cloisters (Photo by Jean-Christophe BENOIST)
Santa Chiara
Naples: Centro Storico

The most beautiful cloisters in Naples

 
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A tunnel in the Catacomb of San Callisto (Photo by Jim Forest)
Catacombe di San Callisto
Rome: Outside the walls

The Catacombs of St. Callixtus have the most popular (and crowded) tours, but also some of the most amazing sights of any catacombs on Rome's Appian Way

 
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 (Photo by Voxel-Ux)
Catacombe di San Sebastiano
Rome: Outside the walls

The Catacombs of St. Sebastian are the largest, but least rewarding, of the catacombs—but are where Saints Peter and Paul were buried

 
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Presepio figurines in a shop on Via San Gregorio Armeno (Photo by John Myers)
Free
I Presepi di Napoli
Naples: Centro Storico

A Neapolitan Bethlehem—The Presepio Christmas Crèche shops of Naples's Via San Gregorio Armeno

 
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Via del Portico d'Ottavia, the "main street" of Rome's medieval Jewish neighborhood (Photo by Palickap)
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Jewish ghetto
Rome: Tiber Bend

The medieval Jewish neighborhood of Rome

 
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Pope Francis I greeting the flocks at a papal audience in Rome's St. Peter's Square (Photo courtesy of SMCS Music Office)
Free
Papal Audience
Rome: Vatican

How to get tickets to hang with his Holiness on St. Peter's Square in Rome

 
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Bramante's Tempietto

Attending mass in one of Rome's 900+ churches

 
You can stay at the medieval Tuscan Santuario della Verna, where St. Francis received the stigmata (Photo courtesy of La Verna)

Sleep in a religious guesthouse or retreat at monasteries abbeys across Italy from just €17

 
A frescoed room at Venice's Foresteria Valdese, a religious hospice (Photo courtesy of the property)

You don't have to take vows of chastity and poverty or wear those itchy woolen robes to shack up in an Italian convent for as little as $30. You don't even have to be particularly religious.

 
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The ceiling in the piano nobile dining room (Photo by Maggi R.)
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L'Eau Vive
Rome: Tiber Bend

Fine French cuisine and a hymnal singalong provided by a lay sisterhood in a frescoed palazzo

 
Jewish delicacies (and kosher ones) at a bakery in Venice

Advice, resources, & tours for pilgrims, Christians, and spiritual travelers in Italy— and how to attend mass in an Italian church

 
Religious and spiritual tours (Photo © Reid Bramblett)

Spiritual journeys to Italy

 
Jewish delicacies (and kosher ones) at a bakery in Venice (Photo by SpirosK photography)

A travel guide to Jewish Italy, from kosher restaurants and hotels in Rome, Florence, and Venice to historic synagogues and other jewish sights in Italy, as well as Jewish tours, schuls, mikvahs, and more

 
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Festivals, holidays, traditions, and other events in [[[lace]]

 

The art of early Christians was Roman in style, but its themes were starting to explore the figures and motifs that would soon become familiar