Discover the spirituality and art enclosed in the most beautiful churches in Italy: a journey through the most evocative historical places of worship

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Italy is a place rich in history, culture and art, and religious buildings bear witness to this. A journey to discover the most beautiful churches in Italy will give you emotions that will satisfy your spirituality but at the same time satisfy lovers of art history and aesthetic taste.

Each monument guards its own soul: whether in the city centre or in the splendid landscapes that only our peninsula can offer, the most beautiful churches in Italy will make you relive past eras, through the mastery of the artists who created and decorated them.

The most beautiful churches in Italy: mystical places of art, culture and spirituality

The most beautiful churches in Italy

The richness in historical and artistic sites makes our peninsula a favourite destination for those in search of treasures that bear witness to bygone eras. The most beautiful churches in Italy are not only the best known ones, but also the characteristic ones on the top of a mountain or overlooking our beautiful seas.

Rome currently presents itself as the city with the most churches in the world, but we will take you on a stimulating itinerary that will show you another aspect of these buildings: the most beautiful churches in Italy are not just places of worship, but cultural spaces where you can immerse yourself in an atmosphere of peace and recollection, to admire and appreciate the decorations and sculptures that have been preserved for centuries.

20. Aosta Valley: Church of Notre-Dame de Guérison, Courmayeur

Our itinerary through the most beautiful churches in Italy will give you one more reason to appreciate each region. Let's start with the beautiful mountains on the border: near the centre of Courmayeur is the sanctuary of Notre Dame de la Guérison Its location, at the foot of the Brenva glacier and at an altitude of 1440 metres, is very impressive. The plan is in the shape of a Latin cross and the walls of the church are covered with tablets, frames and paintings.

The scenery around is enchanting, you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Mont Blanc massif and below you will see the beginning of the tunnel leading to France. The objects inside are gifts left by travellers, as a sign of gratitude for a request that has been granted.

19. Piedmont: Basilica of Superga, Turin

One of the most beautiful churches in Italy in Turin

The Basilica of Superga is one of the iconic symbols of Turin and in fact one of the most beautiful churches in Italy. Its dome is visible from several kilometres away in all its majesty, some 600 metres above sea level. From its location you can admire a wonderful panorama, ranging from Monviso to the peaks of Monte Rosa.

Attracting locals and tourists at all times of the year, it was designed by the architect Filippo Juvarra in 1731 and still retains a timeless elegance; the dome has scenic decorations on the inside, and on the outside there is a plaque in memory of the plane crash in which the Torino football team was involved.

18. Lombardy: Cathedral of Santa Maria Nascente, Milan

One of the most beautiful churches in Italy in Milan

The Duomo di Milano, or Cathedral of Santa Maria Nascente, is a masterpiece that enchants at every sight: the queues of tourists patiently waiting their turn to enter are direct testimony. In terms of surface area, it is the third largest Catholic church in the world. The Madonnina that stands on the spire is the symbol and protector of the Milanese city: it soars high surrounded by 135 spires of various heights, up to 17 metres.

To breathe in the cosmopolitan air of the city, you can climb the Terraces of one of the most beautiful churches in Italy, either on foot or by lift: the view of Milan's skyline is a privileged vantage point, which on clear days shows the mountains surrounding the Po Valley.

17. Trentino Alto Adige: Church of San Leonardo Casamazzagno, Comelico Superiore

One of the most beautiful churches in Italy in Belluno

In the province of Belluno, we recommend a visit to the Church of San Leonardo Casamazzagno: one of the most beautiful churches in Italy, because from its hilltop position it acts as a natural balcony from which to admire the Comelico valley, protected by a wooden fence.

Immersed in an oasis of peace and tranquillity, it is surrounded by the splendid Belluno Dolomites and a walk through the village will make you appreciate the surrounding landscape even more. Built in late Gothic style in 1545, it is distinguished by a slender bell tower with arched windows. On a sunny day, light filters through the large windows and illuminates the works of art inside.

16. Friuli-Venezia Giulia: Church of San Lorenzo Martire, Sauris di Sopra

Among the most beautiful churches in Italy, you should not miss the church of San Lorenzo Martire, in the province of Udine. It has a distinctive stone façade, while the interior houses the statues of Saints Joseph and Lawrence.

Built in German Gothic style, it has retained its original appearance despite numerous modifications over the centuries. The bell tower is clearly visible in the distance and is distinguished by the spire at the top.

15. Veneto: St Mark's Basilica, Venice

One of the most beautiful churches in Italy in Venice

St Mark's Basilica in Venice is world famous and all tourists in the area do not miss the opportunity to visit it. It is located in the square of the same name, next to the Doge's Palace and is the most important centre for not only religious but also public life. It was conceived to house the relics of the Apostle St Mark, protector of the city.

It is considered one of the most beautiful churches in the world, not only in Italy. Its uniqueness lies in the combination of styles and materials with which it has been restored to its current 4000 square metres of refined golden mosaics.

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14. Emilia Romagna: Cathedral of San Giorgio, Ferrara

One of the most beautiful churches in Italy in Ferrara

The Cathedral of San Giorgio is located in the Piazza del Palazzo Municipale in Ferrara. Restored for the damage suffered during the earthquake in 2012, it retains its majestic three-pinnacle façade. It dates back to the Romanesque period and contains several works by the sculptor Nicholaus, including the statue of St George, the city's patron saint.

The bell tower seems out of place, it has not been completed and at 85 metres is among the tallest in Italy: it looks like a tower soaring over the panorama of the Este city. The interior is well lit: light filters through the numerous windows and the rose window on the façade.

13. Liguria: Cathedral of San Lorenzo, Genoa

One of the most beautiful churches in Italy in Genoa

It is one of the most beautiful churches in Italy and its bell tower dominates the historical centre of Genoa. The Cathedral of Sal Lorenzo has a very distinctive black and white striped façade; the custom was reserved for the most aristocratic families.

What it contains inside astonishes all visitors: in the right aisle is a replica of a British grenade, which shattered the roof of the Cathedral in 1941, fortunately without exploding. In addition, it houses the ashes of St John the Baptist, the city's patron saint, and the Treasury Museum can also be accessed from inside.

12. Tuscany: Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence

One of the most beautiful churches in Italy in Florence

The Duomo of Florence, or Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, is a compulsory stop for tourists visiting the city and considered one of the most beautiful churches in Italy. There are numerous sites in the region full of charm and history, it is also difficult to determine which one will leave an indelible impression in your memory. It was designed in 1200 and Brunelleschi added his famous dome in the 15th century.

The façade is made of white, green and pink marble and from the first glance it looks like a majestic building. It is the fourth largest church in the world and inside it is rich in mosaics; the ones above the entrance portal in particular are interesting, while the frescoes on the dome, by Vasari and Zuccari, are truly stunning works.

11. Marche: Cathedral of San Ciriaco, Ancona

One of the most beautiful churches in Italy in Ancona

The Cathedral of San Ciriaco is the symbol of Ancona and is located on the top of the Guasco hill: it offers a spectacular view of the entire Conero Riviera, even more impressive at sunset. It is a medieval church and is dedicated to the city's patron saint. The staircase is made of white stone, and the façade has white and pink elements.

The portal is characteristic and monumental, with two columns supported by red marble lions clutching a lamb and a snake. Overlooking the sea, it is a landmark for sailors. The interior is essential and in its simplicity invites meditation in prayer.

10. Umbria: Basilica of St Francis, Assisi

One of the most beautiful churches in Italy in Assisi

The Basilica of San Francesco is a place of worship par excellence and naturally ranks among the most beautiful churches in Italy. It houses the ashes of St Francis, the patron saint of Italy and therefore a pilgrimage destination at all times of the year. It has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The visit also allows you to explore places of great artistic and spiritual richness: the Franciscan spirit of recollection hovers everywhere in the city of Assisi. The frescoes and the grandeur of the Basilica, combined with the religious silence, create a mystical and harmonious effect that remains as a memory in all visitors.

9. Latium: St Peter's Basilica, Rome

One of the most beautiful churches in Italy in Rome

The largest church in the world, St. Peter's Basilica, is located within the Vatican City in Rome and is certainly one of the most beautiful churches in Italy and among the must-see churches in Rome. It is the symbol of the city and a masterpiece of Italian art. Its construction began in the 4th century, with Emperor Constantine, and continued over the centuries with the contribution of important Renaissance and Baroque architects. Visiting it is on the list of things to do in Rome.

The exterior features an imposing colonnade designed by Bernini, preceded by a three-tiered staircase. Inside, you will be amazed by the marble decorations, mosaics and sculptures. Michelangelo's Pietà is located in the first Chapel of the right aisle and enchants visitors with the perfection with which it was created. The dome offers the spectacle of Michelangelo's frescoes, with scenes from the Last Judgement. The sense of religiousness and artistic beauty attracts worshippers and art lovers from all over the world.

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8. Abruzzo: Church of Santa Maria dell'Annunziata, Scanno

One of the most beautiful churches in Italy in Scanno

The Church of Santa Maria dell'Annunziata is also known as Madonna del Lago, because when it was built, the sacred image of the Madonna performing miracles was displayed. It has an enchanting view of Lake Scanno from the south shore and despite being very small has a magical atmosphere.

Inside, it consists of three walls that are decorated with colourful frescoes and various paintings, while one wall is made of natural rock and houses the votive altar. It is adorned with numerous votive offerings left as a sign of devotion to the Virgin Mary. The location, overlooking the lake, enriches the landscape and creates an evocative image even from the outside.

7. Molise: Church of Santa Maria della Strada, Matrice

The Church of Santa Maria della Strada is surrounded by greenery in the province of Campobasso, in the hills; it was consecrated in 1148 and is still well maintained. It is rich in decorations and bas-reliefs in the Romanesque style, as is the bell tower, and is a mystical place of peace and recollection.

Inside, there is a statue dedicated to the Madonna della Strada, on the altar, and the tomb of King Bove. Legend has it that this character built 99 other churches, besides this one, in one night to atone for a fault.

6. Campania: Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Naples

One of the most beautiful churches in Italy in Naples

The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta is the Cathedral of Naples, undoubtedly among the most beautiful churches of Naples. It was built in 1294, demolishing the Basilica of Stefania and flanking the Basilica of Santa Restituta, which became a side chapel. The façade is divided into three portals and the one on the right side is opened on feast days celebrating San Gennaro and in other extraordinary cases.

It is one of the symbols of the city and every year on three occasions attracts the faithful devotees of San Gennaro who flock to see the liquefaction of the Saint's blood. The interior is also majestic: the statues, black marble and decorations make the place a masterpiece of religiosity.

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5. Apulia: Bitonto Cathedral

One of the most beautiful churches in Italy in Bitonto

Bitonto Cathedral is considered an authoritative example of Apulian Romanesque architecture. It is located in the historical centre of the city, surrounded by characteristic streets where you can breathe in an authentic atmosphere, and is the largest church in the region, as well as being considered one of the most beautiful in Italy.

Inside it holds the relics of Santa Maria Assunta and San Valentino, to whom it was dedicated. On the outside, it is a majestic building: the central doorway is richly decorated and stands out for its statues and bas-reliefs, while the rose window at the top is adorned with two small columns surmounted by lions.

4. Basilicata: Matera Cathedral

One of the most beautiful churches in Italy in Matera

The Cathedral of Matera dominates the city from the highest rocky spur that divides the two Sassi: from its square, the panoramic view is truly impressive. The exterior retains its original appearance, with a rose window with sixteen rays surmounted by the Archangel Michael.

Inside, it has been restored several times and among the frescoes is the famous 'Madonna della Bruna con il Bambino': this is also the town's patron saint and the cathedral is dedicated to her and St Eustace. The hard stone Nativity scene at the end of the nave is also relevant.

3. Calabria: Church of Santa Maria dell'Isola, Tropea

One of the most beautiful churches in Italy in Tropea

The Church of Santa Maria dell'Isola is a sanctuary located on a rock in Tropea. A symbol of the town, it offers a panoramic view of the Tyrrhenian coast and the volcano of Stromboli. It was once surrounded by the sea, hence the name.

We put it on the list of the most beautiful churches in Italy because it has an enviable position atop a cliff and is surrounded by Mediterranean vegetation. The steps to reach the sanctuary are steep and carved into the tuff, but on arrival you can rest in the flower beds surrounding the church and enjoy the view of the blue sea.

2. Sicily: Cathedral of Monreale

One of the most beautiful churches in Italy in Monreale

The Cathedral of Monreale leaves every visitor speechless. It is one of the most beautiful churches in Italy because of the majesty of its structure, but above all because of its interior. Gilded mosaics from the Byzantine era are present on all the walls, depicting scenes from the sacred scriptures; they accompany the route that shows a large central nave, three times wider than the side aisles.

Externally it is imposing, the façade is embellished with Arabic-style interlacing and has two lateral towers; a portico opens on one side, while climbing to the top one can enjoy the view of the cloister and the Gulf of Palermo.

1. Sardinia: Church of Santa Sabina, Silanus

One of the most beautiful churches in Italy in Silanus, Nuoro

The Church of Santa Sabina is located in an area in Silanus, in the province of Nuoro, where there is also a nuraghe, a giants' tomb and a sacred well. The plan is very unusual, round and surmounted by a dome; it is flanked by two rectangular buildings with sloping roofs. The interior is not rich, but the small size contributes to an intimate and mysterious place of worship.

The façade has been restored on several occasions with various materials, such as basalt, granite and limestone, and therefore has a variety of colours. Its presence enriches the archaeological site of which it is a part, a great attraction that attracts tourists visiting north-central Sardinia.

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