Italy has 45 UNESCO world heritage sites with 12 in central Italy from Rome through Tuscany. Many of these sites are historic centers of Medieval and Renaissance towns and cities. Sites and cities are listed in the order in which they were inscribed as World Heritage Sites, starting with Rome in 1980.
Rome's historic center was chosen as a world heritage site primarily for its ancient Roman monuments. Rome is full of ancient monuments including the Colosseum, Roman forum, ancient markets, and Roman baths. The UNESCO inscription also includes the religious and public buildings of papal Rome, or the Holy See, in Vatican City.
Florence's compact historic center holds many important Renaissance monuments and art works. The huge Gothic cathedral is famous for Brunelleschi's Dome, a masterpiece of construction. Also in Piazza del Duomo are the 11th century Baptistery and the campanile or bell tower, partially designed by Giotto. Florence's museums hold art works of many famous artists including Michelangelo, Giotto, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Perugino, and Raphael.
Piazza del Duomo, also called Campo dei Miracoli or Field of Miracles, holds one of Europe's greatest groups of Romanesque buildings. Here you'll find the most famous monuments of Pisa including the leaning tower, the impressive Duomoo, and the 12th - 13th century Baptistery.
San Gimignano, a walled medieval hill town in Tuscany, is often called the city of beautiful towers for its 14 surviving medieval towers that can be seen from a long distance away. San Gimignano has retained its medieval atmosphere and appearance. During the middle ages, the town was an important center for trade and for pilgrims traveling to or from Rome on the Via Francigena pilgrimage route.
Siena is a classic medieval city in Tuscany. Much of the city's Gothic appearance from the 12th - 15th centuries, when Siena was one of the wealthiest cities in Europe, has been preserved. Its large fan-shaped piazza, Piazza del Campo, is the heart of Siena and the home of Siena's famous summer horse-race, the Palio of Siena. UNESCO says, "The whole city of Siena, built around the Piazza del Campo, was devised as a work of art that blends into the surrounding landscape".