From Ancient Rome to the Middle Ages to the World Wars, Italy is steeped in fascinating history. Whether you're exploring historical Verona in the north, medieval Tuscany and the catacombs of Rome in central Italy, or the archeological ruins of Pompeii to the south, you can walk through the centuries. Discover the Colosseum and Roman Forum, stroll the cobbled streets of Siena, and discover the secrets of St. Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace in Venice.

Getting Oriented

Inside the historic cathedral of Siena.

In Italy, history comes to you. With so many different regions, you can easily follow Italian and world history through the centuries. Discover some of the best artistic masterpieces, go from ancient city ruins to cities filled with Baroque architecture, and find interesting local and cultural experiences to top it off. Explore Ancient Roman archeological sites in nearly every corner of the country, peruse medieval history in Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna, and enjoy a little bit of everything in Veneto and Venice.

Italian history goes beyond ancient sites. Go underground and discover the haunting catacombs, learn the secrets behind the country's basilicas, and meander entire towns and villages deemed UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Explore the gastronomical history by learning about Italy's ancient wine-making methods and culinary influences, and dive deep into traditional ways of life in hidden villages.

Ancient Rome

When you think of Italy, you probably think of Ancient Rome. It doesn't matter where you go in the country; you'll find plenty of Roman ruins to explore, including the most famous sites.

Colosseum & Roman Forum Tour

The Colosseum sits next to the ancient Roman Forum.

Skip the long lines and enjoy a VIP experience of Rome's Colosseum, the largest amphitheater in the world, and the ancient Roman Forum. A guide will take you to areas that not many tourists get to see, such as the Colosseum floor and its underground dungeons. Then walk up Palatine Hill and pass ruins of imperial palaces that once covered the area. The Roman Forum was the center of Roman political life in its heyday, operating as a marketplace. Walk along Via Sacra, where you'll pass the Arch of Titus and the temples of Vesta, Antonino, and Faustina, plus the Basilica Julia, a public meeting house commissioned by Julius Caesar. Read More

Pompeii & Herculaneum Tour

The remains of Villa Julia in Pompeii.

Meander the impressive ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum with an archeologist. First, stop at Pompeii, one of the last cities to offer visitors a true image of ancient Roman settlements. Your guide will share the town's history, explain how the Romans lived, and lead you to the most important public buildings and private houses. The city had a complex water system, theater, gymnasium, baths, and a substantial population, all buried under layers of ash for hundreds of years. Then head to Herculaneum, a city buried even deeper than Pompeii and offers even more treasures. Read More

Catacombs & Underground Rome Tour

Explore the mysterious underground of Rome.

Peruse Rome’s mysterious underground and catacombs with a morning or evening tour. The morning tour starts at the preserved Basilica of San Clemente, then descends over five stories underground. Learn about medieval popes and secret pagan rituals while admiring artistic masterpieces ranging from the 2nd to the 15th century. Conclude at one of the city's well-known cemeteries and peruse underground tunnels. The evening tour visits the Capuchin Crypt and Museums, which holds over 4,000 deceased Capuchin monks. Then head to the Catacombs of Saint Agnes and Saint Agnes Outside the Walls Basilica. Read More

Plan your trip to Italy
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Medieval Italy

Just as important as ancient ruins in Italy is the country's supreme medieval history. Explore preserved towns like Siena, which feels like stepping back in time, or discover the history of Venice and Verona from the Middle Ages.

Siena Walking Tour

Explore the charming medieval city of Siena in the heart of Tuscany.

Discover the exceptionally picturesque core of Siena, a hub of medieval architecture, art, and history. The city reached its demographic and economic peak between the 8th and 9th centuries, with most of its monuments and art depicting this glorious era. Start in the main square, Piazza del Campo, where bricked buildings ooze its warm, “Burnt Siena" color. Follow a local guide through the twisting streets and to the top of its hill to visit the Cathedral. Inside, discover masterpieces by Michelangelo and Donatello. Read More

Walking Tour with St. Mark's Basilica

Venice at sunset with St. Mark's Basilica looming in the distance.

Explore the fascinating history of Venice while visiting the city’s highlights, including the Byzantine-era St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge's Palace, built in the 14th century. Learn the secrets behind how a city built on swamps became one of the most enlightened in the western world. Leave the crowds behind and discover a quieter side of the city by visiting sites like the Church of San Giovanni and Paolo, the lively Campo Santa Maria Formosa with its gothic palaces, and the Scuola di San Marco. Discover how the city functioned as one of Italy's most important maritime republics. Read More

Verona Walking Tour

The historical and picturesque center of Verona.

Verona is one of the most historic and picturesque cities in northern Italy. It's the center of the world’s famous love drama between Romeo and Juliet, but it's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to one of the best-preserved Ancient Roman amphitheaters. Enjoy discovering its landmarks, twisting alleyways, and brightly colored buildings. Learn about the powerful Scaligeri family and visit sites such as Dante Square (the local name for Signori Square), the Cathedral, the Carega district, and the Adige River. Read More

How to Craft the Perfect Historical Italian Itinerary

The ancient Roman Forum at sunrise.

It's not hard to plan a historically rich itinerary in Italy, as history oozes in every corner of the country. To experience a range of eras, consider mixing and matching different regions. Many visitors like to pair 20th-century history in northern Italy with the medieval aspects of Tuscany and Ancient Rome in central Italy. Add in Cinque Terre for more cultural traditions, or regions in southern Italy for archeological ruins and historical villages.

If you plan to explore several regions and periods of history, plan for at least one week, with 2-3 weeks being ideal. Read how to make the most of your time in Italy and discover the country's different regions.

Past kimkim travelers have enjoyed the following history-focused trips in Italy: