Walking through Florence on a daily basis and traveling throughout the country whenever I can, I often marvel at the street art. And I don’t just mean graffiti, of which there is a lot, but I am talking about Italian palaces. Their grandeur, elegance, and style always seems to knock me off my feet. I love meandering through their halls and thinking about how the inhabitants lived hundreds of years ago.

Visiting Italy’s palaces and stepping back in time is just as culturally fulfilling as visiting all of the churches and museums. Italian palaces give visitors an opportunity to obtain some additional exposure to important artifacts and works of art. The architecture of these impressive buildings is an exploration into art in and of itself. Why not spend a few hours imagining how the elites lived hundreds of years ago?

Join us on a journey from northern Italy to southern Italy to learn more about these important buildings, their history, and their enduring significance in Italian culture.

Characteristics of Italian Palaces

Entrance view of palace surrounded by tall trees in Italy.
Italian palaces are famous throughout the world for their beauty and ancient architecture

One of the main characteristics of an Italian palace, or palazzo, is its exterior, which might reflect influences from either the Renaissance, Romanesque, or Italian Gothic periods. Some of the more well-known and recognizable palaces can be seen along the Grand Canal in Venice and in Florence.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is responsible for identifying places of importance to cultural heritage, and that is why so many Italian palaces have been named UNESCO World Heritage sites or are in cities that carry that same distinction.

Medieval Architecture

Palaces are very typical of the late Italian Medieval period of architecture. This style is known for its large walls, small windows, tall towers, and rolls of arches. Examples include the the Bigallo in Florence, Palazzo Pubblico in Siena, and Palazzo dei Priori in Volterra.

Renaissance Style

Italian palaces were built for wealthy families during the Italian Renaissance, so it’s understandable that this time period would have an important influence on the style. They rose to popularity in the 19th and 20th centuries and typically have symmetrical, corniced, basemented, and neat rows of windows.

See also: Medici Books: The Best Books to Explore the Renaissance Tuscany

The Six Most Beautiful Italian Palaces in Northern Italy

1. Doge’s Palace (Venice)

Tourists visit the famous Doge’s Palace located in Venice, Italy.
The Doge Palace is one of the symbols of Venice

The Doge’s Palace is likely one of the most recognizable examples of typical Gothic Italian architecture and landmarks for tourists. The building process started in 1340 and was completed in 1442 by Doge Francesco Foscari. It contains many priceless architectural details, including the Golden Staircase, the Great Council Chamber, and the Bridge of Sighs. Tickets are available through their website. A full-price ticket costs €30 but discounts are available.

Official Website: Doge’s Palace

Location: P.za San Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia VE

Telephone: 041 271 5911

Reviews: 4.7/5

2. Palazzo Madama (Turin)

The Palazzo Madama is one of the famous palaces with statues located in Italy.
Palazzo Madama is one of the most beautiful italian palace

The site of this ancient Italian palace dates back to the first century BC and was part of the Roman walls of the city. In the 14th century, the House of Savoy enlarged it into a castle and Ludovico of Acaja made renovations to include a portico and inner court. Today, it houses the Turin City Museum of Ancient Art, a rare collection of artifacts from various excavations, as well as many pieces from the medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods. Tickets can be purchased using TicketOne and GetYourGuide, which are €10 each.

Official Website: Palazzo Madama

Location: P.za Castello, 10122 Torino TO

Telephone: 011 443 3501

Reviews: 4.6/5

3. Spinola Palace (Genoa)

The beautiful Spinola Palace with art portrait on the wall is located in Genoa, Italy.
Spinola Palace is located in Genoa, Italy and is worth a visit Zairon, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Palazzo Spinola di Pellicceria in Genoa is one of 163 Palazzi dei Rolli of Genoa, a network of private residences where notable guests of the Republic of Genoa were hosted during state visits. Various masterpieces, including Praying Virgin by Joos van Cleve, Allegory of the Peace and the War by Luca Giordano, and Portrait of a Nun by Bernardo Strozzi, are located here. The entry fee is €11 and tickets can be purchased on their website.

Official Website: Palazzo Spinola

Location: Piazza di Pellicceria, 1, 16123 Genova GE

Telephone:  010 270 5300

Reviews: 4.6/5

4. Palazzo Litta (Milan)

The Palazzo Litta is one of the Baroque architectures in Milan, Italy.
Melancholia~itwiki, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Palazzo Litta, also known as Palazzo Palazzo Arese-Litta, is a shining example of Baroque architecture in Milan. Franceso Maria Richini built Palazzo Litta from 1642-1648 for Count Bartolomo Arese. Count Arese eventually became president of the Senate of Milan in 1660, increasing the importance of the structure. Today, this Italian palace is used as a cultural center and includes exhibition spaces, offices, and a theater.

Official Website: Palazzo Litta

Location: Corso Magenta, 24, 20121 Milano MI

Telephone: 02 802941

Reviews: 4.5/5

5. Ducal Palace (Mantua)

Front view of the Ducal Palace with beautiful architectural design.
The Ducal Palace of Mantua is one of the most beautiful palaces located in Italy

This impressive Italian palace was built between the 14th and 17th centuries for the noble family, Gonzaga, as their royal residence. The complex is composed of 500 rooms and is approximately 34,000 square meters, making it the sixth largest palace in Europe. As if that weren’t impressive enough, it also is famous for housing Mantegna’s frescos in the Camera degli Sposi, or Wedding Room, as well as other architectural details and painted elements. A daily ticket is €15 and can be purchased through the Ducal Palace’s website.

Official Website: Ducal Palace

Location: Piazza Sordello, 40, 46100 Mantova MN

Telephone: 0376 352100

Reviews: 4.6/5

6. Palazzo Carignano (Turin)

Tourists visit one of the most beautiful palaces in Italy, the Palazzo Carignano.
Palazzo Carignano is located in Turin, Italy Zairon, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The construction of Palazzo Carignano began in 1679 for Prince Emanuel Philibert of the House of Savoy. Today, it houses the Museum of the Risorgimento, where various uniforms, weapons, flags, printed and written documents (including the Italian national anthem, Il Canto degli Italiani), and various artworks. Depending on the time of year, entrance costs €5 or €6 for adults.

Official Website: Palazzo Carignano

Location:  Via Accademia delle Scienze, 5, 10123 Torino TO

Telephone: 011 564 1791

Reviews: 4.6/5

The Six Most Unique Italian Palaces in the Center of Italy

7. Pitti Palace (Florence)

An old fountain with statues on the inside of Pitti Palace in Italy.
Pitti Palace is located in Florence, Italy.

As someone who lives for the opportunity to walk around Florence, I often find myself with my mouth open in complete shock when I pass by the Pitti Palace. Its sheer size – even before setting foot inside – is breathtaking. The core of the palace was built in 1458 and was the original home of Luca Pitti, a Florentine banker. It was bought by the Medici family in 1549. It houses an incredible array of priceless works of art, and the grounds are also spectacular. Entrance to the palace is €17 and tickets are available on the Uffizi’s website. Visitors to the Pitti Palace often add tickets to the adjoining Boboli Gardens for €6 more.

Official Website: Pitti Palace

Location: Piazza de’ Pitti, 1, 50125 Firenze FI

Telephone: 055 294883

Reviews: 4.6/5

8. Palazzo Ducale (Lucca)

Tourists walk in front of the residential palace, the Ducal Palace.
The Ducal Palace of Lucca was a residential villa of antiquity in Italy –Palazzo Ducale, Piazza Giglio, Lucca, Italy.” by ER’s Eyes – Our planet is beautiful. is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

This large Italian palace used to occupy one fifth of the city until it was destroyed by the people of Lucca in 1370. Although it was restored and used as a residence by Paolo Guinigi in 1401; however, after his fall in 1429 it was again dismantled. In its center, it features a statue of Lucchese lawyer Francesco Carrara. The palace itself is home to many statues. These days the palace hosts many special events and shows.

Official Website: Palazzo Ducale

Location: Cortile Carrara, 1, 55100 Lucca LU

Telephone: 0583 4171

Reviews: 4.5/5

9. Riccardi Medici Palace (Florence)

The Riccardi Medici Palace on a busy street in Italy
Palazzo Riccardi Medici era un palazzo della famiglia Medici, a Firenze ScareCriterion12, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Built between 1444 and 1484, the Riccardi Medici Palace was built for Cosimo Medici, head of the Medici banking family. The ticket includes access to other areas, including the Hall of Mirrors, marble museum, and exhibitions in progress. Tickets cost €10 and are available for purchase on the website.

Official Website: Riccardi Medici Palace

Location: Via Camillo Cavour, 3, 50129 Firenze FI

Telephone: 055 276 0552

Reviews: 4.5/5

10. Chigi Palace (Rome)

The view of Palazzo Chigi during summer.
The Palazzo Chigi, in Rome, is the seat of the Italian Prime Minister jimmyweee, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Today, Chigi Palace in Rome is the home to the Italian prime minister. But, it has more than three centuries of history – in years past it was utilized as a noble residence. Building this Italian palace began in 1562 by Giacomo della Porta, and over time has gone through various stages of renovations. The Library Hall holds an enormous collection of books from cardinal Flavio Chigi, as well as thousands of valuable manuscripts. Access to the palace is limited for those who are interested; information is available on the Chigi Palace website.

Official Website: Palazzo Chigi

Location:  P.za Colonna, 370, 00186 Roma RM

Telephone: 06 67791

Reviews: 3.8/5

11. Palazzo Barberini (Rome)

Fountain in front of the Palazzo Barberini in Rome.
Palazzo Barberini is a beautiful Italian palace to visit when you come to Rome

In 1645, Matteo Barberini bought the site where this Italian palace stands from the Sforza family. Matteo Barberini would eventually become Pope Urban VIII and the site of this impressive white palace would eventually become a shining example of Italian architecture. Today it houses the Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Antica, or International Gallery of Antique Art, the main collection of older paintings in Rome. Tickets to enter the palace and the gallery are separate and each costs €12. Purchase tickets on the palace’s website.

Official Website: Palazzo Barberini

Location: Via delle Quattro Fontane, 13, 00184 Roma RM

Telephone: 06 481 4591

Reviews: 4.6/5

12. Ducal Palace (Urbino)

The Ducal Palace is Italian Renaissance art and architecture in Italy.
The Ducal Palace in Urbino, Italy always attracts many tourists from all over the world – NikonZ7II, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Ducal Palace is one of the main monuments of the city of Urbino and an impressive example of Italian Renaissance art and architecture. It is the seat of The National Gallery of Le Marche, which showcases some of the most important Renaissance art in the world. Entrance is €10 and tickets are available online.

Official Website: Ducal Palace Urbino

Location: Piazza Rinascimento, 13, 61029 Urbino PU

Telephone: 0722 2760

Reviews: 4.7/5

The Six Most Outstanding Italian Palaces to Visit in the South of Italy

13. Royal Palace of Caserta (Caserta)

Entrance view in the Royal Palace in Caserta during summer.
The Royal Palace in Caserta is known throughout the world for its beauty

Welcome to the Italian version of Versailles. The Royal Palace of Caserta was constructed for King Charles VII of Naples starting in 1751. It is the largest former royal residence in the world, covering more than 47,000 square meters. As if that wasn’t enough, there is an enormous park on the grounds that has five fountains throughout. Tickets are €15 and available through their site.

Official Website: Royal Palace of Caserta

Location: Piazza Carlo di Borbone, 81100 Caserta CE

Telephone: 0823 448084

Reviews: 4.6/5

14. Royal Palace of Naples (Naples)

Tourists visit and take a picture in the Royal Palace of Naples.
The Royal Palace of Naples is both a museum and a tourist destination 劉小堯, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Royal Palace of Naples serves as a museum and tourist destination. In years past, it was the royal residence of the Bourbons. The facade was completed in 1616 and the interior was frescoed in 1620. The outside is particularly known for its sculptures, which depict former kings of Naples. Tickets for select attractions are available on their site.

Official Website: Royal Palace of Naples

Location: Piazza del Plebiscito, 1, 80132 Napoli NA

Telephone: 081 400547

Reviews: 4.6/5

15. Norman Palace (Palermo)

View of the stunning Norman Palace in Palermo from the outside.
The Norman Palace in Palermo, Italy is a beautiful attraction to visit – Lasterketak, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This stunning palace in Italy is also called the Royal Palace of Palermo. Built in 1072, it’s the oldest royal residence in Europe. At one time it was the seat of the Kings of Sicily. Visit to experience the Cappella Palatina, considered to be the best example of the Norman-Arab-Byzantine style. You can purchase tickets for €15 through their official site, just click “Biglietteria Online.”

Official Website: Norman Palace

Location: Piazza del Parlamento, 1, 90129 Palermo PA

Telephone: 091 705 5611

Reviews: 4.5/5

16. Palazzo Corvaja (Taormina)

The Palazzo Corvaja is near the street in Taormina, Italy.
Palazzo Corvaja is located in Taormina, Italy Giovanni Dall’Orto, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons

This late 14th-century castle is located in Sicily and was named after one of the most important families in Sicily. Today, it is used as an exhibition center for the tourism office.

Official Website: Palazzo Corvaja

Location: Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, 98039 Taormina ME

Telephone: 0942 23243

Reviews: 4.4/5

17. Palace of the Princes of Belmonte (Santa Maria di Castellabate)

Aerial view of the Palace of the Princes of Belmonte near the sea.
The Palace of the Princes of Belmonte is located in Italy – Gsq84, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Castellabate is located just south of Italy’s infamous Amalfi Coast and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you will find the Palazzo Belmonte, a unique, 17th-century historic residence right by the sea. Book a few nights here and you will be transported in time.

18. Palazzo San Giacomo (Naples)

Tourists sitting in front of the Palazzo San Giacomo with a beautiful fountain.
San Giacomo is the seat of the town hall of Naples, a beautiful Italian palace Simon Burchell, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Palazzo San Giacomo is an important building in the history of Naples. Today, it serves as city hall and houses the mayor and the offices of the municipality of Naples. In 1816 King Ferdinand of the Two Sicilies commissioned the building of the palace to serve as a centralized location for the government. People who would like to visit the palazzo can submit requests at the website below, as it is open for various exhibits and guided tours.

Official Website: Palazzo San Giacomo

Location: P.za Municipio, 25, 80133 Napoli NA

Telephone: /

Reviews: 3.9/5

Two Secret Italian Palaces to Visit

19. The Royal Venaria (Venaria)

The view of the Palace of Venaria from outside on a sunny day.
Royal Venaria is a beautiful Italian palace to visit –Eglise St Hubert (1716-1729), Palais royal de Venaria, Venaria Reale, Province de Turin, Piémont, Italie” by byb64 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Travel north to Turin and you will find The Palace of Venaria. This stunning Italian palace is another former royal residence of the Royal House of Savoy. It was built in 1675 and was commissioned by Charles Emanuel II. Marvel at the architectural details or simply explore the expansive grounds. Tickets are available online and vary in price, depending on your desired experience.

Official Website: Venaria Reale

Location: 10078 Venaria, Metropolitan City of Turin

Telephone: /

Reviews: 4.6/5

20. Palazzo Regio-Cagliari (Cagliari)

The beautiful portraits and paintings in side the Palazzo Regio in Cagliari, Italy.
The Palazzo Regio in Cagliari, Italy, is the seat of the city’s town hall –Cagliari: Inside the Palazzo Regio” by hl_1001 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

When they say something is built for a king, they really are talking about this Italian palace. Palazzo Regio, also known as Viceregio, used to be the residence of the king of Sardinia. It was built in the 14th century and is located in the Castello district, which in Italian means “castle” – very appropriate. Visit the palace to marvel the stunning interior as well as frescoes and other artwork. Purchase tickets on the palace’s website for €5.

Official Website: Palazzo Regio

Location: Piazza Palazzo, 1, 09124 Cagliari CA

Telephone: 070 409 2000

Reviews: 4.5/5

FAQs About the Italian Palaces

What are the Largest Italian Palaces?

The Royal Palace of Caserta is the largest, but others include the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi in Turin, Palazzo dei Normanni in Palermo, and more.

What is the Italian Version of Versailles?    

The Royal Palace of Caserta is known as the Italian version of Versailles. In fact, it is the largest former royal residence in the world,coming in at nearly two million square meters. It was built by the Bourbon-Two Sicilies family to serve as their primary dwelling.

How Many Royal Palaces are There in Italy?

According to Wikipedia, there are approximately 300 royal palaces in Italy; however, it is hard to know the exact number due to how many have been lost over time. Make sure to visit these historical time capsules if you have the opportunity.