Does Italy feature in your bucket list of holiday destinations? If it doesn’t, you might reconsider after reading this article. The list of reasons to visit this beautiful country are many, and so it is difficult to narrow it down to just a few. It’s got a tremendous amount to offer visitors no matter your age. Whether you’re looking for ancient ruins, spotless beaches, beautiful natural scenery, vibrant cities or breath-taking mountains, Italy has them all and more.
The people of Italy are a hospitable bunch, despite what you might have heard to the contrary. Yes, they are known for their fiery temperaments but connecting with the locals will only enhance your holiday experience. Choose one of the many villas in Italy to stay in, and you’ll be able to immerse yourself in local life. You might even find yourself being invited into a local home for dinner. Of course, it’s going to help if you can learn a little Italian, so brush up on a few key phrases before you start making plans.
Ask anyone to name an Italian city and most people will be able to reel off a few including Rome, Milan, Naples, Florence, Venice, and Sienna. All of these cities offer a rich cultural heritage and bags of character.
Don’t forget to allow time to visit some of its villages too because they are just as appealing.
Unmatched Art and Culture
Art and culture are a part of daily life in Italy. It was the centre of the Renaissance movement and has been home for many of the world’s famous painters. Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Botticelli, Michelangelo and Donatello to name just a few. Many of Italy’s artworks can be found in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Borghese Gallery in Rome, the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican and the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice.
Festivals are also an integral part of Italian culture with many of them capturing the imagination of the world. Venice’s Carnival, Battle of the Oranges, Game of the Bridge and many others provide locals with an excuse for having fun and being happy.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Italy has a treasure trove of UNESCO World Heritage sites that you have to add to your itinerary. There are, in fact, almost 50 of them dotted around the country. Italy has the highest number of UNESCO designated monuments and heritages of any country which almost makes it a living museum.
The Longest European Coastline
Does a holiday have to include hours lying on a beach because if this is the case, Italy isn’t going to be a disappointment. Italy can proudly boast to having one of the longest coastlines in Europe, and its shores are washed by five seas. Whichever area you choose to spend time in there are opportunities for enjoying the calming beauty of the sea. Of course, they’re not all the same, but they’re certain to match the taste and demands of most visitors.
It’s a Food Lover’s Heaven
Just as history and culture are a big part of what makes Italy so special, food also plays an important part in its attraction. Who hasn’t tried pasta, pizza, ravioli, and risotto? Italy is famous for some very tasty delicacies, and nothing will ever match the real authentic dishes served up to you when you visit. Each Italian region has its own specialities and secrets of cooking they hold very dear. Venice is renowned for its wonderful seafood and Tuscany for its homemade pasta, but if you get the chance to try something made in a local’s home don’t turn it down because you’ll be blown away by the flavours. Not forgetting arancini if you find yourself in Sicily and the traditional Neapolitan pizza that is served up throughout the Campania region.
Thanks to the climate and the soil, Italian wine is also something worth writing home about. Some of the world’s finest wines are produced by vineyards we’ve all become very familiar with. There are the famous Chianti, Piedmont, Lombardy and Montalcino vineyards, and even local producers can produce fine wines that make the perfect accompaniment to the food.
One last reason to visit Italy is the exquisite shopping opportunities it provides. If you love to shop until you drop you have to add Italy to your bucket list. You might need a few extra Euros if you visit because it’s home to luxury brands such as Prada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, with a host of shopping outlets to choose from. It is possible to catch a good bargain if you travel during the sale season, early January to mid-July. You’ll be able to fill your shopping bags with items from the most fashionable Italian brands at huge discounts.