In this installment of our Why Travel series, we're discussing Italy. The number of people who ask (and Google) Why Travel to Italy is quite astounding. Most people seem to inherently know they want to visit Italy. Each person's reasons are different. Some want to visit for their Italian ancestry, some for the scenery, some for the Italian food and wine, others for art, and most everyone has a combination of those reasons to visit. However, there are quite a few of you who feel less than warm-fuzzy feelings toward Italy. Some travelers feel there's nothing new in Italy and "too many visit Italy." While Italy is a desired destination, each experience is unique to you and there is no shortage of reasons to visit this culturally iconic country.
Pesto, Penne, and Parma - Oh My!
Visit Italy for the food and drink. Whether you're a pesto or marinara person, there's something for everyone in Italy. The northern part of Italy is close to France and Switzerland and in this region, you'll find the food has a closer resemblance to its border countries, but still retains a distinct Italian twist. Lighter dishes are big in the North and you can't go wrong with a pesto pizza or some pesto-covered gnocchi. Throughout the north, you'll also find the cuisine is more alfredo and béchamel based over it's southern counterpart with marinara and red sauces. Close to the coast, you have local, fresh seafood and inland, you have Bologna and Parma, known for, you guessed it, Bologna and Parma ham. Not a meat eater? Don't worry, there's more cheese in Italy than you ever realized. Whether it's Parmigiana, Asiago, Gorgonzola, or fresh Burrata, you can live on cheese alone during your trip. During your meal, you can sample wines from all across the country. In the north, you have great growing conditions for Moscato, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and Prosecco. In the south, you have vineyards growing Sangiovese, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. There are, quite literally, food and wine tours designed specifically to pair Italian foods and wines every day throughout your vacation. Don't forget to sample Italian Grappa and have a Bellini during your time there as well!
Lastly, you'll want to try authentic gelato during your time in Italy. Gelato is found throughout Europe, but the Italians claim it, and they do it best. If you can imagine a flavor, you can find it. Tiramisu, pistachio, Nutella, Strawberry, Rum Raisin… the choices are nearly endless! You can be as decadent as you like at any gelato shop throughout the country. No matter where you are, from the North to South, the gelato is delicious everywhere.
Beauty is everywhere in Italy. Whether you're walking the high streets of Milan, exploring the many narrow canals of Venice, exploring the museums of Florence, or checking out the history of Pompeii, everything is simply breathtaking. In the large cities, like any city in the world, there are some less than desirable areas of town. Not to worry! For the most part, however, Italy is every bit as picturesque as you see in photos. If you’re less outdoors-y, take in any of the many museums and art galleries throughout the country. From sculptures to paintings, pottery to architecture, the Italians have a keen sense of beauty and share it for everyone.
Florence has many Botticelli paintings and the statue of David. Venice has incredible bridges and the island of Murano, known for it's hand-blown glass. Rome is one of the architectural capitals of the world. Milan is the city for haute couture, full of beautiful fashion designs and interior home furnishings. No matter what you're looking for, you'll find some of the highest quality in the world in Italy.
These differences are what makes Italy so unique to visit, but don't make the mistake in thinking you can visit everywhere in a week. While it's easy to get around in Italy, there is simply too much to see and do to knock it out in one shot. It's reasonable to visit the north in about a week, and the same for the south. However, like any destination, there's never enough time to truly soak it all in.
Other Italy Posts: