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Are you looking for a beautiful and affordable holiday destination in the heart of the Mediterranean, with lots of great places to see? If the answer is yes, then you really need to start planning a trip to Italy! There are several reasons why you should consider visiting the sunny peninsula and its lovely islands, so hopefully, this list will inspire you to further explore this amazing country.
Italy is an ideal travel destination: you can visit its many historical sites while enjoying its mild weather throughout the year, no to mention the delicious foods! Besides, there are many additional reasons why you should visit Italy… and some of them may surprise you. This list will show you why visiting Italy is an experience you will never forget. Let’s get started!
Embrace the holiday spirit
One reason for visiting Italy is its richness in traditions and beliefs, so much so that you can easily walk into a local celebration and be surprised by the sudden festive spirit. If you want to fully embrace local traditions, you might decide to visit Italy during major festivities such as Easter or Christmas, although… don’t worry! There are many festivals taking place during the year, such as the Festival of Tulips in Castiglione del Lago or the Medieval Festival of Brisighella in Emilia Romagna, dedicated to local arts and crafts.
You can taste authentic traditional dishes
Another reason for travelling to Italy is, of course, food: you cannot say to have truly enjoyed pasta if you have not tried the real Amatriciana, or the authentic roman Carbonara with lots of pecorino cheese. Italy offers way more than just pasta and pizza, though! Next time you visit, don’t forget to try some supplì (fried rice balls), olive ascolane (olives filled with minced meat) and the delicious mozzarella in carrozza (fried cheese sandwich).
Italy’s wide selection of wines.
Italy is home to some of the best vineyards in the world. Since Roman times, wine has been an element of utmost importance and a big part of Italian identity. The variety of choice when it comes to wine is definitely one of the reasons why you should consider visiting Italy! Dolcetto D’Acqui, Barbera D’Asti, Prosecco, Riesling, Pinot Nero, Lambrusco, you name it! Red, rosé or white, there is a variety of wine for every taste. Just a heads up, though: once you try some of these amazing wines during your visit, you will be craving them all year long (or until you visit again).
Take a walk through the ruins.
Some cities in Italy can be considered open-air museums. It is an indescribable feeling, knowing that you are stepping on a piece of stone that has been there for thousands of years. The air is soaked in history, and trust me, even if you are a local, you never truly get used to it! In Rome, for example, you are literally able to take a walk through ancient Roman ruins and visit some of the most stunning sites in the world. Next time you visit, there are several places you should see: don’t forget to spend a few hours in the Foro Romano, where you can find the tomb of Julius Caesar. Do not forget to also visit the ruins in Ostia Antica, a seaside city located in the province of Rome, but also the fantastic Arena of Verona (up North) and the Archeological park of Paestum (in the South).
Its variety of traditional gastronomy products.
Italy offers a fantastic variety of unique traditional products, such as the handmade mozzarella of Battipaglia or the delicious mortadella of Bologna. If you love desserts, you can taste the authentic tiramisú, or have breakfast with a cream-loaded maritozzo. But there is plenty more! You can enter any bakery to find a wide selection of pastries (also known as “pastarelle”) and cookies to satisfy your cravings. Don’t forget to try Babà (special pastries soaked in rum), but also the traditional sicilian cannoli. Delicious!
The friendly and cheerful personality of Italian people.
This might seem a strange reason for traveling to Italy, but it is indeed true: we love to welcome foreigners and we really like interacting with you, even if we might not always speak your language. Also, we are not scared to use gestures to get a message through. As a matter of fact, we love speaking through gestures, which is why we are often seen as jovial and playful all over the world. One last detail, which might surprise you: we absolutely adore listening to foreigners as they try to speak Italian. Even if it is just a couple of words, don’t be shy!
The ancient practice of truffle hunting.
Italy has managed to preserve the ancient practice of truffle hunting and if you have never tried the exquisite fungus, visiting Italy is the perfect occasion to do so. In the beautiful Langhe hills of Piedmont (declared UNESCO heritage), it is possible to find the most precious variety of white truffle, called Tartufo Bianco d’Alba. You may also join one of the many truffle hunts happening all over Italy, in Umbria, in Marche or in the Apennines.
Stunning UNESCO sites.
Visiting Italy provides a unique opportunity to see a selection of stunning sites which constitute Italian Heritage, for example, Amalfi Coast in Campania, Cinque Terre in Liguria or the Ruins of Pompei, but also the archeological sites of Aquileia, in Friuli Venezia Giulia. These beautiful sites are ideal landmarks for travellers who are interested not only in art history and culture, but also in gastronomy, tradition and Italian identity.
And outstandingly beautiful Heritage cities.
UNESCO Heritage cities are precious sites scattered all over Italy and each of them is truly magical. Cities like Rome, Florence, Venice, Mantova and Brescia are all part of UNESCO Heritage. However, some cities are less known than others, for example Urbino in Marche, Andria in Puglia (famous of its Castel del Monte) as well as a few cities located in the south-east of Sicily, called Scili, Ragusa, Catania, Modica, Noto and Caltagirone.
The land of gastronomic folk festivals.
Speaking of being a local, if you want to embrace the Italian lifestyle to the fullest, you should visit a gastronomic folk festival, also known as “Sagra”: these festivals happen in every town or village, and they are mostly seasonal. They are usually centered around one particular local food prepared in many different ways. The names of these events are mouth-watering: the Festival of Gnocchi (a type of round, homemade pasta) in Abruzzo, the Festival of Red Onions in Calabria, or the Festival of the Truffle, in Piedmont. Food is one of the best reasons for traveling to Italy, is it not?
Medieval towers and traditional cities.
Italy is the ideal country for those who love medieval architecture, towers and walls. Perugia, for example, is an outstandingly beautiful city, located in Umbria, which has managed to keep some of its majestic towers intact, so much so that it is possible to walk through them while visiting Perugia. Another beautiful, traditional city is Assisi, famous for its stunning architecture and religious sites. Gubbio, Todi and Orvieto are smaller traditional cities full of charm, also located in the same region.
Its outstandingly beautiful Museums.
Visiting Italy is most definitely an enriching experience thanks to its fantastic Museums, treasuring some of the most important works of art in the world. You should definitely visit the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence, but also the Natural History Museum in Milan, not to mention the breathtaking Vatican Museums and Cappella Sistina in the heart of Rome. If you are a cinema lover, don’t miss the National Museum of Cinema in Turin! The list of interesting and remarkable Italian Museums is practically endless, so don’t be afraid to discover and explore a new one every time you travel to Italy!
Handcrafted leather goods.
Visiting Italy can also be a learning experience during which you can acquire a new skill! Leather work is still a very popular practice in Italy. Handcrafted leather bags, notepads and wallets can be found in many Italian markets and shops, although Florence is the place to be, if you want to purchase leather goods. As a matter of fact, you can even join one of the many leather workshops in Florence, if you wish to master this ancient craft!
Its mild climate, all year long!
An additional reason why you should visit Italy is the weather: blue sky and lots of sunny days throughout the year. Italy is a perfect holiday destination during winter, as the temperatures are extremely mild, especially in the central regions or in the south. If you prefer a colder destination, you can enjoy the fresh climate of the Alps and the beautiful landscapes of the northern regions. Don’t forget Italy’s amazing Islands, they are charming in every moment of the year and each of them is full of enchanted places to see!
Italy’s stunning nature and seaside.
One more reason for visiting Italy is its stunning seaside. If you love nature as well as swimming, sunbathing, and taking long walks on the beach, Italy will feel like a dream come true. Sardinia and Sicily are some of the most visited destinations during Summer: do not miss the beaches of Cala Luna and Is Arutas in Sardinia, but also San Vito beach and Cala Rossa in Sicily, which are fantastic places to see. Don’t forget to also explore Liguria, Puglia and Campania’s stunning seasides as well, among other amazing places!
Its many churches and religious art.
In Italy, there is literally a church in every little street and corner, and this is not an understatement! Let yourself be surprised: if a church looks plain on the outside, you might be mindblown when you see how it actually looks on the inside! One Basilica you should definitely visit is Sant’Agnese in Rome, but also the outstanding Duomo in Milan, the Basilica of San Marco in Venice and the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assis, in Umbria.
Spooky, surreal itineraries.
Italy is home to some of the most captivating and surreal places, for those who enjoy discovering Italy’s spooky side. Although interesting places are scattered all over the country, the “Park of the Monsters” (located near Rome) is one of the most astonishing examples. The park gathers a wide range of monstrous sculptures, making it a truly magical, charming and mysterious spot. Another example of surreal, creepy art is the Capuchyn Crypt, a religious place fully decorated with the bones of hundreds of monks. It is also possible to visit the underground catacombs located in Ravenna, Nepi, Venice, Rome and Chiusi. Italy offers many itineraries of this kind, not really aimed at the faint-hearted, of course!
Its diversity, from region to region.
Every region in Italy is characterized by a particular accent, cuisine and cultural heritage. Natural landscapes are also very diverse and this is why devoting time to the exploration of each region of Italy is an unforgettable and enriching experience. Gastronomy reflects this diversity, so you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to taste some regional specialties, such as Trofie con pesto alla genovese (pasta) from Liguria, tortellini (filled pasta) from Emilia Romagna, Polenta Concia from Valle d’Aosta, Risi e Bisi from Veneto.
Italy’s haunted houses.
This is a side of Italy that few people know, and it is ever so fascinating! Italy is home to hundreds of abandoned houses, hotels and villas that you can actually visit. Among the most beautiful sites, it is worth mentioning Palazzo degli Artisti in Venice, Palazzo Bartoloni in Marche and the super spooky-looking Hotel Della Nazionale in Liguria. Italy is also home to some beautiful monumental cemeteries such as the Protestant Cemetery of Rome. The idea of discovering Italy’s most spooky spots seems like a great opportunity to look at the country from a different perspective.
You can visit the house of many writers.
Traveling to Italy can be a nostalgic literary journey. As a matter of fact, many poets and writers of the past had their holiday apartments or their actual houses in Italy. Nowadays, it is possible to visit some of these houses, a truly valuable and unique experience if you love literature, history and culture. You can visit the house of poet Giovanni Pascoli in Emilia Romagna, but also Keats and Shelley’s house in Rome or Shelley’s house in Cinque Terre. You can also visit Alessandro Manzoni’s house in Milan and the house of Dante Alighieri in Rome.
Italy’s stunning Islands!
Ischia, Capri, Strombili, Elba, Ponza, Procida, Panarea… Italy has many little islands, one more charming than the other. You can visit them during Summer or Spring, although, to be fair, they are beautiful in every season. You can sail around most islands or explore the nearby towns and villages during your stay! Don’t forget to try the delicious local specialties, for example, Carasau bread in Sardinia or Riese stockfish in Isola d’Elba.
Record unforgettable Instagram moments!
Italy is the perfect country to take pictures and post unforgettable Instagram posts and stories. You can join the crowd and pretend to lean on Pisa’s tower (please, don’t!), you can take a fun snap of your delicious ice cream cone in front of the Pantheon, or record yourself during a gondola boat ride in Venice. Not to mention the romantic sunsets as you sip your prosecco… living the good life, huh?
Relaxing on the water!
Boat tours are quite popular in Italy, as they are a fun and special way to get to know Italian lakes and little islands. This relaxing activity can be enjoyed in many locations across Italy. It is possible to go on a tour around Lake Como, or you might want to opt for a small tour of the Islands of Venice: Murano, Burano and Torcello. It is also hard to say no to a cozy gondola ride in Venice!
Other inspiring boat tours include Giglio Island and Elba in Tuscany, but also a cruise in Sardinia, from Cagliari to Arcipelago della Maddalena. Such a breathtaking sight, straight out of a postcard!
If you want to live and see Italy as a local, then you must join the Aperitivo tradition, also known as “Happy Hour”. For Italian people, aperitivo is a lifestyle. After work, people usually gather to enjoy a glass of wine and some appetizers, before dinner. This happens around 6 up until 8, but do not be surprised at the quantity of food you see! For a cheap price, you can eat small pizzas, rice salads, pasta, olives, cheese, salami and more! Chances are, by dinner time you’ll be quite stuffed.
Fun by night.
When it comes to nightlife, Italy offers a great selection of trendy pubs, bars and clubs where it is possible to enjoy a drink and have plenty of fun. The area of Navigli in Milan is famous for its great quantity of trendy bars. Trastevere, instead, is the beating heart of nightlife in the capital. Locals still live and gather according to old traditions. Another great area for nightlife is the historical center of Bologna and the area of Via Pratello. If you think Italian cities are beautiful by day, you will love them by night!
Art & Architecture expositions.
Italy’s big selection of unique exhibitions is one of the best reasons for visiting the country. A wide number of expositions are organized each year and people from all over the country gather to join these unique events, in order to discover the latest trends regarding contemporary art and architecture. Salone del Mobile is the International Furnishing Accessories Exhibition and it takes place in Milan once a year. MOA Casa is another furnishing exhibition that takes place in Rome. Venice, instead, hosts an international art exhibition called the Biennale. The selection of art expositions is incredibly wide and it suits all tastes, so do not hesitate to discover it!
Libraries: The Temples of Wisdom.
Although libraries are not always the main point of attraction when it comes to visiting Italy, they are definitely worth seeing, as some of them are astonishingly beautiful, not to mention the repertoire of ancient manuscripts contained in them. The Biblioteca Marciana of Venice, for example, hosts many ancient Greek and Latin manuscripts. Another fantastic place to visit is the University Library of Bologna, which is a student city you should travel to and discover.
The relevance of Italy in the movie industry.
Italy is the country in which many popular films were made. For example, Rome is where Fellini filmed his masterpiece, “La Dolce Vita”. This movie rapidly became a symbol of Italian lifestyle and although much of the movie was actually filmed in the Cinecittà studios, some of the locations can be found in different areas of Rome. The classical movie “The Godfather”, instead, was partially filmed in Sicily, mainly in Fiumefreddo di Sicilia, Savoca and Granti, among other locations. Award-winning movie “The Great Beauty” was also filmed in Italy, along with the famous “Eat Pray Love” starring Julia Roberts and “Life is Beautiful” starring Roberto Benigni.
Poets, writers, and artists have fallen in love with Italy for centuries…
Throughout the centuries, artists have chosen Italy either as a place to continue their education or even as a new home. Romantic poets such as Byron, Keats and Shelley chose to travel and live in Italy for periods of time. Rome was a rather popular destination in Europe, a place of interest for personalities like Goethe and Stendhal. Consider visiting Italy to find the same landscapes that have made many artists fall in love with the “Bel Paese”, literally translated, “the Beautiful Country”. This is how locals call Italy, and once you visit, you will definitely understand why!
Cozy Accommodations & Unique Experiences.
Visiting Italy offers endless options when it comes to accommodations. Nowadays more and more travelers choose to go for an Airbnb room, a holiday apartment for rental or Bed & Breakfast accommodations. However, many abbeys and monasteries in different regions (Lazio, Tuscany, Umbria, and Sicily, just to mention a few) offer accommodations for travelers, providing unique insight into the life of religious people. Hospitality is taken to a whole new level! Some beautiful locations worth mentioning are the Sanctuary of Verna, in Tuscany, the monastery of Saint Francis in the Desert, near Venice, and the splendid Sanctuary of Saint Michael the Archangel, in Puglia.
I hope you enjoyed reading these 31 reasons for visiting Italy, a country to explore, discover, taste, and love. Rest assured, there are many additional places to see in Italy! If you are still wondering whether you should be traveling to Italy or not, keep in mind how versatile this country is: sea, mountain, nature, monuments, museums, gastronomic itineraries, and more… you name it! Italy offers a holiday option for all tastes. Moreover, it is a very affordable destination, to enjoy alone, with your partner or with your friends. So what are you waiting for? A presto!
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Top Wonderful Reasons for Visiting Italy.