There are many excellent reasons to visit Italy.
You see, I love Italy. I am sure that if you visit you will fall in love with it too.
Mind you, it is easy for me. I was born and raised here. I can see Italy’s many faults, and I have no issue expressing strong criticism for the many things that don’t work. But no matter its many faults, I love Italy and I consider myself very lucky to be born here.
But it looks I am not the only one in love with it. Judging by the World Tourism Organization latest report on 10 most visited countries in the world, there were at least 62 million people who fell in love with Italy in 2019 alone – and those are the ones that visited. I suspect there are many more who are in love with Italy. They must be those who have visited many, many times before and are now waiting to visit Italy again.
Facebook travelers groups abound where people who have been to Italy and want to visit Italy publicly displays their love. Liga Serzane says “One of the reasons to visit Italy is that it is amazing destinations for all kind of travelers – for big active families to romantic couple getaways and also for solo travelers. Everybody will find something to their taste buds from Italian amazing food, drinks while enjoying it all with a million dollar view as well as activities or laziness for every level!”
Lindsay Sinko’s manifestation goes the extra mile. She claims: “The reasons Italy captures our hearts like nowhere else are too many count. Before the plane touches down, Italy is spellbinding. As the Alps emerge out the window, or the color of the sea comes into view, little pieces of the heart begin to fall. Then we get there. The music fills our ears. People play with us, laugh with us, awaken us to a joy we have never known. The language is captivating. Every view is paradise.”
But that’s not all. She continues: “Every bite is unforgettable. Each sip of wine, soaking into our taste buds and memories and making us a part of the place where it was born. Hilltops offer lush green views, pierced by sunlight. Seas sparkle and glow as cliffs tower above them. Ruins host cats and tourists alike, effortlessly mingling the ancient world with ours. Eyes painted during the Renaissance gaze into our own as if they understand.
Jasmine fills the air in heavenly perfume we recognize years later and hundreds of miles away. Falling in love with Italy is like falling for the love of your life. The love grows. Whether you’re together or far apart, the relationship continues. You live to be together again.”
If this is not enough to convince you to visit Italy, I don’t know what is. But if you still need more reasons, let me sum up why you need to visit Italy as soon as possible.
GUIDED TOURS OF ITALY
Have I convinced you to visit Italy already? Then you may want to book your guided tour of Italy with GAdventures – there are various to pick from, but the one I most recommend is the Iconic Italy tour. It lasts 14 days and goes to all the most famous places to visit, including Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, Rome, Naples and Amalfi Coast. You can book it here.
17 Perfectly Good Reasons To Visit Italy
One of the reasons to visit Italy is to learn about its very complicated history. Each region has its own past – so for example Sardinia has a strong mark from the bronze age. Phoenicians, Etruscans and Romans all left their mark in various parts of the country. The middle ages are still visible in many beautiful cities, and so is the Renaissance period – and these are just a few to mention. The many layers of history are still visible, with archeological sites scattered around the country, unique art (more of that in a bit) and a cultural traditions that have been carried out for centuries.
The culture and traditions
If you think there is one such thing as Italian culture, you are a bit mistaken. Yes, there certainly is one overlaying Italian culture, but Italy is divided in many regions, and each of them has its own traditions. Keep in mind that Italy as we know it today is a relatively young country: Italy as a unified State first came to life in 1861 and it was not until the end of World War II that it took its current shape.
While Italian is the language we speak throughout the country, Italy has 12 officially recognized minority languages (among them Sardinian, the one I speak). Then there are the dialects. Food varies a lot from one place to another – don’t expect to find polenta on the menu in Sicily, for example.
It goes without saying that one of the reasons to visit Italy is to uncover its many cultures.
One of the reasons to visit Italy is its festivals and celebrations. They truly abound in Italy. They vary by season and they vary by region. In fact, they vary by city and village too! Some festivals and celebrations are nationwide, but celebrated differently in every place – I am talking of Carnival celebrations (the most famous one is in Venice, but I wholeheartedly recommend checking out Sardinian Sartiglia too).
Others festivals are significantly more regional and often involve traditional food or wine – these are called sagre (sagra is the singular). There can be festivals for just about anything – strawberries, artichokes, oranges and tuna are just some of those we have in Sardinia.
The beautiful cities
Italian cities alone are one of the main reasons to visit Italy. They all really differ one from the other. Most first timers in Italy head straight to cities such as Rome, Venice, Florence and Naples. These are all gorgeous and truly different one from the other – there isn’t quite anything such as Venice, after all.
If it is your second or third time in Italy, though, I recommend exploring lesser known cities. My own Cagliari is a real gem that catches many by surprise. Viterbo, at around 90 minutes drive from Rome, is one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Italy. Siena, in Tuscany, has the most charming atmosphere you can think of. And Matera can be easily called the Italian Jerusalem.
TOP TIP: I usually recommend doing a guided tour of the city you are visiting to get your whereabouts and some basic facts about it and then continue exploring by yourself. Get Your Guide offers a great selection of guided tours in each city. To look for the most suitable one for you, click here.
The picturesque villages
It’s not just cities. Among f the reasons to visit Italy is to discover the many lovely villages. Some became really famous among travelers – I am talking of places such as Vernazza or Manarola in Cinque Terre, Civita di Bagnoregio in Lazio and Cefalù in Sicily. Others, however, have yet to be discovered by the masses.
Bosa (photographed above), is my favorite village in Sardinia – the kind of place I never tire of exploring. Mezzano di Primiero, in Trentino, is a tiny charming place, where the pace of life is slow. And not far from the popular Civita di Bagnoregio, you will find the many scenic villages of Tuscia such as Bolsena, Calcata and Bracciano.
The best way to take in all these views is on a road trip. Just rent your car and drive, get lost and discover the beauties of Italy.
Italy is an extremely diverse country when it comes to nature, and you are bound to find just about anything for your taste. From the peaks of the Dolomites – perfect for skiing in the winter and for hiking in the spring and summer months; to the rolling hills of Tuscany; from the lakes of Lombardy to the volcanoes of Sicily; from the rugged coast of Liguria to the desert-like dunes of Sardinia, Italy will take your breath away. The only hard time you will have is going to be in selecting what place to visit among so many!
I am from Sardinia, so it goes without saying that I need to devote a specific section to the many gorgeous beaches you will find in Italy. Small coves, long sandy beaches, clear waters, water sports and diving opportunities – although many hardly associate Italy with beaches, we have plenty of excellent ones. Visit in the summer and you will easily find a way to escape the heat by swimming in the clear waters of Sardinia or visiting one of the small bays of Salento, in Puglia. You can even opt to do a boat tour like this one.
The archeological sites
If you are an archeology geek, you will have about a million reasons to visit Italy. Archeological sites are scattered throughout the country. Walking around Rome, you will come across the Roman Forum and Largo di Torre Argentina (where there is a lovely cat sanctuary). Pompeii is one of the most unique archeological sites in the world – and it is massive. Even smaller cities like Cagliari have their own remains such as the Roman amphitheater and the Phoenician necropolis.
But that’s not all. In Sardinia, you will find many nuraxis – dating back to the bronze age, this are unique to the island. The most famous one is Barumini, a UNESCO site, but wander around and you will bump into more.
TIP: Archeological sites deserve in depth visits. You can book skip the line tickets or guided tours via Get Your Guide. Their “originals” tour are usually synonymous of quality. Find the ticket or tour that most suits you here.
Make sure to read my post “A Completely Honest GetYourGuide Review.”
Italy is a paradise for art lovers. Here you will find some of the finest art galleries in the world and wherever you go you will find some masterpiece to admire. Museums such as Uffizi, Borghese Gallery, the Vatican Museums are the most popular museums in the country. But art can be found on display in the myriad churches you will find around the country. Paintings such as the Last Supper in Milan, or the Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel are an absolute must see.
TIP: Whichever museum or gallery you intend to visit, and especially for the Vatican Museum and the Last Supper, make sure to book your tickets plenty in advance as the lines to get inside are terribly long. Third party resellers such as Get Your Guide give you ample choice of tickets and quality guided tours that are easy to book and just as easy to cancel, should you need to do so. Look for your tickets here.
No, it is not always summer in Italy. We do get quite a good dose of rain and snow in the fall and winter months. But, compared to many other countries, we have more days of sun than average.
If you ask me when to visit Italy, I really won’t be able to comment because that is really up to you, your travel taste, and your itinerary and what you want to get out of the trip. In central and southern Italy, I love October – the days are still nice and long, the temperatures milder than in the summer, and you can even enjoy a day at the beach. In northern Italy, my favorite month is June. It’s not nearly as hot as in July or August, it’s perfect for hiking and it’s usually sunny.
The lovely Italians are one of the best reasons to visit Italy. I am not just saying this because I am Italian, by the way. But really, where do you find people that are at the same time friendly, courteous, generous, always up for a laugh, romantic and at the same time extremely competent and professional? Seriously, I think Italians are one of Italy’s best features.
Why do you think Italy is the second oldest country in the world (second only to Japan)? And why do you think studies for the Blue Zone longevity are carried out in Japan and in Sardinia, Italy? You got it: it’s the way we live.
A bit more slow paced than in other countries: we take time to sit down for lunch and dinner every day; we have close family ties and elderlies are usually taken care of by family; children hang out with their grandparents; we practice lots of sports; we go out every day for one reason or another; we are sociable; we eat healthy food; we know when to take things seriously and when to have a break.
Our lifestyle is simply something others should practice. One of the reasons to visit Italy is to learn about our way of life.
Ah, Italian food! Are there any better reasons to visit Italy than this? From pizza to the million pasta dishes; from the strongest pecorino cheese to the tastiest street food of Rome and to gelato, you will never go hungry in Italy.
There are a few things you need to keep in mind regarding Italian food in Italy, though.
First of all, this is where you will find the real deal. There are plenty of good Italian restaurants overseas but honestly, most of them don’t do full justice to the food you are going to find here.
Americans beware: I am a huge fan of Italian-American food, but many of the things you commonly find on the menu on that side of the Atlantic are not a thing here – so don’t come looking for fettuccine Alfredo (we still haven’t found out who this Alfredo is, by the way) and never ask for pineapple on a pizza.
Another thing to keep in mind is that our eating schedule is not quite like that of other countries. We have lunch between 12:30 and 2:00 pm, and dinner between 7:30 and 9:30 pm – depending on the location and on the season. Any restaurant serving food at 5:00 pm if for tourists only and you should stay away from those.
Finally, repeat after me: cappuccino is not to be had with a meal, or even after a meal. Many will tell you that it is forbidden after 11:00 am but I dissent. I love a good cappuccino in the middle of the afternoon. As long as it is not to accompany food.
Italians love their wine, and you will love it too – many would say that wine is one of the reasons to visit Italy, and in fact we do have several wine centered events such as Vinitaly – a massive fair held each year in Verona and entirely dedicated to wine; or smaller village fairs such as Cantine Aperte in Serdiana (Sardinia) where visitors pay a fixed price to visit all the local vineyards and try several wines.
Each region in Italy has its grapes and makes its wine – they are all different. The best way to learn about Italian wines is to go on a good wine tour. Wine tours are available in every region of Italy. Many tourists associate wine tasting and vineyards with Tuscany, but honestly you should try to taste other wines too and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
I live in Sardinia, so I can easily comment about Sardinian wines and tell you which ones you should try, which ones you should bring home and which wineries you should visit. If you happen to visit Sardinia, Cantine Argiolas in Serdiana do the best wine tasting tours in the region. Their Turriga is by far one of the best wines you will ever try – it is not cheap though.
Other wines you should try include Nepente di Oliena (one of my favorite regional wines) and Carignano del Sulcis (this is the name of the grape, by the way).
You can book a good wine tasting tour in Sardinia here.
There is nothing quite like a tiny cup of Italian espresso. So small, so packed with flavor, it will waken your sense. This is to say, coffee should definitely be one of the reasons to visit Italy.
Sure, Italy doesn’t have coffee plantations and doesn’t produce coffee beans. But Italians know a thing or two about roasting the beans until perfection and they know how to create the most amazing coffee drinks: espresso, espresso macchiato, caffé shakerato, cappuccino, marocchino, caffellatte… and the list goes on.
Make sure to read my post “How To Order Coffee In Italy: The Best Italian Coffee.”
Italian is one of the most beautifully sounding languages in the world. Musical, full of passion, you should definitely try to learn it: one of the reasons to visit Italy is to be immersed in the language and try to improve your skills. I recommend getting acquainted with it before visiting, so that you can try talking to locals. They will be helpful, I promise!
Make sure to read my post “20 Useful Tips For Learning A New Language” for tips on how to learn Italian.
Italy is not the cheapest country in the world, but it’s by far not the most expensive either – so one of the reasons to visit Italy is that it can be budget friendly. €16 euro get you inside the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill – three of the most amazing sites in the world. You can easily splurge and stay in luxury hotels, eat at fine restaurants, shop at designer store and travel by fancy car, but if your budget is a bit more limited you can opt to travel in the shoulder season and you will find plenty of budget friendly places to stay and trattorie where you can eat delicious home cooked meals.
Visiting the Colosseum? Make sure to read my post “Seven Smart Ways To Get Tickets To The Colosseum And Skip The Lines.”
Further readings about Italy
Have I inspired you enough to visit Italy? These are some of my posts that will help you plan your trip:
- What To Do And What To Avoid When Planning A Trip To Italy
- 67 Extremely Useful Travel Tips For Italy
- A Perfect Italy Itinerary: What To See And Do With 10 Days Or More
- A Guide To The Best Places To Visit In Italy
- 20 Best Movies About Italy You Need To Watch
- 30 Unmissable, Fun And Cheap Things To Do In Rome
- A Wonderful Itinerary For 5 Days In Rome
- A Local’s Guide To The Things To Do In Sardinia
- An Excellent Guide To The Best Beaches In Sardinia
- 5 Excellent Reasons To Go On A Day Trip From Florence To Cinque Terre
- 13 Fantastic Day Trips From Milan
- Seventeen Incredible Things To Do In Venice
- Ten Reasons To Visit Trentino In The Summer
- A Fantastic 8 Days Sicily Itinerary
- A Great Guide To The Things To Do In Catania, Italy