Some people see traveling as fun. Some see it as a necessary evil.  Either way, traveling is a privilege that not many people get to experience.  No books will teach you more than a real life experience in a different geographic setting, where history is relived, local spices are savored, new friendships are established and… foreign words are mispronounced.  

No matter how much you’re sold on how amazing it is to travel, most of us can’t realistically expect to visit all the places on the ‘100 Places To See Before You Die’ list.  So, each one of us needs to create their own realistic Bucket List Experience.

I’m sure you’ve heard it said that ‘All roads lead to Rome’.  If your road never took you there, then you need to add Italy to your Bucket List Experience.  So, here are 5 reasons to help you know why visit Italy.

 

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  • Italy is on the Hollywood Bucket List

There’s nothing better to set the mood for an Italian vacation than to enjoy some good movies set in Italy.  After watching Roman Holiday and then visiting Rome, I felt like I was tracking Audrey Hepburn’s steps as she was playing the role of a bored and sheltered princess exploring Rome in 1953.  Then as you go through those places you recognize the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, Ponte Sant’ Angelo, the Mouth of Truth, the Colosseum, the narrow cobbled streets. On top of this, you create your own roaming around through Rome spots.

Or you may get inspired with  Letters to Juliet, giving you a flavor of Verona, or Only You, a beautiful swirl through Venice, Rome and the Amalfi Coast,  or Life Is Beautiful,  a great movie that will make you appreciate not just Tuscany, but life as well.

 

  • Italian Cuisine

Bruschete, Cannelloni, Garganelli, Penne all’arrabbiata, Lasagna, Prosciutto di Parma… For some, mouth-watering dishes. For others, except maybe Lasagna, nothing rings a bell, just a bunch of amusing words. Italian cuisine is much more than just pizza.  But this simple Italian flat bread with cheese and toppings (birthplace: Naples, 18th century) has become popular worldwide.  And, it’s surely popular among children. 🙂 Around the world, there are hundreds types of pizza. For an Italian though, there are only two types of pizza: Italian pizza and the rest of the world.

Italians take their food quite seriously.  The main meal is at lunch and it’s not rushed. Here you eat antipasti (olives, cheese etc.), first course (pasta or minestrone), main course (meat or fish with salad). A good meal should end with a nice dessertt, perhaps Tiramisu (which means Pick Me Up) and an Italian Espresso.

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  • Italian Gelato

Genuine Italian ice cream can not be passingly mentioned as a dessert in the food category. Gelato dates back to Ancient Rome, in Sicily. Italy is the only country in the world where the percentage of handmade ice cream is higher than the industrialized one.  Going to an Italian ice-cream parlor is a unique treat all visitors should take advantage of.

The Italian swirl of frosting is not just a simple scoop of ice cream. It’s a soft cream, flavored with fresh fruit, nut purees or chocolate. What makes it Italian? Three main factors and a lot of details.  Being an expert in eating it and not making it,  here are the three main factors:  low fat, less air, warmer temperature to be stored and served.  Well, told ya, there’s a lot more details that I don’t know.  P.S. Good news for weigh watchers, gelato is generally lower in calories, fat and sugar.  So, while in Italy, go visit a Gelato Parlor.  The extra calories, you’ll walk them off.

 

  •    Romantic Cities, Towns and Villages

As much as Paris is considered to be a romantic city, just as easily Italy is favored by a lot of couples. What’s the appeal? Serene coast lines, picturesque vineyards, golden beaches, quaint eateries on cobbled narrow streets with dim lights, kaleidoscopic flower arrangements.  On top of all that, add the relaxed Italian life style and a people that just love romance. Any city or village will be a good host for couples, but here are my favourites.

Verona nestles the love story of Romeo and Juliet, and their beautiful homes. (That’s how some Italians might say that the author of the story is Williamo Shakespearelli 🙂 )  The floating city of Venice with its 118 little islands, 150 canals and 400 bridges makes a great spot for engagements, anniversaries or just sweet gondola rides.  Tuscany, with its simplicity of living, yet complexity of beauty is a perfect place for newlyweds and honeymooners.  Then there’s the Amalfi Coast where anyone with any cheap camera can pretend to be a pro. The breathtaking view leaves any chatter box speechless.

 

  • Loaded with History

The Italian peninsula has been on such roller-coaster when it comes to history.  Italy was at the core of the great Roman Empire, the leader of Catholicism, then set the modern era in motion with the Renaissance.  It had its ups and glorious moments, and it has had its downs and sufferings.

I’ve never been to a place that is so loaded with history.  Take Rome, the eternal city, a place filled with monuments and marble statues, but also a vibrant city shaped by emperors, architects and painted by artists. Every corner you turn, there’s a catholic church, a historic building and a ruin of some sort… (I’ll throw in a gelato place, too).  If you’re a history buff, going to Italy will be like a 5 year-old going to Disneyland.  Or, if you don’t mind learning stuff from the past, but just not good at it.. you will find it fascinating as well. And, you might just become a history lover.  History in plain books is good and necessary, giving you the facts.  Alive history sets the tone, helps you better understand and remember what truly happened. Also, you will always find out new facts, because no book will contain them all.

 

  • Random Reasons

If none of the above reasons have convinced you to take a pen and scribble Italy on your Bucket List, I’ll go ahead and throw in a few more incentives.

Shopping. Anywhere you go, flee markets or high-style shops and boutiques. They got it all.

Fashion.  Milan calls your name, if that’s your interest.  Italian or International brands.  All there.

Photography.  Capture the labyrinth of waterways, the sunset and the valleys.

A country within a country. (And I don’t mean Texas in America 🙂 ).  The Vatican, a city-state surrounded by Rome.  It’s the home to the pope. And the Vatican Museums host Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and much more precious art.

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