That’s right the votes were cast and the results are in, Italy has been voted the most beautiful country in the world in 2018. Why might that be? Perhaps it was the laid back attitude to life, Renaissance-inspired architecture, food freshly prepared with mouthwatering results, or that heart-stirring moment when you realise you are in one of the oldest cultures known to man. Whichever reason you choose there’s no excuse not visit the land of beauty and food, where a stroll down a cobbled street could lead you to find a gruff fisherman peddling his freshly caught wares (some still wriggling around in stainless steel buckets) or a finely dressed Roman woman with plump red lips, gently sipping on a glass of Pinot Grigio, waiting for the tanned waiter to deliver her beautifully crafted entree. Italy is a place even the most talented dreamer couldn’t imagine, it’s a place that must be experienced first hand. If you’re having a little trouble choosing your next Italian destination adventure, maybe these suggestions could help….
It’s no secret I am a little biased when it comes to this particular Italian city. Half my family originated here and most still live there. But personal bias aside this is one of the most fascinating cities on the planet and it’s fast becoming a must see for all Eurocentric travellers.
It may sit alarmingly close to one of the most famous active volcanoes of all time, Mount Vesuvius, but this soul-stirring city is the place to be to witness one of the oldest cultures in the world. The city’s history could fill an entire set of Encyclopaedias, and it gave birth to the much-loved dish; pizza. It’s a stone throw from the enigmatic Pompeii where you can see a pre-Roman city frozen in time after Mount Vesuvius’ last explosion. Although the architecture is buried under a layer of graffiti, this just adds further depth to the already complex beauty of Naples.
No list would be complete without the enigmatic city of Rome. It’s no wonder a host of scintillating books and films were set in the hot-blooded capital. Some of us visit for the chance to wish upon a coin by the Trevi Fountain or to glimpse at Italy’s sordid past with a trip to the Coliseum, where innocents were thrown to starving lions for the pleasure of a blood-thirsty crowd. But, most visitors fall in love with its artistic heritage, boasting some of the worlds largest artistic feats including sculptures by Michelangelo and paintings by Caravaggio. Many of us dream of wandering Rome’s cobbled streets, whiling away the hours with some classic Italian food and delving into a spot of people watching. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
Draped over every market stall, hanging in every shop window and clutched in the hands of passers-by, the staple of Venetian culture summed up in the shape of a gilded mask. The city seems as though it has been plucked from the vivid imagination of a small child, with no roads, taxis, cars, or anything that most of us rely on for daily transportation, a fairytale-like lagoon and every building designed to look like a palace. There’s no escaping the floating artwork, particularly if you’re partial to the ideal artistic bohemian destination then look no further than Venice. It’s an artisan’s paradise, one visit is all you need to fall in love with this floating city.
This may be a surprise selection, as Trieste is not on everyone’s list as the most ideal Italian city. Many complain about its lack of distinguishing feature; Naples has pizza, Venice has lagoons and Rome has the Coliseum. But, that doesn’t stop this northern Italian city from crafting its own charm. Maybe it’s because of the Viennese architecture, the lively northeastern port, or its fascinating history involving the Austro-Hungarian empire. It’s a city masked in wonder, whether you’re looking for a place to meander along by the open waters, it’s hard not to fall in love with this unlikely Italian city.
A sparkling Mediterranean jewel, drenched in a sub-tropical heat. This region looks as though it has been plucked from a dreamy postcard. There’s nothing quite like the fresh flavours of Sicilian grown food, prepared by the culinary artisans who have perfected the recipe and handed it down from generation to generation. Plus you can witness first hand Sicily’s wild terrain, traversed by thousands of years of explorers, from the untarnished crystal sea lapping against white sandy beaches, to fiercely bubbling volcanoes and mountains all ready for the most hardened adventurer.
Imagine yourself as a talented artist, painting a myriad of images and colours on a blank canvas. You’ve worked tirelessly and the results have paid off you’re a celebrated success, so where in the world would you move to that perfectly encapsulates your inner artistic flair? That’s right the birthplace of the Renaissance; Florence. As you meander the 15th century cobbled streets you can gaze at the flawless architectural masterpieces designed by geniuses like Botticelli and Michelangelo. The very city itself is a testament to the highest quality of even its modern day dwellers, whether you’re ordering a glass of the finest home-grown Italian wine, or shopping in one of Florence’s many clothing boutiques, in the birthplace of Gucci, you’ll find nothing but pure perfection in every aspect of life in Florence.
There’s a reason Shakespeare used Verona as the setting to the timeless classic Romeo and Juliet. Just a short trip from Lake Garda this northern Italian city has more to offer than star-crossed lovers. It’s built around a 1st-century amphitheater, a customary stroll around Verona will uncover an array of piazzas and churches and who knows maybe you’ll find your own starry-eyed lover.
Hopefully, I’ve wet an already dripping appetite with the prospect of a future adventure in Italy. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to book your next flight for an unforgettable experience.