If you’ve got a bucket list of places you want to visit, you need to seriously consider adding Italy to the list. It’s a country that’s got so much going for it. Many people only think of Italy in terms of Rome and the Colosseum, which is a shame because the country has more to offervisitors. 2019 is an extra special year for this country as there’s lots of special events taking place.
It’s also the National Year of Slow Tourism for Italy, which means efforts are being made to promote the little-known areas of the country. Heritage railway lines have been reactivated, thousands of biking and hiking trails are open, allowing you to explore and experience aspects of Italy you might not have considered before. If you need some valid reasons to make Italy your destination of choice for 2019, here are some more.
• Delicious Food and Wine
If you’re not that keen on pasta, don’t be put off because Italian cuisine is more than just a menu filled with pasta dishes. While it does play a big part, there’s much more on offer. Italian food is simple, but that doesn’t stop it from being delicious. Enjoy a trip to Italy, and you’ll be introduced to robust flavors and the finest fresh and perfect ingredients including deep green zucchinis, rosy tomatoes, and a wide selection of earthy wild mushrooms. Whether you eat in a top of the range restaurant or find yourself sampling some street food on the way back to your hotel, you’ll find an amazing assortment of dishes.
Wherever you go in Italy, you’ll find local cheese, and the variety is so huge you’ll have no problems finding one you like. Cured, blue, sharp or gooey, Italy has them all and more besides. Italy has a reputation for its wide diversity of grape varieties, so while you’re trying to find a cheese you like, pair your tasting sessions with visits to one or two local vineyards.
• Legendary Cities and Picturesque Villages
Italy has a number of famous cities, including Florence, Milan, Venice, Verona and let’s not forget Rome. The train and road network is excellent, which makes traveling to these cities a piece of cake. Have fun exploring them one at a time and when you’re in Rome, find the time to experience a tour with The Tour Guy. As well as historic cities there are picturesque villages you have to find time to visit. Some of the most popular include Cinque Terr and Castelmezzano in Basilicata.
• Glorious Beaches and Stunning Lakes
Italy has some of the best beaches in Europe as well as gorgeous lakes that are a magnet for international celebrities. Lake Como, situated near the Swiss border is very popular, and the scenery is stunning.
• Snowy Mountains and Desert Islands
Italy has a very varied landscape that also includes sloping farmlands and warm beaches. There are even snow-topped mountains to experience in the Dolomites, a snowy range in the Southern Alps. The more adventurous among you won’t be able to resist hiking, rock-climbing, skiing, or mountain biking. For a more serene vacation head to one of Italy’s desert islands and enjoy the peace and quiet as well as the natural beauty of the nature reserves and fishing villages.
• Greek Temples and Roman Ruins
If you’ve got a picture of Italy in your mind, it probably includes architecture and ancient ruins. Roman Forum is the place to go if you want to feel what it was like to live at the epicenter of Ancient Rome. Sights to see include stunning arches, temples and government buildings, reminding you of the grandeur of this country’s past. Italy also does Greek temples and some of the world’s best examples are found here. Sicily, in particular, boasts an impressive selection of Greek ruins.
• The World Famous Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast is considered by many to be the most beautiful place in the world. It also has some very pricey resorts so you might need deep pockets if you decide to spend more than a couple of days here. The area only stretches for 30 miles, but it promises winding seaside roads that take you to charming coastal towns, scenic beaches, villas, and gardens. It boasts steep, picturesque cliffs, sparkling Mediterranean views, and lemons the size of baseballs. The locals you meet while exploring will welcome you with open arms, and you’ll be overwhelmed with their kindness.
• Matera – European Capital of Culture 2019
Matera is in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata and this year it’s been awarded the title of Europe’s Capital of Culture, along with Plovdiv in Bulgaria. The opening ceremony took place in January, but there’s still plenty going on. Events are categorized under five themes: Ancient Future, Continuity and Disruptions, Reflections and Connections, Utopias and Dystopias, Roots and Routes. Cultural events around these themes are taking place all over the country.
Matera is also famous for its Sassi, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back more than 7000 years. There are cave dwellings and rock churches connected by streets, archways, and stairways that were dug out of the rocky sides of a steep gorge.
• Italian Festivals
Italians love a good festival and they are an integral part of their culture. There are some that have captured the attention and hearts of visitors as well as locals. Festivals such as Venice’s Carnival, Palio di Siena, Game of the Bridge, Calcio Florentino, Giostra della Quintana, Battle of the Oranges and many more could well be the reason why locals are able to stay happy and vibrant all year round.
Hopefully, you’ve now got enough reasons to visit this beautiful country that juts out into the Mediterranean Sea. It’s left a powerful mark on Western culture and cuisine and it’s very likely to leave its mark on you if you decide to visit. Many aspects and features of this country are fondly remembered by visitors who come to visit from all over the world.