For years Italy has been one of the most popular travel destinations for tourists from the world over. Culture, beauty, food, history, this small European country has it all and the reasons to visit Italy are endless.
Thanks to its huge cultural heritage, the places to visit in Italy can keep you busy for a lifetime. If thousands of years of history, the world’s highest ratio of artwork per capita and one of the most romantic languages is not enough to make you decide why you should visit Italy, read on and get inspired to book that ticket and plan that trip.
READ MORE: Need help? Check out our complete guide to planning a perfect 2-week Italy itinerary.
So, why visit Italy?
If you are overwhelmed by the things to do and places to see and you haven’t booked your ticket yet, here are some good reasons to visit Italy as soon as possible.
1. Cultural diversity
Every region is a small “country”. Italy as a unified nation is relatively young, and before the unification, it was a collection of small states and kingdoms. That diversity is still present.
Even though now we speak the same language, every region has its own dialect (in some like Sardinia it’s still a proper language. Sardinian, in particular, has been recognized by the European Union as minority language), cuisine, history, culture, and traditions.
Very little introduction needed here. If you have to come up with even only one of the reasons why you should go to Italy is that Italian food is the most famous, appreciated and copied in the world. Wherever you go, you will always find “Italian restaurants” or Italian specialities on the menu of international eateries. How much Italian flavours are in those dishes, it’s debatable, but still, the “Italian” factor is always a winning sales pitch.
Needless to say, in the Bel Paese you find the real deal, so Italian food is definitely one of the reasons to visit Italy. Here too, region after region you will discover new flavours, recipes, ingredients, cheese, like Pecorino or Fossa cheese, bread, sauces and much more.
If you are planning a trip to Rome, you might want to check out my eBook for foodies “Tasting Rome by Neighbourhood“. Here I suggest five daily itineraries with the best restaurants to try in five different neighbourhoods as well as the top landmarks to visit. Different types of restaurants chosen among the very best and where locals go. You won’t find these in mainstream guidebooks!
READ MORE: Check out our guide to what to do in 4 days in Rome.
3. Cakes and pastries
I know this should be in the above category, but cakes, pastries, and cookies deserve their own space and they definitely make it for one of the reasons to go to Italy.
In Italy cakes and pastries vary depending on the season, region and holiday or festival. Carnival, Christmas, Easter, every holiday brings different dishes and different sweets. In Sardinia for Carnival, you will find the typical zippole, fatti fritti and chiacchiere, while for Easter ricotta-filled pardulas are all over the place. For Christmas, you will find everywhere the Panettone or Pandoro and for Easter the Colomba (Dove), even though these traditions were born in northern Italy, Milan. While they are sold by the big brands in every shop and supermarket, these cakes are best bought in the traditional bakeries that have been making them for decades or centuries.
If you are still wondering why travel to Italy, a full immersion in everything stylish can well be a good reason. From clothes to shoes to homeware furniture and accessories, any store that wants to attract customers in big numbers just needs to throw in some “Made in Italy” motto in their advertising. From the biggest brands famous all over the world like Armani, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana or Valentino, to names that are more popular in Italy like Germano Zama, Marella, or even Sandro Ferrone, for clothes, or Nero Giardini for shoes (one of my very favorite), going window shopping in Italy can give you a headache.
Let’s face it, Italy is also worth visiting for its people. Loud, food-obsessed and friendly, during your trip to Italy you are likely to make some new friends. First of all, in Italy you can do Couchsurfing and this is one of the ways to know local people and lifestyle, but also hanging out at night in clubs or pubs, or participating in some local festivals and tours, going to the beach or ski resort, are all opportunities to meet and bond with the residents or domestic tourists.
6. Art and Architecture
Among the reasons to travel to Italy, art and architecture are a big one. While Florence is the undisputed star when it comes to the artistic heritage, the other cities stand quite imposing too in this field. From Rome to Venice, from Catania to Verona to Perugia, wherever you go in Italy you will be hardly met with a lack of art masterpieces. Bernini, Borromini, Michelangelo, Donatello, Caravaggio, Canaletto, Canova, Giotto are all big names all over the country, but traveling around different regions you will also enjoy paintings, sculptures, palaces and churches by local artists that are lesser known even though play a great role in making Italy the world’s number one destination for art holidays.
–>> Visiting Tuscany’s capital? Check out our Florence guide: THINGS TO DO IN FLORENCE
Partially connected to the point above, Italy has also a huge historical heritage. In this, too, different region different past.
Rome will show you the traces of a mighty ancient empire, the Papal Kingdom, and Renaissance noble families, in Florence you will travel through Middle Age and Renaissance times, Middle Age imprints also are shown in the towns of Viterbo, Bracciano, Perugia or even Venice, while Sardinia has a wonderful display of the Bronze Age with the nuraghi stone towers and villages belonging to the island’s ancient civilization.
If you are a history buff, you will definitely be spoiled for choice on the places to visit in Italy, but even if you want a diverse holiday and devote only some days to historic sites, this is one of the most fulfilling reasons to visit Italy.
8. Natural landscape
Alongside a huge cultural diversity, in Italy, you will find also a great diversity of natural landscapes. Despite being a small country, it boasts an incredible diversity of natural landscapes: in one region you have stunning beaches (see Sardinia), in one mighty mountain peaks that attract ski fans all winter (Trentino Alto Adige, Piedmont or Friuli Venezia Giulia), one region is all about soft rolling hills (I’m thinking about Tuscany here), and another is a thin stretch of rugged coast and steep mountains, just like France-bordering Liguria.
Every season has its own festivals in Italy. We are not talking only about the national holidays such as Christmas, Easter, Ferragosto or Carnival, that every city celebrates in a different way, but also and especially local festivals, usually organized in honour of the town’s saint patron or some other date important for the area. In every region, there are religious festivals and food “sagre”, fairs where the focus is on a particular dish or ingredient, from the sagra of the mushroom to one of the ravioli dumplings to the one of the asparagus!
Linked to all the points above, overall Italy hides beauty around every corner. Medieval towns, Roman cities, lakes, mountains, Italy is pretty all around and truly heaven for photographers.
This is also one of the reasons why tourists visit Italy more than once. Let’s say you traveled to Rome and you liked the Italian vibe but the capital is way too hectic for your next holiday. Problem easily solved, next trip can be to Sardinia, Sicily or some Tuscan countryside.
11. It’s not that expensive
Among all European or western countries, a trip to Italy is not that expensive. Prices vary depending on the cities and regions, and obviously on the season. Being popular for beaches and sea resorts, Sardinia and Sicily are more expensive during summer especially for hotels and renting a house. In Rome prices also change depending on the season, even though being popular all year round, the difference is less than in other places. The same applies to other big tourist draws like Venice and Florence, always listed among the places to visit in Italy.
12. It’s a must-see destination
Still wondering why go to Italy? That’s right, you need to visit Italy at least once in your life just because it’s a must-see destination. Not to brag about it, but with so much art, history and beauty, Italy has been a favourite destination for years. Such a wealth of options of places to see and things to do naturally makes it an easy travel choice. After your first Italy trip it’s up to you to decide if you want to come back or not, but here we are pretty confident you will.