The U.S. Tour Operators Association, a professional association of travel agents and tour operators, conducts an informal survey among members to select top vacation spots worldwide. Every year, Italy tops the list of international vacation destinations - the heart of civilization, the cradle of romance, and the holy sea. What makes Italy special? Spectacular scenery and a warm, wonderful climate are only the backdrops. There is something for every traveler in Italy’s colorful mosaic of travel experiences. From the cosmopolitan culture buff to the adventurer, from the serious history student to the socialite, Italy truly caters to everyone. Italy’s cities and countryside are a treasure trove. You would never see half of what the country has to offer in a month. What draws so many to beautiful Italy?
See Italy for the Art
One of the most artistically rich countries in the world is Italy. According to UNESCO, half of the world’s art and history is located in Italy. You’ll find artistic and architectural wonders in Florence, Venice, Rome, Naples, and Milan, among others. Michelangelo, da Vinci, Botticelli, Tintoretto, Correggio, and Donatello - the most famous artists of all eras left legacies in frescoes, paintings, and statues across the country. From the stunning stained glass windows in an Abruzzo chapel to cathedral ceilings, art is everywhere.
See Historic Italy
Italy is where history lives. A treasure trove of historical sites can be found in Italy’s cities and countryside. When you walk the Via Appia, you will realize that two thousand years ago, this very road was used by the armies and citizens of Imperial Rome. Explore the preserved city of Pompeii or the Coliseum in Rome. Of course, there is the Vatican, the walled city inside Rome that is the home and heart of the Catholic Church, where scholars study ancient texts.
Visit Italy for the Scenery
Italy’s twenty regions offer diverse scenic vistas. As vivid and alive as its most famous artists’ paintings are Italy’s snowcapped mountains and white sand beaches. Tuscan hills with craggy, winding paths and terraced vineyards await you beyond the cities. The government protects 23 national parks and nearly 500 nature preserves. It has sea cliffs and alpine mountains, rolling hills, and open plains. The sea, of course, is ever-changing yet everlasting.
Come To Italy for the Food
The abundance of Italian food and hospitality is legendary. Abondanza is well understood in the Mediterranean country. Everywhere you look, you will find groaning tables and open arms welcoming you to eat! Yummy! Visiting Italy is a gustatory delight since there is no single style of Italian cooking. Rather, each region of Italy has its own unique flavors and combinations based on local foods and specialties. The seafood in Tuscany is famous, Milan’s complex flavors are famous, and Bologna’s traditional red sauce is famous. In Italy, eating and drinking well is a way of life, and whether you stop at a roadside ristorante or one of Rome’s five-star restaurants, you’re sure to get the best of the best.
To Your Health!
Thermal spas and springs have been famous in Italy since Hippocrates. Italian spas benefit from salt water and freshwater springs. Due to geological peculiarities and underground volcanic springs, there are many hot water thermal springs. Today, thermal spas are popular attractions in nearly every region of Italy and have become holiday destinations in their own right. Health spas in Italy offer more than just baths. Several are located near cultural and leisure attractions, making them great bases of operations.
Travel Gems in Italy
Spend at least one day walking around Rome. You’ll discover many small, hidden sites. These sites may have been discovered during the construction of another building and were never excavated, but they are still worth exploring away from the crowds. If you want a real treat, drive to small towns and villages outside the cities and visit well-known museums. Discover some of the most amazing and unexpected treasures hidden in alcoves and painted on the walls of village churches.
For longer stays in Italy, rent a villa or cottage in a small town instead of a hotel. You won’t pay much more - and will often pay less - than a good hotel, and your hosts will treat you like family. Italy is a country of contrasts and beauty whose charm grows deeper and warmer with every visit. There is no wonder that so many visitors return time and again to this warm and welcoming place.