Reasons Everyone Should Visit Italy at Least Once

| © Stefano Politi Markovina / Alamy Stock Photo

Natural beauty, incredible food, artistic heritage and style are only the beginning of the treasures that you can experience on a trip to Italy. Here are six reasons everyone should visit Italy at least once.

Keen to visit Italy but not sure where to go? Take your pick from Culture Trip’s specially curated 10-day Northern Italy trip or our action-packed 10-day Sicily adventure.

There are beaches everywhere

With over 5,000mi (8,046km) of coastline, you are never far from the beach anywhere in Italy. Only one region, Umbria, out of a total of 20, is landlocked. There are wild, empty stretches with dunes in Tuscany and tiny, crowded coves in Cinque Terre – which you can visit with Culture Trip on our specially curated 10-day Northern Italy trip. From Lido, a short ride a away from Venice, to the clear blue water found at the very bottom of the country in Puglia, there is a beach for every season and every mood. The island of Sardinia alone has well over 500 beaches. In the summer months, beach clubs with sun loungers, umbrellas to rent and restaurants for lunch dot the shoreline. Italy’s mild climate, particularly the further south you go, means you can visit the beach virtually any time of year.

Costa Paradiso Beach is a well kept Italian secret

Experience island life

There are over 400 islands in Italy. Even the city of Rome has one! Sicily, Elba and Sardinia are almost like countries in their own right with unique cuisines, language and landscapes. Sicily has entire sets of its own islands, with the Aeolian islands (which feature on Culture Trip’s 10-day small-group Sicily adventure) on one side and the Egadi islands on the other. The glamorous island of Capri is within easy reach of Florence, Rome and Naples where you can try the famous Caprese salad of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil and dance the night away at one of the island’s hotspots. Visit the thermal baths on the island of Ischia or go hiking on Palmaria Island off the coast of the famous Cinque Terre towns.

The Aeolian Islands come with incredible landscapes

Its Unesco World Heritage Sites

Italy boasts 51 Unesco World Heritage sites, which makes it home to more sites than any other country in the world. Did you know that every twist and turn from Positano to Vietri on the Amalfi Coast is one? The historic centers of towns like Siena, Florence and Pienza in Tuscany are also on the list. There are magnificent ancient temple ruins to visit in Paestum and Agrigento and don’t miss the active volcano of Mount Etna.

Temple of Concordia in Agrigento is a Unesco Heritage Site

So. Much. Art.

The Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo, the many Raphaels in the Pinacoteca, La Primavera by Botticelli — there is a mind boggling amount of priceless masterpieces in just the Vatican museums and the Uffizi galleries alone. If you only spent one minute in front of each work of art in the Vatican it would take four years to see each piece! There are also numerous smaller, quieter collections like the family collection inside the Villa Doria Pamphili in Rome and the incredible cycle of Tintoretto’s at The Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice. The marble sculpture of the Veiled Christ by Giuseppe Sammartino at the Museo San Severo in Naples is a wonder to behold. Is contemporary art your thing? The Venice Biennale held every two years gathers the biggest names and sometimes strangest works and installations in national pavilions inside the Giardini and the nearby Arsenale complex.

Take your time inside the Vatican Museum

Italian food is simply the best

Italian cuisine is incredibly hard to define. Italy is a fiercely regional country and even short distances can mean dramatic differences in terrain, language and food. In the north, stews served on top of polenta and apple streusel are popular. In Sicily, there are strong Arabic influences with dishes like couscous and raisins on the menu. Roman food is rustic and hearty with pastas that have few ingredients and bold flavors like amatriciana and cacio e pepe. On the Amalfi Coast, seafood reigns. One thing you will find in every single region, however, is gelato. A scoop of this cold creamy treat as an afternoon snack is something every Italian will agree on.

Italian Gelato is out of this world

In Vino Veritas

Italy has literally thousands of different grape varieties and has surpassed France in the amount of wine it produces. Much of what is produced is done on such a small scale that the bottles can’t be found outside of the region, let alone outside of Italy, so it’s easy to expand your horizons beyond glasses of Chianti and Pinot Grigio. A good rule to remember is if it grows together, it goes together, so on the Amalfi Coast look for wines from Campania, and if you are in Venice drink bottles produced in the Veneto region. Look out for enotecas, wine shops that almost always sell wines by the glass and small plates.

A stroll through an Italian vineyard is most beautiful at sunset

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

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