As the epicentre of the Roman Empire and birthplace of the Renaissance, Italy is arguably one of the most cultural places on Earth. It is here you’ll stand beneath Michelangelo’s David and Sistine Chapel frescoes. It is here you’ll feast you eyes on Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Primavera, and Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper. It is here you’ll ride through ancient canals and walk among the Gladiators in Rome’s Colloseo. In fact, Italy has more UNESCO-listed World Heritage cultural sites than any other nation on the planet. Whether you walk in the footsteps of Emperors in Rome or feel yourself transfixed on an artistic tour-de-force of art in Florence, Italy’s cultural sphere is as thrilling, as it is heart-stopping.
And let’s not forget that glorious food. From a simple spag bowl to wholesome gnocchi, every dish here feels like a revelation. The secret to their success, you ask? The freshest ingredients and seasonal-only produce. While Italy’s culinary soul appears to be homely, it’s equally ingenious and sophisticated – it does have countless Michelin-starred restaurants, after all.
It’s not all food and culture though. Think a geography of spellbindingly beautiful natural diversity. From north to south, traverse the icy Alps and glacial lakes, volcanic craters and epic vistas in a country that was made for Instagramming.
Still not convinced? Here are 21 photos that will make you go crazy for the boot-shaped nation.
Want more pretty photos? Take a look at the beautiful French village that inspired parts of Walt Disney’s Beauty and the Beast!