People often refer to Italy as “Bella Italia.” It means “beautiful Italy” and it’s the perfect description.
Why do I think it’s perfect? Aside from the fact that I just got back from my honeymoon there?
First, there’s the scenery. Whether you want history (Rome), seaside views (Amalfi), scenery that wows (Tuscany), art (Florence) or drama and whimsy (Venice) there’s something for everyone.
If you want to go just to eat, Italy will keep you rather busy. Pizza was invented in Naples, so it’s a must eat if your’re in the south or along the Amalfi Coast. If you’re in Florence, take a break from the beauty of all the art in the city and dine on a Florentine steak. And if you’re anywhere in Italy, take every opportunity to indulge with some gelato.
And then there are the people. I love Italians, and they’re a breed all to their own. They can offer their hospitality and be slightly annoyed by you all at the same time. They are so helpful and friendly, while being a bit abrupt. They speak loudly, and gesture a lot. They never let me practice my Italian. I’m not sure if it’s because I butcher the language or because they would rather practice their English (or both.) But they always seem to notice and appreciate my attempts.
Lastly, there’s the atmosphere. There’s just something about Italy that you can’t put your finger on. It’s the way it feels. It’s the way it smells (good and bad.) It’s the horrible traffic and the awesome public transportation. It’s the monumental size of the sites. It’s the varied and sordid (and interesting) past. It’s the ability to walk everywhere. It’s the way the sun shines. It just IS Italy.
In my next life, I want to come back as an Italian.