Jam-packed with culture and beauty, the boot-shaped Mediterranean country boasts stunning scenery, scrumptious food, jaw-dropping architecture, and a bundle of history, energy, and spirit. Certainly, thousands of reasons to visit Italy exist, most of them photogenic enough for your Instagram. But for now, we’ll focus in on 5 of these top reasons.
Note: All of these images were taken using our Canon Rebel, GoPro, and iPhone 4s (read Best Budget Travel Cameras to Improve Your Travel Photography for more information). We have since upgraded to a Canon 80D and iPhone 6s Plus—subscribe to our mailing list using the form at the bottom of the page to be updated when we release our review of our upgrades!
In my 4 visits to the Italian peninsula, I’ve been lucky enough to experience some of those classic Italian moments that form the fodder of top reasons to visit Italy: being serenaded by the Colosseum, becoming bird food for the pigeons in Venice, drinking from the Fontana della Barcaccia, over-dosing on Renaissance masterpieces in Florence, getting wine-drunk in an Italian barn somewhere in the countryside, inhaling countless essential cappuccinos (bolente!) and of course, the essential “pushing” the Pisa tower pose.
On my latest trip to Italy, we kept mostly in Rome, and then to Capri. It is from this most recent trip that I am pulling my 5 Instagram-worthy reasons to visit Italy—this stunning country that you really can’t ever get enough of, no matter how many times you go.
“You may have the universe if I may have Italy.”
1. The Love
Love is the life and blood of Italy. You feel it in the air, taste it in the food, drink it in the wine, and see it in the beautiful people. All over the stunning landscape of Italy, you encounter this special Italian brand of love. Seeing as the word “romance” stems from the Latin romant, meaning “in the Roman manner,” it’s no surprise Rome likewise overflows with the robust love that makes at least a few special reasons to visit Italy.
In the picture above, you’ll see the “love locks” common all over Europe, photographed along the Tiber River in Rome. Strolling along the beautiful walkways makes it impossible not to be smitten by this (Instagram-worthy) picturesque country, rain or shine!
|GET THE LOOK|
2. The Food
It’s a good thing those Roman walkways are so charming, because you’re gonna want to clock in some extra foot time with all the food you’ll devour in Italy. Eat, Pray, Love wasn’t lying about it—enjoying any and all delectable pieces of Italian cuisine during your journey through the country will highlight any trip to the Mediterranean dreamscape. Classic, refined, comforting flavors blend together to make masterpieces. In fact, one of the best Thanksgiving meals I’ve ever had was on a vineyard in Italy: a bowl of vegetable soup drizzled with olive oil and hand-crafted melt-in-your-mouth ravioli, washed down with plenty of house specialty vintages. So simple, but with the freshest, highest-quality ingredients that kiss your tongue so spectacularly, I still think about that meal over a decade later. As in the picture above, you can enjoy a tall cone of your choice of gelato while strolling along the Piazza Navona, or perhaps take a gander at some Italian truffle hunting. You won’t regret it (and Instagram will freaking love it).
3. The Vatican
The smallest state in the world, the Vatican marks, for many, one of the higher reasons to visit Italy. Indulge in the grandeur of St. Peter’s Basilica or Michelangelos’ masterful Sistine Chapel of Vatican City any time of year, but if you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime Vatican experience, I would recommend going on Easter. As the capital of the Roman Catholic church, the Vatican overflows with crowds coming together in St. Peter’s Square for the Christian holiday. The spectacle is so incredible, even a secular or non-Christian traveler can enjoy the experience. Pope Francis stands on a balcony, leading the crowd in Easter vigil prayers and the Urbi et Orbi message, with thousands raising their rosaries high in the air to have them blessed. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. Still, any time of the year you’ll have a fantastic experience gawking at the artwork and architecture the Vatican is famous for, even if, more likely than not, you don’t get to see the Pope!
4. The Nature
From the sprawling green hills of Tuscany to the deep blue Southern coast, Italy offers natural delights a’plenty for your wanderlust- and Instagram-needs. On my latest trip to Italy, I discovered for myself the exuberant gem floating pretty in the Tyrrhenian Sea known as Capri. With waters so vibrant you’d think they were neon, caves for days, and the ubiquitous scent of lemon, the island of Capri will enthrall any traveler looking for a piece of beauteous relaxation. Take a boat off the rugged coast and weave through rocky islets and indigo waves to explore Capri’s glowing caverns, then kick-back at an ocean view restaurant and breathe in the fresh air. This might go without saying, but it doesn’t get more Instagram-worthy than that.
5. The History
History buffs will go nuts exploring the rich historical landscape offered by Italy. Whether you’re taking to excavated sites, wandering the plentiful art or anthropological museums, or admiringly gazing at the architecture, Italy’s historical roots from antiquity to modern times provide fascinating eye- and brain-candy for any visitor. Pompeii’s ruins bring you back to an ancient civilization destroyed by the volcano of Mt. Vesuvius. On the other side of the country, Venice takes you back to a “City of Masks,” bountiful with history from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, through the Crusades and onward.
And then there’s everything else—from the birthplace of Galileo at Pisa or the birthplace of the Renaissance at Florence, you’ll discover incredible historical sites across the whole country of Italy. Don’t forget Rome, of course! Big ticket-items like the Colosseum, the Catacombs, the Forum, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain and so forth fill most spaces in the city. Another historical site worth a visit is the Ghetto of Rome, pictured above. Established in 1555, the Roman Ghetto is a previously walled-in quarter built under the architect Giovanni Sallustio Peruzzi for Rome’s Jewish population, who were forced to live under horrendous conditions. The district is now the location of the Synagogue of Rome, with one last piece of the old wall of the Ghetto now built into one of the area’s courtyards.
Can You Think of More Reasons to Visit Italy?
Italy rakes in a whopping 48.6 million tourists each year—and is it any wonder why? Though we’ve explored just 5 (particularly Instagram-worthy) themes of Italy that might make one want to pack their bags and head to the popular country, there are certainly hundreds, if not thousands more (such as Burano, the world’s most colourful town). Can you think of any other reasons to visit Italy? If you can, let us know what they are in a comment below!
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What’s your favorite kind of Italian food?
Share in a comment below!