7 reasons Italy might be your spirit country

Venice is arguably the world's most beautiful city, but for backpackers, it can drain the funds. Here's our 'how-to' guide to backpacking Venice on a budget.
you may have the universe, if i may have italy

Look, there’s every chance that Giuseppe Verdi (Italian composer) was in the midst of a little melodramatic moment when he made such a huge claim... But we definitely follow the logic of how he got there.

After all, Italy is home to the good life (la dolce vita), gourmet food, delicious wine, beautifully romantic scenery, and a unique way of life that makes it one of those special places that just sucks you in so you never want to leave.

In case you still have your doubts, these are seven reasons to visit Italy, your new spirit country.


7 incredible reasons to visit Italy


#1 ITALY = EATALY

There’s a very good reason that bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love, opens with author Elizabeth Gilbert re-discovering life’s simple pleasures in Italy - and it’s not just the pizza.

For Italians, cuisine and culture go hand in hand. Meal prep is considered an art form, family and tradition are the essential ingredients, and passion is served up on every plate. If it’s complete nourishment of your body and soul you’re searching for, Italy is your big bowl of fresh pasta.

Most locals will tell you the secret to their delicious food is seasonal produce, adding a whole lotta soul, and keeping it regional. It’s all about sticking to the basics - only indulge in Aperol Spritz and aperitivo in Venice, pizza in Naples, Bolognese in Bologna, Pesto in Genoa, and Gelato… well, anywhere, everywhere, everyday.

The possibilities are endless - the only limit is how much you can fit in your stomach.

The Common Wanderer - Italian food.jpg

#2 RIDICULOUS LEVELS OF HISTORY AND CULTURE

Merely being in Italy is an awe-inspiring experience. For a start, Italy has more Unesco World Heritage sites than any other country on earth, and much of what we know as the ‘modern world’ today actually grew straight from the history within Italy’s borders.

The Colosseum, Pantheon, and the Roman Forum bring you face-to-face with the ancient Roman Empire and cradle of modern Europe. The Renaissance springs to life again right before your eyes as you lay eyes on the beauty of the Sistine Chapel, Da Vinci’s Last Supper, and Michelangelo’s David. The wealth of the Venetians in the Middle Ages is on display in the colourful fairytale buildings along the canals of Venice, and some of the most beautiful architecture in the world can be found in each town.

You can literally walk down the same streets that Caesar, Michelangelo and Da Vinci have all strolled down at various times over the last 2,000 years. Just let that sink in for a little while.

The Common Wanderer - Miranda in front of Trevi Fountain.jpg

#3 DRINK UP, IT'S ALL GOOD

First thing’s first: Aperol Spritz. If you don’t already know about this refreshing orange aperitif popular in Venice, you should. If you do know, then you probably agree that this alone is basically worth moving to Italy for.

Italy is also one of the very few places on earth where the quality of wine is so great that you can order a house wine and be sure that you’re about to about to enjoy something great for cheap, cheap.

Wine enthusiasts, rejoice!

The Common Wanderer - Italian wine.jpg

#4 THE LANDSCAPES ARE STUNNING

While it might have the face of a boot on Google maps, Italy certainly delivers in the looks department on the ground.

Towering snow-capped Alps just ripe for skiing? Tick. Rugged coastlines with colourful cliffside villages? Why not. Romantic rolling green and gold Tuscan hills adorned with grapevines? Of course. Inviting beaches with turquoise blue water? Yup. Volcanic craters (not to mention the ancient ruins of Pompeii!)? Well obviously.

With one of the most diverse and beautiful landscapes in Europe, you’re going to be hard pressed to run out of places to explore here.

The Common Wanderer - Cinque Terre.jpg

#5 LA DOLCE VITA - THE GOOD LIFE

Italians have that elusive little thing called work/life balance sussed out pretty well, with a  focus on the good, simple things: family and friends, good food and drink, and hearty conversation.

For many, life is lived in the style of La Dolce far Niente, the “sweetness of doing nothing”, or the pleasure taken from being idle. Life moves at a more gentle pace here - particularly in the south - which allows people to slow down, enjoy their surroundings, and really just be. It’s all about removing distractions (like that Netflix queue!) and spending quality time with yourself and your loved ones entirely in the present.

Yogis call it mindfulness, Italians call it sweet nothing.
Whatever it is, you’re never going to regret that time you simply sat and enjoyed your life.

The Common Wanderer - La Dolce Vita in Italy.jpg

#6 LUNCHTIME IS RIPOSO TIME

So you’ve already heard about the magical daytime nap that is the Spanish siesta, but did you know the Italians have a similar version known as the riposo?

Everyone knows the midday slump is a very real struggle, and pinning your eyelids open for your 3pm meeting or exam can seem like a legitimate option.

The thing is, afternoon fatigue is actually a completely natural part of our biorhythms. Rather than battle against them like we do in the rest of the world, Mediterranean countries like Spain and Italy actually work to the rhythm of the body clock instead.

During riposo locals shut up shop (or museum) for 1.5-2 hours, put their feet up, and perhaps even head home or to a trattoria for a good meal before returning for the afternoon shift. It’s all about choosing quality of life for a couple of hours over making a few bucks, all while avoiding the hottest / sleepiest hours of the day.

Plus, a long lunch or daytime nap that your boss thinks is perfectly acceptable.. What’s not to love?!

The Common Wanderer - Italy.jpg

#7 GOOD LOOKING NEW FRIENDS

Aside from being really ridiculously good-looking with inherent on point style, Italians are also very warm, welcoming, and generous people.

More often than not you’ll find locals are happy to stop and chat, share pieces of their city with you, throw a few extra pieces of fruit in your grocery bag, or point you in the right direction again - particularly if you make the effort to learn a few key phrases or words of Italian.

Welcome to the land where a simple ciao and an appreciation of coffee can go a long way in helping you make new friends!



The Common Wanderer - Friends in Italy.jpg

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Italy is home to all the good things in life...food, coffee, wine and La Dolce Vita. If you're looking for reasons to visit Italy, we've put together seven.
 

This post originally appeared on the Geckos Tales blog. 
We were sponsored by Geckos Adventures on their 30 day London to Rome by rail tour.
As always, all opinions are our own.


 

Keen to explore Italy yourself? Check out these posts for inspo!