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Italy is one of the top tourist destinations for not one but many reasons. Here are the top reasons to travel to Italy at least once in your lifetime.
Honestly? There are many more than just eight reasons to travel to Italy. Its culture is so rich, with extravagant food and ancient historical sites that are beautifully preserved.
It’s a country where nature, art, history, and religion combine to form a cultural superpower. But alas, there can only be so much one can say about Italy. You can only feel the essence of Italy’s art, history, and culture once you arrive there.
If you’re skeptical and don’t get what’s all the hype about, these attractions will instantly convince you.
- Our Favorite Reasons to Visit Italy
- A Hub of Historical Buildings
- Incredible Architecture
- Art Museums
- Beautiful Cities
- Lush Landscapes
- Beautiful Beaches
- The Big 3 Italian Lakes in Northern Italy
- Food to Die For
- Quaint Villages
- Unique Festivals and Celebrations
- When is the Best Time to Visit Italy?
- Final Thoughts: Go Visit Italy!
- What is the best month to visit Italy?
- What is so special about Italy?
- Why should someone visit Italy?
Our Favorite Reasons to Visit Italy
Below, I’ll discuss a few reasons why you should visit Italy. Once you decide to go there and start witnessing the stunning sights, believe us, you’ll be oohing and aahing around every corner!
A Hub of Historical Buildings
If you’re a history fanatic, arriving in Italy will be like opening the door to the past, given its huge historical heritage. With the Roman and Byzantine empires ruling this region all those centuries back, they’ve left behind some undeniable monuments.
Even if you don’t plan a historic excursion here, some locations are hard to resist visiting. This includes the Colosseum, a four-story tall circular amphitheater, and the Roman Forum. The sheer size and build of the colossal structure radiate the Roman empire’s power and engineering prowess.
You can’t skip visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa – the miraculous building that survived without tipping over all these decades.
Other than that, you can go to the eerie ancient ruins left from the city of Pompeii, near Naples, which was buried under a sudden lava eruption from Mount Vesuvius. An entire city from the Roman empire, preserved in its most raw form, can be viewed by visitors in an up-close and personal setting.
And guess what? Venice isn’t just about romantic boat rides – the magnificent Palazzo Ducale is also one of the reasons to travel to northern Italy.
It used to be the Doge’s Palace and public offices and houses ghostly dungeons for prisoners. You can observe a combination of Byzantine, Gothic, and Renaissance architectural styles here.
The wealth of history in Italy is so much that it ranks in the top five on the list of most UNESCO World Heritage Sites. For many, this fact alone becomes one of the reasons to travel to Italy.
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Italy is arguably the best place in the world for artists and architects to observe some awe-inspiring sights. These buildings were developed through different ruling dynasties and are proof of those era’s talented architects and artists. The number of Italian landmarks is just dizzying. Every way you look is a historic site, building, or monument.
For example, it’s home to the largest Roman Catholic Church and perhaps the most beautiful church in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Its intricately carved walls have several popes buried within them and the invaluable Pieta – a Renaissance sculpture by Michelangelo.
Nothing describes this place better than Dan Brown’s bestselling novel Angels and Demons, which revolves around its artworks and their historical significance. More of Michelangelo’s unmatched art is in the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. This dizzying yet gorgeous ceiling is covered in paintings by the famous artist Michelangelo – a sight you don’t want to miss.
Yet another architectural wonder is the Duomo Siena. Once you’ve recovered from staring at its beautiful outer walls, you’ll notice that this Roman-Goth Church has the most stunning mosaicked pavement. It also holds some treasured sculptures by Donatello and Michaelangelo.
And if you haven’t had enough of the architectural wonders outside the many beautiful Italian buildings, wait until you step inside. Italy is home to some of the most popular, awe-inspiring art museums in the world.
If you want to see some of the most iconic pieces of art from the Renaissance period, visit the Uffizi Gallery in Florence to see classics from Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Galileo. Do you see? Italy is so rich in art and architecture that you’ll satisfy your lust for Italian art for years to come.
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It’s obvious that Italy has some of the most historic cities in the entire world. But, we need to take a moment to appreciate the hustle and bustle of their major cities and what makes them so incredible. The largest cities in Italy include Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice, Naples, Genoa, and Palermo.
Each of these cities offers different cultures and much to do beyond the other reasons. You can experience some incredible nightlife, music, and boutique shopping that will make your traditional trip an unparalleled holiday unlike anything else in the world.
Few people realize that Italy is a relatively young country, especially for Europe, that first truly took shape in 1861. Yes, the history here goes back centuries. Still, the modern era has recently started to take shape, resulting in vast potential for future growth, particularly in its key regional capital cities.
The country isn’t all about buildings and monuments, though. Its natural beauty is one of the major reasons Italy is great to visit.
For instance, consider the Dolomites in Northern Italy, yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site. These majestic mountains with eighteen glorious peaks provide countless hiking, biking, and skiing opportunities unlike any other.
There are an insane amount of top hikes in the Dolomites that you need to try if you’re an avid hiker. The luxurious world-class resorts around these towering peaks are the cherry on top.
But if you’re not much of a mountaineer, the lush and colorful Umbra forest in Gargano will do you good. In autumn, the foliage here turns bright orange, and the hundred-year-old oak trees are sought-after by tourists.
Another surprise is the Cansiglio Forest in north Italy, where beech trees and the native flora and fauna fascinate people. The nature trip doesn’t end here, though. You’ll want to visit the breathtaking sunflower fields around Tuscany between June and July.
And for some very Instagramable photos, there’s a small village near Umbria called Castellucio, where blood-red poppies flourish in summer.
I could go on and on about this country’s rolling hills and mountains – the list of touring spots is endless. But for a soulful trip, staying in a farmhouse near the villages in Tuscany and witnessing beautiful sunsets and sunrises is a good starting point.
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If you think Italy doesn’t offer exotic beaches, you probably haven’t visited the island of Sardinia yet. The beaches here are nothing short of spectacular, for instance, the Spiaggia Della Pelosa, where the sand is pure white and the water a glimmering turquoise.
The Amalfi Coast is incredibly famous for its charming towns, idyllic Italian culture, and great food. It’s known for the incredible azure blue sea, which makes it a popular destination for couples and romantic trips.
But if you’re looking for something more quiet and peaceful, head over to the island of Capri near the Amalfi Coast. Several beaches here have secluded sea caves with brilliant blue water – perfect places to have a romantic swim with your partner.
You may even come across a celebrity or two on Capri beaches with more exotic resorts. And the lakes are another reason you should travel to Italy. You will love the calm, crystal-clear waters surrounded by colorful harbors and lush hills.
Since Italy has the longest coastline in Europe, the beaches differ immensely depending on the region you plan to visit. The Italian Riviera is known for lush beaches, whereas the Amalfi Coast can feature more rocky beach coastlines.
The Big 3 Italian Lakes in Northern Italy
One of my favorite reasons to visit Italy is to explore the “Big 3” of glacial lakes in the mountainous terrain in Northern Italy, which include Lake Como, Lake Garda, and Lake Maggiore.
Lake Garda of Northern Italy, in particular, is a famous tourist attraction, being Italy’s largest lake (370 square kilometers!). Surrounded by the Dolomites and quaint, charming towns, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a bad angle here.
But the best and truly bellissimo lake is Lake Como, near Lombardy, as the surrounding hills, mountains, and colorful villages offer some great views. I suggest having lunch at the hilltop restaurants overlooking Lake Como – a meal you’ll never forget. Lake Como is the most popular lake to visit in Italy given its close proximity to Milan and incredible holiday villas.
Finally, Lake Maggiore features several islands directly on the lake worth exploring in the historical architecture and the beautiful natural scenery that’s hard to believe is real.
Here, you’ll also find charming villas and bed and breakfasts to stay at to enjoy this. Believe us; you’ll be returning home beautifully tanned, and you don’t even need to visit the coast to do so.
Food to Die For
All that roaming and trekking calls for some delicious meals, and what’s a better place than Italy for that? A country so rich in culture and history is bound to have some exceptional food. Hence, mouth-watering dishes are another one of the reasons to visit Italy.
Forget deciding between Chicago or New York pizza – the real stuff is here in Italy. Being the mother of all pizzas, a classic margherita pizza in Naples is the best pizza you’ll ever have. If you plan to visit Naples, visit the oldest pizzeria in Italy to understand why this dish is so important.
As for pasta, the carbonara, lasagne, and spaghetti bolognese you’ll have in Italy are nearly impossible to find in other countries – it’s that good.
And I am not kidding when I say that. The American and other versions of these dishes are great, but Italy’s authentic flavors are simply unbeatable. It’s no wonder why Italians get annoyed when they see the rest of the world butchering their recipes!
But Italian cuisine is not all cheese and chunks. You can enjoy a hearty soup called Ribollita or some healthy, Neapolitan-style mussels by the seaside. Fried calamari on Italian beaches, though, is something you should definitely try on your cheat day.
For dessert, don’t forget to indulge in Italian delicacies like tiramisu or panne cotto. Indeed, a meal like this on a quiet outdoor table with a magnificent view is the Italian dream.
One thing few people appreciate until they truly visit Italy is the vast differences in Italian food depending on the region. Along the coast, you’ll find some of the best seafood in Europe, and if you think you’ll get traditional-looking pizza in Sicily, think again. It’s a whole different style.
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Ah, wine. Why wouldn’t a country with such romantic landscapes have great wine? Yet another one of the countless reasons to visit Italy is its fantastic wine-tasting tours. The country is well-known for Chianti, a red blend of 80% Sangiovese grapes made in Tuscany of Central Italy.
So whenever you’re touring the region’s hilltops and medieval churches, don’t forget to drop by a winery to taste it. I suggest Rocca Delle Macie for an exquisite Chianti tasting experience.
Another DOCG-labeled and much-celebrated red wine, Sagrantino di Montefalco, can be tasted in Bevagna and Montefalco’s wineries. The luxurious, earthy, and tannic flavor of this wine is one of its kind and is a must-try on a wine-tasting excursion.
Italian wine is so special and so amazing while you are there. Even a good house wine is better than what you can get at home, and it’s cheaper than water! This alone is one of my favorite reasons to visit Italy. I ended up saving a ton of money from the Italian wines.
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Rome, Florence, Venice – nothing compares to these cities’ exquisite beauty and flair. These cities alone are a reason to visit Italy. But Italy’s charming little towns and villages, often clinging to steep terraces overlooking the waters, have an allure of their own.
A great example of this is the Cinque Terre in Liguria. These are five tiny villages on the Italian Riviera coastline, with bright-colored houses and buildings overlooking the sea.
Since these villages sprawl down the hills, there are many hiking trails here, and the reward of reaching the top is a splendid view of the buildings and sea below.
On the other hand, the towns on the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast are one of the reasons to travel to southern Italy. The thrilling ride through this route will give you a sweeping view of the pastel-colored houses and beaches below.
And as if this wasn’t enough, Italy has an abundance of lakeside villages that are equally picturesque and charming. Lake Como, Sirmione, Varenna, and Bellagio are a few out of hundreds.
Choosing to stay in any of these beautiful towns will be a romantic getaway unlike any other – no wonder Italy is bustling with tourists on Valentine’s Day.
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If you’re making a list of reasons to visit Italy, don’t forget to add opera there. I suggest dipping your toes in opera by visiting this art’s birth country. The experience is exciting, but watching the performance in one of Italy’s majestic opera houses becomes surreal.
This country was home to the very founders of opera – Verdi and Peri are some of the many prominent names. Hence, some spectacular venues are here, such as the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, the oldest opera house in Europe.
Also, Teatro Alla Scala in Milan is arguably the most famous opera house in Italy, with a lavish interior and a museum worth exploring. I bet you’ll fall in love with this art as you witness the wonderful music and vocal artistry at these venues.
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Unique Festivals and Celebrations
If you love a good party or celebration of life, you won’t need to consider other reasons to visit Italy. You’ll find historic traditions that go back centuries, such as Calcio Storica or Calcio Fiorentino, a football match played in the town square of Piazza Sante Croce in Florence.
Or, attend Palio in Siena, a historic horserace in the middle of the city’s main square at the foot of the Siena town hall. Then, you have the world-renowned celebration of life in Venice, Venetian Carnival, where you’ll find intricately designed masks designed specifically for the carnival.
Beyond this, Italy takes Fat Tuesday (Martedi Grassi in Italian) and Easter seriously, featuring day-long festivals in the main city centers. If you love a good celebration, you may want to center your travel plans around these dates.
When is the Best Time to Visit Italy?
Summer has long been the most popular holiday destination in Italy, but it’s been hectic and sometimes sizzling. Autumn is a great time to visit because there are fewer people and no competition for airfare and hotels (generally speaking).
This incredible country is a beautiful place to visit any time of the year. It depends on where you plan to go; the weather can vary greatly depending on the region. If you want to avoid crowds of tourists, stick to the off-peak seasons to visit, such as winter, early spring, or late autumn.
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Final Thoughts: Go Visit Italy!
Without a doubt, Italy ticks all the boxes if what you need is a soul-fulfilling trip. Italian culture is truly amazing and has something for everyone from the beautiful natural scenery to the incredible pieces made for art lovers to the variety of Italian islands. There’s a reason why Italy is one of the most visited countries in the world.
It’s a plethora of scenic sights as well as man-made wonders, and the sheer beauty of it all is going to leave you amazed. Venice, Rome, Milan, and Florence are some places you should beeline for, but don’t forget the offbeat destinations.
These tiny little towns, tucked into cliffs and lakesides, are great places to see in Italy and worth every penny and second. So, are you still skeptical about why Italy is a great place to visit? If not, go ahead and start booking your visit.
What is the best month to visit Italy?
Early Spring months of February to April and Autumn of September to November constitute the shoulder season, and it is certainly still a pleasant time for visiting Italy. If you visit just before the busy summer, you’ll experience good weather, fewer crowds, and better pricing on accommodation.
What is so special about Italy?
Italy is known for its Renaissance art, incredible food, architecture, and history. Italy is famous for its tourism, towns, and enchanting landscapes. Beyond this, the culture in Italy is incredibly unique, being recognized for its language, opera, and luxury brands.
Why should someone visit Italy?
There’s an infinite number of reasons to visit Italy. Some of our favorites are the amazing cities, historic buildings, and breathtaking landscapes. All of these can be found in just one major city in Italy. This makes Italy an obvious pick for bucket list travelers around the world.
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.