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My love affair with Italy began in the early 1990’s. I think it started the moment I had my first meal at a cozy trattoria in Florence. The food was absolutely divine. Simple, fresh and cooked with a passion that was almost tangible. There are so many reasons to love Italy: its food, wines, language, architecture, design, people, history, landscapes, beaches… the list is endless. I always ensure I plan a trip back to my love every year – a trip back to Italy is always a highlight of my year!

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Camogli

Since that first trip, I’ve covered large swathes of Veneto, Lombardy, Liguria, SΓΌd Tirol, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria, Abruzzo, Sicily, Sardinia, Campania, Puglia and Basilicata by car, foot and public transport; driven along the stunning coasts of the Amalfi and the Cinque Terre; strolled through cities and towns like Rome, Milan, Venice, Verona, Naples, Florence, Siena, Assisi and Bologna; and yet, there’s so much more to see and do, so many more culinary secrets to discover and countless wines to taste!

Reasons I love Italy (in 55 photos)

Historic heritage

Italy’s history goes back thousands of years and the legacy of that long and often tempestuous history can be found throughout the country. I’m a big fan of history and art so it’s not difficult to imagine why Italy always fascinates me.

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Pompeii with Mt. Vesuvius in the background.

Read about things to see in Pompeii.

Vatican City (image courtesy of Christopher Czermak/Unsplash)
Colosseum in Rome (image courtesy of Matthew Schwartz/Unsplash)
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Basilica di San Vitale, one of eight UNESCO World Heritage sites in Ravenna.

Read about things to do in Ravenna.

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The Holy Staircase in Campli, Abruzzo

Read about the highlights of Abruzzo.

The ornate interior of the Santa Maria della Purita church in Gallipoli.

Read about things to see in Gallipoli.

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The 12th century Cathedral of Ferrara is a stunning example of Romanesque architecture.

Read about things to see in Ferrara.

Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence (image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).
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Matera in the Basilicata region is one of the oldest continuously inhabited towns in the world!

Read about things to do in Matera.

Cities and towns

From the hustle-and-bustle of cities like Rome, Milan, Naples and Bologna to extraordinary towns like Matera, San Gimignano, Assisi, Alberobello and Positano, Italy is awash with fascinating places to visit!

Trevi Fountain in Rome (courtesy of Cristina Gottardi/Unsplash).
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The Duomo in Milan.

Read about the Duomo in Milan.

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A quiet street in Bologna.

Read about things to do in Bologna.

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Bergamo

Read about things to do in Bergamo.

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Portofino, Italy.

Read about places to visit in Liguria.

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The famous trulli of Alberobello.

Read about places to visit in the Itria Valley.

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Sunset in Matera.
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Positano

Read about my visit to Positano.

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The imposing walls of the Civitella del Tronto fortress town in Abruzzo.

Read about visiting Civitella del Tronto.

Puglia is full of stunning historic towns like Ostuni, also called the ‘White City’.

Read more about the best places to visit in Puglia.

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The charming hilltop town of Brisighella in Emilia-Romagna (image courtesy of Vanni Lazzari).

Read about the best places to visit in Emilia-Romagna.



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Food & wines

Italy is heaven for foodies and wine-lovers. The diversity of dishes and wines is simply enormous and Italians are deservedly proud of their culinary heritage. Eating in Italy is always a joy for me!

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The divine Moscato di Scanzo meditation wine from the Azienda Agricola Biava vineyard.

Read about my Moscato di Scanzo wine-tasting.

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Lambrusco-tasting at Casali Viticultori.

Read about my Lambrusco experience.

Delicious antipasto.
Different varieties of cheese.
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Nothing better than a fettucine vongole at the beach with a crisp Pinot Grigio or Friulano and a gentle sea breeze to go with it!
Casoncelli in Bergamo.
Cappelletti pasta
Octopus salad in Puglia.
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Carpaccio with rucola, cheese and balsamico.
The Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese library!
A sublime marriage of two amazing food products from Modena: parmigiano-reggiano cheese and Balsamico di Modena.

Read about a food tour of Modena.

Pasticciotto in Lecce
Sgroppino
And gelato of course!

Street scenes

When I’m in Italy, one of my favourite things to do is sit at a cafΓ© with a coffee or a glass of wine and simply watch people pass by or chatting animatedly with one another.

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A lane in the old town of Bari.

Read about things to see in Bari.

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Modena

Read about how to spend a few days in Modena.

A street in Bologna.

See more photos of Bologna.

Bergamo
Shopping in Milan.

Colours

Italy is an incredibly colourful country. Wherever you go, a splash of colour is never far away.

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Colourful Camogli
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I spotted this colourful Fiat in Bologna.
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Mosaic fresco in Ravenna. The Empress with her flowing robes has inspired many artists over the centuries, amongst whom, Gustav Klimt.
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A colourful street in Bologna.
Manarola in Cinque Terre (courtesy of Rahul Chakraborly/Unsplash).

Art and Design

From its countless historic treasures to cutting-edge fast cars, Italy is simply heaven for art and design lovers!

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Stunning Ferrari design!

Read more about the Motor Valley.

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A futuristic Vespa

Read about my visit to the Vespa Museum.

Corregio’s fresco inside the dome of the Parma Cathedral in Emilia-Romagna (image courtesy of Emilia-Romagna Tourism).

 

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The stunning mosaics inside the Basilica di San Vitale.

Read about a things to do in Emilia-Romagna.

The Cathedral of Siena (courtesy of Mateus Campos/Unsplash).

Nature

With a length of more than 1,000km, boot-shaped Italy is home to a big variety of natural landscapes; from the jagged peaks of the Dolomites and the rolling hills of Tuscany to the thick forests of the Gargano Peninsula and the blindingly white beaches of Sardinia.

The mighty Dolomites in Trentino (image courtesy of Chris Henry/Unsplash).
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The view of the verdant hills and snow-capped Gran Sasso mountains in Abruzzo. Located east of Rome, these mountains boast the southernmost glacier in Europe.
The hills of Tuscany (courtesy of Engjell Gjepali/Unsplash).
Villasimius in Sardinia
Mount Etna, one of the most active volcanoes in Europe (image courtesy of Wynand van Poortvliet/Unsplash).

Yes, I have many reasons to love Italy! I always feel happy when I visit Italy. The food, wines, historic heritage and sights never fail to excite my senses. The whole country is simply one big Velvet Escape! πŸ™‚

23 Responses

  • It was great to have you here! I decided to keep the champagne bottle we opened for your birthday and transform it in a lovely candle holder. Will make me think at a wonderful night with an awesome friend!
    Ciao

  • Hi Simon,
    Thank you so much for your wonderful hospitality and the many tips and recommendations! We had a fabulous time in Milan…yes, it was too short! I can’t thank you enough for the lovely birthday dinner! πŸ™‚
    Lots of hugs and hope you’ve recovered from your cold.

    Keith πŸ™‚

  • Seeing how thrilled you are to travel to Italy and having some close friends who’ve visited this country (several times some), hearing only great stories and recommendations I have to admit that Italy is on the top list of my travel places to go to πŸ™‚ Have a lovely trip and please share the amazing places you’ll visit πŸ™‚

  • Sweet! Looking forward to following your trip. My favorite part of Italy is the Amalfi Coast, especially Positano.

  • Sounds like a great trip. My first time in Italy was in March, and I’m ready to go back! Loved Cinque Terre and Tuscany. Enjoy it- it’s certain to go by too quickly.

  • @Keith: it was so wonderful to eventually meet you in person! You’re as I had imagined you… no… better! I will never thank you enough, because if it weren’t for you I would not be joy blogging now. Enjoy every second of your Italian journey!

    @Jeremy: I can’t believe it! Well… If you’re not a great fan of Italy maybe you’re a fan of good wine. Ask Keith… My home is simple but you’re welcome any time and you’ll always find here a glass of good red or white wine and a dish of delicious Italian pasta… πŸ™‚

  • I’m thrilled that you’re coming back to Italy and have included some of the best of Tuscany in your itinerary. You’ll love staying with Gloria @casinadirosa!! The Maremma is probably my favourite area of Tuscany and Gloria my favourite person.
    If you have a day in Florence, how about letting me take you to see something special TBA – a little known fresco or something – and doing a quick interview for one of the blogs of Tuscany’s official social media team?

    PS @Jeremy B how can you NOT be a fan of Italy!! it’s a big country with so much to explore. Cinque Terre is…. well, not the best of it.

  • I’ve only visited Rome and its surrounding and a part of Sardinia, but I did fall in love with Italy the moment I stepped down from the plane on my first visit there 10 years ago. It’s an amazing country and I’d always go back there for a shorter or longer vacation. Have fun on your trip!

  • I will certainly follow this velvet trip. I too love Italy for exactly the same reasons you do. If I get the chance, I would love to live for at least a month there. Enjoy!

  • There aren’t enough words to describe how jealous I am. πŸ˜‰

    Have a fabulous time and please enjoy some pesto alla genovese in Santa Margherita on my behalf…

  • […] Returning to Italy, one of my favorite countries in the universe … […]

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