by Tyler Hilbert
When we think of Italy, we think of so many things; spaghetti, pizza, leather, the accents and ancient monuments. Italy is filled with beauty and is definitely a bucket list destination. If you are looking for somewhere to visit during the summer, then Italy is the place to go. Italy is exquisite and unlike any other place you could go, each region is like a different country. From the mountains to the valleys there is a distinct dialect and air of the people in those regions that makes them unique.
Venice, Italy is an epicenter for art and culture as well as its architectural scenic beauties. Several international events are held there including the International Architecture Exhibition, the International Festival of Contemporary Dance, International Festival of Contemporary Music, the International Theatre Festival, and the Venice Film Festival. Popular attractions in Venice include the Grand Canal, St Mark’s Basilica and the Piazzo San Marco. The Grand Canal in particular is highly romanticized. Besides being one of the most romantic cities on earth it is one of the most perfect destinations for honeymooners. Tourism has been the major sector of Venetian industry since the 18th century. If you are looking to go to Venice, then central Venice is where you want to stay; it is most convenient for visitors and can help you make the most of your time. Staying in the San Marco area can be beneficial to saving time and sight-seeing, but is also a large tourist area, so it may be noisy and crowded.
Another must see attraction of Italy is without a doubt the capital, eternal city of Rome. Rome is one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe. Roman history spans more than 2,500 years while Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at only around 753 BC. Attractions to visit here are the Castel Sant’Angelo, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Ponte Sant’Angelo, St. Peter’s Basilica and Trevi Fountain.
The Colosseum in particular is a must see sight for any visitors. Built in 70-80 AD, the Colosseum has been a testament to human ingenuity and entertainment. The estimated number of people it could hold in its prime was around 50,000 and 80,000 spectators. The Colosseum was used for a multitude of purposes such as; gladiatorial contests, mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles and dramas based on classical mythology. To get a more authentic feel of Rome, and to be more centrally located, it is recommended you stay at the Jewish Ghetto in Rome. It not only has a wonderful atmosphere and history, but is also fairly affordable and has great dining. This area is also good if you prefer to get away from large crowds.
Some activities to do while you are in Italy include; taking a ride in a gondola, touring the holy Vatican city, or visiting some of Italy’s amusement parks. The Vatican city has long been held as one of the religious center points of the world. From the Catholic Church to the Pope, this amazing city is a religious stronghold that gives meaning and hope to those who worship there. Even for those not of the Christian faith, this famed city still holds immense power and respect, it is a wonder to behold. Italy has many amusement parks and rides to enjoy as well. For those with kids or those wanting a nice break from historic sights, Italian amusement parks offer a fun and thrilling rush.
Mirabilandia, one of Europe’s most famous amusement parks, includes a variety of land based attractions as well as a 25-acre water park. The Eurowheel located there is the second largest Ferris wheel in Europe reaching 300 feet. These attractions and more offer visitors a new and exciting experience. With so many things to see and do, it is guaranteed that travelers will not be bored.
When thinking of Italian food, most people imagine Olive Garden, Ginos or Chef Boyardee. Compared to true, authentic Italian cuisine though, it falls somewhat short. Common popular Italian dishes include; pasta, pizza, risotto, minestrone and zuppa di cozze. Some of Italy’s famous desserts include Italian gelato and tiramisu which is coffee soaked sponge cake and mascarpone cheese.
“My favorite part of Italy that I visited was Venice. It was magical. I felt so at peace with the water that surrounded the city; I loved the architecture and riding in a gondola. I really loved the food. The best pizza I ever had was in Venice, and my favorite dessert was the gelato in Florence. Rome was amazing and breathtaking, but it was hotter than anything I’ve ever experienced, hotter than a sauna, Disneyworld or a desert. It was an amazing experience for me personally knowing that I came from Italian descent.
It was incredible to know that my family lived in such a beautiful place. I loved knowing that they lived there and then I was there, and everywhere I went, I felt a connection to. Europe as a whole is so completely different than the U.S.; everywhere you look is different. I made so many memories with such a different atmosphere, and everyone was so friendly and kind. Being in Europe felt so historical. You just knew everywhere you walked held so much history,” said Jeana Mahan.
“My favorite part of Italy was Venice; we didn’t have much time there, so I wish we could’ve been there longer. It was one of those places you always see pictures of and dream about visiting but once you’re there, it’s so much better than what you could imagine. Out of the food we ate, I liked the pizza the most, I love pasta and stuff like that so everything we had was just so good. I love to travel, and I’ve been to Mexico and some other places, but that was my first time traveling that far away from the country so it really meant a lot to me getting to travel that far away. I loved getting to see everything and all the history that each place held,” said Kristen Dewees.
Overall Italy is an amazingly beautiful country to visit. From Rome to Florence, the history and beauty of the sites you will see is an incredible experience. Not only are the people of this country kind, caring and welcoming, but they have a lifestyle and culture that cannot be found anywhere else. They hold a rich and intriguing past that continues to intrigue and fascinate the people of the world. The cuisine and meals you will find there are unique and delicious.
From the Pantheon to the Venice Film Festival, each area has the potential to change the way you look at life. Whether it be living life to the fullest or deciding to travel more, each region has a spirit about them people are naturally drawn to. Italy has many remarkable feats of human development; everyone should have the opportunity to see these breathtaking features for themselves. So if the means are available, I highly encourage you to visit this amazing country, you won’t regret it. Everything you experience there, be it sight-seeing, romantic gondola rides, or tasting Italian delicacies will the experience of a lifetime.