After more than ten years of creating a magazine about Italy we thought we’d ask you what you think are the ten best things about Italy. Here’s what you said…
The Eternal City… It’s not surprising that, of all places in Italy, Rome is the most visited. As long as you can avoid the traffic, which is usually beyond horrendous, Italy’s capital will delight time and again. Readers advise visiting in late autumn or early spring – fewer tourists and milder weather.
What we love – as do our readers – is not just the fact that Italy is, for the most part, warm and sunny, but the light. Visit Tuscany in late September and there’s a vibrancy to the light that has inspired so many artists and photographers.
If you love Italian food then you have to love the markets. Visit the indoor markets in Florence for the aromas alone! And the same goes for the famous fish market in Venice. But across the country the quality – and cost! – of the local produce is a foodie delight. And the atmosphere is, of course, unique.
According to many of our readers, their favourite aspect of Italy is its islands. And if you’ve ever been to Sicily, Sardinia, or any of the smaller off-shore landmasses, it’s hard to argue. There’s a different feel to each one. Different cultures and different paces of life. All are worth exploring. See some lesser-known gems here.
In the first issue of Italia! in 2004 we visited Florence, one of the most achingly fashionable cities in the world. We were in awe of just how well-dressed its inhabitants were. But venture away from the cities and you’ll find that Italian dress sense extends into the towns and even villages as well. Clothes shopping in Italy is a way of life.
It kind of goes without saying… But whether it’s a thrown-together pasta dish, a simple pizza or a visit to Combal.Zero in Turin, the Italians know how to cook. One of our readers, when asked their favourite thing about Italy, replied: “The food, the food, the food.” Enough said, really.
The Pace of Life
Get up on a Saturday morning, wander into your local town and sample a very different way of being. A different headspace… Even in the major cities, life in Italy is slower than elsewhere. More chilled. More relaxed. More enjoyable. Sit, sup a coffee and watch the world go by – it beats a trip to the supermarket.
We all know that the Italians are friendly – the friendliest, possibly. But the overwhelming aspect of Italian life that you, our readers, enjoyed were its people. No matter where you visited, the Italians were happy to chat, help, advise (often at length) and give directions (equally so, though with more gesticulation).
Well, it goes with the food. Indeed, wine in Italy is an essential element of pretty well any meal after midday. And with well over 100 grape varieties utilised across the peninsula, there’s a great many wines to choose from and to sample. What’s your favourite?
It’s five in the evening and it’s time to take a stroll… An amble through the village or an exploration of a city backwater. And when in Italy you just have to have a gelato in your hand. It’s a given… An ice-cream in the late afternoon sun is as much a part of Italian life as a coffee in the morning.
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