When you hear the word ‘Italy’, what do you think? For me it’s the usual: pasta, pizza, gondolas, The Talented Mr Ripley (one of the most beautifully set movies, in my opinion), George Clooney. It’s a country I’ve never been to but am desperate to visit.
Which why I’ve decided enough is enough. I want to go to Italy and here are 8 top reasons why you all do the same…
1. The food
Of course, the food! Some of my all-time favourite foods hail from the boot-shaped country. Scamorza, Burrata (cheese is my spirit animal), Cotechino sausage, pizza (obvs), carbonara, lasagne, foccacia, gelato. I can’t get enough, and if you ever need another reason to visit Italy, may I suggest watching Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan in The Trip to Italy and using the show to compile a list of places to eat at. Do this and you’ll literally never go hungry.
2. The accommodation
If Italy knows how to do one thing (aside from food) well, it’s the accommodation. I mean, would you please just check out these Tuscan Coast Villas? HEAVEN ON EARTH. I am seriously struggling to pick here between Villa di Montesoli and Villa dei Giardini… sod it, I’ll take them all. If it’s got ‘Villa’ in it’s name, I want it. Stunning, the lot of them.
3. The scenery
As gorgeous as our fair isle is it doesn’t touch the sides in comparison to Italy. I mean, their coastal towns take some hard beating, and their countryside isn’t much of a slouch either. Come to think of it, their cities are some of the most gorgeous in the world (Rome? Florence? Venice? Milan? Every bit as beautiful as we’ve been told).
4. The shopping
Mention Italian design to anyone and even the lesser fashion-forward of us and more than likely you’ll get a positive response. From Gianvito Rossi (the BEST shoes) to Emilio Pucci, Donatella Versace and Miuccia Prada… the Italians know how to do style.
5. The culture
Did you know that Italy is not just a hotbed of Italian culture (head to Venice, Rome or Florence for top art and music) but British, too? There’s a museum in Rome called the Keats-Shelley Memorial house, a place where the English poet John Keats retreated in 1820 while dying of tuberculosis. His doctors hoped the warmer climate might improve his health, so he brought the artist Joseph Severn with him as a nurse and aide.
He died four months later aged twenty-five (he’s buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome), and in accordance with health laws of 19th Century Rome the walls were scraped and contents burned, accordance with the health laws of 19th century. But the two-room apartment remains as a tribute to his memory and now houses one of the world’s most extensive collections of memorabilia, letters, manuscripts, and paintings relating to Keats and Shelley, as well as Byron, Wordsworth, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Oscar Wilde, and others.
6. The wine
I’ll hold my hands up here and say something shocking: I really don’t like Pinot Grigio. I know, I know… perhaps I just haven’t had a good one, but to me it just tastes like hangovers and headaches.
But what I do like very much indeed is other types of Italian wine with the red ones a definite favourite, it has to be said. I could quite literally drink Montepulciano d’Abruzzo all day (though probably shouldn’t) – a medium-bodied and flavourful wine wine made from the Montepulciano grape in the Abruzzo region. It’s absolutely delicious, and though this is probably blasphemy to say I reckon nothing pairs better with a good British stilton.
And go on then, if you’re offering I’ll take a lovely chilled glass of Gavi di Gavi, please: a dry, medium-bodied wine from Cortese grapes in the Gavi area. Absolutely delicious.
7. The encouragement
If you’re still unsure whether or not you should visit Italy, just take a look at all the famed people from history who are actively encouraging us all to hop on Easyjet’s next flight to Genoa:
“What is the fatal charm of Italy? What do we find there that can be found nowhere else? I believe it is a certain permission to be human, which other places, other countries, lost long ago.” – Erica Jong, American novelist.
“Move to Italy. I mean it: they know about living in debt; they don’t care. I stayed out there for five months while I was making a film called ‘Order Of Death,’ and they’ve really got it sussed. Nice cars. Sharp suits. Great food. Stroll into work at 10. Lunch from 12 till three. Leave work at five. That’s living!” – John Lydon, English lead singer of The Sex Pistols.
“And that is … how they are. So terribly physically all over one another. They pour themselves one over the other like so much melted butter over parsnips. They catch each other under the chin, with a tender caress of the hand, and they smile with sunny melting tenderness into each other’s face.” – D.H. Lawrence, English novelist.
“I think people in Italy live their lives better than we do. It’s an older country, and they’ve learned to celebrate dinner and lunch, whereas we sort of eat as quickly as we can to get through it.” – George Clooney, American actor.
I mean, if George Clooney says we should be in Italy (it’s where he chose to marry, after all), I’d like to think we should all be in Italy…
8. The expense
Speaking of Easyjet, it’s very budget-friendly to travel to Italy these days. Flights start at around £60/return, so what are you waiting for?!