TripAdvisor recently revealed the world’s most popular tours and attractions for 2017, and Italy not only nabbed four of the top ten spots, but clinched the number one with its tour of the Vatican and St Peter’s Basilica. Here’s why you should visit the pizza-loving country this summer…
Italy is just a hop and a skip from the UK (around two hours, in fact), and packs in a huge array of stunning sights, amazing beaches and delicious food. TripAdvisor recently pulled together a list of the most popular attractions in the world based on bookings made from the start of the year, and the Vatican, the Colosseum in Rome, and a highlights of Rome tour took the top spots. Take our own Rome in a day tour and you’ll tick off all of the main sights in the Eternal City, including the Trevi Fountain and the Sistine Chapel. And, you’ll have time to chill out and enjoy a fresh Italian coffee at a street café, too.
If you’re still not convinced to choose Italy as your next holiday destination, here are seven more reasons that might just sway you…
1. Architecture that was made for Instagram
Iconic structures like the Leaning Tower of Pisa were made for selfies of the comedic variety – you won’t get bored of finding new ways to prop it up or pinch it between your fingers. And, two of the most popular selfie spots in the world, can be found in Italy too. You’ve got The Bridge of Sighs in Venice and the Faraglioni rocks in Capri, which appear on just about every blogger’s Insta-feed.
2. #Nofilter film set scenery
When you’re not snapping comedy selfies, you can fill up your Instagram feed with Italy’s colourful scenery – the awe-inspiring architecture is so pretty, you won’t need X-Pro II or Clarendon to enhance it. There’s the rainbow-coloured hilltops of the Amalfi Coast that look even better by sunset, the painted ceilings of Florence’s art galleries, and Sorrento’s Baroque and Renaissance buildings, to name a few.
3. Pasta – need we say more?
Pizza tends to hog the limelight when it comes to Italian cuisine, but the boot-shaped country is an all-round foodies’ paradise. Cured meats, mozzarella, marinated vegetables and delectable truffles are the go-to aperitivos in the bars and cafes, and they often come free when you order a drink – result. Desserts come in the form of Tiramisu, Panna Cotta and, of course, gelato. And, there are over 300 varieties of fresh, homemade pasta to try, too. You can eat your way around the country tucking into every pasta dish, and bring home some of these colourful pasta shapes as a souvenir.
4. Beaches, please
Italy’s food and famous landmark associations put beaches slightly in the shade. We bet you didn’t know that the country boasts some amazing sandy stretches too, though. Sicily has several of its own, including a white-sand cove backed by turquoise waters in Cefalu, and secluded sand and pebble beaches in Naxos. Stay at the Naxos Beach Resort and you’ve have easy access to the beach here, plus an Olympic-sized pool. You can thank us later.
5. World Heritage Sites a-plenty
Italy officially has the most World Heritage Sites, pipping China to the post. The big 51 are spread across the mainland, Sicily, and Sardinia – it’s no wonder that the country is known as ‘a living museum’. Not only can you tick off loads of well-known landmarks on the list, there are soaring volcanoes to explore, unique settlements like Venice and ruins like Pompeii which all get a big UNESCO-approved tick, too.
6. Wine time
Nothing goes better with a freshly-made pizza or pasta dish than a crisp glass of wine. Not only is Italy filled to the brim with famous wineries, the delectable tipples are budget-friendly too. So you can enjoy plenty of Prosecco, carafes of Chianti or a crisp glass of Campania wine to toast your dinner without breaking the bank. Best of all, a glass of vino pairs well with these pretty amazing views too…
7. Celeb-spotting opps
Italy tends to attract A-listers and members of the Hollywood squad, so don’t be surprised if you end up rubbing shoulders with a celeb or two when you’re out and about. George Clooney, Leo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt all have homes there, and Reese Witherspoon, Kim Kardashian and Beyonce have all been spotted enjoying a holiday on the Amalfi Coast. If you’re in Rome, hang out at the Vatican to see Italy’s most famous resident, the Pope, waving from his balcony. He pops his head out every Sunday at 12 noon to greet the crowds gathering in St. Peter’s Square.