After multiple years of travelling around the globe and living in various places, I find myself being asked the same question again and again: “What is your favourite country in the world?” This is an impossible question. It’s like asking someone which room of their house they like to spend most time in. I like the bedroom whilst sleeping, the bathroom whilst showering, and the kitchen when I’m hungry. Equally, I love the diversity of Europe, the madness and beaches of Asia, the rugged nature of North America, the animals of Australasia, and the absolutely wild, wonderfulness of Africa. There is no magic answer.
And when you talk of a country, you are not talking about one place, you are talking of a huge land mass – some less huge than others – that encompasses a vast range of countrysides, urban settlements, foods, cultures, and very importantly, people, to name but a few aspects. I could spend a lifetime in any country and never even scratch the surface. Of every country in the world I have visited, I could tell you a great list of things that I love (and things that I don’t). But today I am sharing about Italy – and some of what I love about it – regardless of whether you are taking a short city break to Rome, an extended holiday on the Mediterranean, or riding powder in the mountains.
With a Mediterranean climate, Italy has hot, dry summers, and cool, wet winters. I love the heat of the summer, but just a short hop north, there are mountains filled with snow through the winter, offering some of the best skiing / snowboarding in the world. More than that, I love the sunshine and Italy has many hours of sunshine to offer. No matter what you are doing, waking up and experiencing clear blue skies is always a pleasure.
I like to eat. And I like lots of fresh flavour in my food. With its favourable growing climate, Italian cuisine boasts an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, all bursting with flavour. I could happily eat real Italian food over and over again, and they offer some of the best breads and desserts, as well as delicious mains… not to mention grapes that make Italy the largest producer of wine in the world.
Compared to my homeland of the UK, Italy is considerably cheaper. I find this particularly noticeable when eating out which can happen often when on trips away from home. ‘Importantly,’ wine is incredibly cheap!
Rome, Milan, Venice… Italian cities, like much of Europe, are well connected, and from all over Europe it is possible to hop on a plane and visit Italy, even if you only stop for the weekend. Better still is the incredibly low cost of flights, making the possibility of a city break, or even a quick trip to a pretty beach, a real possibility.
I’ve skied in Italy and I’ve swam in warm seas. I’ve sweated while free-camping and I have explored beautiful, snowy mountains in a t-shirt. Italy has lots of nature and I love it all.
I’m not a history buff and I hate tours, but ‘old stuff’ really interests me. With architecture stretching back multiple centuries and Rome being the centre of one of the largest empires (and temporarily the largest city in the world), Italian streets are some of the most exciting to explore that I have ever come across. I almost always prefer nature, but when towns look this good, they are worth a visit.
With glorious nature, great food, (relative) affordability, and being easily reachable, I see myself heading to Italy many times in the future. The flamboyance of the people and the lack of English speaking is sure to make for a fun ride, but I’m sure I’ll love it as much next time as on all my previous visits. Along with Italy, I have great lists of places I want to visit. Where to next?