Travel Spotlight

The Best Things About Italy: Why We Love This Country

Unparalleled in its splendor, Italy is simply magical. From the centuries-old vineyards of Tuscany to the enchanting waterways of Venice and the cobblestoned streets of Florence, the country's charms are no secret. As Giuseppe Verdi once said, "You may have the universe if I may have Italy."

Here, we celebrate the beauty and allure of one of the world's most sought-after destinations, which truly has it all: sensational food and wine, great shopping, rich history and an unmistakable, soulful culture. Read on for ten best things about Italy that make it a perfect place to visit now, including our favorite hotels and experiences, plus Indagare staffers' fondest memories from their own Italy trips.

Contact Indagare for assistance planning Italy travel. Our specialists can plan a customized journey, complete with great hotels, restaurants and behind-the-scenes access.

1. Italy has more than a dozen iconic destinations...

Read Indagare's Italy travel reports on FlorenceRomeVeniceTuscanyMilanAmalfi CoastCapriLake ComoLake GardaDolomitesPortofinoPugliaSicilySardiniaForte dei Marmi and the Aeolian Islands.

Staff Quotable: "Italy is an incredibly diverse country. Last year I visited four times and, because I visited different regions, each trip was unique and unforgettable." ~Rose Allen, Bookings Manager (See Rose's slideshows: Italian Getaway: Puglia and A Florentine Holiday)

2. ... Yet there are always new places to explore.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"]Italian outdoor food market and oceanside road Courtesy Grand Hotel Timeo[/caption]

While Italy is home to some of the world's most touristed destinations, the country remains remarkably authentic and boasts many low-key, undiscovered gems. Our favorite off-the-beaten path getaways? Puglia, Sicily and the Aeolian Islands.

Staff Quotable: "Italy is full of surprises. I was blown away by the peaceful, picturesque setting of Lake Garda and love contrasting it with exploring the storied canals of Venice." ~Laura Fishman, Membership Manager

3. It's one of the most photogenic places on the planet...

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"]Castiglion del Bosco pool and nearby countryside Castiglion del Bosco[/caption]

With diverse regions–from mountains to vineyards to glittering coasts–and six major cities, dozens of islands and countless countrysides, Italy has some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. See some of our favorite staff slideshows:

Staff Quotable: "The Amalfi Coast is breathtaking. It is hard to believe it's even real." ~Sarah Levine

, Bookings Coordinator

4. ... And one of the most historical.

Between the country's myriad archeological wonders and renowned museums, there is no denying that Italy is practically synonymous with rich history. Indagare-vetted guides bring these historical sites to life.

Staff Quotable: "When I visited Fano, an ancient walled city in the Marche region from where my ancestors hail, I felt Italy become a part of my own history. The country is not only in my genes, but also in my soul." ~Gina Paoloni, President

5. Italy has some of the world's most sumptuous hotels.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"]Tiled stairway at Villa D'Este and outdoor dining table Courtesy Villa D'Este, Cipriani[/caption]

From alpine lodges to restored palazzos, here are some of our favorite places to stay in Italy.

Belmond Hotel Cipriani, Venice Venice's iconic resort-like hotel offers sprawling grounds and five-star amenities on the island of Guidecca, a five-minute boat ride from San Marco. Read more.

Villa d’Este, Lake Como The first summer home built on the shores of Lake Como in the 16th-century, Villa d’Este is one of the most indulgent waterfront destinations in all of Europe. Read more.

Related: Indagare Matchmaker: Italian Beach Destinations

Rosewood Castiglion Del Bosco, Tuscany This Ferragamo family–owned hideaway close to Montalcino has a golf course, stables and impeccable amenities. Read more.

Rosa Alpina, Dolomites Owned and run for three generations by the Pizzinini family, Rosa Alpina is one of those wonderful European hideaways where tasteful design, fantastic cuisine and heartfelt hospitality come together to create an extraordinary place. Read more.

Related: Trending: The Italian Lakes

Hotel de Russie, Rome Located just off the Piazza de Popolo and near the Spanish steps, the Hotel de Russie provides a tranquil oasis from the hustle of the city with large guest rooms, a gym, spa and an elegant restaurant overlooking the back garden. Read more.

J.K. Place Capri Perched on a cliffside between the harbor and Capri Town, JK Place has sweeping views and just 22 beautifully appointed rooms. Read more.

Related: Amalfi 101

Villa Feltrinelli, Lake Garda Built in 1892 for a wealthy Italian family, the waterfront Villa Feltrinelli was transformed into a heavenly, 21-room hotel in 2001, and has since become one of Italy’s premiere five-star properties. Read more.

Le Sirenuse, Amalfi Coast The iconic 62-room Sirenuse is built into the steep hillside of Positano and exudes an uncanny mix of serenity and elegance in the midst of the town’s sometimes overrun and overheated streets. Read more.

Monastero Santa Rosa, Amalfi Coast This small luxury hotel, housed in a former convent right on the coast, has only 20 rooms and is still a bit of a secret address. Read more.

Staff Quotable: "Suspended between sky and sea, Monastero Santa Rosa's infinity pool hangs on a cliff over the coastline and feels at once dramatic and yet utterly zen." ~Marley Lynch, Travel Specialist

6. There is a great restaurant on every corner.

Italian cuisine is renowned as one of the world's finest. See Indagare's Top Tables for such Italy travel destinations as:

Staff Quotable:"The dish that stands out most memorably from all my trips to Italy is a simple one: fresh Italian tomatoes and mozzarella, eaten poolside at Belmond Hotel Caruso on the Amalfi Coast." 

~Emma Pierce, Content Editor

7. The shopping is top-notch.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"]Interior of 10 Corso Como in Milan 10 Corso Como, Milan[/caption]

From the designer shops of Milan to the charming boutiques of Capri, Italy offers some of the best (and most fun) shopping worldwide.

Staff Quotable: "While Italian fashion houses like Prada and Fendi define international style, Italy's street markets are troves for local, handmade treasures, where artisans sell wares ranging from beautiful leather sandals and breezy dresses to kaleidoscopic Murano glass figurines and embroidered linens." ~Kira Reinke, Content Coordinator

Read More: Favorite Finds: Florence

8. Indagare can provide experiences that make the trip.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"]Woman and male chef making ravioli; Venice canal Castiglion Del Bosco, Venice[/caption]

Whether you want to schedule a private gelato-making course, partake in a winery's harvest and first crush, go boar or truffle hunting or just find the perfect villa for an extended multigenerational trip, we have the expertise and contacts to steer you to the special experiences that will make you feel the thrill of discovery. Indagare can arrange yacht charters, immersive language courses, family-friendly activities (such as scavenger hunts and gladiator school) and private villa rentals.

Staff Quotable: "Italy's laid-back lifestyle, storied history, stunning landscapes, and world class food and wine make it an ideal destination for any traveler...I could never get tired of traveling there." ~Kelly Brennan, Travel Specialist (See Kelly's slideshow: An Italian Adventure)

Contact Indagare for assistance planning Italy travel. Our specialists can plan a customized journey, complete with great hotels, restaurants and behind-the-scenes access.

9. Collectively, Indagare staffers have visited Italy well over 100 times.

There is one thing we can all agree on: Italy is a true home run of a destination. It offers some of the world's best in food, wine, style and beyond–which is why we can't get enough.

"In 2009, my daughter and I traveled to Venice and spent five days walking, learning, mixing the touristy with the out-of-the-way finds, getting lost and having fun. Okay, maybe it’s the backdrop of palazzos and gondolas, or the laid-back tempo of life on the water but it was truly a magical trip with lots of history and pizza." ~Indagare Founder Melissa Biggs Bradley

"We dream about Italy as children, imagining the floating palaces of Venice; the storybook villages of Tuscany; and the dizzying history of Rome, where gladiators, gods and goddesses once walked. And I find this childlike wonderment endures; no matter how many times we visit, Italy always feels like a fairytale." ~Blair West, Associate Editor

"Even on the grayest day, when I think of the sunflower fields in Tuscany, I smile." ~Hannah Small, Travel Specialist

"When in Italy, I feel a spring in my step. Everyone has a zest for life that is contagious, colorful and delicious. I have pasta for every meal and I never regret it." ~Missy Weil, Travel Specialist (See Missy's slideshow: La Dolce Vita: Amalfi and Capri)

10. Indagare has a vast network of Italy-based insiders.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"]Elizabeth Minchilli, Fabio Salini,and Katie Parla From left: Elizabeth Minchilli, Fabio Salini, Katie Parla[/caption]

Read Indagare's Q&A's with several Italy experts and tastemakers.

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