Why is Italy a Top Destination?
Every country has a gem or 3. Perhaps, a mountain here, a lake there or a rock dropped in the middle of nowhere it makes no sense.
There are few countries that put together a scattering of these gems into a necklace or bracelet or crown of visitable jewels. But in all of these, only Italy has an entire howling, raging, cocktail outfit dress of diamonds being swirled gloriously around the hips of the tireless seductress of the Mediterranean.
Those of us from more peaceful countries gaze in exhaustion at the daily energy pack of food and history and geography and in-your-face exuberance that makes Italy the sun in a solar system of greying planets.
No Italian ever wants to be confused with his neighbour. Other than wearing a huge hat printed with I am different, they're left with a need to have every evidence of their lives speak of uniqueness.
If this requires a bright yellow door on their house, a pair of winkle picker shoes so long as to disrupt traffic, or a display memory overkill so overt as to cause cathedrals to quiver, so be it. My Ferrarri may not start but its colour and craftsmanship are the finest in the world.
You have one Velasquez in your pathetic national gallery? We have entire villages where each family owns at least 2 and has a cousin in Toronto who used to go drinking with the painter.
You have...you have 4 castles and a country house as the entire evidence of civilization? We have a country where the remnants of all of history fall over itself in a cascading tumble of structures from Athenian left overs of Syracusa to the madness of northern princes' bastions built to frighten off Germans, Austrians and other grunting trolls.
But beyond that, even though everything worthwhile in history has already been checked into the great Italian museums, Milan and its region designs the future of everything with a creativity, imagination and utter determination that leaves the rest of the world simply laughing and applauding.
If any other country in the world were run as badly as Italy, it would be declared a failed state or at least a management-free ecozone.
In Italy, the spontaneous chaos of each village and city is its own advertisement of the excesses of the villages to come and we have not even discussed Rome, Venice or Florence yet.
The current foodie fascination of television lets each country boast about the uniqueness of its national over boiled noodle.
In Italy, villages have been at war for a thousand years over which of the saints blessed their sausage or who among the apostles elevated their local pasta to the level of a reliquary requiring its own cathedral.
Food is life and if you're no longer the great empire you once were, you can beat everyone into a corner with the history of your salami.
Show me your Hyatts. Show me your Fairmonts or your Four Seasons. This is Italy. Here's the hotel.
Other Amazing Europe Destinations:Templars in Tomar, Portugal
“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard