Ancient empire, cultural wonder, tourist delight
Italy is as easily to consume as a fresh slice of pizza, as complex as the finest glass of Montepulciano. With most major cities connected by a convenient, inexpensive rail system, it’s a great place for the first-time backpacker while also a dependable delight for the seasoned explorer. Italy boasts an inspiring assemblage of artistic masterpieces, which seem to spill out of every church and museum right into each city's public square. It seems that every street possesses its own claim to historical or artistic greatness, which is all the more impressive considering the swirl of life that continues to flow through them every day. With good reason, connoisseurs empasize the Italian countryside, with its lush vineyards and sun-drenched Riviera. Take away Italy’s earth-shattering art, its stately ruins, and its vibrant culture, and it’s still one of the loveliest places on the planet. Combine all of this with the inherent friendliness of the Italians, and it becomes apparent how difficult it is to have a bad time here. Watch the sunset imbue the Coliseum in Rome, or drag the shadow of a cathedral across a plaza in Sienna, and feel the collision of past and present. Then go get an espresso-flavored gelatto. The famed Italian nightlife is just getting started.