Why Italy?

Nov 10th, 2007, 02:19 PM
  #1  
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Why Italy?

People have asked why we keep returning to Italy:

There are many reasons why we love going to Europe (and Italy in particular). As a 20 year old college student in 1972, I was able to spend 10 weeks in Europe (mostly England, with visits to Scotland, France, Switzerland, and Austria). This was a very meaningful experience for me, mostly because of the independence fostered by being far away from home.

Life happened, and we did not visit Europe again until 2004, when my daughter was studying in Rome. She had a fabulous experience, and we enjoyed having her as a tour guide when we visited. (by the way, I highly recommend a semester abroad for college students who are interested in such an adventure. I advise young people that if they don’t go abroad while in college, they might not get another chance for a long time). In late 2005 we spent 10 days in Florence with day trips to Siena and Fiesole. In March, 2008 we will be returning to Italy, spending the first part of the trip in Palestrina (just outside of Rome) and the rest in Sorrento, before returning to Rome for one night before our flight back to the US.

When we travel, we like to get to know an area/country really well. When our kids were young, we went to New Hampshire for 6 years in a row, followed by Cape Cod for the next 10. I guess you could say we found it comforting and relaxing to visit familiar locations year after year.

In our current life stage, we are free to take vacations outside the normal school vacation schedule. Europe appeals to us because it is so different from the US. Beyond the obvious art and architecture, it is also interesting to learn about another culture, including economic and sociological aspects. The US does not have a monopoly on the best way of doing things! That said, it is always nice to return home after a trip abroad. In addition, we don’t like to travel to Europe unless I can get two weeks off from work. March is the only month when I can take such a vacation, so we like to go places where the weather is pleasant at that time of year.

Why Italy? - Vacations are always nice, but when you still feel that pleasant afterglow a couple of years later, you know the trip was special. Italy feels exotic yet safe – I perceive a lower terrorist threat compared to other locales; Italian cities generally have lower levels of violent street crime than American cities of similar size; and you tend not to see rowdy public drunkenness in Italy (although I hear that violent crime has increased over the last year, allegedly due to the influx of Romanian immigrants).

The people in Italy are generally friendly, outgoing, and emotionally expressive. My wife has Italian ancestors, so she fits right in! Many Italians seem to wear their emotions on their sleeves, which is an interesting contrast to the New Englanders that we live with.

Of course, the food and wine are outstanding. We have rarely been disappointed with restaurants, especially when we go off the beaten path.

Our tour guide for the Forum and Colosseum (Lyvia – namesake of a Roman emperor’s wife) spoke repeatedly of the many “levels of Rome” – i.e. “We have the imperial level, the medieval level, etc.” It was not until later that I grasped the significance of Lyvia using the personal pronoun in her presentation. The levels of Rome are not merely descriptions of historical ruins, but are also of the multi-layered past contained in each of us.

There are other places we would like to visit (or return to) when I am able to take time off in the summer. For now, it just seems like no other place would measure up to Italy.

dickensdad is offline  
Nov 10th, 2007, 02:35 PM
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It's interesting that you say you believe no other places will measure up to Italy. I used to feel that way as well! In fact, when we started traveling outside of Italy I initially almost felt like I was betraying the country or something. Weird, I know.

Now that we have been to so many other countries I would have to say that others, though different, can certainly compare. There. I said it! Italy will always have a special place in my heart (we want to return there in a couple of years) for so many reasons.

But guess what? If I were given a choice of returning to Italy or going somewhere new I would choose new (as long as it is in Europe!). I think it is because we have been discovering such remarkable gems in countries other than Italy (although it almost pains me to say it!). We are finding that Eastern Europe is more "raw" and "real" and actually prefer it. We really, really want to go to Hungary, spend more time in Bosnia, Romania, Slovenia, etc.

If I were given the opportunity to choose between Croatia and Italy, for example, I would have to choose Croatia. It is so fantastic.
travel2live2 is offline  
Nov 10th, 2007, 02:48 PM
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I can well appreciate your enthusiasm for Italy, but you stand the chance of getting yourself if a rut if you keep going back to the same place over and over.

You can't know whether anything will measure up to Italy until you go somewhere else.

I once thought I never really needed to travel outside the USA and Europe, as there was an endless supply of marvels to experience. Then I went to North Africa and got hooked on that experience - totally different from anything in Europe, but measure up? You bet....in its own way, of course.
StCirq is offline  
Nov 10th, 2007, 02:48 PM
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"If I were given the opportunity to choose between Croatia and Italy, for example, I would have to choose Croatia. It is so fantastic."

Interesting; i would do just the oposite.

If one is looking for"raw' you will find it in Bosnia, Croatia, Romenia etc.
If you are interested in history, fantastic art, architecture , great restaurants and people watching - Italy, France, Spain.. would be my choice.
danon is offline  
Nov 10th, 2007, 02:53 PM
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', but you stand the chance of getting yourself if a rut if you keep going back to the same place over and over."

didn't you say on one post that you visited Paris 70 times?
I have done the same more than 20 times and cannot get enough ( will visit again in June )..
Sure , new places are wonderful to discover ( I loved Sydney) but old "loves" keep beckoning.
danon is offline  
Nov 10th, 2007, 03:03 PM
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Hi, danon:

Yes, I've been to Paris more than 70 times - but I own a house in France, so I'm regularly going through Paris on the way to and from it. I don't think I'd have actually planned 70+ trips to Paris were it not for the house (though, actually, I might have .

But I've also been dozens of other places in Europe and elsewhere. Yes, I find Paris absolutely magical and never tire of it, but I never tire of Marrakesh or Venice or Tuscany/Umbria or lots of other places.

StCirq is offline  
Nov 12th, 2007, 07:05 PM
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Personally, I don't think anybody has to justify his/her travel style. If I want to go to Italy 750 times, that's my business. If I want to visit every continent and every country and every national park, that's my business, too.

I just don't think anybody can tell anybody else what is the right way to travel.

(Nor does anybody have to justify his/her choice not to travel at all!)
LucieV is offline  
Nov 12th, 2007, 07:10 PM
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That's true, Lucie. We've been to Italy and the UK many, many times. It is just in the last few years we have begun to look elsewhere and are loving it. We just happen to love Eastern Europe but I can totally understand that everyone has his/her own passions and tastes and needs to follow them.
travel2live2 is offline  

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