As everyone know me, knows, I am especially passionate about Ireland (and you can read all about my Irish adventures here).But I also love to travel abroad. Shortly, I’ll be giving my five top reasons to visit Italy in 2021 as I look back on my own adventure there in 2018. Obviously this has been a very disappointing year for travel but, ever the optimist, I think next year is going to be an amazing year for tourism.
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Why next year will be extra special for travel:
Every location is going to be extra welcoming, the tour guides and operators will be refreshed and looking forward to getting back on the road and tourists too will feel a renewed appreciation for the joy of travel.
Why Italy ?
I am a travel director based in Ireland and I am deeply passionate about Ireland. It is a warm welcoming and vibrant place. But I also love to travel abroad and I was deeply impressed by Italy on my visit there three years ago. These are the five reason’s I think you should consider it as a destination in 2021. At the end of this article I discuss the best time of year to visit also.
(By the way, if you want to look at the excellent deals Trafalgar Tours are offering for 2021 take a look at their home page Trafalgar US Homepage )
They also have staycation options if the travel bug is with you now and you want to take advantage of this strange time to explore the beauty of your own country
But for now lets get back to those great reasons to visit Italy in 2021.
1)The Glories of The Ancient Roman Empire.
The ancient Roman civilisation along with the Greek civilisation contains the seeds of our Western civilisation. It is our mythic past. We see in the ruins of the amphitheatres the prototype for our modern sports arenas. Their republican democracy was the inspiration for the American system of government and we owe so much to Roman thinkers in the area’s of law, politics, philosophy and economics. It was instrumental in the Christianisation of Europe and Latin was for many years the language of science and is the basis for the beautiful languages modern European languages; Italian, French and Spanish.
There is something special and enriching about seeing the majestic sites such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon or the Roman forum.
The colosseum in particular, at once draws you into an imaginary, lost world of chariots and gladiators. It is impossible not to envisage the dramatic spectacles that must have unfolded here.
And as your mind turns to images of ancient galdatorial battles, it also i jumps to our modern gladiators; our football players, basketball players, olympic athletes, MMA stars and boxers. It puts the beauty of modern sports in a historical context.
And yet, the ruins inspire an eery sense of awe as well. We can’t help but notice that these spectacles are gone, the Roman empire has long disappeared. The ruins also whisper to us that our modern world too shall also pass. Our civilisation too will leave it’s architectural heritage for future generations to marvel at. I think every visitor here has that unnerving sense of the transience of civilisation. Opening to that feeling can lead to other spiritual insights.
2) Beautiful architecture.
Italy has some of the most beautiful architecture in the world. Every city has a stunning cathedral. The Vatican City is the jewel at the heart of Rome and has a range of outstanding architectural gems from many different eras including the small but exquisite Sistine chapel from the 15th century ( renaissance era), St. Peters basilica from the 17th century (Baroque era) and a government palace form the 20th century.
On my own travels I was also lucky enough to visit the Cathedrals in Florence and Milan. Both cathedrals dominate the skyline of their respective cities and provide an awe inspiring, ornate interior.
3) Exceptional Art:
Ancient Rome had an extraordinary art scene. On my travels I visited the National Archeological Museum of Naples, which contains much of the art discovered in Pompeii as well as many other exquisite pieces from antiquity.
Pompeii was, of course both destroyed and preserved by a volcano in 79AD. Visiting the site was certainly interesting. Many of the artefacts recovered were in the Archeological Museum which also housed many artefacts dating from the finest days of the Greek and Roman civilisations. I was astounded by the quantity and quality of the sculptural art on display. The most extraordinary piece was the Farnese bull which was restored by Michelangelo in 16th century.
When we consider how much art must have been lost over the years, and the incredible finds of artistic work from pompeii, it is mind boggling how much art must have been created in the ancient Roman civilisation.
In any event, these ancient artworks were an important inspiration in the Renaissance era of the 16th centruy. This was a golden age of progress for both art and science. Michelangelo, Botticelli, Leonardo Di Vinci, Titian, Raphael and Caravaggio are just same of the great Italian masters who graced the world with their innovative, evocative work.
Their work, along with much more can be found in museums such as the Vatican Museum and the Borghese galleries in Rome, the Uffizi Gallery and the Academy of Florence (contains Michelangelo’s David) in Florence. I had the good fortune to visit all these galleries on my visit to Italy. There are many other wonderful galleries scattered throughout Italy also. The visual arts are very strong here and deeply embedded in the culture.
4) Great Food and Divine Wine
Pizza, Pasta, Lasagne. Surely some of the great wonders of the modern world ! I love Italian cuisine and indeed it has gone on to have an outsize impact on our modern culture. There is something beguiling about the Italian approach to food. It is a bit more carelessly and casually brilliant than French cuisine and more playful and enticing than the food anywhere else in Europe for that matter.
To me, it always feels like it is carelessly, artfully thrown together; a handful of this, a sprinkle of that. And it always has that feeling of the sunshine coming through.
The wine culture is, of course, also a strong part of the culture and an important part of rural Italian life in particular.. Italian wine is a tried, tested and trusted staple in the wine world. These days you can buy Italian wine anywhere, but you must visit a real Italian vineyard and see how it is made to really appreciate it’s place in the culture.
5) The weather
It can be hot in mid summer but if you visit in May or September you have a great likelihood of beautiful sunny days that are warm and pleasant. April and October can be quite nice too and are outside the main tourist season so these months would make for an excellent trip. I visited in June and enjoyed the heat but the summer temperatures in July and August of 90-100°F would be too much for me. The tourist season runs from May to September so if you want to avoid the crowds than I would recommend visiting outside of these times.
Alan is a Travel Director with Trafalgar Tours based in Ireland.