Italy in Our Hearts: Why We Can’t Wait to Get Back Once The World Has Healed

See recent posts by Lara Grant

COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on Italy, and as a travel editor that has personally spent a good amount of time touring the country, like my colleagues, I'm heartbroken. But I keep coming back to my happy memories of Italy: walking through historic sights like the Roman Colosseum, eating Cacio e Pepe while overlooking the Amalfi Coast, and taking a boat tour around Capri. And so, while we wait for the country and the rest of the world to heal, we at Oyster want to share why we can't wait to get back to Italy.

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Italy’s Views are Breathtaking.

Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy
Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy/Oyster

Positano is the most popular town along Italy’s famous Amalfi Coast. Its colorful buildings cascading down to the Mediterranean Sea make for a jaw-dropping sight.

Hotel Castell, Lake Garda, Italy
Hotel Castell, Lake Garda, Italy/Oyster

Lake Garda in Northern Italy is stunning and a favorite (particularly for summer travel) destination, thanks to its mountain backdrop, restaurants serving top-notch seafood, and historic landmarks.

Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence, Italy
View from Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence, Italy/Oyster

For one of the most striking panoramic views of Florence, including its medieval Ponte Vecchio (“Old Bridge”), head to Piazzale Michelangelo.

J.K. Place Capri, Italy
View from J.K. Place Capri, Italy/Oyster

One of the hippest, most design-conscious hotels in Capri, J.K. Place Capri, offers a stunning view of the island from its outdoor lounge.

The Historic Architecture in Italy is Phenomenal.

St. Peter's Square, Vatican City, Italy/Oyster
St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City, Italy/Oyster

Travelers visiting Rome should be sure to include a trip to St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. The square sits next to St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, known for housing Michelangelo’s 16th-century painted ceiling.

The Duomo and Tuscan Countryside in Florence Italy
The Duomo, Florence, Italy/Oyster

The Duomo, or Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, is one of the most impressive sights in Florence. The 13th-century structure allows for visitors to climb 463 steps to see the frescoes up close. 

Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy
Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy/Oyster

Finished in 1762, Rome’s Trevi Fountain is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and a must-stop for most tourists. Visitors typically make a wish and throw a coin using their right hand over their left shoulder into the fountain.

Pompeii Archaeological Park, Pompei, Italy
Pompeii Archaeological Park, Pompei, Italy; Andy Holmes/Unsplash

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient Roman city of Pompeii was buried by the 79 A.D. eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Because the ash and pumice were so thick, the city was largely preserved underneath it.

The Mediterranean Sea, Beaches, Canals, and Lakes Provide Ample Water-Based Activities.

Pugnochiuso Resort, Puglia, Italy
Pugnochiuso Resort, Puglia, Italy/Oyster

There are tons of beach destinations throughout Italy, but the one Italians themselves favor is Puglia, located in the southeastern, sun-soaked heel of Italy’s boot.

Gondolas in Venice, Italy
Gondolas in Venice, Italy/Oyster

No trip to Venice, Italy is complete without a ride on their famous gondolas — which are used more for joyrides than actual transportation.

Faraglioni, Capri, Italy
Faraglioni, Capri, Italy/Oyster

Arguably the best way to see the sophisticated island of Capri, off the Sorrento Peninsula, is by boat. Book a boat tour and don’t miss sailing under the famous Faraglioni — three towering rock formations that jut out from the sea.

Grand Hotel Corallaro, Sardinia
Beach at Grand Hotel Corallaro, Sardinia/Oyster

Due west of Naples, the island of Sardinia is home to some stellar sandy beaches, thanks to its 1,150 miles of coastline. The small, sandy cove by the Grand Hotel Corallaro is an attractive option on the island’s northern coast.

Tuscany Provides a Bucolic, Quiet Retreat.

Garden at the Aia Mattonata Relais
Aia Mattonata Relais, Tuscany, Italy/Oyster

Although the Tuscany region includes the metropolis of Florence, it also consists of several countryside towns. Rolling hillsides with quaint towns and vineyards are the norm here.

Castello delle Quattro Torra
Castello delle Quattro Torra, Tuscany, Italy/Oyster

Located near the town of Siena, Castello delle Quattro Torra is a charming family-run bed and breakfast. It occupies a medieval castle and has only three rooms, including an apartment and a two-story tower room.

Agriturismo Fattoria Lavacchio, Tuscany, Italy
Agriturismo Fattoria Lavacchio, Tuscany, Italy/Oyster

The region is well-known and well-loved for its vineyards producing delicious wine varietals such as Chianti. Travelers can stay at one of the many agriturismos for a farmhouse stay, many of which have their own vineyards, such as Agriturismo Fattoria Lavacchio.

The Privilege Valle at the Fonteverde Tuscan Resort & Spa
The Fonteverde Tuscan Resort & Spa, Italy/Oyster

Tuscany is also a popular for its thermal hot springs, located in public spaces and at high-end spa resorts. One of the most iconic luxury spa resorts is Fonteverde Tuscan Resort & Spa.

The Art in Italy is Some of the Most Significant.

Sistine Chapel, Rome, Italy
Sistine Chapel, Vatican City, Italy; Flickr/Colin Tsoi

Any Art History major can tell you that Italy is home to some of the most important and revered artwork in the world. One of the most famous is the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which includes “The Creation of Adam,” painted by Michelangelo in the 16th century.

La Pieta, Michelangelo
La Pieta, Michelangelo; Flickr/Erik Cleves Kristensen

Close to the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City is St. Peter’s Basilica, which is home to another work by Michelangelo, “La Pieta” statue portraying Mary holding Jesus.

Uffizi Gallery, Milan
Uffizi Gallery, Florence/Oyster

The best art museum in Florence, Italy is the Uffizi Gallery, which is located next to the Arno River. It’s home to many prominent works, including Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” and “Annunciation” by Leonardo da Vinci.

David, Michelangelo
David, Michelangelo; Flickr/Olivier Bruchez

Fans of Michelangelo and Renaissance artwork should head to the Gallery of the Academy of Florence to see the masterpiece sculpture of “David” in person.

Italian Food — From Fresh Pasta to Pastries to Seafood — is Mouth-Watering.

Naples Italy Pizza
Naples Italy Pizza; Flickr/Austin Keys

Italy’s cuisine is celebrated all over the world, and travelers have plenty of impressive restaurants to choose from, no matter where they go. But certainly high on many foodies’ lists is Neapolitan-style pizza in Naples.

Santa Lucia Train Station, Venice
Santa Lucia Train Station, Venice/Oyster

We’d argue a trip to the local pastry shop, cafe, or even train station market stall for cannolis, strudel, and pignoli cookies is a requirement for Italy tourists.

Via Governo Vecchio, Rome
Via Governo Vecchio, Rome/Oyster

Restaurants display their tasty dishes outside to entice passersby; this Rome eatery is showcasing pizza, pasta, fresh bread, antipasto, and an Aperol spritz. Don’t skip the seafood pasta in the Amalfi Coast, gelato in Rome, and Italian wine wherever you are.

Sina Villa Medici, Autograph Collection
Sina Villa Medici, Autograph Collection/ Oyster

A highlight of most Italy hotels and bed-and-breakfasts are the (typically free) breakfast buffets served each morning. Expect lots of tasty pastries and sweets such as chocolate croissants and apple tarts, plus other continental items and strong espresso.

Rialto Market, Venice
Rialto Market, Venice/Oyster

Whether packing a picnic for the park or stocking your apartment-style hotel room with food, head to the country’s ubiquitous markets for fresh veggies and fruit like tomatoes, artichokes, and lemons.

And Last But Not Least: The People in Italy.

Staff at the Hotel Delle Mimose
Staff at the Hotel Delle Mimose/Oyster

Italians are really what cinched the country as one of our favorite travel destinations. Our hearts are with the people of Italy, from the hotel staff like at Hotel Delle Mimose in Liguria….

Gran Canal Gondoliers
Gran Canal Gondoliers/Oyster

to the gondola drivers — or gondoliers — in Venice…

Pugi Bakery Florence
Pugi Bakery Florence/Oyster

and the bakers at shops such as Pugi in Florence…

Venice, Italy
Venice, Italy/Oyster

and those selling cute souvenirs to tourists…

Central Market of San Lorenzo
Central Market of San Lorenzo/Oyster

and of course, the chefs serving up heavenly pasta. We can’t wait to see you all again.

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