I've never been one to enjoy clichés. Of course I participate in them just like anyone else, but I usually try to look for a more unique option in any situation. It was for this reason exactly that I wasn't really looking forward to the trip I had planned to Italy with my family. I would never turn down an opportunity to travel, but I would've preferred somewhere more exotic and unheard of. As it turned out, however, clichés aren't always a bad thing. Although Italy may be a popular tourist location, there is a reason: it is most definitely a place worth visiting.
Italy is an astounding country with culture, history, and beauty everywhere. Any type of traveler would love it because there is something there for everyone. For me, of course, the best part was the history. In fact, among the abundant artwork and architecture, history was almost inescapable. However, Italy's exceptionally rich history is only part of what made the country such a wonderful place to visit.
The first city we visited was Rome. If you're looking for history, Rome is definitely the place to go. Because it was once the center of the ancient Roman empire, there are many famous architectural structures such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Roman Forum that all speak to its historical importance. What amazed me so much about these ancient structures is the fact that they have lasted such a long time. The Roman Forum and the Colosseum are certainly not in the same condition they were when originally built, but they are still standing, a testament to the advanced architectural techniques of the ancient Romans. The Pantheon, on the other hand, is still in excellent condition and is considered one of the best preserved structures of the entire Roman Empire. However, it isn't only relics from the Roman Empire that the city has; it also has more recent wonders as well. Perhaps the most famous is the beautiful Trevi Fountain, a stately architectural work designed and completed during the 1700s.
Not only is Rome itself an incredible city with much to see, but there is even another country inside the city! This country, the Vatican, is home to the Pope, the Catholic church, and St. Peter's Basilica. This grand basilica houses a few of the greatest works on Earth, including Michelangelo's fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and also his famous Pieta sculpture. There are very few wonders I have seen that are as amazing as the artwork of the Sistine Chapel, so it is a sight I highly recommend. Its astounding beauty lies in its incredible intricacies, the enjoyable familiarity of well-known stories, and the invariable perfection of Michelangelo's talent.
Rome and the Vatican are not the only wonders Italy holds. My favorite Italian city was Florence. It is a city of great contrast, boasting beautiful old plazas, cathedrals, and artwork, while at the same time hosting obviously modern happenings, such as the endless lines of street vendors selling knock-off designer goods. It is infinitely interesting in its opposition. Florence is the home of Michelangelo's David statue, Brunelleschi's Il Duomo cathedral, and the Uffizi Gallery, which houses many of the most famous works of Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, El Greco, Rembrant, Diego Velázquez, Francisco de Goya, Raphael, and Albrecht Dürer. It is truly a fascinating and marvelous city.
Venice, Milan, and the Amalfi Coast are the three other must-see's of Italy. Venice is, of course, very unique because of its numerous canals running throughout the entire city. It is also famous for its beautiful, hand crafted masks. Milan is known as the fashion capital of the world, so it is the perfect place to go for anyone interested in fashion. Finally, the Amalfi Coast is a place too lovely for words. Its beautifully colored houses and artful cliffs can't be captured through photographs or even the imagination. There are so many small towns to explore and gorgeous scenes to experience. One could spend years there and still not grow accustomed to its simple, enchanting beauty.
Clearly I found Italy to be not simply a cliché but instead a marvelous country with very much to offer any traveler. If you don't get the opportunity to travel anywhere else, make sure you visit Italy. It will not be a trip you can easily forget. If any of you readers want to experience this amazing country for yourselves, call Bayless Travel at 405-842-4464. Thanks for reading, and happy travels!