Thank you for subscribing!
Got it! Thank you!

A Multitude of Americans Will be Traveling to Italy this Summer and Fall, and I've Been Prompted to Remember the Reasons Why

     The appeal of Italy to American vacationers is one of the great 
enduring phenomena of travel. Although it costs considerably more to fly 
to Rome than to London or Paris, an awesome number of Americans will 
soon make the trip. I can understand their motivations.
       I was overwhelmed by my own first contact with Italy. I was so 
affected by its visual sights that in a guidebook designed to deal with dry, 
dollars-and-cents matters (as my Europe on $5 a Day was initially planned 
to do), I grew lyrical in a chapter dealing with Venice. Arriving there by 
night, I wrote that "little clusters of candy-striped mooring poles emerge 
from the dark; the reflection of a slate-grey church bathed in a blue 
spotlight, shimmers in the water as you pass by". I was literally turned on. 
      And the people! Unlike the laid-back, reticent, soft-spoken types 
of northern Europe (much like us Americans), here were those who 
wore emotions on their sleeves. I gloried in the sounds of Italy, in the 
excitability of shopkeepers, the shouts of merchants and customers, 
the warm embraces of friends meeting on the street, the happy 
seniors playing bocce balls in parks and open spaces, the swaggering 
fashionistas both male and female. I marveled at the giant Roman ruins, 
the elaborate statuary more numerous than in any other country, the 
resplendent churches with frescos by artists of genius. I loved the food, 
the endless varieties of pasta, the chianti that accompanied the meals and 
the expressos that ended them. 
      For the first-time visitor to Italy, there is a classic itinerary that can't 
be equalled: Rome, Florence, Venice. While countless other areas, 
cities, and villages are almost--that's "almost"--as compelling, it is these 
three magical cities that outclass all others, that can be easily reached by 
inexpensive train, and will never fail to excite. From Rome to Florence is 
only two hours by express train, from Florence to Venice is another two-
or-so hours, and each city is an overwhelming touristic experience.
       The highlights are, of course, legendary: In Rome, the Roman 
Forum best reached by first ascending the Capitoline steps designed by 
Michelangelo, the Vatican, the Colosseum, the Pantheon and the Piazza 
Navona, the Via Veneto; in Florence, the original of Michaelangelo's David 
in the Accademia Museum, the Uffizi and the PItti Palace, the Medici 
Chapels and the Ghiberti Doors; in Venice, the Piazza San Marco, the 
Ducal Palace and the Rialto, a ride by vaporetto along the canals.
      Now, on your return trip to Italy, you may well decide to branch 
out to Milan and Bologna, Pisa, Siena and Lucca, Naples and the Amalfi 
Coast, Sicily, Tuscany and Umbria. Italy can support a lifetime of travel, 
and many avid travelers make countless repeat trips there. But for a first 
trip, Rome, Florence and Venice seem just fine.