With a varied landscape encompassing mountains, beaches, and endless hills, plus more than its fair share of cultural heritage, Italy has attracted awe-struck tourists for centuries.
During its time as the center of the Roman Empire, Rome attracted people from the corners of the empire. Later, religious pilgrims made the journey to visit the home of the Catholic Church. During the 17th century, aristocratic tourists began to discover the appeal of the country beyond Rome, undertaking the popular Grand Tour to learn more about Italian culture. And today the peninsula remains among the world’s most visited country by tourists.
The following quotes, from Italian natives and those who have visited over the centuries, are sure to stir your desire to plan a stay in Italy.
“A man who has not been in Italy, is always conscious of an inferiority, from his not having seen what it is expected a man should see.” – Samuel Johnson, English essayist.
“In Italy, they add work and life on to food and wine.” – Robin Leach, English writer.
“Rome, the city of visible history.” – George Eliot, English writer.
“In Italy, for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had 500 years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.” – Orson Welles, American actor, director and writer.
“Rome is not like any other city. It’s a majestic museum, a living room to tiptoe through.” – Alberto Sordi, Italian actor.
“What is the fatal charm of Italy? What do we find there that can be found nowhere else? I believe it is a certain permission to be human, which other places, other countries, lost long ago.” – Erica Jong, American novelist.
“I think people in Italy live their lives better than we do. It’s an older country and they’ve learned to celebrate dinner and lunch, whereas we sort of eat as quickly as we can to get through it.” – George Clooney, American actor.
“You may have the universe if I may have Italy.” – Giuseppe Verdi, Italian composer.
“In Paris, you learn wit, in London you learn to crush your social rivals and in Florence you learn poise.” – Virgil Thomson, American composer.
“The Creator made Italy from designs by Michaelangelo.” – Mark Twain, American writer.
“Everything about Florence seems to be colored with a mild violet, like diluted wine.” – Henry James, American writer.
“To build a city where it is impossible to build a city is madness in itself, but to build there one of the most elegant and grandest of cities is the madness of genius.” – Alexander Herzen, Russian writer, on Venice.
“Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.” – Truman Capote, American writer.
“Italy will never be a normal country. Because Italy is Italy. If we were a normal country, we wouldn’t have Rome. We wouldn’t have Florence. We wouldn’t have the marvel that is Venice.” – Matteo Renzi, former Italian prime minister.
“Italy and the spring and the first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy.” – Bertrand Russell, Welsh philosopher.
“I was offered a free villa in Hollywood, but I said no thank you, I prefer to live in Italy.” – Ennio Morricone, Italian composer.