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10 Unforgettable Reasons Why You Should Travel To Italy

10 Unforgettable Reasons Why You Should Travel To Italy
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    Florence/Dennis Jarvis

    Italy isn’t just for travelers who crave the world’s best pizzas, pastas and wines. The food (and wine) in this uniquely boot-shaped country is one reason to add it to your bucket list, but the historic cities, snow-capped mountains, pristine coastlines and endless museums will assure you that one visit is not enough.

    These 10 cities, sites, tastes and experiences are more than enough to lure you into Italy, but we guarantee you’ll return with a list of reasons all your own.

    1. Falling in Love with Venice

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      Grand Canal/Maëlick

      You don’t have to be a honeymooner or even a lover of chick flicks to fall in love with Venice’s romantic vibe. The colorful, canal-filled city will make you want to snap photos until your memory card is full. In addition to the famed Grand Canal, with its rowing gondoliers, travelers can dine on fresh seafood, museum hop and stock up on souvenirs.

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      2. Hiking Along the Cinque Terre

      Vernazza, Cinque Terre
        Vernazza, Cinque Terre/ Daniel Stockman

        Also known as “five lands,” the Cinque Terre region has become a sought-after Italian destination in recent years, and for good reasons too. The colorful towns, appearing as if they’re dangling from cliffs, along the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cinque Terre offer scenery that rivals Europe’s most famous sites.

        3. Sunbathing on Deserted Islands

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          Tabaccara, Lampedusa/ Luca Siragusa

          Italy is probably not the first country that comes to mind when you hear the phrase, “deserted islands.” However, Sicily’s Pelagie Islands are an off-the-beaten path alternative for travelers seeking turquoise water, white-sand beaches and postcard-worthy fishing towns. Visit Lampione to experience a truly uninhabited paradise.

          4. The Crumbling Ruins of Rome

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            Arch of Septimius Severus/Robert Lowe

            ‘Crumbling’ isn’t a common term of endearment for a city, but it is when you’re referencing the ancient city of Rome. Travelers can enjoy all of the 21st-century conveniences of luxurious accommodations, award-winning restaurants and museums after exploring the ruins of buildings that were once walked by Julius Caesar and Romulus. History buffs haven’t lived until they’ve wandered among the 2,800-year-old columns, temples and buildings of Rome.

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            5. Snacking on Antipasti

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              Antipasti/Kent Wang

              It doesn’t matter where you’ve sampled antipasti around the globe, it’ll never be as good as those in Italy. Start nearly every meal with an array of cured cheeses, marinated vegetables, prosciutto and carefully-made spreads. The antipasti dishes vary throughout Italy’s regions and restaurants, which means you can start your own taste test around the country.

              6. Walking the Streets of Florence

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                Florence Sunset/Maëlick

                Even more than Rome and Venice, many visitors to Italy will tell you their favorite city is Florence. The city’s more compact size makes it ideal for exploring on foot. Wander from the Duomo to the Galleria dell’Accademia, the Uffizi, the Mercato Nuovo, Ponte Vecchio and discover the countless other pieces of the outdoor museum known as Florence.

                7. World Heritage Site Hopping

                Herculaneum from above
                  Herculaneum/Andy Hay

                  Italy is home to more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other country in the world. Travelers can visit 47 cultural World Heritage Sites and four natural World Heritage Sites, ranging from the archaeological areas of Pompei, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata to the Aeolian Islands and the Dolomites. Wherever you are around “the boot,” it’s guaranteed there’s a World Heritage Site nearby.

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                  8. Touring the Rolling Hills of Val d’Orcia

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                    Val d’Orcia/Kuranosuke Oishi

                    When many travelers envision their trip to Tuscany, they imagine sipping glasses of Chianti among green rolling hills. This vision is mostly correct, but Tuscany is a surprisingly large area of central Italy. It pays to focus on a specific area — like the medieval towns of Val d’Orcia perched atop the hills of Montalcino, Pienza and Monticchiello. Cruise along the Val d’Orcia backgrounds, bouncing between wineries and snapping photos of the heavenly views.

                    9. Adventuring in the Dolomites

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                      Dolomites/Navin Rajagopalan

                      Italy’s desolate islands and rolling hills aren’t the only natural wonders the country boasts. The Dolomites, a snowy mountain range in the Southern Alps, is a place where hikers, climbers, skiers and snowboarders can get their adrenaline thrills. You’re guaranteed to be wowed by the craggy peaks of the Dolomites — the range represented in the background of Leonardo’s Mona Lisa — whether you visit in spring, summer, fall or winter.

                      10. Slurping 300 Types of Noodles

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                        Fresh Pasta in Sorrento/Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble

                        Some travelers visit Italy for its food alone — and we don’t blame them. Italians serve up more than 300 types of fresh, homemade pasta. Making an attempt to taste all of the crave-worthy noodles and sauces means you’ll have to cancel your plane ticket home and stay a while.

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                        Featured photo credit: Dennis Jarvis via flickr.com

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                        Last Updated on May 22, 2019

                        10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

                        10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

                        There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

                        One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

                        In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

                        Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

                        1. Cat Camel Stretch

                        Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

                        Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

                        Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

                        Here’s a video to guide you through:

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                        2. Go for a Walk or a Run

                        This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

                        Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

                        The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

                        Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

                        Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

                        3. Jumping Jacks

                        Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

                        Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

                        4. Abductor Side Lifts

                        Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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                        Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

                        5. Balancing Table Pose

                        This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

                        Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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                          6. Leg Squats

                          Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

                          Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

                          The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

                          7. Push Ups

                          You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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                          An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

                          Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

                          This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

                          8. Bicycle Crunches

                          There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

                          Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

                          9. Lunges

                          Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

                          Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

                          This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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                          10. Bicep Curls

                          You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

                          Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

                          Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

                          Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

                          Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

                          These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

                          You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

                          Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

                          More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

                          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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