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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 January 21, 2020

                        The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                        The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                        Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

                        your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                          Why You Need a Vision

                          Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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                          How to Create Your Life Vision

                          Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                          What Do You Want?

                          The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                          It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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                          Some tips to guide you:

                          • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                          • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                          • Give yourself permission to dream.
                          • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                          • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                          Some questions to start your exploration:

                          • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                          • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                          • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                          • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                          • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                          • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                          • What qualities would you like to develop?
                          • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                          • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                          • What would you most like to accomplish?
                          • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                          It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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                          What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                          Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                          A few prompts to get you started:

                          • What will you have accomplished already?
                          • How will you feel about yourself?
                          • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                          • What does your ideal day look like?
                          • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                          • What would you be doing?
                          • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                          • How are you dressed?
                          • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                          • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                          • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                          It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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                          Plan Backwards

                          It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                          • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                          • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                          • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                          • What important actions would you have had to take?
                          • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                          • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                          • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                          • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                          • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                          Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                          It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                          Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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