5 Reasons Why Visiting Italy Will Make You a Better Person

I know what you’re thinking: You probably don’t need anything else to fuel your wanderlust when it comes to il bel paese (The Beautiful Country).

With its mountain framed lakes, ombré hills dotted with vineyards, cities rooted in worlds past, and a coastline as divinely carved as Michelangelo’s sculptures, Italy leaves little to be desired except for—well—more of everything that it offers. There is something almost palatable about the air in this country. While winding up ancient streets, the Tuscan sun on your face, and a scoop of stracciatella in your hand, you might wonder if there could really be anything better in life.

And, yet, could there be? Could experiencing such a place not only render our bucket lists complete and Instagram feeds enviable, but could we, as individuals, emerge from Italy’s cocoon more alive, more dynamic, as simply better people?

Here’s why the answer to that isn’t just a yes, but an emphatic, si certo!

1. You’ll learn how to thrive in a chaotic world.

Source: The Londoner

Even your best laid plans will, at some point, unravel in Italy. The bus schedule won’t make sense. The restaurant will decide to open (or close) at a different time. You may even find yourself waiting in line to pick up the train tickets to Milan you booked three months in advance, only to realize that everyone in front of you is also trying to get on that very same train because it’s the last one leaving the station due to a train strike that day. (And yes, you wait in line so long that you end up still missing the train.)

Italy is on no one’s time but its own, which can be decidedly frustrating for anyone used to an instant gratification, customer-is-always-right kind of society. But, you know what? Thank goodness for that. Thank you, Italy, for reminding us we’re not really at the center of it all and that, despite how much we think we deserve it, life is best lived outside of our expectations.

2. You’ll feel better about trying.

Source: Nicole Ziza Bauer

Unlike speaking a foreign language in other European countries, learning and speaking just a few key phrases in Italian can delight even the grumpiest of shop owners. Since Italian is rarely spoken outside of the country’s borders, locals will light up at the sound of a foreigner attempting to communicate in their language first, rather than assuming that they surely speak English.

Your Italian may be horrendous, but a shy try will almost always be welcomed with a grateful smile, boisterous laugh, and gentle correction, alleviating any fear of sounding silly on your part. Couldn’t we all use more encouragement to push through our fears? To stop worrying about perfection and simply give something a go? Italy is a great place to start.

3. You’ll notice the simple things.

Source: The Londoner

If you haven’t taken five minutes to savor a bite of bufala mozzarella drizzled with some tart olive oil and freshly cracked pepper, then you’re missing out. What Italy lacks in punctuality it more than makes up for with the precision of flavor it extracts from the simplest of ingredients, not to mention how other worldly even a mailbox can appear when bathed in the right Italian light.

Sometimes, you don’t need the luxe or the fancy: You need to watch copper coins dive to the bottom of a fountain; let lemon trees escort you on a walk in the afternoon; experience the hallowed silence of a moment in a pew. Italy’s beauty isn’t cheapened by its abundance—it’s training ground for the senses to learn what they were meant for, a lesson in how little it truly takes for you to feel lucky to be alive. If you can’t learn this in Italy, then can you really learn this anywhere?

4. You’ll see history with new eyes.

Source: The Londoner

As you stroll museums, gardens, palaces, even tiny villages, you’ll gain a better picture of your current place in time. History is no longer just a class you need to graduate, but serves to set the scene while you buy groceries, sip espresso, hail a taxi, or try on jeans. Cobblestone streets echo with stories; marble columns hold the weight of countless years. Yet, you flew here in a matter of hours, bottled water in hand, not a care in the world.

You’ll appreciate this juxtaposition and develop a newfound patience for things of old. Italy gives you the chance to marvel up close at what previous centuries have left behind, teaching us that all of our stories weave together—what’s the mark you’re leaving? Who do you want to be after returning home?

5. You’ll stop checking your phone.

Source: Nicole Ziza Bauer

Who wants to troll the Internet when you’re hiking above Amalfi? Boating on Lake Como? Watching the sunrise over Bari? Time has a way of gloriously standing still—or maybe passing without you caring—while visiting Italy.  We could all stand to gain from a little less screen time and Italy makes the weaning easy, detoxing you from busy to slow down, savor more and figure out what makes you you again.

In short, you’ll realize that life is pretty simple. In Italy, and everywhere: Eat well. Love madly. Put family (and friends) first.

A tripto Italy will always put life in perspective, and perspective is the best place to start when “being a better person” is on the agenda.

Where have you traveled that has impacted your life? Tell us in the comments below.