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.

  • MeganStetzel

    Gosh, I am visiting Italy for the first time at the end of March, this just made me even more excited.

    Cambodia changed my life. It was my first time out of the US and it was so starkly different than anything I had ever imagined. It truly slapped me in the face with the world. There’s nothing like getting in your first tuk tuk or opening a bathroom door to your first squat toilet. Having a broader world view is something I will never take for granted.

    • Kristin M.

      Yeahhh we’re both going to Italy for the first time this year! You’re like a little over a month away, how exciting!!

    • Nicole Ziza Bauer

      You’re going to love it. Italy was my first time out of the US, and you always remember your first 🙂

  • This is very true! My favourite city break I’ve ever taken was to Rome. The appreciation of the history there was so embedded in the city and its culture – it was amazing.
    I also thought the best thing about Italy is not having to plan exactly where you go to eat as it’s so easy just to amble about and discover beautiful little piazzas and eateries without even trying.

  • Dee

    Amen! Rome was an incredible life changing experience for me, and Florence/Tuscan region is the next. You hit it on the mark with #2!!!! Thanks for writing this article….and for making me even more impatient to return for a second visit!

    • Nicole Ziza Bauer

      yes & yes! Rome has my heart.

  • Christen Marie

    Although I have not yet been to Italy, I love your description of history as setting the scene in which you live your life. As a history enthusiast, I think this is just beautiful. I hope that more people embrace this mentality and work to preserve historic architecture in their cities.

    • Nicole Ziza Bauer

      Completely agree!

  • Absolutely love this post! Italy was life changing for me as well, and I’ve been dying to go back ever since. It’s such a different way of life there– it does truly make you slow down and realize what’s important.
    Devon, seventeendresses.com

    • Nicole Ziza Bauer

      Thanks for sharing! Sometimes we just need that extra reminder to live here like we did there.

  • Anna Yasmin

    Going to Italy in a few weeks! This made me even more excited—didn’t think it was possible. 🙂

    • Kristin M.

      Ohhhh I’m so excited for you Anna with your upcoming trip! Mine isn’t until June and I can barely contain my excitement. Have fun!!

      • Anna Yasmin

        You too! 🙂

    • Nicole Ziza Bauer

      You’re going to love it!! Jealous for your travels!

  • Kristin M.

    My first trip to Italy is booked for the end of June! A 16 day stay in a country my Grandfather left as just a mere infant and I get to go and explore it with my significant other and my parents. Words cannot express the sheer excitement I have for visiting Italy and lavishing in old farmhouses rather than popular hotels and climbing hills rather than taking the easier route. I plan to fully commit my heart while I’m there and I have a good feeling a chunk of it won’t be coming home with me.

    • Nicole Ziza Bauer

      That is such a special way to experience the country. Famiglia is everything 🙂 Enjoy it!

  • Liane Pamuspusan

    Agree with all points! I lived in Italy for 9 months & it changed my perspective. Coming back to US, I’d say I felt more balanced and less stressed about anything that doesn’t go my way.

    • Nicole Ziza Bauer

      For sure. There’s no better place to learn to go with the flow.

  • Georgiana Darcy

    Thanks for this article. We Italians often tend to forget the beauty of our country and we keep complaining about all the problems we have here, feeling more ashamed than proud of being Italian. Thanks for reminding me that I am lucky to live in this country.

    • Nicole Ziza Bauer

      Thanks for reading, and sharing! We can all use a reminder to love where we live.

  • Maura

    I spent 5 1/2 weeks in Italy this past summer, and it was a life changing experience. I learned so much about myself and the world. Even though it sounds like I was there a long time, it wasn’t long enough- I barely scratched the surface of all the wonder Italy has to offer. No matter what length of time you spend there, you will come away changed.

    • Nicole Ziza Bauer

      …and always be eager to get back there. Thanks for reading!

  • Nicole Ziza Bauer

    Absolutely — always better to try with a smile 🙂

  • Italy is the country of my dreams, someday I’ll get to see all the cities in italy

  • Tini

    I visited Italy last summer and I fell in love with this country. When I visited Venice, I thought it was the best city, but then I visited Florence and got what the real beauty is. Now everytime I see something about Italy, I get excited and all the memories hit. I found out your post and absolutely loved it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  • Italy makes everyone happier. The sun is shining, the food is awesome, people are smiling – what could be better?

  • your 5 reasons made me so inspired ! want to visit Italy as soon as possible! 🙂

  • Elizabeth Riquelme

    My first trip was to Italy and i am axious to go back. For me who live in the tropic is strange to see that at 9:00pm it’s still daylight! I fell in love with Italy!!

  • Viaggio Italia Travel

    If you want to go back to Italy, try one of our tours!