Italy is the home of the great Roman Empire with magnificent artistic eras like the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Italian culture is deeply rooted in history, art, architecture, religion, family, food, and music.
Some of the world's finest displays of art and architecture can be found here. Italy birthed some of the world's most famous and gifted artists like Michelangelo, Leonardo Di Vinci, and Raphael. Just strolling down the charming cobblestone streets in Italy, one can admire incredible architecture, fountains, statues and grand works or art. Museums and churches throughout the country display an elaborate exhibition of art and treasures. Everywhere you go in Italy, the works are on display and there for all to take in. The architecture is incredible and Italy boasts some of the most famous structures in the world like the Colosseum and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The majority of Italians are Roman Catholic and the architecture and art are evidence of their faith and tradition. In the heart of Rome lies the Vatican City, an independent state. The Vatican is the capital of the Roman Catholic Church and home to the Sistine Chapel, the famous Michelangelo ceiling and many remarkable ancient archaeological findings.
Family is extremely important within the Italian culture. Large Italian families have frequent gatherings and meals around the family dining table.The table is a meeting place and the focal place in an Italian home. Italians are affectionate and colorful people and are very passionate about their food, putting much love and effort in the preparation. Every region has different variations of their local Italian cuisine. Long meals are shared around the table as families bond and dine together for meals.
Pasta is the national dish of Italy and Italians are famous for their many variations of pasta topped with rich and delicious sauces and made with fresh local ingredients. Ancient art revealed that Italians have been eating pasta since the 4th century BC. Pizza originated in Naples in 1860 and can also be found in many different variations all over Italy. There is nothing like sitting at a charming sidewalk pizzeria, enjoying a margherita pizza, people watching and soaking up the local culture.
Try my recipe for garlic bread!
Italians are famous for their decadent desserts like tiramisu, panna cotta, cannoli and of course, gelato! There's nothing like grabbing a gelato at a gelateria in Italy. Its not just ice cream, it's a work of art! Italians have been making gelato since the Renaissance period. It was Bernardo Buontalenti that developed gelato in the 14th century. Gelato gained steam in the 1950s when the automatic gelato machine was invented. Today, you can find gelaterias all over Italy. Sit down in a local cafe Espresso was invented in Venice, Italy when Luigi Bezzera, experimenting with trying to make his coffee faster, came up with espresso. If you want a fresh morning pastry and an espresso in Italy, you go to a bar where locals can be found enjoying their breakfast and starting their busy day.
Italy is also one of the major olive oil producers in the world. Most of the olive oil production is in the southern regions in places like Apulia, Calabria and Sicily. Tuscany in west central Italy is also a place known for its olive groves. The iconic landscape of Tuscany is breathtaking and the home to Chianti wine which is exported all over the world . Italy is one of the biggest destinations for wine lovers who wish to travel the land, view the vineyards and go wine tasting. Italy boasts some of the most spectacular vineyards throughout the country which produce some of the finest wines in the world. Archaeological findings revealed that wine making was an ancient craft in Italy and it is no wonder why, with the idyllic landscape and fertile soil which is productive for growing grapes. The Piedmont region in northern Italy is famous for producing some of the finest red wines like Barolo and Barbaresco. There are many different wine regions to explore, but Prosecco is one of the most famous wine regions. Puglia in the south is also famous for its olive oil and fine wine like Primitivo.
Italy is also the birthplace of Opera and some of the world's most famous operas like La Taviata and Aida were written here. One of my favorite experiences in Rome was to go to the opera which was performed in a beautiful rustic church. There are amazing opera performances throughout the country and is an experience you will never forget.