10. The Italian language
I'm hopeless at learning languages, but even if I don't know what's being said, this language is so beautiful to listen to. I confess I read Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love" primarily for the parts about Italy, and I loved her love affair with the language (and the food... but that's further down on my list). Here's just a few Italian place names and words I love: Palazzo, Masseria, Bellagio, Ravello, andiamo ("let's go!")
9. The Dolomite mountains
I think of Italy as being more hilly than mountainous, but its northern region is part of the Alps and the views are breathtaking.
8. The Amalfi coast
Southern Italy in all its sunshiny glory.
A landscape of vineyards and graceful poplar trees - this region is called the birthplace of the Renaissance and is famous for its art and architecture
A small medieval town in Tuscany famous for the Palio, a bareback horse race held once a year in the town's large square. I read a book by Marguerite Henry about this race when I was a kid, and have been fascinated by the town and its wild race ever since.
I've heard mixed reviews from visitors about this famous city and its canals (some good things about it, some bad things) but it's just soooo famous, so beautifully photographed and painted and so often used in movies, it couldn't not make my list.
4. Cinque Terre
These are five clifftop coastal towns in the Liguria region, also known as the Italian Riveria. I love that the towns are only linked by foot trail or by train - not by any roads!
3. The Lake District
Lakes Como, Maggiore, and Garda. Lake Como is the epitome of romantic scenery.
2. Italian food
Just typing these names is making me hungry: gelato, tiramisu, pizza margherita, asiago, tartufo, tagliatelle, focaccia, pesto, stromboli, prosciutto
1. Rome (Roma)
Ancient Roman history is fascinating to me, and there are so many amazing ruins in Rome - the Forum, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Via Appia, the catacombs and baths. Rome is also known as the City of Fountains with over 300, many of them hundreds of years old.
What's at the top of your list of places to visit?