If you daydream about traveling to Europe, you may envision yourself backpacking from country to country, seeing all there is to see. In reality, vacations only last so long and every European country has so much to offer. Consider a few reasons to make Italy the main focus of your next international trip.

1. Food

While there may be more sophisticated reasons to go abroad, what many travelers most look forward to is tasting authentic food in its birthplace. As bloggers like Michael Canzian will note, Italian food is more than a way to fill your stomach. As you enjoy a plate of pasta in a quaint stone plaza, you gain a holistic appreciation of a place, including its sights, smells, and flavors. In addition to stone-oven pizza, you can find delicious gelato in many establishments.

2. History

Italy is also known for its many layers of history. When you walk through the streets of Rome, for instance, you can take note of the amalgamation of architecture from many different periods. In a single day, you could visit the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Spanish Steps. The Catacombs, though slightly offputting at times, offer a good place to cool off and step back in time.

3. Art

Overlapping Italy’s rich history is its long-standing reputation as a major center of the arts. The Medici family, a centuries-old dynasty known for supporting artists of various kinds, left behind an exquisite collection of paintings. A few of the most popular art museums in Italy include the Uffizi Gallery, the Accademia Gallery, and the Palatine Gallery. During your time in Italy, you can see famous works such as The Last Supper and David.

4. Beaches

Italy is also, of course, home to miles and miles of beaches. Though you may find the water chilly, many of these beaches feature soft sand and beautiful seashells. A particularly famous coastal destination in Italy is Cinque Terre, a colorful collection of villages where shopping and swimming are equally available. To avoid missing some of the most scenic locations in Italy, be sure to consult Michael Canzian‘s blog, as well as other travel literature.

If your prospective European vacation leaves you with a tight schedule, you can safely decide to spend all your time in Italy with no regrets. By the time you visit Milan, Florence, and Rome, you may find yourself canceling your return flight to stay a while longer.