Italy is full of diversity as we all know, is and we’re faced with the question of the cardinals. Which  part of the country is better – north or south? Stretching from the likes of Venice, “the Floating City” made up of 118 different islands all connected through bridges and canals… to the Vatican city, the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. There are ancient cities and landscapes as well as magnificent buildings telling old tales of Italian heritage and the history it entails.

There are volcanoes, islands, and miles of unspoiled nature. The iews of vineyards are plentiful, scattered across the country and laid out like soldiers as far as the eye can see. This incredibly striking country has much to offer, and as far as the famous question goes, I can’t say whether north trumps south or visa versa. That is up to you to decide. However there are swaying factors to argue both sides of the coin, whether it’s for work, pleasure, or making the mighty move. Italy has some of the most radiant regions waiting for you to dig your claws into it, and you won’t be left disappointed.

 

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The north is the cosmopolitan center of Italy, full of international influences. With endless opportunities and a prosperous economy, this is where the money is at! Booming with initiative, enthusiam and entrepreneurship, northern cities are full of opportunities and energy.  We all know that Milan is one of the biggest  fashion cities in Europe, and people travel from all over to visit the designer shops and gaze at the fashion trends of the city.

Northern Italy has adapted a lot better to tourists and exterior influences than it’s southern equivalent. Bologna, Florence, Turin and Parma are also thriving cities that keep a substantial amount of Italy’s economy flourishing. Tuscany is in a league of it’s own for it’s stunning features. With some of the most world renowned Renaissance architecture, art and design, people travel from all over the world to witness the beauty of such masterpieces as the Duomo, and Michelangelo’s “David.” The breathtaking natural landscapes and stunning scenery is another world renowned feature of the captivating northern region. 

Due to the geographical positioning of the north it makes it easy for Europeans to travel to the country, by any means of transport. The capital city of Rome is also conveniently situated in the center of the country, encouraging many tourists to visit both regions together. 

 

A must see if you find yourself in the north.

 

The EXPO 2015 was held in Milan this year. The universal exposition embraces many aspects of our lifestyle, and this year the theme of the 6 month international convention was Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. Technology, innovation, culture, traditions and creativity. How they relate to food and diet is what the intentions and focus points of the EXPO was. Running from May to October, you can imagine how many people this attracted. Business was sparked not only in Milan but in the North as a whole, and many international cultural influences celebrated in the North because of it.

This much is sure, if it’s a more developed, multi-cultural, cosmopolitan aura of Italy you are looking for, then I would advise you to head to the northern regions. You get the best of both worlds with beautiful countryside, art and design, as well as captivating cities.

Another reason to visit northern Italy is if your Italian is a little rusty. It will be a whole lot easier to navigate and go about your business in this part of the country, as so many tourists visit it’s streets that english is very much used by most people. Further south you might find the locals don’t have as much English, and so even ordering food or a coffee can be a bumpy encounter, but you get used to it!

 

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Although the charming characteristics of Italy can be seen from top to bottom, if you are really looking for the authentic Italian way of life, the south is where it’s at. Let it be said that the south has a lot less money being pumped into it than the north, which can be seen throughout the regions through things like public transport systems…or lack of! However it carries a particular legacy of culture.  There is major historical significance in the south, with many sites being protected by UNESCO such as Matera, Castel del Monde, Alberobello Trulli, Pompeii and many more.

You see buildings still standing after hundreds of years, and families residing in the houses of their ancestors. You see authenticity pouring from their balconies, as well as many lines of washing. Baskets being dropped down from top floor balconies and collected from the street. In the beautiful country side you gaze upon unspoiled lands, and farmers herding cattle. The beauty of the south is something that never ceases to amaze me. It’s like a never ending  picturesque fairyland that has opened it’s gates for you to explore. The beaches, the natural lakes and mountains, the gorges and cliffs. The landscapes are something everyone should witness while on their travels.

 

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Attempting to climb an active volcano in Sicily

 

For me, moving to Italy I felt my best option for experiencing the most authentic, traditional side of Italian culture and lifestyle was to live in the south. Sicily is as far south as you can go before reaching North Africa, and so I delved into it with open arms and anticipation.

There is a lot less English spoken, a lot less influences from exterior cultures, and it’s also a LOT hotter than the north. These aspects all add to create a real, raw taste of Italy that is amazing to live in.  There are also many greek ancient cities and Temples still evident today spread around southern Italy and Sicily, which were founded well before the Roman Empire came about.

This is why although the south is distinctively different from the north in many aspects, it equally holds unique traits that shape its regions into what you see today and encourages people from all over the world to witness them for themselves.

 

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The Valley of the Temples, Agrigento

 

All in all, the best holiday while discovering Italy would be to rent a car, start from the top and work your way down, through to the southern Italy, making your own adventure and filling it will various sites and cities you have on your personal bucket list. Seeing the variety in landscapes and lifestyles gives you an efficient feel for what the whole country has to offer.

From its traditions to its innovation. It’s booming businesses to it’s charismatic customs. There is beautiful  diversity in Italy, an array of activity and whether it is the north or south you see, you will be an awe of it’s captivating beauty.

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