March 12, 2010

Superlative Italy

A recent issue of Travel and Leisure magazine listed this winter's 10 "most searched" destinations on . They are, in descending order of popularity: Italy, Costa Rica, Paris, New Orleans, Puerto Rico, Maui, Las Vegas, Morocco, Palm Springs and Turks and Caicos. I've been to eight of the 10 (Maui and Turks, in case you're wondering) and agree that Italy belongs at the top of any traveler or potential traveler's list.

In my decades of travel I've often been asked, "What's your favorite place?" and for a long time I answered with, "I can't really pick a favorite. Every place has something unique and special about it, so it's impossible to choose one favorite."

Well, now that I'm older and have been around the block, er, world, a few times, I don't give that wishy-washy answer anymore. I know which places I'd return to -- and do -- time and again, given the opportunity, so those must be my favorites. And they are:

Favorite city: New York City
Favorite country: Italy
Favorite region: the European Mediterranean, from Portugal to Malta

Here, a photo gallery of some of my favorite places in my favorite country. The images, from left to right in each row, are of Burano; Venice, Lucca; Deiva Marina; Portofino, Varenna; Bellagio; Milan, Riomaggiore; Sirmione, Cadenabbia.

Italy is so extraordinarily beautiful, and the lifestyle so relaxed and accessible, that I'd wager Italy nabs the "most searched" destination on in spring, summer and fall, as well. It's a place for all seasons.