With the start of the New Year, there’s just one resolution that should be of your list: Travel to Italy in 2015. It’s always a good time to visit Italy, but we think 2015 will be the best year yet! The 2015 Expo in Milan has motivated Italy to do some early spring-cleaning, restoring monuments and art to their ancient glamour, adding visiting hours to museums and churches and giving access to long-shuttered attractions. So even if you’ve already visited il bel paese, here’s 6 reasons to buy your plane tickets for 2015.
See behind-the-scenes Italy
Walks of Italy has long given visitors a chance to see a different side of Italy – from our night tour of the Colosseum to our behind-the-scenes tour of St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice – but with new openings and special access, 2015 is the year to finally see inside your favorite Italian attractions. Even the Domus Aurea, Nero’s enormous palace near the Colosseum, is accesible this year. To fund various restoration projects in Rome, the opulent private residence (whose name translates as “House of Gold” in English) will be open to the public with tours led by Coopculture. Look into the resources that give you a chance to truly see top attractions, like a private Pompeii tour, the Domus Aurea and the catacombs under Rome, for an updated trip in 2015.
Taste the world at Expo Milan
2015 brings the next World’s Fair – the Expo at Milan. Italy has always been known for its food but with this year’s Expo theme, “Feeding the Planet: Energy for Life,” you can tour food from throughout the world all in one city! Open from May 1 to October 31, 2015, the Expo will host over 130 participants and expects over 20 million visitors. New York Times Travel even named it the number 1 top place to visit in 2015. Come not only to finally give Milan the time it deserves, but to tour some of the world, bite by bite.
With the Euro at a 9-year low against the U.S. dollar, international travel is more accessible now for Americans than it has been in nearly a decade. The exchange rate valued €1 at roughly $1.35 for years. Today, it’s around $1.20. This means that planes, trains and automobiles, not to mention museum tickets, restaurants and hotels, will cost a lot less than last year (or the year before that – or the year before that…) for American travelers. Take advantage of the favorable exchange rate to plan the Italy trip of a lifetime, saving money while you’re at it!
Italy has some of the best art and architecture in the world and 2015 gives you a chance to see even more of it! In Siena, the Santa Maria della Scala museum is finally open after extensive renovation. See some of the most ancient Byzantine relics in the world as well as a new room dedicated to Siena’s history. Further north, in Padua, get 40 minutes to see Giotto’s original frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel instead of the usual 20 minutes, or come back to visit during evening hours. With more and more museum, monument and event tickets available for advanced sale to prevent waiting in line, head to Italy in 2015 for a whirlwind of inspiration.
View first-hand the Catholic church’s revolution
Pope Francis’ popularity is huge and doesn’t seem to be declining in the new year. With thousands of visitors every day to the Vatican City, masses in St. Peter’s Basilica and throngs of crowds in the Piazza for his weekly Wednesday blessing, Pope Francis is a huge draw to Italy – and with reason! After starting the year with messages of hope for the 2015 World Day of the Sick and messages of peace for the Epiphany, he promptly named 20 new cardinals from all over the world, including countries like Thailand, Myanmar and Tonga. Next up on the Pope’s wide-sweeping list? In December he promised a 2015 paper on the church’s stance on climate change, an already hotly debated issue throughout the world. Take a trip to the Vatican City to see the Pope yourself and hear his message at one of the many 2015 papal audiences.
The Vatican is huge and seeing it on your own can be daunting. If you want to skip the (always) long lines and see the museums with an expert guide, have a look at some of the special tours we run in the Vatican.
Finally Visit The Peninsula
So you’ve never been to Italy but always dreamed about it? You’ve seen movies, heard stories, salivated over the photos and maybe even came close to booking a trip, yet still haven’t made it across the pond to beautiful Italia? With more help, more tours and more access than ever, there’s no more reasons to wait. Over 47 million visitors come to Italy every year to learn the language, experience the culture, see the landscapes and priceless art and, of course, taste the delicious food – make this year yours!