The Best Italy Travel Quotes: Get Inspired to Go to Italy

Italy statue with book
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Italy has inspired so many writers and travelers to wax poetic about its weather, seasons, landscape, monuments, and way of life.

These are some of the quotes that I have come across in my many years of writing about Italy and traveling around the Bel Paese. They leave me feeling excited and eager to book a trip to Italy or wistful about Italian excursions from my past.

Italy statue with book

Quotes About Italy (General)

“You may have the universe if I may have Italy.” — Giuseppe Verdi

“We are all pilgrims who seek Italy.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“The name of Italy has magic in its very syllables.”

— Mary Shelley

“This is Italy, land sacred to the Gods.” — Pliny the Elder

“As soon as I crossed the Italian border, my health and life seemed to be magically restored. There was the sun and there were the smiling Italians.” — Tennessee Williams, Memoirs.

“Italy is a dream that keeps returning for the rest of your life.” — Anna Akhmatova

“Italy, all the same, had spoiled a great many people; he was even fatuous enough to believe at times that he himself might have been a better man if he had spent less of his life there.” — Henry James, The Portrait of A Lady

“And let us not remember Italy the less regardfully, because, in every fragment of her fallen Temples, and every stone of her deserted palaces and prisons, she helps to inculcate the lesson that the wheel of Time is rolling for an end, and that the world is, in all great essentials, better, gentler, more forbearing, and more hopeful, as it rolls!” — Charles Dickens, Pictures from Italy

“Italy and the spring and the first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy.” — Bertrand Russell

“A man who has not been in Italy, is always conscious of an inferiority, from his not having seen what it is expected a man should see.” — Samuel Johnson

“What is the fatal charm of Italy? What do we find there that can be found nowhere else? I believe it is a certain permission to be human, which other places, other countries, lost long ago.” — Erica Jong

“The Creator made Italy from designs by Michelangelo.” — Mark Twain

“Everything in Italy that is particularly elegant and grand borders upon insanity and absurdity or at least is reminiscent of childhood.” — Alexander Herzen

“Italy will never be a normal country. Because Italy is Italy. If we were a normal country, we wouldn’t have Rome. We wouldn’t have Florence. We wouldn’t have the marvel that is Venice.” — Matteo Renzi

“Your Italy and our Italia are not the same thing. Italy is a soft drug peddled in predictable packages, such as hills in the sunset, olive groves, lemon trees, white wine, and raven-haired girls. Italia, on the other hand, is a maze. It’s alluring, but complicated. It’s the kind of place that can have you fuming and then purring in the space of a hundred meters, or in the course of ten minutes. Italy is the only workshop in the world that can turn out both Botticellis and Berlusconis.” — Beppe Severgnini, La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind

Quotes About Rome

“She had always been fond of history, and here [in Rome] was history in the stones of the street and the atoms of the sunshine.” — Henry James, The Portrait of A Lady

“I sometimes fancy that Rome — mere Rome — will crowd everything else out of my heart.” — Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance

It is foolish to go to Rome if you do not have the conviction of returning to Rome.

— G.K. Chesterton

“In Rome, one had simply to sit still and feel.” — E.M. Forster, Where Angels Fear to Tread

“Rome is not like any other city. It’s a majestic museum, a living room to tiptoe through.” – Alberto Sordi

“Rome contains not only magnificent monuments and priceless art treasures but also Italians.” – Eugene Fodor, 1936—On the Continent

Quotes About Florence and Tuscany

“And when I thought of Florence, it was like a miracle city embalmed.” — Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way

Quotes About Venice

“Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.”

— Truman Capote

“Venice, it’s temples and palaces did seem like fabrics of enchantment piled to heaven.” — Percy Bysshe Shelley

“This was Venice, the flattering and suspect beauty this city, half fairy tale and half tourist trap, in whose insalubrious air the arts once rankly and voluptuously blossomed, where composers have been inspired to lulling tones of somniferous eroticism.” — Thomas Mann

When I went to Venice, I discovered that my dream had become—incredibly, but quite simply—my address.” —Marcel Proust

“To go out in a gondola at night is to reconstruct in one’s imagination the true Venice, the Venice of the past alive with romance, elopements, abductions, revenged passions, intrigues, adulteries, denouncements, unaccountable deaths, gambling, lute playing and singing.” —Peggy Guggenheim

Quotes About Naples

“Vedi Napoli e poi muori!” (See Naples and die!)

— Neapolitan proverb

“Put a compass to paper and trace a circle. Then tell me which other country has such a concentration of places like Amalfi, Naples, Ischia, Procida, Sorrento, Positano, Pompeii, and Capri.” — Diego Della Valle

Quotes About Genoa

“It is a place that ‘grows upon you’ every day. There seems to be always something to find out in it. There are the most extraordinary alleys and by-ways to walk about in. You can lose your way (what a comfort that is, when you are idle!) twenty times a day, if you like; and turn up again, under the most unexpected and surprising difficulties. It abounds in the strangest contrasts; things that are picturesque, ugly, mean, magnificent, delightful, and offensive, break upon the view at every turn.” — Charles Dickens (on Genoa), Pictures from Italy

“If you want to catch a glimpse of Italy as it has been lived for centuries, rather than simply something that looks good on postcards, come to Genoa.” — Nicholas Walton, ‘La Superba’: The Rise and Fall of a Merchant Pirate Superpower