Italy is my favourite country, aside from Australia. My first encounter entailed six weeks in Rome in 2003. Actually I roamed all over Italy (and Europe) in a motorhome that year.
Since then I have revisited many times, in fact almost every year since 2006. I also completed postgraduate diplomas at Melbourne Uni in Renaissance history, Renaissance Art history and Italian (the language).
I have been lucky enough to stay either in the countryside or in the old part of town in most cases. I have been to many towns and cities, North Central and South, East and West, including Torino, Venezia, Firenze, Udine, Lecce, Napoli, and Roma.
The fabulous old buildings which are in a state of constant restoration, the endless churches, wonderful weather and a brilliant art are some of the many joys, but my main attraction is the people.
I love the freewheeling, anarchic attitude to life, rules and law exhibited by many, especially in the South. I always experience culture shock when I get back to Melbourne; there are so many signs everywhere, and you are expected to obey them! Of course living full time in Italy would be a different matter. I am happy to spend summer there and avoid the Melbourne winter.