Top 20 Reasons to Study Abroad in Italy

One of the most frequently-asked question you’re asked before you leave for your study abroad program is, “So, why did you choose that particular country to study abroad?” Your response is usually, “Well, that university had just the right program for my academic interests, it was the perfect fit! And I’ll be able to study exactly what I’m interested in and get the experience I need for my future studies and career.”

But we all know the truth: your decision to study in Italy was probably based in part on reasons other than your education! You’re aware that you won’t be spending the whole time in the classroom. And there are lots of aspects to living in a foreign country that you thought about before deciding which place was right for you.

These are the top 20 reasons to study abroad in Italy, the allure of the bel paese:


1. Italy is famous for la dolce vita: that means making the most of the little things in life, not sweating the “small stuff” and just enjoying yourself!

2. You love the sound of the melodic Italian language. Living and studying in Italy means you’ll be hearing the dulcet tones of the language every day.

3. You’ve always been curious why Italian people are always using their hands when they talk and you want to find out what all those different hand gestures mean.

Festive Ape Piaggio 4. And you don’t really know the rules of cheek kissing: is it one kiss or two? Or three? When you meet someone, when saying good-bye? Part of your informal education in Italy will include the art of the friendly kiss!

5. The cool confidence of the country’s soccer players was palpable at this year’s World Cup (even if the Azzurri team didn’t get very far in the championship!). And if you’re a fan of the game, the culture surrounding calcio in Italy is pretty serious. There are so many the great teams in the Serie A league to cheer for: Milan, Inter, Roma, Lazio, Juventus, Fiorentina…

6. Small city cars and scooters are all over Italy! Vespas, Ape Piaggios, Fiat 500s, Minis, Smarts… And the vintage models are the best! Why not take a drive when you’re studying abroad?

7. Not to mention all the super-sleek and fast sports cars. Italy is home to Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Abarth and Ducati motorcycles.

8. You might have gotten a taste of Italy from classic neorealist cinema: think a young Sophia Loren in black and white. You need to find out if that version of the country still exists somewhere.

9. And you know that Italy is famous for amazing fashion and design. Even if you don’t go to any fashion shows or the annual Salone del Mobile in Milano, you can still soak in the easy but fabulous style of the Italians around you.

Italian seaside town at nightTravel

10. The weather: most of the country has a nice, mild Mediterranean climate, not too cold in the winter and not too hot in the summer. When it is cold, skiing is usually an option. And when it is hot, the beach is usually only a short trip away!

11. Lots of famous art and culture from the Renaissance was produced right here in Italy. That means the museums all over the country are bursting with masterpieces!

12. Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples, Sicily… There are so many tourist destinations, it’s hard to choose where to start!

13. With 7,600km of coastline, Italy has been ranked the 14th country in the world for length of coastline. And much of that is covered in beautiful beaches, perfect for people watching, getting a great tan and swimming in the Mediterranean. You have to experience it for yourself.

Food and Drink

14. Italy is serious about its pasta. And each of the scores of shapes has a specific traditional sauce to go with it. You need to learn more about all those recipes and especially how they taste!

15. Italy’s famous for so many delicious delicacies: tiramisù, varied pastries, as well as so many kinds of cheese, prosciutto, truffles, olive oil…

16. Lots of Italians take part in the pre-dinner ritual of taking a moment to relax over drinks with friends, usually with a snack or maybe a buffet. When you’re studying abroad, you have to learn more about the Italian tradition of the aperitivo! Try a Negroni, a Bellini, a Spritz, or just a beer, a glass of wine or a soft drink.

Bocconi students tasting wine17. Espresso! And of course caffè macchiato, latte macchiato, caffè lungo, caffè corretto, cappuccino, marocchino, orzo in tazza grande, cioccolata, decaffeinato, however you like it!

18. Because what better way to learn about wine varietals, vintages, aromas and tastes than a Tuscan vineyard? Wine is produced just about everywhere in Italy and each region has its own specialty.

19. Italy invented possibly one of the most perfect foods in the world: pizza! While you’re studying abroad here, you can visit Naples and try the original pizza margherita. Or just enjoy anything your local pizzeria serves up, it’s all wonderful!

20. Italy is also home to the best form of ice cream on the planet. Gelato is served in a variety of traditional and innovative flavors all across the peninsula. During your program you can take your time trying them all!

I Scream for Ice Cream!

Among other things fashion, fine wine, and art are often associated with Italy lest we not forget the food, and who can for forget the best loved dessert of them all? Ice cream. Italy claims to be the inventor of ice cream (whether this is true or not is not for me to discuss here) but it certainly aided its popularization with immigrants opening parlors throughout the world.

A massive 9.2 liters are consumed per capita in Italy per year (and I’m responsible for just about half of that) and with the vast array of beautiful colors and flavors available it is easy to see why. It is consumed throughout the year, hot or cold (the weather obviously), with 54% of Italians eating it more than once a week.

With so much at stake Italians will go to great lengths so seek out artisans who produce the unique and I am here to share with you some of those secrets today. Here is a list of my top 3 gelaterias in Milan:

3) Amorino
Alzaia Naviglio Grande, 24 (Navigli area)

You will no doubt when asking for the best gelateria hear the words Grom, Grom, Grom. Grom is excellent and deserves a mention but it is not special. Amorino has a vast range of flavours with no limits with your orders, you can have as many tastes as you want for the size! If you are a fan of cinnamon (and why wouldn’t you be?) I recommend the Speculoos, it’s truly life changing!

2) Shockolat
Via Giovanni Boccaccio, 9

Located a stone’s throw from Parco Sempione and a favorite night haunt of many locals, this gelateria surely can’t be matched in terms of it’s chocolate offerings. Combined with a sumptuous pistachio this is not to be missed!


1) Drum roll please… Gelateria Marghera
Via Marghera, 33

This is a recent and startling discovery. After dinner with friends in the area (also recommended as there are many fine restaurants) we went in search of something sweet and were fortunate enough to find this place. On entering our eyes feasted on an orgy delectable delights. It wasn’t just the ice cream available it was the mini ice creams, ice cream cakes and other unique inventions. As a true fat kid at heart I found the choice impossible and was forced to go back for seconds. The ice cream flavors themselves are quite limited but my word…just try it!

NB: An honorable mention should go to Stick House located on Via Vigevano. This parlor specializes in ice lollys but as it is not strictly ice cream it just missed out on the list.

Cioccolati Italiani

For all you chocolate lovers out there in the city, the name of this place should be enough motivation for a visit. Cioccolati Italiani prides itself to not be just a regular ice cream place or a shop that sells chocolate, but rather a chocolate laboratory. The restaurant goers are not just there to eat dessert, but are also spectators watching the chocolate, pastries and cakes being created in real time through glass windows that look into the kitchens. Their motto is lo facciamo davanti a tutti, which roughly translates to we make it [the chocolate] in front of everyone.

Located in the heart of Milan, just a few minutes walk from the Colonne di San Lorenzo, Cioccolati Italiani is not just trying to sell delicious desserts, but is also trying to promote the culture of chocolate-making and appreciation in Milan. The place has been open for about a year now, and is open seven days a week. If we had one complaint about Cioccolati Italiani, it would probably be that their menu is just too extensive. There is so much choice and variety that it takes you ages to finally settle upon what you want to order.

In this cold, grey Milanese winter, their cioccolata calda is a must-have! Their ice creams may be slightly more expensive than the ones in other gelaterias in Milan, but the portions are larger and the chocolate is much richer, not to mention the fact that the base of the cone is filled with liquid chocolate. The rest of their prices are also reasonable in terms of the quality of food being served. We also recommend you to try any of their cakes or crepes. And for those few of you who dislike all sweets, fear not, they even have a whole range of savory food, which is also quite delicious.

Cioccolati Italiani
Via Edmondo De Amicis, 25
20123 Milano
Tel: 02 89406651