The beautiful destination of Europe has long held an allure for travellers looking to soak up some history and sample oodles of local cuisine. Notably, the countries of France and Italy attract millions of visitors and tourists on an annual basis. But for those heading to the European continent, there’s one question that many ask: Italy or France? France or Italy? Here’s your ultimate guide to France vs Italy, which you should visit and why!
Both countries have incredible capitals in the form of Rome and Paris. Both European destinations are filled with picturesque medieval towns, ancient olive groves, and are well-known for their incredible taste in fashion and food. So in order to decide which country is best for you to visit, here’s a break down of what France and Italy do best, respectively!
Paris or Rome: Which city should you visit?
There is a quote about Paris and a quote about Rome that says “Solo Parigi è degna di Roma, solo Roma è degna di Parigi” (Only Paris is worthy of Rome; only Rome is worthy of Paris). Indeed this is the motto of the twinned capital cities, and they have been twinned with only one another since 1956.
Who wins? Tie! Both Paris and Rome have so much to offer even the most discerning of travellers that it’s impossible to say which is the best to visit and so, if you’re planning a trip to Europe, then you should definitely try and book a stay in both of the twinned cities! Paris and Rome both boast incredible nightlifes, wonderful foodie scenes, and are literally open air museums in their own right. As such, it’s definitely impossible to say which is the better of the two cities!
History & Culture
While France was once at the heart of the Holy Roman Empire, as founded by Charlemagne at the beginning of the 9th-century, Italy was the very centre of the Roman Empire some two thousand years ago.
As such, both are filled with plenty of things to see, do, and of course, visit. Both have ancient monasteries worth exploring, the two boats oodles of castles, as well as plenty of romantic ruins perfect for exploring during a honeymoon, or even a weekend away with your partner!
Who wins? Tie! Both countries offer countless museums and the experience to delve into a living past. So, when it comes to France vs Italy, then find out what fascinates you most (Medieval towns? Roman ruins?) and seek out some places on the map you’d most like to visit…
Food & Drink
Those who eat a meat-free diet are free to indulge in plenty of amazing foods when in Italy (many pizza and pasta dishes are based on oil produce, rather than butter). That being said, those travelling through France will likely face more food-related challenges.
After all, even as a vegetarian, it can be hard to find non-meat options in the French countryside and I often find myself ordering specific meat-free request! However, when it comes to the wines, both countries are known for their great selections (some of the best in the world), especially the Tuscany region of Italy and the Bordeaux region of France.
Who wins? Like many of the options on this list, where you should go totally depends on your preference! If you love carb based foods, then head to Italy! After all, where better to eat plenty of wheat-based foods than in the land of pizza and pasta? If you prefer meat, fish, and dairy produce then you should visit France. Unless, of course, you fancy some traditional gelato…
Cities, Towns & Villages
For those as fascinated with medieval history as I am, Italy and France are both a safe bet for learning all about the history of Europe through exploration. And, of course, if you prefer fashion, art, or decorative designs then both the Milan Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Weeks need no introduction. And, of course, when looking at coastal escapades or countryside escapes, the decision between choosing to visit France vs Italy gets no easier!
Who wins? Tie!
Landscape, Coast, and Sea
Both France and Italy have incredible wine routes. Head to Bordeaux if you want a vine-inspired French adventure, while Tuscany is the place to go if you’re looking for an Italian vino destination. And when it comes to the coastline, both countries are home to glittering stretches of Mediterranean coastline, perfect for lazy days on the beach, adventurous water sports activities, or long walks alongside an azure blue sea.
Who wins? Tie!
Architecture and Design
The Louvre, Château de Chambord, Palace of Versailles, and Mont Saint Michel vs the likes of the Pantheon, Certosa di Pavia, Duomo di Milano, Leaning Tower of Pisa. How do you even choose? When it comes to deciding which country to visit if you’re an architecture and design lover, then both are well worth a visit.
Who wins? Like with many of these questions in the toss up between France vs Italy for your next holiday destination, then it all just depends on which country fascinates you more! If you want to experience ancient architecture, both countries offer bridges, colosseums, and artifacts dating back to antiquity. And if you prefer more modern design, then the bigger cities of Milan, Lyon, Paris, and Rome all have their own unique and inspired architectural offerings.
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