Family is the first and foremost priority for Italians. Second is food -- Italians love to eat and talk about food. They’ll debate the best Bolognese sauce in Bologna, the crispiest Neapolitan pizza in Naples, and the juiciest grilled steak Florentine in Florence. The list goes on and on.

Italians take pride in their culinary heritage, and a journey through Italy is as much about visiting historic sites and museums as it is about sampling the fare. In every city and town, there’s a favorite restaurant or food shop for this and that. Uncovering them is easy -- just ask the locals.

Italians also are skilled artisans. While master craftsmen are becoming rarer in European countries, Italy remains a haven for artists. In Venice, they still model masks out of clay as well as papier-mâché. Around Florence, many families take pride in fashioning handmade paper and stationery and leather goods. Sicilian potters are known for their colorful ceramics.

On the island of Sardinia, visitors can watch artisans weave rush, straw and willow into baskets. There’s a ceramic tradition here, too along with gold and silver items. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and many more treasures are waiting to be uncovered in Italy. 

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