Is the Best of Italy Really the Best of Italy?

I did a Bing search the other day on the Best of Lists. The  Best of Italy came up with 530,000,000 results. 7,880,000 results for Best of Tuscany. 13,300,000 results for the Top 10 Things to Do in Florence and 193,000,000 results for Best Place to Eat in Italy. Google web pages, images and videos totaled 1,440,000,000. I’ve been traveling to Italy for 15 years and driven over 15,000 miles on road trips with my Italian family and friends and I would be the first to say that Italy is AMAZING.

There should be no excuse to come back from a trip to Italy without boasting about the most wonderful food you ate, wine you drank and what you saw but can everything be the best?

Travel related websites and guidebooks are not shy about giving their opinions on what they consider to be the best. Frommer’s has multiple Best of Lists including one of my favorites (Italy’s Best-Loved Driving Tours) . Gayot’s recommends the Top 10 Hotels for a buona vacanza. At Fodor’s you can find just about the best of everything including the best cathedrals, ruins, museums, luxury and mid-range hotels. There are ezine articles by “expert” authors and tips from TV personalities and travel gurus. BBC’s Lonely Planet, the largest travel guide book and digital media publisher in the world, is used by over 600,000 travellers for trade tips and travel recommendations. Publications, numbers and experts would lead us to believe that we should take their advice. Like the famous TV commercial of the 70’s when the once powerful Wall Street firm E.F. Hutton advised investors that “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen”, shouldn’t we be listening when we’re told this is the best of?  Yet even the word “best” is relative, defined as  “most likely to succeed; most likely to come near to the desired outcome, most intimate; liked, trusted, and confided in more than anybody else”.

So what’s a traveler to do. It would be foolish to ignore the advice of travel insiders yet there is a Danish proverb that says “he who builds to every man’s advice will have a crooked house”. Avoid the lemming mentality of travel.  Don’t just blindly jump off the travel cliff and hope for the best. Determine what is most likely to come near to the desired outcome of  your travel experience. Research your options and look to trusted sources that share the same aesthetic for travel that you do. Not everything is the best for everybody. Discovering the good, better and best of travel is part of your travel experience. Begin to make your list now.

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