With thousands of years of history spanning several empires, Italy is an educators' dream. From Roman ruins to Renaissance art and architecture, there's something for history buffs, art lovers, even musicians and writers. Add in a thriving modern culture and rich culinary heritage, and the result is a nearly perfect destination for a memorable student tour. In this year's World Cup, the Azzuri will be looking to reclaim their spot as a perennial powerhouse alongside the likes of Germany, Argentina, and host country Brazil
Italy: Seeking Redemption
FIFA Ranking: #9
Population: 61.3 million
Capital and Largest City: Rome
National Dish: If any country was to have three national dishes it would be Italy. Coincidentally they all start with P as pasta, polenta, and pizza are all considered national dishes.
Historic Sites: In Italy, the question isn't "Which sites do we need to see?" It's "Which sites can we bear to miss?" From the ancient Roman Coliseum to St. Peter's Basilica to the the Duomo in Florence to the canals in Venice to ... well, let's just say there's more to see in Italy than we could possibly pack into a single student tour.
Why it's good for student travel: Italy is a destination of wonder and beauty. Your students can tour the towns where Leonardo da Vinci lived and worked or explore the Venetian streets that Shakespeare brought to life in Romeo and Juliet. Your student group will enjoy Italy’s labyrinthine cities, alleys and marketplaces and soak up in the Italian culture, language and art.
Did you know: Rome is further north than New York City! New York City is actually about the same latitude as Naples, Italy.
Team Nickname: The Azzurri, Italy's nickname, refers to their blue kits (just like France). Though not part of the national flag colors, blue was the color of House Savoy, which unified Italy in 1861.
Best Player: There is no shortage of talent on this Italian team. Thier best player is captain Andrea Pirlo, and their keeper Gianluigi Buffon is considered to be one of the best in the world. They have a dynmaic scorer with Mario Balotelli.
2010 Finish: Knocked out in the group stage.
Current Results: W vs. England (2-1), L vs. Costa Rica (0-1), L vs. Uraguay (0-1)
Image: ESPN/ Cristiano Siqueira