“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
― Mark Twain, from The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It
Mark Twain, aka Samuel Clemens, first visited Italy in 1867 in what he called "the first organized pleasure party ever assembled for a transatlantic voyage". In 1869 he published The Innocents Abroad, a detailed account of a six month long journey through most of Europe and the Holy Land. In 1867 Italy was already a unified country, with the sole exception of Rome and Latium, which were still ruled by the Pope.
The quotation above is still true today. As we travel the world--especially as Americans--we are rightfully humbled by the majesty of thousands of years of history, art and architecture. We realize that Europe, and even Italy itself, are the original melting pots. When traveling we open our eyes to different customs, lifestyles, religion and even food. If you take the time to learn another language, you will open yourself up to even more of what the world has to offer...
So, if you find yourself "vegetating in one little corner of the earth", take Twain's advice.
"They examine passports on the Italian frontier for fear an honest man may slip in." --Twain, 1878