There is a distinct difference between the North and South of Italy. I find the South of Italy to be more raw, real, not as industrious yet still lively, full of history, and a chaotic feel that is purposeful and freeing. Much of Italy has somewhat of a chaotic feel, with city congestion, traffic, and geographic make-up—mountains down its center and top and surrounded by waters. In the South there is an unstructured feel unlike its northern counterpart.
All of Italy has a movement of time that is unlike that of America. It’s a little slower, a little less frenetic, and more moment-to-moment even in its bigger and more modern cities like Milan. This moment-to-moment feel is much more evident in the South of Italy. It is what brings a sense of peace to the chaos. I highly recommend visiting the bigger, more touristy cities; yet, I stress strongly that the south of Italy must be seen, otherwise Italy’s true essence will be missed.