Almost everyone knows something about the United States of America, even if they have never visited this huge country. American brands, myths and images they are familiar all over the world, also thanks to the cinema.
The Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Hollywood sign, the neon of Las Vegas, the Golden Gate, the White House, from Apple computers to Levis jeans, from Coca-Cola to hot dogs, are global icons around the world who created the myth and the American dream.
Although its cities such as New York, New Orleans, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco attract the majority of tourists, America is first and foremost a land of extraordinarily diverse and beautiful landscapes.
In one nation to have such a thing great variety of landscapes it is something truly incredible. From mighty Rocky Mountains to spectacular waterfalls, from the vast and mythical desert landscapes of the Southwest to the endless rolling plains of Texas and Kansas, from the tropical beaches and Everglades of Florida to the giant sequoias of California, to the peaceful and pristine villages of New England .
But not only that, it is possible to enjoy fascinating views in Crater Lake, Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks, admire the charm of the Grand Canyon, hike the Black Hills, take a cruise on the Great Lakes, paddle the Mississippi, sail the warm waters of Oahu and get lost in the vast desert of the Alaska.
Or you can easily plan a trip that focuses on destinations outside the traditional tourist feel, remote prairies, disturbing ghost towns and forgotten paths that also represent the American, as its icons and monuments the flagship.
The size of the country prevents any kind of general statement about the typical American experience, as well as the diversity of its people undermines any notion of the typical American.
Icons like Louis Armstrong, Martin Luther King, Mohammed Ali, Abraham Lincoln, Elvis Presley, Walt Disney, Sitting Bull, Mark Twain, John Wayne, Michael Jordan, Madonna, will continue to inspire and entertain the whole world. With all the American musical innovations: blues, country, jazz, rock 'n' roll and hip-hop.
There are Irish Americans, Italian Americans, African Americans, Chinese Americans and Latinos, Texan cowboys and Bronx crooks, Alabama shepherds, New England fishermen, Las Vegas showgirls and Hawaiian surfers. . Even if they look very different, the only one which holds this bizarre federation together it is the often maligned "American dream".
While the United States is one of the oldest still functioning democracies in the world and the roots of its presence in Europe go back to the 1500s, the palpable sense of newness here creates a strange optimism, in which everything seems possible and luck can strike anyone at any time.
In fact, the aspects of American culture they can be difficult for many visitors to understand, despite the apparent familiarity, his obsession with weapons; the widespread belief that "government" is bad; pride in the American Revolution and the 200 years of the United States Constitution; the equally genuine belief that the United States is the "greatest country on earth"; the wild protagonism of its politicians (especially in elections); and the puzzling contradictions of its great liberal and open-minded traditions with capitalism, extreme cultural and religious conservatism.
This is America: varied, stimulating, seductive, exasperating at times, but always fun and always evolving. And while there is no such thing as an American person or landscape, there may be few places in the world where foreigners can feel as confident of receiving a warm welcome as in the United States.