July 2010 • People in Slovenia don't mind if you confuse their country with Slovakia, but they'll scowl hard if you compare them with Italy—the next-door neighbor that still struts around like an arrogant emperor. Slovenia itself has plenty to be proud of. It was the first of Yugoslavia's republics to break away and declare independence in 1991—their war lasted all of 3 days with a minimum of bloodshed, unlike the independence movements in nearby Croatia and Bosnia. Today Slovenia is a pint-size member of the EU and a great place to visit. English is widely spoken, prices are half those of western Europe, and Slovenes are genuinely happy to welcome visitors.