A rich history and culture, exquisite food, architecture, and scenery – these are some of the factors that attract visitors to Italy year after year, either that or the magic of the Trevi Fountain. Home to numerous lakes, mountain ranges, and Venetian Canals, there is plenty of fun and interesting facts about Italy, some of which are still unknown to people.
Here, we shall explore this nation through 30+ facts about Italy that cover everything from the history and geography of the country to its delicacies and scientific accomplishments.
Food Facts About Italy
We all know that Italy is famous for its pizza and pasta dishes, but is that really it? Curated here are some fun facts about Italy and its love for food!
1. Gelato or Ice Cream?
Italians invented the ice cream cone and ice cream. They are also known for inventing Gelato, which is healthier than ice cream and has a more intense flavor.
When we hear pizza, we think of Italy. An inevitable part of our life today, pizza as we know it originated in Naples in the 18th century.
3. Pasta and Italians – An Unbreakable Bond
Italy is famed for various delicacies, and one of these is their delicious pasta. Pasta has been a part of Italian culture since the 4th century BC. With over 200 different shapes of pasta ranging from fresh Pappardelle to Carbonara and Spaghetti, Italy surely offers the best pasta dishes in the world.
An interesting fact about Italy is that an Italian is known to consume 25 kg of pasta on average each year, which is understandable considering how delightful their pasta is!
4. Fontana di Vino – Italy’s Free Wine Fountain
What if we said you could get free wine 24/7? Sounds like something out of a dream? In the small Italian town of Caldari di Ortona, there stands in all its glory – Fontana di Vino, with red wine flowing non-stop throughout the day.
Wine is another item that Italians consume a lot, with 26 gallons of wine consumed by an average Italian per year. One of the interesting facts about Italy is that it is one of the largest exporters of wine in the world, producing varieties such as pinot grigio, cianti, and Barolo.
One of the best places to go on a wine-tasting tour in Italy is the magical town of Tuscany.
5. Say Cheese!
Another one among the interesting facts about Italy is the large variety of cheeses it has brought to the world, which comes to well above 2500 types. In Lombardy alone, there are 77 varieties of cheese made. Italy also comes third in the European Union in terms of cheese production. Some popular varieties of cheese are provolone, parmesan, ricotta, and gorgonzola.
6. “Pick Me Up” an Energy Booster!
One of the most famous Italian desserts is the Tiramisu, which originated in Treviso, a Venetian town. Tiramisu translates to “pick me up” in English. This is indicative of its high energy content. The dessert originated as a means of stimulating consumers through its strong ingredients such as caffeine, sugar, and eggs.
7. 14 Billion Espressos Per Year?
Just like pasta and wine, coffee is another beverage that Italians consume plentifully. Another fun fact is that Italians drink around 14 billion espressos every year, with an average household consumption of 37 kg of coffee annually.
8. First Things First, Let’s Find Italy!
We definitely aren’t moving any further without spotting this wonderful country! Italy is a country in the European Union and is shaped like a boot. Yes, you read that right! Italy is that boot-shaped country towards the south of Europe, possibly the easiest country to find on a map.
9. Where is the Smallest Country in the World?
One of the many interesting facts about Italy is that the smallest country in the world is located in Italy. “A country within a country?” you might wonder. The Vatican City is the smallest country in the world, spanning 44 hectares and housing the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Cathedral. Home to the Roman Catholic Church, this city-state is led by the Pope and located inside Rome.
Italy also surrounds San Marino, another one of the world’s smallest countries.
10. Things are Getting Heated Up, Literally!
We might have come across Mt. Vesuvius, the volcano that left the city of Pompeii in ashes. Mt. Vesuvius, along with Mt. Etna and Mt. Stromboli, is the only active volcanoes in Europe. All of these active volcanoes are located in southern Italy; Mt. Vesuvius in Naples, Mt. Etna on the island of Sicily, and Mt. Stromboli off the Sicilian Coast.
11. Hills and Mountain Ranges
Italy is known for its hilly terrain and remarkable hiking trails. Two mountain ranges are running through Italy, The Alps and The Apennines. The Alps run along the country’s northern border and separates Italy from its neighboring countries of Slovenia, Switzerland, France, and Austria. The Apennines run along with the boot, separating the eastern and western regions of the country.
The highest mountain in the Alps, Monte Bianco or Mont Blanc, is located in Italy. It is a popular destination for outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing.
12. Home to 1500+ Lakes
Italy is speckled with over 1500 lakes and an abundance of water activities. From popular lakes such as Lake Como and Lake Garda to lesser-known beauties such as Lake Iseo, Italy is truly a haven for lovers of calm waters.
Historical and Cultural Facts About Italy
13. The Mighty Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was founded in 27 BC and reigned over most of Europe and portions of North Africa. With a rich history lining its existence, Rome is a city that is more than 2000 years old. Yet, Italy is one of the youngest countries in the European Union. The country was only unified in 1861 to form the Kingdom of Italy, which lasted till 1946.
14. Italian Explorers
Another one among the facts about Italy that catches our eyes is that Italy was home to several explorers, such as Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, Marco Polo, and John Cabot.
Originally from Genoa, Italy, Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci discovered the Americas. Marco Polo is known for his explorations of Asia and the eastern world through the Silk Route.
15. Benito Mussolini: Italian Dictatorship
When exploring facts about Italy, it is almost impossible not to mention how this country with a colorful history was under dictatorship for 20 years. The dictator was none other than Benito Mussolini, who went on to side with Adolf Hitler and eventually with Nazi Germany during World War II.
16. King Umberto II: Italy’s Last King
Until the year 1946, Italy had a royal family, although it was being ruled by Benito Mussolini. King Umberto II was the last King of Italy and was also known as “the May King” because he ruled only for 36 days, from 9th May to 12th June of 1946.
17. Bella Ciao
Popularized through the Netflix series Money Heist, Bella Ciao is an Italian folk song that originated during a protest by paddy field workers in the 19th century. They protested against their tough working conditions.
18. Trevi Fountain
Located in the capital city of Rome, the Trevi Fountain has a legend associated with it, which makes it another addition to our list of facts about Italy. Among the numerous fountains in Rome, the Trevi fountain is the oldest, standing tall at 86 feet.
It is said that by tossing a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder and into the fountain, you will return to Rome. Almost a million pounds of change is tossed into the fountain per year, which proceeds to charity. This tradition is also symbolic of the generosity of Italians.
19. Oldest University In Europe
The oldest university in Europe, the University of Bologna, is located in Italy. Italy is home to 4 out of the top 10 oldest universities globally, which is greater than any other country in the world.
20. Home to 50+ UNESCO World Heritage Sites
One of the most noteworthy facts about Italy is its rich historical remnants and heritage sites. With over 50 world heritage sites, they are a haven for history buffs and archaeological enthusiasts. To know more about the World Heritage Sites in Italy, click here.
Innovation and Italy
Along with food and culture, Italy also has its fair share of scientific explorations. Here we have some interesting facts about Italy and its scientific expeditions.
21. The Nuclear Reactor
Enrico Fermi is the Italian Inventor who invented the first-ever nuclear reactor.
Fiat is a well-known automobile company that was founded in Italy in the year 1899.
Owned by Piaggio & Co. SpA, the Vespa is yet another Italian brand headquartered in Tuscany, Italy.
Yet another Italian invention, can you imagine your life without corrected vision? Romans have used glass to view texts enlarged, and the first pair of lenses that rested on the nose to correct vision were invented in 13th century Italy. Even today, Italy is known to produce some of the most stylish eyewear.
The sound of the keys being tapped and letters being printed on paper is definitely something that motivates me to write better! The classic typewriter, which is slowly fading away, is another Italian invention. The Italian inventor Pellegrino Turri invented one of the first-ever typewriters.
Santorio Santorio was the brains behind the thermometer, with his invention that could measure the exact temperature. Today, health professionals greatly depend on this Italian genius to detect various health issues.
The barometer is another Italian invention invented by Evangelista Torricelli in the city of Florence. Today, barometers are used for monitoring and predicting the weather.
Another Italian Invention, the battery, was invented by Alessandro Volta, an Italian scientist in 1800.
Other Italian inventions include nitroglycerin by Ascanio Sobrero, an Italian chemist, and wireless telegraphy by Guglielmo Marconi.
Amidst these facts about Italy and its scientific contributions, there is one prominent figure we cannot leave out. Leonardo da Vinci, one of the most talented individuals ever known, was another Italian artist and scientist known for his innumerous inventions. With diverse multi-disciplinary interests, Leonardo da Vinci worked on biology, arts, science, and engineering, among many others. Truly a gem to the country and the world, da Vinci is also known for his paintings such as Mona Lisa and Salvator Mundi.
Craving for More?
There are so many more interesting facts about Italy, and we just can’t let you go without a few more jaw-dropping reveals!
29. Feline Friends
Italians are especially caring towards cats, with over 300,000 cats in Rome alone. Cats are considered as a bio-cultural heritage in Italy, with strict laws against their ill-treatment. Even today, killing a cat could mean 3 years in prison and a fine of up to €10,000 for the perpetrator.
30. Tifosi – Carriers of Typhus
Sounds like the spread of disease? Fear not! Italians are extremely passionate about football, so much that they call themselves Tifosi, meaning carriers of typhus. This just indicates how much of a national sensation the game is.
31. Thieves, Beware!
The Italian police vehicle fleet includes the Lamborghini Huracan, which can achieve a top speed of 217 mph. Something to look out for before stepping into trouble ;)!
32. You’ll Never Run Out of Places to Stay At!
In the year 2019, Italy was listed as the country with the highest number of hotels in Europe, which is justified considering their massive tourist inflow each year.
Italy is a country with a population of over 60 million people. The Venetian canals, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Colosseum are just some of the many attractions here. Italy’s popularity as a tourist destination is clear from the fact that it is the fifth most visited country in the world. A haven for art, history, and nature enthusiasts and food lovers, Italy is an all-encompassing country that is a must-visit location.
While there are so many more facts about Italy, these are a few that caught our eye. Comment down below your favorite facts and add to the list!