Italy is one of the most beautiful countries in the entire world. Not just Europe, every nation is fascinated by the advancements this country has seen since the Roman Empire. If you are one of the admirers of this great nation, you will love the facts about Italy presented here.
You may know all the basic things related to Italian food and architecture, but there are many fascinating details about these facts that you might be unaware of. Let’s take a closer look at intriguing Italy and see what makes it different from other countries!
17 Amazing Facts about Italy
1. It Is Among the Youngest Western European Countries
Given the historical value of Italy, you would think that it is among the oldest countries in the world, but that’s not true! Italy was established in 1861, making it one of the youngest European countries.
Italy was a single place during Roman times but later divided into sovereign states. The region remained that way until 1861. This individuality factor has added to the richness of cultural variations in this region!
2. It Has the Most World Heritage Sites Globally
Italy has a total of 55 world heritage sites which does not look like a big number until we compare it with the other countries!
Besides the Colosseum and Mount Etna, many historical sites are spread across the nation, inviting curious tourists to visit the country and enjoy the history of the region with the Italians.
If you ever plan a trip to Italy, make sure you visit at least half of them in one trip!
3. Rome Is Older Than Italy
Rome was built in 753 BC, which makes it at least 2000 years old. Most of the historic stories and locations in Italy can be attributed to the Roman Empire and those who lived in this region for centuries.
The Roman Empire started in 27 BC, and it ruled entire Europe with some parts of North Africa until 395 BC. When the empire fell, Italy got separated into small independent states.
Also be sure to see our complete guide to Rome
4. How Many Daily Visitors Does the Sistine Chapel Have?
Sistine Chapel is one of the most visited places in Italy, with over 20,000 visitors per day!
Michelangelo completed the Sistine ceiling masterpiece in 1512, and people from all over the world have been visiting the chapel to appreciate the great artist’s work.
This chapel has importance not only for the ceiling but also for the Papal Conclave and the official residence of the pope!
5. Italy Was Under Dictatorship for Two Decades!
In 1925, Benito Mussolini established his dictatorship in Italy and stayed in power until 1945.
This era is one of the defining moments of modern Italy, given its history with rulers and empires.
Mussolini was known as Il Duce, who started his political career as a radical socialist and turned into a fascist as he came into power.
6. The Last Royal Ruled for 36 Days Only
A royal family ruled Italy until 1946, almost a year after the dictatorship ended.
When the Italians wanted to become a republic nation after the WWII fiasco, King Umberto II, the last king of Italy, had to step down.
He ruled 36 days from May 9th to June 12th in 1946. He is also known as the ‘May King.’ Umberto spent his last days exiled in Portugal.
7. Pinocchio Has Its Roots in Italy
The wooden boy we all love from our childhood stories is not an English children’s story character.
Carlo Collodi penned Pinnochio and his story in 1880, which was later serialized in a children’s newspaper.
8. How Many Shakespeare’s Plays are Set in Italy?
Among the most iconic playwrights of Europe, Shakespeare has set an extremely high standard for English literature.
The 38 plays he wrote are still among the best works, but what makes them special is that he chose to set most of them in Italy. 13 out of 38 plays by Shakespeare have an Italian setting.
‘Romeo and Juliet’ takes place in Verona, ‘Julius Caesar’ in Rome, and ‘Othello’ in Venice.
9. Tourists Throw Away €1,000,000 Every Year in This Fountain
Trevi Fountain has a legend that if you toss a coin in it, you will return to Rome. Tourists from all over the world visit the fountain and toss their coins every day.
Given the number of visitors this fountain has, it’s not shocking that a total of €3,000 is left in it every day. This makes around €1,000,000 every year, and the money is donated to charity.
10. The Three Active Volcanoes of Europe Are Here!
Mount Etna, Stromboli, and Vesuvius are the three active volcanoes in Italy. Vesuvius has been dormant since 1944, but the effects of its wrath can be seen in Pompeii when the volcano erupted in 76 AD .
Mount Stromboli is on a small island somewhere near Sicily. It’s not dangerous, but having an experienced guide is recommended. Mount Etna last erupted in 2021, which makes it the hottest site to visit in Italy, literally and figuratively.
11. The First Thermometer was Invented in Italy
Santorio Santorio was an Italian who invented the thermometer in 1612. It was the first time anyone had an instrument that displayed the exact temperature.
Although Galilio had previously worked on a thermometer-like instrument, his invention served a different purpose than the thermometer.
12. Italians Consume 14 Billion Espressos Per Year
Italy has over 20,000 baristas working to make beverages for coffee consumers. The average household consumption is 37 kg/year.
If you are a coffee enthusiast, you will love spending time in Italy, where you can get a coffee any time of the day. Just do not order Cappuccino before 11 am—it’s kind of an unspoken rule!
13. Italians Eat Salad After the Meal
One would think they are having the salad for dessert but actually, that’s not the final course.
Italians eat the salad after the main course as they believe the fiber helps in the digestion of the food.
After the salad, they have two more courses, one is fruits, and the last one is dessert. If you are ever in Italy, dining with the fine folks, do not get your courses mixed up!
14. Italy Has a Wine Fountain. And It’s Free!
Caldari di Ortona is a small town that hosts the stuff of dreams for many people. There is a free red wine fountain, called Fontana di Vino, that flows 24 hours a day.
It has locally-grown wine that is free for anyone to drink and enjoy. You can find the fountain in the Dora Sarchese vineyard. If you ever visit Italy, do not forget to check out the marvelous site!
15. Pasta Has Been Around Since 4 BC
Italians are astonishing when it comes to reviving their cuisine and creating delicious recipes for everyone to enjoy.
But one thing that is not new to their cuisine is pasta. Despite the modern-looking style of the dish, it has been around since 4 BC. You can easily verify this fact by looking at pre-Roman paintings that show the early pasta-making tools.
16. Europe’s Oldest Population Is in Italy
Japan has the oldest population when we consider the entire world, but within Europe, Italy has the oldest population.
The average age in Italy is 45.7 years. Sardinia is part of the five Blue Zones in the entire world as it has one of the oldest populations alive.
Another fascinating fact about the population is that the average age will be 54 by 2050, according to some estimates.
17. Italians Have the Highest Variety of Cheese in the World
What makes Italian cuisine so ravishing is their quality of cheese, or should we say quantity? Italians have the highest variety of cheese with more than 2,500 types.
Honestly, this is among the top five things about Italy! We all know the most common ones like mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta, and provolone, but there are so many other delicious cheeses from Italy that will make your mouth water.
Italy is the largest cheese producer in all of Europe after France and Germany. If you are a cheese fanatic like us, you should definitely head over to Lombardy, which serves 77 cheese varieties. Delicious, right?!
101 Facts about Italy
Are you interested in more facts? In this 30-minute thrill ride, you’ll learn all about the lovely country of ITALY!
Did you enjoy these amazing facts about Italy? We hope you did because it’s always fun to share and learn about one of the most interesting countries in Europe! O
ur favorite fact, hands down, was about the salad for dessert thing! Italians sure know how to live life on their own terms and make it a trending style for the rest of the world to follow!
Hi I’m Jay. I grew up in Seattle, Washington and live in Los Angeles, California. I have travelled to 23 countries so far and planning to go explore more countries soon! My Favorite trips so far have been to Israel, Japan, Rome, Iceland and Australia. I started this site to share my love of travel with everyone and build a community of like-minded, free thinking, free exploring people.