Italy is by no means an unexplored country. Millions of people flock to its streets and sites of beauty every year to see some of the most iconic and influent sights in the world. One of the best things about the country are its hidden secrets – its small facts and random characteristics. Here are just a few of them. Read ahead for the best fun facts about Italy.
Italy is a land of masterpieces
Ok, maybe you already knew this one. Receiving millions of tourists every year, it is no surprise that Italy is a country full of wonderful landmarks. Its art is some of the most celebrated in the world. Its history, creative culture, and architecture are similarly admired. But this is all also officially recognized. The country officially contains more masterpieces per square mile than any other nation.
It is steeped in mountainous beauty
When you think of Italy, maybe first you think of pasta, opera, and the Pope. When you think of Italian nature, you might think of the beautiful coastlines, the world class beaches and hidden fishing villages within ocean coves. Although it does indeed contain all of this, it is mostly made up of mountainous terrain. Indeed, 4 / 5 of Italian land is at least hilly, making it the perfect destination for hikers, as well as sunbathers.
A dog made its riches
A strange but true story – Italy was once home to the richest dog in the world. A truffle in Tuscany was discovered in 2007 by a dog called Rocco. Weighing 3.3 pounds, it was sold for a record price of $333,000. The country is full of wealth, and even a dog can prove it.
Food, food, food – Italians taught Europe how to cook
This isn’t so much a fun fact about Italy, as it is a mind set of the country. Italians love their food and take cuisine very seriously. They take responsibility for the culinary delights of the continent. The first national cookbook was written in 1474, and since then, the Italian obsession for food has only grown stronger. Any visitor to Italy will know the importance of Italian food as an inherent part of its culture and history.
Wine, wine, wine
Another real stereotype – Italians love their wine. Fun fact of Italy: the average Italian drinks 26 gallons of wine every year. That’s a lot of wine. It is the largest wine producer in the world. So if you love a glass of wine at the end (or middle) of everyday – this is the country for you!
Italy is OLD
Fact – Italy is old. Fun fact? Well, history enthusiasts would say so. Indeed, it’s difficult not to gain some joy from the diverse stories, histories and cultural roots that make up the country. It is home to over 40 UNESCO Heritage Sites. Its impressive heritage is what draws so many people every year. But just how old is this magnificent nation?
The University of Rome, in the heart of Italy, is one of the oldest in the world. Originally founded by Catholics in 1303, it has grown into the largest in Europe.
Italy also contains the oldest republic in the world – San Marino. With only 30,000 citizens, it is a small yet constant community, located in the central northern region of the country.
The capital city of Rome is so old it is often called the Eternal City. Its history dated back 3,000 years and contains some of the most iconic architecture and landmarks in the world, including St Peter’s Dome, the Sistine Chapel, the Trevi Fountain and the Coliseum.
There are two independent nations within Italy
One is San Marino, the oldest republic in the world dating back to 301 AD. The other is the globally famous Vatican City.
A tiny country in the heart of Rome, Vatican City, is technically its own nation. For proof, it supplies its own phone, radio and TV companies, its own money and stamps. The Swiss Guard is the Army for the Vatican. A bizarre, yet true, fun fact about Italy – there is an entire country within the capital.
Italy has Europe’s highest mountain
Perhaps unexpected, considering its mountain-filled neighbors, but Italy, in fact, holds the highest peak in Europe. Monte Bianco is located in the north of the country, as part of the Alps. It reaches 15,771 feet high and invites skiers and hikers to its terrifying but magnificent slopes.
Italy is packed full of people
Possibly another surprising fun fact about Italy is that it is the fourth most populated country in Europe. Its laid back lifestyle doesn’t suggest bustling streets and busy cities. But, home to 60 million people, it is indeed packed full of people. In fact, the entire country is the same size as the state of Arizona. The state of Arizona contains only 6 million people. It is a busy country. But don’t let that put you off! If anything, it only adds to the endless energy of the place.
Italy is a victim of earthquakes
Compared to countries that are famously plagued by earthquakes, it is surprising to find out that the country sits on a major fault line. However, it suffers from hundreds of earthquakes year, although some are too small even to be felt. Major earthquakes do in fact happen and even more common are volcanoes. Within the past 100 years, Italy has suffered from numerous volcanic explosions. Erna, Vesuvius, and Stromboli have all erupted in the last century, making Italy one of the hot spots for natural disasters in Europe.
Italy is an inventor
We have Italy to thank for many of our favorite things. Pianos, thermometers (ok, maybe not a favorite exactly), the typewriter, opera and, of course, two national favorites – pasta and the espresso machine. Thank you!
A country of fountains
People think of Italy as a county of many things. A country of churches. A country of pasta. A country of coffee. But Italy is also a country of fountains. Rome alone has 50 major fountains and hundreds of smaller ones. Visitors will realise how easily you get used to seeing one around every corner. One of the best is the iconic Trevi Fountain, which stretches 86 feet high into the air. The tradition goes that if you throw a coin over your shoulder, behind you into the fountain, you are guaranteed to return to Rome. Fun fact about Italy: the result is that $3000 gets thrown into the fountain every single day.
Do you have any more fun facts abut Italy? Let us know in the comments below!