facts about italy,
Fun Facts about Italy

Just for fun, here are some interesting facts about Italy that we find most intriguing. It’s difficult for a single article to make more than a scratch on the surface of the deep layers of a vibrant culture that spring from this nation. Apart from being interesting in their own right, this stuff might even come in handy as inspiration for your exploration of Italy from Venice to Puglia.

Facts about Italy 


As the hub of the Roman Empire and the site of even earlier Mediterranean cultures, Italy’s early history is known throughout the world as the primary source of western civilisation today. Much of the English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and of course Italian languages spring from the ancient Italian language of Latin. Much of today’s western and international laws also spring from those of the Romans.  

The roots of western Architecture and Design have their origins in Italy, whether from the Italian Renaissance of the fourteenth-seventeenth centuries or from the super-cool stylishness of Milan in the twentieth century. The Italian Renaissance also led the emergence of western civilisation from Europe’s three centuries of barbarism known as the Dark Ages. Apart from its artistic influence, this Italian initiative set the foundations for modern banking, capitalism, international diplomacy and hence even globalisation. And the modern worldwide love of fast food is partly rooted in Italian Pizza and Pasta.  

The shape of this country with its vast peninsula projecting halfway across the Mediterranean is immediately reminiscent of a boot kicking the triangular football of Sicily. But what we call Italy today was unified from independent states and principalities only in the late nineteenth century.   

official nameItalian Republic
size301,340 km2
population60 million
official languageItalian
religion83% Christianity, 12% No religion 4% Islam
flagTricolore – green, white and red
anthemIl Canto degli Italiani   “The Song of the Italians”
famous sitesRome: Colosseum, other sites: Pompei, Florence, Napels

Facts about Italy’s history


Very different from the semicircular theatres of the Ancient Greeks which were designed for cultural performances, Roman Amphitetres were circular or elliptical and designed for staged fights to the death between slaves for the entertainment of the free population of the empire. Not only enslaved men were made to fight each other, but wild animals were also imported from Africa for these brutal spectacles. These amphitheatres were common across the majority of the Roman empire, the most famous being the Colosseum in Rome, but they also existed as far away as Chester in the UK.

colloseum Rome
Colosseum – Rome – one of the most important Landmarks in Europe

Pompeii and Mt Vesuvius.
The city of Pompeii was destroyed and buried meters deep in hot ash during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79AD. It was not until 1748 that the town was discovered as the ash and lava was excavated. 
Much of the city was preserved by the debris from the volcano. This included 2,600 bodies of the city residents overtaken by the ash and preserved not frozen in time but cremated. The city is listed by UNESCO, and visitors are allowed to dig there in some zones to discover new buried relics. 

Italian Unification
1861 is generally regarded as the date of the unification of Italy from its constituent independent states, although Rome and Venice were not yet incorporated until decades later. Italian South Tyrol in the Alps was part of Austro-Hungary and later Austria until as late as 1919 with the last minor border change in 1947.  

Nations within Nations
You could argue that Italy is not completely unified even now since it is the only country in the world to surround not one but two other independent nation-states. The Vatican City in Rome and San Marino count as two of the world’s three enclaved nations, The only other being Lesotho, which is entirely surrounded by South Africa.

italy facts - biggest square
Vatican City in Rome – The smallest country in the world

Benito Mussolini was supported by the Italian monarchy in 1922 after the Great War, to assist with restoring government in difficult times – but once in power he soon established himself as a despotic totalitarian leader supported by the ruthless secret police. By the end of the Second World War, he was so unpopular that he was not only executed by firing squad, but his body was hung upside down in Milan to be spit at and stoned by the Italian public.

Italian Facts

Official name and official language and population
The official name of Italy is the Italian Republic. And the official language is Italian, but other languages and dialects are present. The population of Italy is 60 million.

Italian Regions
Italy is subdivided into 20 regions (regioni, singular regione), of which five – Sardinia, Sicily, Trentino-Alto Adige, Aosta Valley and Friuli-Venezia Giulia have special autonomous status and a greater degree of independence 

facts about Italy and Italy hidden gems

Italian Flag

Also known as l Tricolore in Italian, the national flag is composed of three vertical stripes of equal width, green near the pole, white in the middle, and red at the end. The three colours are symbolic: Green symbolises hope, White – faith, and Red – love or charity.

italy flag
Italian Flag – color meanings hope green faith white charity red

The current form of the flag dates back to 18th June 1946, and its adoption as the national flag was on 1st January 1948. From then on, the flag has been celebrated annually on 7th January. 

The Italian and Mexican flags are broadly similar, however, apart from the coat of arms in the middle of the white stripe of the Mexican flag, there are also differences in the shade of green and the proportions of the flags’ rectangular shapes.  

Geographical facts about Italy

The Boot
Italy is easy to recognize on any world map, as the country is shaped like a high-heeled boot, as you can see on any map. It looks like the boot is kicking a ball, which is the island of Sicily, don’t you think?

Italian Islands
Italy has over 450 islands, large and small. The biggest is Sicily, which is also the biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea.

The World’s Smallest Nation 
Rome’s Vatican City is the smallest among the countries in the world. The Pope is the leader of the Vatican City. 

Hilly or Mountainous
About four-fifths of the Italian landmass is either hilly or mountainous. The highest mountain peak is Mont Blanc (4807 m). Italian Alps have perfect ski slopes which you can enjoy in winter. We love San Martino

Italy has over 1000 rivers, some really small some long. The longest river is Po River at 652 km, second longest is Adige, and third Piave

All of Europe’s active volcanoes except those in Iceland are found in Italy. Italy has three active volcanoes: Vesuvius, Stromboli, and Etna. Etna, which is located on Sicily, is the most active volcano in Europe. – facts about Sicily

Italy has more than 1,500 lakes with the largest ones in the north. The biggest lake is lake Garda, followed by Maggiore and Como.

Italian cities
The biggest city in the country is Rome – the capital city with 2.9 million people. The second biggest city is Milan, followed by Naples and Turin. We loved Venice and even more Little Venice – Chioggia.

Greek flag

Do you want to learn more about Greece – Read Interesting facts about Greece

Fact about Tourism in Italy and Famous Sites

One of the Most Visited Countries
Italy is the fifth most popular tourist destination and receives between 40-50 million visitors from foreign countries annually.

Italy has the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Italy has 55 UNESCO world heritage sites ranking it at the head of the world, beating both China and India.

Fountain of Luck
According to legends, when one tosses a coin into the Trevi Fountain, you are bound to return to Rome sooner or later. Nowadays, tossing the coins is common among tourists, but the main people who started it are the Italians. All the collections made at the end of the day are distributed to charity. 

Home to the world’s most popular Pieces of art
Some of the world’s best pieces of art created by the Italian artists are found in Italy and available for viewing by visitors. For example, the marvelous Sistine Chapel ceiling art is a masterpiece of Michelangelo. The incredible David statue in Florence City. However, don’t look for Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa in Italy, for that you will have to go to Paris.

Home to Great art Museums  
If you are an art expert, Italy is the place to be. There are great art museums with fascinating pieces of art that will intrigue you. Some of these museums include Turin’s Museo Egizio, Rome’s Borghese Gallery & Museum, Vatican Museums – which is the 5th largest museum in the world, and Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia. 

Famous Italians 

Italy is a source of world-renowned artists
Italy has been the source of world-renowned artists throughout history, and especially during the Renaissance. Some names include Botticelli, Donatello, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo Da Vinci, among others. 

Italy is a source of great film stars
Many famous stars that are very popular and influential come from Italy. They include both from modern as well as classic cinema. Some of the common names you may recognise include, Monica Bellucci, Robert Benigni, Isabella Rossellini, and Sophia Loren. 

Facts about Italian Culture

Fun Facts about Animals in Italy 

Are Italians Superstitious? – oh, yes they are 

The Italians are said to be one of the world’s most superstitious peoples. Here are some of their quirks.

Facts about Italian Food – the yummiest cuisine in the world

Tomatoes and Cheese are central in Italian dishes – For many Italian dishes, cheese is a central ingredient. Some Italian cheeses include Pecorino, Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Parmesan, Bocconcini and Ricotta

Italian Gelato – Gelato is the treasured ice cream in Italy. And do you know why? It’s because gelato comes from fresh, natural ingredients. Surprisingly gelato is not made from cream but from milk and contains less fat, fewer calories and less sugar than other ice cream.

Free wine fountain – In the Abruzzo region, there is an actual free wine fountain that operates 24hours. The fountain is a local winery creation. It’s definitely a must-visit place if you are in the area. 

No European Country beats Italians in Pasta Consumption – Do you like pasta? This is the last question you should think of asking an Italian resident. Italians eat more pasta than anyone else in Europe. The average Italian takes up to 25kg of pasta annually. More than the 20kg you can take on an average economy flight. 

Italian pasta
Average Italian eat 20 kilo of pasta yearly

Italians did not invent pasta – As much as the Italians are leading Europe when it comes to pasta consumption, they didn’t invent it. There are stories that Marco Polo developed a taste for noodles on his trips to China, but pasta actually came into the country in the 13th century through Arab merchants. Traditionally, pasta was prepared using sugar and honey. But currently, there are countless recipes for preparing pasta. 

The pizza was invented in Naples, Italy – Pizza invention was in 1889 by Raffael Esposito in Naples. He is the founder of the mouth-watering “Pizza Margherita” the pizza portrayed the colours of the Italian flag in honour of the queen consort Margherita of Savoy. The colours red, green and white are from tomato, basil, and cheese. 

Love of Herbs – It used to be said in Britain that working people should not have baths in their houses for they would only use them to keep coal. The equivalent urban myth for Italy was that the working classes would grow basil in theirs. Whether this story is true or not Marjoram, Oregano and Basil are all redolent of the flavour of Italy.

Olive oil – Italy is one of the biggest producer of Olive oil. The 80% of Olive trees grows in Southern Italy region Puglia

Festival of “Eat Italian Food Day”– 13th February is a nationally recognised day where Italians celebrate the various kinds of native foods. So remember to mark your calendar in case you want to experience this exciting Italian holiday. 

Coffee – Whilst the Italians developed the espresso process, which is the basis of every coffee drunk in the world’s famous chains from Starbucks to Costa and back again. They aren’t the world’s top coffee drinkers. In fact, they don’t come close!

Even though the Italians consume Fourteen billion espressos and the average household consumes 37kg of coffee per annum, they are only 13th place in the world in per capita consumption.  
The Finns consume more than twice as much, and the other Scandinavian countries are not far behind. Check how much coffee other countries are drinking.
But we think Italian coffee is about the tastiest and cheapest in Europe, in Puglia on average we paid 1 euro for an espresso.

Espresso Coffee

Perhaps the most famous Italian invention is connected with a whole line of Italian names. In 1884, the first espresso machine patent was taken by Angelo Moriondo from Turin. This was a bulk brewer and used compressed steam, not water. The process was refined successively by his compatriots. In 1901, Luigi Bezzera, from Milan, patented the “Tipo Gigante”. Then Desiderio Pavoni bought Bezzera’s patent and with “La Pavoni” company brought the commercial brewing of espresso coffee, to the United States, but it was not until 1938 that two other Italians, Achille Gaggia and Antonio Cremonesi forced hot water rather than steam through roasted ground coffee to make today’s espresso. The first commercial sale of this second generation espresso was at Achille Gaggia’s coffee bar in Milan. 

Italian wine Italy is the world’s largest wine producer! Italy makes over 19% of world production and is the largest wine exporter. In Italian supermarkets, you can buy wine in 1litre cartons like milk, or in – 200 ml cartons (as in other places you buy juice for kids) and in 5 litre plastic bottles – and we were delighted to discover this is a great wine. Italians love wine, and we love Italian wine too!

Italy Facts – Conclusion

Whatever you have read here, we think that Italy has endless depth and interest. It’s a great place to visit in winter for skiing, in summer to enjoy the beach and off-season to see all the interesting sites. 

Italy Fun Facts – Pin it for later

italy Facts pin

Privacy Policy Disclaimer

This website uses affiliate links for income and support.

If you like our website, please consider using these links. You will be directed to the vendor, and we will get a small commission on your purchase price at no increased cost to you.

We have researched facts stated here as far as practicable but please check anything critical before committing your time and money. We do not claim any special knowledge or expertise, and we are not consultants for our readers.