With a backdrop of more than 2,000 years of history and beautiful natural scenery at every turn, Italy is an attractive destination for travelers of all backgrounds. There are some facts about Italians and Italy that will help inspire your trip.
Visiting Italy is a dream for many people, and those that have gone love to go again to uncover new stuff.
What’s Special About Italy?
There’s something special about Italy that’s hard to pin point, a certain je ne sais quoi that has inspired artists and travelers for centuries. Some say it’s the food, some say it’s the wine, and some say it’s the beautiful scenery.
Italy is located in Southern Europe, on the Italian Peninsula. Surrounding its borders are countries like Monaco, Austria, Switzerland and France.
It is considered to be one of the most developed countries in the world. At least when it comes to quality of life standards. The country has a very low unemployment rate among adults (at about 6%) and a good public health system.
Italy is the birthplace of artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael, who will forever be some of history’s most celebrated painters.
The Italian culture is one of the leading tourist attractions in Italy. It is famous for its art, music, food and fashion. Thanks to the train system, the country is relatively easy to get around, and cities have pockets of economical food and activity choices.
To inspire your next trip, here are facts about Italians and Italy that will make you plan a trip soon!
Facts About Italians
Italians are known for their delectable wines, iconic foods, and the culture that shape them. You will likely make friends with locals as you dine in restaurants or take photos at landmarks.
Here are some facts about Italians that can help you understand the culture you will be visiting:
They are very proud of the region that they come from
Italy has 20 geographical regions. You will notice the differences in Italian dialect and certain foods or customs depending on the area you are in. A major fact about Italy is that Italians has a strong sense of connection to their local towns; they are as “patriotic” about their home region as they are about being Italian.
Tuscan Italian is what is taught to students around the world.
But you may even have a hard time getting around in Tuscany. An intriguing fun fact about Italy is that there are so many dialects of the Italian language. Each has its own nuances for pronunciation and slang that can be hard to understand. You may need to ask someone to slow down when speaking.
It also may help to learn some Italian–a good population of Italians doesn’t speak any English. These are some common Italian greetings that can come in handy.
Italian hangouts always include food.
It is one of the more well-known Italian facts. Whether it is a catch-up with friends or a celebration with family, food is always present at any Italian get-together. It is very common for these hangouts at restaurants to go late into the night as well.
You’ll get to use a fork while eating pasta.
It is a media trope that Italians only eat pasta with a spoon. A relieving fact about Italians to know is that most actually only use forks, no matter the pasta type. Therefore, there is no need to fret if you can’t get the perfect spin with a spoon.
Italians are very friendly.
This will be one of the comforting facts about Italians for outgoing travelers. Italians are very friendly in general and will chat your ears off for hours! They will invite you to their own social gatherings and make you feel included no matter where you are. This is great for solo or small group travelers!
17 is a bad luck number for Italians
A spooky but interesting Italian fun fact is that much like American hotels don’t have a 13th floor, don’t expect to see the 17th floor in Italy. The number will be skipped. This is due to how 17 is written in Roman Numerals. XVII can be rearranged to VIXI, a symbol for “I have lived”.
Italians play a big part in music composition.
If you have ever seen or read sheet music, you have noticed that the instructions are typically in Italian, like “forte.”
An impressive fact about Italians is that composers and musicians were so influential during the Renaissance period when music was booming that it just carried over into modern music.
Italy has a large aging population.
There is a growing elder population in Italy, and fewer young couples are having children. A fact about Italy is that the average age of Italians is 45.7; this is the second oldest in the world behind Japan. Consequently, this contributes to issues like slowed internet growth since the elderly population doesn’t want to get online.
There is a social gender gap.
Gender equality and inclusion in the workplace and schools is a topic in constant discussion. This is to improve the conditions for all Italians. However, when it comes to household chores and the makeup of families, you will see traditional roles play out in an Italian household.
Bread is a major food group for Italians.
This is probably not a surprising fact of Italy. The average Italian eats approximately half a pound to a pound of bread every single day! And 70 pounds of pasta every year.
Typical breakfast options in Italy contain a range of pastries and bread. Italians are big carb eaters.
Italy is home to some interesting laws.
For example, dog owners in Turin must walk their dogs three times a day, or they could incur a fine. Certain Venice beaches have made sandcastles illegal. And it is illegal to die in Falciano del Massico because their cemetery is full.
Don’t think you’ll get any sauces on your salads in restaurants
An important fact about Italy is that unless you want to commit a major faux pas, olive oil is the only acceptable dressing for salads.
Any other request may trigger an eye roll and sometimes a “no”. The Italians are proud of their cuisine, which is world famous.
Interesting Facts About Italy
Now that you know of facts about the people lucky enough to call Italy home, here are some facts about the country itself to get you excited about seeing it for yourself:
Italy is the fifth most visited country.
Once you go to Italy, you will understand why so many others have before, and many continue to return! Italy has many impressive landmarks, from historical structures to natural landscapes.
About 95 million people will visit each year, which is nearly double their population of 60 million.
Italy is one of the youngest countries in Europe.
Compared to other Western European countries that can trace back their governments for centuries, Italy was only unified in 1861. It was a unified territory under the Roman Empire and then was ruled by regions, which explains the pride many Italians still have for their hometowns today.
The original Pinocchio is from 1880
The original children’s story for Pinocchio was written in the children’s newspaper in 1880 as a way to teach children not to lie.
Italy’s flag isn’t just for pretty colors.
It is always good to have facts on Italy that you could use during a bar trivia night. The green on the flag represents hope, white for faith, and red for charity. The design was inspired by their French neighbors and is known as “Il Tricolore.” Flag Day celebration is on January 7th every year!
Italians are big on education.
More than 99% of the population can read and write. And Italy is home to the world’s oldest university–the University of Bologna was founded in 1088.
Spaghetti and meatballs combination is from America.
Not really one of the most Italian facts of Italy, but interesting nonetheless. It was actually in the United States that someone thought to add meat to spaghetti and to top it with a tomato sauce.
Don’t plan on seeing it on too many Italian menus–unless a restaurant is catering heavily to tourists, Italian restaurants don’t recognize it as an Italian meal. You will have plenty of opportunities to find out more about local Italian food on your trip to Italy.
Fun Facts About Italy For Travelers
Italy is the world’s largest producer of wine.
This title goes back and forth with Spain depending on the season and what wine is currently in production. But the soil throughout the country is famous for being fertile and perfect for grapes. In fact, nearly every type of grape is growing in some part of Italy!
All three active volcanoes in Europe are in Italy.
And while they do sometimes erupt, as Mount Etna did in 2021, any massive damage or harm is rare. This is thanks to warning systems in place.
If you want to visit these volcanoes, you can go to Mount Etna in Sicily. Alternatively, Mount Stromboli on an island near Sicily, or the most famous one, Mount Vesuvius in Naples, which last erupted in 1944.
Italy’s tallest mountain is also partly in France.
Located in the Alps, Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc from the French side) is more than 4,800 meters above sea level. Not only is it the highest peak in Italy, but it’s also the highest peak in the Alps.
Shakespeare used a lot of Italian influences
13 of the 38 plays by William Shakespeare are set somewhere in Italy. The most popular of those are “Romeo and Juliet,” in Verona, and “Othello” and “The Merchant of Venice,” in Venice.
Historians have noted that the plays are accurate in terms of landmarks and facts about Italy. However, there is no proof Shakespeare have been to Italy himself.
World Heritage Sites are everywhere in Italy.
Italy has the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. There are 55 and counting places that has cultural, social, and/or historical significance. You’ll most likely have plans to visit a couple without even realizing their global distinction.
There is a country within the country of Italy.
Vatican City is a sovereign nation covering about 1,000 acres in Rome. The Pope serves as the head of the state, and there is even a post office you send a letter from while inside the Vatican’s walls!
Visiting the Vatican City and Sistine Chapel is one of the best things to do in Rome.
You cannot visit Poveglia.
A sad yet interesting fun fact of Italy. Poveglia is an island that sits somewhere between Venice and Lido. The island is said to be haunted, and no one is allowed to visit.
It was used as a final home for those with terminal diseases in the 18th century and then a mental hospital where doctors performed controversial procedures.
Many believe that it may be the most haunted place in the world.
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Facts about Italians and Italy
Fun facts of Italy range from food and wine to history to modern influences, the best way to experience them is to visit Italy yourself!
You are sure to discover more interesting facts on your trip. There are plenty of facts about Italians and Italy that will blow your mind when visiting this perfect country.