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50 Italy Fun Facts

1. Italy has three active volcanoes: Vesuvius, Etna, and Stromboli.
2. Italy is often called the Bel Paese, which mean beautiful country.
3. Italy is home to the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites – more than 40.
4. Italy has 20 regions and 6 islands.
5. Italy speaks a national language, which was based on the Tuscan dialect, but each region still speaks its own dialect.
6. The Vatican is a separate sovereign nation, its own country.
7. Italy is slightly larger than Arizona.
8. The thermometer is an Italian invention.
9. The piano hails from Italy.
10. With almost 40 million visitors, Italy is the fourth most visited country in the world.
11. The average Italian consumes 26 gallons of wine a year.
12. The typewriter is an Italian invention.
13. Italy did not become a united country until 1861.
14. The Italian Wolf is considered the national animal of Italy.
15. Italy has over 3,000 museums.
16. The national sport of Italy is soccer (known as football outside of America).
17. Italy’s national dish is pasta.
18. Napoleon spent his first exile on the Italian island of Elba.
19. The vespa scooter was invented in Italy in 1946.
20. Italy has the most hotel rooms of any European nation.
21. Everyday 3,000€ gets tossed into the Trevi Fountain.
22. Italy’s national flower is the Lily.
23. Sixty percent of the world’s art treasures are in Italy.
24. Opera was created in Italy.
25. Bubonic Plague killed one-third of the Italian population in the 14th century.
26. Italy has won the World Cup four times.
27. The average consumption of pasta in Italy is 25 kg per person per year.
28. The violin and the cello were both invented in Italy.
29. Italian pizza originated in Naples during the 18th century.
30. Italy holds the Guiness record for having the most elevators.
31. The national bird of Italy is Bluebird.
32. Italy is famous for its sports cars like Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Lamborghini.
33. The oldest European university in continuous operation is the University of Bologna, founded in 1088.
34. Italians invented optical eye glasses.
35. Italy has been making wines for over 2800 years.
36. The oldest film festival in the world, beginning in 1932, is the Venice Film Festival.
37. Italy has more famous fashion designers than any other country.
38. Many of Shakespeare’s plays were set in Italy, including Romeo and Juliet from Verona.
39. Carabinieri uniforms are designed by Valentino.
40. The highest point in Italy is Mont Blanc, in the alps at 15,770 feet.
41. The longest river in Italy is the Po.
42. Italy is the largest wine-producing country in the world.
43. Italy has hosted the Olympic Games three times.
44. The patron saint of Italy is Saint Francis of Assisi.
45. The national Italian airline is called Alitalia.
46. The largest white truffle in a half century weighing over 3 pounds,was unearthed near Pisa, Italy.
47. Italy is home to some of the world’s greatest composers, like Vivaldi, Rossini, Verdi and Puccini.
48. The espresso machine was invented in Italy.
49. Venice has over 400 footbridges.
50. The oldest olive tree in Italy, in Umbria is reportedly over 1700 yrs old.

Did I miss any?  Do you have any to add to the list?  Tell me in the comments!

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  • User Gravatar
    erin :: the olive notes
    June 11th, 2010

    oh i LOVE this list…some fun ones in there. 3000 euros? everyday? I’m going to have to sneak in there one night ;)

    Thanks Erin. Well, if you sneak in, make sure to report back – and take pics with an underwater camera ;)

  • User Gravatar
    Paula Russell
    June 11th, 2010

    Great list! Here’s 2 more: Italy’s Galileo was the first person to see the craters of the moon, Four of Jupiter’s moons, and Saturn’s rings in the early years of the 17th century; cursive handwriting was developed in Italy by Aldus Mantius. And, don’t forget the Italian cinema, and…

    Thanks for adding those Paula. It’s all so fascinating isn’t it? The list continues….

  • User Gravatar
    Jen Laceda
    June 11th, 2010

    I TOTALLY love this post! Some very good information contained here!

    Thanks Jen, glad you enjoyed it :)

    .-= Jen Laceda´s last blog ..Memories of Athens: Mythology, Blue Skies, and Raucous Tavernas =-.

  • User Gravatar
    aimee hughes
    June 11th, 2010

    Hi Robin,
    So glad to have found you! I love all things Italian and French too!This was a fun post. I had no idea the revenue was 3,000 Euros a day at the Trevi! Clever, those Italos.

    I’m glad you found me too Aimee ;) And yes, those Italians are clever!
    aimee hughes recently posted..Raw Banana-Ginger ZingerMy Profile

  • User Gravatar
    Giuseppe De Luca
    July 29th, 2010

    Here’s a few more: Gugliemo Marconi, and renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci.

    Besides the Vatican, San Marino is another sovereign state (at least in theory) within Italy.

  • User Gravatar
    Lisa at Wanderlust Weddings
    October 1st, 2010

    This is hysterical. I especially love #14. Figures!
    BTW – here’s an interesting fact that’s missing……………how many Italian men still live home with Mamma? LOL

    Oh, I’m not even going to go there Lisa ;)

  • User Gravatar
    Rose Gauci
    October 30th, 2010

    I love this list very much, what about your statues, monuments & fountains? do you have the most in Italy than any other country.

  • User Gravatar
    Miki from Australia Travel Guide
    November 3rd, 2010

    These facts about Italy are really curios ! Some of them I did not know myself too as an Italian :) #39 the Carabinieri uniforms were designed by Valentino, and Italy holding the Guiness record for having the most elevators ! Italy must have some of the highest rates in EU for cellular phones /person and cars density/person too !

    Hmm, sounds like we’ll need to add to the list!

  • User Gravatar
    deputu and Monalisa
    November 30th, 2010

    Monalisa by Leonardo Da Vinci. Very interesting. By the way, thank you for sharing.

    You’re welcome. Thanks for stopping by to comment :)

  • User Gravatar
    Elle
    March 15th, 2011

    I absolutely love this. I am currently teaching myself Italian. K took a break from my lesson and stumbled upon this. Well done!

    Thanks for popping by Elle. In boca al lupo with your lessons :)

  • User Gravatar
    Eurotrip Tips
    June 22nd, 2011

    Wow, very informative trivia! I had no idea that the wolf was the national animal. Nor did I know Italy had the most elevators! Great read :)

    Thanks. Glad you found a new interesting tidbits on the list!

  • User Gravatar
    Jessi Gebhardt
    November 28th, 2011

    Hey love the facts but i might have a few more that you don’t have like, over 75% of Italy is mountainous or hilly

    Thanks for the interesting addition Jessi ;)

  • User Gravatar
    Cassie
    December 13th, 2011

    this is pretty cool if u ask me :D

    Thanks Cassie!

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