12 Interesting Facts About Italy

Georgina Willcox | 18 February 2022


Few countries in the world have such a variable, diverse and colourful history as Italy. Every time we visit, we learn new facts about Italy and its wonderful past, so we want to share it all with you.

Check out some of the interesting facts about Italy below that we’ve collected over the years. It may inspire you to join us on a holiday in Italy!

Italy Facts You Need to Know

1. Italy Has the Most UNESCO World Heritage Sites


One of the most fun facts about Italy is that it has over 50 UNESCO World Heritage sites which more than any other country in the world! These include the historic centre of Florence, the canals of Venice, Trulli houses of Alberobello, the Colosseum in Rome and the Amalfi Coast, amongst many others.  

2. Limone sul Garda Has Magic Lemons 


Famous for its wonderful lemon orchards and breathtaking views, Limone also holds an incredible genetic secret. In 1979, it was noted that of the one thousand inhabitants in the town, unusually over a dozen of them were over 100 years old.

Upon testing, it was found that Limone’s residents contain a rare protein in their blood that eliminates heart disease and aids longevity. Many believe this is due to the high concentration of lemons in their diet.

3. Over €3,000 is Thrown into the Trevi Fountain Each Day


The spectacular Fontana di Trevi was completed by Nicola Salvi in 1762. It is located in the heart of Rome's historic centre in Trevi Square near the Spanish Steps and Piazza Navona.

It's considered good luck to throw a coin over your left shoulder as this will ensure a return visit to Rome. That’s why, so many Euros are thrown in day after day; it works out to be over €1million a year!

4. Beware of Sea Monsters in Sicily!


Italy facts or Italy myths? Those passing through the Messina strait between Sicily and Calabria are in danger of being attacked by two sea monsters Scylla and Charibdys.

According to Greek mythology, they appear as beautiful nymphs, but quickly change into ugly creatures with six heads, multiple mouths and glowing eyes. Watch out if you’re taking a boat trip!

5. Pompeii Was Rediscovered in the 18th Century


In 79 AD, when Mount Vesuvius erupted for the first time in 1,800 years, it took the people of Pompeii completely by surprise. The city and its people were buried under 5 metres of ash as they went about their daily business, creating a natural time capsule for future generations to peer into Ancient Roman life.

The first excavation began in 1748 which helped spark the 18th century neo-classism era that looked to Ancient Rome for influence. Approximately 2.5 million tourists visit Pompeii each year and it’s one of the highlights of our Sorrento holidays.

6. Torquato Tasso Was Born in Sorrento 


One of the most well-known facts about Italy is that it is full of art and culture. Did you know that Sorrento was the birthplace of Torquato Tasso, the most read poet in Europe until the 20th century?

Tasso wrote the famous poem La Gerusalemme liberata which depicts a mythical battle between Christians and Muslims for Jerusalem at the end of the first crusades. Tasso died just a few days before he was due to be crowned King of the Poets by the Pope.

7. Pinocchio is Italian


The story of Pinocchio, which we usually associate with the Disney story, originated in Florence with a story written by Carlo Collodi in 1826. Inspired by Italian folklore and tradition, it represents Italian values and beliefs and has a much stronger connection to the country than you may have first though.

The book contains Tuscan dialect, formed from Latin, which actually became modern day Italian during the Renaissance period when Tuscany was a trading hub for the rest of the country.

8. There Were Battles on Lake Garda


The peace and tranquillity are some of the reasons that we love Lake Garda so much, but it wasn’t always so calm. One of the Italy facts we have learnt is that there have been many famous battles fought around Lake Garda.

This includes the Battle of Lake Benacus where the Romans defeated the Alamanni in 268, the Battle of Rivoli where Napolean’s forces battled the Austrians in 1797 and the Battle of Solferino during the Italian Risorgimento in 1859; this bloody battle caused the Geneva Convention to form the Red Cross.

9. Italy Was Under a Fascist Dictatorship for 20 Years


Benito Mussolini or “Il Duce” was the dictator of Italy between 1922 until his death in 1945. Mussolini and his mistress were captured by Allied forces in Dongo and later shot in nearby Mezzegra while trying to flee from Como to the Swiss Alps.

10. Sicily Has Its Own Language


If you’ve been to Italy quite a few times, you may notice the language difference when you visit Sicily. The majority of Sicily’s inhabitants (70%) speak Sicilian, not Italian.

Reflecting the diverse history of the island, Sicilian has absorbed vocabulary from Greek, Latin, Spanish, Italian and French among others to produce a language clearly distinct from Italian.

11. Lake Como Attracts Hollywood Celebrities


During the Roman Empire, Lake Como was the main place for the government elite to holiday. An imperial magistrate, Pliny the Younger, used his extensive wealth to build two villas, ‘Tragedy’ and ‘Comedy’ on the shores of Lake Como.

Today, Lake Como is still a favourite hang-out for Hollywood’s famous faces, such as George Clooney. Many celebrities also own properties there too, like Brad Pitt, Richard Branson and Donatella Versace.

12. Some of Shakepeare’s Plays Are Set in Italy


Verona may be most famous as the location of Shakespeare's most famous love story, Romeo & Juliet, but it's also just a stunning UNESCO city that you can explore on our Lake Garda holidays.

Discover the country’s  fascinating history for yourself and discover even more interesting facts about Italy on one of our guided Italy tours. Soak up its beauty with us, dive into its culture and savour authentic Italian cuisine.

With over 25 years of experience bringing holidaymakers to this incredible country, we’ve handcrafted itineraries to give you a taste of authentic Italy and unveil hidden gems.

You Might also like

Be the first to know about our holiday updates, travel tips and special offers.