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25 fun facts that will inspire you to travel to Italy

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Let’s take a tour of Italy's quirkiest and most fascinating facts, from underwater farms to our own version of the Great Wall.

The statue of St Peter in Rome
A Fiat 500 in Italy
Credits: StockSnap@Pixabay

I was recently researching stuff to see in Italy and was surprised by the interesting things I’ve found. And I guess you’ll be surprised, too…

There is no doubt that Italy is a very popular tourist destination, one that intrigues travellers with beautiful artistic towns, delicious cuisine.

Here’s a list of 25 interesting facts you probably didn’t know about Italy.

1. Gelato masters

Gelato is a serious business in Italy and you can become a gelato master by taking courses at the Gelato University in Bologna. 

2. The submerged Christ

There is a 2.5 mt tall statue of Jesus Christ submerged in the Mediterranean sea off the coast of San Fruttuoso, in the Italian Riviera.

3. A piece of Easter Island near Rome

Ever wanted to see the mysterious Moai statues but cannot go all the way to Easter Island? Come to Italy! There’s one in Vitorchiano, a picturesque village about 90 km from Rome.

4. UNESCO sites

There are over 50 Unesco World Heritage sites, more than any other country in the world, with the highest number of sites being concentrated in Lombardy.

The ruins of Pompeii

5. A truly tiny river

The most unusual attractions in Lake Garda is Aril, one of the world’s shortest river, just 175 mt. long

6. A wine lover’s dream

Wine lovers can make all of their wildest fantasies come true in Italy, where a winery in Villa Caldari, a village in the Abruzzo region, has opened a free 24-hour red wine fountain.

7. Checkmate

Each September, in even-numbered years, the main piazza of Marostica, in the Veneto region, turns into a giant chessboard for a live human chess game.

8. Airport liquid ban waived for food

Genoa airport has made a special exception to the liquid limit in hand luggage for pesto sauce

Jars of pesto sauce
Credits: Pixabay

9. A village in the dark

There’s a mountain hamlet in Piemonte, called Viganella, where the only source of light during the winter months comes from some giant mirrors reflecting the sun onto the valley

10. Old school

Bologna is home to the oldest and continuously operating university in Europe, founded in 1088 

11. The mystery of the Shroud

In Turin, there is a centuries-old linen cloth that is believed to contain the real imprint of Jesus’ face

12. A submerged village

In Lake Resia, you can see the peak of a bell tower rising from the water, as the only visible remnant of a village that disappeared underwater more than 60 years ago.

Lake Resia
Credits: Glavo@Pixabay

13. Hugh peaks

Italy is home to the highest mountain in Europe, Mont Blanc, located along the French-Italian border. And now you can now explore this marvel with the new Mont Blanc Skyway cable car.

14. Stylish colors

Did you know that trendy magenta color takes its name from the Battle of Magenta, a town in northwestern Italy? More specifically, it seems to derive from the uniforms worn by the French troops that fought the Austrians on that occasion.

15. The mystery of the Shroud

How about a super romantic dinner in a restaurant with only one table? You can do it at Solo Per Duethe world’s smallest restaurant, located in a cute village near Rome.

16. Land of volcanos

Italy is a volcanically active country, home to the only active volcanoes in mainland Europe: mt. Vesuvius in Naples and mt. Etna and Stromboli in Sicily.

View of Mount Vesuvius from the vineyards
Credits: PhilP61@Pixabay

17. Independent people

There are two independent states within Italy: the Republic of San Marino and the Vatican City… or shall I say three?

18. Sense of direction

You can test your sense of direction inside the world’s largest maze, the Masone Labyrinth,  a 20-acre, star-shaped bamboo labyrinth located just outside Parma.

19. Organic architecture

An impressive example of organic architecture can be admired on the outskirts of Bergamo; it’s the tree cathedral realized by the Italian artist Giuliano Mauri.

20. The world’s oldest republic

San Marino is the world’s oldest republic (301 A.D.) with the world’s oldest continuous constitution.

View of the Republic of San Marino
Credits: Sprinter_Lucio@Pixabay

21. Underwater farms

On the seabed off the coast of Noli, in Liguria, there’s a futuristic underwater farm called Nemo’s Garden,where plants like basil, beans, and strawberries are grown.

22. How to live to 100 years old

Uncover the secrets of healthy aging in Acciaroli, a village in Campania, where more than one in 10 of the population of 700 is over 100 years old. This was the first site to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage list back in 1979

23. Rock art

An area in northern Italy called Valle Camonica is home to one of the world’s greatest collections of prehistoric petroglyphs, consisting of over 140,000 symbols carved in the rock, depicting scenes from agriculture, navigation, war and magic.  

24. The “Great Wall” of Italy

Piemonte is home to the largest mountain fortification in Europe, called Fenestrelle Fortress, which covers a surface of 1,350,000 sqm.

25. A rich legacy in motion pictures 

Rome’s Cinecittà is the largest film production facility in Europe, used for major Hollywood blockbusters like Ben-Hur and Cleopatra, as well as more recent movies like Gangs of New York.

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38 thoughts on “25 fun facts that will inspire you to travel to Italy”

  1. I lived in Italy for nearly six month 20 years ago. Italy is a lovely country but I’m not sure if there were so many Unesco sites when I was there. However, 50 unesco world heritage sites it’s a lot. They are all so beautiful

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  2. You had me at ice cream! But seriously, great list. I’ve seen a good amount of Italy, but I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  3. So many of these facts are the reason I love Italy so much! I didn’t know the magenta story – that’s very interesting! I wouldn’t expect magenta to be from Italy for some reason. Also wasn’t aware that they have the world’s largest maze. Crazy!

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  4. You’re absolutely right! This post made me want to go to Italy right now Seriously, probably the first thing I would try would be the gelato

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    • I know, I know, these are just some fun and perhaps lesser known things… I mean, I’m Italian and had no idea we have a 24-hour free wine fountain here! Ahahaha

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  5. I loved Italy before I even read this, and now you’ve given me 25 more reasons to want to go back! I was in with number one – how fun would it be to take a gelato-making class?!

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  6. I always say to my friends – ok, it’s enough of Italy let’s explore something new, they all agree – and few days later we book our tickets to Italy again. It happened few time – it’s just amazing country to explore!

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  7. I never need a reason to want to visit Italy. I have only been to Rome and Tuscany but I want to see more. I think that the rock art sounds incredible. And I love that Genoa made a liquid exception for pesto. Wise people!

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  8. Solo per due sounds so romantic and somewhere I’d love to visit! I never knew about the submerged statue of Christ, but it would be wonderful to see it one day, if possible of course! I love Italy, and am there a lot!

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  9. As if I wasn’t already dying to visit Italy! Definitely didn’t know they had over 50 Unesco World Heritage sites though! Seems like I really need to book a flight there.

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  10. I’ve been to Italy twice and was proud of having experienced a lot of what it has to offer. Then I read your list. I now have a reason to go back to Italy since I haven’t experienced most of the unique experiences you have listed.

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  11. On a trip to Rome and Vatican City, we remember trying so many flavors of gelatos that we lost the count. Italy definitely has the most gelatos we ever tasted. The UNESCO World Heritage Sites is the other major reason why we would love to return to Italy.

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  12. Oh, my! I was just in Italy last year and thought I covered some good ground. I wish I knew about these before going. You’ve given me quite a few fascinating reasons to return, including the Easter Island statue, the tree cathedral, and the petroglyphs. (The shroud of Turin was on my list but couldn’t fit it in.) My next trip to Italy just got more interesting, thanks to you — as if I wasn’t already looking forward to it enough. Many thanks!

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    • So glad to read this Jackie, my goal is exactly this – to show you all the beauty of this country beyond the usual tourist spots! 🙂

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  13. I would LOVE to take a gelato making course next time I visit Italy! I have been to Italy once before, but it was at the end of November, so no gelato was consumed lol x

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  14. Wow, Underwater Garden is something I am reading about for the first time. I would definitely check it out when in Italy. And yes, Italy is on the top of my travel list just for the icecream and the delicious Italian food.

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  15. Wow, there are so many interesting aspects mentioned in this article! I would love to see Aril, the tiny river next to Lake Garda as we will probably go there this year. Thanks for sharing!

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  16. You had me at ice cream masters!! Yes please! I have wanted to visit Italy FOREVER and I am finally going on a month trip for my 30th! Ahh thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply

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