Do you know how old Italy really is? Any idea what Italy actually means or who Alessandro Volta is? No? Then you'd better read these 21 fun Italy facts about  to get clued up before you go.

1. The first of our Italy facts

Around €3,000 of change is thrown in the Trevi Fountain by tourists daily. It is then collected and donated to charity.

 

Fact no. 2

Italy is home to Europe’s only three active volcanoes: Etna, Stromboli and Vesuvius.

Fact no. 3

The first thermometer was made by Italian inventor Santorio Santorio in 1612.

Fact no. 4

Many Shakespeare plays were set in Italy, including Othello and the Merchant of Venice.

Fact no. 5

Italy has been a country for 153 years.

21 fun Italy facts: Manorola in Cinque Terre in Italy.© Patricia Hofmeester/Shutterstock

Fact no. 6

Up until 1999 children only had to attend school until they were 14.

Fact no. 7

Pizza was invented in Naples and dates back to 1860.

Fact no. 8

Pinocchio was first published in an Italian newspaper.

Fact no. 9

The use of pasta in Italy can be traced back as far as the 4th century B.C.

Fact no . 10

The Vatican City, in Rome, is the smallest country in the world.

Rome, Italy. Famous Saint Peter's Square in Vatican© S-F/Shutterstock

Fact no . 11

In terms of population, Italy is the third oldest country in the world, behind Japan and Germany.

 

Fact no . 12

The name for Italy comes from the Greek "Italos", a legendary king.

 

Fact no. 13

Lilies are the national flower of Italy.

Fact no. 14

Italy is actually called the Italian Republic.

Fact no. 15

Italy has 50 Unesco World Heritage Sites, the most of any country in the world.

21 fun Italy facts: 1600 year old ancient roman baptismal font and altar listed by UNESCO with original mosaics and inscriptions, Italy.© mountainpix/Shutterstock

Fact no. 16

Italy is the fourth most visited country in the world.

Fact no. 17

Italy is the world's largest exporter of wine.

 

Fact no. 18

Fourteen billion espressos are consumed in Italy each year, and Italians use 3.7 kg of coffee per capita.

 

Fact no. 19

Rough Guides readers voted Italian cuisine the best in the world.

Fact no. 20

Italian Alessandro Volta invented the first battery in the 1800s.

21 fun Italy facts: Alessandro Volta (1745-1827), demonstrating his electricity generating apparatus to Napoleon, for which Napoleon made him a count. 1810.© Everett Historical/Shutterstock

Thinking of planning at trip to Italy? We can help! Our new tailor-made travel service will pair you with a local expert who can organise a fully personalised itinerary for you.

Top image © RossHelen/Shutterstock

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