There are plenty of fun facts about Italy. It's one of Europe's most visited countries. The history's long. The culture's rich. And the food's delectable. But what do you actually know? Here are our interesting facts about Italy. Time to test your knowledge.
The information in this article is taken from The Rough Guide to Italy — your essential guide to visiting Italy. Not only did you vote this one of the most beautiful countries in the world, but a trio of Italian cities — Florence, Rome and Venice — featured in our survey of the most beautiful cities in the world.
This long history of individuality is why the country today has such a wide range of cultural variations.
Planning a break in the Eternal City? Discover the best area to stay in Rome.
Known as Il Duce at the height of his powers, Mussolini wasn't always a fascist. In fact he began his political life as a radical socialist, and served as Italian PM until 1922.
During WWII, he aligned Italy with Germany and, in 1945, was executed by partisan troops.
After WWII the country voted to become a republic and King Umberto II only ruled from 9 May to 12 June 1946.
He ended his days exiled in Portugal. In a nod to his unusually short reign, he's known in Italy as, "the May King".
Tricolore Day in Italy is 7 January. And it's celebrated on Reggio Emilia, at the very spot where the flag was first adopted in 1797.
Tourists toss around €3,000 a day into the fountain. This amounts to roughly €1,000,000 every year, which is all donated to charity.
While visiting the Trevi is one of the best things to do in Rome, if you want to break the tourist mould, take an underground tour of Trevi for a different perspective. You could also discover the best places to get off the tourist trail in Rome.
Although Shakespeare is surprisingly accurate about Italy, there's no proof he ever visited the country. Don't be like the Bard and miss out — read our guide to where to stay in Venice.
Want to visit Italy's World Heritage sites, but prefer to leave planning and booking to experts? Have a look at some sample itineraries. Both Complete Italy or Italy Itineraries offer inspiration. All Tailor Made Trips can be modified together with your local expert, then booked for a stress-free holiday.
It's also the official residence of the pope, as well as the site of the Papal Conclave: the process for selecting new popes.
Skip the Vatican queues. Book a Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel tour.
Mount Etna on Sicily last erupted in 2021, its 50th recorded eruption. However, plumes of steam regularly flow out of the volcano and are best seen from Catania. Despite its liveliness, you can also trek to Etna's summit.
Mount Stromboli is another active Italian volcano. It's on a small island near Sicily. If you plan to visit, check current activity and go with experienced guides.
The Vatican's economy is mainly fuelled by donations. It's only an 1/8 of the size of Central Park, yet packed with monuments. This is where you'll see St Peter's Basilica and it's also home to the Sistine Chapel.
Though growing in popularity, Puglia is another stunning, less crowded option, and it also happens to be one of our best places to visit with kids and features in our round-up of the best beach holidays in Italy.
Read more about this beautiful city in our guide to where to stay in Milan.
In fact, Sardinia is one of the world's five Blue Zones: places where residents live the longest. The main reasons given for Italy's aging population are low birth rate and extraordinary longevity, which might be attributed to the local diet - discover where to eat out in Sardinia.
Galileo had previously worked on a thermoscope. But his invention only showed changes in temperature and didn't measure the degrees of change.
Genoa is Europe's largest medieval town. Find out more on full day tour of Genoa and Portofino with local guides.
But Italy's not all about pizza and pasta — find out more about eating and drinking in Italy.
You can drink espresso any time in Italy. But it's an unspoken rule that you don't order Cappuccino after 11am.
Ready to travel to Italy? Find out when to go and where to go in Italy, and discover the best things to do in Italy. For further inspiration, see our Italy travel guides, or contact our local travel agents in Italy.
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