Italy is one of the most visited countries in the world racking up nearly 94 million international tourists annually. From ancient cities like Rome, Venice and Pompeii; to stunning natural wonders like the Dolomites, Amalfi Coast and Blue Grotto; it’s certainly earned the title of one of the world’s most interesting countries. It’s definitely not lacking on the food front, either given that it boasts some of the most beloved foods in the world. Neopolitan pizza, in fact, has its own UNESCO recognition. If you’re planning to visit the land of Bel Paese, here are some interesting facts about Italy.
7 Most Interesting Facts About Italy
1. All of Europe’s Active Volcanoes are Located in Italy
Europe is home to just three active volcanoes: Etna, Vesuvius and Stromboli; all of which are located in Italy. Mount Etna located on the pristine island of Sicily last erupted in 2018 and still has a small plume of steam that rises from its peak. Stromboli (great name) is on its own island just off the coast of Sicily. Mount Vesuvius is tucked away in the ever picturesque Naples hasn’t erupted since 1944 – knock on wood. It was Mount Vesuvius that caused the most catastrophic natural disaster in history when it erupted over the ancient city of Pompeii in 79 BC.
2. Italy Has the Most UNESCO World Heritage Sites Worldwide
Tied with China, Italy boasts a whopping 55 UNESCO World Heritage sites. From Rome’s Colosseum, the entire city of Pompeii and the gloriously vibrant Amalfi Coast, they’ve certainly earned their stripes. Other World Heritage sites include the Piazza del Duomo in Florence and the historic centre of Venice.
3. There are More Lakes Than You Can Imagine
While Italy is mostly known for its world-class food and ancient culture, the Mediterranean country also puts up a mean fight when it comes to natural beauty. From the Dolomites up north to the Scala Dei Turchi in Sicily, Italy truly is a paradise for nature lovers. The lakes are no exception when it comes to natural wonders, either. Italy’s lakes are simply stunning, and there are more than 1,500 of them.
4. Italians Love Their Espressos…Alot
Everyone knows that Italians love their coffee. After all, slowly sipping a stout espresso outside a charming cafe on a quiet cobblestoned street is practically a cultural institution. It’s not just a stereotype, either. Italians consume over 14 billion espressos each year. With a population of just 60 million, that’s a lot of espresso going around.
5. Italy is Home to the World’s Smallest Country
Spanning just 44 hectares, about an eighth of NYC’s Central Park, the Vatican City is the smallest country in the entire world. The micro-nation in the heart of Rome contains some of the world’s most iconic monuments such as Michelangelo’s works in the Sistine Chapel to the largest Christian church in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica.
6. It is the World’s Largest Wine Producer
It’s no secret that Italy knows a thing or two about wine. Winos from all corners of the earth have been visiting Italy for ages to indulge in the nation’s incredible wine from the classic Barolo to the famous chianti classico. In 2018 alone Italy produced nearly 55,000 hectolitres of wine beating France by 6,000. Those 55,000 hectolitres earned them a staggering $7.3 billion in winemaking them the largest wine producer worldwide.
7. The Trevi Fountain Receives Thousands of Euros Daily
You know the drill, head to the iconic Trevi Fountain and toss a euro in with a wish. Turns out the Trevi Fountain makes quite the pretty penny off these wishes – pun intended! An average fountain goers toss nearly 4,000 euro into the fountain climbing to an annual total of €1.5 million.