Fun facts about Italy you didn't know
The Bel Paese is one of the most visited countries in the world and is renowned for its ancient history, great architecture and delicious Italian cuisine. But how much do you really know about this beautiful country? There are tons of fun facts about Italy you may not know! From the shocking fact that Italian pasta is not actually Italian, to the number of espresso coffee consumed every year and the fact that Italy has a country within it, be prepared to learn so many curiosities concerning food, history and culture.
Italian Pasta was not actually invented in Italy
This fun fact about Italy may trigger you, since why Italian pasta shouldn't be Italian?! While it's true that the most famous pasta varieties and pasta recipes really do come from Italy, surprisingly, the actual origin of pasta lies elsewhere! According to some, pasta was most likely introduced by Marco Polo, an Italian explorer, after his return from China, while according to others it seems that it was introduced in Italy during the Arab conquest of Sicily in the 9th century. Although pasta was not invented in Italy, it became Italy national dish and today there are more than 200 different shapes and varieties of pasta that change according to region, season or holiday.
UNESCO world heritage sites in Italy
are the highest number in the world
UNESCO world heritage sites in Italy amaze people from all over the world and are one of the tourist top destinations. From Pompeii to Alberobello, to Rome’s colosseum and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy has so many cultural and historical sites that a lifetime is not enough to visit them all! Together with China, Italy boats 55 world heritage sites, which is the highest number in the whole world for a single country. This makes Italy the fifth visited country in the world and since a fun fact leads to another: Italy has more overnight accommodation facilities than other main European countries and the highest number of hotel rooms.
Italians consume 14 billion espresso coffee each year
Italians love coffee, that’s a fact, and this may be the reason why they consume 14 billion espresso coffee each year! This number is really impressive for a country with a population of just over 60 million people. It is not that all Italians are rich or what, but it's common for a huge number of them to make their coffee at home or order it at the bar, where the cost of an espresso coffee is approximatively 1$, which is really cheap if compared to other countries. This may be the reason why Italians drink so much coffee? It remains a mistery.
Vatican City is the smallest country in the world
Apart from being a country within a country, Vatican City is also the smallest country in the world! This tiny state is indeed just an eight of the size of Central Park in New York. Even if it could have been part of Rome, it was separated from Italy since it serves as a sovereign country to the Pope. Despite its small stature, there are numerous things to visit in Vatican City, starting from the famous Sistine Chapel to St. Peter’s Cathedral and finishing with a secret passage called “Passetto di Borgo”. This last leads from Vatican City to Rome and served as an escape to the Popes in case of emergency, interesting, isn't it?
There's an Italian wine fountain in Abruzzo
This fun fact about Italy, demonstrates the passion Italians have for wine. In the Abruzzo region, there’s a miraculous fountain, called “Fontana del Vino” where instead of water, quality red wine flows! To be precise, the wine is the famous Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and the city where this magical fountain is located is Caldari di Ortona. This small fountain flows 24-hours a day with Italian wine and lies on the pilgrimage route of Cammino di San Tommaso, where hundreds of pilgrims walk every year, presumably to taste this incredible wine rather than walking, we could say!
University of Bologna is the oldest one in the world
One of the most historical fun facts about Italy is that the oldest University in the world is located in the capital of Emilia Romagna: Bologna. Founded in 1088, University of Bologna is the oldest University in the world that has been in continuous operation, beating Oxford by a decade. It became the model for modern Universities and for centuries it has been the principal center for studies in canon and civil law. Still today, University of Bologna is one of the most prestigious ones and together with Padua and Rome it attracts students from all over the world.
Italian cheese has more than 2,500 varieties
For all the cheese lovers: you finally have found your paradise and that's Italy! With over 2,500 traditional Italian cheese, Italy has the highest variety of cheese in the world and is the third largest cheese producer in Europe. Italy boats 52 cheese that have been recognized with the PDO label: a recognition attributed to food that are produced, processed and prepared in a given geographical area using recognized know-how. Parmigiano Reggiano, mozzarella cheese and pecorino romano are just the most well-known cheeses that have obtained this qualification, but there are also many others worth-tasting. Now that you know some fun facts about Italy, you are one step closer to become an honorary Italian citizen!