Italy

Strange, fun and interesting facts about Italy

September 24, 2020

Italy is the Hottest place in Europe – at least for Geothermy!

As of 2020, there is only 3 active volcanoes in Europe and they are all in Italy! The Vesuve near Napoli the Etna in Sicily and the Stromboli. The Etna is even one of the most active volcano in the world, erupting everyday since 2009.

One of the most famous place of Italy is Pompéi. Destructed the 24 August 79 AD, the eruption covered it in at least 6 metres of ashes. Its ruins were discovered in the 16th century and were uniquely fossilised due to the Eruption.

Italy is also the European country with the most earthquakes. The last deadly earthquake in Italy was in Naples in 1980, which killed almost 3,000 people.

You better love visiting churches

With over 64,000 churches, about each village in Italy has at least one of them to visit… and much more for about any city! Just in Rome, you can visit and pray in about 900 churches. Out of all those churches, about 3000 of them are Cathedrals, some of them amongst the most famous in the world, as the Duomo of Florence, Saint-Marc Basilic in Venise or Saint-Pierre basilic in Rome.

Beside the churches, Italy is also home to the Vatican. The Vatican is the smallest country in the world and most famous for being the home of the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church and the pope. As the Vatican is located in Rome, this enable Rome to be the only city which is the capital of 2 countries: Italy and the Vatican.

You can eat great pizzas in Manhattan too

There is over 60 millions Italians living abroad, as much as the population of Italy. Historically, Italians immigrated a lot: in Europe in France, but also in the USA, in Canada, … In Brazil, 25% of the entire population has Italian origin and you can find over 4 millions Italian just in São Paulo.

You can find a Little Italy in London, in New-York, Chicago and Sydney. A Bela Vista neighboorood in Sao Paulo and in Philadelphia… All around the world, you will always find an Italian restaurant owned by a genuine italian family.

Did you know? Italian is only the fifth country in the pizza consumed per inhabitant scale. Norwaygian, eats above 11kg of pizza per year in average. Altough, having travelled to a few of those countries we can guarantee you that none of them are comparable to an authentic italian pizzas, when it comes to taste…

Venice and its gondolas
Venice and its gondolas

In Rome, you can litterally splash your cash

Everyday in Rome, over 3,000 euros are thrown by tourists in the very famous Trevi fountain. In 2016, the total amount found in the fountain of Trevi was 1.4 millions of euros.

Believe it or not (we have serious doubt), the money, collected daily by Italian authority is donated to the Roman Church and ultimately, donated to the poors.

What happens if you toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain?

The original legend says, if you use your right hand to toss the coin over your left shoulder, you are assured to come back someday to Rome to find your coin back there.

Some other legends were added, and today:

  • For The first coin you toss in Trevi’s Fountain, you will return to Rome.
  • For the second coin you toss in Trevi’s Fountain, you will find love
  • Then for the third coin you toss in Trevi’s Fountain, you will marry (some add, in the year to come)
  • Ultimately, for the fourth coin you toss in Trevi’s Fountain, you will divorce.

Did you know? Unlike in the movie La Dolce Vita, it is totally forbidden to swim or enter the Fountain of Trevi. The risk of attempting it, is a fine of 450 euros.

Italians were great explorers

View over Cinque Terre - Manarola
View over Cinque Terre – Manarola

Italians were amongst the most famous explorers in history. Interestingly, most of them did not actually explore for Italy, but for other countries more willing to fund those expeditions, such as Spain or Portugal. The three most famous Italians explorers are Christopher Columbus (in Italian Cristoforo Colombo), Amerigo Vespucci and Marco Polo.

​Christopher Columbus

Whether Christopher Columbus discovered first or not the America is still being debated today. Nonetheless, Christopher Columbus is probably today the most famous explorer in history. He is often credited for being the first known European to have set foot in America.

You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore

Christopher Columbus

​Amerigo Vespucci

Even though America was discovered first by Christopher Columbus, America was named after another famous Italian explorer: Amerigo Vespucci. He is the first explorers to discover that America is not part of the Asian continent.

Marco Polo

Marco Polo, who was famous even before the Netflix serie, was a Venetian merchant and explorer. At only 17 years old, he set sails away from Venice for 24 years journey. He will travel to the East, visiting Japan, India, Sri Lanka… His travel will be consigned in a book: The Book of the Marvels of the World.

A canal in Venice - The birthplace of Marco Polo
A canal in Venice – The birthplace of Marco Polo

Oxford is not the oldest university in the world

Unlike a popular belief, Oxford is not the oldest university in the world. Indeed, the University of Bologna, established in 1088 holds the title of the oldest university still active today as Oxford was only founded in 1096. As of today, Bologna university is still one of the highest ranked university of Italy.

Nowadays, several universities in Italy are amongst the oldest in the world, such as the University of Sienna (1240 AD), the University of Naples (1224) or the University of Padua (1222).

Italian really invented pizza

At least, they invented pizza as we known it today: flat bread with tomato sauce and other toppings originates from Naples in the 1800s. Pizza was initially a dish for the poors. It became popular after, the legend says, Queen Margherita tasted it and ordered a pizza topped up with Italian colors: Tomato for the red, Basil for the green, mozzarella for the white. Eventually, this pizza is known today as: Pizza Margherita.

Pizza, and the italian food in general became popular all around the world after World War II, as allied soldiers stationed in Italy returned home with a love of Italian food.

Did you know? Back in 2011, Pizza Hut delivered what is known as the first and only pizza ever delivered in space, to the International Space Station. We found it pretty sad, that the only pizza eaten by astraunauts was not a traditional Italian-made pizza but well, in space, nobody can hear you cry.

A small chapel in Naples
A small chapel in Naples

Beautiful Arts of Florence can hurt you

Stendhal syndrome, also known as Florence syndrome is a condition involving rapid heartbeat, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations occuring while being exposed to incredible beauty and arts. This syndrome appears to happen nearly exclusively in Florence and Italians are immuned to it, as they spend their live surrounded in beauty.

I was in a sort of ecstasy, from the idea of being in Florence, close to the great men whose tombs I had seen. Absorbed in the contemplation of sublime beauty … I reached the point where one encounters celestial sensations … Everything spoke so vividly to my soul. Ah, if I could only forget. I had palpitations of the heart, what in Berlin they call ‘nerves’. Life was drained from me. I walked with the fear of falling

Stendhal 

The hospital of Florence are used to host visitors suffering from the Stendhal syndrome. The most dangerous pieces of arts that we identified through ou researches are, Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus and The David sculpted by Michelangelo.

Italy is one of the most visited country in the World

With over 50 millions visitors per year, Italy is the fifth most visited country in the world (1st: France, 2nd: Spain, 3rd: USA, 4th: China). It is one of our favourite country to travel to, and we can only recommend to visit it as soon as possible if you have not already!

Are you planning a visit to Italy? We have some articles to help you decide what to do and where to go! Discover our 5 favourite cities of Italy, and our guide to visit Turin.

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  • Reply
    Postcard Stories
    September 26, 2020 at 8:23 am

    Italy is a miracle of the world:) It’s one of those rare places where you can find anything you desire: history, nature, food, architecture…

    • Reply
      François
      September 30, 2020 at 1:33 pm

      Thank you – We love the nature especially, it’s not often that people talk about it but it’s incredible! Volcanoes, Parks, The Alps.. Italy has a gorgeous nature!

  • Reply
    Travel for a while
    September 30, 2020 at 4:36 am

    Interesting post, I didn’t know about ths Stendhal syndrome for example. Italy is my favorite country to visit and I always return with the same pleasure. It really has it all!

    • Reply
      François
      September 30, 2020 at 1:32 pm

      Thank you! We love Italy and definitely, we’ll post some new article about this gorgeous country soon!

  • Reply
    Lannie Travels
    October 1, 2020 at 3:21 am

    Italy is one of my favorite places in the world. So this post hits close to home!! I never knew that about the legends of the Trevi fountain coins. I’ve also never tossed any in 🙂 next time!

    • Reply
      François
      October 3, 2020 at 3:58 pm

      Just need to be sure to throw the correct number!
      It’s the right time to visit (if you can) while tourists are away! I bet the fountain has never been that beautiful than now.

  • Reply
    E-HEALTHONLINE
    October 1, 2020 at 11:11 am

    Really Italy is a beautiful place. especially i love to see Marco polo’s birthplace Venice.

  • Reply
    John Quinn
    October 3, 2020 at 10:06 am

    Love this. In space no one can hear you cry. Brilliant.

    On another note, if I were to swim in the Trevi fountain and find €3000 a day, but only pay a fine of €450, wouldn’t that be worth it? I’m off to get my wetsuit.

    • Reply
      François
      October 3, 2020 at 4:00 pm

      Thank you John!

      Definitely worth it! Also the picture you may take will be worth the 450€ as well… will think of that too next time we visit Rome.

  • Reply
    Sukhvinder
    October 26, 2020 at 4:46 am

    Interesting facts and images about Italy! Here sitting in India I could not have otherwise known. I enjoyed the post very much. Liked especially the facts about the Italian explorers.
    I blog about Indian places, but like to read about the world as well. Scheduling to share it for my readers in Twitter and Facebook 🙂
    Thanks for the lovely post!

    • Reply
      Alexandra
      October 26, 2020 at 1:50 pm

      That’s so kind of you, thank you! I’ll definitely check your articles about India ! We were supposed to visit India last April but it obviously got postponed with Covid. Cannot wait to discover your beautiful coutrny!

  • Reply
    Sukhvinder
    October 26, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    You are most welcome here Alexandra!

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