• Each day over 3000 euros are thrown by tourists into Rome’s Trevi Fountain, which is later collected and donated to charity
  • Italy has more than 50 UNESCO World Heritage sites, more than any other country in the world
  • Italy is home to 3 active volcanoes: Etna, Vesuvius, and Stromboli
  • Vatican City, in Rome, is the world’s smallest country
  • Italy is the world’s largest exporter of wine
  • The use of pasta in Italy can be traced back to the 4th century BC
  • Pizza was invented in Naples and dates back to 1860
  • 14 billion espressos are consumed in Italy each year
  • The first thermometer was made by Italian inventor Santorio Santorio in 1612
  • The first battery was invented in the 1800’s by Italian Alessandro Volta, and the electricity measurement ‘volt’ comes from his last name.
  • Italy is said to have more masterpieces per square mile than any other country in the world
  • In 2007, a dog named Rocco discovered a truffle in Tuscany that weighed 3.3 pounds. It sold at auction for $333,000 (USD), a world record for a truffle.
  • In northern Italy, last names tend to end in “i”, while those from the south often end in “o.” The most common Italian surname is Russo.
  • The first Italian cookbook was written in 1474 by Bartolomeo Sicci
  • Famous Italian explorers include Christopher Columbus, Marco Polo, John Cabot, and Amerigo Vespucci
  • Dante Alighieri played an instrumental role in establishing the national language of Italy, however, each region still speaks its own dialect, some of them speaking several
  • Many Shakespeare plays were set in Italy, including Romeo and JulietOthello, and The Merchant of Venice
  • The famous children’s story, Pinocchio, was written in Florence by Italian author Carlo Collodi
  • The first opera ever written was performed in 1597 in Florence in Italy.  It was called “Dafne” and the composer was Jacopo Peri.