Italian Culture Facts

Italy is one of the most popular countries in the world. Millions of tourists come here every year to enjoy all its attractions, which are not few. But we are sure that many of them do not know those curious facts that tend to make a smile while their eyes go wide. In this post, we will tell you about 30 facts, customs & traditions of Italy.

30 Facts, Customs & Traditions of the Italian culture

  1. Italy borders 6 different countries: 2 within the national territory (the Vatican and San Marino) and 4 in the north of the country (France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia).
  2. The oldest university in Europe is in Italy, specifically in Bologna: it was founded in the year 1088.
  3. Italy has the only active volcanoes in Europe: we are talking about Etna and Stromboli in Sicily and Vesuvius in Campania.
  4. The official language is Italian, but each region has its own dialect (2 of which are recognized as languages: Friulian and Sardinian).
  5. Did you know that a variant of Catalan is spoken in an area of Sardinia? There are more than 10,000 Catalan-speaking people in the north of the island, in Aguero. In the 14th century, it fell into Catalan hands and until not long ago, it was still the most widely used language.
  6. Italy has more World Heritage Sites than any other country: it currently has 68 (including cultural, natural, and intangible assets).
  7. Monte Blanco (on the border between Italy and France) is the highest mountain in Europe at 4,808 meters.
  8. The Vatican is the smallest state in the world and its official language is… Latin!
  9. Before World War II in Italy, there was a monarchy. In 1946, however, after a referendum, it was decided to establish a republic (it won with 54.3% of the votes, especially in the north … the south was more likely to maintain the monarchy).
  10. Venice has a strange phenomenon: “high water.” This is due to 3 different factors: the wind that pushes the water to the island, the tides (usually coincides with a full moon), and the low atmospheric pressure. But don’t worry too much … most of the time, Venice is like this:
  11. The rest of the world believes that Italians only eat pasta, but our cuisine is immense and varies from region to region. Although I can’t deny it, we eat a lot of pasta! There are more than 200 types of pasta (and that’s not counting the different sauces). Our favorites: the carbonara (which has no cream!), The pasta al ragout (bolognese) and Panna e salmon (cream and salmon). Uff, how well you eat!
  12. And speaking of food… did you know that pizza, as you know it, was invented in 1889 to please Queen Margherita? Hence the name of the simplest and most famous pizza. It only has 3 ingredients: tomato, mozzarella, and basil. Each one of color from the Italian flag.
  13. And speaking of the flag … do you know what the colors correspond to? There are various theories, but most believe that green refers to meadows and nature, white to the snow covering the peaks of the Alps and the Apennines, and red to the bloodshed by many compatriots in wars.
  14. They say that Italians speak with their hands and indeed, we gesticulate a lot. According to the saying, the best way to make an Italian shut up is to… tie his hands!
  15. One of the most typical Roman traditions is to toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain (to ensure you return to the Eternal City). Every day around € 3,000 in coins are thrown into the fountain, collected, and donated to Caritas.
  16. Unlike other countries, 13 is not an unlucky number. In Italy, this bad fario takes it on the 17th. And that? Because the number 17 in Latin is XVII, an anagram of the word VIXI which means “I have lived, “… I mean, I’m dead.
  17. The longest river in Italy is the Po and the shortest is the Aril, which only has 175 meters!
  18. Italy is the European country that suffers the most earthquakes. The most devastating was that of Messina and Reggio Calabria in 1906, which caused about 100,000 people.
  19. One of the things that struck me the most (literally) when I arrived in Spain is that here the kisses are given the other way around than in Italy. In Italy, the left cheek is kissed first and then the right. You don’t know how many times I almost kiss someone on the mouth!
  20. Mussolini tried to straighten the famous Tower of Pisa, but as you can well imagine … he finally failed. Nor does Rober.
  21. Although it is a relatively small country, there are Italians all over the world! The reason? Immigration: there are currently more Italian descendants (especially in the Americas) than in Italy.
  22. If we Italians know something to do well (apart from eating and cooking), it is clothes! Italy is one of the world leaders in high fashion: Gucci, Valentino, Dolce e Gabbana, Versace, Prada, Armani, Cavalli and soooo much more! The capital of fashion? Milan, of course.
  23. There are many “smart” cars on the streets. This is because the traffic is notoriously chaotic, and this stroller is the best way to drive through the streets and find parking, of course.
  24. Another thing that is never lacking on the streets, especially in small and medium-sized cities, are bicycles! There are thousands and thousands and they are used by both students who go to college and old women who go out to the market to do the shopping.
  25. Everyone knows Italy’s two main islands: Sicily and Sardinia, but my country has many more. In total, there are about 800 islands. Although “only” 10% are inhabited.
  26. The most common surnames are Rossi, Ferrari, Russo, and Bianchi. And the names of the last years are Francesco, Alessandro, Leonardo and Lorenzo (boys) and Sofia, Aurora, Giulia and Emma (girls).
  27. Lentils are never lacking at New Year’s Eve dinner in Italy: they are supposed to bring luck and money for the coming year.
  28. If you like good wine in Italy you will be delighted (and quite piripi): it is one of the countries with the longest oenological tradition in the world.
  29. Did you know that Italy has a nickname? It is the “Belpaese” which means beautiful country. No need to explain why right? It is also called the boot, and we do not believe that it is necessary to give more clues.
  30. Italians are very coffee growers: every year, we consume almost 4 kg of coffee per head. And in the morning do not miss the “conetto” for breakfast.