Italy is a fascinating country, home to some of the world’s best in architecture, food, and people.
It is a fantastic European destination with a city that will suit every kind of traveler. Despite its fame, there are still a few aspects to this charming nation as yet unknown to the general population. Here are some stunning facts about Italy that you might not know:
1. Italy has the most World Heritage Sites as recognized by UNESCO. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization bestows this honor on places that are of significant cultural or natural heritage and importance. Among these sites are the 18th-century Royal Palace at Caserta, the archaeological areas of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata in Naples, Assisi, the Basilica of San Francesco, the entire city of Verona, and the Costiera Amalfitana, also known as the Amalfi Coast.
2. Italy also has more hotel rooms than any other European country. It is one of the continent’s most frequently visited countries, and tourism provides 63% of its national capital.
3. There are over 3,000 museums in Italy, and only rightly so: it is the former home to one of the world’s strongest and wealthiest ancient civlizations. The country has made a prominent name for itself as one that carefully and painstakingly preserves its national heritage, so ancient artifacts, relics, and even places have been preserved for centuries, and will continue to be taken care of for future generations to enjoy.
4. The average Italian drinks one glass of wine every day. With a consumption averaging about 300 million cases per year, Italy is a country of devoted, enthusiastic drinkers – that’s about 53 liters of wine per person per year. In fact, the country produces more wine than any other country not just in Europe but on the entire planet.
5. Italy’s old age dependency is the highest ever in Europe, and the elderly retire at the age of 61 for men and 59 for women, some of the youngest in the continent. The country spends most of its national income on pensions: for every 100 working Italians there are 30 elderly citizens being cared for. It’s a wonderful system that allows for aging individuals to savor and enjoy their retirement period and not have to work themselves to the bone until they can’t do so anymore.
6. The ice cream cone, eyeglasses, thermometers, typewriters, the telephone, the radio, even the MP3 format? All invented by Italians, known the world over as people that are innovators, movers and changers. Italian inventions have defined and shaped modern life and the continue to change the world even today.
7. Soccer was introduced to the Italians in the late 1800s by the British, but only took off in the 1930s under Mussolini. They call it football, and the devotion to the sport in the country is so fervent that it borders on the maniacal. It is the most popular sport in the country, and the Italian national football team is widely considered to be one of the best teams in the world, having won the FIFA World Cup four times: in 1934, 1938, 1982, and 2006.