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ITALY: 10 Fab Facts that will make you want to start packing your bags!

Updated: Aug 31, 2020

Tan's Travel Club
© Tan's Travel Club

Why go to Italy? Well 🤔 … beautifully friendly people, nature, landscapes, mountains, lakes, volcanoes, rivers, pasta, wine, pizza, ice cream, coffee, sun-dried tomatoes, art, roman remains, UNESCO world beating archeological sites, old towns and cities, piazzas, museums, islands, vineyards, coast … and anything else we’ve missed! Oh, beautiful beautiful Italy.

And if that wasn't enough, here's 10 fab facts that we think you might find interesting. Happy reading 😁

How old is Rome?

Rome is 2773 years old! Legend has it that Rome was founded in 753. In Roman mythology, twin brothers Romulus and Remus defeated the king of their home city, who by the way, tried to kill them as children! They searched and found the perfect place for a new city but arguments between the brothers ensued - some versions say there were conflicts about who would be ruler while others say they couldn’t agree on which hill the city should be located … or maybe it was both. It all ended rather badly! Romulus killed his brother and continued to create his new city. The city was traditionally founded on 21 April, 753 and named after Romulus - Rome.


You may have heard of some of the more well known lakes in Italy, such as Lake Garda, Lake Como and Lake Maggiore but did you know that Italy has a whole lot more of these little (and large) beauties than you may have realised. In fact, Italy has more than 1,500 lakes so you’re not going to be short of a picnic spot! 👌


The standard Italian alphabet consists of only 21 letters, missing out J, K, W, X and Y. However, you will still find them lurking about in foreign words commonly used in the Italian language.


Tan's Travel Club: Cinque Terre
© Tan's Travel Club (Cinque Terre)

Italy has the largest number of United Nations designated world cultural heritage sites in the world. The list is just off the scale - here's just a few of them:

- Cinque Terre (stunning coastline comprising 5 beautiful fishing villages, where the mountains meet the sea)

- Archaeological Areas of Pompei, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata

- City of Verona

- Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie with “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci

- Venice and its Lagoon

- Historic city of Florence

… and it just goes on. Stunning!


Italy is the world’s largest wine producer, just edging out France last year for the number 1 spot. What better place to drink the good stuff than in the country itself. With over 350 different Italian grape varieties (with "authorised" status), there’s a treat for everyone.

24-hour wine fountain!

And on that theme - did you know there’s a free wine fountain in Italy?! Inside Dora Sarchese winery, located on the Cammino di San Tommaso, the fountain was created for those on a pilgrimage from Rome to Ortona (although it’s open to all). You will find the beautiful red stuff flowing every day, 24 hours a day! You can read more about the story behind the fountain at the website of Dora Sarchese.

Poveglia - the forbidden island! 👻

This tiny island is in the North of Italy between Venice and Lido. But if you have images of a pretty, idyllic little place, hmmmmm, not so much! It is strictly prohibited to visit the island and is feared for being hideously haunted. In the past it was used as a plague quarantine station and is thought to house mass graves. In 1922, a mental hospital was opened and rumour has it, terribly dark practices and experiments took place on patients there. The doctor responsible allegedly jumped off the bell tower, or was he pushed by tortured souls?! Either way, we prefer the wine fountain story!!🤭

Trevi Fountain

The water for this well known fountain is supplied by the ‘Acqua Virgine’, one of the oldest Roman aqueducts. According to local custom, throwing a coin into the fountain - right hand over left shoulder - ensures that one day you will return to Rome. Apparently 2 coins could lead to a little Italian romance and 3, well, get buying that wedding outfit - it’s a certainty! It is estimated that around 3,000€ is thrown into the fountain every day - if my appalling maths abilities are in tact 🙄, that’s just over 1,000,000€ a year!

The humble tomato

Tan's Travel Club
© Tan's Travel Club

Can you believe the gorgeous tomato was not only an unpopular food but actually feared in Italy when it made its first appearance. It headed over from the New World in 1548 and very quickly became associated with illness and poisoning! This was of course mightily unjust as it was in fact the cause of the leaded plates used by the aristocracy and not the tomato itself. Due to the acidity of the fruit, lead from the plates would leach into the humble tomato and therefore cause illness. Oops! It was at least another 200 years later before the tomato started to be trusted and enjoyed ... and even later still before it was finally acknowledged as an essential deliciousness in Italian cuisine.

Bronze statue of Jesus Christ under the sea!

More than 15 meters under the sea, in the waters of San Fruttuoso, Liguria, you will find a bronze statue of Jesus Christ - 2.5 metres tall and weighing 260kg! The statue, known as Christ Of The Abyss was created by Guido Galetti. It was based on the idea of an Italian diver, Duilio Marcante, following the death of his friend Dario Gonzatti (who died in this very spot). The statue was placed in the sea on 22 August, 1954.


We hope you enjoyed this post and thanks for reading 😊. Maybe you know some other funky facts about Italy or can add more insight to some of these?

If you're thinking of travelling to Italy, head over to our website and take a look at our club memberships - we'll let you know about great value flights and accommodation options just for you 👌



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