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Discover Italy: the 5 interesting facts you need to know

Italy covers an area of 116,347 square miles.

It’s huge.

Say you want to drive from Milan in the north of Italy to Palermo, the capital of the autonomous region of Sicily. This would take 15 hours. Nonetheless we’re about to take you on a whirlwind tour of this country, with a few surprises along the way. Let’s go.

1) Rome was the centre of western civilisation

Early Roman culture borrowed heavily from ancient Greece, but it was the Romans who went on to conquer much of the European world. Augustus founded the Roman Empire in 27 BC and led it until his death in 14 AD.

Now imagine yourself back in Rome in 70 AD. At this time, there are people wearing togas, noblemen charging around in chariots, and gladiators fighting in the Colosseum.

Back then the world was a very different, but a lot has stayed the same. Not least the ancient buildings, whose style is a source of inspiration for architects across the globe.

2) The Vatican was at the centre of the Renaissance

You might have been taught about the Renaissance. It was the period from the 14th to the 17th century, when revolutions occurred in many intellectual fields, as well as changes in politics and society.

But the period is best known for its artistic developments. In particular the works of Michelangelo, who inspired the term ‘Renaissance man’, and his paintings are some of the most spectacular in the country. Like the interior of the Sistine Chapel, and the famous Last Judgment, which took four years to complete.

3) Italy has some of the oldest wine regions in the world

One of the most loved is the Piemonte.

Piemonte wine is made in the province of Piedmont in the north-western corner of Italy. It’s one of the nation’s best-known wines, and two popular bottles are Barolo and Barbaresco.

The earliest mention of Piedmontese wines is back in the 14th century, in the work of an unknown Italian agricultural writer Pietro de Crescentius.

4) It’s full of natural and man-made beauty

There are spectacular views across the country.

Take the Sorrentine Peninsula, for example. It’s just below the crescent of the Bay of Naples. On an average day you’ll see farmers harvesting olives, fishermen mending their nets, and the view of the entire peninsula from the pathway of the Gods.

And it’s not just the natural beauty that will have you staring in awe. The man-made sights are great too.

Take Umbria. Here the hilltop wine village of Montefalco and the historic city of Spoleto are home to Roman ruins, Emperor Vespasian’s mother’s house, baths and mosaics. And there’s the St Francis’ Basilica.

It seems this region is all about human achievement.

In fact, it gets its name from the people. The Umbri were an old Italic folk, absorbed by the expansion of the Romans.

5) There are a lot of passionate Italians

“A chi vuole, non mancano modi.”

That’s an old Italian proverb. It means: where there is a will, there is a way.

And that’s the mindset to this day of many Italians: tough spirits and bold minds. A great attitude you encounter time and time again across this nation.

That might be one reason why Italy achieves and preserves so much, leaving you with lots to experience.

La Dolce Vita

The good life. It consists of: good friends, good scenery, good activities. Where else in the world would you go to get a taste of it other than fantastic, unforgettable Italy?

If you know the answer, get back to us, share this post and check out more exciting articles to fuel your next adventure.