What is Italy Known For?

Many visitors to Italy to fall in love with this magical Mediterranean destination and visit more than once over their lifetime. There are so many things that make Italy the amazing country it is and we will attempt to give you the main ones here in this list.

What is Italy known for?

Italy is a country known for its food such as pizza, gelato and pasta, fashion like Armani, Prada and Gucci, and fast cars including Lamborghini, Maserati and Fiat. Italy is also famous for its architecture, history, art, landscapes, and for loving football and Catholicism.

1. Cuisine

Italian cuisine is arguably the main thing that this Mediterranean country is known for, with millions of tourists flocking to Italy to dine on pizza, pasta, gelato and salads every year. Italian food is fresh, rich and famous around the world and trying the dishes that you already know and love in their home country somehow makes them taste even better!

Whether you opt for freshly-made ravioli, a sumptuous risotto sprinkled with fine, local Parmigiano-Reggiano or a thin and crispy Roman pizza, you’re sure to be delighted by the Belissimo Italian flavours and ingredients.

You could easily take a food tour of the whole of Italy, comparing and contrasting local dishes and styles as you move around the country.

2. Architecture

Another thing that Italy is known for is its architecture, with famous buildings such as The Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, the Rialto bridge of Venice and The Duomo of Milan being top sights for travellers and locals alike.

Rome arguably has the most iconic architecture, and history lovers will enjoy exploring the ruins of the Roman Forum, the Castel and Ponte Sant’Angelo and the dome and oculus of the Roman Pantheon.

Each of the architectural gems in Rome and beyond is in various states of disrepair, but this makes them all the more intriguing and inspiring!

3. Vatican City

looking down vatican city in rome

While the bucket is actually a country in its own right, the Vatican as an attraction is still something that Italy is known for. Most people who visit the Vatican City also combine their trip with time exploring Rome and perhaps other cities in Italy, therefore these features go hand in hand.

The Vatican City is known for being the home of the Pope, the head of the Catholic Church, and as such, many Catholics choose to make a pilgrimage to this important site during their lifetime.

It’s not only Catholics who appreciate the Vatican City though. Travellers also love to visit this tiny nation to discover the St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museums.

4. Venice Canals

the canals of venice

The Venice Canals are one of Italy’s most famous and most loved attractions, not least because they define the layout of the city and make Venice quite unlike any other city in the world. The Grand Canal is the largest stretch of water that runs through the city in an S shape, and is a major traffic corridor which has been used for trade and transportation for centuries.

Visitors coming to Venice can enjoy gondola rides on the Grand Canal (and the smaller outlets that run into the city streets), with a classic Italian punter wearing his striped t-shirt and boater hat!

Another highlight of the Venice Canal is the stunning Renaissance, Baroque, Byzantine and Venetian architecture that sits on the banks of the canal, with the water coming right up to the window ledges.

5. Pompeii

the streets of pompeii

The city of Pompeii lies around 14 miles southeast of Naples at the base of Mount Vesuvius. Pompeii is famous because it was destroyed and yet preserved at the same time during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE when the Roman city of Campania was covered in ash and lava.

Today, Pompeii is a well-known historical site that gives travellers an insight into the Greco-Roman life that existed during this period. Despite the ruins at Pompeii having been discovered in the 16th Century, it wasn’t until 1997 that Pompeii was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and there continue to be new discoveries to this day.

6. Art

Art fresco in Galleria Borghese

With big names like Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael and Caravaggio, it’s not surprising that Italy is famous for its art. These artists shared new artistic styles with the world and have created some of the most revered works of art on Earth such as Michelangelo’s David, da Vinci’s The Last Supper and The Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michelangelo.

These Italians are still regularly studied by art students and scholars across the world, and we can continue to learn from them and admire their work today.

7. Fashion Designers

Milan, Italy shop front

Milan is known as being one of the world’s foremost fashion cities, with their Fashion Week being one of the hottest events in the couture calendar. Designer brands such as Prada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabanna, Versace, and Valentino have all sprung out of Italy and have created looks that have spread around the world like wildfire.

Whether you love or hate the fashion industry, you can’t deny the impact these big names have had on modern-day culture.
Window shoppers will love exploring the stores of the Quadrilatero d’Oro shopping district in Milan; these exquisite flagship stores being quite special!

8. Explorers

While many of us have heard of explorers such as Christopher Columbus, Marco Polo and Amerigo Vespucci, what we might not know is that all of these world explorers hailed from Italy. These famous Italians, among many others, played important roles in the Age of Discovery – sailing valiantly around the world in search of new trade routes and knowledge.

Looking back, it may feel like conquerors had a negative impact on the planet, but without their exploration, we wouldn’t have the connected world we live in today.

9. Wine

pouring a glass of wine in italy

Italians are known to love drinking wine (being one of the top consumers of vino in the world) but luckily for us, they’re also pretty fantastic at producing it too. Italy produces the most wine in the world (by volume) with Chianti, Barolo, Lambrusco and Barbaresco being top choices. Trattoria owners, waiters and sommeliers will happily help pair your meal with a fine Italian wine so simply ask and you shall receive!

Legend has it, that during Roman times, Emperor Domitian was forced to destroy many vineyards across the country as Italy was producing more wine than they were food!

10. Gesticulating - a part of the Italian language

man talking with his hands and facial expressions

When people think of Italy, one thing that may spring to mind is the gesticulating hand movements used by Italians when they talk. There are thought to be over 250 different hand gestures – many of these used every day – which express everything from passion and aggression to dismay and disgust!

While it may seem funny or excessive when you first arrive in Italy, you’ll soon get used to the wild hand movements and will learn to love the eccentric expression used in everyday life.

11. Amalfi Coast

the amalfi coast - positano
Positano, Italy

The colourful houses of the Amalfi Coast perching precariously on the rugged hillsides are one of the many Italian destinations that grace people’s bucket lists. This region is known for its collection of pastel-hued fishing villages, connected by walking paths and scenic drives and is a must for lovers of photography as well as the great outdoors.

Travellers could spend days or even weeks soaking up the beauty and atmosphere of the Amalfi Coast, planning a perfect trip that travels between the villages and coastal paths.

12. Opera

La Scala Opera House, Milan

Opera is one of the most famous Italian works of theatre, with composers, librettists, actors, singers, dancers, costumers and stage directors coming together to create magnificent performances.

The incredible Arena di Verona is one of the most impressive operatic stages in the world, with performances of shows such as Aida, Turandot, La Traviata and Nabucco being shown throughout the year. This spectacular Roman Amphitheatre (built in the 1st century AD!), can seat up to 15,000 guests and is unsurprisingly one of the most magical places in the world to watch a performance.

13. Vespas

a vespa in a garden

Vespas have to be up there with the coolest modes of transport ever as they hark back to warm summer days and chicly-dressed Italians, the likes of which have been seen in films such as La Dolce Vita and Audrey Hepburn’s Roman Holiday!

Of course, it’s really Italy’s architecture, weather and style that make these scooters so much sexier, as the vibe wouldn’t quite be the same on a rainy winter’s day in the English countryside…

You will see lots of Italians riding Vespas when you visit Rome, Florence or Naples, so if seeing one of these stylish scooters in action is on your bucket list, you won’t be disappointed.

Number 14. Football

kids playing football

Last but not least is football, an ideology that is so much more than a sport in Italy! Italians are known for being wildly passionate about football (soccer) having boasted some of the world’s best players, and it was a huge shock back in 2018 when the national team failed to qualify for the World Cup – we’d suggest not mentioning that if/when you visit!
Italy has some great teams that play in their Serie A league, and heading to a match can be an awesome way to soak up some real Italian culture.

Hopefully by now, you know even more about Italy did before and can see why people fall in love with this Mediterranean country so easily!
What do you look forward to most about visiting Italy? Let us know in the comments below.

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