What is Italy Known For? 20 Things You Didn’t Know

Italy is a country full of history and culture, but there’s more to it than just the Colosseum and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Whether it’s art or architecture that you crave, or teal-tinted canals surrounded by enchanting bridges – Italy has all these things in spades.

But what is Italy truly known for? Read on to discover the hidden gems of Italy that make it such an intriguing and beautiful place.

Quick Answer: What is Italy Known For?

Italy is known for its delicious food, incredible architecture, historic ruins, picturesque scenery, and rolling vineyards. Italy has also become notorious for its fashion houses and a multitude of cultural and historical landmarks.

Whether you’re up for a romantic gondola ride in Venice or simply want to admire the Colosseum in Rome, there’s something that all travelers will appreciate about Italy.

One thing’s for sure, though: no visit to Italy would be complete without gaining a few pounds from indulging in pizza and pasta galore!


1. Pasta

The best way to experience Italy may not be visiting its ancient ruins, but facing the deliciousness of its native cuisine.

As many from around the world already know, Italy is well-known for its delectable pasta dishes! From tagliatelle to gnocchi and of course spaghetti, it’s impossible to choose just one favorite.

There’s no denying that Italian food is among the most acclaimed in the world due in large part to their irresistible yet simple pastas – a delicious highlight of what Italians have been perfecting for centuries!

But many don’t know that the national dish of Italy is actually a flavorful pasta dish called Ragu alla Bolognese. You’ll find it on the menus, but not quite in the form you’d expect it; tourists usually refer to it as spaghetti bolognese.

Whether it’s spaghetti, penne or ravioli, Italy has perfected the art of rolling out dough for everyone’s pasta pleasure. Who could resist a bowl of ravioli stuffed full of delish ingredients? Ricotta cheese, pumpkin and slow-cooked meat, just to name a few.

Leaning Tower of Pisa
Leaning Tower of Pisa

2. Leaning Tower of Pisa

Ah, the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Symbolizing Italy’s excellent engineering capabilities in one wobbly structure.

This iconic bell tower is known throughout the world, and has been characterized by its dramatic tilt since its construction began in the 12th century.

It’s no surprise the tower appears in caricatures, comedy sketches, and even Disney cartoons – its crooked stature truly captures the humor of human error!

Visitors can climb to the top via just under 300 stairs in an effort to put (literally) a new perspective on one of history’s most famous monuments.

Whether you need a good laugh or simply want to marvel at an unusual architectural feat, a visit to this winding wonder should be at the top of your Italian itinerary.

3. Coffee Culture

Italy is the mecca of coffee! From the iconic espresso shot to their vast range of delightful roasts, venturing into Italy’s world of coffee will surely be an indulgent adventure.

With its velvety richness and robust aromas, it’s clear why Italians have been sipping on these delicious drinks for centuries.

Sure, espresso shots may pack quite a punch, but they’re worth it – that first sip of an authentic Italian powerhouse beverage is heavenly!

No one can deny that Italy has a stranglehold on espresso culture and knows how to do coffee right.

Whether it’s an espresso macchiato or cappuccino that you crave, there’s no better place to enjoy your morning fix than Italy.

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4. Designer Fashion

Italy’s good looks aren’t just limited to its many picturesque cities and jaw-dropping countryside; Italians certainly know a thing or two about looking their best.

With long-running designer labels such as Versace, Fendi and Dolce & Gabbana, it’s impossible to visit Italy without being impressed.

There is no shortage of top-quality leather goods like shoes and bags, plus couture tailoring that stands out from the rest.

From high-end Armani suits to statement Prada handbags – Italy is the beating heart of fashion and design.

If you want to stay ahead of the trends, you’ve got to learn from Italian designers – after all, they are part of the renowned “Big Four”, joining Paris, London and New York as fashion powerhouses. Talk about va-va-voom!

Vineyard in Tuscany Italy
Vineyard in Tuscany Italy

5. Elegant Wines

Italy is truly a wonderland of viticulture; its rolling hills and fertile soil make the perfect conditions for growing grapes, and it’s no surprise that it produces more wine than any other country on Earth.

With more than 350 varieties of grapes grown throughout the country, it can sometimes feel like your only mission while in Italy is to sample wines from every region. You’re truly never far away from a delightful glass, no matter where you are in Italy!

But if you do find yourself in Tuscany, this popular wine tour is unmissable.

Whether you prefer Chianti Classico, Amarone della Valpolicella or Barolo, these are just some of the classic Italian wines that continue to impress oenophiles around the world with their complexity and elegance.

6. Vatican City

Italy is known for many beautiful places and tourist attractions, but perhaps its most notable feature is Vatican City.

Located entirely within the city limits of Rome, many come here to experience the full range of Catholic culture, but none can deny that it’s sure a tight squeeze!

Known as being the smallest country in the world, its unique status ensures that no other nation could hope to match its charm and character.

From St. Peter’s Square to its vast collections of religious artwork and artifacts, it’s no wonder why visitors flock to Italy each year just to get a glimpse into a faith-filled oasis that holds so much history within its walls.

For any traveler who wants a more immersive experience with religion and art while on vacation, there’s simply no better place than Vatican City!

7. Luxurious Stays

Italy is a mecca for those looking to indulge in luxurious accommodation. For the ultimate luxury holiday, picturesque villas with stunning views of the countryside and private infinity pools complete with personal butlers offer an extraordinary escape from reality.

Want to hit urban chic? Boutique hotels tastefully decorated in Italy’s signature style and offering sumptuous suites make city stays ever so glamorous.

Whatever you’re after, rest assured that you’ll experience Italy’s special brand of exquisite luxury wherever your accommodation takes you!

Gelateria il Doge Venice Italy
Gelateria il Doge Venice Italy

8. Delicious Gelato

Italy’s ice cream is world-famous – creamy, dreamy goodness that’s sure to leave a lasting impression.

Don’t let appearances fool you though – while traditional gelato may look like regular ice cream, the unique recipe gives it its signature taste and smoother texture.

Whether you prefer fruity, creamy, or tangy flavors, it’s no surprise why gelato continues to be a treasured delicacy across the globe.

After all, isn’t indulging in a scoop of gelato as close as you can get to grabbing a one-way ticket to paradise? Biting into creamy swirls – ah yes, Italian gelato will truly make you feel amore <3

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9. Mouthwatering Pizza

Whether you’re tucking into a classic Margherita or indulging in a more creative concoction, Italian pizza is renowned for its fresh ingredients and heavenly dough.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say the country could easily be known as the epicenter of delicious, cheesy goodness.

From the original pizzas originating from Naples that are bursting with savory toppings to exquisite Roman slices with extra thin crusts, pizza lovers will find nothing but mouthwatering perfection in every bite.

10. Trevi Fountain

Standing elegantly for centuries in Rome, the magnificent Trevi Fountain is without a doubt one of the most iconic fountains in Europe.

This stunning structure has been dazzling visitors for nearly 300 years; towering at 26 meters high and 49 meters wide, it is also the largest Baroque fountain in the city – truly earning its grand reputation!

Flanked by intricately carved statues and embracing symmetry within the fountain’s unique structure, this large-scale work of art will stop visitors in their tracks.

It’s also an excellent destination for anyone wanting to make a wish or two. After all, who isn’t in need of some extra luck during a trip?

One can only hope that the Trevi Fountain keeps its beauty and prominence for many centuries more!

Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain

11. Supercars

The country knows how to do luxury right, so it should come as no surprise that it’s also known for its supercars.

Not only are all the top luxury sports car brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Bugatti headquartered in Modena, but Italy also claims responsibility for a third of global sales in sports cars.

This city is widely known as the International Capital of Sports Cars as well. Now that’s something to flex your wheel spokes about!

12. World-Class Opera

Whether you’re a fan of Puccini or Verdi, Italian opera has been thrilling audiences for centuries – with some of the world’s best performers taking center stage every night!

From La Scala in Milan to the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Italy is a haven for opera fans.

And if you’re lucky enough to attend one of these world-class performances, you’ll be treated to some serious vocal acrobatics and an unforgettable soundtrack that will stick with you long after the curtain falls.

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13. Football (Soccer)

Football in Italy is more than just a sport; it’s an absolute religion. Everyone from the tiniest toddler to the oldest grandparent is passionate about their favorite team and can give you breathtaking commentary on every detail of the game.

Football culture in Italy runs deep – legends are made, fortunes are won, and stories of great match-ups live on for decades.

It’s no wonder that football reigns supreme when it comes to sports in Italy: its raw emotion, intensity and never-ending drama that had kept fans captivated since the dawn of time!

The Colosseum Rome Italy
The Colosseum Rome Italy

14. The Colosseum

The Colosseum in Rome is an iconic landmark that goes back to a time of decadence and drama.

This massive amphitheater made an instant impact on the Roman Empire when it opened its doors about two thousand years ago – and even today, it still packs a punch.

Visitors are awed not only by the complexity and scope of the structure but also by the stories it tells.

From its tumultuous history of lion fights to gladiatorial combat to public spectacles, the Colosseum serves as a reminder of Rome’s power and fortitude throughout the ages, making it truly worthy of being one of Italy’s greatest attractions.

For more information, read our full guide on visiting the Colosseum!

15. The Stunning Dolomites

The Dolomites mountains are nothing short of a majestic wonder – soaring peaks, jagged rocks and impeccable grandeur.

With their distinctive pale-pink hue, these limestone mountains are the perfect backdrop for a hike or a ski holiday.

What’s even more astounding is the view you get when standing atop the many summits: crystal-clear blue skies, infinite rolling green valleys, emerald lakes and rugged pathways – it can take your breath away.

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16. Beautiful Beaches

Italy may be the birthplace of pasta and pizza, but it’s also home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world.

With miles and miles of scenic coastlines, crystal clear waters, and stunning views that go on forever, Italy’s beaches are downright breathtaking.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or just want to relax and soak in the Mediterranean sun, Italy’s beaches have something for everyone.

Beautiful Beach in Sardinia Italy
Beautiful Beach in Sardinia Italy

17. Talented Artists

Italy is a gold mine for artistic talent, producing some of the greatest painters, sculptors, poets and other creative minds the world has ever known.

From the high Renaissance to modern days and beyond, the impressive array of creatives hailing from this beautiful country makes it truly divine.

It’s no wonder why Italy is renowned for its many painters from centuries past, including Leonardo da Vinci. “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper” made him a double-shoo-in for Italian Greats!

Not to mention, with dazzling gallery of masterpieces created by Michelangelo, Botticelli, and so many more talented Italians throughout history, there’s never been a shortage of transfixing beauty on offer.

Whether you are strolling Italy’s historic museum halls or soaking up its delightful street art – there’s no doubt Italy has artistic flair in spades!

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18. World-Class Museums

Italy is the powerhouse of world-class museums, with every street corner seemingly topped with another cultural gem.

From the Uffizi in Florence to the Palazzo Reale in Turin – some which are shrines to antiquity, others packed with modern art – exploring these places of learning and culture leads to discoveries for all ages.

Enjoy some of the most indelible masterpieces from around the world or simply bask in the beauty of these monuments to history, each a reminder that there’s always something new to admire and appreciate.

Experience Italy’s rich cultural offerings and you’re sure to leave with your own miniature museum at home: one full of vivid memories!

19. Magnificent Cathedrals

If breathtaking beauty were a physical entity, it would be located in Italy’s prodigious cathedrals. From their humble beginnings as early Christian gathering places to age-old displays of grandeur, these magnificent monuments exude charm and style.

Whether standing amidst its rustic elements or soaking up the gilded details of intricate frescoes – walking through a cathedral is an experience like no other!

For amateurs and history aficionados alike, exploring these iconic sites will always leave one spellbound and marveling at their creations’ artful splendor.

Florence Cathedral in Florence Italy
Florence Cathedral in Florence Italy

20. Cured Meats

With an appetite for flavor and a penchant for the finer things in life, it’s no wonder Italy is famous for its cured meats – the cuisine reigns supreme when it comes to excellence in artistry and pleasure.

Pair cured meats with Italian red wine, robust cheese, spicy olives and crusty bread, and you can understand why this centuries-old culinary favorite has remained popular throughout the years. Every bite is exquisite!