Travelling is all about getting acquainted with new and different cultures, and getting a new perspective on the world and the people who inhabit it. But sometimes it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees, and too much information all of a sudden is just as bad as no information at all. So before travelling, it’s always best to learn a few things about the place we’re travelling to, in order to prepare ahead of time. Here are a few things you might not have known about Italy.
1. Italy is incredibly popular with tourists, being the fourth most visited country in the world.
2. Italy is home to the only three active volcanos in Europe: Etna, Stromboli and Vesuvius.
3. Mount Vesuvius, which is the only volcano in mainland Europe to have erupted in the last century, is located only 6 miles from Naples. This makes it the most densely populated volcanic region in the world. The area around Veusuvius has been turned into a Natural Park. If you pick up a car hire in Italy, you can easily drive to as close as 200 meters from the volcano. From there, you can follow the trails up to the summit on foot.
4. There are over 140 different types of pasta in Italy. Some are only consumed locally, while others are produced and sold across the country.
5. Italy saw the start of the European Renaissance back in the 14th century.
6. The country was also the heart of the Roman Empire during the Classical Antiquity, being one of the two most influential cultural centres in the West. The other was Greece.
7. Italy is home to the oldest University in the world in continuous operation. The University of Bologna was founded in 1088 and has been open ever since.
8. Among Italy’s contribution to the arts were the invention of the violin, the cello, and the piano.
9. The Venice Festival is the oldest film festival in the world, going back to 1932.
10. Italy is home to some of the most prestigious car brands in the world, including Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati.