1. Each colour of the national flag has a meaning

The colours of the Italian flag represent hope (green), faith (white) and charity (red).

2. Italy’s last king ruled for just 34 days

Italy had a royal family until 1946, when citizens voted to abolish the monarchy in favour of a republic in the wake of World War II.

King Umberto II ruled from May 9, 1946, to June 12, 1946.

3. Tourists throw more than €1 million into the Trevi fountain each year

Roughly €3000 of change is thrown in the Trevi Fountain every day – that’s more than €1 million a year.

The coins are collected at the end of each day and donated to charity.

4. Italy has the most UNESCO sites in the world

Italy has 55 UNESCO sites, making it the country with the most in the world.

From the Dolomites, to the trulli of Alberobello, to Rome’s Colosseum, Italy is packed with natural, cultural and architectural gems.  

5. The national flower of Italy is the lily

The national flower of Italy is the lily, with its symbolic meaning of purity and refined beauty. 

Other popular flowers in Italy are roses, sunflowers, peonies, chrysanthemums and mimosa.

6. Italy has more than 1500 lakes

They include the famous names like Lake Garda and Lake Como, and the lesser-known yet equally stunning Lake Iseo in Lombardy.

7. Fourteen billion espressos are consumed in Italy each year

Fourteen billion espresso coffees are consumed each year in Italy and Italians drink approximately 3.7 kilograms of coffee per capita a year.

8. The most common Italian surname is Rossi

It’s followed by Russo, Ferrari, Esposito, Bianchi, Romano, Colombo, Ricci, Marino and Greco.

9. There are two independent states that sit within Italy’s borders

They are San Marino and Vatican City.

The latter is the smallest country in the world.

10. Pizza Margherita was invented in Naples in 1889 to honour Italy’s Queen Margherita of Savoy, who was visiting the city

It’s made with Italy’s national colours: the green of the basil, the white of the mozzarella and the red of the sauce.