Italy | Culture, Facts and Travel | (2023)

What makes Italy a unique travel destination?

country description

Italy is a developed democracy with a modern economy. The Holy See is a sovereign entity that serves as the ecclesiastical, governmental and administrative capital of the Roman Catholic Church and is physically located in Vatican City State in Rome, with a unique and non-traditional economy. San Marino is a developed constitutional democratic republic, also independent from Italy, with a modern economy. Tourist facilities are widespread.


Italy has a moderate crime rate. You should be extra careful at night and in train stations, airports, nightclubs, bars and sidewalk cafes. Drinking excessively can impair your ability to assess situations and make decisions, making you a target for crime. Young drinkers are particularly vulnerable to robbery and physical and sexual assault.

Petty crimes such as pickpocketing, parking theft and pickpocketing are a serious problem, especially in large cities. Pickpockets sometimes disguise themselves as businessmen. You should not be fooled into a false assurance that well-dressed people are not potential pickpockets or thieves. Most of the reported thefts occur in busy tourist spots, on public buses and trains, and at the main train stations: Termini in Rome; Milan Central; Santa Maria Novella in Florence; and the Centrale of Naples in Piazza Garibaldi. For more information on trains and safety, see the Italian Railway Police travel advice. Also, beware of thefts at Milan Malpensa Airport, especially at car rental companies. Internet cafe customers in major cities are also being targeted. Be careful with your bag or purse as scooter thieves are very quick and can snatch a handbag from a moving scooter's arm. Defying these thieves can be dangerous as some tourists have suffered broken arms and collarbones.

Thieves in Italy often work in groups or pairs. Couples of accomplices or groups of children are known to draw tourists' attention to someone else in order to rob them. In a certain routine, a robber drops or spills something on the victim; a second burglar helps the victim clean up; and the third discreetly takes away the victim's belongings. Criminals on crowded public transport will slit the bottom of purses or bags with a razor blade or sharp knife and extract the contents.

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Some travelers in Rome, Florence and Naples have reported incidents of criminals attacking them with drugs or robbing them. These incidents were reported near Termini train station in Rome; in bars and cafes near the Colosseum in Rome, Colle Oppio, Campo de Fiori and Piazza Navona; and in bars and cafes in central Florence and Naples. Criminals who use this tactic "make friends" with you at a train station, restaurant, cafe or bar and then offer you a drink with a sleeping pill. If you fall asleep, criminals will steal your valuables and possibly sexually assault you. Some victims of these attacks in Rome required hospitalization and two cases ended in death.

Thieves have also been known to pose as police officers in order to steal. The robber shows him a round plastic sign that says "Police" or "International Police" and then, in perfect English, demands to see his ID and money. US citizens should be aware that local police generally exit their own vehicles when speaking to the public. Additionally, covert civilian units rarely attempt to stop vehicles without a designated car accompanying them. If this happens to you, you should insist on seeing the officer's ID (document) before handing in your wallet, as this is often not the case with impersonators. Carrying forged documents You should report theft or other crimes to the real police immediately.

Be aware of the possibility of vehicle theft and theft while waiting in traffic or stopped at traffic lights. This was a particular problem in Catania, Sicily. Be especially careful when driving the streets at night when thieves are more likely to attack. US citizens have reported their rental cars stolen while stopping at freeway rest stops; Thieves break car windows and steal everything inside. Small items such as radios, luggage, cameras, briefcases and even cigarettes from parked cars are commonplace. In summer, vehicles parked near the beaches can be broken into and valuables stolen. Lock your car doors every time you park and keep packages out of sight in your car.

US intelligence in Rome is helping Italian law enforcement investigate a surge in ATM theft devices. These devices connect to legitimate ATMs, typically located in tourist areas, and capture account information, which is stored electronically on the card's magnetic strip. The devices consist of a card reader mounted above the legitimate reader and a keyboard-mounted pinhole camera that records the customer's PIN. ATMs with skimming devices installed can also allow normal transactions. The victim's information is sold, traded online, or encrypted on another card, e.g. B. a hotel key to access the compromised account.

Organized crime groups operate throughout Italy but are more widespread in the south. They occasionally resort to violence to intimidate or resolve disputes. Although the activities of such groups are not generally aimed at tourists, visitors should be aware that bystanders can be injured.

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Do not buy counterfeit or pirated products, even if they are widely available. Not only is it illegal to bring the pirates into the United States, but if you buy them you may be breaking local laws.

Under Italian law, anyone caught buying counterfeit goods (e.g. DVDs, CDs, watches, wallets, bags, belts, sunglasses, etc.) faces a fine of no less than EUR 1,000. Police in major Italian cities enforce this law to varying degrees. You are advised to purchase products only from stores and other authorized retailers to avoid unknowingly purchasing counterfeit and illegal goods.

criminal penalties

When traveling in Italy, you are subject to its laws even if you are a US citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be very different from ours, and criminal penalties vary from country to country. There are also some things that are legal in Italy but still illegal in the United States; For example, under US law, you can be prosecuted if you purchase counterfeit products. Engaging in sexual activity with children or using or distributing child pornography in a foreign country is a criminal offense in the United States.

Arrest notices in the host country: You should try to be aware of local laws and their implications. If you break local laws in Italy, your US passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution. If you are arrested in Italy, the Italian authorities must notify the nearest US embassy or consulate of your arrest. To ensure the United States is aware of your circumstances, ask police and correctional officials to notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained abroad.


Italian is the official language. There are significant French and German speaking minorities, and some speak Slovene. Many Italians are bilingual.

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Medical facilities and health information

Medical facilities are available but may be limited outside of urban areas. Public hospitals, while generally free for emergency services, sometimes do not maintain the same standards as hospitals in the United States. Therefore, it is recommended to take out an insurance that covers a stay in a private Italian hospital or clinic. Obtaining a detailed hospital bill from public hospitals, as required by many US insurance companies, is almost impossible because the Italian National Health Service charges a fee that includes nursing and room and board services.

In parts of southern Italy, the lack of suitable sites for waste disposal and incineration has led to periodic accumulations of waste in both urban and rural areas. In some cases, local residents have burned rubbish, creating toxic emissions that can exacerbate respiratory problems.

The US Navy began a public health assessment in the Naples area in 2008. After finding bacterial and chemical contamination of potential health concerns, particularly in well water samples taken from the area, the Navy recommended that all off-base personnel be moved to the Naples area to use only bottled water for drinking, cooking, making ice, and brushing teeth Water.

protection and safety

Several major earthquake faults cross Italy. Major Italian cities, with the exception of Naples, are nowhere near these errors; However, smaller resorts like Assisi are close to the fault lines and have suffered from earthquakes. An earthquake severely damaged the city of L'Aquila in 2009. General disaster preparedness information is available online from the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Detailed information on fault lines in Italy is available from the US Geological Survey (USGS).

Italy also has several active volcanoes that produce geothermal events. Mount Etna on the eastern tip of the island of Sicily has been erupting since 2000. Mount Vesuvius near Naples is currently overcast and not active. Activity on Vesuvius is monitored by an active seismic network and sensor system and no recent seismic activity has been recorded. Two of Italy's smaller islands, Stromboli and Vulcano, in the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily, also have active volcanoes with lava flows. Detailed information on volcanic activity in Italy is available from the USGS.

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Politically motivated violence in Italy is often related to domestic developments or social problems. Italian authorities and foreign diplomatic bodies have found bombs in front of public buildings, received bomb threats and been the target of letter bombs in recent years. Organized crime and anarchist movements sometimes use firebombs or Molotov cocktails against buildings or offices. These attacks generally take place at night, and while they have not attacked or injured any US citizens, you should keep an eye on your surroundings and report any suspicious activity to local authorities.

Demonstrations can have anti-US sentiment. Character, especially in areas where US military bases are located. Even supposedly peaceful demonstrations can turn into confrontations and possibly escalate into violence. You should take common sense precautions and follow news reports carefully. Keep up to date by reading the embassy's demonstration notices.

Italian authorities have made several high-profile arrests involving members or allies of transnational terror groups. As in other countries in the Schengen area, Italy's open borders with its western European neighbors allow terrorist groups to enter and leave the country anonymously.

traffic safety and road conditions

In Italy, you can encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Italy has one of the highest death rates from car accidents in the European Union. The streets of the historical centers of the cities are usually narrow, winding and congested. Scooters are very popular and scooter drivers often find themselves exempt from the conventions that apply to cars. Pedestrians and drivers must constantly be aware of the possibility of the sudden presence of a scooter. Most vehicle-related fatalities and injuries involve pedestrians or cyclists involved in collisions with scooters or other vehicles. Be extra careful when renting a scooter. You must remain alert and vigilant when walking or cycling near roads. Pedestrians should be careful as sidewalks can be extremely congested and uneven. Cyclists, motorcycles and other vehicles typically ignore road signs and traffic flows, parking and riding on sidewalks. For safety reasons, pedestrians should carefully look both ways before crossing streets, even when using a crosswalk marked with an illuminated green Avanti ("Go") light.

Road signs are limited and often disobeyed, and a different right-of-way convention is observed. Italy has over 5,600 kilometers (3,480 miles) of autostrada, or superhighways. Commercial and individual vehicles travel and traverse these well-maintained roads at very high speeds. In rural areas, a wide speed range on highways makes driving dangerous. The roads are generally narrow and often have no crash barriers. Travelers to northern Italy, especially in winter, should be aware of the fog and poor visibility that are responsible for several car accidents each year. Most Italian cars are equipped with special fog lights. Roadside assistance in Italy is excellent on well-maintained toll roads but limited on secondary roads. The use of seat belts and child restraints is mandatory and headlights must be on at all times outside of urban areas.

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US citizens driving in Italy should be aware that according to Italian regulations, if a resident of a non-EU country (e.g. the United States) breaks a traffic law, the offender will be fined the The time of the violation is for the police officer issuing the ticket. If the citizen does not or cannot pay the fine at that time, the Italian regulation allows the police officer to confiscate the offender's vehicle (even if it is a rental vehicle).

For specific information on Italian driver's licenses, vehicle inspection, road tax and compulsory insurance, please contact the Italian Tourist Office (ENIT), tel: 212-245-5618; or the A.C.I. (Automobile Club d'Italia) in Via Marsala 14A, 00185 Rome, Tel: 39-06-4998-2496. Contact AAA or the American Automobile Touring Alliance for information on obtaining international driver's licenses. Visit our Road Safety page for more information. Visit the website of the Italian Tourist Office and the national authority responsible for road safety.


What are some cultural facts about Italy? ›

A free wine fountain? 15 bizarre Italian facts
  • Italy is the fifth most visited country in the world. ...
  • All three of Europe's active volcanoes are in Italy. ...
  • Italians invented pizza in Naples. ...
  • Italy has the most UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world. ...
  • Italians have eaten pasta since the 4th century B.C.
18 Jan 2020

What are 5 traditions found in Italian culture? ›

5 Italian Traditions You'll Surely Want To Know
  • Family. For Italians, family is the most important part of life. ...
  • Music. Italians absolutely love music. ...
  • Religion. Most Italians are Roman Catholic. ...
  • Holidays and celebrations. Italians embrace any reason to get together with family. ...
  • Architecture and art.
15 Apr 2016

What is the main culture in Italy? ›

The Italian culture is commonly associated with art, music and food. It is the homeland of the Roman Empire, the Roman Catholic Church and the main center of the Renaissance, which flourished through Europe for centuries.

What are 10 interesting facts about Italy? ›

Top 10 fun and interesting facts about Italy for kids
  • It was established in 1861. ...
  • There are some fantastic Italian food and drinks. ...
  • People speak Italian. ...
  • The weather changes throughout the year. ...
  • The capital city is Rome. ...
  • The majority of people living there are Roman Catholic. ...
  • There are active volcanoes in Italy!

What is important in Italian culture? ›

The famous elements of Italian culture are its art, music, cinema, style, and iconic food. Italy was the birthplace of opera, and for generations the language of opera was Italian, irrespective of the nationality of the composer.

What are 5 things Italy is famous for? ›

Italy is famous for the Renaissance and the incredible artists it produced. Italy is famous for its tourism, its art cities and unique scenery. Italy is also known for its language, its opera, its fashion and its luxury brands. It is also known for its football team!

What is Italy's biggest holiday? ›

La Festa della Repubblica is Italy's Independence Day and one of the country's most important holidays. The day celebrates the end of monarchs and the country officially becoming a republic.

What is Italy famous for? ›

When we say Italy, Pizza, Pasta and the famous Rome come to our mind. Italy is worldwide famous for its Art, culture, food, beautiful location, and architecture.

What was the first culture in Italy? ›

The Etruscans, who knew themselves as the Rasenna, were a culture that flourished in central Italy in the region of Etruria between the 8th and the 3rd century BCE. They are first mentioned by the Greek writer Hesiod in the 8th century BCE and were the first great Italian civilization before the Romans.

What is Italy's food culture? ›

The Mediterranean diet forms the basis of Italian cuisine, rich in pasta, fish, fruits and vegetables. Cheese, cold cuts and wine are central to Italian cuisine, and along with pizza and coffee (especially espresso) form part of Italian gastronomic culture.

What are 3 Italian traditions? ›

Here are eight for your list:
  • Epiphany and La Befana. Throughout Florence, it is tradition for an old woman to deliver gifts to children on Epiphany Eve. ...
  • Carnevale. ...
  • Florentine New Year. ...
  • Scoppio del Carro. ...
  • Patron Saint Feast Day. ...
  • Notte Bianca. ...
  • Festa della Rificolana. ...
  • Republic Day.
21 Feb 2017

How is culture celebrated in Italy? ›

In Italian culture, families socialize and celebrate often. Even on a regular day, they'll meet in each other's homes for dinner or head to restaurants together. Food equals love and tradition in Italian culture. If you enjoy Italian recipes, cooking, and eating, you're surely going to love being married to an Italian!

Why is Italy the best place to visit? ›

Italy is a country famous not only for its glorious landscapes, rich history and vibrant culture, but also for the Italian divine food that is a perfect fit for everyone. Italian food is one of the many reasons why such a huge number of tourists come to Italy every year.

Why is Italian culture interesting? ›

Italy is home to the epicentre of the Roman Empire, the hub of Catholicism and the birthplace of the Renaissance. It has a rich heritage in art, history, religion, cuisine, architecture and fashion. These cultural legacies have been deeply influential in defining Western cultural tradition.

What time do Italians go to sleep? ›

11:00pm – Midnight.

What does Italian culture value most? ›

Respect in Italian culture is highly valued. In families, the oldest members are shown high levels of respect from other family members. It is not uncommon for families to care for older members in their elderly years. It is a sign of respect to greet each other with a kiss on both cheeks.

What time do Italians eat? ›

“Here's how to eat on an Italian schedule: we eat colazione (breakfast) as we get up, pranzo (lunch) in between 12.30 and 2 pm, merenda (afternoon snack) in between 4 and 5 pm, and cena (dinner) in between 7 and 8.30 pm…”

Why do people love Italy? ›

Italy is filled with riches. It offers you spectacular cities, ancient ruins, wonderful museums, soaring mountains, great beaches, and beautiful natural scenery – all packed in one. No wonder, it features in the bucket lists of a lot of people.

What is the best fact about Italy? ›

Italy has more World Heritage sites than any other country

Italy has 55 world heritage sites, more than anywhere else on earth. They cover the entire country, and range from Mount Etna to the Colosseum.

What is Italy's nickname? ›

It's proper name Repubblica Italiana (Italian Republic), Nickname: “Bel Paese” which means beautiful country. Rome its capital city was founded in 753BC.

What is Italy's name day? ›

Italians use it to refer to your giorno onomastico, 'name day', which most people cut down to simply l'onomastico. According to the country's Catholic traditions, your name day is the feast day of whichever saint you're named after (because naturally you're named after a saint).

What do people in Italy wear? ›

Italians tend to wear basic blue jeans a lot less often than their counterparts elsewhere. It's not that women are always in dresses, and men in suits; it's that when they do throw on trousers, they're rarely basic jeans or khakis. Instead, pants come in a rainbow of colors.

Is Italy good for life? ›

All in all, Italy is a beautiful country with wonderful food, fascinating history, and gorgeous scenery. Be aware that the Italian lifestyle will come at a high cost for you if you want to live in one of the main cities like Rome or Milan. You'll need to know some basic vocabulary before moving here.

How old is Italy's culture? ›

Italian culture is the amalgamation of thousands of years of heritage and tradition, tracing its roots back to the Ancient Roman Empire and beyond. Italian culture is steeped in the arts, family, architecture, music and food.

What is Italian family culture? ›

Family Culture

Italians are extremely family-oriented, and it is common to live with extended family such as grandparents, aunts/uncles, and cousins. And if you do not live directly in the same household as your extended family, then they are no more than a walking distance from you or a 5 minute drive.

What are Italians proud of? ›

Italy's history and culture are entwined with its ancient heritage, and all Italians are immensely proud of their country and its amazing past. A love of music, art, good food and great wine is born into every native, and the enjoyment of life's finer things is compulsory.

What is Italy's main religion? ›

Religious Demography. The U.S. government estimates the total population at 62.3 million (midyear 2019 estimate). According to a 2019 survey by Doxa, an independent Italian research center, approximately 67 percent of the population identifies as Roman Catholic.

What time is breakfast in Italy? ›

The Typical Italian Breakfast

Breakfast or la colazione, is usually eaten at the bar, the Italian equivalent of a cafe or coffee shop, or at home from 7:00 to 10:30am.

What are the 4 food rules in Italy? ›

Jump ahead to...
  • Food rule #1 – Don't eat fish with cheese.
  • Food rule #2 – Cappuccino is only a breakfast drink.
  • Food rule #3 – Pasta is usually a first course, not a main dish or a side dish.
  • Food rule #4 – Spaghetti isn't eaten with meatballs (A corollary of the above)
12 May 2019

What is the Italian holiday? ›

Current holidays
DateEnglish NameLocal Name
1 MayLabour DayFesta del Lavoro (or Festa dei Lavoratori)
2 JuneRepublic DayFesta della Repubblica
15 AugustAssumption DayAssunzione (Ferragosto)
1 NovemberAll Saints' DayTutti i santi (or Ognissanti)
8 more rows

What is a special holiday in Italy? ›

June 2: The Festa della Repubblica marks the birth and unification of the Italian Republic. If you can, head to Rome for this national holiday—that's where you can enjoy the holiday's huge, patriotic military parade.

What do Italians do for fun? ›

For Italian families, among the most popular daily leisure activities are watching television, listening to the radio, reading newspapers, and going to the cinema; reading books and engaging in sports are less common among the majority of people.

Is there an Italian culture? ›

Italian culture is extremely rich and internationally revered. Often, Italian culture has been transposed in those countries to which many Italians emigrated, such as Argentina, Australia, or the United States.

Why is tourism so popular in Italy? ›

Nowadays the factors of tourist interest in Italy are mainly culture, cuisine, history, fashion, architecture, art, religious sites and routes, naturalistic beauties, nightlife, underwater sites and spas.

What is everyday life like in Italy? ›

Italian lifestyle is largely imitated all over the world. It is made up of small and big habits that create a peculiar and sought-after image. Italians value and celebrate all aspects of life, such as spending time with family and friends, eating and drinking well, and enjoying beauty in all its forms.

Why is food important to Italian culture? ›

Why is food important in Italian culture? “Italian People always say “In Italy it is all about food”, well, this is very true! In fact, food represents the biggest expression of our culture as a way to enjoy and socialise around a nice meal, a festival, a family celebration, or an event.

What are 3 unique facts? ›

Fun Facts and Trivia
  • It is impossible for most people to lick their own elbow. ...
  • A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.
  • A shrimp's heart is in its head.
  • It is physically impossible for pigs to look up into the sky.

Can you tell me 10 interesting facts? ›

The 60 Most Interesting World Facts You'll Ever Hear
  • Glaciers and ice sheets hold about 69 percent of the world's freshwater. ...
  • The fastest gust of wind ever recorded on Earth was 253 miles per hour. ...
  • Recent droughts in Europe were the worst in 2,100 years. ...
  • The best place in the world to see rainbows is in Hawaii.

Did you know facts for 12 year olds? ›

  • The nose can detect a trillion smells!
  • One-quarter of your bones are in your feet.
  • Human teeth are as strong as shark teeth!
  • Your blood is as salty as the ocean.
  • Not only does everyone have unique fingerprints, but humans also have unique tongue prints!
  • The average brain weighs about three pounds.
19 Jul 2022

What are Italian cultural beliefs? ›

Values, customs, and tradition are important in Italian culture. Most Italians are Catholic and commonly attend church. It is also important for Italians to show each other respect. Respect is especially important when it comes to the elderly.

What are 3 things Italy is known for? ›

When we say Italy, Pizza, Pasta and the famous Rome come to our mind. Italy is worldwide famous for its Art, culture, food, beautiful location, and architecture.

What are some cultural activities in Italy? ›

The Best Cultural Activities in Italy
  • © Ruin. Colosseum. ...
  • © World heritage site · Ruin. Pantheon. ...
  • © Art Museum. Vatican Museums. ...
  • © Historic Site. St. ...
  • © World heritage site · Religious Site. Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. ...
  • © Specialty Museum. Doge's Palace , Venice. ...
  • © World heritage site · Art Museum. ...
  • © Historic Walking Area.

Is Italian food cultural? ›

Italian cuisine has influenced food culture around the world and is viewed as a form of art by many. Wine, cheese and pasta are important parts of Italian meals. Pasta comes in a wide range of shapes, widths and lengths, including common forms such as penne, spaghetti, linguine, fusilli and lasagna.

What is best about Italy? ›

Italy is a country famous not only for its glorious landscapes, rich history and vibrant culture, but also for the Italian divine food that is a perfect fit for everyone. Italian food is one of the many reasons why such a huge number of tourists come to Italy every year.

What is so beautiful about Italy? ›

Italian Landscapes

From the snow-capped peaks of the Dolomites to the orange groves at the foot of Mount Etna in Sicily. And from the rolling hilly landscape dotted with medieval villages in Tuscany to the steep cliffs with colorful houses on the Amalfi Coast: it is nowhere in the world as beautiful as in Italy.

What is Italy's famous food? ›

1. Pizza. Though a slab of flat bread served with oil and spices was around long before the unification Italy, there's perhaps no dish that is as common or as representative of the country as the humble pizza.

How do they dress in Italy? ›

Italians love a classy look that emphasizes a persons good points.
  • Capri pants are a good choice for women; Italians may wear shorts only at resorts. Men rarely wear very short shorts outside of vacation.
  • If you're wearing a suit, put on a tie with it. ...
  • Avoid baggy clothes.

Which country is famous for culture? ›

United States. The United States of America is a North American nation that is the world's most dominant economic and military power. Likewise, its cultural imprint spans the world, led in large part by its popular culture expressed in music, movies and television.

What are two cultural activities? ›

Some cultural activities which are popular:
  • Celebrate the Festival.
  • Charity Events.
  • Sports Events.
  • Exhibition and workshop.
  • Dance and Music competitions.
  • Visiting national park.
  • Volunteering in the local community.
  • Join a heritage tour.


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