From stunning architecture to delicious Italian cuisine, picturesque villages, famous cities, and historical landmarks to famous Italian painters, there are certainly a lot of things that Italy is famous for. Of course, you may think of pasta and gelato, the Vespas, and the gondola ride when you hear the word Italy, but there’s even more to this beautiful country.
Let’s explore the most famous things Italy is known for. You will get more than a glimpse of this beautiful country but really come to appreciate it for all that it is.
If you’re wondering what is Italy famous for? Let’s find out!
Famous Places in Italy
Italy is famous for its beautiful cities and destinations, many of which are often included in the lists of the most romantic cities in Europe. But whether you’re planning on a solo trip to Italy or sharing it with a loved one, these are the most famous cities in Italy that you should visit.
Florence, home of the Italian Renaissance
Florence is known as the birthplace of the Renaissance, a period of a great revival of culture and the arts in Europe. So don’t be surprised to see stunning architecture, museums, art galleries, and other beautiful landmarks in Florence. Up to this day, the city of Florence is overflowing with rich history and culture that it has become one of the most iconic cities in Italy.
Italian Renaissance Art was born in Italy. Home to some of the most famous artists, such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michaelangelo, Italian art has influenced and spread to many parts of the world, making Italy famous in this aspect.
If you are an art enthusiast, it is good to check out the Uffizi Gallery, where you can see some of the famous masterpieces of Leonardo da Vinci, such as “The Annunciation.”
Michaelangelo, the famous Italian sculptor, also made and completed his famous work, “David” in Florence before he turned 30 years old.
Venice, an Italian city famous for Gondola rides
What is Italy famous for? Gondola rides! Movies like “The Tourist” with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp showcase the beauty of Venice and make the prospect of a gondola ride even more exciting.
Venice, Italy, is famous for its gondola rides, hence the nickname “The Floating City” and “The City of Canals.” In fact, you should take a gondola ride at least once when you visit Italy.
Venice is a one-of-a-kind destination, and gondola rides are just one aspect of its uniqueness. Centuries-old bridges, beautiful houses, and medieval buildings make Venice more intriguing.
The Venetian Islands hold an allure of their own. For instance, a trip to Murano Island shows you the elaborate glassmaking process that has been there since the 8th century. Meanwhile, you’ll see women at Burano Island making artisan lace.
And if you happen to visit Venice a few weeks before Ash Wednesday, you could partake in the famous Venice Carnival. Locals gather on the streets of Venice wearing elaborate medieval Venetian dresses and sophisticated masks. Tourists are awe-struck with such revelry as it’s a party like no other! This, indeed, makes Italy even more famous!
Rome, the Eternal City
Italy is famous for Rome, the country’s capital city. Rome is also known as the Eternal City, and it has been the seat of power in Italy since 753 BC. Ancient Rome was also home to the Roman Empire, one of the most powerful empires the world has seen.
Italy is famous for its ancient roman ruins, such as the Colosseum in Rome. There are also plenty of other ancient ruins in other parts of the world, but what better place to see them than in Rome itself!
What is Italy famous for? Well, the Vatican City, of course! Vatican City has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site due to its historical and religious importance. St. Peter’s Basilica is said to be the birthplace of Christianity in Rome. Later on (and until today), catholic popes made Vatican City their home.
According to history, Rome started out as a small city. But as the Roman empire grew, Rome did as well. So if you’re planning a roman holiday, you’re guaranteed to have no shortage of things to do and places to see in this beautiful city.
Italy is famous for its beautiful coastlines, and Amalfi Coast is the best proof of that. Amalfi Coast is the ultimate description of a romantic getaway, from the stunning beaches and gorgeous fishing villages to breathtaking panoramic views.
Amalfi Coast is located in Southern Italy and offers a picture-perfect setting for a honeymoon. Couples who visit Amalfi Coast find themselves with plentiful things to do and see. Positano, a charming town on Amalfi Coast, has fantastic scenery day in and day out. Shorelines with fine sand and pristine waters are also almost everywhere, but a great place to spend the day beaching would be Marina Grande Beach.
For outdoor lovers, Amalfi Coast also has fantastic hiking trails, such as the Path of God, a six-kilometer rugged trail. When you reach the top, the beautiful panoramic view of the coastline will greet you and probably take your breath away, too!
What is another island Italy is famous for? Capri always comes to mind.
Capri is just under an hour away by ferry from the Amalfi Coast. This paradisaical small island oozes luxury. Capri, Italy, is famous for the Piazetta, a small square where people gather to see and be seen. Celebrities, paparazzi, and ordinary individuals rub elbows and socialize over drinks and coffee.
So if people ask what is Italy famous for? Well, the Piazzetta in Capri is pretty well-known all over the world.
The Blue Grotto in Capri is another famous trademark of Capri. The grotto can only be reached by renting a boat as it is located inside a cave. Once there, you’ll be awestruck by the magical blue water in the grotto, hence the name.
Also, did you know that a certain gin is quite well-known in Capri? Caprisius is a gin that carries the essence of Capri. But why is this gin in Italy famous?
The gin is concocted with ingredients that bear significance to Capri. A sip of this drink takes you back to Capri, the endless summers and the magical experiences you’ve had on the island. Even the bottle’s design is well thought out, ensuring that you’ll think of Capri whenever you take a drink.
This is the third-largest lake in Italy. Lake Como is known for its picturesque landscape and its quirky inverted Y-shape.
Lake Como is home to charming towns and beautiful villages. There are also villas and gardens that definitely make a romantic backdrop for a proposal or a honeymoon.
There are so many things to do at Lake Como, making it a popular destination in Italy. You can explore the town on foot or navigate the lake onboard a private boat. Either way, you’ll find yourself catching your breath many times as you fall in love with this beautiful area.
You can go swimming at the lake, although the water can be super cold in certain months. There are also beaches on Lake Como that are perfect for a lazy and stress-free getaway.
Milan – Italy’s Home of Fashion
Milan is a modern city in Italy, thanks to the private enterprises and international brands invested in the city. While other Italian cities have a more historical and cultural vibe, Milan is more forward facing and industrialized.
Milan, Italy, is famous for its fashion industry. A lot of fashion houses were born in Milan, including Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Moschino, and Giorgio Armani. The Milan Fashion Week is also a much-anticipated fashion event, not just by Italian fashion designers, but by so many people all over the world.
While Milan may be known as more of an economic city, let us not skip the historical and cultural contributions that make Italy famous.
The Duomo, or the Grand Cathedral, is the biggest in the country and the fourth largest in the world. This marble edifice took over 500 years to complete, making it one of the biggest attractions in the city.
There’s also the Sforzesco Castle, which was a fortress when it was built in the 15th century. The castle holds a number of museums, and some of the artworks on display are those of Michaelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.
Tuscany is famous for its rolling hills, delicious food, and even more delicious Italian wine. In fact, Tuscany is known as one of the best wine regions in the country. Vineyards and olive plantations stretch far and wide in this region, giving it a more idyllic charm.
The medieval town of San Gimignano is also famous in Tuscany. Sitting atop of a hill, the town gives you a relaxing panoramic view of the region. There are also other small charming towns in Tuscany and all of them have their own unique beauties.
The best way to see the rest of Tuscany is going on a road trip, down the long winding roads and scenic plantations. Make sure to make a pit stop at Val D’Orcia, a UNESCO heritage site south of Siena. With its medieval architecture, picturesque villages, and sleepy landscapes, you’ll feel frozen in time. The view never fails to mesmerize! Check out the best things to do in Tuscany.
Famous Italian Landmarks
What is Italy famous for? Famous landmarks that take your breath away! While it seems that every city has a famous landmark, here are the top landmarks that make Italy famous.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower Of Pisa is a marvelous piece of architecture that has indeed made Italy famous.
This famous landmark is all over the web, with tourists “pretending” to hold up the leaning tower with their fingers.
Indeed, the Leaning tower of Pisa is indeed a remarkable edifice. It was first built in 1173, but after five years, the tower started to lean. It is said that the subsoil was too soft, resulting in its eccentric four-degree tilt. This interesting imbalance makes the Leaning Tower of Pisa a sight to behold and a must-see when visiting Italy.
When people ask what is Italy famous for? Well, ancient Romans used to fight inside the Colosseum! And that building still stands today as a famous landmark in Italy.
The Colosseum is one of the greatest works of Italian architecture. This amphitheater was built to host various activities, but most of which centered around bloody gladiatorial events. The grand stadium’s original design held 80 entrances, is four stories high, and could seat approximately 50,000 people.
Over the years, the Colosseum suffered from earthquakes and neglect. Restoration efforts started in the 1990s, hoping to salvage what is left of the Colosseum. While this building reminds us of the sordid past of the Roman empire, it is standing today as one of Italy’s most important landmarks.
In the ancient city of Rome, people gathered at the Roman Forum to host religious, political, and gladiatorial events. Think of it as a venue for open forums for public affairs. Over the years, many more buildings were erected, such as temples and basilicas, statues, and monuments to honor important personalities, gods, and goddesses.
Today, the ancient ruins of the Roman Forum have become quite a tourist attraction in Italy. These ruins offer a glimpse of life during the Roman civilization.
When someone asks you, “what is Italy famous for?” you answer making a wish at the Trevi Fountain and their eyes would instantly light up with recognition!
You see, the Trevi Fountain is quite remarkable in Italy. In Italian culture, it is believed that throwing three coins in the Trevi Fountain results in three things 1). You will return to Rome 2). You will meet someone to fall in love with 3). You will get married!
The Trevi Fountain is indeed another must-see landmark in Italy. But just remember that water in the Trevi Fountain is not safe to drink, you would be fined 500 Euros for setting foot into the fountain, and all the coins thrown into the fountain are collected and donated for good cause.
The Pantheon is a majestic building built between 126 to 128 AD under Emperor Hadrian’s rule. It has a massive dome – reinforced concrete dome, at that! This only shows the brilliance of the architect or engineer that built the Pantheon.
That dome is a showstopping aspect of the building, and it’s a mystery how the ancient Romans built it. Two thousand years later, The Pantheon is still standing, the dome still intact, and no other modern building holds a candle to the Pantheon.
Another mystery that surrounds the Pantheon is its purpose. Although the word Pantheon meant “all gods.” The Pantheon originally housed statues of deities, but historians are still unsure whether The Pantheon was used as a church or temple of some sort.
Well, that only makes The Pantheon even more famous, and it pays to see this awesome structure when you visit Italy.
A significant part of Italian culture is the delicious Italian food that has become popular all over the world. Italy is famous for pizza and pasta, but there are also other traditional and iconic dishes in Italian cuisine that are worth knowing.
Italy is famous for pizza, and most people know that much. There are now endless variations of modern pizza worldwide, but do you know where traditional Italian pizza came from?
The Neopolitan Pizza originated from Napoli or Naples. It is a round pizza with a thin crust, smothered with tomato sauce and topped with fresh mozzarella cheese and basil. It is believed that the pizza was created in honor of Queen Consort Margherita, hence the name.
Pizza preferences can vary depending on where you are in Italy. The Neopolitan pizza, for example, has the characteristic round, flat and thin dough. Pizza Siciliana, on the other hand, has a thick fluffy crust, tomato sauce, sheep’s milk cheese, anchovies, and breadcrumbs. There’s also the Pizza Viennese, which is topped with Vienna sausage, mozzarella cheese, and tomato sauce.
It’s worth it to spend one day in Naples, just for the pizza!
Gelato is another thing that makes Italy famous. Gelato is Italy’s traditional ice cream and it’s a delicious cold treat that you can spot in all corners of Italy.
You might be wondering what sets Italian gelato apart from regular ice cream? Both are ice creams, but let’s just say that gelato is denser, creamier, softer, milkier and definitely a couple levels more heavenly than regular ice cream.
But there’s still a good chance to purchase bad gelato in Italy mistakenly, so make sure to find a reputable gelateria making fresh artisanal gelato.
We can never separate pasta from traditional Italian food. Pasta is a type of noodle made up of durum wheat dough, formed into various shapes before they are cooked in boiling water. When cooking pasta, always remember to keep it “al dente,” which means still firm to the bite.
Now there are different types of pasta, and all of them are quite famous all over Italy. Apart from the noodle type and shape, sauces used in pasta recipes also vary. If you are traveling in different cities in Italy, it’s good to sample at least one pasta dish.
Beyond pizza and pasta, Italy is famous for truffles. Truffles are edible fungi that grow on trees. We’re not claiming truffles to be exclusive in Italy, but rather, there are Italian regions where truffles can be found abundantly.
Italian truffles are classified according to color. Black truffles are more common, cheaper, and moderate flavors.
Italian white truffles, on the other hand, feature pale color and intense flavors. They’re harder to find, so they’re also more expensive than black truffles.
Did you know that truffle hunters take trained dogs and/or pigs to find truffles? The animal hunts for truffles by sniffing out the spores. Once the animal locates truffles, the hunter must carefully harvest the truffles, ensuring that these precious fungi don’t get damaged and command a higher price when selling.
Italians love and deeply respect coffee. Drinking coffee is like a ritual for them, so it only makes sense to know a thing or two about Italian coffee.
Espresso is a single shot of strong black coffee typically consumed in the evening, after dinner. But instead of saying “espresso,” say “Caffe,” and you’ll get a single espresso shot contained in a quaint cup. Need more? Order a double shot and say, “Caffe doppio.”
Cappuccino is espresso with frothy milk. It is taken in the morning and never after 11 am.
Macchiato is espresso with some milk. Italians often drink this in the morning.
Here’s the thing about how Italians drink their coffee: they need to have a particular type of coffee at a particular time of day. While the rest of the world might be seeping cappuccino at night, the Italians only have it in the morning.
Since Italians are quite fond of their pizza and pasta, then it only goes to say that they’re crazy about cheese as well.
Italian food uses a lot of cheese. The most popular varieties of Italian cheeses used in many parts of the world include parmesan, mozzarella, gorgonzola, pecorino and mascarpone.
Italy is famous for wine. There are plenty of wine regions in the country that has been operating for thousands of years! Italians are also fond of drinking wine during meal times.
Wine-making is a massive industry in Italy. With over 1.7 million acres of vineyards and hundreds of grape varieties, we can see why wine makes Italy famous.
Three of the biggest wine-producing regions in Italy are Tuscany, Veneto, and Piedmont. If you’re interested in learning more about Italian wine, you can always book wine-tasting tours in most of the vineyards.
The Italian language is considered one of the most beautiful languages in the entire world. Their rolled r’s seem like music to the ears that even simple phrases feel like poetry. Italian words often end in vowels than in consonants, so the words seem to transition so smoothly from one to the next.
One awesome thing about Italians, though, is that they use a lot of hand gestures when they speak. Italians are passionate conversationalists, and their hands speak just as much as their lips.
If you are traveling to Italy and anticipate communicating with the locals, it pays to know what these hand gestures mean. For example, Italians tend to pinch their fingers together (to form something like a purse) when someone asks them a silly question or does something stupid. The rock n roll sign of the fingers, as commonly known in the US, can mean two things in Italy: 1). when someone is having an affair, and 2). to mean “fingers crossed,” such as when someone is trying to jinx something.
It’s good to learn some basic Italian phrases for tourists before you go.
Famous Italian Personalities
Italy is home to several of the most famous personalities in the world.
Marco Polo is a Venetian explorer and merchant who traveled extensively in Europe and Asia. His explorations in Asia gave Europeans an idea about the Eastern world. Also, he inspired fellow Italian travelers, such as Christopher Columbus, to take off on their own journeys.
He is one of the many famous opera singers from Italy. Luciano is considered one of the best tenors of the 20th century. He is also known to support humanitarian causes through his concerts.
A lot has been written in history about this amazing political leader in Italy. Julius Caesar lived and ruled in the Roman empire. He was a writer, politician and strategist who led the conquests of France, Germany, and parts of Belgium.
Leonardo da Vinci
A genius in so many disciplines, Leonardo is believed to have started renaissance art in Italy. Leonard was not only an artist, though, as he was also an inventor, botanist and engineer. His works, like Mona Lisa, are currently displayed in Lourve in France, one of the most famous museums in the world.
Italy is famous for some of the most famous football teams in the world. Gianluigi Buffon was the captain of the Italian national football team and is considered as the greatest goalkeeper of all time. Gianluigi played more than 1,000 football games before he retired in 2017.
When it comes to Italian fashion, Versace always comes to mind. Gianni Versace is one of the most famous and notable Italian designers, who grew up learning about fashion from his mother. His designs are known to be provocative and eccentric.
But let’s not forget, though, that apart from Versace, there are other famous Italian brands that grace fashion houses all over the world, including Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli, Valentino, and Gucci.
Sophia Loren is an award-winning actress who hails from Rome, Italy. She started acting as a teenager and later won the Best Actress Academy Award in 1961 for the movie “Two Women.” She is also considered one of the most beautiful actresses in the world.
Not all things that Italy is famous for are sunshine and roses. Case in point: Mussolini was a famous Italian leader and dictator during World War II. Although he first started as a socialist, he later founded fascism in Italy and signed a pact with Adolf Hitler to provide military support during the war. In 1945, Mussolini was publicly executed.
More things Italy is famous for:
Italy is one of the most visited countries in the world. And one thing that remarkably stands out to tourists in the streets of Italy is the sheer abundance of Vespas.
The Vespa is a popular Italian mode of transportation. Vespa is an Italian word for “wasp,” which means it can buzz through the busy streets of Italy easily. This motorized scooter has been featured in numerous Italian films, including La Dolce Vita and The Roman Holiday, allowing this iconic scooter to effortlessly win the heart of Italians.
Apart from the Vespas zooming in and out of the streets, you’ll also see quite a unique site as you go about your Italian holiday: sports cars running right before your eyes on your way out to buy coffee.
Italy is famous in the sports car industry. These supercars are exotic and luxurious, and of course, expensive. Owning a sports car in Italy is a great deal, as it’s often used as a status symbol.
Also, the most popular sports cars in the world are the handiworks of Italian geniuses. From the Ferrari to Lamborghini to Maserati and Bugatti, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to witness these jaw-dropping supercars when visiting Italy.
If you’ve seen enough Italian films, you’ll find the mafia quite a recurring theme.
Why is the mafia one of the famous things Italy is known for?
This organized crime organization started in Sicily in the 19th century. It is believed that mafia members formed a network so that they could carry out their own justice. The Mafia has a long colored history in Italy, and it’s one of the most intriguing things Italy is known for.
There you have it, 32 things Italy famous is famous for. From the grand canal in Venice, the rolling hills in Tuscany, and the popular pasta and pizza, we can see why many people visit and stay in Italy. We may not have covered all the quirky things Italy is famous for, but this list should give you a general idea of what this beautiful country is all about!