Are you wondering what is Italy known for? When planning a trip to Italy, you would want to experience this wonderful country like a local. Knowing what things Italy is known for will help you experience the culture and not miss out on the best things to do, eat, and see.
So what is Italy known for? Italy is known for many things including its rich history, its art, its culture, stunning architecture, and the Roman Empire.
But most of all, Italy is known for its FOOD! Food like pizza and pasta is notorious in Italy as well as the wine culture.
In this post, I’m diving deep into all things Italian, what Italy is known for and other things that may surprise you.
Continue reading this below for the best things Italy is known for.
What is Italy Known For? Food & Drinks
First things on the list of what is Italy known for is food and drinks. One of the first things we were excited about trying in Italy was the food!
Eating pasta while sipping on some wine is the norm in Italy. But pasta isn’t the only thing that Italy is known for.
Continue reading below to see what other foods and drinks Italy is famous for.
When you think of Italy, Pizza is one of the first things that comes to mind. Pizza was first invented in Naples when locals started spreading tomatoes on their flatbread; soon, that combination became famous throughout the country.
Then one day in Naples, a pizza chef created a pizza with toppings symbolizing the Italian flag tomatoes (red), mozzarella (white), and fresh basil (green) in honor of Margherita Savoy, the Queen of Italy. This pizza is called the Margherita and quickly became a staple around Italy and famous worldwide.
Besides the traditional Margherita pizza, there are other renditions of pizza that Italy is known for. The different regions around Italy make their own type of specialty pizzas. For instance, in Vatican City, we tried Blue cheese pizza (Gorgonzola) and capricciosa (pizza with eggs, ham, mushrooms, and cheese). It was so amazing.
Then there’s the pizza fritta, highly known in Naples, a fried pizza roll stuffed with ingredients. And the scrumptious pizza we tried in Venice was just as good as the pizza in Rome.
I must say that no matter where you are in Italy, you will find a good slice of pizza made with its own special creations.
One of the best ways to try different pizza variations is by going on a Street Food Tour. You will get to try delicious food at places only the locals know about, but learn some of the city’s history while visiting iconic sites.
For prices and details for this Rome Street Food Tour, click HERE.
What is Italy known for? Another incredible food dish Italy is known for is Pasta. Italy has a long history and tradition of making pasta dating back to the 1300s and it’s a staple in the country to this day.
So how popular is pasta in Italy? There are about 300 variations and shapes of pasta made in Italy today. From Fettuccine to Penne and macaroni, no matter your preference, eating Pasta in Italy is a must.
Walking down the streets of Italy, you’ll see plates and bowls full of pasta while people are dining out at restaurants.
Pasta isn’t just a staple in Italy. Pasta has become a popular dish in most American households and around the world today.
I’ve been eating spaghetti with tomato sauce since I was a child. But I’ve graduated to eating famous pasta dishes in Italy like with Pesto sauce. My daughter’s favorite pasta in Italy is with Carbonara sauce (eggs and bacon).
If you want to learn how to make homemade pasta, then sign up for a cooking class. Making pasta is one of the fun things to do in Italy.
Click Here: See cooking classes here.
Italians love their meat, and salami may be at the top of the list of what Italy is known for. I didn’t realize that Italy is known for its meats until going on a food tour in Rome.
Italy produces countless types of salamis. In the Southern region, they may have a certain kind of salami that differs from what the Northern Italy region puts in theirs.
Salami is cured meat, often sausage with various meats like pork, veal, wild boar, etc, seasoned with various spices, wine, vinegar, and herbs.
Popular types of salami are the Truffle Salami and Prosciutto (kinda looks like bacon before being fried). Next is the Speck, which we tried and is really good. Speck is naturally smoked ham made with peppercorns. They put Speck in sandwiches and on top of pizzas or served as an appetizer before eating a traditional Italian dinner. Genoa, Soppressata, Finocchiona, and Ventricina are just a few of the most common types of salami that Italy is known for. Then there’s Pepperoni, which is a type of salami most people are familiar with and order as a topping on their pizza.
However, in Italy if you ask for a Pepperoni pizza, you will get sweet peppers on it; instead, you have to ask for salami. You don’t want to be that person.
One of the best and cutest ways to sample different types of cured meats is by ordering a beautiful charcuterie board for lunch.
Italy is Known for Italian Cheese
Of course, cheese is one of the things Italy is known for. Italy produces some of the best cheese in the entire world. Yes, I said it!
There are so many ways to eat cheese. It is an incredible topping to add to your pasta. And pizza ain’t a pizza without that ooey gooey cheese.
Also, Italians love to eat cheese as an appetizer and on sandwiches, just like Americans. However, it’s not the processed “American Cheese” you will find in Italy. No, the cheese there is fresh, fresh.
Some of the most common types of cheeses are Parmigiano-Reggiano, fresh Mozzarella, provolone, and Gorgonzola. I’m still thinking about our Caesar salad with fresh shavings of parmesan. It was Bueno!
When you visit Italy, you have to eat Gelato. Italy is known for its Italian Ice Cream and rightfully so. Gelato kind of reminds you of ice cream. They make it with fresh cream and milk, but it’s lighter and creamier than typical ice cream and has half the fat. This velvety, frozen treat comes in a variety of flavors as well. The most popular flavors are Pistachio, Hazelnut, and Cream.
There’s nothing like eating a tasty gelato treat on a hot summer’s day. Rain or shine, though, this indulging Italian ice cream is yummy any time of the year.
There are loads of gelato shops and cafes all around Italy. However, look in the windows first to see if the gelato is piled high. The locals said if it is, that’s not a good gelato.
Instead, eat the gelato that’s flat in the tubs, halfway done, and have lines out the door.
If you are not a dairy person or vegan, there’s an option for you. You can try a fruit-based gelato too.
Rather you prefer a cone or cup, the gelato is a go-to delicious treat for everyone.
What is Italy known for? Italy is known for its exquisite wine. They’ve become the largest producer of wine globally.
Wine is a huge part of Italy’s culture and has a rich history dating back to 4,000 years ago. Whoah!
When in Italy, you should enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, meats, and cheeses, or with a dessert. Italy is most known for Chianti, Prosecco, and Veneto wines.
They make wine in several different regions in Italy. The top producing regions are Veneto, Sicily, and Tuscany.
In Tuscany, they produce Chianti, one of the best wines sold and exported worldwide. And a great way to sample wines in any region is by going on a wine tasting at a Vineyard.
Learn how they harvest the grapes, produce wine, and visit the wine cellars.
Click Here:See wine tours here.
What would Italy be without its love for coffee? Not just any coffee, but Espresso particularly is what Italy is famous for. Espresso originated in Italy back in the 1800s and became more popular in the 20th century.
Espresso is a concentrated hot shot of coffee the Italians enjoy drinking for breakfast or after dinner. Coffee culture is very influential in Italy, and they love their coffee. The espresso is a strong coffee made at high temperatures.
But the most popular drinks the Italians love to add espresso to are the cappuccino, Caffe Americano, or Caffe Macchiato.
Originally a Sicilian dessert, Cannolis has become popular all around Italy. So what is a Cannoli? A Cannoli is an Italian pastry and has a crispy fried pastry shell, usually filled with sweetened ricotta cheese.
When roaming Italy, you will find all kinds of Cannolis in restaurants and cafes. When in Venice, shops sell their own variations of Cannolis everywhere, and we couldn’t resist.
Some Cannolis come with toppings such as chocolate and orange peel, but pistachio is the fave.
You may have tried a cannoli or two since the Sicilians migrated to the US in the 1800s, by bringing the tradition with them.
Cannoli should be one of the things you try while in Italy. Pop into a pastry shop and try a Cannoli or three.
What is Italy Known for? It’s Cities
Italy has a unique culture like no other, and has gorgeous cities and rich history.
Italy is one of the most visited countries in Europe, with millions of visitors every year.
It’s no secret that Italy’s cities are the most sought-after places to visit and we are going to talk about why its so popular.
Here are a few must-see cities Italy is most known.
Italy is known for its city’s capital, Rome. Founded in 753 BC, as King Romulus took the throne, Rome has become known as the “Eternal City”.
When you think of Italy, Rome immediately comes to mind and is one of the cities at the top of most bucket lists. Rome is the third most visited city in Europe, with up to 10 million visits a year!
The city of Rome is home to the gladiators, its immaculate architecture, and eclectic culture.
Visit some of the ancient ruins to learn interesting facts about its deep history.
Some of the most iconic landmarks in Rome are the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Roman Forum, and Vatican Museums.
Read Next How to Spend 3 Days in Rome with Teens
Florence is the capital of Tuscany and is a charming, quaint city in Italy. The city is a captivating and screams authentic Italian culture. Some say that you get to see the “real Italy” when traveling to Florence.
Florence is undoubtedly one of the prettiest cities in Italy.
Additionally Florence, Italy’s distinct art culture is paramount since it’s the birthplace of renaissance art.
Florence has one of the most stunning churches in the world, the Santa Maria del Fiore The Duomo. The exquisite architecture of this cathedral is jaw-dropping. You can even climb the Duomo and see the city from a panoramic view.
Other things to do in Florence are to walk around the famous Piazza Della Repubblica square.
Then, take a walk across the Ponte Vecchio Bridge, visit the Galleria dell’Accademia, and see Michelangelo’s artwork, including the infamous Statue of David sculpture.
Ahh, Venice, “the Floating City”. Venice is famous for being one of the most romantic cities in the world.
Venice is a city floating on water in Northeastern Italy, with hundreds of canals.
The stunning walkable only city is magical. You will think you’re in a fairytale when you step off the boat and onto the pavement of Venice.
Walk through the alleyways, visit one of the cafes for food and drinks, and go shopping for an authentic Venetian mask.
Other things to explore in Venice are the gorgeous bridges, St. Mark’s Square, and Doge’s Palace.
But most of all, a trip to Venice wouldn’t be complete without taking a Gondola Ride. Riding on a Gondola is one of the most epic things Italy is known for. Yes, it may seem a little touristy, but there’s nothing more relaxing than floating on water through the canals and seeing this glorious city, stunning bridges, and buildings while on the water.
The Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a stretch of stunning coastline in the South of Italy, near Naples.
It has been a sought-after European destination for its stretches of beaches, breathtaking coastline, and striking landscapes. It’s a perfect getaway for couples and families alike.
Several picture-perfect villages connect the Amalfi Coast. The most famous villages travelers flock to along the Amalfi Coast are Positano, Sorrento, and Capri.
Traveling by boat to these villages is preferred, plus you’ll get spectacular views of the landscapes. Then admire the picturesque colorful houses stacked into the mountains from the shore.
Located in Northern Italy, Milian is an industrial city known as the world’s fashion capital. Milan has some of the leading Italian designers based there, and of course, fashion week is held every year in Milan.
Since Milan is one of the four fashion capitals (along with Paris, London, and New York), it’s only fitting that you can get some of the best shopping done in Milan.
Besides shopping, visit the gorgeous gothic-inspired Duomo cathedral, then walk around the Piazza.
For art enthusiasts, Milan is known for its beautiful art galleries and prominent museums showcasing famous works such as The Last Supper fresco by Leonardo Da Vinchi.
Also, gaze upon remarkable architecture such as the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and see a show at the world-famous La Scala Opera House.
So you see, from fashion to art, to trendy restaurants. Milan has a little bit of everything.
Take in the stunning landscapes and rolling hills of Tuscany. Tuscany is a true gem and one of the biggest regions in Italy that’s prominent in making wine.
The most famous cities in Tuscany are Pisa, Florence, and Sienna. Visiting the Duomo di Siena cathedral, built in the 12th century, taking a dip in the hot spring of Caste del Mulino, or exploring the medieval town of San Gimignano are just a few of the many things you can do in Tuscany.
When in Tuscany you should go and see the beautiful Chianti vineyards and take in the regions breathtaking landscapes.
What is Italy Known for? Its Historic Landmarks
What is Italy known for? It’s widely known for its iconic landmarks. All around Italy, there are historic landmarks and UNESCO World Heritage sites that have been around and preserved for thousands of years.
Below are some of the best landmarks you’ll find in Italy.
The Colosseum is one of the most renowned landmarks in Italy and the world. It was built around 70 AD as an oval-shaped amphitheater and is where the gladiators would fight and have games entertaining up to 65,000 spectators.
Today, this UNESCO World Heritage site is a top tourist attraction having roughly 7 million visitors a year.
You can take a tour inside the Colosseum, learn some history, and walk to the Arena floor.
The Trevi fountain is the most famous fountain in the World and the largest fountain in Rome. And it is stunning standing at 85 feet high and 160 feet wide.
You will fall in love with the serene fountain and its beautiful Baroque-style architecture of Carrara marble.
In the middle, you’ll see the statue Oceanus (the Sea God), Tritons, and SeaHorses. Definitely, a sight to behold and one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in Rome.
Besides its exquisite beauty, a unique thing about the Trevi Fountain is the myth surrounding it.
Rumor has it that if you toss a coin in the fountain, you’ll receive good luck and surely return to Rome one day.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is in the city of Pisa, Italy, sitting next to the Cathedral of Pisa.
So why is this tower leaning? In 1173, when construction initially began, they did not plan on it to lean. In the early stages of the construction, they discovered that the grounds were unstable so they stopped building it altogether.
Then about a decade later, instead of tearing the tower down, they decided to put concrete cement and other reinforcements around the Bell Tower to keep it from collapsing.
Today, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is a popular tourist attraction. You’ll see many quirky poses of people trying to push the tower upright in IG photos.
While there, don’t miss out on climbing to the top to get incredible views of the area.
Italy is Known for Vatican City and Museums
Vatican City is an independent state located on the West Bank of the Tiber River just 30 minutes outside of Rome. It has a population of approximately 800 people and is the smallest state in the world.
I think the entire city is a historical landmark, and here’s why.
The Vatican is synonymous with the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope governs it. The Popes have resided in Vatican City since the 14th century in the Vatican Palace.
While there, visit the Vatican Museums that house the world’s famous artwork. The most notable thing to see at the Vatican is the Sistine Chapel, where Michelangelo painted the ceiling with his captivating rendition featuring the Old Testament.
Another thing to do is take a walk around the famous St. Peter’s Square to witness the incredible architecture.
Inside the Square, you will see the most known church in the World, the St. Peter Basilica. They built this Renaissance-style church on top of the Apostle Paul’s tomb to honor him. Also, other high regarded popes are buried inside the Basilica now.
What is Italy Known for? Renaissance Art & Sculptures
Italy is known for being at the forefront of The Renaissance era; some say it may have begun there.
The Renaissance period was between the 14th and 15th centuries following the Middle Ages in Italy, then migrating to other parts of Europe until the 17th century.
The Renaissance era was a special time. This era contributed to some of the most extraordinary talented artists, architects, painters, and sculptors of all time, especially in Italy.
The most renowned artists from Italy are Michelangelo, Leonardo Di Vinci Raphael, Donatello, and Giovanni Pisano. Some familiar masterpieces they’ve created in Italy are the Statue of David, Sistine Chapel Frescoes, Pieta, The Last Supper, and the Mona Lisa.
You can find their exquisite art displayed all around Italy in Museums, Cathedrals, Fountains, and Piazzas.
What is Italy Known For? Luxury Cars & Vespas
Italy is known for its motorized scooter called the Vespa. These scooters are stylish, colorful, and scream all things Italian.
Piaggio invented and manufactured the Vespa in Italy in 1946. Vespas was created due to the rough bombed roads of Italy and the declining economy. As such, the automobile just wasn’t cutting it at that time.
So Piaggio thought building a cheaper form of transportation was imperative for Italy’s citizens.
The Vespas became famous when featured in films such as Roman Holiday (1956) with Audrey Hepburn and La Dolce Vita (1960).
Today, Italy is still known for its snazzy Vespas and its small frame makes it easier to zip through traffic in larger cities, and parking is a breeze.
People use the scooters worldwide, with the UK being the 2nd largest consumer of Vespas.
When in Italy, you can have your share of fun by renting a Vespa to explore the city or go on a guided Vespa Tour.
Click Here: See Vespa Tours here.
Italy is known for Luxury cars
You’re probably thinking of an Italian car when you picture a luxury car. Why? Because Italy is known for producing remarkable brands of luxurious sports cars.
The most notable Italian car manufacturer is Maserati, Ferraris, and Lamborghini at the forefront of the automobile industry.
These cars are fast, pretty, and considered first-class champions of cars.
Sports cars made in Italy and sold around the world. The US loves Italy’s sports cars, and the most famous people buy their luxury cars (because they can afford them).
More Things Italy is known for
Italy is known for its authentic Italian Leather. Italy is at the top of the list of makers of beautiful quality leather. Making leather is a proud tradition in Italy handed down through generations while keeping its quality, authenticity, and heritage going.
Italian leather is some of the best leather products in the world due to its lengthy process of vegetable tanning. No matter how complicated it is to make, the Italian leather is fine quality, durable, soft, and so darn cute and stylish.
Leather goods would be a great souvenir to take home for friends or yourself.
There are many products to purchase from Italy made of genuine Italian leather. While there, pick up a quality leather jacket (I absolutely love mine), handbag, wallet, shoes, or boots.
Italy is known for being one of the biggest fashion powerhouses in the world. Italy has some of the most prominent fashion houses and luxury brands like Gucci Prada, Fendi, Versace, and Armani.
Milan, in particular, is the most prominent city in the world, recognized for its fashion. It is also the epicenter for housing some reputable fashion brands there.
Milan hosts fashion week every year, where prestigious brands showcase their collections for the upcoming season.
Italy is known for football, and they are exceptional at it too. Italy’s national home team (AKA Azzurri), has won the World Cup four times!
One of the best things to do in Italy is to watch a football game in person, especially if you’re an avid sports fan. Just make sure you root for the home team!
Italy is known for Opera and rightfully so since it was established there in 1598.
Soon after, Opera started gaining popularity throughout Europe, with each country having its version of it.
Even if you don’t understand their words, you can’t deny how heavenly the singers sound. I know it takes an exceptional talent to belt out those melodies.
Visit one of the stunning opera houses for a remarkable performance while visiting Italy.
Some of Italy’s most renowned Opera Houses are the Teatro Alla Scala in Milan, Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, and Teatro La Fenice in Venice.
I hope you enjoyed this post and have insight to what is Italy known for. Do you have anything to add? I’d love to hear from you. Reply in the comments below.
PIN THIS IMAGE FOR LATER