Only three to four Gondolier licenses are issued in Venice annually. To qualify, applicants must finish extensive training after passing a rigorous exam. There are only 400 licensed Gondolas operating in Venice today.
The first ever female gondolier - Giorgia Boscolo - passed her exam in 2010.
Italy is one of the most over legislated countries on Earth. The country is estimated to have five to 12 times more laws than France or Germany.
Italy is home to three active volcanoes: Vesuvius, Etna and Stromboli. The three volcanoes are open to the public, with guided walks and tours available most days.
Although rare to encounter a large eruption, it's worth checking that your travel insurance covers you for delays and cancellations caused by volcanic ash.
Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe, with the longest record of continuous eruption.
The city of Rome was founded in 753 BC and the Roman Empire was established.
The Italy we know and love wasn't established until 1861. Rome became the capital city of unified Italy in 1870, taking the title from Florence.
Italy is known for La Dolce Vita, and there's plenty of opportunity for living the sweet life here. Of course, there's loads to see and do as well. Italy boasts some of the finest architecture in the world, and has more Unesco World Heritage sites than any other country on earth. Its iconic cities like Rome, Venice and Florence have been attracting tourists for centuries.
Italy is also a country of beautiful beaches, islands and action-packed resorts. The south has unspoilt Greek-style coastal towns, from Calabria in the west to Puglia in the east. Italian hot spots include Sardinia and Capri, as well as the Amalfi Coast, which attracts tourists from around the world.
The weather in Italy can be quite varied depending on where you are. The further south you go, the more Mediterranean the climate, with hot, dry summers and mild winters. Further north, the summers are less intense, with plenty of snow in the mountainous regions during the winter months, making it a great destination for those interested in winter sports activities.
Italy’s peak tourist season is July and August - expect everything to cost more and to encounter more crowds. If you prefer fewer crowds, visit during spring, when the weather is still great. Italy’s ski resorts are usually open from November through to March.