Italy may be one country, but its traditions, customs, and culture vary between the North and the South. At times, the regions of the North and South seem like they’re located in totally different countries, thanks to the different dialects and ways of life.

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While the North and South of Italy may be different in many ways, there isn’t one part of the country that’s superior. They both have a lot to offer travelers, are unique in their own way, and are both home to some amazing landmarks. Keep reading to find out what five things you’ll only see in the North of Italy, and what five things you’ll see in the South.

11 North: The Smallest Bar On The Planet


Something that you won’t see in the South of Italy (or anywhere else in the world) is the smallest bar on the planet. Located in Milan, Backdoor 43 is only 13 square feet. As Passport Symphony points out, it’s only the size of our average closet, making it pretty unique as far as bars go.

Only four people at a time can fit into the bar, so it’s not always easy to get in. But you can book it in advance for 90 minutes at a time.

9 South: Trulli Huts

One thing that’s unique to the South of Italy, and the region of Puglia in particular, is the trullo hut. These 19th century storehouses have conical roofs and resemble something you might find on one of the Greek Islands. You won’t find these particular trulli huts anywhere else in the world.

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Many people are content to just look at them and soak up their quaint charm. But you can also spend the night in one of the world-famous huts. Located on the eastern coast of the country, Puglia has a world of culture to offer visitors.

8 North: Fashion That’s Out Of This World

Now, we’re not saying that Southern Italians or even Central Italians don’t know how to dress. We’re also not saying that everyone living in the North dresses like Gigi Hadid. Generally, though, you will find fashion that is out of this world in the bustling city of Milan, where a fashion week is held every year.

According to Surviving In Italy, people tend to dress much more casually in the Southern regions. While there are people who dress casually in the North too, on the whole, the standard of dress seems to be a little more formal.

7 South: Warm Sunny Weather

Italy is a small country but the weather can vary greatly between regions. Most of the time, the South is blessed with warm weather that is typical of the Mediterranean. By comparison, the North tends to experience more of a Central European climate. There are coastal destinations in the North that you can visit, but in general, the South is where most people go to enjoy a summer vacation because of the divine weather.

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Though the South of Italy still gets cold in winter, it tends to experience a milder version of what the North does.

6 North: Juliet’s Balcony

Head to Verona in the North of Italy for something that you won’t get to see in the South: the real balcony of Juliet. Yes, that Juliet. Whether there really was a Juliet who lived here and fell in love with a boy called Romeo is up for debate. But still, the balcony is a great tourist attraction that keeps travelers flocking to Verona.

Once you’ve snapped a picture of the balcony, you can rub the statue of Juliet just below it. This is said to bring good luck in love, although we can’t guarantee that it really works.

5 South: Extreme Hospitality

There are a few key cultural differences between Southern Italians and Northern Italians, plus plenty of stereotypes that have fueled a rivalry between the two. While not all the stereotypes are true, the way of life in the South does tend to revolve more heavily around a sense of family, and with that comes a sense of hospitality.

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As Surviving In Italy explains, you could almost compare the North of Italy to a city like New York, and the South to the Southern United States. It doesn’t apply to everyone, but Southerners in Italy take hospitality to a whole new level (especially when it comes to food!).

4 North: A Rainbow Lake

Ever wanted to see a rainbow lake that looks like it’s made of magic? Then head to the Dolomites in Northern Italy where you’ll find the stunning waters of Lake Carezza. According to Atlas Obscura, they call this the Rainbow Lake because of an old legend conceived to explain its pristine colors.

To put a long story short, there was once a sorcerer who was in love with a nymph. He cast a rainbow and tried to disguise himself to win her heart, but it didn’t work. Out of anger, he smashed the rainbow, which then fell into the lake.

3 South: The Sweetness Of Doing Nothing

The culture in the South of Italy is known for being slower-paced than that of the North. The people tend to be more traditional and stick to more conservative values, prizing family and community above more modern priorities. Of course, this is a generalization.

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In the South of Italy, particularly in Sicily, you will encounter the phenomenon known as the sweetness of doing nothing, or “il dolce far niente." This is basically where people sit around and enjoy life rather than rushing around. It’s the ultimate form of me-time!

2 North: Cuisine Influenced By Central Europe

Many people who have never been to Italy before don’t realize that the food in Northern Italy is actually quite different from that of the South. While Southern Italian food tends to use a lot of oil, tomato, and basil, the cuisine in the North reflects Central European influences.

Every region has different specialties, but the Northern regions tend to be inspired by nearby countries like Germany and Switzerland. This is where you’ll find dishes like risotto, polenta, and osso bucco. Many of the regions of Southern Italy are influenced by Mediterranean and even Arab cooking.

1 South: The Best Pizza In The World

Most travelers arrive in Italy wanting to eat one thing: pizza. While you can get good pizza all over the country, there’s one city that does it best and that’s Naples, in the country’s South. Neapolitan pizza might be different from what we’re used to at home—the base is very thin and only few ingredients are used. It’s all about delicious simplicity.

There are endless pizzerias to discover in Naples, which is located in the region of Campania. The tradition dates back to the Greeks, who conquered the area thousands of years ago.

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