The word, “Italian”, itself sounds so classy. So are the country and its culture. Probably, you are also fascinated by Italy, just like me. Hence, you have landed on this page. I am going to take you on a virtual tour of Italy through this article and will let you know some interesting facts about Italy. Be it cuisine, art or culture, Italy has always left a remarkable impression on its visitors. A tour to Italy is all you need, if you are looking out for a historical and relaxing holiday.
Interesting Facts About Italy
Land, People and Geography:
- The word “Italy” originated from “Italos” which literally means calf. This name was given by the Greeks.
- Italy is listed fourth in the list of highest number of visitors, every year.
- Italy was recognized as the best country for family and peer relationships, by the UNESCO, in 2007.
- The Vatican and San Marino are the two smallest countries in the world, which are surrounded by Italy.
- The Vesuvius, the Stromboli and the Etna are three active volcanoes located in Italy. Also to be noted, these three are the only active volcanoes of the entire Europe.
- Po is the longest river in Italy.
- Italy shares its borders with Switzerland, Slovenia, San Marino, Vatican City, France and Austria.
- Rome is the capital of Italy.
- Italy has a Unitary Parliamentary Republic government.
- Italy is surrounded by Mediterranean Sea from 3 sides.
- Official language of Italy is Italian, but there are other minor languages, too.
- In 2002, Italy changed its currency from Lira to Euro.
- Most of the population in Italy consists of Roman Catholics.
- Italy has 15 main regions and 5 autonomous regions.
History & Monuments:
- Italy was the root of Roman civilization, which was the first and the biggest empire in Europe.
- Napoleon conquered the Republic of Venice, in 1797. This was the longest lasting civilization, till date.
- The first ever bank in Europe was in Genoa, Italy. It was established in 12th
- Northern Italy was the starting place for European Renaissance.
- Peter’s Basilica, which is the biggest Christian edifice, is in Rome. It took 120 years for its construction.
- University of Bologna is the oldest university of Europe.
- Rome had the largest building for entertainment, The Colosseum, in ancient times.
- The color Magenta derived its name from a battle between Napoleon III and Austrians. The battle was called the Battle of Magenta.
- The Leaning Tower of Pisa was constructed in Italy, in the year 1173.
Inventions and Achievements:
- Italy was the cradle to many of the most famous artists of the world like Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Donatello, Michelangelo, Tintoretto, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Fra Angelico, Bernini and many more.
- Italians have created many delicious varieties of cheese like Parmesan, Mozzarella, Ricotta, Provolone, Gorgonzola etc.
- Pasta and Spaghetti are the inventions of Italy, on which the present world munches, happily.
- Pizza has its origins in the Naples region of Italy.
- Calzone and Lasagna were also invented in Italy.
- Ice-cream and Gelato, too, are a gift to the world, from Italy.
- Italians also invented some of the best musical instruments like violin, piano, cello and viol.
- Language and many notations used in music are Italian.
- Telephone, the thermometer, the barometer, the mechanical clock and the optical glasses were invented in Italy.
- Some of the most prestigious cars in the world are invented in Italy.
- Italy invented the Eau de Cologne.
- Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci and John Cabot are the legendary explorers who were from Italy.
- The famous scientist, Allesandro Volta, was from Italy. He has done great research in electricity. Hence, the unit for electricity is named after him as “Volt”.
- Galileo Galilei was also born in Italy.
- Venice is such a city which has a marvelous construction by combining many islands and water channels.
- Family values are a very important part of Italian culture.
- In Italy, people stay in either nuclear families or extended families.
- The dressing style is given much importance in Italian social structure. It reflects a person’s education level and family background.
- Many children in Italy are named after some Catholic Saints.
- Many buildings have some religious symbols or statues, in Italy.
- Greeting people in Italy is a very formal affair.
- You cannot give chrysanthemums as gifts to an Italian because they are used at funerals.
- Moreover, you cannot wrap your gift with black colored wraps, as black indicates mourning. Purple gift wraps are not welcomed, too. Purple indicates bad luck.
- In Italy, table manners are very important thing to follow.
- In a party, you should not be seated till someone invites you to.
- The host sits at the table first and raises the toast first.
- While eating, you cannot rest your elbows on the table and cannot rest your hands in your lap, either.
- Picking up the piece of cheese in your plate is more acceptable.
- Divorced fathers have to provide child support, even if the children are adults of 30 years or so.
- Different regions have different types of food in Italy.
- Central Italy can serve you with the best dishes that include cheese, olive oil, beef, pasta, wild boar, cured meats etc.
- Coastal regions are famous for their sea-food.
- In South Italy, you will find more dishes with citrus fruits, olive oil and tomato sauce.
- North Italy does not use tomato sauce and olive oil, so frequently, compared to other regions of Italy. Sauces with cream flavors are used more. Rice is preferred over pasta. Risotto dishes are very popular here.
- Italians love a variety of cakes in their desserts.
- Espresso Coffee is a very important part of Italian cuisine.
- Italian cuisine also includes a wide variety of wines.
The fun facts about Italy do not end here. There are still lots of information about Italy, which I would have loved to share. But for now, I hope this much will suffice. So make plans, book tickets and pack up your bags to take a wonderful tour to Italy. If not now, work hard and make it a goal to visit Italy. I am sure you will have the best time of your life in Italy. Buon Viaggio!!!