Today we will help you out to know about some awesome and interesting facts about Italy, you will be amazed after reading these facts about Italy.
Interesting facts about Italy
Country & Population
- The name “Italy” comes from the Greek “italos”, which means calf. It was given to the Calabria region by Greek settlers in the eighth century BC and was extended to the entire peninsula under the Roman Emperor Augustus.
- Italy is the fifth most visited country in the world, welcoming some 46 million foreign visitors each year.
- There are 15 officially recognized minority languages in Italy, including indigenous languages such as Sardinian and Friulian and languages from neighboring countries (Catalan, Occitan, French, Slovene, Croatian, Albanian and Greek).
- Italy today has one of the lowest birth and fertility rates in the world.
- A 2007 UNICEF report on child well-being in rich countries ranked Italy as the best country for family relations and children’s relationships.
- Two of the smallest countries in Europe, San Marino and the Vatican are enclaved inside Italy.
- The only three active volcanoes in Europe, Etna, Stromboli and Vesuvius, are all in southern Italy.
- Etna is also the most active volcano in the world. It has been erupting for almost 3,500 years, spewing lava daily since 1999.
History, Heritage & Construction
- Italy was the cradle of Etruscan and Roman civilizations and the center of the first and most important empire in Europe and North Africa.
- The city of Syracuse in Sicily was once the largest city of the ancient Greek world.
- The Republic of Venice was founded in 697 and was dissolved by Napoleon in 1797, exactly 1,100 years later. This makes it the longest republic in human history, but also the longest uninterrupted form of government that has ever existed. In comparison, the Roman Republic lasted a little less than 500 years.
- The oldest continuously operating European university is the University of Bologna, founded in 1088. Another 13 Italian universities are over 500 years old.
- The first modern banks of Europe appeared in Genoa in the twelfth century. The first registered government loan (1150) and the first known foreign currency contract (1156) were both made in Genoa. The oldest bank in the world still in operation is Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, in operation since 1472.
- The European Renaissance began in northern Italy in the fourteenth century.
- At the end of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the Republic of Venice was one of the few states in Europe to openly tolerate Jews. In 1516, the Jews were assigned to the Venetian foundry district, known as ‘ghèto’ (slag) in Venetian. It was the first Jewish Ghetto, after which all the others were named, and which eventually became a general term to describe a part of a city in which members of a minority group live.
- St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is the largest Christian building in the world. Its construction took 120 years (1506-1626).
- The Colosseum of Rome is the largest antique building dedicated to entertainment. The second and third largest Roman amphitheatres in Italy are respectively those of Capua and Verona.
- The catacombs of Rome are 13 km long and contain some 40,000 tombs. They are flown 7 to 19 meters below the surface of the ground and extend over 13,000 square meters. They also house the oldest image of the Virgin Mary on earth (early 2nd century).
- The Mandria Regional Park in Venaria Reale, near Turin, is the largest walled urban park in Europe, covering 3,000 hectares. Monza Park is the fourth largest (688 ha).
- Modern Italy was unified only in 1863.
- There is evidence that some kinds of pasta and pizzas were already consumed in ancient Rome. The first real pizzeria in the world, Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba, opened in Naples in 1830.
- There are more than 140 types of pasta and even more denominations. Some varieties of pasta are produced only at the regional level, while others are known by a different name depending on the region.
- Every Italian consumes on average 25kg of pasta every year. However pasta consumption is considerably higher in the center and south of the country than in the north, where risotto and polenta predominate.
- There are thousands of traditional and regional Italian desserts. However, one of the most famous abroad, the tiramisù, was only invented in the 1970s. The name literally means “pull me up” (metaphorically, “give me the peach”), because of two of its ingredients: coffee and cocoa.
- Many of the most famous artists in the world were Italian, including Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, Fra Angelico, Tintoretto, Caravaggio, Bernini, Titian and Raphael, among many others.
- The Italians invented the viola da gamba, the violin, the cello and the piano, and were the greatest representatives of Baroque music (Vivaldi, Corelli, Monteverdi, Albinoni).
- The mechanical clock, the barometer, the thermometer, the optical glasses and the telephone are all Italian inventions.
- Modern Romans love cats so much that they are considered a bio-cultural asset of the city. A new law condemns anyone who kills a cat to a fine of 10,000 € and up to 3 years in prison. It is estimated that there are 300,000 cats in Rome, and they are the only inhabitants allowed to walk on the ruins.
- In 1994, the Italian gynecologist and embryologist Severino Antinori (born in 1945) assisted the oldest woman in history (63 years) to give birth.
- The oldest film festival in the world is the Venice Film Festival, which began in 1932.
- Italians have won more Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film than any other country (13 so far, as of 2013).
Economy & Technology
- It is estimated that Italy has the largest underground economy in Western Europe.
- Italy has more great designers than any other country, among which Gucci, Prada, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Ermenegildo Zegna, Gianfranco Ferre, Salvatore Ferragamo, Roberto Cavalli, Fendi, Valentino, Trussardi, Benetton.
- Many of the most prestigious sports cars in the world are Italian, such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Bugatti or De Tomaso.
- The Scuderia Ferrari is the oldest Formula 1 team, and the one that has won the most championships. As of late 2012, she has won 16 Constructors ‘Championships and 15 Drivers’ Championships since her F1 debut in 1948.
- According to the World Bank’s “World Trade Indicators” (2008), Italy is the most diversified exporter in the world. Its top five export products account for only 12.9% of total exports.