What is Italy?
Curious about Italy facts? First let us learn a little about Italy. Italy is officially called the Italian Republic or Repubblica Italiana in Italian. It is a country situated in Europe. It is surrounded by Austria, France, Switzerland, Slovenia, San Marino, and Vatican City.
Italy is a wonderful country. Filled with rich culture, tasty and delicious cuisine, Italy has a lot more to offer than just sightseeing. Hence, today we came with Italy facts to make you fall in love with this country a little more.
Italy Facts 1-10
1. The capital of the country is Rome. It has a population of 62,246,674. The official language of Italy is Italian.
2. The currency used in Italy is Euro. It has an area of 116,324 square miles or 301,277 square kilometers.
3. Its major rivers are Adige, Arno, Tiber, and Po. Major mountain ranges of Italy are the Alps and the Apennines.
4. It is a boot-shaped peninsula that is situated in southern Europe. It is surrounded by Mediterranean Sea, Tyrrhenian Sea, Adriatic Sea, and other water bodies.
5. While the seas surround the country from three sides, mountains are present near the top and bottom of the country. Alps is seen across the country’s top and from the west side of Alps, Apennines run all the way down the peninsula. Just like the mighty Himalayas, Alps have helped Italy from foreign invasions.
6. On the west of Apennines, there are wooded hills that were home to multiple historic cities of Italy like Rome. Fertile plains and hot, dry coastlands are present towards the south of Apennines. It is this place where almonds, olives, and figs are grown.
7. There is an influence of Roman art, architecture, and culture all over the world. Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were one of the famous painters of their time.
8. Italy is just slightly larger than Arizona. The longest border that Italy shares with is Switzerland.
9. Nearly 20% of the population is over 65 years old. An average Italian family has 1.27 children.
10. Italians who are above 18 can vote but only 25-year-olds and above can vote in Senate elections.
Italy Facts 11-20
11. The flag of Italy is actually inspired by the flag of France when Napoleon invaded Italy in 1797.
12. Italy was formed in 1861. This makes Italy one of the youngest countries of Western Europe. The city Rome was founded in 753 BCE. The Roman Empire (named after the city) ruled from 27 BCE to 395 CE which means the city is 2,000 years old.
13. Benito Mussolini was a dictator who ruled Italy for 20 years from 1925 to 1945. Before this, he served as its prime minister for 3 years from 1922 to 1925. He was known as II Duce (meaning leader). He was killed during the second world war in 1945 by Allied powers.
14. The last king of Italy, King Umberto II ruled for just 36 days from 9 May 1946 to 12 June 1946. Citizens voted for republic over monarchy and ousted the king. He was given the nickname the ‘May King’. He lived the rest of his life on Portuguese Riviera in exile.
15. The national flag of Italy consists of three colors – green, white, and red. Green represents hope, white represents faith, and red represents charity. There is a Tricolor Dor or Flag Day on 7th of January every year.
16. Reggio Emilia is the center of the Flag Day celebrations because the flag was adopted by Cispandane Republic for the first time in the Reggio Emilia in 1797.
17. According to a myth, tossing a coin in Trevi Fountain (situated in Rome) guarantees that you will get to the Eternal City. The myth or legend has many takers because a whopping three thousand euros are thrown in the fountain every single day! It adds up to a million euros each year and the money is donated to charity.
18. 13 of 38 plays of William Shakespeare are set in Italy. Some of the plays that were set in Italy are Julius Caesar, Merchant of the Venice, Othello, Much Ado About Nothing, etc. Interestingly enough, there is no record of Shakespeare spending time in Italy and yet his depictions of Italy were precise and accurate.
19. Carlo Collodi in 1880 wrote a classic tale of a wooden toy named Pinocchio who comes to life and likes to tell all lies. It was published in first children’s newspaper of Italy, Gioniale per i Bambini. The toy remains as an icon and is famous all over the world.
20. The country with most UNESCO sites in the world is Italy. It has 55 world heritage sites in total.
Italy Facts 21-30
21. Europe has three active volcanoes – Mount Etna, Mount Stromboli, and Mount Vesuvius. All three volcanoes are situated in Italy. Mount Etna erupted in 2018. Mount Stromboli and Mount Etna are present in Sicily. Vesuvius is present in Naples and didn’t erupt since 1944.
22. It is the fifth most visited country all over the world. In 2019 64.8 million people visited Italy. There are over 1500 lakes in Italy. Some of the famous ones are Lake Como and Lake Garda.
23. Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in Italy. It rises 15,774 feet or 4,808 meters. It is situated on the border of Italy and France. It is present in the Alps mountain range.
24. The country with the oldest population in Europe is Italy. In 2020, an average Italian’s age was 45.7 years. The average age would increase to 53 to 54 by 2050. The reason for this is lower birth rate and lower mortality rate. The average lifespan of Italians is 79.54 years.
25. First thermometer was designed by Santorio, an Italian in 1612. Alessandro Volta, an Italian scientist invented the battery in 1800. Eyeglasses were also invented by Italians. Pizza was invented in Naples, a city in Italy.
26. The first bank in the world, the Bank of San Giorgia in Genoa, is present in Italy. It was opened in 1149.
27. In Italy, fourteen billion espressos are consumed each year. Italians consumed pasta as far back as 4 BCE. Nearly 20,000 Italians are baristas. The coffee consumption is 37 kg for a family in one year. Italy is the largest wine producer in the world.
28. In 2018, Italy produced 54,800 hectoliters of wine even ahead of France which produces 49,000 hectoliters of wine. Unsurprisingly, it is als the largest exporter. It exports mostly to Germany, the UK, and the USA. An Italian gulps down 26 gallons of wine every year!
29. An average Italian earns $26,700 a year. The overall rate of unemployment in Italy is 8.6%. Over 98% of the Italians are literate (could read and write).
30. 2 June is celebrated as the National Day in Italy. National animal of Italy is the Italian grey wolf, the national flower is the white lily or red rose.
Italy Facts 31-40
31. It has over 4,722 miles or 7,600 kilometers of coastline. It has multiple islands. Bigger islands are Sicily, Sardegna and smaller ones include Elba, Ischia, Capri, etc.
32. The largest island in Italy is Sicily. It is also the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Lake Garda is the largest lake. Po River is the longest river in Italy with a length of 405 miles or 652 kilometers.
33. The biggest city in Italy is Rome with a population of 2.9 million people. Did you know that the smallest country in the world, the Vatican City, is present in Rome? Rome is often called the Eternal City.
34. Venice is another famous city of Italy. It is generally referred to as the ‘Lagoon City’ and the “City of Masks’. The city is built on 120 islands. It is famous for its gondolas, bridges, and canals.
35. Other popular cities of Italy are Florence, Pisa, Ravenna, etc.
36. Nearly half of the population of Italy live in northern parts of Italy. The Padan Plain or the Po Valley hosts multiple industrial centers and most of the Italians live in the Po Valley. Milan, Turin, Verona, and Modena are few of the major cities of Po Valley.
37. Italians show a great deal of interest in sports like soccer, suring, motor racing, and skiing.
38. Italians love food and mostly eat fresh cooked food by either mother (la mama) or grandmother (nonna).
39. Some notable citizens of Italy are Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, Enrico Fermi (invented nuclear reactor), Leonardo da Vinci, and Alessandro Volta.
40. Italian language is not just the official language of Italy but also the official language of Vatican City, San Marino, and Switzerland.
Italy Facts 41-50
41. 89% of the vocabulary is similar between French and Italian. Italian and Spanish languages share 82% of similarity in vocabulary.
42. Most of the Italians learn other languages like English, German, and French in schools.
43. Did you know that Italy is one of the 6 founding nations of the European Union? The major trading partners of Italy are Germany, China, and France. Before adopting the euro, the currency of Italy was the lira. Italy adopted the euro in 2001. They save more money than Germans and Japanese and save over three times as much as Americans save.
44. The Italian cuisine mostly consists of rice, pasta, tomatoes, seafood, pork, and beef. Pizza and pasta are world famous food that originated in Italy. The national dish of Italy is pasta. An average Italian eats a pound of bread each day and 25 kilograms of pasta every year.
45. 1/3rd of animal species and half of plant species of Europe are present in Italy. Italy hosts around 4,770 endemic species. There are well over 100 national parks and 16 marine reserves in Italy that help in protecting the endangered species.
46. Sheep and donkeys are traditionally used till date in the southern parts of Italy.
47. Some of the amazing inventions of Italy are ice cream cones, typewriters, espresso machines, and cologne.
48. It imports over 75% of its energy. Service sector contributes 70% of its economy. Earlier agriculture played an important role in the economy but now it contributes nearly 3%.
49. Similar to India, the president is just a ceremonial figurehead. It is the prime minister who runs the government. The constitution of Italy took effect from 1 January 1948. The national anthem of Italy is Inno di Mameli.
50. 80% of the population are chrisitans and most of the christians are Roman catholics.