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Italy Facts

A unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe

  • Italy is located in Europe. Rome is its capital.
  • To the north, it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia along the Alps. To the south, it consists of the entirety of the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Sardinia–the two largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea–and many other smaller islands.
  • Italy has three active volcanoes: Vesuvius, Etna, and Stromboli.
  • Italy is often called the Bel Paese, which mean beautiful country.
  • Italy is home to the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites – more than 40.
  • Italy has 20 regions and 6 islands.
  • Italy speaks a national language, which was based on the Tuscan dialect, but each region still speaks its own dialect.
  • The Vatican is a separate sovereign nation, its own country.
  • Italy is slightly larger than Arizona.
  • The piano hails from Italy.
  • With almost 40 million visitors, Italy is the fourth most visited country in the world.
  • The average Italian consumes 26 gallons of wine a year.
  • Italy did not become a united country until 1861.
  • The Italian Wolf is considered the national animal of Italy.
  • Italy has over 3,000 museums.
  • The national sport of Italy is soccer (known as football outside of America).
  • Italy’s national dish is pasta.
  • Napoleon spent his first exile on the Italian island of Elba.
  • Italy has the most hotel rooms of any European nation.
  • Everyday 3,000€ gets tossed into the Trevi Fountain.
  • Italy’s national flower is the Lily.
  • Sixty percent of the world’s art treasures are in Italy.
  • Opera was created in Italy.
  • Venice has over 400 footbridges.
  • Bubonic Plague killed one-third of the Italian population in the 14th century.
  • Italy has won the World Cup four times.
  • The average consumption of pasta in Italy is 25 kg per person per year.
  • Italian pizza originated in Naples during the 18th century.
  • The average Italian family has 1.27 children. Most unmarried children live with their parents.
  • Italy imports over 75% of its energy.
  • The Italian flag is inspired by the French flag introduced during Napoleon's 1797 invasion of the peninsula.
  • Italy holds the Guiness record for having the most elevators.
  • The national bird of Italy is Bluebird.
  • Italy is famous for its sports cars like Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Lamborghini.
  • The oldest European university in continuous operation is the University of Bologna, founded in 1088.
  • Italy has been making wines for over 2800 years.
  • The oldest film festival in the world, beginning in 1932, is the Venice Film Festival.
  • Italy has more famous fashion designers than any other country.
  • Many of Shakespeare’s plays were set in Italy, including Romeo and Juliet from Verona.
  • Carabinieri uniforms are designed by Valentino.
  • The highest peak in Europe is in Italy. Monte Bianco (White Mountain) is 15, 771 feet high and is part of the Alps.
  • The longest river in Italy is the Po.
  • Italy is the largest wine-producing country in the world.
  • Italy has hosted the Olympic Games three times.
  • The patron saint of Italy is Saint Francis of Assisi.
  • The national Italian airline is called Alitalia.
  • The largest white truffle in a half century weighing over 3 pounds,was unearthed near Pisa, Italy.
  • Italy is home to some of the world’s greatest composers, like Vivaldi, Rossini, Verdi and Puccini.
  • The espresso machine, optical eye glasses, violin, the cello, thermometer , typewriter, the vespa scooter were invented in Italy.
  • The oldest olive tree in Italy, in Umbria is reportedly over 1700 yrs old.
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