17 Fun Facts About Italy - Interesting Facts
Italy is a paradise for holidays. It is a culturally satisfying country with its ancient history, recent history, and renaissance. Italy is the second most popular tourist destination in Europe, but how much do we know about Italy? History lovers or especially those interested in the History of Italy may know a lot, but we have prepared fun information for those who do not! Here Are Interesting Facts About Italy
1. Most of Italy was part of Ancient Greece.
The city of Syracuse in Sicily was at its time one of the largest important cities in Ancient Greece, and even equal in size to Athens before its eventual fall. Many Greek legends are also set in Sicily.
In fact, the Romans used to call all of Sicily and the toe of Italy's boots "Greater Greece" because Greeks resided there for so long. Legends like Hydra, for example, are set in the Adriatic sea. Surprisingly, artifacts of Greek culture and language have survived in Sicily and The small Griko community speaks a form of Greek believed to derive from the Magna Graecia colonies.
2. Italy is home to Europe's oldest University.
Perhaps one of the least known facts about Italy is that the University of Bologna was founded in 1088 and has been operating non-stop since then, making the University of Bologna the oldest university in the world.
Also, 4 of the 10 oldest universities in the world are in Italy - the others are the universities of Padua, Naples, and Siena - more than any other country in the ranking!
3. Italian Police Force drives Lamborghini.
Italy isn't a country with a lot of car theft, and it wouldn't be easy if they did something like that because the local police are waiting in the seat of one of the fastest cars in the world. On the other hand, don't think it's common, there are only a few Lamborghini Huracan police vehicles in use in Italy. So not every cop in Italy is this lucky, but where else in the world can you find that, even a little?!
4. Real Italians
With a population of 61 million, Italy is the fifth most populous country in Europe, one of the most populous. But during the Italian diaspora period in 1861 and the rise of fascism in the 1920s, and after many emigrated to America, the number of Italian descendants trying to escape the war increased with each passing day. It is estimated that up to 25 million Argentines and up to 31 million Brazilians have some degree of Italian ancestry – about 62.5% and 11% of the total population, respectively – and up to 17 million US citizens claim to have it.
5. Italy is the only country with more than 50 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Italy has 54 World Heritage Sites, 5 of which are combined with other countries. These include the Amalfi Coast, Florence's Historic Center, and Venice's Famous Lagoons. In Italy, you can spend days just trying to visit World Heritage sites and satisfy your curiosity about history and culture.
6. The Roman Empire traveled nearly 2.3 million miles.
As a city founded by 2 brothers on the Italian peninsula, Rome continued to conquer with humble beginnings. At the height of its power (and landmass) this huge empire spanned more than two million miles spanning dozens of different cultures and left a lasting impression on Europe. Currently, around 117 AD, the Roman Empire is estimated to have a population of 56 million. The city of Rome is thought to be one of the first metropolises in history with a population of 1 million. The empire brought engineering marvels almost everywhere it went, and all roads lead to Rome.
7. Mussolini actually changed Mickey Mouse's name because he wanted to get rid of foreign words.
True story. Everything from Disney characters to football terms was banned in the 1930s and '40s by fascist leader Benito Mussolini and given an Italian name. Mickey became "Topolino". Donald Duck was "Paperino". Stupid "Pippo". A 'target' was a 'meta'. Even the five letters of the alphabet that are not used in Italian - J, K, W, X, and Y - are prohibited so as not to contaminate Italian culture. Of course, we have little idea about his country's economy and why Mussolini bothered with them instead of a failed war.
8. During the Second World War, the Nazis used the Leaning Tower of Pisa as a watchtower.
We do not think that in the 12th century, the builders of the Leaning Tower of Pisa thought it would lean again and become famous for it. Also, no one could have guessed that it would be used as a watchtower by the Nazis, a fascist regime. But like many bad things, it happened in World War II.
9. Italy has only been a country since 1861.
One of the most interesting facts about Italy. After Rome, until 1861 Italy was a coalition of city-states, principalities, and foreign-controlled territories, such as the Kingdom of Naples. Venice was once quite famous and boasted its own colonies on the Dalmatian Coast (present-day Croatia). Like the other Italian Maritime City-state of Genoa, they amassed enormous wealth through trading and sometimes espionage. Although it started with Victor Emmanuel II, King of Sardinia in 1861, it took several years for the 11 states to unify. Emperors like Napoleon played a large part in the fall of Italy.
10. Tomatoes were brought to Italy from Peru after geographical discoveries in the 16th century.
Many Italian dishes and recipes are basically all about tomatoes. I don't think we can think of a pizza, especially without tomato sauce. Tomato has thousands of uses in Italian cuisine, from ragu to Caprese salad. But they owe the Spaniards a lot of thanks for this. It was written when Tomatoes brought them from the 'New World' in 1548 when they were referred to as Pomodoro. Who can imagine Italy without the humble tomato, seriously?
We are grateful to the Spaniards that we can use it for so many things, like pizza without tomato sauce or special pie sauces.
11. The word "Italy" actually means "Land of Calves".
Strange, isn't it? However, to be honest, the pre-Roman civilization (Oscanians) gave it the name víteliú, which literally means "Land of Calves". Interestingly, the bull was symbolic for many tribes in southern Italy; During a brief social struggle against Roman rule, other Italian tribes used the symbol of a bull (another symbol) strangling Rome's wolf. Mostly because not everyone wants to be governed by a central authority. As brief additional information, the symbol of the novel is the wolf because it is believed that the two brothers Romulus and Remus, who founded Rome, were raised by wolves.
12. In Matera, people live in the same cave houses as their ancestors 9,000 years ago.
It's insane to even think about living where your grandparents lived, let alone your ancient ancestors. An example like no other in the world. Well, in a remote area of Basilicata there is an extensive network of cave dwellings that have been inhabited for centuries. People were removed from the caves in the 1950s after they became pits of misery caused by malaria. Years later, the well-to-do former residents returned and renovated their old caves. It was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983. Considering that most people live in big cities today, it is almost unbelievable that such an ancient settlement is still in operation and human life continues.
13. Pizza was first invented in Naples.
We briefly explained this in our Italian food article. Although there are old narratives of people eating various bakery products on round bread, none of them were pizza, which is the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to authentic Italy we all know and love. In the middle of the 19th century, it was the city of Naples that gave the world its first real pizza. Margherita was specifically described as tomato, mozzarella, and basil in an 1830 book, but not named. Legend has it that it was made for Princess Margherita and she was served 3 pizzas, but because Margherita resembled the Italian flag, she chose the basil, tomato, and mozzarella pizza and got its name from here.
14. Italy is the country with the most cheese variety in the world.
You would think a country with a dozen cheeses is a lot. Maybe hundreds. But there are literally more than 2,500 varieties of cheese in Italy. Five hundred are commercially recognized and 52 are "protected". The best known ones should be Parmigiano Reggiano, gorgonzola, mozzarella, and ricotta, but there are thousands more. This is the most important food fact about Italy.
15. There are two independent states within the borders of Italy.
With an area of only 0.44 square kilometers, the Vatican is the smallest independent state in the world. You'll even need a Vatican City stamp to send postcards from here. San Marino's microstate is also quite small (61.2 square kilometers), making it one of the smallest countries in the world. Founded in 301 AD, it is also the oldest republic in the world. Both are surrounded by Italy. Of course, the independence of the Vatican is more about maintaining the independence of the pope, as many of us know many kings and emperors wanted the Pope to protect their freedom, but San Marino's story is different, so it's good for you to read.
16. Speaking of the Vatican, There Is A Secret Pass From The Vatican To Rome.
The reason for this secret passage shouldn't be too hard to guess: if Vatican City is attacked or besieged, the first priority is to get the Pope out. The reason why this secret passage was built was to protect the Pope because no one could bear the shame of the Pope being killed in the Vatican. Since its inception, it has only been used twice to evacuate popes who find themselves in immediate danger, and we don't think it will ever be used again.
17. There Are More Than 900 Churches in Rome.
Italy is heavily devoted to religion, with a large Roman Catholic contingent living here. Therefore, it is not surprising that houses of worship are in almost constant demand. Considering that it is home to the Vatican, the most important place of the Roman Catholic religion.
There are more than 900 churches in Rome alone, and all of them ensure that anyone who wishes to worship during their time here will have a place to do so. Of course, many of them also reflect excellent Italian Architecture apart from their religious purposes, but the most interesting thing is that it has been home to the Catholic sect of Christianity for centuries. It is not surprising that it was built and that there are so many churches, but what is surprising is that none of them were destroyed in the Second World War and Italy retained its perfect beauty.