Italy is a popular tourist destination but aside from being the stomping grounds for the Renaissance and having the finest cuisine, Italy has some intriging trivia. Here are 18 or more interesting facts about Italy:
The colours of the Italian flag weren’t just picked at random. The green, white and red represent these virtues of hope, faith, and charity as well as the Italian landscape, the snow-capped Alps, and the bloodshed that brought Italy to independence. In fact, the original margherita pizza with green being for basil, red for tomatoes and white for mozzarella cheese.
Italy surrounds two of the world’s smallest countries? These are the smallest country in the world, Vatican City which is situated in Rome, and San Marino in Northern Italy, the fifth smallest country as well as being the oldest republic in the world.
Over 50 million tourists visit Italy every year. Tourism is very helps provide nearly 63% of Italy’s national income.
The investment in tourism helps Italy to verify themselves as the country with the eighth-largest economy in the world.
However, while there is an influx in tourists, the population is getting any larger as Italy’s birth-rate is the second lowest in the Western world. This has led to the church and state to give gifts to couples who have more than one child.
One important staple of Italy is food, and none is more famous than pasta. However, it was The Arabs who developed pasta to Italy in the thirteenth century (though fresh pasta was made before then). using honey and sugar as flavouring. In the seventeenth century, Italian introduced to the tastier tomato sauce flavouring and today there are more than 500 different types of pasta dishes in Italy with each region having different preferences.
Italy is known for its wine too being the largest producer of wine in the world. In Province of Chieti, there is a fountain that flows 24-hours a day with red wine that is free to visitors.
A more famous non-alcoholic fountain Italy’s oldest fountain Trevi fountain. Over €3,000 is tossed in daily which is collected and donated to charity.
Italy is renowned for its love of soccer having won the World Cup four times (1934, 1938, 1982, and 2006) tying second at most World Cup wins with Germany. The fans are called tifosi meaning “those infected by typhus” due the feverish passion they have for the sport.
With the internet becoming a very important form of communication, it isn’t the case for 34% of Italians as they have never used the internet in their lives.
The University of Bologna in Italy is generally recognized as the oldest university in Europe being founded in 1088. Famous alumni include poet Dante Alighieri, fashion designer Giorgio Armani and mathematician Nicolaus Copernicus.
Italy is home to the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites with 53 in total. These include The City of Verona where Romeo and Juliet was set, Mount Etna and Castel del Monte.
Italy has some interesting laws. For example, in Milan, it's a legal requirement to smile always, except during funerals or hospital visits. In Falciano del Massico, it is illegal to die there as their cemetery is full.
In 1968, Giorgio Rosa built a platform off the coast of Italy declaring himself the President of his micronation called the Republic of Rose Island to try make tax free profit. The Italian government sent the navy to blow up the platform and but an end to Rosa’s paradise.
Italy has some underwater treasures. For instance, there is a submerged village in the Lake Reschensee where you can only see the top of its medieval tower. Elsewhere in San Fruttuoso, there is a submerged bronze statue of Jesus Christ standing 2.5 metres tall.
Italy also has a haunted island called Poveglia that is considered so frightening that it isn’t open to the public.
In Italy, it isn’t the number 13 that Italian find unlucky but the number 17. This superstition has resulted some of buildings in the country not having a 17th floor.
If you want to live to 100, stay in Acciaroli. A very high number of its 2,000 residents are 100 or over. Their solutions to this longevity is to breath in the fresh air, eat good food and avoid stress.
Written by: Diarmuid Crowley from Stayplanet