Bet You Didn't Know!
are 100 fun facts that you might not know about Italy, its people, and its history:
- Italy is
slightly larger than Arizona.
- Almost 20% of Italy's population is over 65
borders Austria, France, Vatican City,
San Marino, Slovenia, and Switzerland.
- Its longest border is with Switzerland.
- The average Italian family has 1.27 children.
- Everybody 18 and over can vote, however you have
to be at least 25 to vote in Senate elections.
- The Italian flag is inspired by the French flag
introduced during Napoleon's 1797 invasion of the peninsula.
- The average Italian makes $26,700 a year, however
those in the more prosperous north make almost $40,000
- The thermometer is an Italian invention.
unemployment rate is around 8.6%, but it is as high as 20% in the more
- Italian farms produce grapes, potatoes, sugar
beets, soybeans, grain, olives, beef, and dairy.
- The average life expectancy at birth for an
Italian is 79.54 years.
- The famous children's story, Pinocchio , was written by an Italian.
- The city of Naples
gave birth to the pizza .
- The piano hails from Italy.
- The longest river in Italy
is the Po.
- The average Italian consumes half a pound of
bread a day.
contributions to science include the barometer, electric battery,
nitroglycerin, and wireless telegraphy.
- Famous Italian explorers include Christopher
Columbus, Marco Polo, John Cabot, and Amerigo Vespucci.
- Today's modern Italian language originated in the
region of Tuscany.
- Enrico Fermi, inventor of the nuclear reactor,
was an Italian.
- The automobile, Fiat , is
one of Italy's
- With almost 40 million visitors, Italy is
the fourth most visited country in the world.
- Italy is
home to two microstates, San Marino
- Besides Julius
Caesar, Shakespeare also set in Italy (
entirely or partially):
Romeo and Juliet, Othello, The Merchant of Venice, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, Cymbeline,Much Ado About Nothing, Othello,The Taming of the Shrew, Titus Andronicus, The Two Gentlemen of Verona,The Winter's Tale
- Cologne came
out of Italy.
- The ice cream cone is an Italian invention.
- The majority of Italian-American immigrants came
from Naples and southern Italy.
- The ancient city of Pompeii
was destroyed by the volcano Mt. Vesuvius.
- Mt. Vesuvius last
erupted in 1944, destroying a number of neighboring villages.
- Eyeglasses are an Italian invention.
- The average Italian is 41 years old.
- Italy has
16 regions and 4 autonomous regions.
- Before adopting the euro, Italy's currency was
known as the lira.
- The average Italian consumes 26 gallons of wine a
- Italy's major industries include tourism,
machinery, iron and steel, chemicals, food processing, textiles, motor
vehicles, clothing, footwear, and ceramics.
- Italy has more hotel rooms than any other nation
- The espresso machine hails from Italy.
- Italy is the world's fifth largest industrial
- Barely a third of Italy's land is arable and
suitable for farming.
- Italy's biggest trading partners are Germany,
France, the United States, and Great Britain.
- Over 40% of Italy's labor force is unionized.
- The telephone was created by an Italian (Meucci)
- Most of Italy's industry is centered around the
northern cities of Milan, Turin and Genoa .
- Since the end of WWII, Italy has seen almost 60
governments come and go.
- The area around Venice is
the wealthiest region in Europe.
- Over 75% of Italy is mountainous or hilly.
- The typewriter is an Italian invention.
- Italians used to be known for having large
families, however Italy is now known for having Europe's lowest birthrate.
- Italy owes much of its prosperity to thousands of
small private family enterprises.
- Italian families save more money than the
Japanese and Germans, and three times more than Americans do.
- The average Italian consumes 25 kilograms of
pasta a year.
- With over 5 million people, Rome is
Italy's largest Italy.
- Italy has a population of over 58 million.
- Italians refer to their country as Italia.
- Italy imports over 75% of its energy.
- The service sector accounts for almost 70% of the
- Agriculture used to make up over a third of
Italy's economy. It now makes up less than three percent.
- The official language is Italian, but German and
French are also spoken in some regions.
- Italy's north has warm summers and cool winters.
Italy's south has hot summers and mild winters.
- The Seven Hills of Rome are Aventine, Caelian,
Capitoline, Esquiline, Palatine, Quirinal, and Viminal.
- The symbol SPQR can be found on many ancient
buildings in Rome. It stands for "the senate and people of
- Rome was
founded in 753 BC.
- Italy did not become a united country until 1861
- The national protest song of Italy is Bella Ciao. It was made famous by
Italian partisans in WWII, and can be heard at almost any protest.
- Before Rome became a republic and an empire, it
had seven kings.
- The first king of Rome was its legendary founder,
- "Ars longa, vita brevis" is a common
saying in Italy. It means "art is long, life is short" and
reflects the Italian love of leisure.
- An engineering marvel of the ancient world, Cloacus
Maxima, is the sewer of Rome.
- The first Roman Emperor was Augustus Octavian,
who came to power in 27 BC.
- The Roman Empire fell in 476 AD, after its last
emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was forced to abdicate by barbarian invaders.
- A Roman Centurion commanded 100 hundred men.
- A Roman Legion was made up of 6,000 men.
- Italy has a resident foreign population of 1.27
- Italy's current constitution took effect January
- The president of Italy is a ceremonial figure.
- The prime minister serves as the head of
government and is the one who runs the country.
- Since October 1946, the national anthem of Italy
has been Inno di Mameli .
- The Italian flag is green, white, and red.
- The colors of the Italian flag represent three
virtues: hope (green), faith (white), and charity (red).
- The Italian Republic does not have an official
motto, but it does have a common phrase: "L'Italia e’ una Repubblica
democratica, fondata sul lavoro" (Italy is a democratic Republic,
founded on labor).
- St. Francis of Assissi and Saint Caterina of
Siena are the patron saints of Italy.
- 98% of Italians are Roman Catholic.
- The Roman Catholic Church is based in 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.
- The Italian language evolved from the Latin of
the Roman Empire.
- The Italian peninsula is surrounded by five seas
(the Adriatic, Ionian, Tyrrhenean, Ligurian, and Mediterranean).
- Italy has two large islands, Sicily and Sardinia , as
well as a number of smaller islands.
- The Italian island of Sicily is famous for being
home of the illicit Mafia criminal organization.
- Napoleon spent his first exile on the Italian
island of Elba.
- The Alps mountain range form part of Italy's
northern border, and for a long time, protected the peninsula from
- Italy has three active volcanoes: Vesuvius, Etna,
- Naples is
the largest city in southern Italy.
- Next to Rome, Milan is the second-largest city in
- Milan is home to Italian fashion and finance.
- Rome's nickname is "The Eternal City."
- Florence is
home to Italian art.
- A vespa is an Italian-made motor scooter that
many people ride around busy city streets on.