TOP-50 interesting facts about Italy and Italian
Italy is a country in Southern Europe on the Apennine Peninsula that shares many common features with its neighbours. But at the same time, it is a unique country with its own customs, history and culture. In our article, we have collected 50 fascinating facts about this country and its inhabitants, which will help to form a first impression and interestingly plan your holiday in Italy.
50 most amazing facts about Italians and Italy
So, let’s begin our journey through the history, traditions and sights of this amazing country.
1 The Apennine Peninsula began to be inhabited about 50,000 years ago. Its first inhabitants were Neanderthals, later displaced by the ancestors of modern man.
2. At the beginning of the first millennium B.C. Italic tribes lived here, among which the Latins soon stood out. The capital of the Latins, Rome, became the centre of the new civilisation.
3. Rome managed to unite under its authority all peoples of the peninsula, largely using the principle of freedom of religion. Romans willingly recognised alien gods as their own. They also benefited from the achievements of Greek civilisation.
4. The Roman Empire in its heyday took possession of most of Europe, including misty Albion. But gradually, raids by barbarian tribes undermined the empire’s power.
5. In the Middle Ages, Italy was a conglomeration of cities, many of which played an important role in world trade and possessed strong armies.
6. The European Renaissance began in Italy. Geniuses who were centuries ahead of history lived and worked here: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dante, Raphael and Galileo.
7. Modern Italy is a beautiful country with almost 60 million people. It is Europe’s third largest economy.
8. Italy is the centre of the Catholic world. More than 97% of its population preaches Catholicism. Rome is home to the Vatican, the seat of the Pope, the head of all Catholics.
9. Italy produces the most luxurious cars in the world: Lamborghini. Alfa Romeo, Maserati.
10. Italy is considered one of the trendsetters, on a par with France. Milan’s haute couture week is one of the «Big Four». It is where the world’s leading fashion designers present their latest collections.
Legends and stories
11 Few people know that Italy has its own Excalibur, a sword in stone. It sticks out of a block of stone in the ruined abbey of San Golgano in Tuscany. Legend has it that the future Sir Gawain was actually born in these places, in his youth a simple Italian lad named Golgano.
12. In the Roman neighbourhood of Lazio is the Alchemical Door. According to legend, one alchemist managed to create a herb capable of turning any metal into gold, and then passed through this door and disappeared without a trace, taking with him a great secret.
13. In Sicily there is a villa called Palagonia. It is decorated with strange and ugly creatures – gnomes, centaurs, dragons. If a pregnant woman looks into the eyes of the statues, according to legend, she may have children with deformities.
14. In the vicinity of Rimini is the Montebello Castle, which is haunted by the ghost of a little girl. One day she went down into the castle cellar and disappeared without a trace. Since then, on the night of 21 July in, the castle heard children’s footsteps and a pitiful voice.
15. In the vicinity of the city of Lucca there is a strange Devil’s Bridge. According to legend, the architect enlisted the help of the devil to build the bridge on time. The devil demanded the soul of the first creature to cross the bridge as payment for his services. The cunning master let a pig cross the bridge, thus deceiving the devil.
16. Italy has a huge number of sights, so we will only touch upon the landmarks of the country. For example, the Colosseum, an ancient Roman amphitheatre where gladiator fights and mass festivals were held.
17. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is famous for its deviation from the vertical. In the Middle Ages, Galileo threw balls of different weights from it to study free fall and air resistance.
18. St Peter’s Basilica in Rome is actually part of the Vatican, but this papal city is inseparable from Italy. It is the largest historic church in Christendom.
19. The Sistine Chapel is also a landmark of Rome. This former House Church is famous for the famous frescoes of Michelangelo’s hand. It is the dream of millions of tourists to see them.
20. Another attraction of Rome is the Trevi Fountain, with the god of the seas, Neptune, at its centre. The fountain is built at the intersection of three roads, where there used to be a Roman aqueduct. Here it is customary to throw coins to return to the Eternal City.
21. St Mark’s Cathedral is considered the symbol of Venice, on a par with the Bridge of Tears and the Doge’s Palace. The annual Venice Carnival is held in the square in front of this huge cathedral.
22. The Ufizzi Gallery is located in ancient Florence. It is one of the finest museums in the world, containing treasures of the genius of medieval masters. The famous statue of David by Michelangelo can also be viewed in Florence.
23. La Scala in Milan is the most famous opera house in the world. All the world’s celebrities have performed here. It is also home to the Duomo, a Catholic cathedral that has become a symbol of the city.
24. Pompeii is an ancient city, once completely destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius. Now excavations are being carried out here, restoring the amazing beauty of the ancient buildings.
Character and customs
25. Italians are very temperamental and emotional, they accompany any conversation with active gesticulation.
26. Italians never admit to difficulties and problems – it is considered bad form. Everyone here is optimistic and enthusiastic.
27. Punctuality is honoured only in the northern regions of Italy. In the south, no one will be surprised if a partner is 10–15 minutes late. This is characteristic of all hot countries.
28. In Italy, there is a concept of Siesta. It is a midday rest when all work stops. Siesta is more common in the south of the country, where from 13 to 15 hours all life comes to a standstill, and shops and catering establishments close.
29. Italians judge a person on the first impression, and it is based on appearance. Neat and beautiful clothes are considered a sign of style and immediately makes you a desirable interlocutor.
30. Italians are very hospitable people who love to invite guests. It is customary to give small gifts to the hosts. But it should be remembered that gifts should not be wrapped in purple paper – it is a symbol of bad luck. It is also not accepted to give yellow flowers – a symbol of envy.
31. And more about omens. Italians calmly treat the number 13. But 17 is considered unlucky.
32. For the Italian is very important, place where he comes from. They consider themselves first of all Sicilians, Florentines, Tuscans and only then – Italians.
33. Local men often give various signs of attention to female tourists, but this is a common phenomenon. It is customary to admire all women here, regardless of age.
34. Any Italian is an actor at heart. In any situation, he fully gives himself to the created image.
35. For an Italian, family is the centre of the world. They marry late and it is not uncommon for a 30-year-old man to still live with his mother. Family members include all close and distant relatives up to the seventh knee. Therefore, large-scale family celebrations are not uncommon here.
36. Children are treated very reverently in the country. They are allowed a lot of things, it is customary to pamper them and take them with you to any event. They are rarely given to kindergartens, usually grandparents take care of the younger generation.
37. At the same time, Italians do not like to be asked about their children and their successes. It is considered bad luck to tell about their health and other facts to unfamiliar people.
38. In the past, Italian families rarely had less than 5–6 children. Nowadays, they follow European traditions and more often have 1–2 children.
39. Now, the main reason for divorce in an Italian family is the impossibility to give birth to a child. In this case, even couples married in church are divorced.
40. The wedding tradition of throwing the bride’s wreath appeared in Italy. Initially, the flowers of the orange tree were thrown, which promised prosperity and happiness.
41. Italians love holidays, but they have their own tradition for each one. For example, they say that Christmas should be celebrated at home and Easter should be celebrated on the side. This means that Christmas is a family holiday and Easter should be celebrated with friends.
42. New Year’s Eve in the country is celebrated noisily and with great fanfare. The famous tradition of throwing old things out of windows seems to be known to everyone. Less known is the tradition of breaking dishes on New Year’s Eve. This is how Italians get rid of accumulated resentment and negativity.
43. In Rome, there is a tradition to jump from the bridge into the Tiber River on New Year’s Eve. Many people believe that when the clock strikes 12 grapes must be eaten, and it will bring happiness. In Naples, this holiday is celebrated with loud explosions of firecrackers to scare away evil spirits.
44. The national dance of Italy is the tarantella, the instrument is the mandolin, and the song is Neapolitan folk tunes. However, the songs of the gondoliers, the barcarolas, are also known and recognizable.
45. The main natural attraction of the country is considered to be Vesuvius. It is an active volcano located near Naples. Nowadays, there is a tourist trail leading to its crater, but once its eruptions could destroy entire cities.
46. Another active volcano, Etna, is located in Sicily. It is the most active volcano in Italy today. Etna erupts regularly, which does not reduce the number of people who want to admire the volcano.
47. Dolomite Alps are located in the north of the country. These are amazingly beautiful rocks of unusual colour. Ski resorts are located here and rock climbers and mountaineers like to come here.
48. Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in Western Europe. In fact, Mont Blanc is located on the border of Italy and France, and each country considers it its own landmark.
49. The Blue Grotto is located on the north shore of the island of Capri, near Naples. It is a cave in the rock and can only be accessed by boat.
50. Not far from Milan is Lake Como, the third largest in the country and one of the deepest in Europe. It is a favourite holiday destination for locals and tourists.
Friends, if you know any more interesting facts about Italians and Italy, please share them in the comments. This country is full of amazing stories, culture and traditions, and many people would be glad to learn something new. We will be very grateful to you!