Italy facts.
Info, tidbits and oddities

Let's talk now about Italy facts, general info, oddities. This is a site about the Italian region Veneto, so I am definitely sticking to the point.
It is sort of an impossible mission to list all the interesting facts about Italy, but I’ll try my best.

Italy is characterized by a unique boot shape, and for this reason it is likely one of the most recognizable countries on the world map.
More precisely, it looks like a boot kicking kind of a ball before a goal. An excellent image, which mirrors very well what is the most popular sport here... Need to say?

Italy facts: general info

  • Official name: Italia

  • Nicknames: Stivale (Boot), Belpaese (Beautiful land)

  • Surface: 301,336sqKm/187,250sqMi (3/4 of the area of California)

  • Official language: Italian

  • Currency:Euro

  • Form of government: parliamentary republic

  • Population: about 60.000.000

  • Official religion: catholic (despite the general beliefs according to which we are a bunch of devouted catholics, nowadays just a few percentage of Italians practices. There is also a strong fall both in marriages and church weddings)

  • Most populated city: Rome, with 2.724.347 citizens

  • Inside Italy there exist two small independent States: Vatican State and San Marino State, both with Italian as their official language. They are remnants from the Middle Ages, when the Italian peninsula was split into many small States, City States, Dukedoms, etc. Today they exist mostly as domestic tax havens..

  • Italy has one of the world lowest birth rate

  • In Italy lie 70% of the Unesco Heritage World Sites

  • Italy is the seventh world economic power (for now..)

Italy facts: geography

  • Italy is made up of 20 regions

  • It is located in Southern Europe. Part of the country lies south of Tunis (North Africa) and east of Praha.

  • The biggest Italian islands are the regions Sicily and Sardinia.

  • There are about 200 other minor Italian islands, both very small and quite big, many of them inhabited. Just to name a few, the Elba island, the Eolian, Ischia, Capri, those in the Veneto lagoon, etc.

  • Italy’s highest mountain: Monte Bianco (or Mont Blanc, meaning White Mount) measuring 4810 mt/13474 ft, in the north-west of the country

  • Italy’s longest and largest river: Po, 652Km/405miles. Over the millenniums it created the most extended Italian plain: the Pianura Padana, or Po valley

  • Biggest lake: lake of Garda (Veneto and Lombardy)

  • Active volcanoes: 9. See here the map with the Italian active volcanoes.

Italy facts: culture

  • Most music words are Italian.
    Some examples: crescendo, allegro, a capella, pianoforte, vibrato, adagio, andante, aria, concerto, opera, pizzicato, presto, soprano.

  • Some old vocal techniques, like for instance vibrato, were invented in Italy and were used to perform Bel Canto.
    A famous Italian who would sing with those vocal methods was Enrico Caruso. Some of the greatest singers these days - like Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, and others -base their vocal performances partly on those Italian techniques.

Italy’s facts: some Italian inventions

(Just two words about what an invention is: not just the work of a single person, but usually the result of many previous studies and tests made by different people over the decades. Usually just one person takes the credit for it, the one who succeeds in putting things together into a rational and working way).

  • Electricity and battery: invented in 1800 by Alessandro Volta (hence the measure Volt)

  • Wireless telegraph – radio: Guglielmo Marconi (but there is a inventor controversy with the Serbian Nikola Tesla)

  • Telephone: invented by Antonio Meucci in 1871.
    There is a general disbelief – especially in the USA - that telephone was invented in 1876 by the American Alexander Graham Bell

  • Banks and capitalism: born in Italy during the Renaissance..not sure it’s a merit:)

  • Bank of America: founded in 1904 in San Francisco by the Italian-American Amadeo Giannini. Its original name - kept until 1928 - was Bank of Italy

  • Pizza: invented in Naples

  • Mafia: Sicily, a couple of centuries ago

  • Pianoforte: 1698, by Bartolomeo Cristofori

  • Pinocchio: a character of a Carlo Collodi's 1883 book titled Le avventure di Pinocchio, written way before the great Walt Disney was even born..

  • Eyeglasses, invented in Venice in the 1200's

  • Thermomether: Galileo Galilei in 1592

  • Typewriter: invention attributed to the Italian Giuseppe Ravizza, but it’s not an accepted fact

  • Nuclear reactor: physicist Enrico Fermi. He was also one of the fathers of the first atomic bomb built in Los Alamos

  • Ice-cream cone: patented in 1903 by Italo Marchioni, an Italian emigrated to New York

  • First microprocessor (Intel 4004): created in 1971 by an equipe of 3 phisicists, among them the Vicenza born Federico Faggin

  • First personal computer with a built-in floppy disk: 1975, Olivetti Corporation

  • Italy facts: history

    • The Italian peninsula became a united nation in 1861, after 2 wars for independence.

    • In 1866 with the third war, the Veneto was freed from 60 years of Austrian domination which allowed it to unite with Italy. That was followed by Rome and the Lazio region in 1870, which was snatched from the Papal State

    • Italy has had 3 capital cities during its history:
      Turin: 1861 to 1865
      Florence: 1865 to 1871
      Rome 1871 until today

    • Fascism originated in Italy and lasted about 20 years long (1922-1443).

    • After the second world war Italy hosted the biggest Communist party of the West for many years.

    Want to know about other Italy facts? Find here some fun facts about Italy!

    From Italy Facts to Veneto Explorer Home Page