Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Italy: 14 Fun, Fast Facts

Here we are at the beginning of November, once again faced with the difficult decision of choosing our next Country of the Month. Into the hat they went, and out came none other than the glorious country of Italy!

via Flickr
Don’t be fooled, there’s so much more to Italy than pasta, pizza and exaggerated hand gestures! Here are 14 fun, fast facts about Italy and Italian culture:

1) Italy is very easy to recognize on a world map – it’s shaped like a high-heeled boot!

2) The Alps and the Apennines are the two large mountain ranges in Italy. The Alps separate Italy from France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia, and the Apennines separate the East and West sides of the country.

via Flickr by Marcel Oosterwijk
3) Italy surrounds San Marino and Vatican City – two of the smallest countries in the world!

4) As of 2013, Italy’s population is estimated at 61.3 million. The capital city, Rome, is home to 2.6 million citizens.

5) Known officially as the Republic of Italy, the name “Italy” comes from the Greek word “italos,” meaning calf. This name was originally given to the region of Calabria by Greek settlers in the 8th century, and was later extended to the whole peninsula under the rule of Emperor Augustus.

6) The colours of Italy’s national flag represent hope (green), faith (white) and charity (red).

via Flickr by Dave Kellam
7) Italy is home to three active volcanoes – Vesuvius (near Naples), Etna (on the island of Sicily) and Stromboli (off the coast of Italy). Etna is recognized as the world’s most active volcano, and has been spewing lava daily since 1999.

8) Located in Rome, the Colosseum is the largest ancient building that was dedicated entirely to entertainment.

via Flickr by Aaron Logan
9) Italy is also the host of the world’s oldest film festival, the Venice Film Festival, which was first established in 1932.

10) There are over 140 different types of pasta in Italy. Some of these varieties are only produced regionally, while others are known under different names in different regions.

via Flickr by Benjie Ordonez
11) Italians are credited for the invention of one of the most universally beloved dishes – pizza! Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba is recognized as the world’s first pizzeria; it opened in Naples in 1830.

12) Romans love cats...a lot. There are an estimated 300,000 cats living in Rome and a number of laws that protect them from being moved or harmed.

13) Speaking of laws, Italy is considered to be one of the most over-legislated countries in the world. It’s estimated that Italy has 5 to 12 times more laws than France or Germany.

14) Italy has birthed many prolific explorers, inventors and artists, some of which include: Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, Marco Polo, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello and Caravaggio.

via Flickr by Moyan Brenn
Mamma mia! We couldn’t be more excited to profile Italy over the next month, so stay tuned for more of our Country of the Month posts!

Did we miss anything? Drop us a line in the comments below so we can add it to the list!