Mention the word Italian or Italy to kids and they very often relate it to pizzas, spaghetti or fashion, but this amazing country has a lot more to it than just these things. Italy has been ranked as the world's 24th most-developed country. It also has the highest number of World Heritage sites recognized by UNESCO. Some famous cities for visitors are Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan and Naples, they are well-known for architecture, visual art, literature, music, fashion and cuisine.
Here is some information about Italy as a nation and some amazing facts that will help you understand this land and its people in a better way.
- Officially, Italy is known as Italian Republic
- Population: 58,742,000
- Capital: Rome
- Area: 301,333 square kilometers
- Language: Italian, German, French, Slovene
- Religion: Roman Catholic
- Currency: Euro
- GDP per capita: U.S. $25,100
- Literacy: 99%
✥ According to the founding myth about Rome, the city was founded on 21 April 753 BC by twin brothers Romulus and Remus. There is a legend that these brothers were raised in a cave by a she-wolf!
✥ The Roman empire, one of the greatest and most influential the world has ever seen, stretched from Portugal to Syria and from Britain to North Africa around 117 A.D.
✥ Italy also witnessed wars of city-states like Greece. Northern Italy and upper Central Italy were divided into a number of warring city-states. These divided city-states finally unified to form a single nation of Italy on 17 March 1861.
✥ In the First World War, Italy joined the triple alliance and emerged victorious but the gains were small in comparison to the cost of war.
✥ The dictator, Benito Mussolini took over Italy's control and gave some stability to the country but failed miserably in Second World War, the aftermath left Italy with a destroyed economy and a divided society.
✥ Italy became a republic after a referendum, which was held on 2 June 1946. The day is celebrated as Republic Day ever since. Presently, Italy is a democratic republic.
✥ Italy includes two large islands, Sicily and Sardinia. Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean, with active volcanoes and earthquakes. Sardinia is basically mountains rising out of the ocean.
✥ Italy is surrounded by six countries viz., France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Vatican City and San Marino. Surrounded by five seas namely, Ligurian, Tyrrhenian, Mediterranean, Ionian, and Adriatic, Italy is slightly larger than US state of Arizona. Apart from beaches and plains, almost 40% of the Italian territory is mountainous.
Interesting and Fun Facts
✥ Italy is the second largest wine-producing country in the world.
✥ 20% of Italian population is above 65 years of age.
✥ Italy has over 3,000 museums and more hotel rooms than any other nation in Europe.
✥ Italy holds the Guinness Record for the country that has the most elevators.
✥ The boundaries of Italy give it a shape like that of a boot!
✥ Italy's musical influence has been greatly admired by western world. Composers like Gioacchino Rossini, Giuseppe Verdi, and Giacomo Puccin contributed immensely in popularizing Italian Romantic opera all across the globe.
✥ One of the interesting facts about Italy is that it houses some of the world's biggest fashion brands, like Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, and Benetton. Italy has more famous fashion designers than any other country.
✥ Sixty percent of the world's art treasures are in Italy.
✥ Some Italian inventions include the thermometer, radio, piano, eyeglasses, cologne, and even ice cream cones! Volt, the SI unit of voltage is named after Italian physicist Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the first chemical battery.