1 – Italy is only slightly larger than the state of Arizona in the USA
If Italy were a US state, it would lie between New Mexico and Arizona to be the 5th largest state by area.
Italy is 2,4% larger than Arizona
Arizona (US) (294,254 km²) is 0.98 times as big as Italy (301,336 km²).
Distances aren’t long unless you’re planning a trip from Venice to Sicily.
2 – Italy’s population is about 59 million.
3 – One-fifth of Itay’s population is over the age of 65
4 – The average life expectancy of an Italian is 82,7 years
5 – Pizza was invented in Naples.
28 years after the unification of Italy, during a visit to Naples of Queen Margherita of Savoy, wife of King Umberto I, chef Raffaele Esposito of Pizzeria Brandi and his wife created a pizza resembling the colors of the Italian flag, red (tomato), white (mozzarella) and green (basil). They named it after the Queen – Pizza Margherita.
6 – Italians eat about a half-pound a day of bread.
20 regions, 20 different pieces of bread.
Rarely is there an Italian meal that does not include bread.
Italians have high standards for their bread. They are known to allow the yeast to fully rise over the course of several hours, leaving a thin crust.
7- Italy is the fifth most visited country in the world, with about 50 million visitors every year.
Peak period: Spring-Summer
Most visited destinations: Rome, Milan, Venice
8 – Italy has more hotel rooms than any other country in Europe
Italy is the fourth in the world for hotel rooms, after the US (4.6 million rooms), Japan (1.7 million) and China (1.6 million).
In Europe, Italy is first in terms of the number of rooms and beds. Followed by Germany (920 thousand rooms and 1.7 million beds), Spain (840 thousand rooms and 1.7 million beds) and France (630 thousand rooms and 1.3 million beds).
9 – More than 75 percent of Italy is classified as either hilly or mountainous
Italian territory is mainly covered by mountains and hills: together they occupy about 3/4 of our country.
Most of the Italian territory is hilly: the hills cover 42% of our country.
The mountains represent 35% of the country, while the plains are only 23%.
10 – Italy did not become a “united” country until 1861
11 – Italy has more masterpieces per square mile than any other country, reflecting the country’s love for great art.
and … Italy is the country with the highest number of sites recognized by UNESCO
12 – The University of Rome is the largest in Europe, enrolling about 150,000 students at any given time.
13 – Suffer and have suffered more earthquakes than any other country’s people.
14 – About 90 percent of Italians are Catholic.
15 – Ice Cream cones were invented in Italy, and so were eyeglasses
The birth of the real ice cream happened in Florence thanks to the greedy Caterina de ‘Medici.
The eyeglasses were probably invented in Venice during the 1200s.
16 – Italian must be 18 years old to vote for the lower house of the parliament but cannot vote for the upper house – the Senate until they are 25.
17 – There are two independent states that sit within Italy’s borders: San Marino and Vatican City.
SAN MARINO – In the heart of Italy, on the border between Emilia Romagna and the Marche, the Republic of San Marino extends for 61.196 km².
It is the third smallest country in Europe, after the Principality of Monaco and the Vatican City.
CITTA’ DEL VATICANO – With a surface area of 44 hectares, the Vatican City State is the smallest independent state in the world, both in terms of population and territorial extension
18 – Every year, about 1.500 Euro are tossed into Rome’s Trevi Fountain. The money is used for Rome’s needy.
Tourists from all over the world throw a coin with their right hand on their left shoulder to ensure their return to Rome.
But another tradition exists (even if less known): when another coin is tossed, you will live a new and exciting love story, with a third one you may even get to the wedding.