20 Things to Know more about Italy

Want to know more about Italy? On this page, you’ll learn 20 Things to Know more about this interesting country: Italy

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.

italy vs usa 20 Things to Know more about Italy
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2 – Italy’s population is about 60 million.

Italy is the fifth largest European country in terms of population, with about 60 million inhabitants.

The densest region of the country is Lombardy, inhabited by about 10 million people, followed by Lazio and Campania, which registered about 5.9 million and 5.8 million inhabitants.

The 3 largest Cities in Italy in terms of the population are:

  • Rome with a little more than 2 million people
  • Milan with a little more than 1 million people
  • Naples with a little less than 1 million people
Italy - population density
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By nerdy.maps – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=90888926

3 – One-fifth of Italy’s population is over the age of 65

In the past years, people aged over 65 years grew constantly in Italy. Indeed, the birth rate in the country decreased over the past years and life expectancy increased over the same period. 
Moreover, the ageing trend in the Italian population is not expected to change in the next years.

population pyramid 20 Things to Know more about Italy

ITALY 1950

age group 20 Things to Know more about Italy
By Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). – CIA World Factbook, 2017., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64345018

ITALY 2016

4 – The average life expectancy of an Italian is 83 years

Life expectancy at birth is the average number of years a newborn baby would live.

Between 2002 and 2019, life expectancy for both males and females in Italy rose.

In 2019, life expectancy for women was estimated to be 85.3 years, whereas was 81 years for men.

speranza di vita in italia 20 Things to Know more about Italy
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Umbria and Trentino-South Tyrol were the Italian regions where for both women and men the life expectancy re higher in the whole Italian peninsula.

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 colours of the Italian flag, red (tomato), white (mozzarella) and green (basil). They named it after the Queen – Pizza Margherita.

pizza margherita 20 Things to Know more about Italy
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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.

pane italiano 20 Things to Know more about Italy
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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

monumenti italiani
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People mainly visit Italy for its rich culture, food, history, fashion and art.

Rome is the most visited city, and the fourth in Europe after London, Paris and Berlin.

The second most visited museum in Europe is The Vatican Museum after Louvre in Paris.

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).

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9 – More than 75 per cent 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%.

mappa italia 20 Things to Know more about Italy
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10 – Italy did not become a “united” country until 1861

1861–78 Vittorio Emanuele II King of united Italy

1871  Rome proclaimed the capital of Italy

1922  October: Fascist march on Rome. Mussolini head of government

1940  Italy enters Second World War

1943  25 July: Mussolini removed from power

1944  4 June: Allied forces enter Rome

1945 End of the second world war: Mussolini executed by partisans

The birth of the Italian Republic:

1946  2 June: Referendum. Italy becomes a republic: Italian voters voted to replace the kingdom (45,7%) with the republic (54,3%).

1946 13 June: Former King Umberto II voluntarily left the country on 13 June 1946, headed for Cascais, in southern Portugal,

1948  Constitution of the Italian Republic comes into effect

Italian Republic
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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 – http://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/IT

david di michelangelo
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12 – The official language is Italian as well as German and French in some regions in Northern Italy.

The bilingual Italian regions, where two languages are used also from an administrative point of view, are some regions with special status:

in the Val d’Aosta, besides Italian, French is also spoken;
in Trentino-Alto Adige German and Ladin are spoken, a language of Latin origin, but different from Italian.

Not all people in Italy speak proper Italian, but one of its many Italian dialects. Some of the older people can neither speak Italian, but only the local dialect.

13 – Italy it’s home to Europe’s three active volcanoes

Italy is a territory with many volcanoes, both active and extinct. Etna is the highest volcano in Europe and is often in activity.

The four most active volcanoes in Europe are:

  1. Etna ( Italy)
  2. Stromboli ( Italy)
  3. Eyjafjallajokull (Island)
  4. Vesuvio (Italy)
vulcani in italia
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14 – About 80 per cent of Italians are Catholic.

According to the Eurobarometer of December 2018, 85.6% of the Italian population declared themselves Christian (78.9% Catholics, 4.6% Orthodox, 0.6% Protestants, 1.5% other Christians). 6% professed another non-Christian religion, and 11.7% declared themselves non-religious (7.5% atheists, 4.2% agnostics).

cattolicesimo in italia
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15 – Ice Cream cones were invented in Italy, and so were eyeglasses

The birth of real ice cream happened in Florence thanks to the greedy Caterina de ‘Medici.

The eyeglasses were probably invented in Venice during the 1200s.

ice cream 20 Things to Know more about Italy