Did you know these facts about the country of pasta and wine?
Short fun facts about Italy
At 300 000 sq km (116 000 sq miles) Italy is only marginally bigger than New Zealand.
There are many dialects of the Italian language spoken throughout Italy. The official Italian language spoken today originates from the Tuscan dialect (of Latin).
Italian is a Romance language and is related to the other Latin languages: Spanish, French, Portuguese and Romanian.
Italy manufacture most of the world’s top sports cars, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Maserati and Alfa Romeo being some of the most popular.
Don’t try to outrun the police in Lazio (Rome’s province) some of the officers drive a Lamborghini.
The upbeat Italian National Anthem (often played at the Formula 1 and Moto GP due to the past victories of Michael Schumacher, Ferrari and Valentino Rossi) is called “Inno di Mameli” or “Canto degli Italiani” and was written by Goffredo Mameli.
The “Promessi Sposi” is Italy’s literature equivalent of Rome and Juliet.
Many of Shakespeare’s plays were set in Italy, including Romeo and Juliet from Verona.
Opera is an Italian creation.
Around 85% of Italians are registered Catholics however less than a third of that are practicing members.
There are many “Mafia” organizations in Italy. The Mafia (known as “Cosa Nostra”) is only one of them and is based in Sicily. Camorra and ‘Ndrangheta are the other bigger organizations.
Democratic Italy is governed by a President who appoints the Prime Minister (largely a figure-head).
SPQR stands for “Senatus Populusque Romanus” and means “The senate and the people of Rome”. You still see the symbol all over Rome today (especially on drain covers) as it’s used by the Rome Municipality.
The Romans mastered plumbing. They used copper piping and valves – the patents of some are still in use today.
Rome is known as the “Eternal city” and also “Caput Mundi”, coming from Latin and meaning capital of the world.
Rome is the Capital, the largest city and has a population of roughly 3 million.
According to legend the brothers Romulus and Remus (the founders of Rome) were raised by a she-wolf in a cave on Palatine Hill.
Rome’s emblem is the she-wolf suckling the two brothers Romulus and Remus.
Pompeii is the city that was buried after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Many parts of ancient life were eerily preserved. By pouring wax into the cavities in the ash (which once held various furniture and artifacts) scientists have been able to get perfect replicas of ancient Roman furniture.
Italy has the Guinness record for the country with the most lifts.
Italy has the lowest birthrate in Europe – a contradiction to the large Italian family culture.
Italians live very long, the percentage of the retired population is 20% which is a cause for concern as there aren’t enough young people to work and contribute to the state pension.
Italians on average eat around 30 kg (66 pounds) of pasta and drink 60 liters of wine per year .