It’s not all pizza and mafia! Here is 19 interesting facts about Italy
1. The name “Italy” comes from the Greek “italos” which means calf land.
2. Italy is the fifth most-visited country in the world.
3. The capital is Rome, which is almost 3,000 years old.
4. Mt Etna, in southern Italy, is the world’s most active volcano. It has been erupting for the past 3,500 years, and has done so daily since 1999.
5. In 2007, a dog named Rocco discovered a truffle in Tuscany that weighed 3.3 pounds. It sold at auction for $333,000 (USD), a world record for a truffle.
6. Many popular cheeses were created in Italy, including parmesan, ricotta, gorgonzola, mozzarella and provolone.
7. Italy’s unofficial national animal is the wolf.
8. The most common surname in Italy is Russo.
9. The Republic of San Marino and the Vatican City are independent states within Italy.
Check out this article on the Saturnia hot springs in Tuscany!
10. Vatican City can close and lock its gates at night, and has its own TV and radio stations, phone company, stamps and money.
11. San Marino is the world’s oldest republic and has the oldest continuous constitution. It has less than 30,000 citizens.
12. 80% of Italy are mountains or hills.
13. The catacombs of Rome contain over 40,000 tombs. During World War II, it was common for the persecuted Jews to hide in the catacombs.
14. Italy has one of the lowest birth rates in the world.
15. The highest peak in Europe is Monte Bianco in Italy at 15,771 feet high.
16. Between 1861 and 1985 over 26 million people migrated away from Italy with only 25% returning.
17. Italian is a dialect spoken by people from the last years of the Roman Empire, descending from Vulgar Latin.
18. Tourism makes up 63% of the national economy, which is the world’s seventh largest currently.
19. The Shroud of Turin, thought to have wrapped the body of Jesus Christ, has been in the San Giovanni Cathedral in Turin for at least 420 years.
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