10 Interesting Facts about Italy

“Italy, and the spring and first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy.” ~ Bertrand Russell. Satisfy your wanderlust with these interesting Italy facts, including little known history, fun trivia, and amazing statistics.

  1. Italy is the largest producer of wine in the world.
  2. Italy has the world’s largest number of UNESCO heritage sites in the world.
  3. Italy’s largest business enterprise is the Italian mafia, which accounts for 7% of the country’s GDP.
  4. The name “Italy” is from the word italia, meaning “calf land,” perhaps because the bull was a symbol of the Southern Italian tribes.
  5. Galileo’s tooth, thumb, and finger are on display in Florence, Italy. They were cut from Galileo’s corpse during a burial ceremony 95 years after his death in 1642.
  6. Italy’s San Marino is the world’s oldest republic (A.D. 301) and holds the world’s oldest continuous constitution.
  7. Gondolas in Venice, Italy are required by law to be painted black.
  8. Soccer fans in Italy are called tifosi, meaning “carriers of typhus.” Italian soccer fans are known for their rowdy behavior and lack of inhibition.
  9. No other country in Europe has as many volcanoes as Italy. Three major volcanoes (Etna, Stromboli, and Vesuvius) have erupted in the last hundred years.
  10. The fork gained popularity in Italy before any other European country because it allowed Italians to eat spaghetti more efficiently.
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