When speaking English, a native Italian has the most identifiable accent in the world.
Italy has more fine art masterpieces per square mile than any other country.
In 2007, a dog named Rocco discovered a truffle in Tuscany that weighed 1.5kg and sold at auction for €300,000.
When McDonalds opened in 1986 in Rome, food purists gave away free pasta dishes outside the restaurant to remind people of their culinary heritage.
There are more earthquakes in Italy than anywhere else in Europe with the most recent occurring in Naples in 1980, killing 3,000 people.
No other country in Europe has as many volcanoes as Italy because its peninsula stands on a fault line.
At its pinnacle in AD117, the Roman Empire stretched from Portugal in the West to Syria in the east and from Britain in the North to the North African deserts across the Mediterranean, covering 2.3 million miles and with a population of 120 million people.
Between 1861 and 1985, more than 26 million Italians left their native country to seek a better life, with only one in four returning.
Italy is home to the highest peak in Europe, Monte Bianco which is almost 5,000m high and part of the Alps.
In northern Italy, last names tend to end with ‘i’, while those from the south often end with ‘o’ and the most common Italian surname is Russo.
During the 1930s and 40s, Italian fascist Benito Mussolini tried to eliminate foreign words from the Italian language. In football, ‘goal’ became ‘meta’ and Donald duck became ‘Paperino’, Mickey Mouse ‘Topolino’ and Goofy, ‘Pippo’. While the ban wasn’t permanent, the Italian names remain common.
Tourism accounts for almost 63% of Italy’s GDP, making the sector the country’s most important economic contributor.
Known as the ‘Three Fountains’, Dante Alighieri, Francesco Petrarch and Giovanni Boccaccio are arguably the most famous Italian authors of all time. Dante’s Divine Comedy had tremendous influence on Italian literature and he is considered the father of the Italian language.
The pre-dinner passeggiata (evening stroll) is one of Italy’s most enduring leisure activities where Italian families dress up in their Sunday best to stroll around the streets like peacocks, making every effort to be ‘seen’.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, around 85% of Italians are Roman Catholics, with Protestants, Jews and a growing community making up the minority.
Football is Italy’s most popular sport and very much a family affair. The famous San Siro stadium in Milan holds 85,000 people and the country has won the World Cup four times, making Italy second only to Brazil in number of wins.
In 1454, a real human chess game took place in Marostica, Italy. Rather than fight a bloody duel, the winner of the chess game would win the hand of a beautiful girl. To commemorate the even, each September in even numbered years, the town’s main piazza becomes a life-sized chess board.
Italians boast of how they taught the rest of Europe to cook and are responsible for introducing the world to ice cream, coffee and fruit pies.
The first violin to be seen in Italy was in the 1500s and came from the workshop of Andrea Amati in Cremona. The city later became the home of Antonio Stradivari, the most famous of all violin-makers.
The longest land tunnel in the world is Lötschberg Base which provides a 22-mile railway link between Switzerland and Italy.
Italy was one of the founders of the European Union and is a member of the Group of Eight (G8), a forum for eight of the world’s most powerful nations.
Galileo Galilei was an Italian-born scientist who argued that the earth revolved around the sun which led to him being imprisoned in his own home by the Catholic Church. The Church went on to issue a formal apology centuries later in 1992.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa was built in 1173 and began to lean soon after, probably due to a poorly laid foundation. During WWII, the Nazis used it as a watch tower and after reconstruction efforts in 2008, engineers declared the tower would be stable for at least another 200 years.
The language of music is Italian. The word ‘scale’ comes from scala, meaning ‘step’ and andante, allegro, presto and vivace are just few of the many Italian musical notations.
Source:: Property show rooms