Italy: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Italy.

  • Italy, often described as shaped like a boot, is a country in southern Europe. It covers about 301,000 square km and is bordered by France, Austria, Switzerland and Slovenia.
  • With a population of about 61 million, it is the 5th most populous European country. It is known for its art, historic towns and cities, fine food and wine and high standard of living.

  • Rome is the largest city and capital, with almost 3 million residents. Other popular destinations include Venice, Milan, Florence, Pisa, Naples and the isle of Capri.
  • Rome was once the largest city in the world and the centre of the huge Roman Empire. Famous city landmarks include the Coliseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and St. Peter’s Cathedral.
  • The Italian city of Pompeii was completely buried when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. The volcanic ash and gas reached a height of 33 km and killed about 16,000 people.
  • Vatican City is the world’s smallest state, covering just 108 acres and is entirely surrounded by Rome. It has its own post office, radio and TV station, stamps and currency.
  • The Leaning Tower of Pisa has become a symbol of Italy. The 56 metre high tower was built during the 12th century and leans almost 4 metres from the vertical.

Flag of Italy

  • Ice cream, coffee, fruit pies and pizza all originated in Italy. The modern pizza was invented in Naples, although Italians have been eating pizza since the 10th century.
  • Some of the world’s most famous artists painted during the Italian Renaissance, including Titian, Raphael and Botticelli. The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City was designed by Michelangelo.
  • Italy was the birthplace of opera, and the cello, violin and piano were invented there.
  • The country hosts the world’s oldest film festival, the Venice Film Festival, which was first held in 1932.

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