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.

Rome: Facts About the Capital of Italy

Here are some facts about Rome.

  • Rome has a population of almost 2.7 million and is Italy’s capital and largest city. It is located on the River Tiber, almost exactly in the middle of the country.
  • Rome was founded in 753 BC, and every April residents celebrate its founding. It may have been named after the twins Romulus and Remus who were cared for by a wolf.

  • The world’s smallest country, Vatican City, is surrounded entirely by Rome. It covers just 44 hectares and has its own post office, railway station, currency and police force.
  • Rome has featured in many films, including Spartacus, La Dolce Vita, Roman Holiday and Angels and Demons.
  • The city is twinned with Paris, and partner cities include Cairo, London and Tokyo.
  • Rome’s most famous building is the Colosseum, built in around 70 AD, for gladiator fights. The huge arena could hold 80,000 people and has influenced the design of many modern stadiums.
  • The Pantheon was built in 27 BC as a temple. It still has one of the largest unsupported concrete domes in the world, which measures 43 metres across.
  • St. Peter’s is the largest church in the world, and covers 21,000 square metres of floor space. It is almost 140 metres high and measures over 210 metres from front to back.
  • Two offbeat sites in Rome include the pasta museum, and the Park of the Monsters, containing scary figures carved out of rock.
  • The Trevi Fountain is one of the most famous in the world. An estimated 3,000 Euros are thrown into the fountain each day, and throwing in a coin is said to ensure a return to Rome.
  • There are at least 40 catacombs deep under Rome’s streets, stretching for over 250 km. The Capuchin crypt is decorated with the old bones of 4,000 dead monks.