This is a high-level introduction to Italy, including geography, history, fun facts, and popular recipes to make.
- Italy has two other countries, Vatican City and San Marino, completely engulfed in its borders! This makes it the country with the most other countries enclaved inside of it.
- This country has more UNESCO heritage sites than any other country in the world.
- Italy is the most biodiverse country in Europe when it comes to animals.
- Italy introduced the world to opera and also invented the piano, violin, and cello.
- This is the 5th most visited country in the world by tourists.
The capital of the country is Rome, which is also its largest city. Rome is also known as The Eternal City because of its long and continuous history.
Italy is also known for plenty of other famous cities, including Milan, Naples, Florence, Venice and Palermo. There are two main islands close to mainland Italy that are also part of the country – Sicily and Sardinia – as well as 350 smaller islands.
The northern part of the country contains the Alps, which are shared amongst Austria, Italy, France, and Switzerland. There are 3 active volcanoes in the country: Mount Etna, Mount Stromboli, and Mount Vesuvius (the volcano responsible for the destruction of Pompeii).
Due to Italy’s location with easy access to both Europe and North Africa, it has become an attractive location for immigration, politics, and business opportunities.
Some of the most well-known brands in the world come from Italy. Especially in terms of fashion and automobiles; Think Gucci, Ferrari, Versace, Maserati, etc. Milan is considered the fashion capital of the world.
As of 2021, there were 59.11 million people living in Italy. 95% of these people are Italian, 2% are Romanian, 1% are North African, and the rest is made up of everyone else. 80% of the country identifies as Catholic, and the head of the Catholic Church, the Vatican, is surrounded by Italian borders.
The reach of Italian culture has spread so far and wide because of a mass emigration movement that occurred in the late 1800s and early 1900s, during which over 25 million people left the country. Italians were then spread far and wide across the world, particularly in the United States of America, which means that their culture was largely impactful on US culture.
Italy is one of the food meccas of the world and has brought the world so many delicious dishes including the well known dishes of pizza, pasta, and gelato. Most regions in Italy are known for specializing or creating an Italian specialty. Here is a list of the different regions and what they are known for in Italy:
- Abruzzo: Seafood, chili peppers, saffron oil, Aglio Olio e Peperoncino
- Basilicata: Pork
- Campania: Pizza, mozzarella cheese, fresh produce
- Emilia – Romagna: tortellini, lasagna, balsamic vinegar, parmesan, bologna, prosciutto
- Liguria: Basil, pesto, minestrone, focaccia, gnocchi
- Lombardi: Cheeses, panettone, french and german influences on its cuisine
- Piedmont: Grissini, white truffle, agnolotti
- Sicily and Sardinia: Arancini, ricotta, cassata
- Veneto: Rice, polenta, beans, mushrooms, asiago cheese, tiramisu