Italy is a popular tourist destination and has an incredibly rich history. Known for its art, food, and architecture, it’s not difficult to find out about many famous elements of Italy and its culture. Here are ten facts you might not have known about the country.
1. Calf land
The country’s name comes from the word ‘italia’ which means ‘calf land’. It is believed to be called this as the bull was seen as a symbol of Southern Italian tribes.
The wolf is the unofficial national animal of Italy and features in a lot of legends surrounding Rome’s founding.
3. Free spaghetti
McDonald’s first opened in the country in 1986 in Rome. Chefs outside the restaurant offered free spaghetti to the population to remind them of Italy’s rich culinary heritage.
4. Independent states
Vatican City, one of two independent states in Italy, is the world’s only nation with the ability to lock its gates at night. The state has a phone company, radio, T.V. stations, stamps, and money of its own.
5. Bye bye Italy
Between 1861 and 1985, over 26 million citizens left Italy in search of a better life in another country. Just one in four of these people even returned.
The Italian language contains more Latin words than any other Romance language. It’s grammar system also remains similar to Latin. The Vatican City still uses Latin as its official language.
7. Thanks tourists
Tourism provides almost 63 percent of the country’s national income, with over 50 million tourists visiting each year.
When Italian-born scientist Galileo Galilei argued the Earth revolved around the sun, the Catholic Church sentenced him to imprisonment in his own house. The Church only issued an apology in 1992 (Galileo died in 1642).
During the second world war, Nazi’s used the Leaning Tower of Pisa as a watchtower.
10. Free wine
There is a fountain that flows red wine 24-hours a day in central Italy. The wine is free to everyone except drunkards.