5 Fun Facts about Italy

Italy is, hands down, our favorite European peninsula shaped like a boot. While the current country of Italy was only officially founded in 1861, the Italian peninsula has been home to thousands of years of rich cultural, anthropological, and culinary history. There's certainly plenty to say about the birthplace of the ancient Roman empire and Leonardo Da Vinci. Here are five of our favorite fun facts about everyone's favorite purveyor of pasta!

  • Visual aid of how to complete 1. One Million Pizzas A Day

    If you love pizza as much as I do, then you'll be happy to know that you'd fit right in in Italy. It's thought that pizza was first invented in Naples, Italy in the year 1860. Over 160 years later, Italians still can't get enough of the stuff! There are over 100,000 pizza makers working in 63,000 pizzerias around Italy, producing approximately one million pizzas per day. That's about 1.6 BILLION pizzas a year! If you stacked that many pizza boxes on top of each other, your giant tower of pizza would reach 50,000 miles into the sky, about a quarter of the way to the moon.

  • Visual aid of how to complete 2. Here There Be Wolves

    The Italian Wolf is a sub-species of Grey Wolves native to the Italian Peninsula, and it has called Italy home since before the dawn of the Roman Empire! The Italian wolf was a powerful symbol of strength and glory in Roman mythology. Thousands of wolves ranged over territory that stretched from the peaks of the northern Alps to the southern island of Sicily. From the mid-1800's on, their population dwindled due to poaching and habitat loss, until only 100 wolves remained. Since 1971, the Italian Wolf has been legally protected by the Italian government, and the population has recovered to an estimated 800 wolves. The Italian wolf is largely considered the unofficial national animal of Italy.

  • Visual aid of how to complete 3. The Largest Active Volcano In Europe

    Italy is home to not one, not two, not three, but four active volcanoes! Two of the volcanoes, Stromboli and Vulcano, are located in the Aeolian Islands along Italy's southern peninsula. The third volcano, Mount Vesuvius, rises above the gulf of Naples. A massive eruption from Mt. Vesuvius in the year 79 A.D. destroyed the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, coating the ruins in a layer of ash that has preserved them to this day.

    But the largest volcano in Italy, Mount Etna, can be found towering over the ocean along the eastern coast of Sicily. With a basal circumference of 107 kilometers (87 miles), Mt. Etna encompasses an area of 1,190 square kilometers (459 square miles). This means Mt. Etna is two-and-a-half times larger than Mt. Vesuvius, and that makes it the largest volcano in all of Europe! Mt. Etna last erupted on February 16th, 2021, launching a cloud of ash 33,000 feet high!

  • Visual aid of how to complete 4. Italy Invented Denim Jeans

    Here in the U.S, denim jeans have become a symbol of the rebellious and hardworking American spirit. In American culture, blue jeans are right up there with baseball, apple pie, and Ford pickup trucks. So it might surprise you to learn that jeans were actually invented in Italy, where they can be traced back to the city of Genoa circa the 17th century! While it's not known who first invented the fabric, it's known that denim jeans were crafted by Genoese weavers, and commonly worn by 17th-century sailors. It is thought that the word Jeans derives from the word Genes, which was the French name for the Italian city of Genoa.

  • Visual aid of how to complete 5. Italy Also Invented the Piano

    As though inventing America's favorite pair of pants wasn't enough, Italy also gets the credit for inventing pianos! The first piano was invented by an Italian craftsman named Bartolomeo Cristofori, who worked as a harpsichord maker for the grand prince of Tuscany, Ferdinando de'Medici. Bartolomeo constructed his first piano in the year 1700, and a few of his creations can currently be seen on display at the Leipzig Museum in Germany.

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