Italy, officially known as the Italian Republic, is a country located in the south of the European continent and one of the founding members of the European Union. Whether for its beaches, its gastronomy or its many places of interest, Italy is one of the most visited and touristic countries in the world. Currently, the country has just over 60 million inhabitants. The capital and most populous city is Rome.
Curiosities about Italy
1º Much of Italy used to be part of ancient Greece.
The city of Syracuse, in Sicily, was the largest city in ancient Greece and even equaled Athens in size. In fact, the Romans used to call all of Sicily and the foot of Italy's "boot" "Great Greece."

2 In Italy is the oldest university in Europe.
The University of Bologna, founded in 1088, is the oldest university in Europe. Of the ten oldest universities in the world, four of them are based in Italy; more than any other country.

3º the descendants of the Italians outnumber the Italians.
With 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the fifth most populous country in Europe. However, the number of Italian descendants living abroad is much higher after the millions who immigrated, especially to the Americas.
It is estimated that up to 25 million Argentines and 31 million Brazilians have some degree of Italian descent —about 60% and 11% of the total population respectively. For their part, more than 17 million US citizens claim to have Italian ancestry.
4th Italy has three active volcanoes.
Etna, Stromboli and Vesuvius are the only active volcanoes in Europe and all three have erupted at least once in the last 100 years. In fact, Etna has suffered several eruptions during this same year 2020.
Italy is on a major fault, giving rise to major earthquakes throughout its history.
At the bottom of the image, the Etna volcano. (Photo: Fred Bigio)
5th There are 12 officially recognized languages.
Albanian, Catalan, French, German, Greek, Slovenian or Sardinian are some of them. Others, however, are recognized regionally but not by the State.
6th Gelato is healthier than ordinary ice cream.
Gelato is made daily with fresh and totally natural ingredients, and contains 70% less fat - and therefore much fewer calories - than the traditional and usual ice cream that we know.
7th The Romans love cats so much that they are considered a biocultural asset of the city.
The law condemns anyone who kills a cat to a fine of 10,000 euros and up to 3 years in prison. There are an estimated 300,000 cats in Rome. They are precisely the only "inhabitants" who are allowed to enter the ruins freely.
8th The Vatican City, located within Rome, is the smallest country in the world.
Related content: The smallest countries in the world
9º The first thermometer was manufactured in Italy in 1612.
Santorio Santorio, the creator, baptized this instrument with the name of pulsilogium.
10th Italy has 55 UNESCO World Heritage Sites .
Along with China, Italy is the country with the most World Heritage Sites in the world, ahead of Spain (48), Germany (46) and France (45).
11th Italy is a transcontinental, that is, it has territories on two different continents.
Italy has territories in both Europe and Africa; Its European territory (99.97%) is made up of the Italian peninsula, the Po Valley and two large islands in the Mediterranean Sea : Sicily and Sardinia. On the other hand, the African territory (0.03%) is made up of Pantelaria and the Pelagie Islands.
Aerial image of the city of Venice. (Photo: Christiaan Ferreira)
12º The Republic of Venice was founded in 697 and dissolved by Napoleon in 1797, exactly 1100 years later.
This makes it the longest-lasting republic in human history, as well as the longest-lasting form of uninterrupted government that ever existed. By comparison, the Roman Republic lasted just under 500 years.
13th The Colosseum in Rome is the largest ancient building dedicated to entertainment. It was built in the 1st century.
The second largest Roman amphitheater in Italy is located in Capua. The third, in Verona.
Image of the exterior of the Colosseum in Rome. (Photo: Pedro de Carvalho Ponchio)
14th The first modern banks in Europe appeared in Genoa in the 12th century.
The oldest bank in the world still in operation is the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, which has been in operation since 1472.

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