The Italian Republic or Italy is a country in the south of Europe, consisting mainly of a boot-shaped peninsula together with two large islands in the Mediterranean Sea: Sicily and Sardinia.
To the north it is bound by the Alps, where it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia.
Repubblica Italiana (In Italian).
Official language; Italian (+ German and Ladin in South Tyrol, Slovenian in Friuli-Venezia Giulia and French in Valle d’Aosta.)
Independence – Date Italian unification March 17, 1861.
Currency; Euro (EUR), Italian euro coins (Prior to 1999: Lira.)
Time zone; UTC +1.
- The name Italy comes from the word italia, meaning “calf land,” perhaps because the bull was a symbol of the Southern Italian tribes.
- Italy is approximately 116,400 square miles (including Sicily and Sardinia), which is slightly larger than Arizona.
- The official name of Italy is the Italian Republic (Repubblica Italiana).
- Italy is said to have more masterpieces per square mile than any other country in the world.
- Almost four-fifths of Italy is either mountainous or hilly.
- In 2007, a dog named Rocco discovered a truffle in Tuscany that weighed 3.3 pounds. It sold at auction for $333,000 (USD), a world record for a truffle.
- Italians claim to have taught the rest of Europe how to cook. Italy is responsible for introducing the world to ice cream (via the Chinese), coffee, and fruit pies. In addition to Belgium and France, Italy also claims to have made the first French fries. The first Italian cookbook was written in 1474 by Bartolomeo Sicci.
- The Italian wolf is Italy’s unofficial national animal and plays a large role in the legend of the founding of Rome.