Interesting Italy Facts for Kids
Here are some interesting Italy Facts which were chosen and researched by kids especially for kids.
• Population: 61 million people live in Italy (2011)
• Capital: Roma (Rome), which is often called "Eternal City", with 3.57 mio inhabitants and Italy’s biggest city.
• Name: Repubblica Italiana (Italian Republic), Nickname: "Bel Paese" which means beautiful country
• Government: Democracy, Republic
• Language: Italian as well as German, French and Ladin in some regions in Northern Italy.
• Literacy: More than 98% can read and write.
• Religion: mainly Christians (Roman Catholics 90%)
• Currency: 1 Euro=100 cents, before 2001 Italian Lira
• History: The country has a long history, as Rome its capital city today was founded in 753BC. After the Roman Empire broke down in 395AD, there were many separate kingdoms and city states. However, Italy became one nation only in 1861 and since then includes the islands of Sicily and Sardegna. It was a kingdom until 1946 after the second World War, where Italy sided with the German Nazis. Italy is founding member of the European Union (EU) and the NATO.
• Flag: The colors represent these virtues: hope (green), faith (white), and charity (red).
Where is Italy? - Italy Map
• Italy lies in Southern Europe, a flight to Rome take roughly 2.5 hours from London/England, 8 hours from New York/USA
Italy is easy to recognize on any world map, as the country is shaped like a high-heeled boot, as you can see on the map above. It looks like the boot is kicking a ball, which is the island of Sicily, don’t you think?
Italy Facts: Geography
In the North, the mountain range of the Alps separates Italy from the other European countries France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia.
The highest mountain of Italy can be found in the Alps. It is the Monte Bianco, better known as Mont Blanc, which is 4,807m. There are many long and deep lakes in the North of Italy, bevor the country flattens in the Po Valley. The Po is Italys longest river.
The Apennines are another big mountain range which go all along the boot and separate the East and the West of the country.
In the South of Italy you will find Italy’s three active volcanoes: Vesuvius near Naples, Etna on Sicily and Stromboli off the Coast of Italy. Italy is subdivided in 20 regions, like Tuscany, Veneto (around Venice) and Lazio (around Rome).
Did you know that Italy surrounds two of the world’s smallest countries? These are San Marino in Northern Italy, the oldest republic in the world and Vatican City in Rome, the smallest country in the world. Vatican City is led by the Pope and is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, led by the Pope.
Italy Attractions for Kids
• Rome: Great place to learn about Romans and Ancient History
• Ravenna: See stunning mosaics and splendid churches
• Tuscany: great place to chill in the countryside with lovely towns and villages
• Florence: Home of Italian Arts
• Pisa: Leaning Tower
• Venice: Lagoon City build on islands and known for its Carnival
• Alps: Great for skiing, hiking and relaxed holidays and Bolzano’s Natural History Museum with Oetzi, the mummy from the Ice-age is great for kids too.
Italy Facts: Animals in Italy
Sheep are held mainly in Southern Italy and the donkeys still help farmers in remote villages to carry heavy loads over steep terrain.
Some years ago there was a big scare in Italy about brown bear, which attacked farm animals in Northern Italy. Brown bears are protected in Italy, as there are only few bears left in the wild now.
In the Alps you will very likely see the marmots, which make a very high pitched calling sound. And if you are very lucky you might even spot a lynx.
More info on which animals can be found in the Italian National Parks
More Italy Facts: Italian Language
Italian is a language which is coming from Latin and you still can recognize the roots.
However not all people in Italy speak proper Italian, but one of its many Italian dialects. Some of the older people, can neither speak Italian, but only the local dialect or will speak only German when living in the Northern Region of Alto Adige, a French dialect in the Valle d’Aosta or Ladino in the Trentino.
The pronunciation is soft and very melodic and so is still used in opera and is popular by young musicians. So even German composers used the language in opera as it sounds much softer than German.
Most young people learn to speak English, French or German as well in school in Italy.
Some Italy Facts about Italian People
Italians love sports. Cycling, Skiing, Soccer and Motor Racing are just some of the sports Italians have very strong interest in and good teams of sportsmen and -women. The Italian soccer league is followed by many Italians abroad too: Inter Milan, Lazio Roma and Juventus Turin are just some of the Italian soccer teams which are favoured by Italians.
The family is very important for Italians, where there are still many big families including grandparents, parents and children in the household. Italians love their food, which is usually prepared freshly by the “Mama”, but more and more men love to cook and break away from the typical image of the Italian "macho" and nowadays help in the household or stay at home with the kids while the women goes to work.
Italians are famous for their inventions and discoveries. The Italian explorers Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci discovered the Americas while Marco Polo explored the East.
Leonardo da Vinci was a scientist and artist who was the first to prove the world is round and not flat and Alessandro Volta, was the prioneer who did studies in electricity, hence the name “Volt” describing a unit of electricity.
Did you know that Italians also invented the piano and the thermometer?
More info about Famous Italians for Kids: Explorers, Inventors and more
The Italian main dishes contain: pork and beef, seafood and potatoes, rice and pasta (wheat and egg noodles) products.
Pizza is surely one of the most famous exports and in Italy it is usually baked in a wood-fired oven and very thin, but loaded with fresh vegetables or thinly sliced ham, salami, artichokes or olives.The Italian pasta is renowned worldwide and there are more than 200 different shapes.
Italians love their food and many dishes are based on fresh vegetables and seafood too. There are delicious sweet cakes in Italy, like the Panettone (a yeast cake with raisins), Panforte (a hard and flat fruit cake) and almond pastries like amaretti.
Here is some typical Italian food:
• Pizza: probably the most famous Italian dish, it was invented in Napoli/Naples around 1860
• Calzone: just a folded up pizza
• Pesto: thick green sauce with olives, herbs and olive oil, pine kernels and parmiggiano cheese. Healthy and mmmmh!
• Gelato: ice-cream is an Italian invention
• Lasagna: layered pasta dish with tomato, mozzarella cheese and mince meat filling.
• Mozzarella: Italian cheese balls, originally made from buffalo milk
Did you know that Italians eat spaghetti only with a fork?
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