Here are some interesting Italy Facts which were chosen and researched by kids especially for kids.
Italy is a country in Southern Europe. The country is located on a peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Adriatic Sea borders the eastern side of the peninsula while the Ligurian Sea and the Thyrrenian Sea border the western coastline of Italy. The Ionian Sea is to the south of the peninsula.
Italy borders six countries: France, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Vatican City and San Marino. Both, Vatican City and San Marino, are enclaves within Italy as you can see on the map.
The country 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. The island of Sicily could be imagined as a ball, so that it looks like the boot is kicking a ball, don’t you think?
Italy is slightly larger in size than the three countries of the UK, the Netherlands and Belgium combined or about as big as the state of Arizona/ USA.
A flight to Italy's capital city Rome takes roughly 2.5 hours from London/ UK and about 8 hours from New York/ USA.
Italy has more than 7,600 km/ 4,722 miles of coastline as the peninsula is located for a large part in the Mediterranean sea.
Italy is popular for its many picturesque ports, scenic lakes and sandy beaches.
Italy has two bigger islands, Sicily to the south and Sardegna to the west.
Two islands of Italy, Lampedusa and Lampione, are located far to the south and are closer to Africa than to Italy. Both islands are on the African continental shelf.
There are many smaller islands such as Capri, Ischia and Elba which are all to the west of mainland Italy.
The main cities in Italy are Roma/Rome, Milano/Milan, Firenze/Florence and Napoli/Naples.
The Alps and the Apennines are the two main mountain ranges in Italy. About 40% of the country is covered by hills and mountains.
In the North, the mountain range of the Alps separates Italy from the other European countries France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia.
The highest mountains of Italy can be found in the Alps. The Dolomites are a part of the Alps mountain range in Italy's north and many of the peaks are above 3,000 m/ 9,843 ft high!
There are many lakes in northern Italy, in the centre of the country, the landscape flattens, this flat area is called the Po Valley.
The Apennines mountain range run all the way down the boot and separates the eastern and the western regions of Italy.
And did you know that in Italy, there are still active volcanos?
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.
Here are some fascinating Italy facts that are always good to know:
And again, remember, Italy surrounds two of the world’s smallest countries! These are San Marino in Northern Italy, which is also the oldest republic in the world, and Vatican City in Rome, the smallest country in the world.
Read here about the most famous Italian landmarks and attractions here.
Italy is quite densely populated, with most people living in the country's northern regions. The Po Valley, also referred to as Padan Plain, is an area with many industrial centres. Almost half of Italy's population live in the Po Valley. The Po Valley's biggest cities include Milan (Milano), Modena, Turin (Torino) and Verona.
Milan is the main industrial centre of Italy and also known to be one of the world's fashion capitals.
Italians lead a modern lifestyle especially in the urban centres but they also celebrate century-old cultural traditions. Famous festivals that are celebrated annually are the carnival celebrations before Lent. In Venice, these are said to originate in the 12th century.
The Palio in Siena is dating back to 1644 when the first horse race in the city's main square was held.
And of course, Italians love soccer! The admittedly quite brutal Calcio storico match is still played and celebrated in Florence once a year. Calcio means soccer in Italian.
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.
Soccer, skiing, cycling, surfing or motor racing are just some of the sports Italians have very strong interest in.
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 'la mama', the mother, or the nonna, the grandmother.
In the afternoon or evening it is common to meet up with family and friends on the piazza. The piazza is the main square of the village or town.
Italians are famous for their inventions and discoveries. The Italian explorers Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci explored many places in the Americas while Marco Polo travelled extensively in Asia.
Leonardo da Vinci was a scientist and artist who was the first to prove the world is round and not flat.
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 Italy Facts about Famous Italians for Kids: Explorers, Inventors and more
Italian is a Romance language and the language roots are in the Latin language. Italian is very close to French, as 89% of the vocabulary are shared, and 82% is shared with the Spanish vocabulary.
Italian is an official language not only in Italy but also in Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City.
The Italian alphabet consists of 21 letters only. The letters j, k, w, x and y do not exist, except for lean words, that means words that originate in another language.
Italy Facts: 10 useful Italian words and terms
The pronunciation is soft and very melodic and so the language is used in opera and also popular by young pop music artists.
Most young people in Italy learn to speak English, French or German in school.
In remote rural villages in Italy's northern regions, some of the older people, however, do only speak a little Italian and still mainly use a regional language such as German in the Alto Adige or French in the Valle d’Aosta or the unique Ladino (Ladin) language in the Trentino.
Italy is one of the original six founding countries of the European Union with Germany, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Read more about the European Union here.
Italy's extreme northern regions and most parts in Southern Italy are used for agriculture. In the North the main produce are dairy products and grains, while in the south mainly fruits and olives are harvested.
Italy also has a lot of industry especial in the country's north around Milan. Among the famous Italian brands are: Ferrari, Lamborghini, Fiat (car manufacturers), Gucci, Prada (fashion) and Ferrero (food - Nutella) or Barilla (food - spaghetti and pasta).
The main trading partners of Italy are Germany, France, the USA and China.
The Italian main dishes often contain pork and beef, seafood as well as potatoes, rice and pasta (wheat and egg noodles) products and of course, tomatoes.
Pizza is surely one of the most famous exports and in Italy pizza is usually baked in a wood-fired oven. Italian pizza is very thin, but loaded with fresh vegetables or thinly sliced ham, salami, artichokes or olives.
The Italian pasta (variety of noodles) 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, such as panettone (a yeast cake with raisins), panforte (a hard and flat fruit cake) and almond cookies such as amaretti.
Here is some typical Italian food:
Did you know that Italians eat spaghetti only with a fork and don't use a spoon?
Read more about Italian Food here.
One third of all European animal species can be found in Italy. The country also houses half of all plant species that grow in Europe.
There are over 4,770 endemic species in Italy. Endemic means that these animal species are native and only exist in Italy. There are about 100 mammal species and over 500 bird species. Among the species that you might encounter are the unique Sardinian deer and the Corsican hare.
There are 20 national parks in Italy and 16 Marine Reserves to ensure the protection of threatened species such as the Italian shark or the Italian wolf, the national animal.
Italy Facts for Kids: Sheep are held mainly in Southern Italy and donkeys still help farmers in remote villages as they are trained to carry heavy loads over steep terrain.
Brown bears are protected in Italy. There are only few bears left in the wild now.
In the Alps you will very likely see marmots, a ground squirrel species, which call each other with very high pitched calling sounds. And if you are very lucky you might even spot a lynx, a wild cat with little hair tuffs on the ears!
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