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Italy flag. Photo: Pinterest

It shouldn't come as a surprise that we adore Italy. Our entire staff is fluent in Italian and has a deep appreciation for the country's cuisine, history, culture, and way of life. Stay tuned with KnowInsider.com to learn more about Italy if you have a passion for the country.

The following is a compilation of fascinating information about Italy that just might blow your mind.

1.Nobody really knows where Italy got its name

The original meaning of the name Italy was "country of young cattle." Some historians attribute the name to Italus, an ancient lord of the region, while others point to the bull as the possible inspiration for the name.

2.Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year in Italy

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Christmas in Italy. Photo: Wanted in Milan

Christmas dinner is traditionally held on Christmas Eve, and the holiday season typically continues until the sixth of January (until the Epiphany, or the date generally believed to have been when the three Wise Men found the manger of Jesus).

3.The country was under a dictatorship for 20 years

Benito Mussolini, a fascist dictator, controlled Italy from 1925 to 1945. He was prime minister for three years beginning in 1922 before becoming dictator. Mussolini, often known as Il Duce (the leader), began his career as a radical socialist but later joined forces with Adolf Hitler in the run-up to World War II. Partisan forces shot him dead in 1945.

4.Italy is home to the highest mountain in Europe

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Mont Blanc. Photo: Visit Italy

It is called Mont Blanc (or White Mountain in English) and it is part of the Alps mountain range. It is in Italy, on the border of France.

5.13 of Shakespeare's 38 plays are set in Italy

Verona, where "Juliet's balcony" may be seen for oneself, serves as the backdrop for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, while Rome serves as the setting for Octavius Caesar. Much Ado About Nothing takes place in Messina, Sicily, while Othello and The Merchant of Venice are both set in Venice.

6.Italy has the most Unesco Sites in the world

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Photo: A Journey of Postcards

Italy is jam-packed with must-see attractions, such as Mount Etna, the trulli of Alberobello, and the Colosseum in Rome. Contact our Tailor-Made Trip service to arrange a trip to Italy that includes some of these sights. If you'd rather handle all the arrangements on your own, one time- and money-saving tip is to reserve skip-the-line tickets in advance.

7.Italy is home to the only active volcanoes in Europe

Vesuvius near Naples, Etna on Sicily, and Stromboli off the coast of Italy are the only active volcanoes in all of Europe. Earthquakes are more common in Italy than in the rest of Europe, and they can be devastating.

The last time an earthquake caused fatalities was in 1980. Around three thousand individuals perished in the Naples earthquake.

8.You'll find over 1,500 lakes in Italy

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Lake Maggiore. Photo: Riviera Travel

Lakes Garda and Como are two of the most well-known, but there are many other beautiful lakes around Italy. Our sample Enchanting Italian Lakes journey takes you to the northern lakes and can be modified to suit your needs.

9.Ice-cream and pizza are Italian inventions

Naples is where pizza first appeared. Although references to pizza date back to the 10th century AD, the modern pizza, featuring a tomato sauce base, originated in Naples in the late 18th century. The word "pizza" is one of the few universally understood foods. More than 200 unique pasta forms give Italian food its world-famous reputation. Pasta was consumed by Italians as early as the fourth century BC, and today the average Italian consumes 26 kilograms of the stuff annually.

Italy's global prominence is not limited to its culinary and automotive exports. This country is a pioneer in many fields, including gastronomy, fashion, high-end automobiles, and even sports. Italian art, literature, and history influenced global development.
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