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Italy flag. Photo: Pinterest

It’s no surprise that we love Italy! In fact, our team are all Italian experts and love its food, history, culture and lifestyle. If you are Italy lovers, stay tuned with KnowInsider to know more!

Nobody really knows where Italy got its name

Italy comes from a root word that means “land of young cattle”. Historians speculate that it might be named this because a bull was the symbol of early Southern Italian tribes but some believe that it comes from the name Italus, an early king of the region.

Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year in Italy

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Christmas in Italy. Photo: Wanted in Milan

Christmas season is much longer, too: Christmas dinner is usually on Christmas Eve, and the season lasts until January 6th (until the Epiphany, or the date generally believed to have been when the three Wise Men found the manger of Jesus).

The country was under a dictatorship for 20 years

The fascist dictator Benito Mussolini ruled over Italy from 1925 until 1945. Before assuming control of the country he served as prime minister for three years, from 1922. Known as Il Duce (which means the leader), Mussolini started out as a radical socialist but aligned himself with Adolf Hitler in the lead up to World War II. He was killed in 1945 by partisan troops.

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.

13 of Shakespeare's 38 plays are set in Italy

Romeo and Juliet is set in the city of Verona (you can even visit "Juliet's balcony" for yourself), while Julius Caesar takes place in Rome. Othello and the Merchant of Venice are set in Venice (no surprise there) while Much Ado About Nothing is based in the Sicilian city of Messina.

Italy has the most Unesco Sites in the world

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Photo: A Journey of Postcards

From Mount Etna to the trulli of Alberobello, to Rome's Colosseum, Italy is packed with important sights. To see some of them yourself contact our Tailor-Made Trip service to plan and book a fully customised holiday in Italy. If you prefer to book and plan yourself, just make sure you book skip-the-line tickets ahead of time, to save you time and money.

Italy is home to the only active volcanoes in Europe

Italy is home to the only active volcanoes in Europe – Vesuvius near Naples, Etna on Sicily and Stromboli off the Coast of Italy. Italy is known to have more earthquakes than the other countries in Europe and sometimes these natural disasters can prove deadly. The most recent earthquake that had deadly results was back in 1980. This earthquake occurred in Naples and took the life of an estimated 3,000 people, according to Europea.

You'll find over 1,500 lakes in Italy

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Lake Maggiore. Photo: Riviera Travel

From the famous names like Lake Garda and Lake Como to the lesser-known Lake Iseo in Lombardy, the country is dotted with charming bodies of water. Explore the northern lakes with our sample Enchanting Italian Lakes trip - fully customisable to fit your preferences.

Ice-cream and pizza are Italian inventions

Pizza was invented in Naples. Mentions of the word pizza can be found all the way back to the 10th century AD, but pizza in its modern form – with a tomato base – was developed in Naples in the late 18th century.Pizza is one of the words which people all over the world understand. Italian pasta is renowned worldwide and there are more than 200 different shapes. Italians ate pasta as far back as the 4th century BC, Italians eat 26 kg pasta on average every year.

Aside from pasta and Ferraris, Italy has made a name for itself in many ways. This boot-shaped country pioneers industries such as food, fashion, and luxury cars, as well as sports. Italy’s history, culture and arts shaped the world as we know it today. Find out more about this historic country with these Italy facts. If you are interested in a list that KnowIsider shares with you, follow us to know more!
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