Location• Italy is located in Southern Europe on the Italian Peninsula. It includes the two largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily and Sardinia. Italy shares its northern border with France, Switzerland, Slovenia, and Austria.
Interesting facts about Italy• The name Italy comes from the word italia, meaning “calf land,” perhaps because the bull was a symbol of the Southern Italian tribes.
• The capital of Italy is Rome (also known as the Eternal City) and is almost 3,000 years old. It has been the capital since 1871 and is home to the Dome of St. Peters, the Sistine Chapel, the Coliseum, and the famous Trevi Fountain.
• The University of Rome is one of the world’s oldest universities and was founded by the Catholic Church in A.D. 1303. Often called La Sapienza (“knowledge”), the University of Rome is also Europe’s largest university with 150,000 students
• Italy is said to have more masterpieces per square mile than any other country in the world.
• In 2008, Italian experts proposed insulating Michelangelo’s Davi d from the vibrations of tourist footsteps to prevent the marble from cracking.
• Galileo Galilee (1564- 1642) was an Italian- born scientist. When he argued that the Earth revolved around the Sun, the Catholic Church imprisoned Galileo in his own house. The Church issued a formal apology in 1992.
• The author of “Pinocchio” (“pine nut”), Carlo Collodi (1826-1890), was Italian
• Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian : painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographe r, botanist, and writer
• In northern Italy, last names tend to end in “i”, while those from the south often end in “o.” The most common Italian surname is Russo.
Italian traditions• Music Italians love music. Music is part of their lives. They enjoy it at holidays, family celebrations, and special occasions. Opera, an Italian tradition, is popular among Italians and they continued this musical tradition.
Christmas• The biggest holiday in Italy is Christmas. Many people celebrate Christmas Eve with a huge feast, often featuring seafood. The Christmas season lasts until Epiphany, January 6, the date when the Three Wise Men are said to have reached Jesus’ manger.
Friendly• Visiting friends and relatives is very popular among the Italians. Intricate networks of friendship and fellowship are developed as they share their joys and their sorrows.
Kitchen• Italy has 20 regions, and each region has its own traditional food and wine. Italian food does not consist of only pizza and spaghetti, and the menu is as varied as the Italian regions. Italians use a variety of vegetables, such as tomatoes, eggplants, onions, garlic, peas, pepper in their cuisine. Italian food and wine are well known in Canada and North America.
Kitchen• Pizza• Cheez (Parmigiano)• Risotto• Pasta