Interesting facts about Italy and Italians for adults and kids, traditions and customs of the country. What have been invented in Italy, ingrained superstitions, festivals and holidays. What Italians believe in, what they wear, prefer to give, like to do, afraid of. Why, according to Italian tradition, they like to wear black here, do not give up siesta and honor the family treasures – have studied good Time for Trip.
Italy is a European country, well developed technically and excellent – in the cultural sense. But it has a number of curious features and scrupulously observed traditions that make it distinctly different from others.
That is, a very unusual and original territory, which foreign tourists like to visit so much. It seems to be going just to see admiring best Rome attractions or take a walk around Milan, but bringing back a lot of vivid impressions?!
Sometimes travelers are being disappointed – interestingly, but the fact that some of the traditions of Italy can create serious problems for residents of Germany and Great Britain who are accustomed to order. Or, vice versa, for Americans who don’t pay much attention to the rules.
The most ordinary, everyday reality in Italy is replete with interesting things. Although, of course, not as many as, for example, it has in exotic countries in Asia or Africa.
To minimize the risks and bring from Italy not only some cute souvenirs, but also to recharge with positive emotions, read our article carefully! Which will surely help you understand what are the main Italian habits, how are they think and live. As this is a relaxed, sincere and emotional nation, not too responsible, but very open, joyful!
Interestingly that Italy
is often referred to as the “Cradle of Western Civilization” because of its historical importance in the development of the Roman Empire, Renaissance, and humanism.
Italy is famous for its art and culture. The Renaissance, a period of great cultural and artistic achievements, originated here. Prominent artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael were Italian.
Located within Rome, Vatican City is the smallest independent state in the world, both in terms of area and population. It is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church and home to St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums.
Rome, the capital of Italy, is home to the Colosseum, an ancient amphitheater built around AD 70-80. It could hold 50,000 to 80,000 spectators and was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles.
Italy is a predominantly Catholic country, where an incredible number of working churches have been preserved. The number of temples per capita exceeds that of any other country in the world.
Though there are sometimes few visitors even in large churches.
Those who visit Siena will probably be surprised at how sparsely populated the giant Basilica of San Domenico is. A rare tourist wanders into San Giorgio Maggiore, Palladio’s architectural masterpiece, which belongs to the main sights of Venice.
At the same time, of course, we do not deny the immutable but interesting fact that cathedrals in Italy, which are well known in the world, are never empty. For example, if you come to Rome in February, you will still visit the largest Catholic church in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica, with a large gathering of other tourists.
Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence is not vacant at any time of the year, we even will not talk about how many visitors receives annually The Duomo of Milan. Even if you find yourself in Venice during the winter months, you will be amazed at how full-flowing the human “river” inside St. Mark’s Basilica is.
The first European university was founded in 1088 in Bologna, Italy. It still works today, being considered one of the most prestigious educational institutions in Europe and the world. But, of course, it is not the only thing worth visiting in Bologna.
Italian language is closer to Latin than any other language in the world. And the local alphabet consists of 21 characters, and there are no letters in it: J, K, W, X, Y.
Italy is considered the birthplace of European ice cream. The recipe was supposedly brought by the Venetian Marco Polo, who returned from his journey to China. And the first waffle cone appeared in the USA, in New York, in 1896. But it was invented by an Italian immigrant – idfa.org/the-history-of-the-ice-cream-cone.
Ballet was born in Italy. The Florentine Catherine de’ Medici, wife of King Henry II, made him popular in France. And since then, he began his march around the world.
Another interesting fact: it was in Italy that the piano was invented. In 1700, this was done by Bartolomeo Cristofori, who was invited to the court of the Tuscan Medici dukes- metmuseum.org/toah/hd/cris/hd_cris.htm.
Italy was also the country that gave the world other musical instruments: the guitar, violin, and organ associated with Spain today.
The Italian word “tifosi”, meaning a passionate football fan, comes from “tifoso”. Which literally means “typhoid patient” person. The clubs Roma and Lazio, Atalanta and Napoli have the hottest typhoses.
Volcanoes and Earthquakes
There are no countries in Europe with more active volcanoes than Italy. Etna in Sicily and Vesuvius near Naples, which destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, are well known to everyone. The amazing conical shape is distinguished by the Stromboli volcano on the island of the same name in the Lipari archipelago just north of Sicily.
Italians suffer from earthquakes more than other European nations. Alas, but this is a fact – Italy is a country with high seismic activity, it is located at the junction of two tectonic plates.
The strongest earthquake in Italy in modern history occurred in January 1693 in Sicily.
A 7.4 magnitude tremor then destroyed all the cities on the east coast of the island, killing about 60 thousand people.
During the restoration of the cities, however, the Sicilian Baroque style emerged – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sicilian_Baroque. And the architectural masterpieces created at that time are among the main attractions of Sicily.
The last major earthquake in Italy occurred on January 18, 2017, it caused an avalanche that destroyed a hotel with 24 skiers. On August 24, 2016, an earthquake in Abruzzo ruined the ancient cities of Amatrice and Norcia, killing about 300 people.
Customs in Italy
Greeting Italians say “buongiorno”, which means “good afternoon”. When meeting acquaintances and friends, close people, as well as in the youth environment, the word “ciao” or “hello” is more often used.
“Good evening” in Italian is “buonasera”. When saying “goodbye”, it is customary to say “arriverderci”. Or, in case of separation from acquaintances, – the same “ciao”.
Being late for an appointment is usually not considered a misdemeanor: an Italian can safely arrive 15 minutes after the appointed time. In the northern regions of the country, however, it is better to be punctual.
Do not be surprised at the pronounced emotionality of Italians, fast and loud speech, violent gestures. In Italy, it is so accepted – it is not just a tradition, but a way of life.
Appearance is very important when you first meet. Clothes don’t have to be expensive and fashionable. But in order to win the respect of an Italian, you need to look neat and, if possible, even stylish.
Black is still the dominant color in women’s clothing here. And this is suitable for Italians: there are many slender young ladies here, very few are overweight. Although it would seem that with those who love pasta and pizza, everything should be the other way around.
Food and Alcohol
Pasta for every taste, and pizza are the most famous Italian dishes, the first thing to try foreigners in Italy. However, this should not be done everywhere.
Pretentious and expensive restaurants in the centers of tourist cities often serve very average-tasting dishes on the table – it is believed that a tourist will buy anything. But frozen pizza bought at the supermarket, on the contrary, can be excellent!
If you are in small towns, be sure to try the dishes in a small cafe or tavern on one of the side streets, where the locals eat. With a high probability, the pasta here will be stretched by hand, and the pizza dough is prepared by themselves according to their grandfather’s recipes.
If you give wine to Italians you know, don’t skimp and buy a good one like aged Chianti or Valpolicella, Barolo. If you really appreciate of a person, you can also give him a bottle of Brunello di Montalcino, the most expensive Italian wine.
In general, wine prices in Italy are not off the scale: for 7-10 euros you will buy a bottle of a very decent drink in terms of organoleptic properties.
You can also bring home stronger alcohol from Italy. After all, original Grappa and Limoncello, Amaretto are produced only in this country.
In Italy, it is not customary to give yellow flowers to someone, because they symbolize envy. Wrapping gifts in purple paper is considered to be bad luck.
The number 17 in Italy is traditionally considered unlucky. It’s the same as 13 in the United States and most other European countries.
Traditions in Italy
Family is a fundamental value in this European state. And it does not mean just a “cell of society” of mom, dad and children! On the contrary – a family here is a broader concept that includes uncles and aunts, cousins and cousins, grandfathers and grandmothers. Large family gatherings are not uncommon, but a well-established Italian tradition.
Children often live with their parents even after the age of 25-30, even if they have a job and a considerable income. And it doesn’t seem strange and unusual, as, for example, in the USA.
A significant number of large national corporations are still controlled by individual families. The car giant Fiat hails from Turin, Ferrari was founded in 1940 in Modena, the Benetton concern is closely linked to Treviso.
In Italy, as in Spain, there is a
– in the middle of the day, it is customary to arrange a rest here. Almost certainly because in the conditions of summer heat, when air temperatures rise to +35-40 ° C almost throughout the country, it is simply impossible to work productively.
It should be borne in mind that from 12.30 to 15.30, sometimes 16-17 hours, many cafes and restaurants, banks and even churches may not work. Thus, the tourist risks being hungry and losing the opportunity to visit some attractions.
So if you are going to have lunch in Italy in the middle of the day, you may simply not find an open cafe. In resort and large cities in the north of the country, not everyone adheres to this tradition. But in the provinces and in the south of Italy, it is in use.
There are also problems with toilets in Italy – even in large cities there are few of them. And even those that are – expensive! Sometimes you need to pay up to 1.5-2 € for visiting such an institution.
One of an
in Italy is throwing out of windows on New Year’s Eve some old things. This action symbolizes that you are not just throwing away old and useless things, but also getting rid of the evil accumulated over the year
However, do not be afraid to walk under the windows along the narrow streets of towns like San Gimignano – this habit is no longer in use in Italy today!
The February Carnival in Venice is the most famous such event in Europe. The tradition originated in the XIII century. The holiday is held annually in February and ends by the beginning of Lent, that is, 40 days before Catholic Easter.
The schedule of events and parades is known long before the start of the festival and is published on the official website – carnevale.venezia.it.
The carnival, which is held at the large resort Viareggio in Tuscany, is very colorful. The holiday takes place annually in late January – early March, and the main events are held on Saturdays and Sundays.
For more than 600 years, carnival has been organized in Putignano in Puglia. And this is: the longest and oldest holiday of its kind in Italy. It starts right after Christmas in the end of December and ends in February before Fat Thursday.
Carnival and orange battle are held annually in the town of Ivrea in Piedmont. Festive events in Ivrea begin back in January shortly after Epiphany Eve, which replaces the Three Magi Kings here.