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Italy has a fascinating past. It was a part of the Roman Empire, which was founded in around 753 BC and subsequently became the largest empire in the ancient world. After more than 1,000 years, the empire was formally dissolved in 476 AD.
With the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Italy came under the control of the Ostrogoths.
In the 6th century, the Byzantine Emperor Justinian briefly reigned over Italy.
Known as the Athens of the Middle Ages, Florence spawned Renaissance and opera music. The city is also birthplace of Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Da Vinci.
In 1915, Italy joined the Allies in the World War I and in 1922, Fascist leader Mussolini formed the government
In 1946, a referendum was held which saw the end of the Monarchy and Italy became a Republic.
The boot-shaped nation borders France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia across its northern boundaries.
The rest of Italy borders only the Mediterranean Sea, though it is at a short distance from Croatia, Greece, and parts of northern Africa.
The independent States – San Marino and Vatican City – are located within Italy.
Major mountain ranges, the Alps and the Apennines, span the country.
Major rivers in Italy are the Po, the Arno, and the Tiber.
Italy is also home to 14 volcanoes, though only three are active: Etna, Pompeii, and Herculaneum.
People and CultureItaly is perhaps best known for its cheese and wine, with many culinary specialties like pasta, pizza, and panini, and other regional specialties that can be sampled around the country. Vineyards are all over Tuscany.
The official language of the country is Italian, which is spoken by about 93 per cent of the population. There are a number of dialects spoken in the country, including Sardinian, Friulian, Neapolitan, Sicilian, Ligurian, Piedmontese, Venetian, and Calabrian.
Italians have also left a lasting impression on Hollywood. Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Leonardo DiCaprio, John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Sylvester Stallone, Susan Sarandon are some of the Hollywood actors with Italian roots.
In case you are craving for more tidbits on the arts, attire, food and other aspects of Italy, check out this page on culture and traditions in Italy.
Italy Travel FactsRome, the capital city, has a famous historical site around every corner, from the Colosseum to the Pantheon and the Vatican.
Florence has famous landmarks and works of art housed in its museums and galleries.
The city of Venice, located in the northeastern part of Italy, is listed as a World Heritage Site.
Italy has 7,400 kilometers (4,600 miles) of coastline which is one of the longest in Europe.
Italy is one of the most cave-pocked countries in the world. It has more than 35,000 cavities above the ground and there are thousands of them underwater.
You have to believe us when we say that there's no end to interesting facts on Italy.
Top Tourist Attractions in ItalyLeaning Tower of Pisa: The tower was built over a period of 177 years. Its construction started in 1173 and soon it began to tilt due to a poorly laid foundation. The tower was completed in the late 14th century.
Pompeii: A thriving city some 2,000 years ago, Pompeii was destroyed and buried when the Vesuvius volcano erupted in 79 AD. The town was covered by ash and soil, and was preserved in its state from that day.
The Colosseum: Situated in Rome, the Colosseum is one of the largest and most famous amphitheaters that remind the world of the Roman Empire.
The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore: A crown jewel of Florence, the construction of this beautiful cathedral began in 1296 and completed in 1436.
Positano: It is a small town located on the Amalfi Coast. The coast is known around the world for its scenic landscape, rugged terrain, and picturesque towns.
TriviaMount Etna in Sicily is the world's most active volcano.
The Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican is the largest Christian church in the world.
Regions in Italy have their own dialects, which are quite different from standard Italian. The contemporary Italian, which the people speak, is based on the Florentine dialect.
Milan, the second largest city in Italy, is one of the big four fashion capitals in the world. Major Italian fashion houses include Gucci, Armani, Versace, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and Valentino.
National parks in Italy include Alta Murgai National Park, the Gargano National Park, and the Abruzzo National Park.
Mont Blanc de Courmayeur, at 15771 feet, is the highest peak in the country. Other important peaks are Mt. Etna, Punta La Marmora, Ortles, Gran Paradiso, and Matterhorn.
The oldest university in the Western world, dating back to 1088, is the University of Bologna.
Italy is divided into 20 regions, and further divided into 110 provinces and 8,100 municipalities.
Grotta Gigante holds the Guinness World Record for largest accessible cave on Earth. It is 850 meters (2,788 feet) wide, with 500 steps that descend 100 meters (328 feet) into the earth.
If you thought you have known Italy inside out, this exciting quiz might prove you wrong.
Last Updated On : July 22 ,2016
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