Italy is located in the southern part of Europe on the Apennine Peninsula and has been a popular destination in Europe for many decades. The total land area is 301,338 km. Italy also includes 458 surrounding islands stretching in the seas washing the coast of Italy. Eighty of them are inhabited. The most famous are Sicily, Sardinia, Elba, Ischia or Capri.
Italy is a country full of historical monuments, beautiful and sunny beaches, as well as excellent food and wine.
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Why go to Italy
Italy is one of the few countries where you can choose for any kind of holiday, whether for history and culture to places like Rome, Naples, Florence or Venice. Or behind the sun and beautiful beaches such as Calabria, Sicily or Sardinia.
And we must not forget the popular ski resorts in the Italian Alps, such as Livigno, Sella Ronda, Cortina D’Ampezzo or Alta Badia.
The capital of Italy
The capital of Italy is Rome with a population of 2,844,395 - data from 30/11/2019 source: Istat - and an area of 1287.36 km2. In terms of population, it is the most populous city in Italy and the third in the European Union, after Berlin and Madrid.
Rome is also the capital of the Lazio region and the seat of the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican. It is often called Città eterna, which means “eternal city”. Rome as a city has a very long history, which began as early as 753 BC founding and has managed to survive to this day.
Just out of curiosity… did you know that from 1861 to 1864, the capital of the newly founded Italian Kingdom was the city of Turin?
Flag of Italy
The Italian flag, colloquially called tricolor, was created on January 7, 1797 and consists of three vertical stripes of green, white and red. It was inspired by the French flag and was first used by the Italian contingent of Napoleon’s army.
In Italy, on 7 January each year, “National Flag Day” or “Tricolor Day” is also celebrated. The official celebrations take place in the city of Reggio Emília, where the tricolor was first officially adopted by the Italian State.
The official shades are: meadow green, milky white and tomato red.
Population of Italy
According to the ISTAT (Italian Statistical Office), the population of Italy as of January 1, 2020 was 60,317,000, of which 8.9% were foreigners resident in the Italian Republic. With this number, Italy ranks 3rd in the European Union in terms of population.
The population density is 200.71 inhabitants per square kilometer, which is higher than the European average.
Holidays in Italy
State and church holidays (non-working days):
- January 1 - New Year “Capodanno”
- January 6 - Three Kings “Epiphany”
- Easter Monday (moving holiday) “Pasquetta”
- April 25 - Liberation Day “Festa della Liberazione”
- May 1 - Labor Day - Festa del Lavoro
- June 2 - Anniversary of the founding of the Italian Republic “Festa della Repubblica”
- August 15 - Assumption of the Virgin Mary “Ferragosto”
- November 1 - All Saints’ Day “Tutti i santi”
- December 8 - Immaculate Conception “Immacolata Concezione”
- December 25 - First Christmas - Christmas - “Natale”
- December 26 - Second Christmas - Sv. Stephen’s “Santo Stefano”
In Italy, in addition to church and state holidays, each city also celebrates its patron (city). For example, the capital, Rome celebrates June 29, St. Peter and Paul’s Day.
Coat of arms of Italy
The Italian coat of arms in its current form was approved on May 5, 1948.
However, its history began as early as 1946, when the government decided to set up a commission to create the coat of arms of the newborn Italian Republic and to replace the already obsolete coat of arms of the Kingdom of Italy.
The commission was chaired by Ivanoe Bonomi, who decided to launch a national competition open to all citizens. The theme of the next emblem was loose with a few restrictions on the proposals: an absolute ban on the use of political party symbols and the obligation to use the Italian star. The price of 10,000 lire (GBP 5) was offered for the 5 best designs.
341 candidates applied for the competition, presenting 637 proposals. The five winning authors were given the task of creating another 5 proposals, from which one proposal was to be selected in the end.
The winner of the audition was Paolo Paschetto, who was to design the final version of the emblem and receive another prize of 50,000 lire. Subsequently, the commission sent the plan to the government for approval, but the government eventually rejected it. So a second commission was set up, chaired by Giovanni Conte, which announced a second audition via radio. This time, elements related to the idea of work were preferred. In the end, Paolo Paschetto became the winner again and his new proposal was approved by the government and also by the President of the Italian Republic.
Currency in Italy
The official currency in Italy is the euro. An exception is the exclave of the Campione d’Italia in the Alps - surrounded by the Swiss canton of Ticino, where the Swiss franc pays.
By the way, from January 1, 2018, the Italian Mint stopped minting coins worth one and two euro cents, and in stores it is rounded to the nearest five cents.
Prices in Italy
In Italy, prices are cheaper in most places than in England. When it comes to food, it pays to shop at large retail chains, where prices are much lower than at smaller local stores.
Food prices in supermarkets:
- Bread - € 1.50 - 3.00 (GBP 1.30 - 2.60)
- Pasta 500g € 0.60 - 2.00 (GBP 0.50 - 1.80)
- Voda 1.5l € 0.19 - 0.50 (GBP 0.17 - 0.45)
- Mozzarella € 0,80 - 1,60 (GBP 0.70 - 1.40)
- Milk € 0.80 - 1.20 (GBP 0.70 - 1.10)
- Pivo 0,5l € 0.80 - 1,80 (GBP 0.70- 1.50)
- Wine 0.75l € 2.50 - 5.00 (GBP 2.23 - 4.46)
- Pepsi / Coca cola 1,5l € 1,00 - 1,50 (GBP 0.90 - 1.34)
Prices in restaurants and bars:
- Ice cream € 1.50 - 3.00 (GBP 1.34 - 2.68)
- Espresso € 0,75 - € 1,10 (GBP 0.67 - 0.98)
- Cappuccino € 1,20 - 1,50 (GBP 1.07 - 1.34)
- Tapped beer 0.50L € 4.50 - 5.50 (GBP 4.00 - 4.90)
- Wine 0,5l € 3,50 - 6,00 (GBP 3.12 - 5.35)
- Water bottle 0.33l € 0.90 - 1.50 (GBP 0.80 - 1.34)
- Pepsi / Coca cola 0,2l € 2,00 - 2,50 (GBP 1.80 - 2.20)
- Pizza € 6,00 - 9,00 (GBP 5.35 - 8.00)
- Main course (Fish) € 12.50 - 19.50 (GBP 11.15 - 17.40)
- Main course (Meat) € 8.50 - 14.50 (GBP 7.60 - 12.90)
- Main course (Pasta) € 6.50 - 9.00 (GBP 5.80 - 8.00)
Fuel and transport prices:
- Petrol € 1.50 - 1.70 (GBP 1.34 - 1.52)
- Kerosene € 1.30 - 1.50 (GBP 1.16 - 1.34)
- Motorway € 0.07 - 0.90 (GBP 0.62 - 0.80)
- Taxi 1km € 1.50 - 3.00 (GBP 1.34 - 2.68) + boarding € 4.00 - 8.00 (GBP 3.60 - 7.20)
- Public transport € 1.30 - 2.00 (GBP 1.16 - 1.78)
- Baguette / sandwich € 4.00 - 6.00 (GBP 3.60 - 3.35)
Be careful when refueling, because in Italy a different price applies for fuel if you refuel yourself and a different price if you are refueled by a petrol employee. If your employee is refueling, the difference in price can be € 0.30 per liter.
In Italy, for a motorway, you pay for kilometers driven in the same way as in Croatia.
Interesting facts about Italy
Italy is an exceptional destination and has a lot to offer tourists. Here are some interesting facts about this country:
Italy, along with China, are the two countries with the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites. He currently has 55.
The oldest still active university in Europe, the Università degli Studi di Bologna, is located here. The University of Bologna was founded in 1088 and is currently the most prestigious university in Italy.
Italy is the largest wine producer in the world and annually produces an average of up to 24 million hectoliters of wine. The wine sector employs around 1.3 million people and generates an annual turnover of 11 billion euros.
There is the oldest tree in Europe. Pine trees named Italus were discovered by scientists in Pollino National Park. Using the radiocarbon method, they determined her age to be 1230 years. Interestingly, in the area where it grows, they have found thousands of other pines aged 500 to 600 years.
There are two sovereign states in Italy. One is the Republic of San Marino, which was founded around 301 and is both the oldest and smallest republic in the world. The second is the Vatican, also called the Vatican City State. According to the Basic Law of the State of 1929, it is a theocratic monarchy headed by the Pope of Rome.
In Italy you will find the smallest restaurant in the world, more precisely in the town of Vacone in the district of Rieti. Its name is Solo per due, which means only two for translation. It is a small restaurant with only one table.
Where to call in case of emergency in Italy?
- Fire brigade 115
- Assistance to motorists - towing service 116
- Police 113
- First aid 118
- Carabinieri 112
- Coast Guard 1530
Italy’s area code is +39.
Contacts at the British Embassy Rome:
Via XX Settembre 80/a 00187 Rome Italy
Phone: +39 06 4220 0001
Further contacts can be found at https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-embassy-rome