12 Interesting Italian Culture Facts and Trivia Information
Italy is a fascinating country. Whether you absolutely love Italian food and wine, or you would like to go to Italy for a visit someday, here are 12 interesting Italian culture facts for you.
Fact #1: A big part of Italy used to be a part of Ancient Greece
The island of Sicily, as well as part of the “boot” of Italy, used to be a part of Ancient Greece. The Sicilian city of Syracuse used to be as large as the city of Athens. It’s no wonder that Sicilian culture and language have been influenced by Greek culture and language.
Fact #2: Italian is the official language of Italy
Unsurprisingly, the official language of Italy is Italian. Many dialects are spoken in different regions of the country, including Sardinian, Neapolitan, Sicilian, Venetian, Friulian, Ligurian, Lombard, and Piedmontese. A few minority languages are also recognized, including Greek, French, German, Catalan, Albanian, and Slovene.
Fact #3: Most Italians use hand gestures when they are speaking
If you have ever seen Italians speaking together, you probably noticed that they seem to talk with their hands a lot. Most Italians use hand gestures when they are speaking, and they perfectly understand each other. For example, an Italian who touches his head with one of his fingers is trying to say that he had a brilliant idea.
Fact #4: Italian children can live with their parents for a long time
For Italians, family is everything. When young Italians get married, their future family instantly becomes a part of their extended family network. It’s not uncommon for Italian children to live at home with their parents until they are 30 years old, or until they get married if it happens later than that.
Fact #5: Italian families like to take a stroll together
In Italy, there is a tradition called la passeggietta. Each afternoon, many Italians like to take a gentle stroll through the main streets of their city or village, either with their partner, with their family, or with their friends. La passeggietta is the perfect time to dress up, be seen, catch up with friends, meet new people, and socialize.
Fact #6: Art is very important in Italy
Art is very important for Italians. You can find many great architectural styles throughout the country, as well as many museums and public buildings where art is being displayed. Many famous operas were written in Italian, and of course, many of the great Renaissance artists were born and lived in Italy, including Donatello, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo.
Fact #7: Shopping for food can take a long time in Italy
When Italians go shop for food, it can take a long time. Instead of simply buying everything they need at the supermarket, many Italians will visit a farmer’s market, a butcher, a baker, and other specialists. They want to be able to buy the best and freshest food available to prepare their meals.
Fact #8: Italians really love pasta
Pasta comes in many shapes, and Italians, just like the rest of us, love it. In average, each Italian eats 25 kg of pasta each year. And most of them don’t settle for dry pasta: they love their pasta fresh. If you never tried fresh pasta, you should definitely try it at least once. Many Italian themed restaurants in your neighbourhood will serve this classic dish on their menus.
Fact #9: Italians celebrate Christian holidays
Most Italians are Roman Catholics, and they celebrate many Christian holidays. They celebrate Christmas, Epiphany, Saints Day, Immaculate Conception, Assumption Day, and Easter. On Pasquetta, which happens the Monday after Easter, many families go for a picnic to celebrate the beginning of Spring.
Fact #10: Italians really love cats
Many people are crazy about cats, and so are Italians. It has been estimated than more than 300,000 cats live in Rome. Italians love cats so much than in Italy, someone who is found guilty of killing a cat, even if it’s a stray cat, could pay a heavy fine, and spent 3 years in prison.
Fact #11: Italians are very superstitious
Italians have a lot of superstitions, and some of them are very strange. For example, many Italians believe that if they hear a cat sneeze, it will bring them good fortune. A bird in a house will only bring bad luck, and so will placing a loaf of bread upside down. Italians who are singles will never let someone touch their feet with a broom while cleaning the floor. If they do, it’s believed that they will never marry.
Fact #12: Number 13 is considered a lucky number
There are many reasons why people generally consider 13 to be an unlucky number. However, in Italy, the number 13 is seen as a lucky number. It’s associated with the Goddess of Fertility and the lunar cycles, and gamblers love to use it. The number 17, however, is seen as an unlucky number in Italy.