A Taste of Europe: Italy

Julia Kaiser, Writer

The Italian Republic is a country on the Mediterranean Sea. Italy is around the same size as the US state Arizona. The country has a significant shape that looks like a shoe. It is the fifth most populous country in Europe and is visited by more than 50 million tourists every year. There are two independent states within Italy- San Marino, which is the world’s oldest republic, and the Vatican city, which is the only nation in the world that can lock its own gates. You can find the highest peak of Europe in Italy, the Mont Blanc in the Alps with 15,781’. Italy is home for many of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. There are still three major, active volcanoes in Italy – the Mount Etna on Sicily, the Stromboli on one of the Aeolian Islands, and Mount Vesuvius close to Naples.

   Italy’s capital is Rome. The Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at around 753 BC and also was the capital of the Roman Empire. The Vatican city is in Rome, being the only existing country within a city. The city has over 900 churches, the most famous one is the St. Peter’s Basilica which is the largest church in the world. The most famous building in Rome is probably the Colosseum which is still the largest amphitheater in the world today. It was used in the Roman Empire for entertainment like gladiator shows and other public events. Another famous and important building is the Pantheon, which was built in 118 AD. Rome has many many attractions to visit.

   The second most populous city is Milan in northern Italy. Italy is famous for many clothing brands like Gucci, Prada, Versace, or Armani. Because many of these were found in Milan is os often referred to as one of the four fashion capitals of the world along with Paris, New York, and London. The Roman Empire also had a great influence on Milan. You can still find remains of this time such as the Colonne di San Lorenzo which is a group of ancient Roman ruins. Milan’s cathedral, the Duomo di Milano, took nearly six centuries to complete and is the fifth largest cathedral in the world.

   Other cities in Italy include Venice, Florence, Turin, and Pisa, where you can find the Leaning Tower of Pisa, another famous landmark.

   Italy is also a great producer of automobiles, including the companies Lamborghini, Fiat, and Ducati. The Italian traffic police have actually two Lamborghini Gallardo in service. As in many other European countries, Italy’s most popular sports is soccer. The big teams are Juventus F.C., A.C. Milan, and Inter Milan. The Nazionale di Calcio dell’ Italia, the national soccer team, has won the UEFA European Championship once and the FIFA World Cup four times.

   Family is an extremely important value within the Italian culture. Italians cuisine has influenced food culture around the world. Important parts are cheese and pasta, which comes in all different kinds of shape, widths, and lengths. Each region has its own typical Italian food. Italians celebrate most Christian holidays. Different as in the United States, an old lady called Belfana flies on her broomstick and delivers presents and goodies to good children.