Hello again and welcome to this week's Thursday Thirteen!
I know, just about everyone is doing a St. Patrick's Day-themed post this week, but I thought I'd do something a little different. As it happens, today is also the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, which means many Italians are enjoying a day off. Some will have Friday off too, savoring a "ponte" or bridge holiday - joining a day off to a weekend for extra time away from work.
So, I thought I'd go with the flow and share
13 Random Facts About Italy
Okay, so they tinkered with it a little more after this...
1) The Italian tri-color flag - Il Tricolore - was originally the herald of the Cispadane Republic under Napoleon in 1797. It was later adopted as the flag for the newly-formed nation of Italy.
Not the original David.
2) The era of Il Rinascimento -- better known to many as the Renaissance -- spanned roughly from the 14th to the 17th century, and is believed by many to have begun in Florence, Italy before reaching the rest of Europe.
3) For all its impact on the arts and sciences through the years, Italy is a small country, geographically speaking. It covers roughly 116,304 square miles.
To put that in perspective, the state of Arizona covers 113, 998 square miles (approximately).
And from the looks of it, they're all on the road at the same time, too.
4) Italy fits more people in that square mileage, though. Compared to Arizona's 6,595,778 people, Italy is home to 60,221,211 people.
5) The Italian alphabet has only 21 letters. The letters ‹ j, k, w, x, y › are excluded, appearing only in words adopted from other languages (such as jeans, taxi, weekend and so on).
Just the tip of the, uh, toe, really.
6) Many Italians speak not only standard Italian, but also their local, regional dialect. As a general rule, these dialects are frequently quite difficult to understand if you are not from the area where it is commonly spoken. Some are more familiar to outsiders -- Roman or Tuscan dialects among them -- but most are not.
7) If you're a musician, you're surely aware of all the musical terms which come from Italian, for example:
Cantata - Sung
Coda - Tail
Libretto- Little book
Tempo - Time
Adagio- At ease
Fortissimo- Very strong
Just to name a few!
8) As I said at the beginning, Italy has only existed as a unified nation for 150 years, having united in 1861.
9) However, the Republic of Italy has only been around since 1946.
10) While today the capital city is Rome, the original capital of Italy was Torino - Turin - at the foot of the Alps. Florence also had a brief spell as the capital as well, before Rome became the official capital of the nation in 1871.
11) There are twenty separate regions in Italy:
1. Valle d'Aosta
2. Trentino-Alto Adige
3. Friuli-Venezia Giulia
12) Italy has a public health care system which ranks as the world's 2nd best.
13) According to The Economist, Italy has the 8th highest quality of life in the world.
And there you have them - 13 Random Facts About Italy!
Think of it as antidote to all the St. Patrick's Day celebration, if you like.
Not that there's anything wrong with St. Patrick's Day, mind.
In fact, I encourage you to pinch someone who isn't wearing green, today.
Like this guy!
Mirco Bergamasco. Italian rugby player. Not wearing green. Pinch-pinch-pinch!!!
Ciao for now!