The famous Russian poet Alexander Blok, having visited Italy, wrote 24 poems about this amazing country in 1909, which were included in his cycle “Italian Poems”. Any tourist who visits Italy feels the same enthusiastic impression of Italy, even if he is not a poet. Ancient Roman architectural monuments, unique palaces, castles, cathedrals, museums with paintings by Raphael, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, and Michelangelo, magnificent ski, beach and spa resorts attract tens of millions of tourists to Italy every year…
Geography of Italy
Italy is located on the Apennine Peninsula in south-central Europe. Italy borders Switzerland and Austria in the north, Slovenia in the northeast, and France in the northwest. The independent states of San Marino and the Vatican are enclaves in Italy. In turn, Campione d’Italia is an Italian enclave in France.
Italy owns several islands. The largest of them are Sicily and Sardinia. Italy is washed by five seas at once – the Mediterranean, Tyrrhenian, Ionian, Ligurian and Adriatic. The total area of this country is 301,338 sq. km, including the islands.
Throughout Italy, the Apennine Mountains stretch from north to south, bordering the Alps. The highest peak in Italy is Mont Blanc in the Alps (4,808 meters).
There are quite a lot of rivers in Italy, but they are not too big. The most famous of them are Pau (652 km), Adige, Brenta, Piave, and Reno.
Italy has several active volcanoes – Etna in Sicily, Vesuvius near Naples, and Stromboli and Vulcano in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
According to itypejob.com, the capital of Italy is Rome, which is now home to about 2.8 million people. According to legend, it was founded by Romulus and Remus in 753 BC. Archaeologists claim that human settlements on the site of modern Rome existed long before this date.
The official language in Italy is Italian, which belongs to the Romance group of the Indo-European language family.
About 90% of the Italian population are Catholics belonging to the Roman Catholic Church. And about 37% of Italians go to church every week (or more often).
According to computerminus.com, Italy is a parliamentary republic. Executive power belongs to the President, who is elected by the Parliament for a term of 7 years.
Parliament in Italy is bicameral – the Senate of the Republic (315 people) and the Chamber of Deputies (630 people). The Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers are appointed by the President, but they need the approval of the Parliament.
Climate and weather
The climate in Italy is temperate, but the weather fluctuates markedly depending on how far or close an Italian region is to the Alps and the sea.
The average annual air temperature in Italy is +15.8C. The warmest months in Italy are July and August, when the average air temperature reaches +31C. The coldest month is January, when the average temperature is +3C.
Sea in Italy
Italy is washed by the waters of the Mediterranean, Tyrrhenian, Ionian, Ligurian and Adriatic seas. The total coastline in Italy is 7,600 km.
The average temperature of the Adriatic Sea near Italy:
- January – +10C
- February – +9C
- March – +10C
- April – +13C
- May – +18C
- June – +21С
- July – +23С
- August – +22С
- september – +21C
- october – +18C
- November – +15C
- December – +13С
Rivers and lakes
In Italy, most of the rivers flow through the north of the country. The largest Italian rivers are Po (652 km), Adige, Brenta, Piave, and Reno.
There are many lakes in the Alps in eastern Italy. The largest Italian lakes are Garda, Lago Maggiore, Como, and Ledro.
History of Italy
The history of few countries can be compared with the history of Italy. Perhaps only Greece can be put on a par with Italy in terms of the number of historical monuments.
Modern humans settled in Italy about 40,000 years ago. Before the Romans, Umbrians, Latins (actually, the ancestors of the Romans), Samnites, Celts, and many other tribes lived here.
Approximately in the 8th-7th centuries BC. in southern Italy and in Sicily, several of their colonial cities were founded by the ancient Greeks. The Phoenicians built their colonies on the coast of Sicily and Sardinia.
Ancient Rome was originally a small agricultural community that appeared in the 8th century. BC, but gradually he spread his influence to near and far lands. The result was a vast empire that spanned the entire Mediterranean. In the Ancient Roman Empire, Greek and Roman culture were merged into one civilization.
In the 2nd century AD the decline of the Roman Empire begins. It finally broke up in 395 into the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire. In the end, Franks, Vandals, Huns, Goths and other barbarians conquered Italy. In the 6th century AD the emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire conquered Rome and Italy from the barbarians, but the Germanic tribes of the Lombards managed to gain a foothold in the north of the country.
At the end of the 8th century AD. part of the territory of Italy was included in the kingdom of the emperor of the Franks Charlemagne. The Frankish kings helped establish the Papal States in Central Italy, which belonged to the Popes.
Many historians believe that it was because of the existence of the Papal States that Italy was divided into feudal city-states for many centuries.
In the Middle Ages, the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire tried to subjugate the Italian city-states, but they actively resisted these plans.
During this period, the heyday of the Italian maritime republics begins – Venice, Pisa, Genoa and Amalfi. Very soon, Venice and Genoa became the main merchants in Europe with the East, thanks to which their wealth and power increased even more.
In turn, Florence at this time turned into the European capital of silk, wool, jewelry and banking.
From 1559 Italy was under the rule of Habsburg Spain, and from 1713 it was conquered by Austria.
During the era of the Napoleonic Wars, part of the Italian lands was annexed to France, and the Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed on the remaining territory.
On March 17, 1961, after the campaigns of the Italian army led by Giuseppe Garibaldi, the united Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed. But only after 1866 Venice was annexed to the Italian Kingdom.
During the First World War, Italy took the side of the Entente, as a result of which more than 650 thousand Italian soldiers died on the battlefields.
In the late 1920s and early 1935s, Benito Mussolini came to power in Italy. In 1939, Italy occupied Albania, and during World War II fought on the side of Germany and Japan. In September 1943, Italy capitulated.
In 1946, Italy became a Republic, and in 1949 it joined the NATO military bloc. In 1957, Italy was among the founding members of the European Economic Union, which later became the European Union.
Italian history goes back several thousand years, which means that the Italians had a huge impact on the European peoples.
Thanks to Italy, the world received a large number of brilliant writers, artists, philosophers and scientists:
- Literature – Giovanni Boccaccio, Dante Alighieri, Francesco Petrarca, Carlo Collodi, Giosue Carducci and Umberto Eco;
- Classical music – Alessandro Scarlatti, Antonio Vivaldi, Gioacchino Rossini, Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini;
- Art – Giotto, Paolo Uccello, Botticelli, Piero della Francesca, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael Santi, Titian and Michelangelo Buonarroti;
- Architecture – Donato Bramante, Andrea Palladio;
- Philosophy – Boethius, Anselm of Canterbury, Peter of Lombard, Francis of Assisi and Bonaventure;
- Science – Leonardo of Pisa, Paolo Toscanelli and Gerolamo Cardano;
- Navigators and travelers – Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci.
Italy is made up of twenty different regions, and each of them has its own culinary traditions. Moreover, every Italian city, every village is sure to be proud of its own culinary recipe. In addition, the same dish in different regions of Italy is prepared in different ways. So, spaghetti in Naples is quite different in taste from spaghetti in Piedmont.
The culinary traditions of some regions of Italy were formed under strong Arab or Greek influence. Other regional Italian cuisines have been heavily influenced by the French and Austrians.
In Italy, we definitely advise tourists to try the following traditional dishes: carpaccio, Caprese salad, frittata omelette, bruschetta burerbrod, minestrone thick vegetable soup, cacucco thick fish soup, Margherita pizza, “closed” pizza “calzone”, pasta “bolognese”, risotto, rolls of dough with cannoli cheese.
In Italy, tourists should also try local ice cream, because this country is considered its “homeland”.
Italy is world famous for its wines. The traditions of Italian winemaking date back to the era of ancient Rome. Wine in Italy is made in almost all regions, from Sicily to Lombardy.
Sights of Italy
Italy is probably one of the first places in the world in terms of the number of attractions. Italian museums contain thousands of paintings and sculptures by the great masters of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, the New Age and the present. Tourists in Italy, we definitely advise you to see the following top 10 attractions:
- Colosseum in Rome The ancient Roman amphitheater Colosseum was erected by the Roman emperors in 72-80 AD. Once upon a time, gladiator fights and whole sea battles were held in the Colosseum. Now the Colosseum is a symbol of Rome, which is visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists every year.
- Roman Forum This was the name of the central square in ancient Rome. Until now, the ruins of several ancient Roman temples and basilicas have been preserved in the Forum (the temple of Saturn, the arch of Titus, Basildica Julius, the temple of the Dioscuri).
- Pantheon in Rome This temple was built under Emperor Hadrian in the II century. AD Later, the temple became a Catholic church. The Italian kings Victor Emmanuel II and Umberto I are buried there.
- Piazza San Marco in Venice It is on this square that the famous architectural and historical Venetian monuments are located – the Doge’s Palace, Palazzo Dandolo, St. Mark’s Cathedral, Loggetta and Palazzo Grassi.
- Basilica of Saint Clement Built in Rome in 384 AD. Until now, this basilica has preserved several amazing, very old frescoes (“The Life of St. Alexis”, “The Mass of St. Clement” and “The Posthumous Judgment”).
- Leaning Tower of Pisa in Pisa was built in 1360 as the bell tower of the Catholic Cathedral. Now the slope of this tower is about 3 degrees.
- Trevi Fountain in Rome This largest fountain in Rome at the moment was built in the middle of the 18th century by the architect Nicola Salvi. The Italians are sure that if a person throws one coin into the Trevi Fountain, he will come to Rome again. Every year, employees of the Roman public service take hundreds of thousands of euros worth of coins from this fountain.
- Duomo Cathedral in Milan The construction of this greatest Gothic cathedral in the world lasted 430 years. The Italians claim that about 40 thousand people can fit in it. However, this information has not yet been officially confirmed.
- Uffizi Gallery in Florence This palace, which now houses an art gallery, was built in 1560-1581 by the architects Giorgio Vasari and Bernardo Buontalenti. Now this museum houses hundreds of paintings by great masters, including Botticelli, Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Titian.
- Pompeii near Naples The ancient Roman city of Pompeii was covered with ash from Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Now Pompeii is an open-air museum, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Cities and resorts in Italy
The largest Italian cities are Rome, Milan, Turin, Palermo, Naples, Genoa, Florence, Bari, Bologna, Catania, and Venice.
In Italy, there are a large number of beautiful seaside resorts with magnificent beaches.
Top 10 best beach resorts in Italy, in our opinion:
- island of Capri
- Cefalu in Sicily
- Amalfi on the Tyrrhenian coast
- Lido di Jesolo near Venice
- Sardinia island
- Tropea in Calabria
- Scilla in Calabria
- Castellammare del Golfo in Sicily
Top 10 best Italian beaches in our opinion:
- San Vito Lo Capo – Sicily
- Isola del Giglio – Tuscany
- Taormina – Sicily
- Mondello – near Palermo, Sicily
- Capalbio – Tuscany
- Domus de Maria – Sardinia
- Salina – the Eopian Islands near Sardinia
- Castiglione della Pescaia
Italy is also famous for its great ski resorts. The most popular of them are in the Dolomites – Cortina d’Ampezzo, Alta Pusteria, Val Gardena, Val di Fiemme, San Martino di Castrozza, Valle Isarco, Madonna di Campiglio, Val di Sole, Pinzolo, and Monte Bondone.
Many tourists come to Italy specifically to relax in local spa resorts. The most famous of them are Abano Terme, Merano, Sirmione, Montecatini Terme, Terme de Medici, San Giuliano Terme, and Ischia.
We recommend tourists from Italy to bring Italian clothes and accessories, jewelry, bijouterie, olive oil, sweet and sour balsamic vinegar, Tuscan pie, various Italian cookies, ceramics (we advise you to buy it in small towns and villages), dishes, bed linen, towels, T-shirts, scarves of Italian football clubs, etc.
Banks are open:
Mon-Fri: 08:35-13.35 and 15:00-16:00
On Saturday, banks are open until 13.30.
In some tourist regions, banks operate without a lunch break.
Shop opening hours:
Mon-Sat: 09:00-13:00 and 15:30-19:30
Some large shops are open without a lunch break until 20:00.
Many shops are open on Sundays as well.
Mon-Fri: 08:30 – 13:30
Sat: 08:30 – 13:00
Restaurants in Italy are usually open from 12:00 to 14:30 and from 19:00 to 23:00.
Ukrainians need to obtain a visa to enter Italy.
Italy is part of the European Union. This means that on its territory the euro is used as banknotes.
All major credit cards are widely accepted in Italy – Visa, Mastercard, American Express, etc.
The import and export of currency in Italy is not limited, but if you want to import or export more than 12.5 thousand euros, the money must be entered in the declaration.
Ukrainians can bring to Italy:
- 200 cigarettes (or 100 thin cigars, or 50 cigars, or 250 grams of tobacco);
- 1 liter strong alc. drinks, 2 liters of wine;
- 500 gr coffee and 10 gr tea.
Pets are only allowed to be brought into Italy if they have a veterinary certificate and are vaccinated against rabies.
Firearms and edged weapons can be imported into Italy only if there is a permit from the local police.
To export art objects older than 50 years from Italy, you must obtain a special permit.
Useful phone numbers and addresses
Embassy of Italy in Ukraine:
Address: 01901, Kiev, st. Yaroslavov Val, 32-b
Phone: (044) 230-31-00
Fax: (044) 230-31-03
Email. email: [email protected]
Embassy of Ukraine in Italy:
00198 Rome – Via Guido d’Arezzo, 9, Italy
Phone: (3906) 841 26 30
Fax: (3906) 854 75
39 address: [email protected]
112 – carabinieri (police)
113 – general emergencies
115 – fire brigade
116 – roadside assistance
118 – ambulance
039 039 039 and 800 000 039 – emergency numbers for foreign tourists
The difference with time in Kyiv is -1 hour. Those. if in Rome, for example, in the summer it is 9:00 am, then in Kyiv it is 10:00 am.
Tipping in Italy
In many Italian establishments and establishments, tips are already included in the bill. However, tips in Italian restaurants are 10-15% of the bill, in taxis – 5-10%. Maids in Italian hotels usually leave 1-2 euros, and guides – 5-10%.
No special vaccinations are required to enter Italy.
The notorious Sicilian mafia and the Neapolitan Camorra in Italy have already taken on a kind of corporate character, and they are not aimed at foreign tourists. With respect to foreign tourists in Spain, violent crime is very rare, mainly tourists in this country are faced with pickpocketing, theft from cars and fraud. In general, Italy is a safe country for foreign tourists.