Facts About Italy and Italians
Part 1


The emblem of the Republic of Italy is a white, five-pointed star with a red border.  The star is placed on a cog wheel and framed by an olive branch and an oak branch.  The star is referred to as la Stella d'Italia.  

The words REPVBBLICA ITALIANA are displayed on a red tape.

Italy emblem.png

1a.   Italy is divided into twenty regions known as le regioni.  The regions are:
Valle d'Aosta, Piemonte, Liguria, Lombardia, Trentino-Alto-Adige, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia,
Emilia-Romagna, Toscana, Umbria, Marche, Lazio, Abruzzo, Molise, Campania, Puglia, Basilicata,
Calabria, Sicilia, Sardegna. 
The capital city, Rome, belongs to the region of Lazio.

Each region is further divided into areas called le province.  Each provincia has a main town (rather like a capital city for the area).  Post codes and car number plates indicate the provincia to which they belong by using two letters, for example:

PI belongs to the provincia of Pisa.
SI belongs to Siena.
VR belongs to Verona.

There are also 14 province that are classed as Italian Metropolitan Cities - le Città Metropolitane d'Italia.  These province include the major cities of Italy.  They are: Bari (BA), Bologna (BO), Cagliari (CA), Catania (CT),  Firenze (FI), Genova (GE), Messina (ME), Milano (MI), Napoli (NA), Palermo (PA), Reggio Calabria (RC),
Roma (RM), Torino (TO), Venezia (VE).

Flag of Italy

2.  The Italian flag consists of three vertical stripes of equal proportion in the colours: verde bianco rosso. 

It is known as la bandiera d'Italia and also as il Tricolore.

St. Francis of Assisi

3.   The patron saint of Italy is Saint Francis of Assisi - San Francesco d'Assisi.  His real name was Giovanni, but he loved the French language so much that he was nicknamed Francesco (meaning - Frenchy.)  He is also the patron saint of nature and animals.

4.  The Italian language - la lingua italiana - is the official language of Italy, however, there are many regional dialects and languages in Italy such as il sardo in Sardinia, il napoletano in the area of Naples, il siciliano in the area of Sicily, etc.


5.  The Italian national anthem is called Il Canto degli Italiani (The Song of the Italians.)  It is also called Fratelli d'Italia (Brothers of Italy) and l'Inno di Mameli (Mameli's Hymn) because the lyrics were written by Goffredo Mameli.

6.  Italy is quite a 'new country'.  It became one unified country in 1861 under a king called Vittorio Emanuele II.  Before this date, it was divided into independent regions. The period of unification of Italy during the 19th. century is known as Il Risorgimento.

The date of the unification of Italy - 17 March 1861 - is celebrated every year.  The 17 March is called la Festa dell'Unità d'Italia.

Vittorio Emanuele II

Vittorio Emanuele II reigned as King of a united Italy from 17 March 1861 till his death on 9 January 1878.

He was known as il Padre della Patria - The Father of the Country.  

His title was Re d'Italia - King of Italy.

The last king of Italy was Umberto II in 1946 and he reigned for just over one month (most of the month of May) and for that reason he has the nickname 'il Re di Maggio' - the May King.  During 1946, Italy held a referendum and voted that the country should become a republic with no monarchy.  King Umberto went into exile.

7.  The Italian way to say the following places and cities is-
Italia (Italy), Roma (Rome), Milano (Milan), Firenze (Florence), Napoli (Naples), Torino (Turin), Genova (Genoa), Venezia (Venice), Sicilia (Sicily), Sardegna (Sardinia),
Toscana (Tuscany), Livorno (Leghorn), Padova (Padua), Mantova (Mantua).