Square: 301 thousand km2. Population: 57.2 million people (1998). State language: Italian. Capital: Rome (2.6 million inhabitants). Public Holiday: Day of the proclamation of the republic (the first Sunday of June, since 1946). Currency unit: Euro. Religion: Catholicism. Timezone: time in Italy is 1 hour behind Kiev.
Member of the UN since 1955. Included in the Council of Europe since 1949, in the European Union – since 1957, in NATO – since 1949.
In the southern part of Europe, in the gentle and warm waves of several seas, elegant boots are bathed, glorified by myths and legends of Italy, the land of Dante and Petrarch. Thousands of years pass, and it does not lose its attractiveness – this is a country sinking in lemon and olive trees, red poppies. Here you want to stay longer to fully enjoy the delightful landscapes, sun, sea, Neapolitan canzonas, feel the breath of old asthmatics of Vesuvius, admire the stern and majestic Alps, be sure to try on a Venetian mask, visit the famous Ball of Masquerade or the holiday of Sancy, engaged to the sea.
Italy, which has the shape of a boot, is immediately conspicuous on the map. It is located between the Adriatic, Ionian, Ligurian and Tyrrhenian seas, each of which is part of the Mediterranean Sea. France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia bordering the country are Italy’s northern rugby opponents.
Elba, Sardinia, Ischia, Capri, Sicily and the Aeolian Islands are located at a great distance from the mainland. The mountains dominate the Italian topography and form its land boundaries from Genoa to Trieste. The ridge of Italy form the Apennines, stretching from Genoa down almost to Sicily.
The Po Valley in the northeast forms the largest lowland where the most densely populated industrial areas are located. Thanks to three active volcanoes – Stromboli on the Aeolian Islands, Vesuvius near Naples and Etna in Sicily – tremors and earthquakes sometimes occur in the country, the strongest of which were recorded in 1908 and 1980. But, unfortunately, the natural beauty of Italy is subject to destruction and industrial pollution, especially in large cities and along the coast.
A couple of millennia of human activity and the love of Italians for hunting contributed to the destruction of many animal species that existed only in Italy. On the territory of the country one can rarely see a brown bear or a lynx, and in the Alpine regions there are less and less wolves, marmots, chamois and deer. Mouflon, wild boar and wild cats can be found in Sardinia, and birds: falcons, hawks and golden eagles, too, have become rare and forced to hide from hunters and poachers.
The climate is typically Mediterranean. The Alps block the path to cold winds, and sea currents bring heat and moisture. The average temperature of July is 20-28 ° С, January is 0-12 ° С. Precipitations fall a bit. The Italian climate varies from north to south and from lowlands to mountain tops.
Winters in the Alps are long and harsh, snow falls there in mid-September. In the northern regions, winter is usually frosty and summer is hot, but closer to the south the climate becomes milder. Cirocco, the hot and humid African wind that blows in the southern regions of the country, causes at least a couple of terribly hot weeks in the summer.
Italy: Population and Traditions
About 98% of the population are Italians (their language belongs to the Romance group of the Indo-European family); 2% are from other nations. Ethnic minorities are fairly compact groups, for many centuries living in a certain territory. In the administrative area of Friuli – Venice – Julia, there are about 520 thousand friules, in the area of Trentino – Alto – Adige – about 15 thousand ladins. Both nations speak dialects of the Romansh language. In the region of Trentino-Alto-Adige there are more than 300 thousand South Tyrolean people who speak one of the dialects of the German language. The long-standing political fragmentation has led to the existence of local groups of Italians. Sicilians and Sardinians are the most isolated (the latter are often singled out as an independent ethnos).
Southern Italy is characterized by large crowded rural settlements. They are usually located on a hill, often surrounded by stone walls. In the north, scattered settlements are not uncommon. Throughout the country, especially in hilly areas, there are also farmer-type settlements of 5-10 houses. The main building material is stone. In many places there are estates, residential and farm buildings which form a closed quadrangle.
The so-called Mediterranean type of house dates back to the Middle Ages, typical for the central regions of the country, as well as for other areas of Southern Europe: a two-story stone building, rectangular in plan, at the bottom of which there are utility rooms, at the top – a kitchen and rooms. In the north to this day there is another type of houses – Alpine. This is a large two or three story building with a covered gallery attached to the upper floor. Venetian house has two floors, strongly elongated in plan, with a portico along one of the long walls. The only heated room of the peasant’s house was the kitchen with a large near-wall or central hearth.
In contrast to the rural architecture, which still retains traditional features, the folk costume began to go out of use at the end of the 19th century. Now it is worn by peasants of some southern provinces and members of folklore ensembles put on performances. The main elements of the female costume are a long skirt, a tunic-like jacket, a corsage, an apron, and a headscarf. Traditional men’s suit – short pants, shirt with embroidered sleeves, short jacket or sleeveless jacket, hat. It is easy to part with the folk costume, the Italians, however, steadfastly adhere to traditional cuisine. Each region is famous for some dish. Emilia – Romagna, for example, is known for its sausages. Tuscany’s traditional dish is steak. The Romans are famous for their ability to roast piglets. A Neapolitan dish is pizza. The first meal of the dinner (minestra) is most often made from a variety of pasta (pasta). The second is fish or meat. Often at the dinner table there are seafood, vegetable salads, fruits.
No less ancient traditions than costume and food, has the Italian craft. In the villages there are many workshops, which produce items used in everyday life. For example, Apuleia handicraftsmen specialize in products from skins and leather, Florence is known for wickerwork, Alpine areas are famous for their wood carvings. Diverse in shape and artistic decoration of ceramics.
In the center stands the grandest monument of ancient Rome – the amphitheater Colosseum. Pantheon ("Temple of all gods") serves as a national mausoleum. In Rome, not only individual monuments of antiquity were preserved, but also entire architectural ensembles of that era. Among them are the buildings of the Forum, which served first as a market square, then as the center of public life in Rome.
Italy: National cuisine
The aroma of Italian cuisine can not be confused with anyone else. It is filled with the spirit of the gifts of the warm sea, the fragrance of the herbs and the tartness of the fruits ripened in the sunlit spaces. What would Italian cuisine be without salsa di pomodoro, gargonzola and parmesan cheeses, gnocchi and pasta, pizza and ravioli? Anything but not Italian cuisine.
A real traveler will never miss the opportunity to become better acquainted with the culinary masterpieces of the country in which he
Fragrant, grated or cut into small pieces, it is an integral part of the Italian dish, connecting all the ingredients and giving it a special taste. Italians love and tomato sauce – salsa di Pomodoro. From rice, Italians perfectly cook risotto – a kind of rice casserole, to which you can add whatever you want: slices of mushrooms, meat, oysters, crabs, tomatoes, chilli and the like.
In any Italian restaurant feel free to order vegetable dishes, for example, stewed stuffed artichokes or potato gnocchi. Italians know a lot about cooking vegetables, and local chefs prefer not to cook vegetables, but to stew in
in its own juice or with the addition of olive oil, wine, in order to best convey the aroma and specific taste of a particular product. By the way, olive oil is one of the most important ingredients of Italian cuisine. The purest olive oil, which is obtained by the cold method of squeezing olives, is excellent for salads and pasta, and the usual is suitable for cooking any food. Fresh vegetable salads, seasoned with a large number of spicy herbs (arugula, oregano, basil), flavored with olive
oil and the best balsamic vinegar in the world. And, of course, you should try the local wines. Be sure to order meat or spaghetti with meat sauce tart chianti.
Italy: Sightseeing, tours
The center of attraction for tourists from all over the world has been and remains is Genoa, a city famous for its history and outstanding personalities who once lived there. Its most famous resorts are Alassi o and the capital of modern Italian music, Sanremo. These are places of elite rest, where already in the 19th century the European aristocracy, including the Russian, gathered. Riviera di Levante stretches to the south from Genoa, a rocky, rugged coastline with bays and bays, with a clear, transparent sea and small, mostly pebbled beaches. The capital of Liguria, Genoa, is often poeticly compared to the interior of an old theater: the parterre is a picturesque port that is surrounded by lodges, double, and from the nearby hills the city blocks descend directly to the bay by the amphitheater. Do not forget about the Aquarium, the largest marine zoo in Europe: 48 pools and aquariums, 500 species of marine animals and fish.
Florence, located in the center of Italy, is perceived as a symbol of the Renaissance. Its squares and palaces, museums and temples are decorated with the immortal creations of many geniuses of Italy. The main Florentine cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is a magnificent building of the XIII – XIV centuries. – the third largest in the world. Next to the cathedral is the bell tower, built in the XIII century. One of the most famous churches of Florence is the Gothic basilica of Santa Croce of the XIII-XIV centuries, the tomb of the great people of Italy.
Romulus and Remus, fed by a she-wolf in a cave at the foot of the Palatine Hill (the wolf with two boys originates from here and the symbol of the city).
The most beautiful city in the eastern part of the north of Italy is Venice. Originating in the early Middle Ages, it was founded by people from the Gulf of Venice, who, fleeing from the Hun invasion, settled on the islands of the Venetian lagoon. These islands number 118. In modern Venice, there are 160 large and countless small canals. The city is connected to the mainland by a four-kilometer bridge that goes directly to Roman Square. Here stands a multi-storey garage, where all who come to Venice leave their cars.
In the city there is no ground transportation, you can only move through numerous channels on gondolas or river trams. Gondoliers, often dressed in traditional costumes – dark pants and a shirt with a sea collar, attract passengers with both the old form of their boats and the fact that they play for them to the accompaniment of guitars world-famous Venetian songs – barcarols. Venetians themselves prefer to use steamboats or powerboats.
Facades of houses most often go straight into the water. Boats float through the gates, and at the entrances to the house there are poles sticking to them. the main "the outside" Venice – Grand Canal. On the most spacious square of the city – Piazza San Marco – is the eponymous cathedral, built in the Byzantine style. Next – the Doge’s Palace, the former residence of the Republic of Venice. Now here is the historical and art museum of the city. In Venice there are the Academy of Fine Arts, numerous art galleries with the richest collections of sculpture, painting, and applied art.
Cote d’Azur Cote d’Azur. These words conjure up the sun and sand, yachts and beaches, bright colors, velvet nights, seductive smells. Azure-blue coast is associated with the high society and the names of famous artists and writers of our century, with fashionable resorts: Nice, Cannes, Monte Carlo, Saint-Tropez.
Italy: Museums, parks
Museums are open in the morning. There are four national parks in Italy, created to preserve some species of animals. The oldest of them is Gran Paradiso National Park (72,000 hectares), the only place inhabited by mountain goats and chamois, as well as marmots, ermines, foxes and eagles. The largest park in Italy is the National Park in Stelvio (135,000 hectares), located among mountains and forests not far from Switzerland, where deer, chamois, roe deer, gophers and pheasants are found in abundance. The national reserve in Abruzzi (30,000 hectares) is located in one of the highest areas of the Apennines, where you can meet the latest brown abruzzo bears in Italy. You can make unforgettable hiking trips of any length and degree of difficulty in the most picturesque places with an overnight stay with all the comforts, a visit to the historical and ethnographic museums.
A picturesque location on the hills, an abundance of grand ruins, magnificent palaces, churches, a variety of squares, stairs, fountains, obelisks attached "The eternal city" Unique charm and grandeur.
The bus is the main form of urban transport in Italy. Ticket price on average from $ 0.7 to $ 0.88.
In Rome, bus and tram tickets cost $ 0.7 and are valid for two trips for 90 minutes. Bus drivers, except for night flights, do not sell tickets. Tickets are composted, the start of the ticket is determined by the mark of the composter.
In Milan, a bus or tram ticket costs $ 0.7 and is valid for an unlimited number of trips for 75 minutes from the time of the first landing. A travel ticket for all types of transport costs $ 2.47 – for one day, $ 5.95 – for a week.
In Florence, the only form of urban transport – buses. Ticket – $ 0.7 per hour, $ 0.88 – for 2 hours, $ 2.94 – a 24-hour pass.
In Venice, there are no roads suitable for cars, so there are no cars. The only means of public transport is the river bus. A ticket for one trip on route 1 costs $ 1.47, on the other routes $ 2.06. A 24-hour pass costs $ 8.24.
We advise you to take not too warm clothes, a raincoat and an umbrella for the winter, and in the summer – clothes very light. We recommend forgetting for a while about elegant high-heeled shoes: you will have to walk a lot on excursion tours. Shoes should be comfortable and soft, so that excursions do not turn into flour, and leave fashionable shoes for the evening.
To call, it is enough to buy "phone card" in any tabacteria, or purchase tokens of 400 lire each at the hotel, or use copper money of 100, 200 or 500 lire. The most convenient option is "phone card"which costs 5,000 lire, 10,000 lire or 15,000 lire. Before using the card you need to break one of the corners, marked by a dotted line. Insert the card into the machine so that the broken end is on the right. This card can be used in any telephone booth on the street, from where you can call abroad. Try, if possible, to call in the evening, after 20.30, when telephone rates are significantly reduced. Remember that in Italy all telephone calls are paid, including in the city.
HELP PHONE throughout Italy 100 EMERGENCY SERVICES: Carabinieri (military police) – 112 ambulance – 118 or 113 (in Rome – 5510) Police – 113 (in Rome – 4686) Fire brigade – 115 Italian automobile club – 116
And the waist is a member of the Schengen Union. For entry into its territory are valid Schengen visas issued by any country belonging to the Schengen.