Italy didn’t have tomatoes until 1548, which is why traditional Italian food doesn’t use tomatoes.
The Italian government is offering all 18 year olds a €500 ‘culture bonus,’ which can be spent on books, concert tickets, theatre tickets, cinema tickets, museum visits and even trips to the country’s national parks.
In Italy, it is not a crime to steal food if you are hungry and have no other means of nourishment.
Since 1968 a man would wake up at sunrise every morning and rush to the Trevi Fountain in Rome. There, he collected coins with a rack. Allegedly, in 15 minutes of work, he used to gather up to $1000. He was caught only in 2002.
The largest Chinese community in Europe is found in the Tuscan city of Prato. Prato’s Chinese community consists of an estimated 20,000 legal and 30,000 illegal migrants, many working in sweatshops that provide affordable “Made in Italy” textiles for China’s emerging middle class.
In 1968 a man built an island off the coast of Italy and declared himself the President. He ran a restaurant, a bar, a nightclub, and a post office on the island. The Italian government didn’t like this, seized control of the island, and literally blew it up the next year.
In Italy, old people “adopt” students, who can’t afford rent, to their homes in exchange for company and a little help around the house.
37% of Italians have never used the internet (as of 2012).
There is an island near Italy that was the site of wars, a dumping ground for plague victims and an insane asylum. It’s considered so dangerously haunted that the Italian government does not allow public access.
In Italy, people wear red underwear on New Year’s Day as a symbol of good luck for the upcoming year.