Caffè sospeso (“suspended coffee”) is a tradition in Naples, sometimes regarded as obsolete, whereby someone pays for two coffees but only receives one, leaving a coffee to be given to anyone who walks in and inquires whether a caffè sospeso is available.
The surname “Esposito” and its variants comes from children who were abandoned (“exposed”) in Italy (before the XVII century, when the law forbade it). Every person with that surname today descends from an exposed child that kept the surname the orphanage once gave them.
It’s a tradition in Italy to watch the movie Trading Places on Christmas Eve, with millions tuning in every year.
During WW II, Allies suspected that the Germans were using the Leaning Tower of Pisa as an observation post. Leon Weckstein, a U.S. Army sergeant sent to confirm this. But he was impressed by the beauty of Tower and thus refrained from ordering an artillery strike, sparing it from destruction.
Two thirds of Argentina’s population is of Italian heritage. They fled there for economic opportunities and to escape devastating wars. It is the only other country besides Italy with an Italian heritage majority population.
Marco Polo did not introduce pasta to Italy from China. Italians adopted pasta from the Greeks, first mentioned between 1000-800 BCE and called laganon – the inspiration for what would later become lasagne.
Viganella, a city in Italy where the sun doesn’t rise for three months a year, has a mirror located on a mountain to reflect the sunlight.
In 1325 in Italy, Modenese soldiers stole a well bucket from Bologna. 30,000 Bolognese foot-soldiers were sent to invade Modena. Outnumbered 6 to 1, Modena won in just a few hours and chased the enemy all the way back to Bologna. Then they stole another bucket.
After WW2, there was a Sicilian separatist movement which was heavily backed by mafia. The main goal was the annexation of Sicily to the USA as the 49th state, they got 8.8% of the votes in 1947’s elections.
Frequent pizza eaters in Italy have been found to have a relatively low incidence of cardiovascular disease and digestive tract cancers compared to infrequent pizza eaters.