Top 10 anecdotes about Italy, a new blog to familiarise you even more with this beautiful southern European country, before you do your work placement abroad, or at least a short trip, just to enjoy the Dolce Vita! Italy is a country with a huge variety of regions: it’s not easy to choose from all the fun anecdotes to tell you! Especially as the Italian population, its dialects and habits are as varied as there are localities: the Sicilian dialect, for example, is not at all the same as that of Veneto! And even in Veneto, there are different dialects! In short, Italy is plural, but it’s always based on several things: speaking with your hands, cuisine and a generous welcome. But the team has done its homework and selected for you what seemed to be the best and the most unlikely, to perhaps inspire you for your next internship in Italy.

  • Europe only has 3 active volcanoes left: and all 3 of them are in Italy!

Vesuvius, Etna and Stromboli. Etna is one of the world’s most active volcanoes, spewing lava every day since 1999. The villain in Pinocchio is called Stromboli, and like the volcano, he has an irritable and… volcanic temper! Etna is in Sicily, and Vesuvius you probably already know, as it’s famous for having wiped Pompeii off the map, burying some of its inhabitants and the town.

  • The Trevi Fountain is very, very rich

Every day, 3,000 euros are thrown into the fountain? The Italian coins are redistributed to the Italian charity Caritas, while the foreign coins are used to finance the upkeep of the fountain. A good deal! Caritas is an association committed to helping those in need, including the poor, the voluntary sector, the civil service, immigration, mental health and the homeless. As well as its legendary beauty, legend has it that if you throw a coin over your shoulder into the fountain, you will one day end up back in Rome. Throw two coins and you’ll meet the love of your life, and three coins will ensure you marry a Roman.

  • There are officially over 140 pizza recipes in Italy

If you want to vary the composition of your pizza, no problem 😉 There are some 140 different pizza dough recipes, with different names depending on the region. Not bad for a little tasting during your work placement in Italy! We all agree that the best pizza is the four-cheese one ? Don’t mention pineapple on Italian pizzas … small anecdote within an anecdote: pineapple pizza almost caused a diplomatic incident in Island: something to think about! By the way, respect for the kitchen is very, very important in Italy: you can’t touch the kitchen in an Italian home, it would be seen as absolute rudeness. I’m 34 years old, and even today I’m strictly forbidden to touch the cooker in my grandmother’s house, except to heat up the coffee. At 93, she still prefers to do everything herself than to see this sacred place desecrated by my ungodly hands ah ah

  • A mirror in place of the sun!

Imagine you live in a village deep in a valley, and in winter you can’t see the sun for a second: what’s the solution? The inhabitants of the small village of Viganella have found it: they simply install a mirror at the top of the valley, which reflects the sun onto the main square of the village. The mirror is useful for just over 80 days a year, and cost around €600 per inhabitant: not too expensive to see clearly in winter. Clever! You can check it out here if you haven’t yet had the chance to see it in Italy!

  • Secret recipes

You’ve heard of Ferrero? Nutella, Kinder, Mon Chéri, palm oil galore, you name it! This Italian multinational keeps its recipes and manufacturing methods secret: its production machines are designed by in-house engineers, so there are no leaks! And to take things a step further, I’ll leave you to go and look for Nutella’s share of the world’s hazelnut import/export market: it’s crazy!

  • Italian fashion

High heels were created in Venice in the 16th century. Initially, these shoes were called “chopines” and were still 60 cm high. The size of the heels was then lowered and became what we know today! And now the heel is a shoe of elegance recognised the world over! Even today, Italy is one of the international capitals of fashion, with the city of Milan as its stronghold, enjoying international recognition.

  • Tiramisu isn’t that old

One of Italy’s most famous desserts, Tiramisu (pull me up!) was created in the 1970s. It was named after its main ingredients: cocoa and coffee. Today there are dozens of different recipes, including strawberry, hazelnut and even salted butter caramel! The Bretons are everywhere, but just like the Italians: anecdote number nine! Tiramisu is made from an excellent Italian cheese: Mascarpone. Another anecdote about Italian cheese (I know, I’m generous with anecdotes): mozzarella is the most exported cheese in the world, and is also used to launder money for the mafia.

  • Gondolier is not an easy job!

Would you like to take your little gondola through the floating streets of Venice? Then you need to pass the Gondolier exam. You have to speak at least one foreign language, know the history of Venice and its culture, manoeuvre a Gondola correctly, etc… Only 4 Gondoliers pass their exams each year, and they can earn up to €10,000 a month. So it’s not so easy to make a living out of it.

  • Italy, a land of emigration

Italy is a land of emigration: there are as many Italians living in Italy (60 million) as outside it. They have adapted very well to their host countries, notably Australia, France, the USA, Canada and Brazil, and have spread Italian cuisine throughout the world. Can you believe it? Well, when we say they adapt, it’s rarely the language: when my grandmother arrived in France in 1956, all she had to do was open her mouth and you’d know where they came from! What’s more, Italians tend to translate all their expressions literally, and that can lead to some pretty crazy expressions that make no sense in French ah ah If my grandfather wants to tell you that you’re stupid, he can say that “you’re shit from the coffeepot” or that she makes “scarapoques” when she writes.His expressions have always amused me a lot, especially when I started welcoming Italians to Nantes: they really have expressions in Italian, and I was happy to hear them from someone else ahah.

  • The oldest university in the West

The University of Bologna, founded in 1088, is the oldest university in Europe. I’ve never had the chance to go there yet, but it must be an incredible country! Why not take a trip to Bologna during your work placement in Italy? To find out more about the country, Bologna and its other cities, check out our experience in Bari in Puglia, or the top 10 most fun cities in Italy. As you’ll have gathered, Italy is an amazing country, rich in culture and with lots to offer for your work placement abroad. Italy is home to 50% of the world’s UNESCO-listed cultural heritage, so you’ll have plenty to see, even in just two months of work experience. In France, it’s already a long way round… Satisfied with these Top 10 anecdotes about Italy? Don’t hesitate to share your anecdotes with us! If not, don’t hesitate to contact the Team about your work placement in Europe, or your work placement in Italy: we’ll be able to give you all the advice you need and help you design your work placement project to make your experience rewarding, beneficial and unforgettable! Contact the team by clicking here. For more general questions, visit the International Horizons Internships Abroad FAQ.