Nowadays, one of the first thoughts that strikes our mind when we think of Italy, is – the boot-shaped image of the Italian Peninsula. But, yeah, boots began to look like Italy in fairly recent times.
In 2nd century B.C, Polibio compared the shape of Italy to a triangle and a century later, Stabone saw it as a quadrangle, while circa 78 A.D., Pliny described it in his Natural History as resembling an oak leaf. It was circa 16th century when the boot shape came out as one of the most prominent features of ‘the land of calf.’ The name of Italy derives from the Latin Italia, through the Greek Víteliú (vitulus ‘calf’) and takes after the symbol of the southern Italic tribes depicted as a bull.
Within the boot-shaped country, there are two other independent states, the smallest republic in the world – The Vatican City (with an area of 0.44km2), and the world’s oldest sovereign state – San Marino (founded in 301 A.D.)
And the peculiarities do not end up here, as the Islands of Sardinia, second biggest in Italy, are famous for their witches, believed to produce health potions and to use a secret language that they pass to their daughters. And then, there is also the haunted island of Poveglia, where in 1922 a mental hospital was built to see many lobotomies and the death of the main doctor, who threw himself from the hospital tower, driven mad by ghosts.
Italy loves spooky traditions, and is equally found of superstitions. Mind you, the Roman Emperor Augustus always put on his right shoe first, and how to blame him, when the Latin word for ‘left’ was, indeed, sinister.
And the modern Italian culture is full with plenty of superstitions, just to mention that it is common hotels not to have a 17th floor, as the number is considered unlucky by the locals, based on the ground that when the Roman numeral for 17 (XVII) is rearranged it turns into VIXI, ‘I have lived,’ a symbol that is associated with death.
And deadly mass accidents are not uncommon in the European country with the most volcanoes, the highest mountain in Europe, and that suffers the most earthquakes on the continent.
And as danger naturally unites people, Italians place a very high value on blood bonds and the family usually stands at the heart of Italian society. Often extending to children living with their parents until their mid 30s., which is understandable considering the heavenly delicious way Italian mothers cook, along with the common matriarchal structure of Italian families.
Yeah, Italian men are warm blooded and tempered, but it is usually the woman in the centre of the family. And Italy went a step further in limiting the rights of male, by forbidding men to wear skirts or to touch their genitals in public.
And for those who are allowed to wear skirts, Italy is just the right place, as the heart of fashion and the home to the first-ever shopping mall, built by Emperor Trajan in Rome, circa 110 A.D.
The Eternal City, once the most powerful city state in the world, is nowadays still a major EU and international financial and business centre and Italy is the 3rd-largest national economy in the Euro Zone, viewed as an ideal country in which to expand a business internationally.
And when your business is planning an expansion into the Italian-speaking market, EVS Translations is your ideal partner for all your corporate Italian language needs. At your request, we can assemble specialist Italian translator teams for your industry sector and thereby produce high-quality Italian translations in line with international standards.
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