|Lake Garda. Photo: https://www.rivieratravel.co.uk/
Ngoc Diep: Good day, Mr. Roberto Cajati. It’s our pleasure to have you back sharing with us some interesting facts about Italy. Last time we talked about Italy’s special terrain and food. What do you have for us today?
Roberto Cajati: Ciao again. I’m glad to be back on VOV24/7. It’s probably right to say that many have the feeling that we’ll never discover everything about Italy.
Ngoc Diep: I totally agree. Italy is the fifth most visited country in the world and it received over 62 million international visitors in 2018. It’s home to so many iconic cities and historic and beautiful landscape.
Roberto Cajati: That’s correct. And some of our favorite places to visit are the iconic cities of Rome, Pisa, Florence and Milan, along with gems like Lake Como, Assisi, Verona, Sorrento and the beautiful Isle of Capri. But not many know that the lakes of Italy are stunning, and there are over 1,500 of them scattered across the country. Surrounded by the snowy Alps and golden beaches, you can spend hours enjoying the beauty of Italy’s lakes. Sail with the stars on the famous waters of Lake Como and Lake Garda, or explore the smaller gems like Lake Iseo and Lake Ledro.
|Villa Monastero on the waterfront of Lake Como. Photo: https://www.rivieratravel.co.uk/
Ngoc Diep: It sounds amazing. A country endowed with beautiful nature and is packed with historic treasures Italy is home to many UNESCO heritages. How many are they?
Roberto Cajati: We can say that Italy has the most UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world. As of 2019, Italy is home to 55 UNESCO World Heritage sites. They tie with China as the country with the most UNESCO sites in the world. With gems like the Colosseum in Rome, the city of Pompeii, and the glorious Amalfi Coast, it’s no wonder the country receives millions of visitors each year.
Ngoc Diep: Italy is also famous for its wine. Is there any fun fact we should know about Italy’s wine?
Roberto Cajati: Sure, there is. Italy is the world’s largest wine producer. This fun fact about Italy may entice wine-lovers to visit. The country produced an enormous 54,800 hectolitres of wine in 2018, just beating out France at 49,000 hectolitres. Italy is also one of the world’s largest exporters of wine. They exported a staggering 7.3 billion USD worth of wine in 2018, with the majority going to the US, the UK, and Germany.
|Italy's wine industry cultivates a wide variety of red and white grapes that make tasty wines. Photo: https://www.decanter.com/
Ngoc Diep: Wow!!! More wow facts about Italy, please.
Roberto Cajati: Italy has the longest life expectancy in Europe. It is one of the top 5 countries in the world where people live the longest. The life expectancy in Italy is about 84 years old. Just to compare, it’s 78 years old for the US, 75 for Vietnam, and 81 for Germany. However, we also have a low birth rate and the oldest population in Europe, with 23% of the population aged over 65 years, and a median age of around 45 years.
Ngoc Diep: I’ve read that the Italian government has created some incentives for people who choose to have more than one child to try to get the birth rate numbers back towards stability. Now, tell us more about Italy’s family and people, please.
Roberto Cajati: You’re right. About Italy’s family and people, the concept of family is extremely important to Italians and it isn’t uncommon for people to live at home until they are in their 30s. You will also commonly see older members of the family being taken care of by their sons or daughters. Respect for the institution of the family is one of the core Italian values that have remained a part of the Italian identity for many years. Surely, the people of Italy will continue to honor these traditions and their families going into the future.
Ngoc Diep: What a nice tradition! And do young Italians live with their parents like many of us do in Vietnam?
Roberto Cajati: You already know that family is very important for Italians. However, you may be surprised, that 67% of Italians aged from 18 to 34 still live with their parents!
|Italy in spring. Photo: https://www.benvenutolimos.com/
Ngoc Diep: That’s really interesting to know. Now, if you have to pick one last fun fact about Italy to share with us today, what would it be?
Roberto Cajati: Well, it would be a fact that although Rome is over 2,000 years old, Italy is one of Europe’s youngest State. Italy, as an administrative unit, is less than 200 years old. However, the capital city of Rome is ancient. The city was founded in 753 BCE and has a history dating back 28 centuries. The Romans ruled over much of Europe and North Africa until 476 CE. The Italian Peninsula was then invaded by barbarian tribes from the north and later by the new powerful states such Spain and France. In spite of their small size, Italian States and City-States gave birth to Renaissance and created a powerful network of trade and financial activities in the Mediterranean region. But only in 1861 Italy reached a political unity with the Kingdom of Italy that became later a Republic in 1946.
Ngoc Diep: Thank you so much, Mr. Roberto Cajati, for joining us on VOV24/7 Cultural Rendezvous and sharing with us so many amazing facts about Italy. We wish you all the best in life.
Roberto Cajati: Thank you. Arrivederci.