The Italian Almanac

Did you Know


LXXXVII) While hunting rabbits, Norwegian Sven Harald Folleraas was attacked by an elk that was trying to protect its cubs. The man, being the mayor of a near village, improvised a political speech that scared the animal and chased it away.

LXXXVI) All the cars in the worls could fill a six lanes highway connecting Earth to the Moon.

LXXXV) A few years ago in Brest was published a pamphlet titled "350 reasons to hate Gerard Depardieu".

LXXXIV) French truck driver Rogers Arcens called the fire brigade to turn off flames in his load of ... fire extinguishers.

LXXXIII) In 1970 a daily in Naples informed that in the afternoon Pele' was going to train in the city stadium. Many went to the arena but the famous soccer player never showed up. It was the first of April.

LXXXII) Liz Taylor, the famous English actress, declared that she used to wash her diamonds every week.

LXXXI) A cow belongin to Mr. Holder in Newent (England) produced in a year 18,800 litres of milk.

LXXX) A copy of Michelangelo's David was exposed in Lake Alfred (Florida). After a few days and due to complaints coming from citizens, the statue was covered with a loincloth.

LXXIX) In China the filmed version of Hamlet, featuring Laurence Olivier, was titled "The Revenge of the Prince".

LXXVIII) In 1948 writer and journalist Paolo monelli refused to collaborate with Treccani Encyclopedia because he was offered the "ridicolous amount" of 4,500 lire. At that time the monthly wage for a town clerk was an average .30,000.

LXXVI) A cake of 129 square meters was made in Viterbo at April 30th, 2000. More than 2 tons of fruit and 3.060 eggs were used to prepare it.

LXXV) According to historians Voltaire used to drink more than 50 cups of coffee every day.

LXXIV) in 1988 a cat named Gribouille came back at his home in Tarnay (France) from the town of Reutlingen (Germany). He walked for no less than 600 kilometers in two years.

LXXIII) In 1926 Albert Einstein invented and patented a new model of refrigerator.

LXXII) The outstanding Euro bank notes are about 11.8 billions.

LXXI) According to experts at least three million relics are buried in open sea, carrying gold and silver coins for an estimated value of 20 billion Euros

LXX) A braid of hair can hold up a weight of 2 tons.

LXIX) The first Italian movie was "La presa di Roma" (The Sack of Rome), directed in 1905 by Filoteo Alberini.

LXVIII) 900,000 years ago in Sicily lived a dwarf specie of elephants.

LXVII) Every soldier of ancient Rome could hit a target with his javelin from a distance of 30 yards.

LXVI) During the II century Venice lagoon counted about 70 minor islands. Half of them are now totally submerged.

LXV) In 1988 Mr. Tobia Beni from Sigillo, near Perugia, found an edible mushroom weighting 51 kilos.

LXIV) Leopoldo Fregoli (1867 - 1936) was the most renown quick-change artist of his age. He also had an extraordinary vocal talent and he could sing as a tenor, baritone, and even as a soprano.

LXIII) According to a popular legend, when Venetians stole the remnants of St. Marc from Egypt in the IX century they concealed the body under a dead pig to be sure that Muslims would not touch it.

LXII) The movie "Per un pugno di dollari" by Sergio Leone was released in 1964. It signed the beginning of a popular genre called "spaghetti western", featuring in the leading role a young and unknown Clint Eastwood.

LXI) The favorite and most diffuse horse during the middle age was the Noric Horse, originally from eastern Alps. Noric horses were heavy and slow but could bear a weight of 400k, being able to carry a full armored knight.

LX) Pope Pius XI was a car collector and owned 16 cars.

LIX) In 1885 a soccer match in Scotland (Abroath vs. Bon Accord) ended with a 36 to 0 score.During the last minutes of the match the goal keeper of the winning team lighted and smoked his pipe.

LVIII) Pope John Paul II could speak fluently not only Polish and Italian, but also German, French, English, Spanish and Latin.

LVII) A little bag with dry lavender flowers in it will keep mosquitoes away.

LVI) The Chinese ideogram for 'trouble' symbolizes 'two women living under one roof'.

LV) The Roman emperor Caligula made his horse a senator.

LIV) February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.

LIII) Since 1896, the beginning of the modern Olympics, only Greece and Australia have participated in every Games.

LII) Other than humans, black lemurs are the only primates that may have blue eyes.

LI) Dracula is the most filmed story of all time, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is second and Oliver Twist is third.

L) Pinocchio is Italian for "pine head."

XLIX) The common goldfish is the only animal that can see both infra-red and ultra-violet light.

XLVIII) When a coffee seed is planted, it takes five years to yield it's first consumable fruit.

XLVII) The word "Checkmate" in chess comes from the Persian phrase "Shah Mat", which means "the king is dead".

XLVI) Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds, while dogs only have about ten.

XLV) The only city whose name can be spelled completely with vowels is Aiea, Hawaii, located approximately twelve miles west of Honolulu.

XLIV) The German Kaiser Wilhelm II had a withered arm and often hid the fact by posing with his hand resting on a sword, or by holding gloves.

XLIII) Madrid is the only European capital city not situated on a river.

XLII) The white part of your fingernail is called the lunula.

XLI) The monastic hours are matins, lauds, prime, tierce, sext, nones, vespers and compline.

XL) The Swiss flag is square.

XXXIX) The straw was probably invented by Egyptian brewers to taste in-process beer without removing the fermenting ingredients which floated on the top of the container.

XXXVIII) The slogan on New Hampshire license plates is 'Live Free or Die'. These license plates are manufactured by prisoners in the state prison in Concord.

XXXVII) Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing.

XXXVI) Barbie's measurements if she were life size: 39-23-33

XXXV) Capillary vessels in human body are very thin, their diameter varying from 0.005 to 0.030 millimeters.

XXXIV) In 2003 a 31yo Neapolitan named Giancarlo Bellingrath stayed submerged in a swimming pool for 12 minutes and 47 seconds, setting a new apnea world record.

XXXIII) Every year Italy suffers up to 15,000 forest fires, with an average of nearly one every two hours.

XXXII) Giulius II had so frequent outbursts of rage to earn the name of "Terrible Pope". He used to punch his assistants and to hit them with a heavy stick.

XXXI) The weight of all insects in the world is about 12 times the weight of the entire human race.

XXX) The Lambert glacier, stretching for 700 km in the Antarctica continent, is the longest known glacier in the world.

XXIX) In his astounding career from 1998 to 2002 the Italian trotter Varenne run 73 races, winning 62.

XXVIII) The "moka express" coffeepot was patented in 1933 by Alfonso Bialetti, since then more then 200 million mokas have been sold.

XXVII) At the end of the 15th century students used to move from university to university, following fame and celebrity of various lecturers. Niccolo' Copernicus studied medicine and mathematics in Cracow, law in Bologna, medicine again in Padua and finally graduated in Ferrara.

XXVI) In 1952 Italy registered 675,000 cars. In 2002 the number of circulating cars was over 33.7 millions.

XXV) After growing from 2 to 6 years, human hair survive for about 4 months before falling.

XXIV) The number of daily email will reach 150 billions in 2008.

XXIII) Due to a 1821 ordinance, who disturbed during a theatre performance in the kingdom of Naples could be sent to jail for 1 to 5 years.

XXII) An adult man needs about 1,800 calories a day just to survive.

XXI) Visibe light is only 5% of the power irradiated by a common electric bulb.

XX) Working as a "charlatan" is forbidden by an Italian law approved in 1931.

XIX) The first iron that ancient men could find and use was extracted from fallen meteors.

XVIII) In a short sprint a polar bear can run faster than reindeers.

XVII) To a journalist asking who was the woman he mostly loved in his life, entrepreneur Gianni Agnelli Agnelli answered: "There are two kind of men, those talking about women and those talking to women. I don't talk about women."

XVI) In April 1997 a Japanese corporation bought a very expensive car: it was a Bugatti T41 Royale coupe' and it was paid $.15,000,000.

XV) In 1995 a man grew in his kitchen garden in Genoa a lemon of 1,270 grams.

XIV) In Italian bars every day are served 28 million cups of espresso or cappuccino.

XIII) Painter Buonamico Buffalmacco lived in Florence during the XIV century and was so famous for his jokes that he also became a character in Boccaccio's "Decameron". While working in a nuns' convent he got from the sisters a large amount of their renown wine because, he said, wine is the best solvent for "frescoes" paint.

XII) According to ancient knowledge the male Incubus and the female Succubus are spirits who try to seduce men and women during their sleep.

XI) The oldest known turtle died at Tonga in 1965. It was 188 years old.

X) The first advertising program on Italian television was "Carosello" (Carousel), broadcast every night at 9pm starting from 1957. Every ad was 135 seconds long, but only the last 35 seconds could be used to actually promote the product.

IX) Theatre actor Luigi Cimarra (1891-1962) owned 365 neckties, all of them blue with white dots. Only the size of the dots was different.

VIII) During the passage of Halley Comet in 1910 there was a spreading fear that it would poison our planet with its cyanide tail. But not everyone was taking this fear seriously: in Milan's restaurants it was possible to eat "comet stew", "cyanide escalopes" and "star ice creams". A shopkeeper even exposed a sign saying "we are all going to die tonight, so pay your debts!"

VII) Dick, a bulldog owned by Count Muccioli Lupi, was very fond of coffee. The coffee was usually served to him in a bowl and the dog drank it without wasting a single drop.

VI) There are many different species of medusa, from the common little one to the "cyanea capillata" living in the deep of oceans and with a 2 meters diameter.

V) While having lunch in a restaurant Mrs. Lilliana Parodi from Genoa found herself crunching a little rough diamond. The stone was valued 4,000 Euro.

IV) During his life a man shaves about 10 yards of his beard.

III) The name of the little flower called "nontiscordardime" comes from a legend: the flower is so little that God was missing it when naming all things and so the flower had to invoke "forget me not!" Having no more names available, God named it with that same invocation.

II) The bell announcing capital executions in ancient Florence was called "la Maddalena" (the Magdalen). The same name was given to the little bells used by presidents of Italian Parliament and Senate to call for order.

I) Pope Pious XII was obsessed by oral hygiene. He used to brush his teeth many times every day with a special tooth paste, to rinse his mouth with an astringent liquid and to massage his gums with a disinfectant.