Around the World: Italy
By B. Rafael
When people think of Italy, the first thing that comes to mind is food. Many of our favorite foods are Italian in origin, like pizza, tomato sauce, and pasta. In fact, the word macaroni is Italian as is marinara which means “sailor style” in Italian. Italy is also the world’s largest producer of wine. Now that I got your appetite going, let’s continue on.
Italy is located in Southern Europe. It is famous for its boot-shaped peninsula which sticks out into the Mediterranean Sea. Italy is only slightly larger than the state of Arizona, however with a population of 60 million people, Italy has almost ten times as many people as Arizona does!
From the Alps to the Apennines, Italy is full of mountains. At 15,774 feet, the highest mountain in the Alps is Mount Blanc, which is located in… Italy.
Would you like to go visit Italy? Ranked 32nd by the Global Peace Index, Italy is considered a safe country (as compared to the US which is ranked number 129! Yikes!). It also has fairly cheap living expenses.
There are many historical landmarks in Italy. One of the most famous is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The soft ground beneath the structure caused the 18-story Tower to start leaning during construction. Standing 196 feet tall, the Tower has been a tourist attraction for over 600 hundred years. Would you like to climb up? It’s only 251 steps.
Another famous landmark is Titus’s Arch. Built in honor of Titus HaRasha when he came back to Rome after destroying the Bais Hamikdash, the Arch features engravings of the Yidden going into Golus, as well as one of the most accurate depictions of the Menorah.
There is a story of when the Ponovezher Rav was in Rome. The Rav went up to the Arch and started yelling, “Titus, Titus! Where are you and your empire now? And yet the Yidden are still around!”
Ironically, Jews today enjoy a wide variety of the country's foods in Italian Kosher restaurants all around the world.
And that brings us back to food. Italian dinners are well known for being very elaborate and with a lot of variety. Are you getting hungry? Just have some meatballs tonight. Or a baked ziti…