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Do as the Romans do.  I always thought that meant something scintillating, but all it really means is: It is polite, and possibly also advantageous, to abide by the customs of a society when one is a visitor.  Oh well.

Today’s map study is the beautiful country of Italy!  When I think of this place, my first thoughts are always about food.  Italian plays a part in my heritage so I can tell you that there is nothing like a homemade pasta sauce with fresh herbs and spices.  There is an art to perfect marinara. It cooks slowly all day long.  The smells that fill the house are insanely taunting.  Turns out that I have Celiac disease and all of that pasta I grew up with was tormenting my insides.  5 years ago I switched to Gluten Free fare and get to still enjoy those delicious tastes!

Some fun facts about Italy:

*  Italy is approximately 116,400 square miles (including Sicily and Sardinia), which is slightly larger than Arizona.

*  Italy is one of the most crowded nations in Europe.a Its population is estimated to reach 58,126,212 by July 2009. The population of United States is estimated to reach 307,212,123 by that same date.

*  Italy is said to have more masterpieces per square mile than any other country in the world.

*  In 2007, a dog named Rocco discovered a truffle in Tuscany that weighed 3.3 pounds. It sold at auction for $333,000 (USD), a world record for a truffle.

*  When McDonald’s opened in 1986 in Rome, food purists outside the restaurant gave away free spaghetti to remind people of their culinary heritage.

*  Parmesan cheese originated in the area around Parma, Italy. Italians also created many other cheeses, including gorgonzola, mozzarella, provolone, and ricotta. No one knows when the pizza was invented, but the people of Naples made it popular.

*Vatican City is the only nation in the world that can lock its own gates at night. It has its own phone company, radio, T.V. stations, money, and stamps. It even has its own army, the historic Swiss Guard.

*Over 50 million tourists a year visit Italy. Tourism is vital to Italy’s economy and provides nearly 63% of Italy’s national income.

Map Of Italy Italian Food Art Prints