Answers to June Trivia Questions
Question #1/Where does Italy get its name?
The name Italy (Italia) is an ancient name for the country and people of Central Italy. Mythological roots of the name date back to a legendary ancient king named ‘Italus’, though a more likely origin may be from an ancient Oscan word, in English: ‘veal’, as Italy was a land rich in cattle since ancient times. The name Italia was imposed upon the Roman Republic by the conquering Italic tribes of the contemporary Abruzzo region, centering in the area of Corfinio. Coins bearing the name Italia were minted by an alliance of Italic tribes.
Question #2/What does the word Minestrone mean?
Minestrone (Italian: minestra [soup] + -one [augmentative suffix] Hence “the big soup,” the one with many ingredients) is the name for a variety of thick Italian soups made with vegetables, often with the addition of pasta or rice. Common ingredients include beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock, and tomatoes.
Question #3/When did mount Vesuvius first erupt?
When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, Pompeii, a small settlement at the base of the volcano, was instantly buried in ash and soot. The ruins of Pompeii were first discovered by workmen in 1599, but it wasn’t until 1874 that the Bourbon’s ruler of southern Italy instigated a serious campaign to uncover the site. In 1863, an important development occurred on the site. When his workers informed the director that they’d discovered bones inside several cavities, he ordered them to stop work and arranged for a mixture of plaster and water to be poured into the holes. When the plaster dried and was removed, it revealed the clearly defined forms of four dead bodies, even capturing the expressions on their faces. From that point on, a large number of plaster casts were made of the Pompeii victims.
Question #4/What are the 11 different wines mainly grown in Italy?
1. Sangiovese – Italy’s claim to fame, the pride of Tuscany and a great Italian red wine. It produces Chianti (Classico), Rosso di Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino, Rosso di Montepulciano, Montefalco Rosso, and many others.
2. Nebbiolo – The most noble of Italy’s varietals.
The name (meaning “little fog”) refers to the autumn fog that blankets most of Piedmont where it is grown, a condition the grape seems to enjoy. It is a somewhat difficult varietal to master, but produces the most renowned Barolo and
Barbaresco, made in province of Cuneo, along with the lesser-known Sforzato, Inferno and Sassella made in Valtellina, Ghemme and Gattinara, made in Vercelli’s province. Traditionally produced Barolo can age for fifty years-plus, and is regarded by many wine enthusiasts as the greatest wine of Italy.
3. Montepulciano – The grape of this name is not to be confused with the Tuscan town of Montepulciano; it is most widely planted on the opposite coast in Abruzzo.
4. Barbera – The most widely grown red wine grape of Piedmont and Southern Lombardy, most famously around the towns of Asti and Alba, and Pavia. The wines of Barbera were once simply “what you drank while waiting for the Barolo to be ready.” With a new generation of wine makers, this is no longer the case.
5. Corvina – Along with the varietals rondinella and molinara, this is the principal grape which makes the famous wines of the Veneto: Valpolicella and Amarone. Valpolicella wine has dark cherry fruit and spice. After the grapes undergo passito (a
drying process), the wine is now called Amarone, and is extremely high in alcohol (16% and up) and full of raisin, prune, and syrupy fruits. Some Amarones can age for 40+ years and command spectacular prices. In December 2009, there was celebration when the acclaimed Amarone di Valpolicella was finally awarded its long-sought
DOCG status, alongside the other top Italian red wines.
6. Nero d’Avola – Nearly unheard of in the international market until recent years, this native varietal of Sicily is gaining attention for its plummy fruit and sweet tannins. The quality of nero d’avola has surged in recent years.
7. Dolcetto – A grape that grows alongside Barbera and Nebbiolo in Piedmont, its name means “little sweet one””, referring not to the taste of the wine, but the ease in which it grows and makes great wines, suitable for everyday drinking.
8. Negroamaro – The name literally means “black and bitter”. A widely planted grape with its concentration in the region of Puglia, it is the backbone of the Salice Salentino: spicy, toasty, and full of dark red fruits.
9. Aglianico – Considered the “noble varietal of the south,” it is primarily grown in Campania and Basilicata. The name is derived from Hellenic, so it is considered a Greek transplant.
10. Sagrantino – A native to Umbria, it is only planted on 250 hectares, but the Italian red wine produced from it (either blended with Sangiovese as Rosso di Montefalco or as a pure Sagrantino) are world-renowned.
11. Malvasia Nera – Red Malvasia varietal from Piedmont. A sweet and perfumed wine, sometimes elaborated in the passito style.
Question #5/Who are the 6 prominent fashion designers born in Italy?
1. Armani: Legendary Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani was born on 11 July 1934 in Piacenza. His career began as an assistant designer for Nino Cerruti, but he left in 1970 to work as a freelancer. With a partner, Sergio Galeotti, he established the Armani label four years later.
2. Dolce & Gabbana: Domenico Dolce, born in 1958, near Palermo, Sicily, and Stefano Gabbana, born in 1962 in Milan, began as a couple, but separated in 2005. Unlike others in a similar situation, they were able to continue their business partnership and achieve outstanding success with their sleek and stylish clothing designs.
3. Ferré Born in Legnano on 15 August 1944, Gianfranco Ferré originally graduated as an architect in 1969 but began designing accessories a year later. He started his own company in 1974 and launched his first women’s collection in 1978, followed by his first men’s collection in 1982, and his first couture collection in 1986. Ferré became Stylistic Director of Christian Dior in Paris from 1989 to 1997.
4. Prada Prada was founded by Mario Prada as a leather goods shop in Milan, Italy. After his death in the mid1950s, Mario’s daughter-in-law ran the company for almost twenty years, succeeded by her daughter, Miuccia Prada, in 1970. Miuccia, born Maria Bianchi on 10 May 1949, had a Ph.D. in Political Science but with her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, set about expanding Prada’s product line. In 1979 she released a set of backpacks and totes, followed by a nylon tote. A shoe line was released in 1984, the classic Prada handbag in 1985, and a women’s wear collection in 1989. Prada’s popularity skyrocketed and it became identified with affluent working women who held demanding jobs. Men’s ready-to-wear collections were launched in the mid-1990s. Prada’s originality made it one of the most influential Italian fashion designers, and the brand became a premium status symbol in the 1990s.
5. Valentino: Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani, best known as Valentino, was born on 11 May 1932 in Voghera, Lombardy. Valentino became interested in fashion while in primary school when he apprenticed under his aunt Rosa and local designer Ernestina Salvadeo. At 17, he moved to Paris where he studied. In 1959 he decided to return to Italy and set up in Rome.
6. Versace: Gianni Versace (December 2, 1946 – July 15, 1997) was an Italian fashion designer and founder of Versace, an international fashion house which produces accessories, fragrances, makeup and home furnishings as well as clothes. He also designed costumes for the theatre and films. Giovanni (Gianni) Versace was born in Reggio di Calabria, Italy, on December 2, 1946, where he grew up with his older brother Santo and younger sister Donatella, along with their father and dressmaker mother, Francesca. Versace began his apprenticeship at a young age, helping his mother find precious stones and gold braid for embroidering dresses. He studied architecture before moving to Milan at the age of 26 to work in fashion design. Versace was shot dead on July 15, 1997, aged 50, on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion as he returned from his morning walk.
Question #6/Which person is not an Italian Inventor and what did these inventors invent?
Nikola Tesla–Serbian-American/alternating current
Enrico Fermi—Italian/nuclear reactor