From science to fashion, from art to luxury cars, Italian extraordinary creativity and ability have left their mark on the world. Click and listen to the correct pronunciation of their names
Michelangelo was born near Arezzo, in Toscana (Tuscany). He was a painter, sculptor, architect engineer, and even a poet. He is known worldwide for his frescoes in the Cappella Sistina (Sistine Chapel) in Vaticano (Vatican City). The Renaissance master painted The Last Judgment (Il Giudizio Universale) on the altar wall and nine scenes from the Book of Genesis on the ceiling. The Creation of Adam is the best known scene with the hands of God and Adam reproduced in posters and T-shirts everywhere. Michelangelo is the sculptor of the celebrated Statue of David, a symbol of beauty and strength, one of the most popular Renaissance masterpieces in the world.
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Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci was born in Vinci, a small town in Toscana (Leonardo from Vinci, in Tuscany). The man is considered a real genius. According to two different studies conducted by American psychologist Catherine Cox and Tony Buzan, the inventor of mind mapping, his IQ was around 200. More than double the range of most human beings. Leonardo was a polymath: a person who has a great knowledge and abilities in numerous fields. He was one of the greatest painters of all time, an engineer who invented hydraulic pumps, humanoid automatons, and flying machines. He was a skilled architect, but he also knew about anatomy, cartography, botany, paleontology, and many other subjects.
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Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa, the city of the famous Leaning Tower. He was a scientist, philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician. He was the first to introduce the scientific method, a new way of studying phenomena based on observation, measurement, and experiment. He improved the telescope and he was able to recognize that Mikołaj Kopernik’s (Nicolaus Copernicus) theory was right: the sun is at the centre of the solar system and the planets revolve around it. Furthermore, Galileo introduced the law of falling bodies and the concept of inertia (check the Latin pronunciation of the word Inertia).
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Cristoforo Colombo was born in Genova, in Liguria. He was an explorer and navigator who discovered the Americas in one of his expeditions. We do not know about any study disclosing his estimated IQ… which is good, considering the fact that he actually thought he had reached the East Indies. Nevertheless he left his mark in the world: thanks to his discovery, tomatoes arrived in Italy and Pizza and Bruschetta could be invented!
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Giorgio Armani is the most influential and acclaimed fashion designer in the world. His clothes have very neat and tailored lines, which always confer a modern yet elegant and classy look. According to Wikipedia, he is the one who started the red carpet fashion. As a matter of fact, Hollywood greatest stars have worn his unforgettable gowns while attending the Academy Awards event. Cate Blanchett, Naomi Watts, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sophia Loren, Julia Roberts, Jodie Foster are just few of them.
Giorgio Armani was also the first fashion designer to ban excessively skinny models from catwalks in order to fight anorexia. He is also the owner of Milan’s main basketball team: Olimpia Milano.
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Enzo Ferrari is the creator of the most luxurious car on earth: the Ferrari. He was born in Modena and he never received a formal education. He was only ten years old when he fell in love with car racing and decided to become a motor racing driver. As soon as he could, he started racing for Alfa Romeo, but after a while he decided to work in the management and development of Alfa Romeo cars. After a while he founded Scuderia Ferrari where he started producing magnificent sports cars with a little prancing horse as a logo. His cars were fast enough to race and win various Formula One championships. Ferraris are considered the most desirable cars: Elvis Presley and John Lennon owned one. Eric Clapton, David Beckham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nicolas Cage, Ashton Kutcher, Eddie Murphy and many other celebrities, still drive a Ferrari.
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Roberto Benigni was born in a small village in the province of Arezzo, in Toscana (Tuscany). He is a comedian, actor, film director and screenwriter. He gained worldwide acclaim writing, starring and directing the film Life Is Beautiful (La vita è bella). Benigni played a Jewish father who tried to shield his young son from the atrocities of a Nazi concentration camp. The film won three Academy Awards: for Best Actor, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Original Score. It was the first time that such a dreadful historical event could be depicted in such a lighthearted yet dramatic form.
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