About Time: You Discovered Italian Inventions that Changed the WorldBy Angelica Malin
Italy may be my favourite country in the world … except for maybe the one I live in. There’s something about the culture and the history of Italy that I have been in love with ever since I first played Assassins Creed II, set in Renaissance Florence and Venice. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some Italian inventions (both cultural and practical) that have changed the world … and considering the power and prevalence of the Roman Empire, there are a lot.
Everyone has at least one pair of jeans in their wardrobe that they pull out when in need of something to wear, but can’t be bothered to dress up too nice. Most people would probably think that jeans are an American invention, due to their prevalence in American culture, but denim actually dates back to 17th century Genoa. The actual word ‘jean’ comes from the French word for the city of Genoa.
I was always under the impression that newspapers dated back to London, but I would be wrong. The newspaper was actually invented in Venice when the ruling government would release sheets of news every month to keep the population up-to-date.
Whether or not this is a good invention depends on who you ask, really, considering the still fresh baking crisis (and the real possibility of another one, soon), but regardless it is still one of the major inventions in the world and at least it led to bank holiday. Dating back to 1397, the first bank ever, opened by Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici (yep, those guys) changed the world, however I assume the original bank is quite different to your local HSBC branch…
Casino and Bingo
It makes sense that the people who invented the bank would also invent the casino and the popular game bingo, which is still played online and in local town halls up and down Britain. Whilst they didn’t invent gambling, of course, as that has been present in every society since the dawn of bartering, they did invent the casino. The first casino was actually housed in a church, of all places.
Over 100 years ago in 1901, the Italian Guglielmo Marconi sent the first transatlantic radio signal which earned him a well-deserved Nobel Prize along with his scientific partner Karl Ferdinand Braun. It wasn’t long before his invention was used on the Titanic to save over a hundred lives.
Quite possibly my favourite musical instrument of all time, the piano was invented in 1700 by a Mr Bartolomeo Cristofori who was working for one of the Medici’s (them again) at the time. I suppose after they invented the radio, they needed something to play on it and they had already invented the solution two hundred years earlier.
If you’re reading this on a phone, tablet, or computer – which you definitely will be – then you have Alessandro Volta to thank, who in 1800 created the voltaic pile (the battery, to you and me … or that thing from Breaking Bad). This invention has changed the world and is probably up there along with the wheel as one of the most significant inventions that affect us in the modern world.
And finally for the most modern invention on our list: the Jacuzzi, although it was invented earlier than you think, way back in 1949, by a Mr Jacuzzi (literally). The guy was an immigrant in America and it was first designed for medical purposes to provide comfort for pain relief for his son’s arthritis, but soon became a tool for relaxation.
And there we have it, the most famous Italian inventions that have changed the world. Some in pretty extraordinary ways like the battery and the radio, and others in lesser ways like the Jacuzzi. Also, contrary to popular belief the Italians didn’t invent pasta – that was the Chinese.