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The Top 10 Italian Inventions That Have Changed the World

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Italians are known for their explorers, famous opera singers and brilliant chefs. But what we might not be aware of is that Italians are also great inventors. In fact, many objects that we use in our daily lives would not be there if curious, imaginative and skillful Italian folk had not created them!

These are 10 Italian inventions that most of us use daily:


After long historical debates it has been proven that the inventor of Cologne was Gian Paolo Feminis. He emigrated to the small city of Cologne, in Germany from a village near Santa Maria Maggiore in Piemonte, where he passed his secret recipe on to a fellow villager, Giovanni Maria Farina.

In 1708 Giovanni Maria Farina wrote to his brother; “I have discovered a scent that reminds me of a spring morning in Italy, of mountain narcissus, orange blossom just after the rain. It gives me great refreshment, strengthens my senses and imagination.” He would come to name this new composition Eau de Cologne.

In 1709 Gian Paolo Feminis made his own cologne, called “Aqua Admirabilis”- which quickly became one of Napoleon’s favorites.

Ice cream cone

“Would you like a cup or a cone?” – has become an ordinary question that we answer almost without thinking. It is hard for us to imagine that only a hundred years ago ice-cream was sold in serving glasses called “penny licks” (because you had to lick the ice cream from the glass, and it cost a penny to do so). As you can guess, it was not very sanitary, nor convenient. Glasses would break; people would often walk off with them and on hot summer days, the poor ice vendors were not able to keep up with demand, because they were constantly washing glasses returned by other customers.

Fortunately, in 1896 an enterprising salesman, Italo Marchiony,started selling the first edible containers filled with ice cream. Seven years later he also obtained a patent for a machine that produced edible ice cream cones that many of us like so much.


‘Pizza’ is one of the very few words which is understood all over the world. And there is no doubt about the origin of this cheesy snack. The first pizza was “invented” in Naples around 1860s and was served without cheese. In 1889 to impress Queen Margherita of Savoy during her visit to Naples, she was served a pizza resembling the colors of the Italian flag, red (tomato), white (mozzarella) and green (basil). Rumors have it that she loved it and the delighted Neapolitans named this type of pizza after the queen – Pizza Margherita.


The thirteenth century Italian monk, Salvino D’Armate is credited with inventing wearable eye glasses, complete with convex and concave lenses. The first eyeglasses were balanced on the bridge of the nose, as stems were introduced four centuries later.

The espresso machine

You might ask yourself what inspired a person to invent an espresso machine? The answer is simple – frustration! In 1903 Luigi Bezzera, the owner of a manufacturing business in Milan, became really frustrated with how long it took his employees to take their coffee break. He figured that if he could find a way to speed up the coffee making process, his employees would spend less time on their coffee breaks and more time working. His coffee maker (which he patented the same year) used a combination of water and steam, forced under high pressure, to brew the coffee at a rapid pace. Bezzera called his new method “espresso,” which in Italian means “pressed out.” Despite his brilliant invention, his employees continue to take long coffee breaks, spending less time brewing the coffee and more time enjoying it. J

The typewriter

There is no single answer to the question who was the first real inventor of the typewriter? What we do know is, that in 1808, Pellegrino Turri supplied a typewriter to a blind countess whose letters have been preserved up to this day.


What can be better than a warm, freshly-baked pretzel sprinkled with salt crystals and dipped in yellow mustard dressing? Surprisingly enough, we have an Italian monk to thank for this yummy treat. In 610, he was baking unleavened bread for Lent when he had a brilliant idea to reward the small children who had learned their prayers. He twisted the dough so it looked like arms crossing the chest in supplication, baked it, and named it “pretiola”, or “little reward” in Latin. When ‘pretiola’ arrived in Germany, they started to call it ‘bretzel’.And 1400 years later we are still munching on the monk’s delicious invention.


The first violin was created by Andrea Amati in Cremona. The knowledge of violin making continued to pass through the Amati family for several generations. Eventually, the highly prized and secret method of creating violins found its way to two men: Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737) and Andrea Guarneri (1626-1698). Very few violins from this era still exist, they are the most expensive and most highly prized violins today. The Vieuxtemps Guarneri violin, named after a 19th century musician Henri Vieuxtemps, was put up for auction this year for an astounding price of $18 million, making it the most expensive musical instrument in the world!

Modern Banks

Strange as it may sound, the first modern banks appeared not in Switzerland, but in Genoa in 12th century. During this time there was a need to transfer large sums of money to finance the Crusades, allowing the movement of money without the usual risk of robbery while traveling. In 1156 two Genoese brothers borrowed 115 pounds and agreed to reimburse the bank’s agents in Constantinople the sum of 460 bezants one month after their arrival in that city. This is known as the earliest foreign exchange contract.It is worth mentioning that the world’s oldest bank still in business can also be found in Italy. It is the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena and it has been operating since 1472.


The invention of the Jacuzzi (pronounced “Yakutzi” in Italy) is often attributed to Roy Jacuzzi, an Italian immigrant to the US. However, there is some evidence that the real inventor was Candido Jacuzzi, who in 1968 incorporated jets into the sides of the tub to help his 15-month-old son, suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, relieve pain.

It is certain that after the Jacuzzi Brothers introduced their Whirlpool bath at a California’s Orange County Fair, it quickly became a symbol of a luxurious lifestyle!

Source by Anthony H. Burton

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