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how did italy get its name?

Well no one knows for sure but it seems "Italia" comes from VÍTELIÚ, an Oscan word meaning "land of young cattle". (Similar to vitello in Italian which means "calf" or "veal".)

Oscan was a language spoken mainly in Southern Italy from about 500 to 100 BCE. When the Romans took over it went extinct.

The most famous Oscan-speakers were the Samnites, a tribe who even the Romans feared as very fierce warriors. Still today people in certain parts of Campania, Puglia, Molise and Abruzzo often refer to their territory as il Sannio (or Samnium as the Romans called it, the nation of the Samnites).

Anyhow some experts say the name originally applied to Calabria only. Others that it was imposed on the young Roman Republic by conquering tribes from today's Abruzzo. It was later applied to the whole peninsula by Emperor Augustus as a province of the Empire, and the name stuck.


Tutorino helps you learn Italian in Toronto. Our lessons aren't good...They're a figata!

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