|Official Name:||Italian Republic (Repubblica Italiana)|
|Area:||301,340 sq km|
|Population:||61.5 million (2013)|
|Climate:||Predominantly Mediterranean; Alpine in far north; hot, dry in south|
Did you know?
Italy is home to 2 "micro states": San Marino and Vatican City.
Are you planning to visit Italy? Ask our members their opinion on the place you're planning to visit. Chances are that one of us has been there before and can provide you with valuable feedback!
Born: February 28, 1940
Mario Gabriele Andretti is a racecar driver, and one of the most successful Americans in the history of auto racing.
Mario Andretti was born in the town of Montona d'Istria in the then Italian province of Istria. He was born with a twin brother, Aldo Andretti, to a farm administrator. Istria had been annexed to Italy after World War I, and after World War II it was annexed to Yugoslavia. In 1928, his family surname was changed from Andretich to Andretti. His family, like many other Istrians, fled the communist state of Yugoslavia during the period that is called the Istrian exodus. The 5-member Andretti family left in 1948 and lived in a refugee camp in Lucca from 1948 to 1955. As refugees, they emigrated to the United States of America and settled in Nazareth in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley in June 1955 with $125. Andretti became a naturalized United States citizen in 1964.
Andretti has competed and won in many different types of auto racing, including stock cars, midget cars, sprint cars, IndyCars, drag racing cars, sports cars, and Formula One cars. During his career, Andretti won four IndyCar titles, the 1978 Formula One World Championship, and IROC VI (the 1978 - 1979 IROC).
To date, he remains the only driver ever to win the Indianapolis 500 (1969), the Daytona 500 (1967), and the Formula One World Championship, and, along with Juan Pablo Montoya, the only driver to have won a race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Formula One, and an Indianapolis 500. No American has won a Formula One race since Andretti at the 1978 Dutch Grand Prix. Andretti had 109 career wins on major circuits.
Andretti had a long career in racing. He was the only person to be named United States Driver of the Year in three decades (1967, 1978, and 1984). He was also one of only three drivers to win races on road courses, paved ovals, and dirt tracks in one season, a feat that he accomplished four times.
At his final IndyCar win in April 1993, Andretti became the first driver to win IndyCar races in four decades and the first to win races in five decades.