Even though moneylending can be traced back to ancient Rome or Greece, the first institutions for saving and other monetary transactions were started by the famous Italian Medici family. The first-ever bank was founded in 1397 in Florence. Italy is also home to Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the oldest bank still operating today that opened in 1472.
The piano was invented by an Italian maker of musical instruments, Bartolomeo Cristofori. He was unsatisfied with the lack of control over the volume of the harpsichord – a keyboard instrument similar to the piano in which the strings are plucked. He replaced the plucking mechanism with a hammer and created the modern piano. No wonder many great musicians and composers come from Italy!
What would we do without batteries? There would be no cellphones, no tablets, no laptops, no nothing. Luckily, around 1800, an Italian physicist Alessandro Volta built his first simple battery. It consisted of altering piles of copper (or silver) and zinc separated by a piece of cloth or paper soaked in either sodium hydroxide or brine and was known as the “voltaic pile”.
Even though faxes are not really used anymore, they were once an essential part of the means of communication. The first fax machine was invented by Alexander Bain, a Scottish mechanic and inventor, in 1843. However, it was the Italian physicist Giovanni Caselli who introduced the first commercial telefax service between Paris and Lyon in 1865. Eleven years later, the telephone was invented.
The radio is probably one of the most important inventions of humankind. Italian inventor and electrical engineer Guglielmo Marconi developed the first idea of radio in the 1890s. In 1895, he succeeded in sending a wireless Morse Code message to a source that was more than a kilometer away. In 1901, he sent and received the first transatlantic radio signal. This invention also won him a Nobel prize in Physics.
It comes as no surprise that the legendary Moka pot was invented by an Italian. The first Moka express stovetop espresso maker, made by an aluminum workshop owner Alfonso Bialetti, saw the light of day in 1933. Today, it is an essential item in nearly every Italian household.
“Jacuzzi” is a word often associated with luxury and relaxation. However, did you know that it was originally invented to relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis? It was Candido Jacuzzi’s 15-month-old son who developed this disease. Unluckily, at that time, hydrotherapy facilities recommended by the doctor were available only in communal hospitals and spas. That’s why Candido and his wife decided to bring a similar tub home in 1949. In 1968, the first hot tub was sold to the public.