Italian inventions and discoveries are objects, processes or techniques invented, innovated or discovered, partially or entirely, by Italians.
Italian people – living in the Italic peninsula or abroad – have been throughout history the source of important inventions and innovations in the fields of writing, calendar, mechanical and civil engineering, musical notation, celestial observation, perspective, warfare, long distance communication, storage and production of energy, modern medicine, polymerization and information technology.
Italians also contributed in theorizing civil law, scientific method (particularly in the fields of physics and astronomy), double-entry bookkeeping, mathematical algebra and analysis, classical and celestial mechanics. Often, things discovered for the first time are also called inventions and in many cases, there is no clear line between the two.
The following is a list of inventions, innovations or discoveries known or generally recognized to be Italian.
Main article: Culture of Italy
Main article: Science and technology in Italy
Main article: Music of Italy
Main article: Italian cuisine
Main article: Sport in Italy
The following is an extract of the most noteworthy geographical discoveries, partially or totally Italian:
Italian history begins with the Etruscans
The codex may have been more a Roman innovation than a Greek or Eastern Mediterranean development
Translation from source (not lit.) The oldest Italian document in which the term 'engineer' appears [dates back] [...] in Genoa, 19 April 1195 [...] The first printed engineering book is Italian [...]. [Comparable with] the French Jacques Besson and the Germans Georg Agricola and Zeising, are Agostino Ramelli, Bonaiuto Lorini, Fausto Veranzio, Mariano Zonca, Famiano Strada, Giovanni Branca. The Italian engineer is often called abroad as a consultant ...
Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus, byname Cunctator, [...] Roman military commander and statesman whose cautious delaying tactics (whence the nickname "Cunctator," meaning "delayer")...
Introductory summary Fabbrica d'Armi Pietro Beretta, S.p.A., the oldest industrial firm and the oldest gunmaker in the world. From source Italy’s importance in the history of art, government, politics, warfare, and sport is recognized worldwide. [...] the advancement of technology [is] no less significant. No area of the world [played] a greater role in the evolution of firearms than the ancient Italian valley region known as Val Trompia
Amerigo Cei-Rigotti was a major in the Italian Bersaglieri (light infantry) in 1900, when his innovative self-loading rifle design was first introduced. Unlike many or the very early semiauto rifle designs, the Cei-Rigotti is a light, handy, and pretty compact rifle.
Translation creator of the torpedo; he realized a prototype, which he named salvacoste.
Though considered by many to be the first monolithic desktop stored-program programmable electronic calculator, this distinction is questionable. It appears that the Mathatronics Mathatron calculator preceeded [sic] the Programma 101 to market.
proportional compasses have, on their hands, various proportional scales [...] There are three kinds: with crossed hands, similar to the reduction compass such as the Commandino or Bürgi one; with eight spikes, such as the Mordente one; with flat hands, such as Galileo’s compass.
((cite journal)): Cite journal requires
((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
The article presents a pneumatic engine constructed by Angelo Di Pietro. [...] . A directional valve is a key element of the control system. The valve functions as a camshaft distributing air to particular engine chambers. The construction designed by Angelo Di Pietro is modern and innovative. A pneumatic engine requires low pressure to start rotary movement. [...] According to his assumptions, this engine has 94.5% efficiency, and constant high torque. Additionally, this engine does not generate vibrations and has a very low friction, allowing the engine to operate at a low supply pressure of only 1 PSI (approx. 0.07 bar)
An invention that would have earned a nod from Da Vinci himself, Angelo’s engine [...] virtually eliminates vibration, internal wear and friction.
There is no other motor as efficient as the Di Pietro Rotary Air Engine. It is 100% more efficient than any other air powered engine built to date and its high torque makes it the first air engine suitable for mobile applications.
Prince Piero Ginori Conti invents the first geothermal power plant at the Larderello dry steam field in Tuscany, Italy.
[Piero Ginori Conti] idea was to exploit geothermal vapour as a source of energy. On 4 July 1904 he used a simple generator consisting of a dynamo running off geothermal heat to successfully turn on five light bulbs.
Translation In 1827, in Larderello, a group of engineers and scientists exploited the steam contained in a geyser for industrial purposes (boric acid extraction)
The mitred canal gate, [...] may have been invented by Leonardo da Vinci for the San Marco Lock in Milan...
nel 1893 montò il motore a benzina [...] su una ruota di propulsione per una bicicletta ordinaria, realizzando così la prima motocicletta. Translatation in 1893 he mounted the petrol engine [...] on a propulsion wheel for an ordinary bicycle, thus realizing the first motorcycle.
((cite web)): Missing or empty
'Translation The real revolution comes with the Campagnolo Gran Sport gearbox, which became a milestone in technical evolution. [...] Also for the first time the front derailleur appeared
The Marconi Company was suing the United States Government for use of its patents [...]. The action [was avoided] by restoring the priority of Tesla's patent over Marconi.
in 1906 [...] Dr Ettore Bellini and Captain Tosi, produced a direction-finding system which [...] in principle remained in use for over 70 years.
Translation [Radiogoniometer] is the oldest and one of the most important instruments for radio-assisted navigation. [...]. Conceived by A. Artom (1901), also known by the name of r. Bellini-Tosi (1908).
In order to be able to transmit and receive to or from any direction whatsoever, without having to turn the aerial, or having recourse to a large number of aerials in fixed positions, the aerials were built up of two equal closed oscillatory circuits, vertically placed and mutually perpendicular. This aerial system is connected up to special instruments for transmission and reception which the authors have called ‘‘Radiogoniometers." [...]. On this [original] method, by merely rotating a small coil of wire on the table, a fixed aerial directive system of any size was made to do what could otherwise only be done by turning the whole system of aerial wires in azimuth. The essence of the system was the piece of apparatus styled the radiogoniometer, which, by causing appropriate component radiation from two fixed wire triangles set at right angles, brought about a resultant radiation in any direction desired [...] so that if it can be used, as stated by the Authors, accurately to about one degree of arc, the radiogoniometer is the practical equivalent of 360 bent antennae.
Artom (1867-1927) was a scientist, inventor of the directional radio antenna and radiogoniometer
Translation the first RFID system designed for civil use [...] is due to inventor of Italian origins Mario W. Cardullo.
In 1973 Mario Cardullo was the first person to patent a RFID tag with the ability to have specific information written on it that was actually rewritable.
Translation Mario Cardullo, Author of the first patent related to RFID (1973), which is the base of contact-less mobile payments
By complying with the type already used in fixed telephony, Tim will in fact launch a product capable of eliminating the constraints of fixed costs. This will be possible thanks to ´Ready to go ', the first prepaid sim card.
Translation On 7 August 1922 a patent is registered in Los Angeles and signed Augusto Bissiri. The idea is to improve the Nipkow disk by obtaining a series of lines of light then converted into light signals and recreated in an electromechanical vision system.
Ingegnere Secondo Campini, inventor of the thermojet [...] In 1931 he and his two brothers moved to Milan and formed the Veivoli e Natanti a reazione
First Jet Airplane on public record was Caproni-Campini plane of Italian air force
Via researchgate.net CASPER architecture is inspired by Caproni-Campini CC2 indirect jet, with ducted fan and post-combustor
Translation The history of the torpedo is associated with that of its inventors, the Italian G. B. Luppis, [...] and the engineer R. Whitehead.
Translation The ET 101 was the first electronic typewriter in the world, a record to share with the QYX, of the Exxon Corporation, which never entered production
Translation To design the scooter (the first in the world to have a load-bearing body) was the engineer from Abruzzo Corradino D'Ascanio.
Translation Bartolomeo Gosio [...] discovered [...] the first true antibiotic
Interested in questions about generation, Spallanzani performed the first artificial insemination of a viviparous animal, a spaniel dog, a feat he recognized as one of his greatest accomplishments.
More than 100 years later, in 1784, the first artificial insemination in a dog was reported by the scientist Lazzaro Spallanzani (Italian physiologist, 1729-1799). This insemination resulted in the birth of three puppy’s 62 days later (Belonoschkin, 1956; Zorgniotti, 1975). It is believed that Spallanzani was the first to report the effects of cooling on human sperm when he noted, in 1776, that sperm cooled by snow became motionless.
[Fabrizio d'Adda di Fagagna] work described a class of non-coding RNAs entirely new, the Ddrna
We have recently identified a completely hitherto undiscovered level of control of DDR activation [...]. We have discovered that short RNA species are detectable at DNA damage sites and are necessary for DDR activation at DNA lesions. [IFOM Fondazione Istituto Firc Di Oncologia Molecolare]
"His great work, however, is the Dissertationi de fisica animale e vegetale (2 vols., 1780). Here he first interpreted the process of digestion, which he proved to be no mere mechanical process of trituration, but one of actual solution, taking place primarily in the stomach, by the action of the gastric juice."
Edward Stevens was the first to perform [...] in vitro digestion successfully and proved that the gastric juice itself contained the active principle necessary for the assimilation of food [...] [Lazzaro Spallanzani] postulated that digestion was by an acid and, in 1783, he finally concluded that digestion in vitro as well as in vivo was a chemical process.
Spallanzani's researches on digestion [...] proved in a decisive manner that digestion is not a simple mechanical process, but one of true solution, occurring mainly in the stomach under the influence of the gastric juice.
Translation We discovered the gene responsible for MS4A4A 10 years ago in tumor-associated macrophages, but the role of the protein it codified has been clarified [only] recently - explains Massimo Locati, professor of immunology at the University of Milan...
((cite journal)): Cite journal requires
((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
it follows that improvement of the current pertussis vaccine can begin with two steps: (i) removal of the nonessential vaccine components; and (ii) improving the essential component PTx by using a nondenatured, genetically detoxified mutant, one of which has been shown to be a better immunogen
Okairos, a Swiss-Italian biotechnology company now part of GlaxoSmithKline
Translation The vaccine with which the World Health Organization has decided to fight the Ebola epidemic that hit Africa [...] will be Italian. [The virus] could be counteracted by the product studied by the Italian company Okairos. Much of the merit of the discovery goes to the founder of the pharmaceutical company, Riccardo Cortese [...]
Translation For five years Professor Riccardo Cortese [...] was developing this vaccine which - he explains to IlFattoQuotidiano.it - "has an approach different from the others because, in addition to developing antibodies against the infectious agent, it acts on the "killer cells" [...] The Italian vaccine is different by nature from Zmapp [...]
There are then innumerable suns, and an infinite number of earths revolve around those suns, just as the seven we can observe revolve around this sun which is close to us. [...] we discern only the largest suns, immense bodies. But we do not discern the earths because, being much smaller, they are invisible to us [...] We see that no part of the earth shineth by her own brightness, but that some parts shine by reflection from elsewhere, as for example her watery region and her vaporous atmosphere which receive heat and light from the sun and can transfer both to the surrounding regions.
The person generally considered responsible for the school of classical theory on crime is the Italian Cesare Beccaria.[...] The positivist perspective was first embraced by the "holy three of criminology": Cesare Lombroso (1835 – 1909), Raffaele Garofalo (1852 – 1934), and Enrico Ferri (1856 – 1929)...
Bonaparte Family, Italian Buonaparte [...]. The French form Bonaparte was not commonly used, even by Napoleon, until [...] 1796.
This comprehensive work discusses all aspects of the writ of habeas corpus and its jurisdiction in English common law [...] and a thorough history of the writ that traces its history to the Roman edict.
((cite journal)): Cite journal requires
I remember that in 1641 [...] [Galilei] had the idea of coupling a pendulum to a mechanical clock, with the hope that the isochronical pendulum motion could compensate the clock defects. But he was blind, so he could not draw sketches for a prototype. One day his son Vincenzo came to Arcetri from Florence [...]. Finally they agreed on how to start testing in practice what the theoretical model suggested. Viviani writes this text in a memory dated 1659, seventeen years after the Galileo’s death, and three years after the publication of the Christian Huygens’ patent on the pendulum clock.
((cite journal)): Cite journal requires
Translation [S. Corrado] studies mainly concern the projective geometry of hyperspaces and the first phase of algebraic geometry [...][and] projective-differential geometry.
Translation (not lit.) [For uniformly accelerated motion] Considering the two diagrams of distance [1; s(t)] and speed [2; v(t)] as a function of time, Torricelli ascertained that the ordinates of the  (curve of) distances are proportional to the areas enclosed by  the (line of) speeds, while the ordinates of  the points of the velocity are the angular coefficients of the tangents of the  space curve. [...] Leibniz wrote of the most sublime geometry were initiators and promoters and they worked valiantly in it, Cavalieri and Torricelli; others then, ...
Translation Volterra is considered the founder of Functional Analysis [...]. If by real function of a real variable we mean a correspondence that associates another real number to a real number, with the word functional we designate a correspondence that associates an element of any set [generalization of independent variable] with a real number.
[De Ludo Aleae, Cardano] So there is one general rule, namely, that we should consider the whole circuit, and the number of those casts which represents in how many ways the favorable result can occur, and compare that number to the rest of the circuit, and according to that proportion should the mutual wagers be laid so that one may contend on equal terms.
Translation (not lit.) [the book features] techniques for the extraction, processing and smelting of metals (gold, silver, copper, lead, tin, iron, steel and brass). The author then classifies natural non-metallic substances, such as sulfur, antimony, manganese, saltpeter and cobalt blue (mentioned here for the first time) ...
Forget the Mona Lisa. Da Vinci's biggest legacy could have been his studies of the fossil record
Translation Born in Bergamo 65 years ago, Andrea Viterbi found himself [...] living in the United States, as his family had fled to escape anti-Semitic persecution. American by adoption, but profoundly Italian in spirit, Viterbi has tried to take the best from the two countries, [...] obtaining great successes: [...] he has developed an algorithm that is at the base of the main international standards of mobile telephony, including GSM. He is founder of Qualcomm ...
Translation The Gini much loved by Barack Obama is Corrado, [...] The US president relies on the "Gini coefficient" whenever he wants to attract the focus on social inequalities.
Translation R.G Boscovich, one of the most representative Croatian and European scientists [...] most of his life spent in Italy.
Translation (not lit.) Ruđer Josip Bošković [...]. His father Nicholas (Nikola) was a Serbian merchant. His mother Pavica Bettera (Betere) was of Italian origin. [...] For Hamilton The atomic theory of which I speak is roughly that of Boscovich and consists in the representation of all the phenomena of motion as produced by the action of local energies of attraction or repulsion, each of which centered in space: and this center [...] is hypothesized as a mathematical point.
((cite web)): Missing or empty
In 1526, Bartolomeo was paid by the Arsenal of Venice to make 185 arquebus barrels, making the Beretta company the oldest manufacturing company in the world.
Translation (not lit.) [Beretta] is considered the oldest industry in the world, given that it is the oldest of all the companies recognized by Les Hènokiens, the French association that groups [...] [companies with] proven continuity of family management. Translation from historical source, 1562 Through the Val Trompia runs the river Mella, as it has been said, which moves machinery and contrivances, and the valley has very few cultivated lands [...]. And there are eight ovens for iron distinctly placed, and around forty forges where it is done steel and iron of every sort, who one thing, who another. Rifles of every kind are made, muskets with all the supplies (all the parts that make a complete weapon), harquebuses, crossbows and bombards, bales of artillery, carabines, weapons of all kinds for use on the ground, on horses and ships, other fire weapons and various battle instruments. Every year about twenty-five-thousand rifles are taken from this valley, and exported by merchants to foreign states. This valley is abundant in iron, because all these mountains are full of it [...], so much that they furnish XV ovens.
Translation Les Hénokiens is an international club reserved for thirty-eight major industrial dynasties with at least two hundred years of history. Like the Bortolo Nardini. Italy boasts fourteen names, against the eleven French and the three Germans. Standing out are the Amarelli di Cosenza, founded in 1731, the Fratelli Piacenza (1733), the Fabbrica d’Armi Pietro Beretta (1526).
[Symphony] in the sense of "sounding together," [...] begins [...] [with] 16th- and 17th-century composers including Giovanni Gabrieli’s Sacrae symphoniae [...]; Adriano Banchieri’s Eclesiastiche sinfonie [...]; Lodovico Grossi da Viadana’s Sinfonie musicali [...]; and Heinrich Schütz’s Symphoniae sacrae...