Italians are well known for a series of both practical and artistic inventions. The piano, violin, ballet, the battery and the botanical garden. The coronary stent, combination lock and espresso machine. The film festival, law school, nuclear reactor and prosciutto. All from the hearts and minds of Italians. But one invention is a word that is universally used on a daily basis by just about everyone on the planet. An etymological reference attributed to a popular 16th century character from Italy’s Commedia dell’Arte named Pantalone, a farcical old Venetian who wore tight-fitting trousers, for which he was ridiculed. That word is “pants”.
Although Italians did not “invent” trousers (that is attributed to the 6th century horse-riding peoples of Eastern and Central Asia) the word “pants” as we know it can be etymologically connected to this comedic Italian character whose funny pants eventually caught on in France in the form of pantaloons, and elsewhere was shortened to “pants”. Today the cut, features, fabric and fit of Italian-made pants are seriously sought after and make Italian pant makers among the best in the world.