But for Italians, the highlight of the year was Pokemon GO – that's if their Google search history is anything to go by.
The popular smartphone game topped the list of Google searches in Italy in 2016, followed by the two big events in the sporting calendar: the Rio Olympic Games and the Euro football championships.
In fourth place were the US elections (their eventual winner, Donald Trump, scored eighth place in the rankings).
'Terremoto' (earthquake) was the fifth most searched-for term, followed by Sanremo 2016 – Italy's popular song contest.
David Bowie and Bud Spencer, two of the famous figures who died in 2016, also featured in the list of the year's top ten search terms, while Brexit scored tenth place.
The search giant also revealed the most popular questions, which included 'why do married men cheat?' 'why do babies cry all the time?' and 'why are cats scared of cucumbers?'
When it came to 'how to' questions, the number one thing Italians wanted to learn how to make was coffee-flavoured ice cream, and erotic massage came in second place. The third most popular 'how to' search was for slime – it's not clear if the Googlers intended to use all three at once.
Finally, the most popular definition searches included technological and political terms, as well as words from English and Latin, and one which was invented by a schoolboy.
'What does 'idolatria' (idolatry/hero worship) mean?' was the most popular question in this category.
The other words Italians were most keen to learn this year were: 'ad maiora' (a Latin phrase meaning 'onto greater things'), Brexit, trust (the English word, which has been adopted into Italian), and 'scisma' (schism or split).
These were followed by 'taggare' (to tag on social media), 'vegano' (vegan) and 'petaloso' – a word invented by an eight-year-old boy this year, and which his teacher found so beautiful she called for it to be added to the dictionary.