It's not just popular around Italy, according Wikipedia it's the second most abundant mineral in the Earth's crust. Not only is it abundant, but nearly every ancient culture revered quartz for different reasons. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Australian Aboriginals, and Romans all used quartz crystals as talismans. The Romans used rose quartz as a seal to signify ownership, and the Egyptians believed the stone could prevent aging.
It's often found in passage tomb cemeteries around Europe, such as Newgrange or Carrowmore in Ireland. The Irish word for quartz is grianchloch, which means "Sunstone." This has resulted in a number video games referring to it as a Sunstone. Quartz was also used in Prehistoric Ireland, and many other countries, to make stone tools; both vein quartz and rock crystal were knapped as part of the lithic technology of prehistoric people.
Made from one of the hardest minerals on earth, quartz countertops are one of the most durable options for kitchens. However, unlike natural-stone slabs, which are mined, these slabs are engineered in a factory. They are made of a little over 90% ground quartz and the other 10 percent is made up of Polyester resins and pigments.
Until recently people would refrain from using quartz as a countertop because it lacked the beautiful patterns and color variations you can get with natural stones such as marble and granite. But thanks to plenty of technological advancements that is no longer the case, we now have the ability to make quartz slabs that have a variety of flakes and swirls to generate random patterns that can make quartz slabs absolutely stunning. Finally able to rival the natural beauty of marble and granite.