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Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the
Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest and most extensive mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt i ...

Alps
and several islands surrounding it, whose territory largely coincides with the homonymous geographical region. Italy is located in the centre of the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
, in
Southern Europe Southern Europe is the southern region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth a ...

Southern Europe
; it is also considered part of
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical r ...

Western Europe
. A
unitary Unitary may refer to: * Unitary construction, in automotive design a common term for unibody (unitary body/chassis) construction * Lethal Unitary Chemical Agents and Munitions (Unitary), as chemical weapons opposite of Binary * Unitarianism, in Chr ...
parliamentary republicThe Parliamentary Republic can refer to: * A republican form of government with a Parliamentary system A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democracy, democratic government, governance of a sovereign state, state (o ...
with
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
as its capital and largest city, the country covers a total area of and shares
land borders This is a list of countries and territories by land borders. The number of distinct land borders of each country or territory is indicated as well the names of its neighbouring countries and territories. The length of each land border is included, ...
with
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning Western Europe and Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Ame ...

France
,
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
,
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastli ...

Austria
,
Slovenia Slovenia ( ; sl, Slovenija ), officially the Republic of Slovenia (Slovene: , abbr.: ''RS''), is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, lin ...

Slovenia
, as well as the
enclaved An enclave is a territory (or a part of one) that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state. Enclaves may also exist within territorial waters. ''Enclave'' is sometimes used improperly to denote a territory that is only partly s ...
microstates Image:BlankMap-World-v6 small states.png, upright=1.4, Map of the smallest states in the world by land area. Note many of these are not considered microstates A microstate or ministate is a sovereign state having a very small population or very ...
of
Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Città del Vaticano; la, Status Civitatis Vaticanae),—' * german: Vatikanstadt, cf. '—' (in Austria: ') * pl, Miasto Watykańskie, cf. '—' * pt, Cidade do Vatica ...

Vatican City
and
San Marino San Marino (, ), officially the Republic of San Marino ( it, Repubblica di San Marino; ), also known as the Most Serene Republic of San Marino ( it, Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino, links=no), is a small country (and a European microstate) ...

San Marino
. Italy has a territorial
exclave An enclave is a territory (or a part of one) that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state. Enclaves may also exist within territorial waters. ''Enclave'' is sometimes used improperly to denote a territory that is only partly ...
in Switzerland (
Campione
Campione
) and a maritime exclave in
Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia in northern Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is one of several larg ...

Tunisia
n waters (
Lampedusa Lampedusa (; scn, Lampidusa ; grc, Λοπαδοῦσσα, Lopadoussa) is the largest island of the Italian Pelagie Islands in the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Medite ...
). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the third-most populous member state of the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
. Due to its central geographic location in
Southern Europe Southern Europe is the southern region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth a ...

Southern Europe
and the Mediterranean, Italy has historically been home to myriad peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout what is now modern-day Italy, the most predominant being the
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with those of the northern Indian subcontinent and the Iranian Plateau. Some European languages of ...
Italic peoples The Italic peoples were an ethnolinguistic group An ethnolinguistic group (or ethno-linguistic group) is a group that is unified by both a common ethnicity An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the ...
who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the
classical Classical may refer to: European antiquity *Classical antiquity, a period of history from roughly the 7th or 8th century B.C.E. to the 5th century C.E. centered on the Mediterranean Sea *Classical architecture, architecture derived from Greek and ...
era,
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3.0 ...
ns and
Carthaginians The Punics, Carthaginians or Western Phoenicians, were a group of peoples in the Western Mediterranean who traced their origins to the Phoenicians. In modern scholarship, the term 'Punic' – the Latin equivalent of the Greek-derived term 'Phoen ...
founded
colonies In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administration of the original country of the colonizers, the metropole, metropolitan ...

colonies
mostly in
insular Italy Insular Italy ( it, Italia insulare or just , meaning "islands") is one of the five official statistical regions of Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting ...
,
Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has cer ...
established settlements in the so-called ''
Magna Graecia Magna Graecia (, ; Latin meaning "Greater Greece", grc, Μεγάλη Ἑλλάς, ', it, Magna Grecia) was the name given by the Roman people, Romans to the coastal areas of Southern Italy in the present-day regions of Campania, Apulia, Basilicat ...

Magna Graecia
'' of
Southern Italy Southern Italy ( it, Sud Italia; nap, 'o Sudde; scn, Italia dû Sud), also known as ''Meridione'' or ''Mezzogiorno'' (, literally "Midday"; in nap, 'o Miezojuorno; in scn, Mezzujornu), is a macroregionA macroregion is a geopolitical subdivisi ...
, while
Etruscans The Etruscan civilization () of List of ancient peoples of Italy, ancient Italy covered a territory, at its greatest extent, of roughly what is now Tuscany, western Umbria, and northern Lazio, as well as what are now the Po Valley, Emilia-Romagna ...
and
Celts The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: Celtic a collection of Indo-European peoples The Indo-European languages ar ...

Celts
inhabited
central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions and generalised locations * Central Africa, a region in the centre of Africa ...
and northern Italy respectively. An Italic tribe known as the
Latins The Latins were originally an Italic tribe in ancient central Italy from Latium Latium ( , ; ) is the region of central western Italy in which the city of Rome was founded and grew to be the capital city of the Roman Empire. Definition La ...
formed the
Roman Kingdom The Roman Kingdom, also referred to as the Roman monarchy, or the regal period of ancient Rome, was the earliest period of Roman history The history of Rome includes the history of the Rome, city of Rome as well as the Ancient Rome, civilis ...
in the 8th century BC, which eventually became a
republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...
with a government of the
Senate and the People
Senate and the People
. The
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
initially conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the Italian peninsula, eventually expanding and conquering parts of
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered ...

Europe
,
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
and
Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area of , about 30% of Earth's total lan ...

Asia
. By the first century BC, the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
emerged as the dominant power in the
Mediterranean Basin In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin (also known as the Mediterranean region or sometimes Mediterranea) is the region of lands around the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by ...
and became a leading cultural, political and religious
centre Center or centre may refer to: Mathematics *Center (geometry) In geometry, a centre (or center) (from Ancient Greek language, Greek ''κέντρον'') of an object is a point in some sense in the middle of the object. According to the speci ...
, inaugurating the
Pax Romana The ''Pax Romana'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to ...
, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundari ...
,
technology Technology ("science of craft", from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. I ...
,
economy An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products ( ...
,
art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use o ...
, and
literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expan ...
developed. During the
Early Middle Ages The Early Middle Ages or Early Medieval Period, sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages, is typically regarded by historians as lasting from the late 5th or early 6th century to the 10th century. They marked the start of the Middle Ages ...
, Italy endured the
fall of the Western Roman Empire The fall of the Western Roman Empire (also called the fall of the Roman Empire or the fall of Rome) was the loss of central political control in the Western Roman Empire, a process in which the Empire failed to enforce its rule, and its vast ...
and
barbarian invasions The Migration Period or better known as the Barbarian Invasions (from the Roman and Greek perspective) was a period in the history of Europe, during and after the decline of the Roman Empire, decline of the Western Roman Empire, during which the ...
, but by the 11th century numerous rival
city-states A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French ''souverain'', which is ultimately derived from the Latin Latin (, or ...
and
maritime republics The maritime republics ( it, repubbliche marinare), also called merchant republics ( it, repubbliche mercantili), of the Mediterranean Basin were Thalassocracy, thalassocratic city-states in Italy in the Middle Ages, Italy and Dalmatia during th ...
, mainly in the northern and central regions of Italy, became prosperous through trade, commerce, and banking, laying the groundwork for modern
capitalism Capitalism is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea o ...

capitalism
. These mostly independent statelets served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East, often enjoying a greater degree of
democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to cho ...

democracy
than the larger
feudal Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe between the 9th and 15th centuries. Broadly defined, it was a way of structuring society ...
monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe; however, part of central Italy was under the control of the
theocratic Theocracy is a form of government in which a deity A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines deity as "a God (male deity), god or goddess (in a polytheistic relig ...

theocratic
Papal States The Papal States ( ; it, Stato Pontificio), officially the State of the Church ( it, Stato della Chiesa, ; la, Status Ecclesiasticus; also '), were a series of territories in the Italian Peninsula The Italian Peninsula (Italian Ital ...
, while
Southern Italy Southern Italy ( it, Sud Italia; nap, 'o Sudde; scn, Italia dû Sud), also known as ''Meridione'' or ''Mezzogiorno'' (, literally "Midday"; in nap, 'o Miezojuorno; in scn, Mezzujornu), is a macroregionA macroregion is a geopolitical subdivisi ...
remained largely feudal until the 19th century, partially as a result of a succession of
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It surviv ...

Byzantine
,
Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, : , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, : , Arabic pronunciation: ) are an mainly inhabiting the . In modern usage the term refers to those who originate from an Arab co ...
,
Norman Norman or Normans may refer to: Ethnic and cultural identity * The Normans The Normans (Norman language, Norman: ''Normaunds''; french: Normands; la, Nortmanni/Normanni) were inhabitants of the early medieval Duchy of Normandy, descended from ...
,
Angevin Angevin or House of Anjou may refer to: *Anjou, a historic province in western France **Angevin (language), the traditional langue d'oïl spoken in Anjou **Counts and Dukes of Anjou *House of Ingelger, a Frankish noble family who were counts of Anjo ...
,
Aragonese Aragonese or Aragones may refer to: * Something related to Aragon, an autonomous community and former kingdom in Spain * the Aragonese people, those originating from or living in the historical region of Aragon, in north-eastern Spain * the Aragone ...
, and other foreign conquests of the region. The
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in
humanism Humanism is a philosophical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively. The meaning of the term ''humanism'' has fluctuated according to the successive intellectual movements which have ident ...
,
science Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern science is a discovery as well as an invention. ...
,
exploration Exploration is the act of searching for the purpose of discovery Discovery may refer to: * Discovery (observation) Discovery is the act of detecting something new, or something previously unrecognized as meaningful. With reference to scienc ...
, and
art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use o ...
. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars, artists, and
polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, , "having learned much"; la, homo universalis, "universal human") is an individual whose knowledge spans a substantial number of subjects, known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific prob ...

polymath
s. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers discovered new routes to the
Far East The Far East is a term to refer to the geographical regions that includes East and Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeaster ...
and the
New World The "New World" is a term for the majority of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The re ...
, helping to usher in the European
Age of Discovery The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration (sometimes also, particularly regionally, Age of Contact or Contact Period), is an informal and loosely defined term for the early modern period approximately from the 15th century to the 18th century ...
. Nevertheless, Italy's commercial and political power significantly waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of foreign meddling and conquest, and the rivalry and infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the
Italian Wars The Italian Wars, often referred to as the Great Wars of Italy and sometimes as the Habsburg–Valois Wars, were a long series of wars fought between 1494 and 1559 in Italy during the Renaissance. The Italian peninsula, economically advanced bu ...
of the 15th and 16th centuries, left Italy politically fragmented, and it was further conquered and divided among multiple foreign European powers over the centuries. By the mid-19th century, rising
Italian nationalism Italian nationalism is a movement which claims that the Italians are a nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common culture, and, in many cases, a shared territory. A nation i ...
and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division,
Italy was almost entirely unified
Italy was almost entirely unified
in 1861 following a war of independence, establishing the
Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state that existed from 1861—when King Victor Emmanuel II of Kingdom of Sardinia, Sardinia was proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy, proclaimed King of Italy—until 1946, when civil discontent l ...
. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy rapidly industrialised, mainly in the north, and acquired a
colonial empire A colonial empire is a collective of territories (often called colonies), either contiguous with the imperial center or located overseas, settled by the population of a certain state and governed by that state. Example:- Mughal Empire The ...

colonial empire
, while the south remained largely impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential
diaspora A diaspora () is a scattered population whose origin lies in a separate geographic locale. Historically, the word diaspora was used to refer to the mass dispersion of a population from its indigenous territories, specifically the dispersion ...
. Despite being one of the victorious allied powers in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of the
Italian fascist Italian Fascism ( it, fascismo italiano), also known as Classical Fascism or simply Fascism, is the original fascist Fascism () is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppres ...
dictatorship in 1922. Participation in
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
on the
Axis Axis may refer to: Politics *Axis of evil The phrase "axis of evil" was first used by U.S. President George W. Bush in his State of the Union address on January 29, 2002, less than five months after the 9/11 attacks, and often repeated t ...
side ended in military defeat, economic destruction, and
civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independen ...
. Following the rise of the
Italian Resistance The Italian resistance movement ( it, Resistenza italiana or just ) is an umbrella term for Italian resistance groups during World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a World war, glob ...
and the
liberation of Italy#REDIRECT Italian campaign (World War II)#REDIRECT Italian campaign (World War II) {{redr, {{R from other capitalisation {{R from move ...
{{redr, {{R from other capitalisation {{R from move ...
, the country abolished its
monarchy A monarchy is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a ...
, established a democratic Republic, enjoyed a prolonged
economic boom The business cycle, also known as the economic cycle or trade cycle, are the fluctuations of gross domestic product Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced in a sp ...
, and became a highly
developed country A developed country (or industrialized country, high-income country, more economically developed country (MEDC), advanced country) is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized governm ...
. Italy has an advanced economy. The country is the eighth-largest by nominal GDP (third in the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
), the sixth-largest by national wealth and the third-largest by central bank
gold reserve A gold reserve was the gold Gold is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Au (from la, aurum) and atomic number 79, making it one of the higher atomic number elements that occur naturally. In a pure form, it is a brightn ...
. It ranks highly in
life expectancy Life expectancy is a statistical measure of the average time an organism is expected to live, based on the year of its birth, its current age, and other demographic Demography (from prefix ''demo-'' from Ancient Greek Ancien ...

life expectancy
, quality of life,The Economist Intelligence Unit's quality-of-life index
, Economist, 2005
healthcare Healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health Health, according to the , is "a state of complete physical, and social and not merely the absence of and ".. (2006)''Constitution of the World Health Organization''– ''Basic Docume ...
, and education. The country is a great power and it has a significant role in
regional In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography Image:Snow-cholera-map-1.jpg, upright=1.2, Original map by John Snow showing the Cluster (ep ...
and global ("''The United States is the sole world's superpower. France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom are great powers''") ("''The great powers are super-sovereign states: an exclusive club of the most powerful states economically, militarily, politically and strategically. These states include veto-wielding members of the United Nations Security Council (United States, United Kingdom, France, China, and Russia), as well as economic powerhouses such as Germany, Italy and Japan.''") economic, military, cultural, and diplomatic affairs. Italy is a
founding Founding may refer to: * The formation or of a corporation, government, or other organization * The laying of a building's Foundation (engineering), Foundation * The casting of materials in a mold See also

* Foundation (disambiguation) * Inc ...
and
leading In typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that are stored in the type case shown below it Typography is the art and technique of typesetting, arranging type to make writ ...
member of the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
and a member of numerous international institutions, including the United Nations, NATO, the OECD, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Trade Organization, the Group of Seven, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Latin Union, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area, and Foreign relations of Italy#International institutions, many more. The source of List of Italian inventions and discoveries, many inventions and discoveries, the country has long been a global centre of Italian art, art, Music of Italy, music, Italian literature, literature, Italian philosophy, philosophy, Science and technology in Italy, science and technology, and Italian fashion, fashion, and has greatly influenced and contributed to diverse fields including Cinema of Italy, cinema, Italian cuisine, cuisine, Sport in Italy, sports, jurisprudence, banking, and business. As a reflection of Culture of Italy, its cultural wealth, Italy has the world's World Heritage Sites by country#Countries with major concentrations of World Heritage Sites, largest number of List of World Heritage Sites in Italy, World Heritage Sites (58), and is the World Tourism rankings, fifth-most visited country.


Name

Hypotheses for the etymology of the name "Italia" are numerous.Alberto Manco, ''Italia. Disegno storico-linguistico'', 2009, Napoli, L'Orientale, One is that it was borrowed via Ancient Greek from the Oscan language, Oscan ''Víteliú'' 'land of calves' (''cf.'' Latin, Lat ''vitulus'' "calf", Umbrian language, Umb ''vitlo'' "calf"). Ancient Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus states this account together with the legend that Italy was named after Italus, mentioned also by Aristotle and Thucydides. According to Antiochus of Syracuse, the term Italy was used by the ancient Greeks to initially refer only to the southern portion of the calabria, Bruttium peninsula corresponding to the modern province of Province of Reggio Calabria, Reggio and part of the provinces of Catanzaro and Vibo Valentia in southern Italy. Nevertheless, by his time the larger concept of Oenotria and "Italy" had become synonymous, and the name also applied to most of Lucania as well. According to Strabo's ''Geographica'', before the expansion of the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
, the name was used by ancient Greeks to indicate the land between the strait of Messina and the line connecting the gulf of Salerno and gulf of Taranto, corresponding roughly to the current region of Calabria. The ancient Greeks gradually came to apply the name "Italia" to a larger region In addition to the "Magna Graecia, Greek Italy" in the south, historians have suggested the existence of an "Etruscan Italy" covering variable areas of central Italy. The borders of Roman Italy, ''Italia'', are better established. Cato's ''Origines'', the first work of history composed in Latin, described Italy as the entire peninsula south of the
Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest and most extensive mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt i ...

Alps
. According to Cato and several Roman authors, the Alps formed the "walls of Italy". In 264 BC, Roman Italy extended from the Arno and Rubicon rivers of the centre-north to the entire south. The northern area of Cisalpine Gaul was occupied by Rome in the 220s BC and became considered geographically and ''de facto'' part of Italy, but remained politically and ''de jure'' separated. It was legally merged into the administrative unit of Italy in 42 BC by the triumvir Octavian as a ratification of Caesar's unpublished acts (''Acta Caesaris''). The islands of Sardinia, Corsica, Sicily and Malta were added to Italy by Diocletian in 292 AD., coinciding with the whole Italian geographical region. All its inhabitants were considered ''Italic'' and ''Roman''.Strabo, ''Geographica'', V, 1,1. The Latin term ''Italicus'' was used to describe "a man of Italy" as opposed to a Roman province, provincial. For example, Pliny the Elder notably wrote in a letter ''Italicus es an provincialis''? meaning "are you an Italian or a provincial?". The adjective ''italianus'', from which are derived the Italian (and also French and English) name of the Italians, is Middle Latin, medieval and was used alternatively with Italicus during the early modern period. After the
fall of the Western Roman Empire The fall of the Western Roman Empire (also called the fall of the Roman Empire or the fall of Rome) was the loss of central political control in the Western Roman Empire, a process in which the Empire failed to enforce its rule, and its vast ...
, which was caused by the invasion of the Ostrogoths, the Kingdom of Italy (Ostrogothic), Kingdom of Italy was created. After the Lombards, Lombard invasions, "Italia" was retained as the name for Kingdom of the Lombards, their kingdom, and for its Kingdom of Italy (Holy Roman Empire), successor kingdom within the Holy Roman Empire, which nominally lasted until 1806, although it had ''de facto'' disintegrated due to Guelphs and Ghibellines, factional politics pitting the empire against the ascendant Italian city-states, city republics in the 13th century.


History


Prehistory and antiquity

Thousands of Lower Paleolithic artefacts have been recovered from Monte Poggiolo, dating as far back as 850,000 years. Excavations throughout Italy revealed a Neanderthal presence dating back to the Middle Palaeolithic period some 200,000 years ago, while Anatomically modern humans, modern humans appeared about 40,000 years ago at Riparo Mochi. Archaeological sites from this period include Grotta dell'Addaura, Addaura cave, Altamura Man, Altamura, Homo cepranensis, Ceprano, and Gravina in Puglia. The Ancient peoples of Italy, Ancient peoples of pre-Roman Italy – such as the Umbrians, the
Latins The Latins were originally an Italic tribe in ancient central Italy from Latium Latium ( , ; ) is the region of central western Italy in which the city of Rome was founded and grew to be the capital city of the Roman Empire. Definition La ...
(from which the ancient Rome, Romans emerged), Volsci, Oscans, Samnites, Sabines, the
Celts The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: Celtic a collection of Indo-European peoples The Indo-European languages ar ...

Celts
, the Ligures, the Adriatic Veneti, Veneti, the Iapygians, and many others – were
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with those of the northern Indian subcontinent and the Iranian Plateau. Some European languages of ...
peoples, most of them specifically of the Italic peoples, Italic group. The main historic peoples of possible non-Indo-European or pre-Indo-European languages, pre-Indo-European heritage include the Etruscans of central and northern Italy, the Elymians and the Sicani in Sicily, and the history of Sardinia, prehistoric Sardinians, who gave birth to the Nuragic civilisation. Other ancient populations being of undetermined language families and of possible non-Indo-European origin include the Rhaetian people and Cammuni, known for their Rock Drawings in Valcamonica, rock carvings in Valcamonica, the largest collections of prehistoric petroglyphs in the world. A well-preserved natural mummy known as Ötzi the Iceman, determined to be 5,000 years old (between 3400 and 3100 BCE, Copper Age), was discovered in the Similaun glacier of South Tyrol in 1991. The first foreign colonisers were the
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3.0 ...
ns, who initially established colonies and founded various emporiums on the coasts of Sicily and Sardinia. Some of these soon became small urban centres and were developed parallel to the ancient Greek colonies; among the main centres there were the cities of Motya, Zyz (modern Palermo), Soluntum in Sicily, and Nora, Italy, Nora, Sulci, and Tharros in Sardinia. Between the 17th and the 11th centuries BC Mycenaean Greece, Mycenaean Greeks established contacts with Italy and in the 8th and 7th centuries BC a number of Greek colonies were established all along the coast of Sicily and the southern part of the Italian Peninsula, that became known as
Magna Graecia Magna Graecia (, ; Latin meaning "Greater Greece", grc, Μεγάλη Ἑλλάς, ', it, Magna Grecia) was the name given by the Roman people, Romans to the coastal areas of Southern Italy in the present-day regions of Campania, Apulia, Basilicat ...

Magna Graecia
. Ionians, Ionian settlers founded Velia, Elaia, Cumae, Kyme, Rhegion, Naxos, Zanclus, Zankles, Himera, Hymera, and Katane. Doric Greek, Doric colonists founded Taras, Italy, Taras, Syrakousai, Megara Hyblaea, Megara Hyblaia, Leontinoi, Akragas, Gela, Ghelas; the Syracusans founded Ankon (Picenum), Ankón and Adria; the megarese founded Selinunte. The Achaeans (tribe), Achaeans founded Sybaris, Poseidonia, Crotone, Kroton, Locri Epizefiri, Lokroi Epizephyrioi, and Metapontum; Tarantine, tarantini and Thurii, thuriots found Eraclea, Herakleia. The Greek colonization of Italy, Greek colonization places the
Italic peoples The Italic peoples were an ethnolinguistic group An ethnolinguistic group (or ethno-linguistic group) is a group that is unified by both a common ethnicity An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the ...
in contact with democratic forms of government and with high artistic and cultural expressions.


Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome, Rome, a settlement around a ford on the river Tiber in central Italy conventionally Founding of Rome, founded in 753 BC, was ruled for a period of 244 years by a Roman Kingdom, monarchical system, initially with sovereigns of Latins (Italic tribe), Latin and Sabines, Sabine origin, later by Etruscan kings. The tradition handed down seven kings: Romulus, Numa Pompilius, Tullus Hostilius, Ancus Marcius, Tarquinius Priscus, Servius Tullius and Tarquinius Superbus. In 509 BC, the Romans Overthrow of the Roman monarchy, expelled the last king from their city, favouring a government of the
Senate and the People
Senate and the People
(SPQR) and establishing an Roman Republic, oligarchic republic. The Italian Peninsula, named Italia, was consolidated into a single entity during the Roman Roman expansion in Italy, expansion and conquest of new lands at the expense of the Samnite Wars, other Italic tribes, Roman–Etruscan Wars, Etruscans, Roman–Gallic wars, Celts, and Pyrrhic War, Greeks. A Socii, permanent association with most of the local tribes and cities was formed, and Rome began the conquest of Western Europe, Northern Africa and the History of the Middle East#Greek and Roman Empire, Middle East. In the wake of Julius Caesar's rise and Assassination of Julius Caesar, death in the first century BC, Rome grew over the course of centuries into a massive Roman empire, empire stretching from Roman Britain, Britain to the borders of Mesopotamia (Roman province), Persia, and engulfing the whole Mediterranean basin, in which Greek and Roman and many other cultures merged into a unique Greco-Roman world, civilisation. The long and triumphant reign of the first emperor, Augustus, began a golden age of peace and prosperity. Roman Italy remained the metropole of the empire, and as the homeland of the Romans and the territory of the capital, maintained a special status which made it ("ruler of the Roman province, provinces", the latter being all the remaining territories outside Italy). More than Pax Romana, two centuries of stability followed, during which Italy was referred to as the ("governor of the world") and ("parent of all lands"). The Roman Empire was among the most powerful economic, cultural, political and military forces in the world of its time, and it was one of the List of largest empires, largest empires in world history. At its height under Trajan, it covered 5 million square kilometres. The Roman Legacy of the Roman Empire, legacy has deeply influenced Western civilisation, shaping most of the modern world; among the many legacies of Roman dominance are the widespread use of the Romance languages derived from Latin, the Roman numerals, numerical system, the modern Western Latin alphabet, alphabet and Western calendar, calendar, and the emergence of Christianity as a major world religion. The Indo-Roman trade relations, beginning around the 1st century BCE, testify to extensive Roman trade in far away regions; many reminders of the commercial trade between the Indian subcontinent and Italy have been found, such as the ivory statuette Pompeii Lakshmi from the ruins of Pompeii. In a slow Decline of the Roman Empire, decline since the third century AD, the Empire split in two in 395 AD. The Western Roman Empire, Western Empire, under the pressure of the
barbarian invasions The Migration Period or better known as the Barbarian Invasions (from the Roman and Greek perspective) was a period in the history of Europe, during and after the decline of the Roman Empire, decline of the Western Roman Empire, during which the ...
, eventually dissolved in 476 AD when its last emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was deposed by the Germanic chief Odoacer. The Eastern Roman Empire, Eastern half of the Empire survived for another thousand years.


Middle Ages

After the
fall of the Western Roman Empire The fall of the Western Roman Empire (also called the fall of the Roman Empire or the fall of Rome) was the loss of central political control in the Western Roman Empire, a process in which the Empire failed to enforce its rule, and its vast ...
, Italy fell under the power of Odoacer's Kingdom of Italy (476–493), kingdom, and, later, was seized by the Ostrogoths, followed in the 6th century by a brief Gothic War (535–554), reconquest under Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, Justinian. The invasion of another Germanic peoples, Germanic tribe, the Lombards, late in the same century, reduced the Byzantine presence to the rump realm of the Exarchate of Ravenna and started the end of political unity of the peninsula for the next 1,300 years. Invasions of the peninsula caused a chaotic succession of barbarian kingdoms and the so-called "Dark Ages (historiography), dark ages". The Lombard kingdom was subsequently absorbed into the Frankish Empire by Charlemagne in the late 8th century. The Franks also helped the formation of the
Papal States The Papal States ( ; it, Stato Pontificio), officially the State of the Church ( it, Stato della Chiesa, ; la, Status Ecclesiasticus; also '), were a series of territories in the Italian Peninsula The Italian Peninsula (Italian Ital ...
in central Italy. Until the 13th century, Italian politics was dominated by the relations between the Holy Roman Emperors and the Papacy, with most of the Italian city-states siding with the former (Ghibellines) or with the latter (Guelphs) for momentary convenience. The Germanic Emperor and the Roman Pontiff became the universal powers of medieval Europe. However, the conflict over the investiture controversy (a conflict between two radically different views of whether secular authorities such as kings, counts, or dukes, had any legitimate role in appointments to ecclesiastical offices) and the clash between Guelphs and Ghibellines led to the end of the Imperial-feudal system in the north of Italy where city-states gained independence. It was during this chaotic era that Italian towns saw the rise of a peculiar institution, the medieval commune. Given the power vacuum caused by extreme territorial fragmentation and the struggle between the Empire and the Holy See, local communities sought autonomous ways to maintain law and order. The investiture controversy was finally resolved by the Concordat of Worms. In 1176 a league of city-states, the Lombard League, defeated the German emperor Frederick Barbarossa at the Battle of Legnano, thus ensuring effective independence for most of northern and central Italian cities. Italian city-states such as Milan, Florence and Venice played a crucial innovative role in financial development, devising the main instruments and practices of banking and the emergence of new forms of social and economic organization. In coastal and southern areas, the
maritime republics The maritime republics ( it, repubbliche marinare), also called merchant republics ( it, repubbliche mercantili), of the Mediterranean Basin were Thalassocracy, thalassocratic city-states in Italy in the Middle Ages, Italy and Dalmatia during th ...
grew to eventually dominate the Mediterranean and monopolise trade routes to the Orient. They were independent Thalassocracy, thalassocratic city-states, though most of them originated from territories once belonging to the Byzantine Empire. All these cities during the time of their independence had similar systems of government in which the merchant class had considerable power. Although in practice these were oligarchical, and bore little resemblance to a modern
democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to cho ...

democracy
, the relative political freedom they afforded was conducive to academic and artistic advancement. The four best known maritime republics were Republic of Venice, Venice, Republic of Genoa, Genoa, Republic of Pisa, Pisa and Republic of Amalfi, Amalfi; the others were Ancona#Maritime Republic of Ancona, Ancona, Duchy of Gaeta, Gaeta, Republic of Noli, Noli, and Republic of Ragusa, Ragusa. Each of the maritime republics had dominion over different overseas lands, including many Mediterranean islands (especially Sardinia and Corsica), lands on the Adriatic, Aegean, and Black Sea (Crimea), and commercial colonies in the Near East and in North Africa. Venice maintained enormous tracts of land in Greece, Cyprus, Istria, and Dalmatia until as late as the mid-17th century. Venice and Genoa were Europe's main gateways to trade with the East, and producers of fine glass, while Republic of Florence, Florence was a capital of silk, wool, banking, and jewellery. The wealth such business brought to Italy meant that large public and private artistic projects could be commissioned. The republics were heavily involved in the Crusades, providing support and transport, but most especially taking advantage of the political and trading opportunities resulting from these wars. Italy first felt the huge economic changes in Europe which led to the commercial revolution: the Republic of Venice was able to Sack of Constantinople, defeat the Byzantine Empire and finance the voyages of Marco Polo to Asia; the first universities were formed in Italian cities, and scholars such as Thomas Aquinas obtained international fame; Frederick of Sicily made Italy the political-dolce stil novo, cultural centre of a reign that temporarily included the Holy Roman Empire and the Kingdom of Jerusalem; capitalism and banking families emerged in Florence, where Dante and Giotto were active around 1300. In the south, Sicily had become an Emirate of Sicily, Islamic emirate in the 9th century, thriving until the Italo-Normans conquered it in the late 11th century together with most of the Lombard and Byzantine principalities of southern Italy. Through a complex series of events, southern Italy developed as a unified kingdom, first under the House of Hohenstaufen, then under the Capetian House of Anjou and, from the 15th century, the House of Aragon. In Sardinia, the former Byzantine provinces became independent states known in Italian as Sardinian medieval kingdoms, Judicates, although some parts of the island fell under Genoese or Pisan rule until eventual Aragonese annexation in the 15th century. The Black Death pandemic of 1348 left its mark on Italy by killing perhaps one third of the population. However, the recovery from the plague led to a resurgence of cities, trade, and economy, which allowed the blossoming of Humanism and
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
that later spread to Europe.


Early Modern

Italy was the birthplace and heart of the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
during the 1400s and 1500s. The Italian Renaissance marked the transition from the medieval period to the modern age as Europe recovered, economically and culturally, from the crises of the Late Middle Ages and entered the Early Modern Period. The Italian polities were now regional states effectively ruled by Princes, ''de facto'' monarchs in control of trade and administration, and their courts became major centres of the Arts and Sciences. The Italian princedoms represented a first form of modern states as opposed to feudal monarchies and multinational empires. The princedoms were led by Political family, political dynasties and merchant families such as the Medici in Florence, the Visconti of Milan, Visconti and Sforza in the Duchy of Milan, the Doria (family), Doria in the Republic of Genoa, the House of Loredan, Loredan, Mocenigo and Barbarigo family, Barbarigo in the Republic of Venice, the House of Este, Este in Ferrara, and the House of Gonzaga, Gonzaga in Mantua. The Renaissance was therefore a result of the wealth accumulated by Italian merchant cities combined with the patronage of its dominant families.Strathern, Paul ''The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance'' (2003) Italian Renaissance exercised a dominant influence on subsequent European painting and sculpture for centuries afterwards, with artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Brunelleschi, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Raphael, Giotto, Donatello, and Titian, and architects such as Filippo Brunelleschi, Leon Battista Alberti, Andrea Palladio, and Donato Bramante. Following the conclusion of the western schism in favour of Rome at the Council of Constance (1415–1417), the new Pope Martin V returned to the
Papal States The Papal States ( ; it, Stato Pontificio), officially the State of the Church ( it, Stato della Chiesa, ; la, Status Ecclesiasticus; also '), were a series of territories in the Italian Peninsula The Italian Peninsula (Italian Ital ...
after a three years-long journey that touched many Italian cities and restored Italy as the sole centre of Western Christianity. During the course of this voyage, the Medici Bank was made the official credit institution of the Papacy, and several significant ties were established between the Church and the new political dynasties of the peninsula. The Popes' status as elective monarchs turned the conclaves and papal consistory, consistories of the Renaissance into political battles between the courts of Italy for primacy in the peninsula and access to the immense resources of the Catholic Church. In 1439, Pope Eugenius IV and the Byzantine Emperor John VIII Palaiologos signed a reconciliation agreement between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church at the Council of Florence hosted by Cosimo de Medici, Cosimo ''the old'' de Medici. In 1453, Italian forces under Giovanni Giustiniani were sent by Pope Nicholas V to defend the Walls of Constantinople but the decisive battle was lost to the more advanced Turkish army equipped with cannons, and Fall of Constantinople, Byzantium fell to Sultan Mehmed II. The fall of Constantinople led to the migration of Greek scholars in the Renaissance, Greek scholars and texts to Italy, fueling the rediscovery of Greco-Roman Humanism.Encyclopædia Britannica, ''Renaissance'', 2008, O.Ed.Har, Michael H. ''History of Libraries in the Western World'', Scarecrow Press Incorporate, 1999, Norwich, John Julius, ''A Short History of Byzantium'', 1997, Knopf, Humanist rulers such as Federico da Montefeltro and Pope Pius II worked to establish ideal city, ideal cities where ''man is the measure of all things'', and therefore founded Urbino and Pienza respectively. Pico della Mirandola wrote the ''Oration on the Dignity of Man'', considered the manifesto of Renaissance Humanism, in which he stressed the importance of free will in human beings. The humanist historian Leonardo Bruni was the first to divide human history in three periods: Antiquity, Middle Ages and Modernity. The second consequence of the Fall of Constantinople was the beginning of the
Age of Discovery The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration (sometimes also, particularly regionally, Age of Contact or Contact Period), is an informal and loosely defined term for the early modern period approximately from the 15th century to the 18th century ...
. Italian List of Italian explorers, explorers and navigators from the dominant maritime republics, eager to find an alternative route to the Indies in order to bypass the Ottoman Empire, offered their services to monarchs of Atlantic countries and played a key role in ushering the
Age of Discovery The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration (sometimes also, particularly regionally, Age of Contact or Contact Period), is an informal and loosely defined term for the early modern period approximately from the 15th century to the 18th century ...
and the European colonization of the Americas. The most notable among them were: Christopher Columbus, colonizer in the name of Spain, who is credited with discovering the New World and the opening of the Americas for conquest and settlement by Europeans; John Cabot, sailing for England, who was the first European to set foot in "New Found Land" and explore parts of the North American continent in 1497; Amerigo Vespucci, sailing for Portugal, who first demonstrated in about 1501 that the New World (in particular Brazil) was not Asia as initially conjectured, but a fourth continent previously unknown to people of the Old World (America is named after him); and Giovanni da Verrazzano, at the service of France, renowned as the first European to explore the Atlantic coast of North America between Florida and New Brunswick in 1524. Following the fall of Constantinople, the wars in Lombardy came to an end and a defensive alliance known as Italic League was formed between Venice, Naples, Florence, Milan, and the Papacy. Lorenzo de Medici, Lorenzo ''the Magnificent'' de Medici was the greatest Florentine patron of the Renaissance and supporter of the Italic League. He notably avoided the collapse of the League in the aftermath of the Pazzi Conspiracy and during the Siege of Otranto, aborted invasion of Italy by the Turks. However, the military campaign of Charles VIII of France in Italy caused the end of the Italic League and initiated the
Italian Wars The Italian Wars, often referred to as the Great Wars of Italy and sometimes as the Habsburg–Valois Wars, were a long series of wars fought between 1494 and 1559 in Italy during the Renaissance. The Italian peninsula, economically advanced bu ...
between the Valois and the Habsburgs. During the High Renaissance of the 1500s, Italy was therefore both the main European battleground and the cultural-economic centre of the continent. Popes such as Pope Julius II, Julius II (1503–1513) fought for the control of Italy against foreign monarchs, others such as Pope Paul III, Paul III (1534–1549) preferred to mediate between the European powers in order to secure peace in Italy. In the middle of this conflict, the Medici popes Pope Leo X, Leo X (1513–1521) and Pope Clement VII, Clement VII (1523–1534) opposed the Protestant reformation and Caterina de Medici, advanced the interests of their family. The end of the wars ultimately left northern Italy indirectly subject to the Austrian Habsburgs and
Southern Italy Southern Italy ( it, Sud Italia; nap, 'o Sudde; scn, Italia dû Sud), also known as ''Meridione'' or ''Mezzogiorno'' (, literally "Midday"; in nap, 'o Miezojuorno; in scn, Mezzujornu), is a macroregionA macroregion is a geopolitical subdivisi ...
under direct Spanish Habsburg rule. The Papacy remained independent and launched the Counter-reformation. Key events of the period include: the Council of Trent (1545–1563); the excommunication of Elizabeth I (1570) and the Battle of Lepanto (1571), both occurring during the pontificate of Pope Pius V, Pius V; the construction of the Gregorian Tower, Gregorian observatory, the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, and the Jesuit China mission of Matteo Ricci under Pope Gregory XIII; the French Wars of Religion; the Long Turkish War and the execution of Giordano Bruno in 1600, under Pope Clement VIII; the birth of the Lyncean Academy of the
Papal States The Papal States ( ; it, Stato Pontificio), officially the State of the Church ( it, Stato della Chiesa, ; la, Status Ecclesiasticus; also '), were a series of territories in the Italian Peninsula The Italian Peninsula (Italian Ital ...
, of which the main figure was Galileo Galilei (later put Galileo affair, on trial); the final phases of the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) during the pontificates of Pope Urban VIII, Urban VIII and Pope Innocent X, Innocent X; and the formation of the last Holy League (1684), Holy League by Pope Innocent XI, Innocent XI during the Great Turkish War. The Italian economy declined during the 1600s and 1700s, as the peninsula was excluded from the rising Atlantic slave trade. Following the European wars of succession of the 18th century, the south passed to a cadet branch of the Spanish Bourbons and the North fell under the influence of the Habsburg-Lorraine of Austria. During the Coalition Wars, northern-central Italy was reorganised by Napoleon in a number of Sister Republics of France and later as a Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic), Kingdom of Italy in personal union with the Napoleonic France, French Empire. The southern half of the peninsula was administered by Joachim Murat, Napoleon's brother-in-law, who was crowned as Kingdom of Naples, King of Naples. The 1814 Congress of Vienna restored the situation of the late 18th century, but the ideals of the French Revolution could not be eradicated, and soon re-surfaced during the political revolution, political upheavals that characterised the first part of the 19th century. Flags of Napoleonic Italy, During the Napoleonic era, in 1797, the first official adoption of the Flag of Italy, Italian tricolour as a national flag by a sovereign Italian state, the Cispadane Republic, a Napoleonic sister republic of Revolutionary France, took place, on the basis of the events following the French Revolution (1789–1799) which, among its ideals, advocated the national self-determination. This event is celebrated by the Tricolour Day.Article 1 of the law n. 671 of 31 December 1996 ("National celebration of the bicentenary of the first national flag") The Italian national colours appeared for the first time on a Cockade of Italy, tricolour cockade in 1789, anticipating by seven years the first green, white and red Italian military war flag, which was adopted by the Lombard Legion in 1796.


Unification

The birth of the Kingdom of Italy was the result of efforts by Italian nationalists and monarchists loyal to the House of Savoy to establish a united kingdom encompassing the entire Italian Peninsula. Following the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the political and social Italian unification movement, or ''Risorgimento'', emerged to unite Italy consolidating the different states of the peninsula and liberate it from foreign control. A prominent radical figure was the patriotic journalist Giuseppe Mazzini, member of the secret revolutionary society ''Carbonari'' and founder of the influential political movement Young Italy (historical), Young Italy in the early 1830s, who favoured a unitary republic and advocated a broad nationalist movement. His prolific output of propaganda helped the unification movement stay active. In this context, in 1847, the first public performance of the song ''Il Canto degli Italiani'', the Italian national anthem since 1946, took place. ''Il Canto degli Italiani'', written by Goffredo Mameli set to music by Michele Novaro, is also known as the ''Inno di Mameli'', after the author of the lyrics, or ''Fratelli d'Italia'', from its incipit, opening line. The most famous member of Young Italy was the revolutionary and general Giuseppe Garibaldi, renowned for his extremely loyal followers, who led the Italian republican drive for unification in Southern Italy. However, the Northern Italy monarchy of the House of Savoy in the Kingdom of Sardinia, whose government was led by Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, also had ambitions of establishing a united Italian state. In the context of the revolutions of 1848, 1848 liberal revolutions that swept through Europe, an unsuccessful First Italian War of Independence, first war of independence was declared on Austria-Hungary, Austria. In 1855, the Kingdom of Sardinia became an ally of Britain and France in the Crimean War, giving Cavour's diplomacy legitimacy in the eyes of the great powers. The Kingdom of Sardinia again attacked the Austrian Empire in the Second Italian War of Independence of 1859, with the aid of Second French Empire, France, resulting in liberating Lombardy. On the basis of the Plombières Agreement, the Kingdom of Sardinia ceded Savoy and Nice to France, an event that caused the Niçard exodus, that was the emigration of a quarter of the Niçard Italians to Italy. In 1860–1861, Garibaldi led the drive for unification in Naples and Sicily (the Expedition of the Thousand), while the House of Savoy troops occupied the central territories of the Italian peninsula, except Rome and part of Papal States. Teano was the site of the famous meeting of 26 October 1860 between Giuseppe Garibaldi and Victor Emmanuel II of Italy, Victor Emmanuel II, last King of Sardinia, in which Garibaldi shook Victor Emanuel's hand and hailed him as King of Italy; thus, Garibaldi sacrificed republican hopes for the sake of Italian unity under a monarchy. Cavour agreed to include Garibaldi's Southern Italy allowing it to join the union with the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1860. This allowed the Sardinian government to Proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy, declare a united Italian kingdom on 17 March 1861. Victor Emmanuel II then became the first king of a united Italy, and the capital was moved from Turin to Florence. In 1866, Victor Emmanuel II allied with Prussia during the Austro-Prussian War, waging the Third Italian War of Independence which allowed Italy to annexe Veneto, Venetia. Finally, in 1870, as France abandoned its garrisons in Rome during the disastrous Franco-Prussian War to keep the large Prussian Army at bay, the Italians rushed to fill the power gap by Capture of Rome, taking over the Papal States. Italian unification was completed and shortly afterwards Italy's capital was moved to Rome. Victor Emmanuel, Garibaldi, Cavour, and Mazzini have been referred as Italy's ''Four Fathers of the Fatherland''.


Liberal period

The new Kingdom of Italy obtained Great Power status. The Constitutional Law of the Kingdom of Sardinia the Statuto Albertino, Albertine Statute of 1848, was extended to the whole Kingdom of Italy in 1861, and provided for basic freedoms of the new State, but electoral laws excluded the non-propertied and uneducated classes from voting. The government of the new kingdom took place in a framework of parliamentary constitutional monarchy dominated by liberal forces. As Northern Italy quickly industrialised, the South and rural areas of the North remained underdeveloped and overpopulated, forcing millions of people to migrate abroad and fuelling a large and influential
diaspora A diaspora () is a scattered population whose origin lies in a separate geographic locale. Historically, the word diaspora was used to refer to the mass dispersion of a population from its indigenous territories, specifically the dispersion ...
. The Italian Socialist Party constantly increased in strength, challenging the traditional liberal and conservative establishment. Starting in the last two decades of the 19th century, Italy developed into a Italian Empire, colonial power by forcing under its rule Italian Eritrea, Eritrea and Italian Somalia, Somalia in East Africa, Italian Tripolitania, Tripolitania and Italian Cyrenaica, Cyrenaica in North Africa (later unified in the colony of Italian Libya, Libya) and the Italian Dodecanese, Dodecanese islands. From 2 November 1899 to 7 September 1901, Italy also participated as part of the Eight-Nation Alliance forces during the Boxer Rebellion in China; on 7 September 1901, a Italian concession of Tientsin, concession in Tientsin was ceded to the country, and on 7 June 1902, the concession was taken into Italian possession and administered by a Consul (representative), consul. In 1913, male universal suffrage was adopted. The pre-war period dominated by Giovanni Giolitti, Prime Minister five times between 1892 and 1921, was characterised by the economic, industrial, and political-cultural modernization of Italian society. Italy entered into the First World War in 1915 with the aim of completing national unity: for this reason, the Italian intervention in the First World War is also considered the Fourth Italian War of Independence, in a historiographical perspective that identifies in the latter the conclusion of the unification of Italy, whose military actions began during the revolutions of 1848 with the First Italian War of Independence. Italy, nominally allied with the German Empire and the Empire of Austria-Hungary in the Triple Alliance (1882), Triple Alliance, in 1915 joined the Allies of World War I, Allies into World War I with a Treaty of London (1915), promise of substantial territorial gains, that included western Inner Carniola, former Austrian Littoral, Dalmatia as well as parts of the Ottoman Empire. The country gave a fundamental contribution to the victory of the conflict as one of the "The Big Four (World War I), Big Four" top Allied powers. The war on the Italian front (World War I), Italian Front was initially inconclusive, as the Italian army got stuck in a long trench warfare, attrition war in the Alps, making little progress and suffering heavy losses. However, the reorganization of the army and the conscription of the so-called 99 Boys'' (''Ragazzi del '99'', all males born in 1899 who were turning 18) led to more effective Italian victories in major battles, such as on First Battle of Monte Grappa, Monte Grappa and in a series of battles on the Battle of Monte Grappa, Piave river. Eventually, in October 1918, the Italians launched a massive offensive, culminating in the victory of Battle of Vittorio Veneto, Vittorio Veneto. The Italian victory, which was announced by the ''Bollettino della Vittoria'' and the ''Bollettino della Vittoria Navale'', marked the end of the war on the Italian Front, secured the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and was chiefly instrumental in Armistice with Germany, ending the First World War less than two weeks later. Italian armed forces were also involved in the African theatre of World War I, African theatre, the Balkans Campaign (World War I), Balkan theatre, the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I, Middle Eastern theatre, and then took part in the Occupation of Constantinople. During the war, more than 650,000 Italian soldiers and as many civilians died, and the kingdom went to the brink of bankruptcy. The Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1919), Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1919) and the Treaty of Rapallo (1920), Treaty of Rapallo (1920) allowed the annexation of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Trentino Alto-Adige, Julian March, Istria, Kvarner Gulf, Kvarner as well as the Dalmatian city of Zadar, Zara. The subsequent Treaty of Rome (1924), Treaty of Rome (1924) led to the annexation of the city of Fiume to Italy. Italy did not receive other territories promised by the Treaty of London (1915), so this outcome was denounced as a ''Mutilated victory''. The rhetoric of ''Mutilated victory'' was adopted by Benito Mussolini and led to the Fascist Italy (1922–1943), rise of Italian fascism, becoming a key point in the propaganda of Fascist Italy. Historians regard ''Mutilated victory'' as a "political myth", used by fascists to fuel Italian imperialism and obscure the successes of liberal Italy in the aftermath of World War I. Italy also gained a permanent seat in the League of Nations's executive council.


Fascist regime

The Biennio Rosso, socialist agitations that followed the devastation of the Great War, inspired by the Russian Revolution, led to counter-revolution and repression throughout Italy. The liberal establishment, fearing a Soviet-style revolution, started to endorse the small National Fascist Party, led by Benito Mussolini. In October 1922 the Blackshirts of the National Fascist Party attempted a mass demonstration and a coup d'état, coup named the "March on Rome" which failed but at the last minute, King Victor Emmanuel III refused to proclaim a state of siege and appointed Mussolini prime minister, thereby transferring political power to the fascists without armed conflict. Over the next few years, Mussolini banned all political parties and curtailed personal liberties, thus forming a Totalitarianism, dictatorship. These actions attracted international attention and eventually inspired similar dictatorships such as Nazi Germany and Francoist Spain. Italian Fascism is based upon Italian nationalism and imperialism, and in particular seeks to complete what it considers as the incomplete project of the unification of Italy by incorporating ''Italian irredentism, Italia Irredenta'' (unredeemed Italy) into the state of Italy.Aristotle A. Kallis. ''Fascist ideology: territory and expansionism in Italy and Germany, 1922–1945''. London, England, UK; New York City, USA: Routledge, 2000, pp. 41.Terence Ball, Richard Bellamy. The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Political Thought. Pp. 133 To the east of Italy, the Fascists claimed that Italian irredentism in Dalmatia, Dalmatia was a land of Italian culture whose Italians, including those of Italianized South Slavs, South Slavic descent, had been driven out of Dalmatia and into exile in Italy, and supported the return of Italians of Dalmatian heritage. Mussolini identified Dalmatia as having strong Italian cultural roots for centuries, similarly to Italian irredentism in Istria, Istria, via the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
and the Republic of Venice.Larry Wolff. Venice And the Slavs: The Discovery of Dalmatia in the Age of Enlightenment. Stanford, California, USA: Stanford University Press, P. 355. To the south of Italy, the Fascists claimed Italian irredentism in Malta, Malta, which belonged to the United Kingdom, and Corfiot Italians#Corfiot Italians and the Risorgimento, Corfu, which instead belonged to Greece; to the north claimed Italian irredentism in Switzerland, Italian Switzerland, while to the west claimed Italian irredentism in Corsica, Corsica, Italian irredentism in Nice, Nice, and Italian irredentism in Savoy, Savoy, which belonged to France. The Fascist regime produced literature on Corsica that presented evidence of the island's ''italianità''.Davide Rodogno. ''Fascism's European Empire: Italian Occupation during the Second World War''. Cambridge, England, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006. P. 88. The Fascist regime produced literature on Nice that justified that Nice was an Italian land based on historic, ethnic, and linguistic grounds. The Armistice of Villa Giusti, which ended fighting between Italy and Austria-Hungary at the end of World War I, resulted in Italian annexation of neighbouring parts of Yugoslavia. During the interwar period, the fascist Italian government undertook a campaign of Italianization, Italianisation in the areas it annexed, which suppressed Slavic language, schools, political parties, and cultural institutions. The Fascist regime engaged in interventionism (politics), interventionist foreign policy. In 1923, the Greek island of Corfiot Italians#Corfiot Italians and the Risorgimento, Corfu was Corfu incident, briefly occupied by Italy, after the assassination of Enrico Tellini, General Tellini in Greek territory. In 1925, Italy forced Albania to become a ''de facto'' protectorate. In 1935, Mussolini Second Italo-Abyssinian War, invaded Ethiopia and founded Italian East Africa, resulting in an international alienation and leading to Italy's withdrawal from the League of Nations; Italy Pact of Steel, allied with Nazi Germany and the Tripartite Pact, Empire of Japan and strongly supported Francisco Franco in the Spanish civil war. In 1939, Italy Italian invasion of Albania, formally annexed Albania. Italy entered World War II on 10 June 1940. After initially advancing in Italian conquest of British Somaliland, British Somaliland, Italian invasion of Egypt, Egypt, the Balkan Campaign (World War II), Balkans, where the Governorate of Dalmatia was created, and eastern fronts, the Italians were defeated in East Africa, Italian participation in the Eastern Front, Soviet Union and Second Battle of El Alamein, North Africa. During World War II, Italian war crimes included extrajudicial killings and ethnic cleansingJames H. Burgwyn (2004)
General Roatta's war against the partisans in Yugoslavia: 1942
, Journal of Modern Italian Studies, Volume 9, Number 3, pp. 314–329(16)
by deportation of about 25,000 people, mainly Jews, Croats, and Slovenians, to the List of Italian concentration camps, Italian concentration camps, such as Rab concentration camp, Rab, Gonars concentration camp, Gonars, Monigo, Renicci di Anghiari, and elsewhere. Yugoslav Partisans perpetrated their own crimes against the local ethnic Italians, Italian population (Istrian Italians and Dalmatian Italians) during and after the war, including the foibe massacres. In Italy and Yugoslavia, unlike in Germany, few war crimes were prosecuted.Italy's bloody secret
(archived by WebCite), written by Rory Carroll, Education, The Guardian, June 2001
Effie Pedaliu (2004) Britain and the 'Hand-over' of Italian War Criminals to Yugoslavia, 1945–48. Journal of Contemporary History. Vol. 39, No. 4, Special Issue: Collective Memory, pp. 503–529Gianni Oliva, Oliva, Gianni (2006
''«Si ammazza troppo poco». I crimini di guerra italiani. 1940–43''
, Mondadori,
Baldissara, Luca & Pezzino, Paolo (2004). ''Crimini e memorie di guerra: violenze contro le popolazioni e politiche del ricordo'', L'Ancora del Mediterraneo. An Allied invasion of Sicily began in July 1943, leading to the collapse of the Fascist regime and the fall of Mussolini on 25 Luglio, 25 July. Mussolini was deposed and arrested by order of King Victor Emmanuel III in co-operation with the majority of the members of the Grand Council of Fascism, which passed a motion of no confidence. On 8 September, Italy signed the Armistice of Cassibile, ending its war with the Allies. Shortly thereafter, the Germans, with the assistance of the Italian fascists, succeeded in taking control of northern and central Italy. The country remained a Italian Campaign (World War II), battlefield for the rest of the war, with the Allies slowly moving up from the south. In the north, the Germans set up the Italian Social Republic (RSI), a Nazi puppet state with Mussolini installed as leader after he was Gran Sasso raid, rescued by German paratroopers. Some Italian troops in the south were organised into the Italian Co-belligerent Army, which fought alongside the Allies for the rest of the war, while other Italian troops, loyal to Mussolini and his RSI, continued to fight alongside the Germans in the National Republican Army. As result, the country descended into
civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independen ...
. Also, the post-armistice period saw the rise of a large anti-fascist resistance movement, the ''Resistenza'', which fought a guerilla war against the German and RSI forces. In late April 1945, with total defeat looming, Mussolini attempted to escape north, but was captured and Death of Benito Mussolini, summarily executed near Lake Como by Italian partisans. His body was then taken to Milan, where it was hung upside down at a service station for public viewing and to provide confirmation of his demise. Hostilities ended on 29 April 1945, when the German forces in Italy surrendered. World War II casualties, Nearly half a million Italians (including civilians) died in the conflict, and the Italian economy had been all but destroyed; per capita income in 1944 was at its lowest point since the beginning of the 20th century.


Republican Italy

Italy became a republic after a Italian constitutional referendum, 1946, referendum held on 2 June 1946, a day celebrated since as Republic Day (Italy), Republic Day. This was the first time that Italian women voted at national level, and the second time overall considering the local elections that were held a few months earlier in some cities. Victor Emmanuel III's son, Umberto II, was forced to abdicate and exiled. The Constitution of Italy, Republican Constitution was approved on 1 January 1948. Under the Treaty of Peace with Italy, 1947, Istria, Kvarner Gulf, Kvarner, most of the Julian March as well as the Dalmatian city of Zadar, Zara was annexed by Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Yugoslavia causing the Istrian-Dalmatian exodus, which led to the emigration of between 230,000 and 350,000 of local ethnic Italians (Istrian Italians and Dalmatian Italians), the others being ethnic Slovenians, ethnic Croatians, and ethnic Istro-Romanians, choosing to maintain Italian citizenship. Later, the Free Territory of Trieste was divided between the two states. Italy also lost all of its colonial possessions, formally ending the Italian Empire. In 1950, Italian Somaliland was made a Trust Territory of Somaliland, United Nations Trust Territory under Italian administration until 1 July 1960. The Italian border that applies today has existed since 1975, when Trieste was formally re-annexed to Italy. Fears of a possible Communist takeover (especially in the United States) proved crucial for the first universal suffrage electoral outcome on Italian general election, 1948, 18 April 1948, when the Christian Democracy (Italy), Christian Democrats, under the leadership of Alcide De Gasperi, obtained a landslide victory. Consequently, in 1949 Italy became a member of NATO. The Marshall Plan helped to revive the Italian economy which, until the late 1960s, enjoyed a period of sustained economic growth commonly called the "Italian economic miracle, Economic Miracle". In 1957, Italy was a founding member of the European Economic Community (EEC), which became the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
(EU) in 1993. From the late 1960s until the early 1980s, the country experienced the Years of Lead (Italy), Years of Lead, a period characterised by economic crisis (especially after the 1973 oil crisis), widespread social conflicts and terrorist massacres carried out by opposing extremist groups, with the alleged involvement of US and Soviet intelligence. The Years of Lead culminated in the assassination of the Christian Democrat leader Aldo Moro in 1978 and the Bologna massacre, Bologna railway station massacre in 1980, where 85 people died. In the 1980s, for the first time since 1945, two governments were led by non-Christian-Democrat premiers: one republican (Giovanni Spadolini) and one socialist (Bettino Craxi); the Christian Democrats remained, however, the main government party. During Craxi's government, the economy recovered and Italy became the world's fifth-largest industrial nation after it gained the entry into the Group of Seven in the 1970s. However, as a result of his spending policies, the Italian national debt skyrocketed during the Craxi era, soon passing 100% of the country's GDP. Italy faced several terror attacks between 1992 and 1993 perpetrated by the Sicilian Mafia as a consequence of several life sentences pronounced during the "Maxi Trial", and of the new anti-mafia measures launched by the government. In 1992, two major dynamite attacks killed the judges Giovanni Falcone (23 May in the Capaci bombing) and Paolo Borsellino (19 July in the Via D'Amelio bombing). One year later (May–July 1993), tourist spots were attacked, such as the Via dei Georgofili bombing, Via dei Georgofili in Florence, Via Palestro massacre, Via Palestro in Milan, and the Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano and Via San Teodoro in Rome, leaving 10 dead and 93 injured and causing severe damage to cultural heritage such as the Uffizi Gallery. The Catholic Church openly condemned the Mafia, and two churches were bombed and an anti-Mafia priest shot dead in Rome. Also in the early 1990s, Italy faced significant challenges, as voters – disenchanted with political paralysis, massive public debt and the extensive corruption system (known as ''Tangentopoli'') uncovered by the Mani pulite, Clean Hands (''Mani Pulite'') investigation – demanded radical reforms. The scandals involved all major parties, but especially those in the government coalition: the Christian Democrats, who ruled for almost 50 years, underwent a severe crisis and eventually disbanded, splitting up into several factions. The Communists reorganised as a social-democratic force. During the 1990s and the 2000s, Centre-right coalition, centre-right (dominated by media magnate Silvio Berlusconi) and Centre-left coalition, centre-left coalitions (led by university professor Romano Prodi) alternately governed the country. Amidst the Great Recession, Berlusconi Resignation of Silvio Berlusconi, resigned in 2011, and his conservative government was replaced by the technocratic cabinet of Mario Monti. Following the Italian general election, 2013, 2013 general election, the Vice-Secretary of the Democratic Party (Italy), Democratic Party Enrico Letta formed a Letta Cabinet, new government at the head of a right-left Grand coalition (Italy), Grand coalition. In 2014, challenged by the new List of Secretaries of the Democratic Party, Secretary of the Partito Democratico, PD Matteo Renzi, Letta resigned and was replaced by Renzi. The new government started important constitutional reforms such as the abolition of the Italian Senate, Senate and a new electoral law. On 4 December the constitutional reform was rejected in a Italian constitutional referendum, 2016, referendum and Renzi resigned; the Foreign Affairs Minister Paolo Gentiloni was appointed new Prime Minister of Italy, Prime Minister. In the European migrant crisis of the 2010s, Italy was the entry point and leading destination for most asylum seekers entering the EU. From 2013 to 2018, the country took in over 700,000 migrants and refugees, mainly from sub-Saharan Africa, which caused strain on the public purse and a surge in the support for far-right or euro-sceptic political parties. The Italian general election, 2018, 2018 general election was characterised by a strong showing of the Five Star Movement and the Lega Nord, League and the university professor Giuseppe Conte became the Prime Minister at the head of a Government of Change, populist coalition between these two parties. However, after only fourteen months the League withdrew its support to Conte, who formed a new unprecedented government coalition between the Five Star Movement and the centre-left. In 2020, Italy was severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy, COVID-19 pandemic. From March to May, Conte's government imposed a COVID-19 lockdown in Italy, national lockdown as a measure to limit the spread of the disease, while further restrictions were introduced during the following winter. The measures, despite being widely approved by the public opinion, were also described as the largest suppression of constitutional rights in the history of the republic. With more than 130,000 confirmed victims, Italy was one of the countries with the highest total number of deaths in the COVID-19 pandemic, worldwide coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic caused also a Economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, severe economic disruption, in which Italy resulted as one of the most affected countries. In February 2021, after a 2021 Italian government crisis, government crisis within his majority, Conte was forced to resign and Mario Draghi, former president of the European Central Bank, formed a Draghi Cabinet, national unity government supported by almost all the main parties, pledging to oversee implementation of economic stimulus to face the crisis caused by the pandemic.


Geography

Italy, whose territory largely coincides with the homonymous geographical region, is located in
Southern Europe Southern Europe is the southern region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth a ...

Southern Europe
and it is also considered a part of western Europe, between latitudes 35th parallel north, 35° and 47th parallel north, 47° N, and longitudes 6th meridian east, 6° and 19th meridian east, 19° E. To the north, Italy borders France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia and is roughly delimited by the Alps, Alpine watershed, enclosing the Po Valley and the Venetian Plain. To the south, it consists of the entirety of the Italian Peninsula and the two Mediterranean islands of Sicily and Sardinia (the two Mediterranean islands#By area, biggest islands of the Mediterranean), in addition to many smaller islands. The sovereign states of
San Marino San Marino (, ), officially the Republic of San Marino ( it, Repubblica di San Marino; ), also known as the Most Serene Republic of San Marino ( it, Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino, links=no), is a small country (and a European microstate) ...

San Marino
and the
Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Città del Vaticano; la, Status Civitatis Vaticanae),—' * german: Vatikanstadt, cf. '—' (in Austria: ') * pl, Miasto Watykańskie, cf. '—' * pt, Cidade do Vatica ...

Vatican City
are Enclave and exclave, enclaves within Italy, while Campione d'Italia is an Italian
exclave An enclave is a territory (or a part of one) that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state. Enclaves may also exist within territorial waters. ''Enclave'' is sometimes used improperly to denote a territory that is only partly ...
in Switzerland. The country's total area is , of which is land and is water. Including the islands, Italy has a coastline and border of on the Adriatic Sea, Adriatic, Ionian Sea, Ionian, Tyrrhenian Sea, Tyrrhenian seas (), and borders shared with France (), Austria (), Slovenia () and Switzerland (). San Marino () and Vatican City (), both enclaves, account for the remainder. Over 35% of the Italian territory is mountainous. The Apennine Mountains form the peninsula's backbone, and the
Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest and most extensive mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt i ...

Alps
form most of its northern boundary, where Italy's highest point is located on Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco) (). Other worldwide-known mountains in Italy include the Matterhorn (Monte Cervino), Monte Rosa, Gran Paradiso in the West Alps, and Bernina Range, Bernina, Stelvio Pass, Stelvio and Dolomites along the eastern side. The Po river, Po, Italy's longest river (), flows from the Alps on the western border with France and crosses the Padan plain on its way to the Adriatic Sea. The Po Valley is the largest plain in Italy, with , and it represents over 70% of the total plain area in the country. Many elements of the Italian territory are of volcanic origin. Most of the small islands and archipelagos in the south, like Capraia, Ponza, Ischia, Aeolian Islands, Eolie, Ustica and Pantelleria are volcanic islands. There are also active volcanoes: Mount Etna in Sicily (the largest active volcano in Europe), Vulcano, Stromboli, and Vesuvius (the only active volcano on mainland Europe). The five largest lakes are, in order of diminishing size: Lake Garda, Garda (), Lake Maggiore, Maggiore (, whose minor northern part is Switzerland), Lake Como, Como (), Trasimeno Lake, Trasimeno () and Lake Bolsena, Bolsena (). Although the country includes the Italian peninsula, adjacent islands, and most of the southern Alpine basin, some of Italy's territory extends beyond the Alpine basin and some islands are located outside the Eurasian continental shelf. These territories are the ''comuni'' of: Livigno, Sexten, Innichen, Toblach (in part), Chiusaforte, Tarvisio, Graun im Vinschgau (in part), which are all part of the Danube#Drainage basin, Danube's drainage basin, while the Lago di Lei, Val di Lei constitutes part of the Rhine's basin and the islands of Lampedusa and Lampione are on the African continental shelf.


Waters

Four different seas surround the Italian Peninsula in the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
from three sides: the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea in the south, and the Ligurian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea in the west. Including islands, Italy has a coastline of over . Italian coasts include the Amalfi Coast, Cilentan Coast, Coast of the Gods, Costa Verde (Sardinia), Costa Verde, Riviera delle Palme (Marche), Riviera delle Palme, Riviera del Brenta, Costa Smeralda and Trabocchi Coast. The Italian Riviera includes nearly all of the coastline of Liguria, extending from the border with France near Ventimiglia, Italy, Ventimiglia eastwards to Capo Corvo, which marks the eastern end of the Gulf of La Spezia. The Apennines run along the entire length of the peninsula, dividing the waters into two opposite sides. On the other hand, the rivers are numerous due to the relative abundance of rains and to the presence of the Alpine chain in northern Italy with snowfields and glaciers. The fundamental watershed follows the ridge of the Alps and the Apennines and delimits five main slopes, corresponding to the seas into which the rivers flow: the Adriatic, Ionic, Tyrrhenian, Ligurian and Mediterranean sides. Taking into consideration their origin, the Italian rivers can be divided into two main groups: the Alpine-Po rivers and the Apennine-island rivers. Most of the rivers of Italy drain either into the Adriatic Sea, such as the Po (river), Po, Piave (river), Piave, Adige, Brenta (river), Brenta, Tagliamento, and Reno River, Reno, or into the Tyrrhenian, like the Arno, Tiber and Volturno. The waters from some border municipalities (Livigno in Lombardy, Innichen and Sexten in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol) drain into the Black Sea through the basin of the Drava, a tributary of the Danube, and the waters from the Lago di Lei in Lombardy drain into the North Sea through the basin of the Rhine. The longest Italian river is Po, which flows either or (considering the length of the right bank tributary Maira (river), Maira) and whose headwaters are a spring seeping from a stony hillside at Pian del Re, a flat place at the head of the Val Po under the northwest face of Monviso. The vast valley around the Po is called Po Valley (Italian: ''Pianura Padana'' or ''Val Padana'') the main industrial area of the country; in 2002, more than 16 million people lived there, at the time nearly ⅓ of the population of Italy. The second longest Italian river is Adige, which originates near Lake Resia and flows into the Adriatic Sea, after having made a north–south route, near Chioggia. In the north of the country are a number of large subalpine moraine-dammed lakes, commonly referred to as the Italian Lakes. There are more than 1000 lakes in Italy, the largest of which is Lake Garda, Garda (). Other well-known subalpine lakes are Lake Maggiore (), whose most northerly section is part of Switzerland, Lake Como, Como (), one of the List of lakes by depth, deepest lakes in Europe, Lake Orta, Orta, Lake Lugano, Lugano, Lake Iseo, Iseo, and Lake Idro, Idro. Other notable lakes in the Italian peninsula are Trasimeno, Lake Bolsena, Bolsena, Lake Bracciano, Bracciano, Lake Vico, Vico, Lago di Varano, Varano and Lake Lesina, Lesina in Gargano and Lake Omodeo, Omodeo in Sardinia. Along the Italian coasts there are lagoons, including the lagoon of Venice, Venice, Grado Lagoon and Marano Lagoon, Marano lagoons in northern Adriatic, and the Orbetello lagoon on the Tuscan coast. The swamps and ponds that in the past covered vast flat areas of Italy, have largely been dried up in recent centuries; the few remaining wetlands, such as the Comacchio Valleys in Emilia-Romagna or the Stagno di Cagliari in Sardinia, are protected natural environments.


Volcanology

The country is situated at the meeting point of the Eurasian Plate and the African Plate, leading to considerable List of earthquakes in Italy, seismic and Volcanism in Italy, volcanic activity. There are List of volcanoes in Italy, 14 volcanoes in Italy, four of which are active: Mount Etna, Etna, Stromboli, Vulcano and Vesuvius. The last is the only active volcano in mainland Europe and is most famous for the destruction of Pompeii and Herculanum in the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79, eruption in 79 AD. Several islands and hills have been created by volcanic activity, and there is still a large active caldera, the Campi Flegrei north-west of Naples. The high volcanic and magmatic neogenic activity is subdivided into provinces: * Magmatic Tuscan (Monti Cimini, Tolfa and Amiata);. * Magmatic Latium (Monti Volsini, Vico nel Lazio, Colli Albani, Roccamonfina); * Ultra-alkaline Umbrian Latium District (San Venanzo, Cupaello and Polino); * Volcanic bell (Vesuvius, Campi Flegrei, Ischia); * Windy arch and Tyrrhenian basin (Aeolian Islands and Tyrrhenian seamounts); * African-Adriatic Avampa (Channel of Sicily, Graham Island (Mediterranean Sea), Graham Island, Etna and Mount Vulture). Italy was the first country to exploit geothermal energy to produce electricity. The high geothermal gradient that forms part of the peninsula makes potentially exploitable also other provinces: research carried out in the 1960s and 1970s identifies potential geothermal fields in Lazio and Tuscany, as well as in most volcanic islands.


Environment

After its quick industrial growth, Italy took a long time to confront its environmental problems. After several improvements, it now ranks 84th in the world for ecological sustainability. National parks cover about 5% of the country. In the last decade, Italy has become one of the world's leading producers of renewable energy in Italy, renewable energy, ranking as the world's fourth largest holder of installed solar energy capacity and the sixth largest holder of wind power capacity in 2010. Renewable energies provided approximately 37% Italy's energy consumption in 2020. However, air pollution remains a severe problem, especially in the industrialised north, reaching the tenth highest level worldwide of industrial carbon dioxide emissions in the 1990s. Italy is the twelfth-largest carbon dioxide producer. Extensive traffic and congestion in the largest metropolitan areas continue to cause severe environmental and health issues, even if smog levels have decreased dramatically since the 1970s and 1980s, and the presence of smog is becoming an increasingly rarer phenomenon and levels of sulphur dioxide are decreasing. Many watercourses and coastal stretches have also been contaminated by industrial and agricultural activity, while because of rising water levels, Venice has been regularly flooded throughout recent years. Waste from industrial activity is not always disposed of by legal means and has led to permanent health effects on inhabitants of affected areas, as in the case of the Seveso disaster. The country has also operated several nuclear reactors between 1963 and 1990 but, after the Chernobyl disaster and a Italian nuclear power referendum, 1987, referendum on the issue the nuclear programme was terminated, a decision that was overturned by the government in 2008, planning to build up to four nuclear power plants with French technology. This was in turn struck down by a referendum following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, Fukushima nuclear accident. Deforestation, illegal building developments and poor land-management policies have led to significant erosion all over Italy's mountainous regions, leading to major ecological disasters like the 1963 Vajont Dam flood, the 1998 Sarno and 2009 2009 Messina floods and mudslides, Messina mudslides. The country had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 3.65/10, ranking it 142nd globally out of 172 countries.


Biodiversity

Italy has the highest level of faunal biodiversity in Europe, with over 57,000 species recorded, representing more than a third of all European fauna. Italy's varied geological structure contributes to its high climate and habitat diversity. The Italian peninsula is in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, forming a corridor between central Europe and North Africa, and has of coastline. Italy also receives species from the Balkans, Eurasia, the Middle East. Italy's varied geological structure, including the Alps and the Apennines, Central Italian woodlands, and Southern Italian Garigue and Maquis shrubland, also contributes to high climate and habitat diversity. Italian fauna includes 4,777 Endemism, endemic animal species, which include the Sardinian long-eared bat, Corsican red deer, Sardinian red deer, spectacled salamander, brown cave salamander, Italian newt, Italian stream frog, Italian frog, Apennine yellow-bellied toad, Italian wall lizard, Aeolian wall lizard, Sicilian wall lizard, Italian Aesculapian snake, and Sicilian pond turtle. There are 102 List of mammals of Italy, mammals species (most notably the Italian wolf, Marsican brown bear, Pyrenean chamois, Alpine ibex, crested porcupine, Mediterranean monk seal, Alpine marmot, Etruscan shrew, and European snow vole), 516 List of birds of Italy, bird species and 56,213 invertebrate species. The flora of Italy was traditionally estimated to comprise about 5,500 vascular plant species. However, , 6,759 species are recorded in the ''Data bank of Italian vascular flora''. Italy is a signatory to the Berne Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats and the Habitats Directive both affording protection to Italian fauna and flora.


Climate

Because of the length of the peninsula and the mostly mountainous hinterland, the climate of Italy is highly diverse. In most of the inland northern and central regions, the climate ranges from humid subtropical to humid continental and oceanic climate, oceanic. In particular, the climate of the Po valley geographical region is mostly continental, with harsh winters and hot summers. The coastal areas of Liguria, Tuscany and most of the Southern Italy, South generally fit the Mediterranean climate stereotype (Köppen climate classification Csa). Conditions on the coast are different from those in the interior, particularly during winter months when the higher altitudes tend to be cold, wet, and often snowy. The coastal regions have mild winters and warm and generally dry summers, although lowland valleys can be quite hot in summer. Average winter temperatures vary from on the Alps to in Sicily, so average summer temperatures range from to over . Winters can vary widely across the country with lingering cold, foggy and snowy periods in the north and milder, sunnier conditions in the south. Summers can be hot and humid across the country, particularly in the south while northern and central areas can experience occasional strong thunderstorms from spring to autumn.


Politics

Italy has been a unitary state, unitary
parliamentary republicThe Parliamentary Republic can refer to: * A republican form of government with a Parliamentary system A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democracy, democratic government, governance of a sovereign state, state (o ...
since 2 June 1946, when the monarchy was abolished by a Italian constitutional referendum, 1946, constitutional referendum. The President of Italy (''Presidente della Repubblica''), currently Sergio Mattarella since 2015, is Italy's head of state. The President is elected for a single seven years mandate by the Parliament of Italy and some regional voters in joint session. Italy has a written democratic Constitution of Italy, constitution, resulting from the work of a Constituent Assembly of Italy, Constituent Assembly formed by the representatives of all the anti-fascist forces that contributed to the defeat of Nazi and Fascist forces during the Italian Civil War, Civil War.


Government

Italy has a parliamentary government based on a mixed proportional representation, proportional and majoritarian voting system. The parliament is perfectly bicameral: the two houses, the Chamber of Deputies of Italy, Chamber of Deputies that meets in Palazzo Montecitorio, and the Senate of Italy, Senate of the Republic that meets in Palazzo Madama, have the same powers. The Prime Minister, officially President of the Council of Ministers of Italy, President of the Council of Ministers (''Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri''), is Italy's head of government. The Prime Minister and the cabinet are appointed by the President of the Republic of Italy and must pass a vote of confidence in Parliament to come into office. To remain the Prime Minister has to pass also eventual further votes of confidence or no confidence in Parliament. The prime minister is the President of the Council of Ministers of Italy, Council of Ministers – which holds effective executive power – and he must receive a vote of approval from it to execute most political activities. The office is similar to those in most other parliamentary systems, but the leader of the Italian government is not authorised to request the dissolution of the Parliament of Italy. Another difference with similar offices is that the overall political responsibility for intelligence is vested in the President of the Council of Ministers. By virtue of that, the Prime Minister has exclusive power to: co-ordinate intelligence policies, determining the financial resources and strengthening national cyber security; apply and protect State secrets; authorise agents to carry out operations, in Italy or abroad, in violation of the law. A peculiarity of the Italian Parliament is the representation given to Italian nationality law, Italian citizens permanently living abroad: 12 Deputies and 6 Senators elected in four distinct Parliament of Italy#Overseas constituency, overseas constituencies. In addition, the Italian Senate is characterised also by a small number of senator for life, senators for life, appointed by the President "for outstanding patriotic merits in the social, scientific, artistic or literary field". Former Presidents of the Republic are ''ex officio'' life senators. Italy's three major political parties are the Five Star Movement, the Democratic Party (Italy), Democratic Party and the Lega Nord, Lega. During the 2018 general election these three parties and their coalitions won 614 out of 630 seats available in the Chamber of Deputies and 309 out of 315 in the Senate. Berlusconi's Forza Italia (2013), Forza Italia which formed a centre-right coalition with Matteo Salvini's Northern League (Italy), Northern League and Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy won most of the seats without getting the majority in parliament. The rest of the seats were taken by Five Star Movement, Matteo Renzi's Democratic Party (Italy), Democratic Party along with Achammer and Panizza's South Tyrolean People's Party & Trentino Tyrolean Autonomist Party in a centre-left coalition and the independent Free and Equal (Italy), Free and Equal party.


Law and criminal justice

The Italian judicial system is based on Roman law modified by the Napoleonic code and later statutes. The Court of Cassation (Italy), Supreme Court of Cassation is the highest court in Italy for both criminal and civil appeal cases. The Constitutional Court of Italy (''Corte Costituzionale'') rules on the conformity of laws with the constitution and is a post–World War II innovation. Since their appearance in the middle of the 19th century, Organized crime in Italy, Italian organised crime and criminal organisations have infiltrated the social and economic life of many regions in
Southern Italy Southern Italy ( it, Sud Italia; nap, 'o Sudde; scn, Italia dû Sud), also known as ''Meridione'' or ''Mezzogiorno'' (, literally "Midday"; in nap, 'o Miezojuorno; in scn, Mezzujornu), is a macroregionA macroregion is a geopolitical subdivisi ...
, the most notorious of which being the Sicilian Mafia, which would later expand into some foreign countries including the United States. Mafia receipts may reach 9% of Italy's GDP. A 2009 report identified 610 Comune, which have a strong Mafia presence, where 13 million Italians live and 14.6% of the Italian GDP is produced. The Calabrian 'Ndrangheta, nowadays probably the most powerful crime syndicate of Italy, accounts alone for 3% of the country's GDP. However, at 0.013 per 1,000 people, Italy has only the 47th highest murder rate compared to 61 countries and the 43rd highest number of rapes per 1,000 people compared to 64 countries in the world. These are relatively low figures among developed countries.


Law enforcement

The Italian law enforcement system is complex, with multiple police forces. The national policing agencies are the Polizia di Stato (State Police), the Arma dei Carabinieri, the Guardia di Finanza (Financial Guard), and the Polizia Penitenziaria (Prison Police), as well as the Guardia Costiera (Water police, coast guard police). The ''Polizia di Stato'' are a civil police supervised by the Ministry of the Interior (Italy), Interior Ministry, while the ''Carabinieri'' is a gendarmerie supervised by the Ministry of Defence (Italy), Defense Ministry; both share duties in law enforcement and the maintenance of public order. Within the Carabinieri is a unit devoted to combating environmental crime. The ''Guardia di Finanza'' is responsible for combating financial crime and white-collar crime, as well as customs. The ''Polizia Penitenziaria'' are responsible for guarding the prison system. The Corpo Forestale dello Stato (State Forestry Corps) formerly existed as a separate national park ranger agency, but was merged into the Carabinieri in 2016. Although policing in Italy is primarily provided on a national basis, there also exists ''Polizia Provinciale'' (provincial police) and ''Polizia Municipale'' (Municipal police (Italy), municipal police).


Foreign relations

Italy is a founding member of the European Economic Community (EEC), now the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
(EU), and of NATO. Italy was admitted to the United Nations in 1955, and it is a member and a strong supporter of a wide number of international organisations, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization (GATT/WTO), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe, and the Central European Initiative. Its recent or upcoming turns in the rotating presidency of international organisations include the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in 2018, the G7 in 2017 and the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, EU Council from July to December 2014. Italy is also a recurrent List of members of the United Nations Security Council, non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, the most recently in 2017. Italy strongly supports multilateral international politics, endorsing the United Nations and its international security activities. , Italy was deploying 5,296 troops abroad, engaged in 33 UN and NATO missions in 25 countries of the world. Italy deployed troops in support of UN peacekeeping missions in UNITAF, Somalia, United Nations Operation in Mozambique, Mozambique, and United Nations Integrated Mission in East Timor, East Timor and provides support for NATO and UN operations in IFOR, Bosnia, Kosovo Force, Kosovo and Operation Sunrise (Albania), Albania. Italy deployed over 2,000 troops in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) from February 2003. Italy supported international efforts to reconstruct and stabilise Iraq, but it had withdrawn its Multi-National Force – Iraq#2006 withdrawals, military contingent of some 3,200 troops by 2006, maintaining only humanitarian operators and other civilian personnel. In August 2006 Italy deployed about 2,450 troops in Lebanon for the United Nations' peacekeeping mission UNIFIL."Italian soldiers leave for Lebanon"
Corriere della Sera, 30 August 2006
Italy is one of the largest financiers of the Palestinian National Authority, contributing €60 million in 2013 alone.


Military

The Italian Army, Italian Navy, Navy, Italian Air Force, Air Force and Carabinieri collectively form the Italian Armed Forces, under the command of the Supreme Defence Council, presided over by the President of Italy. Since 2005, military service is voluntary. In 2010, the Italian military had 293,202 personnel on active duty,"The Military Balance 2010", pp. 141–145. International Institute for Strategic Studies, 3 February 2010. of which 114,778 are Carabinieri. As part of Nuclear sharing, NATO's nuclear sharing strategy Italy also hosts 90 United States B61 nuclear bombs, located in the Ghedi Air Base, Ghedi and Aviano Air Base, Aviano air bases. The Italian Army is the national ground defence force. Its best-known combat vehicles are the Dardo IFV, Dardo infantry fighting vehicle, the Centauro tank destroyer and the Ariete tank, and among its aircraft the Agusta A129 Mangusta, Mangusta attack helicopter, in the last years deployed in EU, NATO and UN missions. It also has at its disposal many Leopard 1 and M113 armored personnel carrier, M113 armoured vehicles. The Italian Navy is a blue-water navy. In modern times the Italian Navy, being a member of the EU and NATO, has taken part in many coalition peacekeeping operations around the world. The Italian Air Force in 2021 operates 219 combat jets. A transport capability is guaranteed by a fleet of 27 Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules, C-130Js and C-27J Spartan. An autonomous corps of the military, the Carabinieri are the gendarmerie and military police of Italy, policing the military and civilian population alongside Law enforcement in Italy, Italy's other police forces. While the different branches of the Carabinieri report to separate ministries for each of their individual functions, the corps reports to the Ministry of Internal Affairs when maintaining public order and security.


Constituent entities

Italy is constituted by 20 regions (''regioni'')—five of these regions having a Autonomous regions with special statute, special autonomous status that enables them to enact legislation on additional matters, 107 provinces (''province'') or metropolitan cities (''città metropolitane''), and 7,960 municipalities (''comuni'').


Economy

Italy has a major advanced capitalist mixed economy, ranking as the third-largest in the Eurozone and the eighth-largest in the world. A founding member of the G7, the Eurozone and the OECD, it is regarded as one of the world's most industrialised nations and a leading country in international trade, world trade and exports. It is a highly
developed country A developed country (or industrialized country, high-income country, more economically developed country (MEDC), advanced country) is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized governm ...
, with the world's 8th highest quality of life in 2005 and the 26th List of countries by Human Development Index, Human Development Index. The country is well known for its creative and innovative business, a large and competitive agricultural sector (with the world's largest wine production), and for its influential and high-quality automobile, machinery, food, design and fashion industry. Italy is the world's sixth-largest manufacturing country, characterised by a smaller number of global multinational corporations than other economies of comparable size and many dynamic small and medium-sized enterprises, notoriously clustered in several industrial districts, which are the backbone of the Italian industry. This has produced a manufacturing sector often focused on the export of niche market and luxury products, that if on one side is less capable to compete on the quantity, on the other side is more capable of facing the competition from China and other emerging Asian economies based on lower labour costs, with higher quality products. Italy was the world's tenth-largest List of countries by exports, exporter in 2019.Its closest trade ties are with the other countries of the European Union. Its largest export partners in 2019 were Germany (12%), France (11%), and the United States (10%). The automotive industry in Italy, automotive industry is a significant part of the Italian manufacturing sector, with over 144,000 firms and almost 485,000 employed people in 2015, and a contribution of 8.5% to Italian GDP. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles or FCA is currently the world's Automotive industry#Top vehicle manufacturing groups by volume, seventh-largest auto maker. The country boasts a wide range of acclaimed products, from compact city cars to luxury supercars such as Maserati, Lamborghini, and Ferrari. The Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena is the world's List of oldest banks, oldest or second oldest bank in continuous operation, depending on the definition, and the fourth-largest Italian commercial and retail bank. Italy has a strong cooperative sector, with the largest share of the population (4.5%) employed by a cooperative in the EU. Italy is part of the European single market which represents more than 500 million consumers. Several domestic commercial policies are determined by agreements among European Union (EU) members and by EU legislation. Italy introduced the common European currency, the Euro in 2002. It is a member of the Eurozone which represents around 330 million citizens. Its monetary policy is set by the European Central Bank. Italy has been hit hard by the Financial crisis of 2007–08, that exacerbated the country's structural problems. Effectively, after a strong GDP growth of 5–6% per year from the 1950s to the early 1970s, and a progressive slowdown in the 1980-90s, the country virtually stagnated in the 2000s. The political efforts to revive growth with massive government spending eventually produced a severe rise in public debt, that stood at over 131.8% of GDP in 2017, ranking second in the EU only after the Greek one. For all that, the largest chunk of Italian government debt, Italian public debt is owned by national subjects, a major difference between Italy and Greece, and the level of household debt is much lower than the OECD average. A gaping Economy of Italy#North–South divide, North–South divide is a major factor of socio-economic weakness. It can be noted by the huge difference in statistical income between the northern and southern regions and municipalities. The richest province, South Tyrol, Alto Adige-South Tyrol, earns 152% of the national GDP per capita, while the poorest region, Calabria, 61%. The unemployment rate (11.1%) stands slightly above the Eurozone average, but the disaggregated figure is 6.6% in the North and 19.2% in the South. The Youth unemployment in Italy, youth unemployment rate (31.7% in March 2018) is extremely high compared to EU standards.


Agriculture

According to the last national agricultural census, there were 1.6 million farms in 2010 (−32.4% since 2000) covering 12.7 million hectares (63% of which are located in
Southern Italy Southern Italy ( it, Sud Italia; nap, 'o Sudde; scn, Italia dû Sud), also known as ''Meridione'' or ''Mezzogiorno'' (, literally "Midday"; in nap, 'o Miezojuorno; in scn, Mezzujornu), is a macroregionA macroregion is a geopolitical subdivisi ...
). The vast majority (99%) are family-operated and small, averaging only 8 hectares in size. Of the total surface area in agricultural use (forestry excluded), grain fields take up 31%, olive tree orchards 8.2%, vineyards 5.4%, citrus orchards 3.8%, sugar beets 1.7%, and horticulture 2.4%. The remainder is primarily dedicated to pastures (25.9%) and feed grains (11.6%). Italy is the List of wine-producing countries, world's largest wine producer, and one of the leading in olive oil, fruits (apples, olives, grapes, Orange (fruit), oranges, lemons, pears, apricots, hazelnuts, peaches, Cherry, cherries, plums, Strawberry, strawberries and kiwifruits), and vegetables (especially artichokes and tomatoes). The most famous Italian wines are probably the Tuscany (wine), Tuscan Chianti and the Piedmont (wine), Piedmontese Barolo. Other famous wines are Barbaresco, Barbera d'Asti, Brunello di Montalcino, Frascati DOC, Frascati, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Morellino di Scansano, and the sparkling wines Franciacorta DOCG, Franciacorta and Prosecco. Quality goods in which Italy specialises, particularly the already mentioned wines and List of Italian DOP cheeses, regional cheeses, are often protected under the quality assurance labels Denominazione di origine controllata, DOC/DOP. This Geographical indications and traditional specialities in the European Union, geographical indication certificate, which is attributed by the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
, is considered important in order to avoid confusion with low-quality mass-produced Ersatz good, ersatz products.


Infrastructure

In 2004 the transport sector in Italy generated a turnover of about 119.4 billion euros, employing 935,700 persons in 153,700 enterprises. Regarding the national road network, in 2002 there were of serviceable roads in Italy, including of motorways, state-owned but privately operated by Atlantia (company), Atlantia. In 2005, about 34,667,000 Automobile, passenger cars (590 cars per 1,000 people) and 4,015,000 goods vehicles circulated on the national road network. The rail transport in Italy, national railway network, state-owned and operated by Ferrovie dello Stato, Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (FSI), in 2008 totalled of which is electrified, and on which 4,802 locomotives and railcars run. The main public operator of high-speed trains is Trenitalia, part of FSI. Higher-speed trains are divided into three categories: Frecciarossa ( en, red arrow) trains operate at a maximum speed of 300 km/h on dedicated high-speed tracks; Frecciargento ( en, silver arrow) trains operate at a maximum speed of 250 km/h on both high-speed and mainline tracks; and Frecciabianca ( en, white arrow) trains operate on high-speed regional lines at a maximum speed of 200 km/h. Italy has 11 rail border crossings over the Alpine mountains with its neighbouring countries. Italy is one of the countries with the most vehicles per capita, with 690 per 1000 people in 2010. The national inland waterways network has a length of for commercial traffic in 2012. Since October 2021, Italy's flag carrier airline is ITA Airways, which took over the brand, the IATA ticketing code, and many assets belonging to the former flag carrier Alitalia, after its bankruptcy. ITA Airways serves 44 destinations () and also operates the former Alitalia regional subsidiary, Alitalia CityLiner. The country also has regional airlines (such as Air Dolomiti), low-cost carriers, and Charter and leisure carriers (including Neos (airline), Neos, Blue Panorama Airlines and Poste Air Cargo). Major Italian cargo operators are Alitalia Cargo and Cargolux Italia. Italy is the fifth in Europe by number of passengers by air transport, with about 148 million passengers or about 10% of the European total in 2011. In 2012 there were 130 airports in Italy, including the two Airline hub, hubs of Malpensa International Airport, Malpensa International in Milan and Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, Leonardo da Vinci International in Rome. In 2004 there were 43 major seaports, including the seaport of Genoa, the country's largest and second-largest in the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
. In 2005 Italy maintained a civilian air fleet of about 389,000 units and a merchant fleet of 581 ships. Italy does not invest enough to maintain Water supply and sanitation in Italy, its drinking water supply. The Galli Law, passed in 1993, aimed at raising the level of investment and to improve service quality by consolidating service providers, making them more efficient and increasing the level of cost recovery through tariff revenues. Despite these reforms, investment levels have declined and remain far from sufficient. Italy has been the final destination of the Silk Road for many centuries. In particular, the construction of the Suez Canal intensified sea trade with East Africa and
Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area of , about 30% of Earth's total lan ...

Asia
from the 19th century. Since the end of the Cold War and increasing European integration, the trade relations, which were often interrupted in the 20th century, have intensified again and the northern Italian ports such as the deep-water port of Trieste in the northernmost part of the Mediterranean with its extensive rail connections to Central Europe, Central and Eastern Europe are once again the destination of government subsidies and significant foreign investment.


Energy

Eni, with operations in 79 countries, is considered one of the seven "Supermajor" oil companies in the world, and one of the world's largest industrial companies. The Val'd Agri oil field, Val d'Agri area, Basilicata, hosts the largest Onshore (hydrocarbons), onshore hydrocarbon field in Europe. Moderate natural gas reserves, mainly in the Po Valley and offshore Adriatic Sea, have been discovered in recent years and constitute the country's most important mineral resource. Italy is one of the world's leading producers of pumice, pozzolana, and feldspar. Another notable mineral resource is marble, especially the world-famous white Carrara marble from the Province of Massa and Carrara, Massa and Carrara quarries in Tuscany. Italy needs to import about 80% of its energy requirements. In the last decade, Italy has become one of the world's List of countries by electricity production from renewable sources, largest producers of renewable energy, ranking as the second largest producer in the European Union and the ninth in the world. Wind power, hydroelectricity, and geothermal power are also important sources of electricity in the country. Renewable sources account for the 27.5% of all electricity produced in Italy, with hydro alone reaching 12.6%, followed by solar at 5.7%, wind at 4.1%, bioenergy at 3.5%, and geothermal at 1.6%. The rest of the national demand is covered by fossil fuels (38.2% natural gas, 13% coal, 8.4% oil) and by imports. Solar power in Italy, Solar energy production alone accounted for almost 9% of the total electric production in the country in 2014, making Italy the country with the highest contribution from solar energy in the world. The Montalto di Castro Photovoltaic Power Station, completed in 2010, is the largest photovoltaic power station in Italy with 85 MW. Other examples of large PV plants in Italy are San Bellino (70.6 MW), Cellino san Marco (42.7 MW) and Sant’ Alberto (34.6 MW). Italy was also the first country to exploit geothermal energy to produce electricity. Italy has managed four nuclear reactors until the 1980s. However, nuclear power in Italy has been abandoned following a Italian referendums, 1987, 1987 referendum (in the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Soviet Ukraine). The national power company Enel operates several nuclear reactors in Spain, Slovakia and France, managing it to access nuclear power and direct involvement in design, construction, and operation of the plants without placing reactors on Italian territory.


Science and technology

Through the centuries, Italy has fostered the scientific community that produced many major discoveries in physics and the other sciences. During the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
Italian polymaths such as Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), Michelangelo (1475–1564) and Leon Battista Alberti (1404–1472) made contributions in a variety of fields, including biology, architecture, and engineering. Galileo Galilei (1564–1642), an astronomer, physicist, engineer, and
polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, , "having learned much"; la, homo universalis, "universal human") is an individual whose knowledge spans a substantial number of subjects, known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific prob ...

polymath
, played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. He is considered the "father" of observational astronomy, modern physics, the scientific method, and modern science. Other astronomers such as Giovanni Domenico Cassini (1625–1712) and Giovanni Schiaparelli (1835–1910) made discoveries about the Solar System. In mathematics, Joseph Louis Lagrange (born Giuseppe Lodovico Lagrangia, 1736–1813) was active before leaving Italy. Fibonacci (c. 1170 – c. 1250), and Gerolamo Cardano (1501–1576) made fundamental advances in mathematics. Luca Pacioli established accounting to the world. Physicist Enrico Fermi (1901–1954), a Nobel prize laureate, led the team in Chicago that developed the Chicago Pile-1, first nuclear reactor. He is considered the "architect of the Atomic Age, nuclear age" and the "architect of the atomic bomb". He, Emilio G. Segrè (1905–1989) who discovered the elements technetium and astatine, and the antiproton), Bruno Rossi (1905–1993) a pioneer in Cosmic Rays and X-ray astronomy) and a number of Italian physicists were forced to leave Italy in the 1930s by Italian Racial Laws, Fascist laws against Jews. Other prominent physicists include: Amedeo Avogadro (most noted for his contributions to molecular theory, in particular the Avogadro's law and the Avogadro constant), Evangelista Torricelli (inventor of barometer), Alessandro Volta (inventor of electric battery), Guglielmo Marconi (inventor of radio), Galileo Ferraris and Antonio Pacinotti, pioneers of the induction motor, Alessandro Cruto, pioneer of light bulb and Innocenzo Manzetti, eclectic pioneer of auto and robotics, Ettore Majorana (who discovered the Majorana fermions), Carlo Rubbia (1984 Nobel Prize in Physics for work leading to the discovery of the W and Z particles at CERN). Antonio Meucci is known for developing a voice-communication device which is often credited as the first telephone. Pier Giorgio Perotto in 1964 designed one of the first desktop programmable calculators, the Programma 101. In biology, Francesco Redi has been the first to challenge the theory of spontaneous generation by demonstrating that maggots come from eggs of flies and he described 180 parasites in details and Marcello Malpighi founded microscopic anatomy, Lazzaro Spallanzani conducted research in bodily functions, animal reproduction, and cellular theory, Camillo Golgi, whose many achievements include the discovery of the Golgi complex, paved the way to the acceptance of the Neuron doctrine, Rita Levi-Montalcini discovered the nerve growth factor (awarded 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine). In chemistry, Giulio Natta received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1963 for his work on high polymers. Giuseppe Occhialini received the Wolf Prize in Physics for the discovery of the pion or pi-meson decay in 1947. Ennio de Giorgi, a Wolf Prize in Mathematics recipient in 1990, solved Bernstein's problem about minimal surfaces and the Hilbert's nineteenth problem, 19th Hilbert problem on the regularity of solutions of Elliptic partial differential equations. There are numerous technology parks in Italy such as the Science and Technology Parks Kilometro Rosso (Bergamo), the AREA Science Park (Trieste), The VEGA-Venice Gateway for Science and Technology (Venezia), the Toscana Life Sciences (Siena), the Technology Park of Lodi Cluster (Lodi), and the Technology Park of Navacchio (Pisa). ELETTRA, Eurac Research, ESA Centre for Earth Observation, Institute for Scientific Interchange, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation and the International Centre for Theoretical Physics conduct basic research. Trieste has the highest percentage of researchers in Europe in relation to the population. Italy was ranked 28th in the Global Innovation Index in 2020, up from 30th in 2019.


Tourism

Italy is the World Tourism rankings, fifth most visited country in international tourism, with a total of 52.3 million international arrivals in 2016. The total contribution of travel & tourism to GDP (including wider effects from investment, the supply chain and induced income impacts) was EUR162.7bn in 2014 (10.1% of GDP) and generated 1,082,000 jobs directly in 2014 (4.8% of total employment). People mainly visit Italy for its rich Culture of Italy, culture, Italian cuisine, cuisine, History of Italy, history, Italian fashion, fashion, Architecture of Italy, architecture and Italian art, art. Italy is also the World Heritage Sites by country, country with the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world (58).
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
is the 3rd most visited city in Europe and the 12th in the world, with 9.4 million arrivals in 2017 while Milan is the 27th worldwide with 6.8 million tourists. In addition, Venice and Florence are also among the world's top 100 destinations.


Demographics

At the beginning of 2020, Italy had 60,317,116 inhabitants. The resulting population density, at , is higher than that of most Western European countries. However, the distribution of the population is widely uneven. The most densely populated areas are the Po Valley (that accounts for almost a half of the national population) and the metropolitan areas of Rome and Naples, while vast regions such as the Alps and Apennines highlands, the plateaus of Basilicata and the island of Sardinia, as well as much of Sicily, are sparsely populated. The population of Italy almost doubled during the 20th century, but the pattern of growth was extremely uneven because of large-scale internal migration from the rural South to the industrial cities of the North, a phenomenon which happened as a consequence of the Italian economic miracle of the 1950–1960s. High fertility and birth rates persisted until the 1970s, after which they started to decline. The population rapidly population ageing, aged; by 2010, one in five Italians was over 65 years old, and the country currently has the fifth oldest population in the world, with a median age of 46.5 years. However, in recent years Italy has experienced significant growth in birth rates. The total fertility rate has also climbed from an all-time low of 1.18 children per woman in 1995 to 1.41 in 2008, albeit still below the replacement rate of 2.1 and considerably below the high of 5.06 children born per woman in 1883. Nevertheless, the total fertility rate is expected to reach 1.6–1.8 in 2030. From the late 19th century until the 1960s Italy was a country of mass emigration. Between 1898 and 1914, the peak years of Italian diaspora, approximately 750,000 Italians emigrated each year. The diaspora concerned more than 25 million Italians and it is considered the biggest mass migration of contemporary times. As a result, today more than 4.1 million Italian citizens are living abroad, while at least 60 million people of full or part Italian ancestry live outside of Italy, most notably in Italians in Argentina, Argentina, Italian Brazilians, Brazil, Italian Uruguayans, Uruguay, Italians in Venezuela, Venezuela, the Italians in the United States, United States, Italians in Canada, Canada, Italian Australians, Australia and Italians in France, France.


Metropolitan cities and larger urban zone

Source:


Immigration

In 2016, Italy had about 5.05 million foreign residents, making up 8.3% of the total population. The figures include more than half a million children born in Italy to foreign nationals (second generation immigrants) but exclude foreign nationals who have subsequently acquired Italian citizenship; in 2016, about 201,000 people became Italian citizens. The official figures also exclude Illegal immigration, illegal immigrants, who estimated to number at least 670,000 as of 2008. Starting from the early 1980s, until then a linguistically and culturally homogeneous society, Italy begun to attract substantial flows of foreign immigrants. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and, more recently, the 2004 enlargement of the European Union, 2004 and 2004 enlargement of the European Union, 2007 enlargements of the European Union, large waves of migration originated from the former socialist countries of Eastern Europe (especially Romania, Albania, Ukraine and Poland). Another source of immigration is neighbouring North Africa (in particular, Morocco, Egypt and
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), with soaring arrivals as a consequence of the Arab Spring. Furthermore, in recent years, growing migration fluxes from Asia-Pacific (notably China and the Philippines) and Latin America have been recorded. Currently, about one million Romanian diaspora, Romanian citizens (around 10% of them being ethnic Romani people) are officially registered as living in Italy, representing the largest migrant population, followed by Albanians and Moroccans with about 500,000 people each. The number of unregistered Romanians is difficult to estimate, but the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network suggested in 2007 that there might have been half a million or more. As of 2010, the foreign born population of Italy was from the following regions: Europe (54%), Africa (22%), Asia (16%), the Americas (8%) and Oceania (0.06%). The distribution of foreign population is geographically varied in Italy: in 2020, 61.2% of foreign citizens lived in Northern Italy (in particular 36.1% in the North West and 25.1% in the North East), 24.2% in the Centre, 10.8% in the South and 3.9% in the Islands.


Languages

Italy's official language is Italian language, Italian, as stated by the framework law no. 482/1999 and Trentino Alto-Adige's special Statute, which is adopted with a constitutional law. Around the world there are an estimated 64 million native Italian speakers and another 21 million who use it as a second language.Italian language
University of Leicester
Italian is often natively spoken in a Regional Italian, regional variety, not to be confused with Italy's regional and minority languages; however, the establishment of a national education system led to a decrease in variation in the languages spoken across the country during the 20th century. Standardisation was further expanded in the 1950s and 1960s due to economic growth and the rise of Media of Italy, mass media and television (the state broadcaster RAI helped set a standard Italian). Twelve "historical minority languages" (''minoranze linguistiche storiche'') are formally recognised: Arberesh language, Albanian, Catalan language, Catalan, German language, German, Greek language, Greek, Slovene language, Slovene, Croatian language, Croatian, French language, French, Franco-Provençal language, Franco-Provençal, Friulian, Ladin language, Ladin, Occitan and Sardinian language, Sardinian. Four of these also enjoy a co-official status in their respective region: French in the Aosta Valley; German in South Tyrol, and Ladin language, Ladin as well in some parts of the same province and in parts of the neighbouring Trentino; and Slovene language, Slovene in the provinces of Province of Trieste, Trieste, Province of Gorizia, Gorizia and Province of Udine, Udine. A number of other Ethnologue, ISO and UNESCO languages are not recognised by Italian law. Like France, Italy has signed the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, but has not ratified it. Because of recent immigration, Italy has sizeable populations whose native language is not Italian, nor a regional language. According to the National Institute of Statistics (Italy), Italian National Institute of Statistics, Romanian people, Romanian is the most common mother tongue among foreign residents in Italy: almost 800,000 people speak Romanian as their first language (21.9% of the foreign residents aged 6 and over). Other prevalent mother tongues are Arabic (spoken by over 475,000 people; 13.1% of foreign residents), Albanian language, Albanian (380,000 people) and Spanish language, Spanish (255,000 people).


Religion

In 2017, the proportion of Italians who identified themselves as Roman Catholicism, Roman Catholic Christians was 74.4%. Since 1985, Catholicism is no longer officially the state religion. Italy has the Catholic Church by country, world's fifth-largest Catholic population, and is the largest Catholic nation in Europe. The Holy See, the Diocese of Rome, episcopal jurisdiction of Rome, contains the central government of the Catholic Church. It is recognised by other subjects of international law as a Sovereignty, sovereign entity, headed by the Pope, who is also the Bishop of Rome, with which diplomatic relations can be maintained. Often incorrectly referred to as "the Vatican", the Holy See is not the same entity as the
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State because the Holy See is the jurisdiction and administrative entity of the Pope. The Vatican City came into existence only in 1929. In 2011, minority Christian faiths in Italy included an estimated 1.5 million Orthodox Christians, or 2.5% of the population; 500,000 Pentecostals and Evangelicals (of whom 400,000 are members of the Assemblies of God), 251,192 Jehovah's Witnesses, 30,000 Waldensians, 25,000 Seventh-day Adventists, 26,925 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Latter-day Saints, 15,000 Baptists (plus some 5,000 Free Baptists), 7,000 Lutherans, 4,000 Methodists (Union of Methodist and Waldensian Churches, affiliated with the Waldensian Church). One of the longest-established minority religious faiths in Italy is Italian Jews, Judaism, Jews having been present in Ancient Rome since before the birth of Christ. Italy has for centuries welcomed Jews expelled from other countries, notably Spain. However, about 20% of Italian Jews were killed during the Holocaust. p. 403 This, together with the emigration which preceded and followed World War II, has left only around 28,400 Jews in Italy. Soaring immigration in the last two decades has been accompanied by an increase in non-Christian faiths. Following immigration from the Indian subcontinent, in Italy there are 120,000 Hindus, 70,000 Sikhs and 22 gurdwaras across the country. The Italian state, as a measure to protect religious freedom, devolves shares of income tax to recognised religious communities, under a regime known as Eight per thousand. Donations are allowed to Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu communities; however, Islam remains excluded, since no Muslim communities have yet signed a concordat with the Italian state. Taxpayers who do not wish to fund a religion contribute their share to the state welfare system.


Education

Education in Italy is free and mandatory from ages six to sixteen, and consists of five stages: kindergarten (''scuola dell'infanzia''), primary school (''scuola primaria''), lower secondary school (''scuola secondaria di primo grado'', upper secondary school (''scuola secondaria di secondo grado'') and university (''università''). Primary education lasts eight years. Students are given a basic education in Italian, English, mathematics, natural sciences, history, geography, social studies, physical education and visual and musical arts. Secondary education lasts for five years and includes three traditional types of schools focused on different academic levels: the ''Secondary education in Italy#liceo, liceo'' prepares students for university studies with a classical or scientific curriculum, while the ''istituto tecnico'' and the ''Istituto professionale'' prepare pupils for vocational education. In 2018, the Italian secondary education was evaluated as below the OECD average. Italy scored below the OECD average in reading and science, and near OECD average in mathematics. Mean performance in Italy declined in reading and science, and remained stable in mathematics. Trento and Bolzano scored at an above the national average in reading. Compared to school children the other OECD countries, children in Italy missed out on a greater amount of learning due to absences and indiscipline in classrooms. A wide gap exists between northern Italy, northern schools, which perform near average, and schools in the Southern Italy, South, that had much poorer results. Tertiary education in Italy is divided between List of universities in Italy, public universities, private universities and the prestigious and selective Superior Graduate Schools in Italy, superior graduate schools, such as the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa. 33 Italian universities were ranked among the world's top 500 in 2019, the third-largest number in Europe after the United Kingdom and Germany. Bologna University, founded in 1088, is the list of oldest universities in continuous operation, oldest university in continuous operation, as well as one of the leading academic institutions in Italy and Europe. The Bocconi University, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali Guido Carli, LUISS, Polytechnic University of Turin, Polytechnic University of Milan, Sapienza University of Rome, and University of Milan are also ranked among the best in the world.


Health

The Italian state runs a universal public healthcare system since 1978. However, healthcare is provided to all citizens and residents by a mixed public-private system. The public part is the ''Servizio Sanitario Nazionale'', which is organised under the Ministry of Health and administered on a devolved regional basis. Healthcare spending in Italy accounted for 9.2% of the national GDP in 2012, close to the OECD countries' average of 9.3%. Italy in 2000 ranked as having the world's 2nd best healthcare system, and the world's World Health Organization ranking of health systems in 2000, 2nd best healthcare performance. Life expectancy in Italy is 80 for males and 85 for females, placing the country List of countries by life expectancy, 5th in the world for life expectancy. In comparison to other Western countries, Italy has a relatively low rate of adult obesity (below 10%), as there are several health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. The proportion of daily smokers was 22% in 2012, down from 24.4% in 2000 but still slightly above the OECD average. Smoking in public places including bars, restaurants, night clubs and offices has been restricted to specially ventilated rooms since 2005. In 2013, UNESCO added the Mediterranean diet to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of Italy (promoter), Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Croatia.


North-South gap

In the decades following the Unification of italy, unification of Italy, the North Italy, northern regions of the country, Lombardy, Piedmont and Liguria in particular, began a process of industrialization and economic development while the Southern Italy, southern regions remained behind. The imbalance between North and South, which widened steadily in the first post-unification century, was reduced in the sixties and seventies also through the construction of public works, the implementation of agrarian and scholastic reforms, the expansion of industrialization and the improved living conditions of the Population of Italy, population. This convergence process was interrupted, however, in the 1980s. To date, the per capita GDP of the South is just 58% of that of the North Italy, Center-North, while the unemployment rate is more than double (6.7% in the North against 14.9% in the South). A study by Censis blames the pervasive presence of Italian Criminal Law System, criminal organizations for the delay of Southern Italy, estimating an annual loss of wealth of 2.5% in the South in the period 1981–2003 due to their presence, and that without them the per capita GDP of the South would have reached that of the North.


Culture

Italy is considered one of the birthplaces of western civilization and a Power (international relations)#Power as status, cultural superpower. Divided by politics and geography for centuries until its eventual unification in 1861, Italy's culture has been shaped by a multitude of regional customs and local centres of power and patronage. Italy has had a central role in Western culture for centuries and is still recognised for its cultural traditions and artists. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, a number of Court (royal), courts competed to attract architects, artists and scholars, thus producing a legacy of monuments, paintings, music and literature. Despite the political and social isolation of these courts, Italy has made a substantial contribution to the cultural and historical heritage of Europe. Italy has rich collections of art, culture and literature from many periods. The country has had a broad cultural influence worldwide, also because numerous Italians emigrated to other places during the Italian diaspora. Furthermore, Italy has, overall, an estimated 100,000 monuments of any sort (museums, palaces, buildings, statues, churches, art galleries, villas, fountains, historic houses and archaeological remains),Eyewitness Travel (2005), pg. 19 and according to some estimates the nation is home to half the world's art treasures.


Architecture

Italy is known for its considerable architectural achievements, such as the construction of arches, domes and similar structures during ancient Rome, the founding of the Renaissance architecture, Renaissance architectural movement in the late-14th to 16th centuries, and being the homeland of Palladianism, a style of construction which inspired movements such as that of Neoclassical architecture, and influenced the designs which noblemen built their country houses all over the world, notably in the UK, Australia and the US during the late 17th to early 20th centuries. Along with pre-historic architecture, the first people in Italy to truly begin a sequence of designs were the Greeks and the Etruscans, progressing to classical Roman, then to the revival of the classical Roman era during the Renaissance and evolving into the Baroque era. The Christian concept of a Basilica, a style of church architecture that came to dominate the early Middle Ages, was invented in Rome. They were known for being long, rectangular buildings, which were built in an almost ancient Roman style, often rich in mosaics and decorations. The early Christians' art and architecture was also widely inspired by that of the pagan Romans; statues, mosaics and paintings decorated all their churches.Italy Architecture: Early Christian and Byzanthine
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The first significant buildings in the medieval Romanesque style were churches built in Italy during the 800s. Byzantine architecture was also widely diffused in Italy. The Byzantines kept Roman principles of architecture and art alive, and the most famous structure from this period is the St Mark's Basilica, Basilica of St. Mark in Venice. The Romanesque movement, which went from approximately 800 AD to 1100 AD, was one of the most fruitful and creative periods in Italian architecture, when several masterpieces, such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa in the Piazza dei Miracoli, and the Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio in Milan were built. It was known for its usage of the Roman arches, stained glass windows, and also its curved columns which commonly featured in cloisters. The main innovation of Italian Romanesque architecture was the vault, which had never been seen before in the history of Western architecture.Italy Architecture: Romanesque
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A flowering of Italian architecture took place during the Renaissance. Filippo Brunelleschi contributed to architectural design with his dome for the Cathedral of Florence, a feat of engineering that had not been accomplished since antiquity. A popular achievement of Italian Renaissance architecture was St. Peter's Basilica, originally designed by Donato Bramante in the early 16th century. Also, Andrea Palladio influenced architects throughout western Europe with the villas and palaces he designed in the middle and late 16th century; the city of Vicenza, with its twenty-three buildings designed by Palladio, and twenty-four Palladian Villas of the Veneto are listed by UNESCO as part of a World Heritage Site named City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto. The Baroque period produced several outstanding Italian architects in the 17th century, especially known for their churches. The most original work of all late Baroque and Rococo architecture is the Palazzina di caccia di Stupinigi, dating back to the 18th century. Luigi Vanvitelli began in 1752 the construction of the Royal Palace of Caserta. In this large complex, the grandiose Baroque style interiors and gardens are opposed to a more sober building envelope. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries Italy was affected by the Neoclassical architectural movement. Villas, palaces, gardens, interiors and art began to be based on Roman and Greek themes.Italy Architecture: Neoclassicism
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During the Fascist period, the so-called "Novecento movement" flourished, based on the rediscovery of imperial Rome, with figures such as Gio Ponti and Giovanni Muzio. Marcello Piacentini, responsible for the urban transformations of several cities in Italy and remembered for the disputed Via della Conciliazione in Rome, devised a form of simplified Neoclassicism.


Visual art

The history of Italian visual arts is significant to the history of Western painting. Roman art was influenced by Greece and can in part be taken as a descendant of ancient Greek painting. Roman painting does have its own unique characteristics. The only surviving Roman paintings are wall paintings, many from villas in Campania, in Southern Italy. Such paintings can be grouped into four main "styles" or periods and may contain the first examples of trompe-l'œil, pseudo-perspective, and pure landscape. Panel painting becomes more common during the Romanesque art, Romanesque period, under the heavy influence of Byzantine icons. Towards the middle of the 13th century, Medieval art and Gothic painting became more realistic, with the beginnings of interest in the depiction of volume and perspective in Italy with Cimabue and then his pupil Giotto. From Giotto onwards, the treatment of composition in painting became much more free and innovative. The Italian Renaissance is said by many to be the Golden Age (metaphor), golden age of painting; roughly spanning the 14th through the mid-17th centuries with a significant influence also out of the borders of modern Italy. In Italy artists like Paolo Uccello, Fra Angelico, Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, Andrea Mantegna, Filippo Lippi, Giorgione, Tintoretto, Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Raphael, Giovanni Bellini, and Titian took painting to a higher level through the use of Perspective (graphical), perspective, the study of human anatomy and proportion, and through their development of refined drawing and painting techniques. Michelangelo was active as a sculptor from about 1500 to 1520; works include his ''David (Michelangelo), David'', ''Pietà (Michelangelo), Pietà'', ''Moses (Michelangelo), Moses''. Other Renaissance sculptors include Lorenzo Ghiberti, Luca Della Robbia, Donatello, Filippo Brunelleschi and Andrea del Verrocchio. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the High Renaissance gave rise to a stylised art known as Mannerism. In place of the balanced compositions and rational approach to perspective that characterised art at the dawn of the 16th century, the Mannerists sought instability, artifice, and doubt. The unperturbed faces and gestures of Piero della Francesca and the calm Virgins of Raphael are replaced by the troubled expressions of Pontormo and the emotional intensity of El Greco. In the 17th century, among the greatest painters of Italian Baroque are Caravaggio, Annibale Carracci, Artemisia Gentileschi, Mattia Preti, Carlo Saraceni and Bartolomeo Manfredi. Subsequently, in the 18th century, Italian Rococo art, Italian Rococo was mainly inspired by French Rococo, since France was the founding nation of that particular style, with artists such as Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and Canaletto. Italian Neoclassical sculpture focused, with Antonio Canova's nudes, on the idealist aspect of the movement. In the 19th century, major Italian Romantic painting, Romantic painters were Francesco Hayez, Giuseppe Bezzuoli and Francesco Podesti. Impressionism was brought from France to Italy by the ''Macchiaioli'', led by Giovanni Fattori, and Giovanni Boldini; Realism (arts), Realism by Gioacchino Toma and Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo. In the 20th century, with Futurism, primarily through the works of Umberto Boccioni and Giacomo Balla, Italy rose again as a seminal country for artistic evolution in painting and sculpture. Futurism was succeeded by the metaphysical paintings of Giorgio de Chirico, who exerted a strong influence on the Surrealists and generations of artists to follow like Bruno Caruso and Renato Guttuso.


Literature

Formal Latin literature began in 240 BC, when the first stage play was performed in Rome. Latin literature was, and still is, highly influential in the world, with numerous writers, poets, philosophers, and historians, such as Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger, Virgil, Horace, Propertius, Ovid and Livy. The Romans were also famous for their oral tradition, poetry, drama and epigrams. In early years of the 13th century, St. Francis of Assisi was considered the first Italian poet by literary critics, with his religious song ''Canticle of the Sun''. Another Italian voice originated in Sicily. At the court of Emperor Frederick II, who ruled the Sicilian kingdom during the first half of the 13th century, lyrics modelled on Provençal forms and themes were written in a refined version of the local vernacular. One of these poets was the notary Giacomo da Lentini, inventor of the sonnet form, though the most famous early sonneteer was Petrarch. Guido Guinizelli is considered the founder of the ''Dolce Stil Novo'', a school that added a philosophical dimension to traditional love poetry. This new understanding of love, expressed in a smooth, pure style, influenced Guido Cavalcanti and the Florence, Florentine poet Dante Alighieri, who established the basis of the modern Italian language; his greatest work, the ''Divine Comedy'', is considered among the foremost literary statements produced in Europe during the Middle Ages; furthermore, the poet invented the difficult ''terza rima''. Two major writers of the 14th century, Petrarch and Giovanni Boccaccio, sought out and imitated the works of antiquity and cultivated their own artistic personalities. Petrarch achieved fame through his collection of poems, ''Il Canzoniere''. Petrarch's love poetry served as a model for centuries. Equally influential was Boccaccio's ''The Decameron'', one of the most popular collections of short stories ever written. Italian Renaissance authors produced works including Niccolò Machiavelli's ''The Prince'', an essay on political science and modern philosophy in which the "effectual truth" is taken to be more important than any abstract ideal; Ludovico Ariosto's ''Orlando Furioso'', continuation of Matteo Maria Boiardo's unfinished romance ''Orlando Innamorato''; and Baldassare Castiglione's dialogue ''The Book of the Courtier'' which describes the ideal of the perfect court gentleman and of spiritual beauty. The lyric poet Torquato Tasso in ''Jerusalem Delivered'' wrote a Christian epic in ''ottava rima'', with attention to the Aristotelian canons of unity. Giovanni Francesco Straparola and Giambattista Basile, which have written ''The Facetious Nights of Straparola'' (1550–1555) and the ''Pentamerone'' (1634) respectively, printed some of the first known versions of fairy tales in Europe. In the early 17th century, some literary masterpieces were created, such as Giambattista Marino's long mythological poem, ''Giambattista Marino#L'Adone, L'Adone''. The Baroque period also produced the clear scientific prose of Galileo Galilei, Galileo as well as Tommaso Campanella's ''The City of the Sun'', a description of a perfect society ruled by a philosopher-priest. At the end of the 17th century, the Academy of Arcadia, Arcadians began a movement to restore simplicity and classical restraint to poetry, as in Metastasio's heroic melodramas. In the 18th century, playwright Carlo Goldoni created full written plays, many portraying the middle class of his day. The Romanticism coincided with some ideas of the ''Risorgimento'', the patriotic movement that brought Italy political unity and freedom from foreign domination. Italian writers embraced Romanticism in the early 19th century. The time of Italy's rebirth was heralded by the poets Vittorio Alfieri, Ugo Foscolo, and Giacomo Leopardi. The works by Alessandro Manzoni, the leading Italian Romantic, are a symbol of the Italian unification for their patriotic message and because of his efforts in the development of the modern, unified Italian language; his novel ''The Betrothed (Manzoni novel), The Betrothed'' was the first Italian historical novel to glorify Christian values of justice and Providence, and it has been called the most famous and widely read novel in the Italian language.Archibald Colquhoun. ''Manzoni and his Times.'' J.M. Dent & Sons, London, 1954. In the late 19th century, a realistic literary movement called ''Verismo (literature), Verismo'' played a major role in Italian literature; Giovanni Verga and Luigi Capuana were its main exponents. In the same period, Emilio Salgari, writer of action-adventure swashbucklers and a pioneer of science fiction, published his ''Sandokan'' series. In 1883, Carlo Collodi also published the novel ''The Adventures of Pinocchio'', the most celebrated children's classic by an Italian author and one the List of literary works by number of translations, most translated non-religious books in the world.Giovanni Gasparini. ''La corsa di Pinocchio''. Milano, Vita e Pensiero, 1997. p. 117. A movement called Futurism influenced Italian literature in the early 20th century. Filippo Tommaso Marinetti wrote ''Manifesto of Futurism'', called for the use of language and metaphors that glorified the speed, dynamism, and violence of the machine age. Modern literary figures and Nobel laureates are Gabriele D'Annunzio from 1889 to 1910, nationalist poet Giosuè Carducci in 1906, realist writer Grazia Deledda in 1926, modern theatre author Luigi Pirandello in 1936, short stories writer Italo Calvino in 1960, poets Salvatore Quasimodo in 1959 and Eugenio Montale in 1975, Umberto Eco in 1980, and satirist and theatre author Dario Fo in 1997.


Philosophy

Over the ages, Italian philosophy and literature had a vast influence on Western philosophy, beginning with the Greeks and Romans, and going onto Renaissance humanism, the Age of Enlightenment and modern philosophy. Philosophy was brought to Italy by Pythagoras, founder of the Italian school of philosophy in Crotone. Major Italian philosophers of the Magna Graecia, Greek period include Xenophanes, Parmenides, Zeno of Elea, Zeno, Empedocles and Gorgias. Roman philosophers include Cicero, Lucretius, Seneca the Younger, Musonius Rufus, Plutarch, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Clement of Alexandria, Sextus Empiricus, Alexander of Aphrodisias, Plotinus, Porphyry (philosopher), Porphyry, Iamblichus (philosopher), Iamblichus, Augustine of Hippo, John Philoponus, Philoponus of Alexandria and Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, Boethius. Italian Medieval philosophy was mainly Christian, and included philosophers and theologians such as St Thomas Aquinas, the foremost classical proponent of natural theology and the father of Thomism, who reintroduced Aristotelianism, Aristotelian philosophy to Christianity. Notable Renaissance philosophers include: Giordano Bruno, one of the major scientific figures of the western world; Marsilio Ficino, one of the most influential humanist philosophers of the period; and Niccolò Machiavelli, one of the main founders of modern political science. Machiavelli's most famous work was ''The Prince'', whose contribution to the history of political thought is the fundamental break between political Realism (international relations), realism and political idealism. Italy was also affected by the Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment, a movement which was a consequence of the Renaissance. University cities such as Padua, Bologna and Naples remained centres of scholarship and the intellect, with several philosophers such as Giambattista Vico (widely regarded as being the founder of modern Italian philosophy) and Antonio Genovesi. Cesare Beccaria was a significant Enlightenment figure and is now considered one of the fathers of Classical school (criminology), classical criminal theory as well as modern penology. Beccaria is famous for his ''On Crimes and Punishments'' (1764), a treatise that served as one of the earliest prominent condemnations of torture and the death penalty and thus a landmark work in anti-death penalty philosophy. Italy also had a renowned philosophical movement in the 1800s, with Idealism, Sensism and Empiricism. The main Sensist Italian philosophers were Melchiorre Gioja and Gian Domenico Romagnosi. Criticism of the Sensist movement came from other philosophers such as Pasquale Galluppi (1770–1846), who affirmed that ''a priori'' relationships were synthetic. Antonio Rosmini, instead, was the founder of Italian Idealism. During the late 19th and 20th centuries, there were also several other movements which gained some form of popularity in Italy, such as Ontologism (whose main philosopher was Vincenzo Gioberti), Anarchism in Italy, anarchism, communism, socialism, futurism, fascism and Christian democracy. Giovanni Gentile and Benedetto Croce were two of the most significant 20th-century Idealist philosophers. Anarcho-communism first fully formed into its modern strain within the Italian section of the First International. Antonio Gramsci remains a relevant philosopher within Marxist and communist theory, credited with creating the theory of cultural hegemony. Italian philosophers were also influential in the development of the non-Marxist liberal socialism philosophy, including Carlo Rosselli, Norberto Bobbio, Piero Gobetti and Aldo Capitini. In the 1960s, many Italian left-wing activists adopted the anti-authoritarian pro-working class leftist theories that would become known as autonomism and ''operaismo''. Early Feminism in Italy, Italian feminists include Sibilla Aleramo, Alaide Gualberta Beccari, and Anna Maria Mozzoni, though proto-feminist philosophies had previously been touched upon by earlier Italian writers such as Christine de Pizan, Moderata Fonte, and Lucrezia Marinella. Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori is credited with the creation of the Montessori education, philosophy of education that bears her name, an educational philosophy now practiced throughout the world. Giuseppe Peano was one of the founders of analytic philosophy and contemporary philosophy of mathematics. Recent analytic philosophers include Carlo Penco, Gloria Origgi, Pieranna Garavaso and Luciano Floridi.


Theatre

Italian theatre can be traced back to the Roman tradition. The theatre of ancient Rome was a thriving and diverse art form, ranging from festival performances of street theatre, nude dancing, and acrobatics, to the staging of Plautus's broadly appealing situation comedies, to the high-style, verbally elaborate tragedies of Seneca the Younger, Seneca. Although Rome had a native tradition of performance, the Hellenization of Culture of ancient Rome, Roman culture in the 3rd century BCE had a profound and energising effect on Roman theatre and encouraged the development of Latin literature of the highest quality for the stage. As with many other literary genres, Roman dramatists was heavily influenced or tended to adapt from the Greek. For example, Seneca's ''Phaedra (Seneca), Phaedra'' was based on that of Euripides, and many of the comedies of Plautus were direct translations of works by Menander. During the 16th century and on into the 18th century, Commedia dell'arte was a form of improvisational theatre, and it is still performed today. Travelling troupes of players would set up an outdoor stage and provide amusement in the form of juggling, acrobatics and, more typically, humorous plays based on a repertoire of established characters with a rough storyline, called ''canovaccio''. Plays did not originate from written drama but from scenarios called lazzi, which were loose frameworks that provided the situations, complications, and outcome of the action, around which the actors would improvise. The characters of the ''commedia'' usually represent fixed social types and stock characters, each of which has a distinct Costumes in commedia dell'arte, costume, such as foolish old men, devious servants, or military officers full of false bravery, bravado. The main categories of these characters include servants, old men, lovers, and captains. The first recorded Commedia dell'arte performances came from Rome as early as 1551, and was performed outdoors in temporary venues by professional actors who were costumed and masked, as opposed to , which were written comedies, presented indoors by untrained and unmasked actors. By the mid-16th century, specific troupes of ''commedia'' performers began to coalesce, and by 1568 the I Gelosi, Gelosi became a distinct company. ''Commedia'' often performed inside in court theatres or halls, and also as some fixed theatres such as Teatro Baldrucca in Florence. Flaminio Scala, who had been a minor performer in the Gelosi published the scenarios of the ''commedia dell'arte'' around the start of the 17th century, really in an effort to legitimise the form—and ensure its legacy. These scenari are highly structured and built around the symmetry of the various types in duet: two , , and , among others. In ''commedia dell'arte'', female roles were played by women, documented as early as the 1560s, making them the first known professional actresses in Europe since antiquity. Lucrezia Di Siena, whose name is on a contract of actors from 10 October 1564, has been referred to as the first Italian actress known by name, with Vincenza Armani and Barbara Flaminia as the first primadonnas and the first well documented actresses in Europe. The Ballet dance genre also originated in Italy. It began during the Italian Renaissance court as an outgrowth of court pageantry, where aristocratic weddings were lavish celebrations. Court musicians and dancers collaborated to provide elaborate entertainment for them. Domenico da Piacenza was one of the first dancing masters. Along with his students, Antonio Cornazzano and Guglielmo Ebreo, he was trained in dance and responsible for teaching nobles the art. Da Piacenza left one work: '' De arte saltandi et choreus ducendi'' (On the art of dancing and conducting dances), which was put together by his students. At first, ballets were woven in to the midst of an opera to allow the audience a moment of relief from the dramatic intensity. By the mid-seventeenth century, Italian ballets in their entirety were performed in between the acts of an opera. Over time, Italian ballets became part of theatrical life: ballet companies in Italy's major opera houses employed an average of four to twelve dancers; in 1815 many companies employed anywhere from eighty to one hundred dancers. Carlo Goldoni, who wrote a few scenarios starting in 1734, superseded the comedy of masks and the comedy of intrigue by representations of actual life and manners through the characters and their behaviours. He rightly maintained that Italian life and manners were susceptible of artistic treatment such as had not been given them before. Italian theatre has been active in producing contemporary European work and in staging revivals, including the works of Luigi Pirandello and Dario Fo. The Teatro di San Carlo in Naples is the oldest continuously active venue for public opera in the world, opening in 1737, decades before both the Milan's La Scala and Venice's La Fenice theatres.


Music

From Italian folk music, folk music to European classical music, classical, music is an intrinsic part of Italian culture. Instruments associated with classical music, including the piano and violin, were invented in Italy, and many of the prevailing classical music forms, such as the symphony, concerto, and sonata, can trace their roots back to innovations of 16th- and 17th-century Italian music. Italy's most famous composers include the List of Renaissance composers#Italian, Renaissance composers Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Palestrina, Claudio Monteverdi, Monteverdi and Carlo Gesualdo, Gesualdo, the List of Baroque composers, Baroque composers Domenico Scarlatti, Scarlatti, Arcangelo Corelli, Corelli and Antonio Vivaldi, Vivaldi, the List of Classical era composers, Classical composers Giovanni Paisiello, Paisiello, Niccolò Paganini, Paganini and Gioachino Rossini, Rossini, and the List of Romantic-era composers, Romantic composers Giuseppe Verdi, Verdi and Giacomo Puccini, Puccini. Modern Italian composers such as Luciano Berio, Berio and Luigi Nono (composer), Nono proved significant in the development of experimental music, experimental and electronic music. While the classical music tradition still holds strong in Italy, as evidenced by the fame of its innumerable opera houses, such as ''La Scala'' of Milan and ''Teatro di San Carlo, San Carlo'' of Naples (the oldest continuously active venue for public opera in the world), and performers such as the pianist Maurizio Pollini and tenor Luciano Pavarotti, Italians have been no less appreciative of their thriving contemporary music scene. Italy is widely known for being the birthplace of opera. Italian opera was believed to have been founded in the early 17th century, in cities such as Mantua and Venice. Later, works and pieces composed by native Italian composers of the 19th and early 20th centuries, such as Rossini, Vincenzo Bellini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini, are among the most famous operas ever written and today are performed in opera houses across the world. La Scala operahouse in Milan is also renowned as one of the best in the world. Famous Italian opera singers include Enrico Caruso and Alessandro Bonci. Introduced in the early 1920s, jazz took a particularly strong foothold in Italy, and remained popular despite the xenophobic cultural policies of the Fascist regime. Today, the most notable centres of jazz music in Italy include Milan, Rome, and Sicily. Later, Italy was at the forefront of the progressive rock and pop movement of the 1970s, with bands like Premiata Forneria Marconi, PFM, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Le Orme, Goblin (band), Goblin, and Pooh (band), Pooh. The same period saw diversification in the cinema of Italy, and Cinecittà films included complex scores by composers including Ennio Morricone, Armando Trovaioli, Piero Piccioni and Piero Umiliani. In the early 1980s, the first star to emerge from the Italian hip hop scene was singer Jovanotti. Italian metal bands include Rhapsody of Fire, Lacuna Coil, Elvenking (band), Elvenking, Forgotten Tomb, and Fleshgod Apocalypse. Italy contributed to the development of disco and electronic music, with Italo disco, known for its futuristic sound and prominent use of synthesisers and drum machines, being one of the earliest electronic dance genres, as well as European forms of disco aside from Euro disco (which later went on to influence several genres such as Eurodance and Nu-disco). By the latter half of the 1990s, a subgenre of Eurodance known as Italo dance emerged. Taking influences from Italo disco and Italo house, Italo dance generally included synthesizer riffs, a melodic sound, and the usage of vocoders. Notable Italian DJs and remixers include Gabry Ponte (member of the group Eiffel 65), Benny Benassi, Gigi D'Agostino, and the trio Tacabro. Producers such as Giorgio Moroder, who won three Academy Awards and four Golden Globe Award, Golden Globes for his music, were highly influential in the development of electronic dance music. Today, Italian pop music is represented annually with the Sanremo Music Festival, which served as inspiration for the Eurovision song contest, and the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto. Singers such as Mina (Italian singer), Mina, Andrea Bocelli, Grammy winner Laura Pausini, Zucchero Fornaciari, Zucchero, Eros Ramazzotti and Tiziano Ferro have attained international acclaim. Gigliola Cinquetti, Toto Cutugno, and Måneskin have won the Eurovision Song Contest, in Eurovision Song Contest 1964, 1964, Eurovision Song Contest 1990, 1990, and Eurovision Song Contest 2021, 2021 respectively.


Cinema

The history of Cinema of Italy, Italian cinema began a few months after the Auguste and Louis Lumière, Lumière brothers began motion picture exhibitions. The first Italian director is considered to be Vittorio Calcina, a collaborator of the Lumière Brothers, who filmed Pope Leo XIII in 1896. In the 1910s the Italian film industry developed rapidly. In 1912, the year of the greatest expansion, 569 films were produced in Turin, 420 in Rome and 120 in Milan. ''Cabiria'', a 1914 Italian epic film directed by Giovanni Pastrone, is considered the most famous Italian silent film. It was also the first film in history to be shown in the White House. Cinema was later used by Benito Mussolini, who founded Rome's renowned Cinecittà studio for the production of Propaganda in Fascist Italy, Fascist propaganda until World War II. After the war, Italian film was widely recognised and exported until an artistic decline around the 1980s. List of film directors from Italy, Notable Italian film directors from this period include Vittorio De Sica, Federico Fellini, Sergio Leone, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Luchino Visconti, Michelangelo Antonioni, Duccio Tessari, Dussio Tessari and Roberto Rossellini; some of these are recognised among the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time. Movies include world cinema treasures such as ''Bicycle Thieves'', ''La dolce vita'', ''8½'', ''The Good, the Bad and the Ugly'', and ''Once Upon a Time in the West''. The mid-1940s to the early 1950s was the heyday of Italian neorealism, neorealist films, reflecting the poor condition of post-war Italy. As the country grew wealthier in the 1950s, a form of neorealism known as pink neorealism succeeded, and other film genres, such as sword-and-sandal followed as Spaghetti Westerns, were popular in the 1960s and 1970s. Actresses such as Sophia Loren, Giulietta Masina and Gina Lollobrigida achieved international stardom during this period. Erotic Italian thrillers, or ''giallos'', produced by directors such as Mario Bava and Dario Argento in the 1970s, also influenced the horror genre worldwide. In recent years, the Italian scene has received only occasional international attention, with movies like ''Cinema Paradiso'' written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, ''Mediterraneo'' directed by Gabriele Salvatores, ''Life Is Beautiful'' directed by Roberto Benigni, ''Il Postino: The Postman'' with Massimo Troisi and ''The Great Beauty'' directed by Paolo Sorrentino. The aforementioned Cinecittà studio is today the largest film and television production facility in Italy, where many international box office hits were filmed. In the 1950s, the number of international productions being made there led to Rome's being dubbed "''Hollywood on the Tiber''". More than 3,000 productions have been made on its lot, of which 90 received an Academy Award nomination and 47 of these won it, from some cinema classics to recent rewarded features (such as ''Roman Holiday'', ''Ben-Hur (1959 film), Ben-Hur'', ''Cleopatra (1963 film), Cleopatra'', ''Romeo and Juliet (1968 film), Romeo and Juliet'', ''The English Patient (film), The English Patient'', ''The Passion of the Christ'', and ''Gangs of New York''). Italy is the most awarded country at the Academy Awards for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Best Foreign Language Film, with 14 awards won, 3 Academy Honorary Award, Special Awards and 28 List of Italian submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, nominations. , Italian films have also won 12 Palme d'Or, Palmes d'Or, 11 Golden Lions and 7 Golden Bears.


Sport

The most popular sport in Italy is Association football, football. Italy's Italy national football team, national football team is one of the world's most successful teams with four FIFA World Cup victories (1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006). Italian clubs have won 48 major European trophies, making Italy the List of UEFA club competition winners#By country, second most successful country in European football. Italy's top-flight club football league is named Serie A and is followed by millions of fans around the world. Other popular team sports in Italy include basketball, volleyball and rugby football, rugby. Italy's Italy national volleyball team, male and Italy women's national volleyball team, female national volleyball teams are often FIVB World Rankings, featured among the world's best. The Italian national basketball team's best results were gold at Eurobasket 1983 and EuroBasket 1999, as well as silver at the Olympics in Basketball at the 2004 Summer Olympics, 2004. Lega Basket Serie A is widely considered one of the most competitive in Europe. Rugby union enjoys a good level of popularity, especially in the north of the country. Italy's Italy national rugby union team, national team competes in the Six Nations Championship, and is a regular at the Rugby World Cup. Italy ranks as a tier-one nation by World Rugby. The Italy men's national volleyball team, men's volleyball team won three consecutive FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship, World Championships (in 1990, 1994, and 1998) and earned the Olympics, Olympic silver medal in 1996, 2004, and 2016. Italy has a long and successful tradition in individual sports as well. Bicycle racing is a familiar sport in the country. Italians have won the UCI Road World Championships – Men's road race, UCI World Championships UCI Road World Championships – Men's road race#Medalists by nation, more than any other country, except Belgium. The Giro d'Italia is a cycling race held every May, and constitutes one of the three Grand Tour (cycling), Grand Tours. Alpine skiing is also a widespread sport in Italy, and the country is a popular international skiing destination, known for its ski resorts. Italian skiers achieved good results in Winter Olympic Games, FIS Alpine Ski World Cup, Alpine Ski World Cup, and tennis has a significant following in Italy, ranking as the fourth most practised sport in the country. The Italian Open (tennis), Rome Masters, founded in 1930, is one of the most prestigious tennis tournaments in the world. Italian professional tennis players won the Davis Cup in 1976 and the Fed Cup in 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2013. Motorsports are also extremely popular in Italy. Italy has won, by far, List of Grand Prix motorcycle racing World champions#By country, the most MotoGP World Championships. Italian Scuderia Ferrari is the oldest surviving team in Grand Prix motor racing, Grand Prix racing, having competed since 1948, and statistically the List of Formula One Grand Prix winners (constructors), most successful Formula One team in history with a record of 232 wins. The Italian Grand Prix of Formula One, Formula 1 is the fifth oldest surviving Grand Prix, having been held since 1921. It is also one of the two Grand Prix present in every championship since the first one in 1950 Formula One season, 1950. Every Formula 1 Grand Prix (except for the 1980 Italian Grand Prix, 1980) has been held at Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Autodromo Nazionale Monza. Formula 1 was also held at Imola Circuit, Imola (1980–2006, 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, 2020) and Mugello Circuit, Mugello (2020 Tuscan Grand Prix, 2020). Historically, Italy has been successful in the Olympic Games, taking part from the 1896 Summer Olympics, first Olympiad and in 47 Games out of 48. Italy at the Olympics, Italian sportsmen have won 522 medals at the Summer Olympic Games, and another 106 at the Winter Olympic Games, for a combined total of 628 medals with 235 golds, which makes them the All-time Olympic Games medal table, fifth most successful nation in Olympic history for total medals. The country hosted two Winter Olympics and will host a third (in 1956 Winter Olympics, 1956, 2006 Winter Olympics, 2006, and 2026 Winter Olympics, 2026), and one Summer games (in 1960 Summer Olympics, 1960).


Fashion and design

Italian fashion has History of Italian fashion, a long tradition. Milan, Florence and Rome are Italy's main fashion capitals. According to ''Top Global Fashion Capital Rankings'' 2013 by Global Language Monitor, Rome ranked sixth worldwide when Milan was twelfth. Previously, in 2009, Milan was declared as the "fashion capital of the world" by Global Language Monitor itself. Major Italian fashion labels, such as Gucci, Armani, Prada, Versace, Valentino SpA, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Missoni, Fendi, Moschino, Max Mara, Trussardi, and Ferragamo, to name a few, are regarded as among the finest fashion houses in the world. Jewellers like Bvlgari, Damiani and Buccellati have been founded in Italy. Also, the fashion magazine Vogue Italia, is considered one of the most prestigious fashion magazines in the world. The talent of young, creative fashion is also promoted, as in the ITS young fashion designer competition in Trieste. Italy is also prominent in the field of design, notably interior design, architectural design, industrial design and urban design. The country has produced some well-known furniture designers, such as Gio Ponti and Ettore Sottsass, and Italian phrases such as ''"Bel Disegno"'' and ''"Linea Italiana"'' have entered the vocabulary of furniture design. Examples of classic pieces of Italian white goods and pieces of furniture include Zanussi's washing machines and fridges,Insight Guides (2004) p. 220 the "New Tone" sofas by Atrium, and the post-modern bookcase by Ettore Sottsass, inspired by Bob Dylan's song "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again". Today, Milan and Turin are the nation's leaders in architectural design and industrial design. The city of Milan hosts Fiera Milano, Europe's largest design fair. Milan also hosts major design and architecture-related events and venues, such as the "''Fuori Salone''" and the Salone del Mobile, and has been home to the designers Bruno Munari, Lucio Fontana, Enrico Castellani and Piero Manzoni.


Cuisine

The Italian cuisine has developed through centuries of social and political changes, with Ancient Roman cuisine, roots as far back as the 4th century BC. Italian cuisine in itself takes heavy influences, including Etruscan civilization, Etruscan, Ancient Greek cuisine, ancient Greek, Ancient Roman cuisine, ancient Roman, Byzantine cuisine, Byzantine, and Jewish cuisine, Jewish. Significant changes occurred with the discovery of the
New World The "New World" is a term for the majority of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The re ...
with the introduction of items such as potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers and maize, now central to the cuisine but not introduced in quantity until the 18th century. Italian cuisine is noted for its regional diversity, abundance of difference in taste, and is known to be one of the most popular in the world, wielding strong influence abroad. The Mediterranean diet forms the basis of Italian cuisine, rich in pasta, fish, fruits and vegetables and characterised by its extreme simplicity and variety, with many dishes having only four to eight ingredients. Italian cooks rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation. Dishes and recipes are often derivatives from local and familial tradition rather than created by chefs, so many recipes are ideally suited for home cooking, this being one of the main reasons behind the ever-increasing worldwide popularity of Italian cuisine, from America to Asia. Ingredients and dishes vary widely by Regions of Italy, region. Italian cuisine relies heavily on traditional products; the country has a large number of List of Italian products with protected designation of origin, traditional specialities protected under Geographical indications and traditional specialities in the European Union, EU law. List of Italian cheeses, Cheese, salumi, cold cuts and Italian wine, wine are central to Italian cuisine, with many regional declinations and Protected Designation of Origin or Protected Geographical Indication labels, and along with coffee (especially espresso) form part of Italian gastronomic culture. Desserts have a long tradition of merging local flavours such as citrus fruits, pistachio and almonds with sweet cheeses like mascarpone and ricotta or exotic tastes as cocoa, vanilla and cinnamon. Gelato, tiramisù and cassata are among the most famous examples of Italian desserts, cakes and patisserie. The marketing phenomenon of imitation of Italian agri-food products is known by the name of ''Italian Sounding''.


Public holidays and festivals

Public holidays celebrated in Italy include religious, national and regional observances. Italy's National Day, the ''Festa della Repubblica'' (''Republic Day'') is celebrated on 2 June each year, and commemorates the Italian institutional referendum, 1946, birth of the Italian Republic in 1946. The Saint Lucy's Day#Italy, Saint Lucy's Day, which take place on 13 December, is popular among children in some Italian regions, where she plays a role similar to Santa Claus. In addition, the Epiphany (holiday), Epiphany in Italy is associated with the Italian folklore, folkloristic figure of the Befana, a broomstick-riding old woman who, in the night between 5 and 6 January, bringing good children gifts and sweets, and bad ones charcoal or bags of ashes. The Assumption of Mary coincides with ''Ferragosto'' on 15 August, the summer vacation period which may be a long weekend or most of the month. Each city or town also celebrates a public holiday on the occasion of the festival of the local patron saint, for example:
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Rome
on 29 June (Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, Saints Peter and Paul), Milan on 7 December (Ambrose, Saint Ambrose), Naples on 19 September (Januarius, Saint Januarius), Venice on 25 April (Mark the Evangelist, Saint Mark the Evangelist) and Florence on 24 June (John the Baptist, Saint John the Baptist). There are many festivals and festivities in Italy. Some of them include the Palio di Siena horse race, Holy Week#Italy, Holy Week rites, Saracen Joust of Arezzo, Saint Ubaldo Day in Gubbio, Giostra della Quintana in Foligno, and the Calcio Fiorentino. In 2013, UNESCO has included among the intangible cultural heritage some Italian festivals and Paso (float), pasos (in Italian "macchine a spalla"), such as the Varia di Palmi, the Macchina di Santa Rosa in Viterbo, the Festa dei Gigli in Nola, and ''faradda di li candareri'' in Sassari. Other festivals include the Carnival in Italy, carnivals in Carnival of Venice, Venice, Carnival of Viareggio, Viareggio, Carnival of Satriano di Lucania, Satriano di Lucania, Mamoiada, and Ivrea, mostly known for its Battle of the Oranges. The Venice International Film Festival, awarding the "Golden Lion" and held annually since 1932, is the oldest film festival in the world.


See also

* Index of Italy-related articles * Outline of Italy


Notes


References


Bibliography

* * * Hibberd, Matthew. ''The media in Italy'' (McGraw-Hill International, 2007) * Sarti, Roland, ed. ''Italy: A reference guide from the Renaissance to the present'' (2004) * Sassoon, Donald. ''Contemporary Italy: politics, economy and society since 1945'' (Routledge, 2014) *


External links

; Government *
Government website
*
Official site of the Italian Parliament

Official site of the President of the Italian Republic

Italian Higher Education for International Students



Italian tourism official website
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; General information
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''The World Factbook''. Central Intelligence Agency.
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