C. 140 MILLION Italian citizens: C. 60 MILLION
Italian ancestry: C. 80 MILLION
REGIONS WITH SIGNIFICANT POPULATIONS
Italy c. 55,000,000
Italian and other languages (Corsican · Sardinian · Sicilian ·
Neapolitan · Emilian-Romagnol · Ligurian · Piedmontese · Lombard
· Venetian · Friulian · Ladin · Romansh · Istriot )
Christianity : Roman Catholicism (predominantly)
RELATED ETHNIC GROUPS
other Romance peoples ,
Swiss people ,
Maltese people , Greek
The ITALIANS (Italian : Italiani ) are a nation and ethnic group
Italy , who share a common culture , history , ancestry and
language . Legally, all Italian nationals are citizens of the
Italian Republic , regardless of ancestry or nation of residence
(though the principle of jus sanguinis is used extensively and
arguably more favourably in the Italian nationality law), and are
distinguished from people of Italian descent and from ethnic Italians
living in territories adjacent to the
Italian Peninsula . The
majority of Italian nationals are native speakers of Standard Italian
Italians are also proficient in other languages native to
Italy (often colloquially referred to as "Italian dialects ").
In 2014, in addition to about 55 million
Italy (91% of
the Italian national population), Italian-speaking autonomous groups
are found in neighbouring nations: about half a million are in
Switzerland and a large population is in
France , and there are
smaller groups in
Croatia , primarily in
Dalmatia . Because of the wide-ranging diaspora , about 5 million
Italian citizens and nearly 80 million people of full or partial
Italian ancestry live outside their own homeland, most notably in
Europe bordering Italy, the
Italians have greatly influenced and contributed to diverse fields,
notably the arts and music, science and technology, fashion, cuisine,
sports, jurisprudence, banking and business both abroad and
Italian people are generally known for their localism
(both regionalist and municipalist) and their attention to clothing
and family values .
* 1 Name
* 2 History
* 2.1 Roman era
* 2.2 The
* 2.3 Rise of the city-states and the
* 2.4 The
French Revolution and
* 2.5 The Kingdom of
* 2.6 The
* 3 Culture
* 4 Philosophy
* 5 Literature
* 6 Law and justice
* 7 Science and technology
* 8 Mathematics
* 9 Architecture
* 10 Music
* 11 Cinema
* 12 Sport
* 13 Ethnogenesis
* 13.1 Prehistory
* 13.2 Indo-European
* 13.3 Pre-Roman
* 13.4 Roman
* 13.5 Between the two millenniums
* 13.6 Modern period
* 15 Autochthonous Italian communities outside
* 16 See also
* 17 Notes
* 18 Bibliography
The term Italian is at least 3,000 years old and has a history that
goes back to pre-Roman Italy. According to one of the more common
explanations, the term Italia , from
Latin : Italia, was borrowed
through Greek from the Oscan Víteliú, meaning "land of young cattle"
Latin vitulus "calf", Umbrian vitlo "calf"). The bull was a
symbol of the southern
Italic tribes and was often depicted goring the
Roman wolf as a defiant symbol of free
Italy during the Social War .
Dionysius of Halicarnassus
Dionysius of Halicarnassus states this account
together with the legend that
Italy was named after
mentioned also by
Main article: Population history of
Italy Further information:
Main articles: Ancient peoples of
Etruscan civilization ,
Magna Graecia ,
Cisalpine Gaul , and
Ancient Rome Expansion of
the territory known as
Italy from the establishment of the Roman
Etruscan civilization reached its peak about the 7th century BC,
but by 509 BC, when the Romans overthrew their Etruscan monarchs, its
Italy was on the wane. By 350 BC, after a series of wars
Greeks and Etruscans, the
Latins , with
Rome as their capital,
gained the ascendancy by 272 BC, and they managed to unite the entire
Etruscan Civilization fresco from the Tomb of
This period of unification was followed by one of conquest in the
Mediterranean, beginning with the
First Punic War against
In the course of the century-long struggle against Carthage, the
Romans conquered Sicily,
Sardinia and Corsica. Finally, in 146 BC, at
the conclusion of the
Third Punic War , with
destroyed and its inhabitants enslaved,
Rome became the dominant power
in the Mediterranean. From its inception,
Rome was a republican
city-state, but four famous civil conflicts destroyed the republic:
Lucius Cornelius Sulla against
Gaius Marius and his son (88–82 BC),
Julius Caesar against
Pompey (49–45 BC),
Marcus Junius Brutus
Marcus Junius Brutus and
Gaius Cassius Longinus against
Mark Antony and Octavian (43 BC), and
Mark Antony against Octavian .
Octavian, the final victor (31 BC), was accorded the title of
Augustus by the Senate and thereby became the first Roman emperor.
Augustus created for the first time an administrative region called
Italia with inhabitants called "Italicus populus", stretching from the
Alps to Sicily: for this reason historians like
Emilio Gentile called
him Father of Italians.
Under imperial rule,
Rome undertook many conquests that brought Roman
law , Roman administration, and
Pax Romana to an area extending from
the Atlantic to the Rhine, to the British Isles, to the Iberian
Peninsula and large parts of North Africa, and to the
Middle East as
far as the Euphrates.
After two centuries of successful rule, in the 3rd century AD, Rome
was threatened by internal discord and menaced by Germanic and Asian
invaders, commonly called barbarians (from the
Latin word barbari,
"foreigners"). Emperor Diocletian's administrative division of the
empire into two parts in 285 provided only temporary relief; it became
permanent in 395. In 313, Emperor Constantine accepted
and churches thereafter rose throughout the empire. However, he also
moved his capital from
Constantinople , greatly reducing the
importance of the former. The last Western emperor, Romulus Augustulus
, was deposed in 476 by a Germanic foederati general in Italy, Odoacer
. His defeat marked the end of the western part of the Roman Empire.
During most of the period from the fall of
Rome until the Kingdom of
Italy was established in 1861, the peninsula was divided into several
Scipio Africanus , Roman general best known for having defeated
Julius Caesar , member of the
Populares , nephew of
Gaius Marius ,
politician, writer, general, and Dictator, introduced the Julian
Calendar . First of the Twelve Caesars .
Cicero , Roman orator and lawyer who served as consul and exposed the
Second Catilinarian conspiracy
Second Catilinarian conspiracy . One of the greatest Latin
philosophers along with
Lucretius and Seneca .
Augustus , first
Roman Emperor . His posthumous adoption by Julius
Caesar elevated his plebeian gens Octavia to patrician status. The
golden age of Rome, known as
Pax Romana due to the relative peace
established in the Mediterranean world, began with his reign.
Ovid , author of the
Metamorphoses and one of three main Augustan
poets along with
Germanicus , Roman general who avenged the disaster of the Teutoburg
Forest by defeating
Arminius and recovering two legionary eagles lost
in the battle.
Tacitus , one of the major
Latin historians along with
Titus , member of the
Flavian dynasty who captured Jerusalem and
Trajan , Roman emperor who presided over the greatest expansion in
Roman history. A man of Umbrian origins, he was born in
Italica , a
colony of Italian settlers in
Marcus Aurelius , last of the five good emperors and philosopher. His
death marked the end of the
Pax Romana .
THE MIDDLE AGES
Italy in the
Odoacer ruled well for 13 years after gaining control of
476. Then he was attacked and defeated by Theodoric , the king of
another Germanic tribe, the
Ostrogoths . Theodoric and
jointly until 493, when Theodoric murdered Odoacer. Theodoric
continued to rule
Italy with an army of
Ostrogoths and a government
that was mostly Italian. After the death of Theodoric in 526, the
kingdom began to grow weak. By 553, emperor
Justinian I expelled the
Ostrogoths. The old
Roman Empire was mostly united again, even if at
the price of the total destruction of the Italian peninsula
Augustus the first "one million inhabitants" city in the
world—was reduced to a small village of just one thousand
inhabitants). But Byzantine rule in
Italy collapsed again by 572 as a
result of invasions by another Germanic tribe, the
Lombards , though
some areas in the extreme south remained under Byzantine rule as the
"theme of Lombardy".
During the 5th and 6th centuries, the popes increased their influence
in both religious and political matters in Italy. It was usually the
popes who led attempts to protect
Italy from invasion or to soften
foreign rule. For about 200 years the popes opposed attempts by the
Lombards, who had captured most of Italy, to take over
Rome as well.
The popes finally defeated the
Lombards with the aid of two Frankish
Pepin the Short and
Charlemagne . Using land won for them by
Pepin in 756, the popes established political rule in what were called
Papal States in central Italy.
Lombards remained a threat to papal power, however, until they
were crushed by
Charlemagne in 774.
Charlemagne added the Kingdom of
Lombards to his vast realm. In recognition of Charlemagne's power,
and to cement the church's alliance with him,
Charlemagne was crowned
emperor of the Romans by
Pope Leo III in 800. After Charlemagne's
death in 814, his son
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious succeeded him. Louis divided the
empire among his sons, who fought each other for territory. Such
battles continued until Otto the Great , the king of Germany, was
crowned emperor in 962. This marked the beginning of what later was
Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire .
RISE OF THE CITY-STATES AND THE RENAISSANCE
From the 11th century on, Italian cities began to grow rapidly in
independence and importance. They became centres of political life,
banking , and foreign trade. Some became wealthy, and many, including
Venice , grew into
nearly independent city-states. Each had its own foreign policy and
political life. They all resisted the efforts of noblemen and emperors
to control them.
During the 14th and 15th centuries, some
Italian city-states ranked
among the most important powers of Europe. Venice, in particular, had
become a major maritime power, and the city-states as a group acted as
a conduit for goods from the Byzantine and Islamic empires. In this
capacity, they provided great impetus to the developing
Florence in the 14th century, and led to an unparalleled
flourishing of the arts, literature, music, and science.
However, the city-states were often troubled by violent disagreements
among their citizens. The most famous division was between the Guelphs
and Ghibellines . The Guelphs supported supreme rule by the pope, and
the Ghibellines favored the emperor. City-states often took sides and
waged war against each other. During the Renaissance,
Italy became an
even more attractive prize to foreign conquerors. After some
city-states asked for outside help in settling disputes with their
neighbors, King Charles VIII of
France marched into
Italy in 1494.
Charles soon withdrew, but he had shown that the Italian peninsula
could be conquered because they were not united. After the Italian
Spain emerged as the dominant force in the region. Venice,
Milan, and other city-states retained at least some of their former
greatness during this period, as did
Savoy -Piedmont, protected by the
Alps and well defended by its vigorous rulers.
Marco Polo , Italian merchant traveler who introduced Europeans to
Central Asia and China
Christopher Columbus , early European explorer of the
New World .
Amerigo Vespucci , geographer and traveler from whose name the word
America is derived.
THE FRENCH REVOLUTION AND NAPOLEON
Main article: Napoleonic Kingdom of
Laura Bassi , the
first chairwoman of a university in a scientific field of studies.
French Revolution and
Italy more deeply than
they affected any other outside country of Europe. The French
Revolution began in 1789 and immediately found supporters among the
Italian people. The local Italian rulers, sensing danger in their own
country, drew closer to the European kings who opposed France. After
the French king was overthrown and
France became a republic, secret
clubs favouring an Italian republic were formed throughout Italy. The
armies of the French Republic began to move across Europe. In 1796,
Napoleon Bonaparte led a French army into northern
Italy and drove out
the Austrian rulers. Once again,
Italy was the scene of battle between
the Habsburgs and the French. Wherever
France conquered, Italian
republics were set up, with constitutions and legal reforms. Napoleon
made himself emperor in 1804, and part of northern and central Italy
was unified under the name of the Kingdom of Italy, with
king. The rest of northern and central
Italy was annexed by France.
Sicily and the island of Sardinia, which had been ceded to the
Savoy in 1720 and had been under their rule ever since,
remained free of French control.
French domination lasted less than 20 years, and it differed from
previous foreign control of the Italian peninsula. In spite of heavy
taxation and frequent harshness, the French introduced representative
assemblies and new laws that were the same for all parts of the
country. For the first time since the days of ancient Rome, Italians
of different regions used the same money and served in the same army.
Italians began to see the possibility of a united
Italy free of
THE KINGDOM OF ITALY
Main article: Kingdom of
Expedition of the Thousand
Expedition of the Thousand .
Battle of Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo , the reaction set in with the Congress
of Vienna allowed the restoration of many of the old rulers and
systems under Austrian domination. The concept of nationalism
continued strong, however, and sporadic outbreaks led by such
inveterate reformers as
Giuseppe Mazzini occurred in several parts of
the peninsula down to 1848–49. This Risorgimento movement was
brought to a successful conclusion under the able guidance of Camillo
Benso, conte di Cavour , prime minister of Piedmont.
Cavour managed to unite most of
Italy under the headship of Victor
Emmanuel II of the house of Savoy, and on 17 March 1861, the Kingdom
Italy was proclaimed with
Victor Emmanuel II as king. Giuseppe
Garibaldi , the popular republican hero of Italy, contributed much to
this achievement and to the subsequent incorporation of the Papal
States under the Italian monarch. Italian troops occupied
1870, and in July 1871, this formally became the capital of the
Pope Pius IX , a longtime rival of Italian kings, considered
himself a "prisoner" of the Vatican and refused to cooperate with the
royal administration. Only in 1929 the Roman
Pope accepted the unified
Rome as capital.
In the decades following unification,
Italy started to create
Africa , and under
Benito Mussolini 's fascism conquered
Ethiopia founding in 1936 the
Italian Empire .
World War I
World War I completed
the process of Italian unification, with the annexation of Trieste,
Trentino-Alto Adige and Zara . The
Italians grew to 45
millions in 1940 and the land, whose economy had been until that time
based upon agriculture, started its industrial development, mainly in
northern Italy. But
World War II
World War II soon destroyed
Italy and its colonial
THE ITALIAN REPUBLIC
Main article: History of the
Between 1945 and 1948, the outlines of a new
Italy began to appear.
Victor Emmanuel III gave up the throne on 9 May 1946, and his son,
Umberto II , became king. On 2 June
Italy held its first free election
after 20 years of Fascist rule (the so-called Ventennio). Italians
chose a republic to replace the monarchy, which had been closely
Fascism . They elected a Constituent Assembly to
prepare a new democratic constitution. The Assembly approved the
constitution in 1947, which came into force since 1 January 1948.
Main article: Culture of
Italy The Pantheon and the Fontana del
Pantheon . Roman relics and Roman culture are important national
symbols in Italy. Italian women dance the tarantella , 1846
Magna Graecia period to the 17th century, the inhabitants of
the Italian peninsula were at the forefront of
Western culture , being
the fulcrum and origin of
Magna Graecia ,
Ancient Rome , the Roman
Catholic Church ,
Humanism , the
Baroque , the
Italy also became a seat of great formal learning in 1088 with the
establishment of the
University of Bologna
University of Bologna , the first university in
the Western World. Many other Italian universities soon followed. For
Schola Medica Salernitana , in southern Italy, was the
first medical school in Europe. These great centres of learning
presaged the Rinascimento: the European
Renaissance began in
was fueled throughout
Europe by Italian painters, sculptors,
architects, scientists, literature masters and music composers. Italy
continued its leading cultural role through the
Baroque period and
into the Romantic period, when its dominance in painting and sculpture
diminished but the
Italians re-established a strong presence in music.
Italian explorers and navigators in the 15th and 16th centuries left
a perennial mark on human history with the modern "discovery of
America", due to
Christopher Columbus . In addition, the name of the
American continents derives from the geographer
Amerigo Vespucci 's
first name. Also noted, is explorer
Marco Polo who travelled
extensively throughout the eastern world recording his travels.
Due to comparatively late national unification, and the historical
autonomy of the regions that comprise the Italian peninsula, many
traditions and customs of the
Italians can be identified by their
regions of origin. Despite the political and social isolation of these
regions, Italy's contributions to the cultural and historical heritage
of the Western world remain immense. Famous elements of Italian
culture are its opera and music, its iconic gastronomy and food, which
are commonly regarded as amongst the most popular in the world, its
cinema (with filmmakers such as
Federico Fellini , Michelangelo
Mario Monicelli ,
Sergio Leone ,
Alberto Sordi , etc.),
its collections of priceless works of art and its fashion (
Florence are regarded as some of the few fashion capitals of the
Giordano Bruno , one of the
major figures of the early western world as well as one of the least
Over the ages
Italian literature had a vast influence on Western
philosophy, beginning with the
Greeks and Romans, and going onto
Renaissance, The Enlightenment and modern philosophy. Italian Medieval
philosophy was mainly Christian, and included several important
philosophers and theologians such as St
Thomas Aquinas . Aquinas was
the student of Albert the Great , a brilliant Dominican
experimentalist, much like the Franciscan ,
Roger Bacon of
the 13th century. Aquinas reintroduced Aristotelian philosophy to
Christianity. He believed that there was no contradiction between
faith and secular reason. He believed that
Aristotle had achieved the
pinnacle in the human striving for truth and thus adopted Aristotle's
philosophy as a framework in constructing his theological and
philosophical outlook. He was a professor at the prestigious
University of Paris .
Niccolò Machiavelli , the founder of
modern political science and ethics.
Italy was also affected by the Enlightenment, a movement which was a
consequence of the
Renaissance and changed the road of Italian
philosophy. Followers of the group often met to discuss in private
salons and coffeehouses, notably in the cities of
Venice . Cities with important universities such as
Padua , Bologna
Naples , however, also remained great centres of scholarship and
the intellect, with several philosophers such as Giambattista Vico
(1668–1744) (who is widely regarded as being the founder of modern
Italian philosophy) and
Antonio Genovesi . Italian society also
dramatically changed during the Enlightenment, with rulers such as
Leopold II of Tuscany abolishing the death penalty. The church's power
was significantly reduced, and it was a period of great thought and
invention, with scientists such as
Alessandro Volta and Luigi Galvani
discovering new things and greatly contributing to Western science.
Cesare Beccaria was also one of the greatest Italian Enlightenment
writers and now considered one of the fathers of classical criminal
theory as well as modern penology . Beccaria is famous for his
On Crimes and Punishments (1764), a treatise (later
translated into 22 languages) 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.
Some of the most prominent philosophies and ideologies in Italy
during the late 19th and 20th centuries include anarchism , communism
, socialism , futurism , fascism , and
Christian democracy . Both
futurism and fascism (in its original form, now often distinguished as
Italian fascism ) were developed in
Italy at this time. From the 1920s
to the 1940s, Italian
Fascism was the official philosophy and ideology
of the Italian government led by Benito Mussolini. Giovanni Gentile
was one of the most significant 20th-century Idealist/Fascist
philosophers. Meanwhile, anarchism, communism, and socialism, though
not originating in Italy, took significant hold in
Italy during the
early 20th century, with the country producing numerous significant
Italian anarchists , socialists, and communists. In addition,
anarcho-communism first fully formed into its modern strain within the
Italian section of the
First International .
Antonio Gramsci remains
an important philosopher within
Marxist and communist theory, credited
with creating the theory of cultural hegemony .
Italian literature may be unearthed back to the
Middle Ages , with
the most significant poets of the period being
Dante Alighieri ,
Petrarch , and
Giovanni Boccaccio . During the
Renaissance , humanists
Leonardo Bruni ,
Coluccio Salutati and Niccolò Machiavelli
were great collectors of antique manuscripts. Many worked for the
organized Church and were in holy orders (like Petrarch), while others
were lawyers and chancellors of Italian cities, like Petrarch's
disciple, Salutati, the Chancellor of Florence, and thus had access to
book copying workshops. One of the most remarkable poets of the early
19 and 20th century writers was
Giacomo Leopardi , who is widely
acknowledged to be one of the most radical and challenging thinkers of
the 19th century.
Italo Svevo , the author of La coscienza di Zeno
Luigi Pirandello (winner of the 1934 Nobel Prize in
Literature), who explored the shifting nature of reality in his prose
fiction and such plays as Sei personaggi in cerca d'autore (Six
Characters in Search of an Author , 1921).
Federigo Tozzi and Giuseppe
Ungaretti were well-known novelists, critically appreciated only in
recent years, and regarded one of the forerunners of existentialism in
the European novel.
LAW AND JUSTICE
Since the Roman Empire, most western contributions to Western legal
culture was the emergence of a class of Roman jurists. During the
Middle Ages, St.
Thomas Aquinas , the most influential western scholar
of the period, integrated the theory of natural law with the notion of
an eternal and biblical law. During the Renaissance, Prof. Alberico
Gentili , the founder of the science of international law, authored
the first treatise on public international law and separated secular
law from canon law and Roman Catholic theology. Enlightenment 's
greatest legal theorists,
Cesare Beccaria ,
Giambattista Vico and
Francesco Mario Pagano , are well remembered for their legal works,
particularly on criminal law. Francesco Carrara , an advocate of
abolition of the death penalty, was one of the foremost European
criminal lawyers of the 19th century. During the last periods,
Italians have been recognised as the prominent prosecutor
Lorenzo de Medici
Lorenzo de Medici
Francesco Mario Pagano
Enrico De Nicola
Enrico De Nicola
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Main articles: Science and technology in
Italy and List of Italian
Italians have been the central figures of countless inventions and
discoveries and they made many predominant contributions to various
fields. During the
Renaissance , Italian polymaths such as Leonardo da
Michelangelo (1475–1564) and Leon Battista
Alberti (1404–72) made important contributions to a variety of
fields, including biology, architecture, and engineering. Galileo
Galilei (1564–1642), a physicist, mathematician and astronomer,
played a major role in the
Scientific Revolution . His achievements
include the invention of the thermometer and key improvements to the
telescope and consequent astronomical observations, and ultimately the
triumph of Copernicanism over the
Ptolemaic model . Other astronomers
Giovanni Domenico Cassini (1625–1712) and Giovanni
Schiaparelli (1835–1910) made many important discoveries about the
Solar System . Physicist
Enrico Fermi (1901–54), a Nobel prize
laureate, led the team in Chicago that built the first nuclear reactor
and is also noted for his many other contributions to physics,
including the co-development of the quantum theory . He and a number
of Italian physicists were forced to leave
Italy in the 1930s by
Fascist laws against Jews , including
Emilio G. Segrè (1905–89)
(who discovered the elements technetium and astatine , and the
antiproton ), and
Bruno Rossi (1905–93), a pioneer in Cosmic Rays
and X-ray astronomy. Other prominent physicists and scientists
Amedeo Avogadro (most noted for his contributions to
molecular theory , in particular Avogadro\'s law and the Avogadro
Evangelista Torricelli (inventor of the barometer ),
Alessandro Volta (inventor of the electric battery ), Guglielmo
Marconi (inventor of radio ),
Antonio Meucci (known for developing a
voice-communication apparatus, often credited as the inventor of the
first telephone before even
Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell ), Galileo
Ferraris (one of the pioneers of AC power system, invented the first
induction motor ),
Ettore Majorana (who discovered the Majorana
fermions ), and
Carlo Rubbia (1984 Nobel Prize in Physics for work
leading to the discovery of the
W and Z particles at
Francesco Redi was the first to challenge the theory of
spontaneous generation by demonstrating that maggots come from eggs of
flies and he described 180 parasites in detail; Marcello Malpighi
founded microscopic anatomy ;
Lazzaro Spallanzani conducted important
research in bodily functions, animal reproduction, and cellular
Camillo Golgi , whose many achievements include the discovery
Golgi complex , paved the way to the acceptance of the Neuron
Rita Levi-Montalcini discovered the nerve growth factor
(awarded 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine); Angelo Ruffini
first described the
Ruffini endings and was known for his work in
histology and embryology ;
Filippo Pacini discovered the Pacinian
corpuscles and was the first to isolate the cholera bacillus Vibrio
cholerae in 1854, before
Robert Koch 's more widely accepted
discoveries 30 years later. 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.
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci , a father of paleontology and architecture, has
been the most influential polymath
Galileo Galilei , the father of science and modern physics, one of
the key figures in astronomy, pioneered the thermometer and made
significant works in other fields of science
Elena Cornaro Piscopia , the first woman to obtain a doctoral degree.
Evangelista Torricelli , the inventor of barometer , made various
advances in optics and work on the method of indivisibles
Luigi Galvani , one of the pioneers of bioelectricity, discovered
that the muscles of dead frogs legs twitched when struck by an
Alessandro Volta , the inventor of the electrical battery and
discover of methane, did substantial work with electric currents
Francesco Redi , the father of modern parasitology, founded the
experimental biology and demonstrated that maggots come from eggs of
Marcello Malpighi , called father of microscopical anatomy,
histology, physiology and embryology, was the first person to see
capillaries in animals and discovered the link between arteries and
Lazzaro Spallanzani was the first to perform in vitro fertilization,
with frogs, and an artificial insemination, using a dog and made
various substantial contributions to the experimental study of bodily
functions, animal reproduction, and animal echolocation .
Amedeo Avogadro , made important works to molecular theory and
invented Avogadro\'s law and
Pacinotti , inventor of the dynamo
Enrico Fermi , the inventor of the
Chicago Pile-1 and one of the
builders of the Atomic Bomb
Emilio Gino Segrè , one of the discoverers of technetium , astatine
, antiproton and a key figure in the creation of the Nuclear Weapon
Antonio Meucci , inventor of the first telephone
Guglielmo Marconi , inventor of the radio
Bruno Rossi , pioneered
X-ray astronomy and space plasma physics and
highly contributed to particle physics and cosmic rays
Rita Levi-Montalcini , the oldest Nobel laureate ever to have lived,
Nerve growth factor
Ettore Majorana , the discoverer of the Majorana fermions
During the Middle Ages,
Leonardo Fibonacci , the greatest Western
mathematician of the Middle Ages, introduced the Hindu–Arabic
numeral system to the Western World and he also introduced the
sequence of Fibonacci numbers which he used as an example in Liber
Gerolamo Cardano , introduced the probability and established
the binomial coefficients and binomial theorem and he also invented
some essential onjects. During the Renaissance, Luca Pacioli
established accounting to the world, published the first work on
Double-entry bookkeeping system .
Galileo Galilei made several
significant advances in mathematics.
Bonaventura Cavalieri 's works
anticipated integral calculus and popularized logarithms in Italy.
Jacopo Riccati , who was also a jurist, invented the Riccati equation
Maria Gaetana Agnesi
Maria Gaetana Agnesi , the first woman to write a mathematics
handbook, become the first woman Mathematics Professor at a
Gian Francesco Malfatti , posed the problem of carving
three circular columns out of a triangular block of marble, using as
much of the marble as possible, and conjectured that three
mutually-tangent circles inscribed within the triangle would provide
the optimal solution, which are now known as
Malfatti circles .
Joseph-Louis Lagrange , who was one of the most influential
mathematician of his time, made essential works to analysis , number
theory , and both classical and celestial mechanics. Gregorio
Ricci-Curbastro invented the
Tensor calculus and made meaningful works
on algebra, infinitesimal analysis, and papers on the theory of real
Giuseppe Peano , founded the mathematical logic , the set
theory , and alongside
John Venn drew the first
Venn diagram .
Gregorio Ricci-Curbastro is well known for his invention on absolute
differential calculus (tensor calculus), further developed by Tullio
Levi-Civita , and its applications to the theory of relativity .
Beniamino Segre is one of the main contributor of algebraic geometry
and one of the founders of finite geometry .
Paolo Ruffini is credited
for his innovative work in mathematics, creating "Ruffini\'s rule "
and co-creating the
Abel–Ruffini theorem .
Ennio de Giorgi , a Wolf
Prize in Mathematics recipient in 1990, solved Bernstein\'s problem
about minimal surfaces and the 19th Hilbert problem on the regularity
of solutions of
Elliptic partial differential equations .
Jacopo Francesco Riccati
Maria Gaetana Agnesi
Maria Gaetana Agnesi
Gian Francesco Malfatti
Main article: Architecture of
Italy is home to the greatest number of
UNESCO World Heritage
Sites (51) to date and it is home to half the world's great art
Italians are known for their significant architectural
achievements, such as the construction of arches, domes and similar
structures during ancient
Rome , the founding of the 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. Several of the finest works in Western
architecture, such as the
Colosseum , the
Milan Cathedral and Florence
cathedral , the Leaning Tower of
Pisa and the building designs of
Venice are found in Italy.
Italian architecture has also widely influenced the architecture of
the world. British architect
Inigo Jones , inspired by the designs of
Italian buildings and cities, brought back the ideas of Italian
Renaissance architecture to 17th-century England, being inspired by
Andrea Palladio . Additionally,
Italianate architecture , popular
abroad since the 19th century, was used to describe foreign
architecture which was built in an Italian style, especially modelled
Renaissance architecture .
Leon Battista Alberti
Leon Battista Alberti
Pietro da Cortona
Pietro da Cortona
Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Pier Luigi Nervi
Pier Luigi Nervi
Giancarlo De Carlo
Pier Carlo Bontempi
Pier Carlo Bontempi
Main article: Music of
Italy History's most successful
Enrico Caruso (above) and
Luciano Pavarotti (below)
Bartolomeo Cristofori , the inventor of the piano
From folk music to classical , music has always played an important
role in 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.
Italians invented many of the musical
instruments, including the piano and violin.
Italians composers include the Giovanni Pierluigi da
Claudio Monteverdi , the
Baroque composers Scarlatti ,
Corelli and Vivaldi , the Classical composers Paganini and
and the Romantic composers
Puccini , whose operas, including
La bohème ,
Madama Butterfly , and
Turandot , are among the
most frequently worldwide performed in the standard repertoire .
Modern Italian composers such as Berio and Nono proved significant in
the development of 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 San Carlo of Naples, and performers such as the pianist Maurizio
Pollini and the late tenor
Luciano Pavarotti ,
Italians have been no
less appreciative of their thriving contemporary music scene.
Italians are amply known as the mothers of opera.
Italian opera was
believed to have been founded in the early 17th century, in Italian
cities such as
Venice . Later, works and pieces composed
by native Italian composers of the 19th and early 20th centuries, such
Rossini , Bellini ,
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 on Italians, 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 movement of the
1970s, with bands like PFM and Goblin .
Italy was also an important
country in the development of disco and electronic music, with Italo
disco , known for its futuristic sound and prominent usage of
synthesizers 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
Producers and songwriters such as
Giorgio Moroder , who won three
Academy Awards for his music, were highly influential in the
development of EDM (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 pop diva Mina , classical
Andrea Bocelli ,
Laura Pausini , and
Eros Ramazzotti have attained international
Main articles: Cinema of
List of Italian actors Some
of the most influential people in cinema.
Since the development of the
Italian film industry in the early
1900s, Italian filmmakers and performers have, at times, experienced
both domestic and international success, and have influenced film
movements throughout the world.
Following the Fascist era, characterized by the Telefoni Bianchi
genre, they got international critical acclaim through the Neorealist
genre , and starting from the 1960s through the Commedia all\'italiana
genre as well as through a number of auteurs such as Federico Fellini
Luchino Visconti ,
Michelangelo Antonioni and
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Pier Paolo Pasolini .
Since the early 1960s they also popularized a large number of genres
and subgenres, such as Peplum ,
Macaroni Combat ,
Giallo , Spaghetti
Poliziotteschi and Commedia sexy all\'italiana
Italy has won 14 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language
Film , the most of any country, and 12 Palme d\'Or , the second-most
of any country.
Main article: Sport in
Italy Motorcycle racer
Gianluigi Buffon , the highest-priced goalkeeper and the most
capped player for the Italian national team
Italians have a long tradition in sport. In numerous sports, both
individual and team,
Italy has been very successful.
Association football is the most popular sport in Italy.
Italy is one
of the most successful national teams in association football having
four FIFA World Cups , one UEFA European Championship and one Olympic
tournament. Amongst the players who won the
FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup there are
Giuseppe Meazza ,
Silvio Piola (to date the highest goalscorer in
Italian first league history),
Dino Zoff ,
Paolo Rossi , Marco
Bruno Conti ,
Gianluigi Buffon ,
Fabio Cannavaro ,
Alessandro Del Piero ,
Andrea Pirlo and
Francesco Totti . Amongst
those who did not win the World Cup but laureated as European
Gianni Rivera ,
Luigi Riva (to date Italy's leading
scorer of all time),
Sandro Salvadore ,
Giacomo Bulgarelli , Pietro
Giacinto Facchetti . Other prominent players who achieved
success at club level are
Giampiero Boniperti ,
Romeo Benetti ,
Roberto Boninsegna ,
Roberto Bettega ,
Roberto Baggio and Paolo
Maldini . Of the above-mentioned, the goalkeeper Dino Zoff, who served
in the National team from 1968 to 1983, is to date the only Italian
player to have won both the European championship (in 1968) and the
FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup (in 1982), apart from being the oldest winner ever of
the World Cup. At club level, to date
Italy has won a total of 12
European Cup / Champions' Leagues, 9 UEFA Cups / UEFA Europa League
and 7 UEFA Cup Winners\' Cup .
Motorcycle racers such as
Giacomo Agostini and
Valentino Rossi are
recognized as some of the greatest sportstars of all time. Federica
Pellegrini , one of the few female swimmers to have set world records
in more than one event has been one of the world's most successful
swimmers. Italian athletes have won 549 medals at the Summer Olympic
Games , and another 114 medals at the
Winter Olympic Games . Jessica
Rossi scored a
Shooting sport world record of 75 in the qualification
and a world record of 99. As for Olympic games, 663
medals, particularly in
Swordsmanship , which makes them the 6th most
successful ethnic group in Olympic history. There are more than
2,000,000 Italian skiers in the world, most of them in the north and
in the centre. Italian skiers received good results in the Winter
Olympic Games, World Cup, and World Championships.
Italians are the second of the most who have won the World Cycling
Championship more than any other country after
Belgium . The Giro
d\'Italia is a world-famous long-distance cycling race held every May,
and constitutes one of the three Grand Tours , along with the Tour de
France and the
Vuelta a España , each of which last approximately
Tennis has a significant following near courts and on
television. Italian professional tennis players are almost always in
the top 100 world ranking of male and female players. Beach tennis
with paddle racquet was invented by Italians, and is practised by many
people across the country.
Volleyball is played by a lot of amateur
players and professional players compete in the Italian Volleyball
League , regarded as the best and most difficult volleyball league in
the world. The male and female national teams are often in the top 4
ranking of teams in the world. Athletics is a popular sport for
Italians, as the Italian World and Olympic champions are very
celebrated people. In wrestling , one of the most remarkable wrestlers
Bruno Sammartino , who held the record of the WWWF (World)
Heavyweight Championship for over 11 years across two reigns, the
first of which is the longest single reign in the promotion's history.
Rugby union was imported from
France in the 1910s and has been
regularly played since the 1920s; the National team has progressed
slowly but significantly during the decades and thanks to the good
results achieved in the second half of the 1990s, when they managed to
beat historical teams like Scotland , Ireland and eventually
Italy gained the admission to the Five
Nation Championship, later
renamed Six Nations ;
Italy has taken part to the Rugby World Cup
since its inauguration in 1987 and never missed an edition though to
date has never gone past the group stage.
Further information: Genetic history of
Europe and Genetic history of
Due to historic demographic shifts in the Italian peninsula
throughout history, modern
Italians have mixed origins. This includes
pre-Indo-European (such as the
Etruscans and the
Ligures ) and
pre-Roman peoples (such as the
Celts ), as well as
Italic people (such
as the Latino-Faliscans , the Osco-Umbrians , the
Sicels , and the
Veneti ). Most
Italians originate from these two primary elements, and
all share a common
Latin heritage and history.
Italians are a Southwestern European population, with origins
predominantly from Southern and Western
The earliest modern humans inhabiting
Italy are believed to have been
Paleolithic peoples that may have arrived in the
Italian Peninsula as
early as 35,000 to 40,000 years ago.
Italy is believed to have been a
major Ice-age refuge from which
Paleolithic humans later colonized
Europe. Migrations from what is now
Italy during the
Mesolithic link modern
Italians to the populations of much of Western
Europe and particularly the
British Isles and Atlantic
Neolithic colonization of
Western Asia and the Middle
East beginning around 10,000 years ago reached Italy, as most of the
rest of the continent although, according to the demic diffusion
model, its impact was most in the southern and eastern regions of the
Starting in the 4th millennium BC as well as in the
Bronze Age , the
first wave of migrations into
Italy of speakers of Indo-European
languages occurred, with the appearance of the Remedello , the
Rinaldone and the Gaudo cultures. These were later (from the 18th
century BC) followed by others that can be identified as Italo-Celts,
with the appearance of the Proto-Celtic
Canegrate culture and
Terramare culture , both deriving from the
Italo-Celtic Tumulus and Unetice cultures. Later Celtic La Tène
and Hallstatt cultures have been documented in
Italy as far south as
Latium , inhabited by the
Rutuli and the
closely related to the
Ligures . Italics occupied Southern and
Central Italy: the "West Italic" group (including the
Latins ) were
the first wave. They had cremation burials and possessed advanced
metallurgical techniques. Major tribes included:
Oenotrians and Italii in
Aurunci and Opici
Campania and perhaps
Sicels in Sicily. They were followed, and
largely displaced by East Italic (Osco-Umbrians ) group.
Fresco of dancing Peucetian women in the
Tomb of the Dancers in
Ruvo di Puglia , 4th–5th century BC
By the beginning of the Iron Age the
Etruscans emerged as the
dominant civilization on the Italian peninsula. The Etruscans, whose
primary home was in
Tuscany ), inhabited a large part
of central and northern
Italy extending as far north as the Po Valley
and as far south as
Capua . Traditionally the
Etruscans were said to
have migrated to
Italy from Anatolia , but modern archaeological and
genetic research suggests descent from the indigenous Villanovan
culture of Italy.
Ligures are said to have been one of the oldest populations in
Italy and Western Europe, possibly of Pre-Indo-European origin.
Strabo they were not Celts, but later became influenced
by the Celtic culture of their neighbours, and thus are sometimes
referred to as Celticized Ligurians or Celto-Ligurians. Their
language had affinities with both Italic (
Latin and the Osco-Umbrian
languages ) and Celtic (Gaulish ). They primarily inhabited the
Piedmont , northern
Tuscany , western
Emilia-Romagna and northern
Sardinia , but are believed to
have once occupied an even larger portion of ancient
Italy as far
Sicily . They were also settled in
Corsica and in the
Provence region along the southern coast of modern
During the Iron Age, prior to Roman rule, the peoples living in the
area of modern
Italy and the islands were:
* ETRUSCANS (
* LIGURES (
Briniates , Corsi ,
* ITALICS (
Pentri , Caraceni ,
Aequi , Fidenates ,
Vestini , Morgeti ,
* GAULS (
* GREEKS of
Magna Graecia , in southern
* SARDINIANS (Nuragic tribes );
The bulk of today
Italy was inhabited by
Italic tribes who occupied
the modern regions of
Sicily . Sicily, in
addition to having an Italic population in the
Sicels , also was
inhabited by the
Sicani and the
Elymians , of uncertain origin. The
Veneti , most often regarded as an Italic tribe, chiefly inhabited
Veneto , but extended as far east as
Friuli-Venezia Giulia and
Istria , and had colonies as far south as Lazio.
Beginning in the 8th century BC,
Greeks arrived in
Italy and founded
cities along the coast of southern
Italy and eastern Sicily, which
became known as
Magna Graecia ("Greater Greece"). The
frequently at war with the native Italic tribes, but nonetheless
managed to Hellenize and assimilate a good portion of the indigenous
population located along eastern
Sicily and the Southern coasts of the
Italian mainland. According to Beloch the number of Greek citizens
Italy at its greatest extent reached only 80,000–90,000,
while the local people subjected by the
Greeks were between
400,000–600,000. By the 4th and 3rd century BC, Greek power in
Italy was challenged and began to decline, and many
Greeks were pushed
out of peninsular
Italy by the native Oscan ,
Brutti and Lucani
Gauls crossed the
Alps and invaded northern
Italy in the 4th and
3rd centuries BC , settling in the area that became known as Cisalpine
Gaul ("Gaul on this side of the Alps"). Although named after the
Gauls, the region was mostly inhabited by indigenous tribes, namely
the Ligures, Etruscans, Veneti and
Euganei . Estimates by Beloch and
Brunt suggest that in the 3rd century BC the Gaulish settlers of north
Italy numbered between 130,000–140,000 out of a total population of
about 1.4 million. According to Pliny and
Livy , after the invasion
of the Gauls, some of the
Etruscans living in the
Po Valley sought
refuge in the
Alps and became known as the
Raeti . The Raeti
inhabited the region of
Trentino-Alto Adige , as well as eastern
Switzerland and Tyrol in western
Austria . The Ladins of north-eastern
Italy and the
Romansh people of
Switzerland are said to be descended
from the Raeti.
Colonia (Roman) Map of roman coloniae during the
second century in
The Romans —who according to legend originally consisted of three
ancient tribes : Latins,
Etruscans —would go on to
conquer the whole Italian peninsula . During the Roman period hundreds
of cities and colonies were established throughout Italy, including
Vicenza , Trieste
and many others. Initially many of these cities were colonized by
Latins, but later also included colonists belonging to the other
Italic tribes who had become Latinized and joined to Rome. After the
Roman conquest of
Italy "the whole of
Italy had become Latinized".
After the Roman conquest of
Cisalpine Gaul and the widespread
confiscations of Gallic territory, much of the Gaulish population was
killed or expelled. Many colonies were established by the Romans in
the former Gallic territory of Cisalpine Gaul, which was then settled
by Roman and Italic people. These colonies included
Reggio Emilia ,
Forlì . According to
"The greater part of the country used to be occupied by the Boii,
Ligures, Senones, and
Gaesatae ; but since the
Boii have been driven
out, and since both the
Gaesatae and the
Senones have been
annihilated, only the Ligurian tribes and the Roman colonies are
Boii , the most powerful and numerous of the Gallic tribes, were
expelled by the Romans after 191 BC and settled in
Population movement and exchange among people from different regions
was not uncommon during the Roman period.
Latin colonies were founded
at Ariminum in 268 and at Firmum in 264, while large numbers of
Picentes , who previously inhabited the region, were moved to Paestum
and settled along the river Silarus in
Campania . Between 180–179
Ligures belonging to the
Apuani tribe were removed from
their home along the modern Ligurian-Tuscan border and deported to
Samnium , an area corresponding to inland Campania, while Latin
colonies were established in their place at
Lucca and Luni .
Such population movements contributed to the rapid Romanization and
BETWEEN THE TWO MILLENNIUMS
Lombard (Northern Italian) colonies of Sicily: in light blue:
the cities where Gallo-Italic language is spoken today. In dark blue:
the cities where there is a good influence of the Gallo-Italic
language. In purple: ancient Gallo-Italic colonies, the influence in
these cities is variable, also some districts of
A large Germanic confederation of
Rugians , led by
Odoacer , invaded and settled
Italy in 476. They
were preceded by 120,000
Alemanni , including 30,000 warriors with
their families, who settled in the
Po Valley in 371, and by 100,000
Burgundians who settled between North Western
Italy and Southern
France in 443. The Germanic tribe of the
Ostrogoths led by Theoderic
the Great conquered
Italy and presented themselves as upholders of
Latin culture, mixing Roman culture together with Gothic culture , in
order to legitimize their rule amongst Roman subjects who had a
long-held belief in the superiority of Roman culture over foreign
"barbarian " Germanic culture. The number of Goths under Theodoric
has been variously estimated between 200,000 and 250,000. Since Italy
had a population of several million, the Goths did not constitute a
significant addition to the local population. At the height of their
power, there were about 200,000
Ostrogoths in a population of 6 or 7
million. Before them,
Radagaisus led between 200,000 and 400,000
Italy in 406 perhaps too high as ancient sources routinely
inflated the numbers of tribal invaders. After the Gothic War , which
devastated the local population, the
Ostrogoths were defeated. But in
the sixth century, another Germanic tribe known as the Longobards
invaded Italy, which in the meantime had been reconquered by the East
Roman or Byzantine Empire. The Longobards were a small minority
compared to the roughly four million people in
Italy at the time.
They were no more than 500,000 settlers – 10-15% of the total
population. They were later followed by the
Bavarians and the Franks
, who conquered and ruled most of Italy. Numerous groups of
Bulgars , pushed by the
Khazars , settled in the Italian peninsula
between the 7th and the 8th centuries.
Following Roman rule,
Sardinia were conquered by the
Vandals , then by the Ostrogoths, and finally by the Byzantines. At
one point, while
Sardinia grew increasingly autonomous from Byzantine
rule to the point of organizing itself into four sovereign Kingdoms or
Judicati ) that would last until the Aragonese conquest
in the 15th century. In 687,
Sicily became the Byzantine Theme of
Sicily , during the course of the Arab-Byzantine wars
came became the Emirate of
Sicily (831–1072). Later a series of
conflicts with the
Normans ; would bring about the establishment of
the County of
Sicily , and eventually the Kingdom of
Sicily , the
Sicily (not to be confused with the Longobards), coming
from the Northern
Italy , settled in the central and eastern part of
Sicily. After the marriage between the Norman Roger I of
Adelaide del Vasto , descendant of
Aleramici family, many Northern
Italian colonisers (known collectively as Lombards) left their
homeland, in the Aleramici's possessions in
known as Lombardy), to settle on the island of Sicily.
Before them, other
Lombards arrived in
Sicily , with an expedition
departed in 1038, led by the Byzantine commander
George Maniakes ,
which for a very short time managed to snatch
Messina and Syracuse
from the Arabs. The
Lombards who arrived with the Byzantines settled
Troina , while a group of Genoese and other
Liguria settled in
Caltagirone . Map of Tuscan
settlements in Sicily.
During the subsequent Swabian rule under the Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II , who spent most of his life as king of
Sicily in his
Palermo , the Islamic element was progressively eradicated
until the massive deportation of the last Muslims of Sicily. As a
result of Arab expulsion, many towns across
Sicily were left
depopulated. By the 12th century, Swabian kings granted immigrants
Tuscany in central Italy, and French regions of
Brittany (all collectively known as Lombards.)
settlement into Sicily, re-establishing the
Latin element into the
island, a legacy which can be seen in the many Gallo-Italic dialects
and towns found in the interior and western parts of Sicily, brought
by these settlers. It is believed that the Lombard immigrants in
Sicily over a couple of centuries were a total of about 200,000, a
An estimated 20,000
Swabians and 40,000
Normans settled in the
southern half of
Italy during this period. Additional Tuscan migrants
Sicily after the Florentine conquest of
Pisa in 1406.
Some of the expelled Muslims were deported to
Lucera (Lugêrah, as it
was known in Arabic). Their numbers eventually reached between 15,000
and 20,000, leading
Lucera to be called Lucaera Saracenorum because
it represented the last stronghold of Islamic presence in Italy. The
colony thrived for 75 years until it was sacked in 1300 by Christian
forces under the command of the Angevin Charles II of
Naples . The
city's Muslim inhabitants were exiled or sold into slavery, with many
finding asylum in
Albania across the
Adriatic Sea . After the
expulsions of Muslims in Lucera, Charles II replaced Lucera's Saracens
with Christians, chiefly Burgundian and Provençal soldiers and
farmers, following an initial settlement of 140 Provençal families
in 1273. A remnant of the descendants of these Provençal colonists,
still speaking a Franco-Provençal dialect , has survived till the
present day in the villages of
Celle di San Vito .
The founding fathers of
Italy and Young
Europe , Giuseppe
Garibaldi (left) and
Giuseppe Mazzini (right)
Substantial migrations of
Lombards to Naples,
Rome and Palermo,
continued in the 16th and 17th centuries, driven by the constant
overcrowding in the north. Beside that, minor but significant
Slavs (the so-called Schiavoni ) and Arbereshe in Italy
have been recorded.
The geographical and cultural proximity with Southern
Albanians to cross the
Strait of Otranto , especially after Skanderbeg
's death and the conquest of the
Balkans by the Ottomans . In defense
of the Christian religion and in search of soldiers loyal to the
Alfonso V of Aragon , also king of Naples, invited
Arbereshe soldiers to move to
Italy with their families. In return the
king guaranteed to Albanians lots of land and a favourable taxation.
Arbereshe and Schiavoni were used to repopulate abandoned villages or
villages whose population had died in earthquakes, plagues and other
catastrophes. Albanian soldiers were also used to quell rebellions in
Major Slavic colonies were in
and throughout the Kingdom of
Naples (including Apulia,
Terra di Lavoro and
According to a consolidated tradition of historical studies, there
are eight waves of immigration of Albanians in Italy, to which must be
added: the movements within the territory of southern
Italy and the
latest migration (the ninth) in recent years. A remnant of the
descendants of these Albanian colonists, still speaking an Albanian
language , has survived till the present day in many areas of Italy.
Their numbers are between 80,000 and 260,000 people.
In this period, large groups of ethnic
in the northern half of the country. Most of them were quickly
assimilated in the native population. Nevertheless, in 1882, 100,000
German speakers were still living in the Po valley.
Italian diaspora and
the most notable Italo-French personality, and
Pope Francis ,
Argentine of Italian ancestry.
Italian migration outside
Italy took place, in different migrating
cycles, for centuries. A diaspora in high numbers took place after
its unification in 1861 and continued through 1914 with the emergence
of the First World War . This rapid outflow and migration of Italian
people across the globe can be attributed to factors such as the
internal economic slump that emerged alongside its unification, family
and the industrial boom that occurred in the world surrounding Italy.
Italy after its unification did not seek nationalism but instead
sought work. Sadly, a unified state did not automatically constitute
a sound economy. The global economic expansion, ranging from Britain's
Industrial Revolution in the late 18th and through mid 19th century,
to the use of slave labor in the
Americas did not hit
Italy until much
later (with the exception of the "industrial triangle" between
Turin ) This lag resulted in a deficit of work available in
Italy and the need to look for work elsewhere.The mass
industrialization and urbanization globally resulted in higher labor
mobility and the need for
Italians to stay anchored to the land for
economic support declined.
Moreover, better opportunities for work were not the only incentive
to move; family played a major role and the dispersion of Italians
Italians were more likely to migrate to countries where they
had family established beforehand. These ties are shown to be
stronger in many cases than the monetary incentive for migration,
taking into account a familial base and possibly an Italian migrant
community, greater connections to find opportunities for work, housing
etc. Thus, thousands of Italian men and women left
dispersed around the world and this trend only increased as World War
Notably, it was not as if
Italians had never migrated before,
internal migration between North and Southern
Italy before unification
was common. Northern
Italy caught on to the global industrialization
sooner than Southern Italy, therefore it was considered more modern
technologically, and tended to be inhabited by the bourgeoisie.
Alternatively, rural and agro-intensive Southern
Italy was seen as
economically backward and was mainly populated by lower class
peasantry. Given these disparities, prior to unification (and
arguably after) the two sections of Italy, North and South were
essentially seen by
Italians and other nations as separate countries.
So, migrating from one part of
Italy to next could be seen as though
they were indeed migrating to another country or even continent.
Furthermore, large-scale migrations phenomena did not recede until
the late 1920s, well into the Fascist regime, and one last wave can be
observed after the end of the Second World War .
Over 80 million people of full or part Italian descent live outside
Europe, with nearly 40 million living in
South America (primarily
Uruguay ), about 19 million living
in North America (
United States and
Canada ) and 1 million in Oceania
New Zealand ). Others live in other parts of Europe
United Kingdom ,
Most Italian citizens living abroad live in other nations of the
AUTOCHTHONOUS ITALIAN COMMUNITIES OUTSIDE ITALY
Istrian Italians ,
Dalmatian Italians , Swiss Italian
Italians of Crimea ,
Corsican people , and
In both the Slovenian and Croatian portions of
Istria , in Dalmatia
as well as in the city of
Rijeka , Italian refers to autochthonous
speakers of Italian and various
Italo-Dalmatian languages , natives in
the region since before the inception of the Venetian Republic . In
the aftermath of the
Istrian exodus following the Second World War,
most Italian-speakers are today predominantly located in the west and
south of Istria, and number about 30,000. The number of inhabitants
with Italian ancestry is likely much greater but undeterminable. In
the first Austrian census carried out in 1870 the number of Italian
Dalmatians varied between 40,000 and 50,000 amongst the about 250,000
Dalmatia , or 20% of the total Dalmatian population.
In the French
County of Nice
County of Nice , autochthonous speakers of regional
Italy (Ligurian and Piedmontese ), are natives in the
region since before annexation to
France in 1860. The number of
inhabitants with Italian ancestry is generally indeterminable, and the
French language is now ubiquitous. In addition,
Corsica was a
part of the Republic of
Genoa until 1768 and most of the islanders
still have a certain level of proficiency of Corsican , a language of
the Italo-Dalmatian family closely related to Tuscan . The Italian
language ceased to have official status in
Corsica in 1859 when it
was supplanted by French and a process of de-Italianization was
started by the French government in
Corsica (and in 1861 the Nizzardo
A similar process happened in
Malta , where the
Maltese Italians have
practically disappeared in the last two centuries after Britain took
control of the island during
Swiss Italian is spoken as natively by about 350,000 people in the
Ticino and in the southern part of Graubünden (Canton
Grigioni). Swiss-Italian also refers to the Italian speaking
population in this region (southern Switzerland) close to the border
Swiss Italian dialects are spoken in emigrant communities
around the world, including in
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