Coordinates : 43°N 12°E / 43°N 12°E / 43; 12
Repubblica Italiana (Italian )
Il Canto degli Italiani (Italian )
"The Song of the Italians"
Italy (dark green)
Europe (light green "> (light green) –
and largest city
41°54′N 12°29′E / 41.900°N 12.483°E / 41.900; 12.483
and national language Italian a
* 83.3% Christians
* 12.4% irreligious
* 3.7% Muslims
* 0.3% other religions
• PRIME MINISTER
• PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE
• PRESIDENT OF THE CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES
• UPPER HOUSE
Senate of the
• LOWER HOUSE
Chamber of Deputies
17 March 1861
2 June 1946
• FOUNDED THE EEC (NOW THE EUROPEAN UNION )
1 January 1958
301,338 km2 (116,347 sq mi) (71st )
• WATER (%)
• 2016 ESTIMATE
60,589,445 (23rd )
201.3/km2 (521.4/sq mi) (63rd )
GDP (PPP )
$2.233 trillion (12th )
• PER CAPITA
$36,823 (32nd )
1.850 trillion (8th )
• PER CAPITA
$30,507 (25th )
very high · 26th
Euro (€ )b (EUR )
CET (UTC +1)
• SUMMER (DST )
CEST (UTC +2)
dd/mm/yyyy (AD )
DRIVES ON THE
ISO 3166 CODE
* German is co-official in
South Tyrol ; French is co-official in
Aosta Valley ; Slovene is co-official in the province of Trieste
and the province of Gorizia ; Ladin is co-official in South Tyrol, in
Trentino and in other northern areas.
* Before 2002, the
Italian lira . The euro is accepted in Campione
d\'Italia but its official currency is the
Swiss franc .
* To call Campione d\'Italia , it is necessary to use the Swiss code
.eu domain is also used, as it is shared with other European
Union member states.
ITALY (/ˈɪtəli/ IT-ə-lee ; Italian : Italia Listen (help
·info )), officially the ITALIAN REPUBLIC (Italian: Repubblica
italiana), is a unitary parliamentary republic in Europe. Located
in the heart of the
Mediterranean Sea ,
Italy shares open land borders
with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia,
San Marino and Vatican
Italy covers an area of 301,338 km2 (116,347 sq mi) and has a
largely temperate seasonal and
Mediterranean climate . With around 61
million inhabitants it is the fourth most populous EU member state .
Since classical times, ancient Phoenicians , Carthaginians and Greeks
established settlements in the south of
Italy , with
Celts inhabiting the centre and the north of
Italy respectively and
various ancient Italian tribes and
Italic peoples dispersed throughout
Italian peninsula and insular
Italy . The
Italic tribe known as
Latins formed the
Roman Kingdom , which eventually became a
republic that conquered and assimilated its neighbors. Ultimately the
Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the
and became the leading cultural, political and religious centre of
Western civilisation .
Early Middle Ages ,
Italy suffered sociopolitical collapse
amid calamitous barbarian invasions , but by the 11th century,
numerous rival city-states and maritime republics , mainly in the
northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity
through shipping, commerce and banking, laying the groundwork for
modern capitalism. These mostly independent statelets, acting as
Europe's main spice trade hubs with Asia and the Near East, often
enjoyed a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal
monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe. Part of central
Italy was under the control of the theocratic
Papal States , while
Southern Italy remained largely feudal until the 19th century,
partially as a result of a succession of
Byzantine , Arab , Norman ,
Angevin and Spanish conquests of the region.
Renaissance began in
Italy and spread to the rest of Europe,
bringing a renewed interest in humanism , science , exploration and
art . Italian culture flourished at this time, producing famous
scholars, artists and polymaths , such as
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci ,
Michelangelo , Galileo and Machiavelli . Since Middle Age, Italian
explorers such as
Marco Polo ,
Christopher Columbus , Amerigo Vespucci
John Cabot and
Giovanni da Verrazzano
Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the
Far East and the
New World , helping to usher in the European Age of
Discovery . Nevertheless, Italy's commercial and political power
significantly waned with the opening of trade routes which bypassed
the Mediterranean. Furthermore, the
Italian city-states constantly
engaged one another in bloody warfare, culminating in the Italian Wars
of the 15th and 16th centuries that left them exhausted, with none
emerging as a dominant power. They soon fell victim to conquest by
European powers such as
By the mid-19th century, a rising movement in support of Italian
nationalism and independence from foreign control led to a period of
revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign
domination and political division,
Italy was unified in 1870, creating
a great power . From the late 19th century to the early 20th century,
Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy rapidly industrialised, although mainly in
the north, and acquired a colonial empire , while the south remained
largely impoverished and excluded from industrialisation , fuelling a
large and influential diaspora . Despite being one of the main
victors in World War I,
Italy entered a period of economic crisis and
social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922.
Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military
defeat, economic destruction, and an
Italian civil war
Italian civil war . Following the
Italy and the rise of the resistance , the country
abolished the monarchy , reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged
economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoils, became
a major advanced economy .
Italy has the third largest nominal
GDP in the
the eighth largest in the world . As advanced economy the country also
has the sixth-largest worldwide national wealth and it is ranked third
for its central bank gold reserve .
Italy has a very high level of
human development and it is sixth in the world for life expectancy .
The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic,
military, cultural, and diplomatic affairs, and it is both a regional
power and a great power .
Italy is a founding and leading member
European Union and the member of numerous international
institutions, including the UN ,
NATO , the
OECD , the
OSCE , the WTO
, the G7 ,
G20 , the
Union for the Mediterranean
Union for the Mediterranean , the Council of
Uniting for Consensus and many more . As a reflection of its
Italy is home to 53
World Heritage Sites
World Heritage Sites , the most
in the world, and is the fifth most visited country .
* 1 Etymology
* 2 History
* 2.1 Prehistory and antiquity
* 2.2 Ancient
* 2.4 Early Modern
* 2.6 Fascist regime
* 2.7 Republican
* 3 Geography
* 3.1 Volcanology
* 3.2 Environment
* 3.4 Climate
* 4 Politics
* 4.1 Government
* 4.2 Law and criminal justice
* 4.2.1 Law enforcement
* 4.3 Foreign relations
* 4.4 Military
* 4.5 Administrative divisions
* 5 Economy
* 5.1 Agriculture
* 5.2 Infrastructure
* 5.3 Science and technology
* 5.4 Tourism
* 6 Demographics
* 6.1 Metropolitan cities and larger urban zone
* 6.2 Immigration
* 6.3 Languages
* 6.4 Religion
* 6.5 Education
* 6.6 Health
* 7 Culture
* 7.2 Visual art
* 7.3 Literature and theatre
* 7.4 Music
* 7.5 Cinema
* 7.6 Sport
* 7.7 Fashion and design
* 7.9 Public holidays and festivals
* 8 See also
* 9 Notes
* 10 References
* 11 Bibliography
* 12 External links
Name of Italy
Hypotheses for the etymology of the name "Italia" are numerous. One
is that it was borrowed via Greek from the Oscan Víteliú 'land of
calves' (cf. Lat vitulus "calf", Umb 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
The name Italia originally applied only to a part of what is now
Southern Italy – according to
Antiochus of Syracuse , the southern
portion of the Bruttium peninsula (modern
Calabria : province of
Reggio , and part of the provinces of
Vibo Valentia ).
But by his time
Italy had become synonymous, and the name
also applied to most of
Lucania as well. The Greeks gradually came to
apply the name "Italia" to a larger region, but it was during the
reign of Emperor
Augustus (end of the 1st century BC) that the term
was expanded to cover the entire peninsula until the Alps.
History of Italy
PREHISTORY AND ANTIQUITY
Prehistoric Italy ,
Etruscan civilisation , Magna
Graecia , and
Nuragic civilisation Etruscan fresco in the
Monterozzi necropolis , 5th century BCE
Italy revealed a
Neanderthal presence dating
back to the Palaeolithic period, some 200,000 years ago, modern
Humans appeared about 40,000 years ago. Archaeological sites from this
period include Addaura cave , Altamura , Ceprano ,
Monte Poggiolo and
Gravina in Puglia
Gravina in Puglia .
The Ancient peoples of pre-
Roman Italy – such as the Umbrians , the
Latins (from which the Romans emerged),
Sabines , the
Celts , the
Ligures , and many others – were
Indo-European peoples; the main historic peoples of possible
non-Indo-European heritage include the
Etruscans , the
Sicani in Sicily, and the prehistoric
Sardinians , who gave birth
Nuragic civilization . 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
Between the 17th and the 11th centuries BC 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
Magna Graecia . Also, the Phoenicians established colonies on
the coasts of
Sicily and in Sardinia.
Main article: Ancient
Colosseum in Rome, built c. 70
– 80 AD, is considered one of the greatest works of architecture and
engineering of ancient history The
Roman Empire at its greatest
extent, 117 AD
Rome , a settlement around a ford on the river
founded in 753 BC, was ruled for a period of 244 years by a
monarchical system, initially with sovereigns of
Latin and Sabine
origin, later by Etruscan kings. The tradition handed down seven
Numa Pompilius ,
Tullus Hostilius ,
Ancus Marcius ,
Tarquinius Priscus ,
Servius Tullius and
Tarquinius Superbus . In 509
BC, the Romans expelled the last king from their city and established
an oligarchic republic .
In the wake of
Julius Caesar 's rise and death in the first century
Rome grew over the course of centuries into a massive empire
stretching from Britain to the borders of Persia , and engulfing the
Mediterranean basin, in which Greek and Roman and many other
cultures merged into a unique civilisation . The
Italian Peninsula was
named Italia and was not a province , but the territory of the city of
Rome, thus having a special status. The long and triumphant reign of
the first emperor,
Augustus , began a golden age of peace and
Roman Empire was among the most powerful economic, cultural,
political and military forces in the world of its time. It was one of
the largest empires in world history . At its height under
Trajan , it
covered 5 million square kilometres. The Roman legacy has deeply
influenced the Western civilisation, shaping most of the modern world;
among the many legacies of Roman dominance are the widespread use of
Romance languages derived from Latin, the numerical system , the
modern Western alphabet and calendar , and the emergence of
Christianity as a major world religion.
In a slow decline since the third century AD, the Empire split in two
in 395 AD. The Western Empire , under the pressure of the barbarian
invasions , eventually dissolved in 476 AD, when its last Emperor was
deposed by the Germanic chief
Odoacer , while the Eastern half of the
Empire survived for another thousand years.
Italy in the Middle Ages Flag of the Italian Navy
, displaying the coat of arms of the most prominent maritime republics
(clockwise from left):
After the fall of the Western
Roman Empire ,
Italy was seized by the
Ostrogoths , followed in the 6th century by a brief reconquest under
Byzantine Emperor Justinian . The invasion of another Germanic tribe ,
Lombards , late in the same century, reduced the Byzantine
presence to a rump realm (the
Exarchate of Ravenna ) and started the
end of political unity of the peninsula for the next 1,300 years. 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 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 for the former (
Ghibellines ) or for the latter
Guelphs ) from momentary convenience. The Iron Crown of
Lombardy , for centuries symbol of the
Kings of Italy Castel del
Monte , built by German Emperor Frederick II , now a
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. In 1176 a league of city-states, the
Lombard League , defeated the German emperor
Frederick Barbarossa at
Battle of Legnano , thus ensuring effective independence for most
of northern and central Italian cities. In coastal and southern areas,
the maritime republics , the most notable being
Genoa , Pisa
Amalfi , heavily involved in the
Crusades , grew to eventually
Mediterranean and monopolise trade routes to the
In the south,
Sicily had become an 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,
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
House of Aragon . In
Sardinia , the former Byzantine
provinces became independent states known as
Giudicati , although some
parts of the island were under Genoese or Pisan control until the
Aragonese conquered it 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 bloom of
Renaissance , that later spread in Europe.
Italian states before the beginning of the
Italian Wars in 1494.
In the 14th and 15th centuries, northern-central
Italy was divided
into a number of warring city-states , the rest of the peninsula being
occupied by the larger
Papal States and the Kingdom of
referred to here as Naples. Though many of these city-states were
often formally subordinate to foreign rulers, as in the case of the
Duchy of Milan , which was officially a constituent state of the
mainly Germanic Holy
Roman Empire , the city-states generally managed
to maintain de facto independence from the foreign sovereigns that had
seized Italian lands following the collapse of the Western Roman
Empire . The strongest among these city-states gradually absorbed the
surrounding territories giving birth to the Signorie , regional states
often led by merchant families which founded local dynasties. War
between the city-states was endemic, and primarily fought by armies of
mercenaries known as condottieri , bands of soldiers drawn from around
Germany and Switzerland, led largely by Italian
captains. Decades of fighting eventually saw
Venice emerged as the dominant players that agreed to the Peace of
Lodi in 1454, which saw relative calm brought to the region for the
first time in centuries. This peace would hold for the next forty
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci , the quintessential
Renaissance man ,
in a self-portrait, c. 1512. Royal Library ,
Renaissance , a period of vigorous revival of the arts and
culture, originated in
Italy thanks to a number of factors, as the
great wealth accumulated by merchant cities, the patronage of its
dominant families, and the migration of Greek scholars and texts to
Italy following the
Conquest of Constantinople at the hands of the
Ottoman Turks . The Italian
Renaissance peaked in the mid-16th
century as foreign invasions plunged the region into the turmoil of
Italian Wars .
Medici became the leading family of
Florence and fostered and
inspired the birth of the Italian Renaissance, along with other
families of Italy, such as the Visconti and
Milan , the Este
Ferrara , and the Gonzaga of
Mantua . Greatest artists like
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci ,
Michelangelo , Giotto
Raphael produced inspired works – their
paintwork was more realistic-looking than had been created by Medieval
artists and their marble statues rivalled and sometimes surpassed
Classical Antiquity . Humanist historian
Leonardo Bruni also
split the history in the antiquity,
Middle Ages and modern period.
The ideas and ideals of the
Renaissance soon spread into Northern
France , England and much of Europe. In the meantime, the
discovery of the Americas , the new routes to Asia discovered by the
Portuguese and the rise of the
Ottoman Empire , all factors which
eroded the traditional Italian dominance in trade with the East,
caused a long economic decline in the peninsula. Christopher
Columbus discovered America in 1492, opening a new era in the history
Italian Wars (1494 to 1559), ignited by the rivalry
France and Spain, the city-states gradually lost their
independence and came under foreign domination, first under Spain
(1559 to 1713) and then
Austria (1713 to 1796). In 1629–1631, a new
outburst of plague claimed about 14% of Italy's population. In
addition, as the
Spanish Empire started to decline in the 17th
century, so did its possessions in Naples, Sicily, Sardinia, and
Milan. In particular,
Southern Italy was impoverished and cut off from
the mainstream of events in Europe.
In the 18th century, as a result of the
War of Spanish Succession ,
Spain as the dominant foreign power, while the House
of Savoy emerged as a regional power expanding to
Sardinia . In the same century, the two-century long decline was
interrupted by the economic and state reforms pursued in several
states by the ruling élites. During the
Napoleonic Wars ,
Italy was invaded and reorganised as a new Kingdom of
Italy , a client state of the French Empire , while the southern half
of the peninsula was administered by
Joachim Murat , Napoleon's
brother-in-law, who was crowned as 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 upheavals that characterised the
first part of the 19th century.
Italian unification ,
Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy , and Military
Italy during World War I Animated map of the Italian
unification, from 1829 to 1871
The birth of the
Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy was the result of efforts by
Italian nationalists and monarchists loyal to the
House of Savoy
House of Savoy to
establish a united kingdom encompassing the entire
Italian Peninsula .
In the context of the 1848 liberal revolutions that swept through
Europe, an unsuccessful war was declared on
Austria . The Kingdom of
Sardinia again attacked the
Austrian Empire in the Second Italian War
of Independence of 1859, with the aid of
France , resulting in
Giuseppe Garibaldi , considered one of the
greatest generals of modern times and one of Italy's "fathers of the
fatherland", commanded and fought in many military campaigns that led
eventually to the Italian unification, and is known as the Hero of the
The patriotic journalist
Giuseppe Mazzini , member of the secret
Carbonari and founder of the influential
political movement Young
Italy in the early 1830s, favored a unitary
republic and advocated a broad nationalist movement. His prolific
output of propaganda helped the unification movement stay active. In
Giuseppe Garibaldi led the drive for unification
Naples and Sicily, while the
House of Savoy
House of Savoy troops occupied the
central territories of the Italian peninsula, except
Rome and part of
Papal States. This allowed the Sardinian government led by Camillo
Benso, Count of Cavour , to declare a united Italian kingdom on 17
March 1861. In 1866, Victor Emmanuel II allied with
Prussia during the
Austro-Prussian War , waging the Third Italian War of Independence
Italy to annex Venetia . Finally, as
its garrisons in
Rome during the disastrous
Franco-Prussian War of
Italians rushed to fill the power gap by taking over the
Papal States . After the unification, Victor Emmanuel, Garibaldi,
Cavour and Mazzini have been referred as Italy's Four Fathers of the
The Constitutional Law of the Kingdom of
Sardinia the Albertine
Statute of 1848, was extended to the whole
Kingdom of Italy
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.
From 2 November 1899 to 7 September 1901,
Italy participated as part
Eight-Nation Alliance forces during the
Boxer Rebellion in
China. On 7 September 1901, a 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 . The Altare della Patria
in Rome, built in honor of Victor Emmanuel II , the first king of a
unified Italy. Since the end of World War I, it holds the tomb of the
In 1913, male universal suffrage was adopted. As Northern Italy
quickly industrialised, the South and rural areas of the North
remained underdeveloped and overpopulated, forcing millions of people
to migrate abroad, while the
Italian Socialist Party
Italian Socialist Party constantly
increased in strength, challenging the traditional liberal and
conservative establishment. Starting from the last two decades of the
Italy developed into a colonial power by forcing Somalia
, Eritrea and later
Libya and the Dodecanese under its rule.
Italy, nominally allied with the
German Empire and the Empire of
Austria-Hungary in the Triple Alliance , in 1915 joined the Allies
into the war with a promise of substantial territorial gains, that
Inner Carniola , former
Austrian Littoral , Dalmatia
as well as parts of the
Ottoman Empire . The war was initially
inconclusive, as the Italian army get struck in a long attrition war
in the Alps, making little progress and suffering very heavy losses.
Eventually, in October 1918, the
Italians launched a massive
offensive, culminating in the victory of Vittorio
Veneto . The Italian
victory marked the end of the war on the Italian Front, secured the
dissolution of the
Austro-Hungarian Empire and was chiefly
instrumental in ending the First World War less than two weeks later.
During the war, more than 650,000 Italian soldiers and as many
civilians died and the kingdom went to the brink of bankruptcy. Under
the Peace Treaties of Saint-Germain , Rapallo and
Rome , Italy
obtained most of the promised territories, but not
Zara ), allowing nationalists to define the victory as "mutilated ".
Italy annexed the Hungarian harbour of Fiume , that was not
part of territories promised at London but had been occupied after the
end of the war by Gabriele D\'Annunzio .
Italian Fascism and
Military history of Italy during
World War II
Benito Mussolini , duce of Fascist
The 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
National Fascist Party attempted a coup (the "March on
which failed but at the last minute, King
Victor Emmanuel III refused
to proclaim a state of siege and appointed Mussolini prime minister.
Over the next few years, Mussolini banned all political parties and
curtailed personal liberties, thus forming a dictatorship . These
actions attracted international attention and eventually inspired
similar dictatorships such as
Nazi Germany and
Francoist Spain .
In 1935, Mussolini invaded Ethiopia , resulting in an international
alienation and leading to Italy's withdrawal from the League of
Italy allied with
Nazi Germany and the Empire of
Francisco Franco in the
Spanish civil war
Spanish civil war . In
Albania , a de facto protectorate for decades.
Italy entered World War II on 10 June 1940. After initially advancing
in British Somaliland and
Egypt , the
Italians were defeated in East
Russia and North Africa . Maximum extent of
Italian Empire (1940–43)
Armistice of Villa Giusti
Armistice of Villa Giusti , which ended fighting between Italy
Austria-Hungary at the end of World War I, resulted in Italian
annexation of neighboring parts of Yugoslavia. During the interwar
period, the fascist Italian government undertook a campaign of
Italianisation in the areas it annexed, which suppressed Slavic
language, schools, political parties, and cultural institutions.
During World War II,
Italian war crimes included extrajudicial
killings and ethnic cleansing by deportation of about 25,000 people
,mainly Jews, Croats, and Slovenians, to the Italian concentration
camps , such as Rab , Gonars ,
Renicci di Anghiari and
Italy and Yugoslavia, unlike in Germany, few war crimes
Yugoslav Partisans perpetrated their own crimes
during and after the war, including the foibe killings . Meanwhile,
Italians and anti-communist Slavs fled to
Italy in the
Istrian exodus .
An Allied invasion of
Sicily began in July 1943, leading to the
collapse of the Fascist regime and the fall of Mussolini on 25 July .
On 8 September,
Italy surrendered . The Germans helped by the Italian
fascists shortly succeeded in taking control of northern and central
Italy. The country remained a battlefield for the rest of the war, as
the Allies were 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. The
post-armistice period saw the rise of a large anti-fascist resistance
movement , the
Resistenza . In late April 1945, with total defeat
looming, Mussolini attempted to escape north, but was captured and
summarly 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. 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.
Main article: History of the Italian
Republic Alcide De Gasperi
, first republican
Prime Minister of Italy and one of the Founding
Fathers of the
Italy became a republic after a referendum held on 2 June 1946, a
day celebrated since as
Republic Day . This was also the first time
that Italian women were entitled to vote.
Victor Emmanuel III 's son,
Umberto II , was forced to abdicate and exiled. The Republican
Constitution was approved on 1 January 1948. Under the Treaty of Peace
Italy of 1947, most of
Julian March was lost to Yugoslavia and,
Free Territory of Trieste was divided between the two
Italy also lost all its colonial possessions, formally ending
Italian Empire .
Fears in the Italian electorate of a possible Communist takeover
proved crucial for the first universal suffrage electoral outcome on
18 April 1948 , when the Christian Democrats , under the leadership of
Alcide De Gasperi , obtained a landslide victory. Consequently, in
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 "Economic
Miracle ". In 1957,
Italy was a founding member of the European
Economic Community (EEC), which became the
European Union (EU) in
1993. The signing ceremony of the Treaty of
Rome at the Palazzo
dei Conservatori on the Capitoline Hill.
Italy is a founding member of
all EU institutions.
From the late 1960s until the early 1980s, the country experienced
the 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 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, gaining entry into the G7 Group. However,
as a result of his spending policies, the Italian national debt
skyrocketed during the Craxi era, soon passing 100% of the GDP.
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
'Clean Hands ' 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 (decade),
centre-right (dominated by media magnate
Silvio Berlusconi ) and
centre-left coalitions (led by university professor
Romano Prodi )
alternately governed the country.
In the late 2000s,
Italy was severely hit by the
Great Recession .
From 2008 to 2013, the country suffered 42 months of
The economic crisis was one of the main problems that forced
Berlusconi to resign in 2011. The government of the conservative Prime
Minister was replaced by the technocratic cabinet of
Mario Monti .
Following the 2013 general election , the Vice-Secretary of the
Enrico Letta formed a new government at the head of a
right-left Grand coalition . In 2014, challenged by the new Secretary
of the PD
Matteo Renzi , Letta resigned and was replaced by Renzi. The
new government started important constitutional reforms such as the
abolition of the Senate and a new electoral law. On 4 December the
constitutional reform was rejected in a referendum and Renzi resigned
after few days on 12 December; the Foreign Affairs Minister Paolo
Gentiloni was appointed new Prime Minister.
Italy was affected by the
European migrant crisis in 2015 as it
became the entry point and leading destination for most asylum seekers
entering the EU. The country took in over half a million refugees,
which caused great strain on the public purse and a surge in the
support for far-right and euroskeptic political parties.
Geography of Italy Topographic map of
Italy is located in Southern
Europe , between latitudes 35° and 47°
N , and longitudes 6° and 19° E . To the north,
Italy borders France
Slovenia , and is roughly delimited by the
Alpine watershed , enclosing the
Po Valley and the
Venetian Plain . To
the south, it consists of the entirety of the
Italian Peninsula and
Mediterranean islands of
Sardinia , in addition to
many smaller islands. The sovereign states of
San Marino and the
Vatican City are enclaves within Italy, while Campione d\'Italia is an
Italian exclave in Switzerland.
The country's total area is 301,230 square kilometres (116,306 sq
mi), of which 294,020 km2 (113,522 sq mi) is land and 7,210 km2 (2,784
sq mi) is water. Including the islands,
Italy has a coastline and
border of 7,600 kilometres (4,722 miles) on the Adriatic , Ionian ,
Tyrrhenian seas (740 km (460 mi)), and borders shared with
km (303 mi)),
Austria (430 km (267 mi)),
Slovenia (232 km (144 mi))
Switzerland (740 km (460 mi)).
San Marino (39 km (24 mi)) and
Vatican City (3.2 km (2.0 mi)), both enclaves, account for the
Apennine Mountains form the peninsula's backbone and the Alps
form most of its northern boundary, where Italy's highest point is
Monte Bianco (4,810 m or 15,780 ft). The Po , Italy's
longest river (652 kilometres or 405 miles), flows from the
the western border with
France and crosses the
Padan plain on its way
Adriatic Sea . The five largest lakes are, in order of
diminishing size: Garda (367.94 km2 or 142 sq mi), Maggiore (212.51
km2 or 82 sq mi, shared with Switzerland), Como (145.9 km2 or 56 sq
mi), Trasimeno (124.29 km2 or 48 sq mi) and Bolsena (113.55 km2 or 44
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:
Toblach (in part),
Graun im Vinschgau (in part), which are all part of the
Danube\'s drainage basin , while the Val di Lei constitutes part of
Rhine 's basin and the islands of
Lampione are on
the African continental shelf .
Monte Bianco in
Aosta Valley , the highest point in the European
Dolomites in the Italian alps
Lake Como , often cited as the most beautiful lake in the world.
The Riviera in
Delta of the
The Marmore Falls in
Undulating landscape in
The rocky coastline of the Isle of Sant\'Antioco ,
The Gulf of Macari in
San Vito Lo Capo ,
Volcanology of Italy The
Mount Etna is an active
The country is situated at the meeting point of the Eurasian Plate
and the African Plate, leading to considerable seismic and volcanic
activity . There are 14 volcanoes in
Italy , four of which are active:
Etna (the traditional site of Vulcan 's smithy),
Stromboli , Vulcano
Vesuvius . The latter one is the only active volcano in mainland
Europe and is most famous for the destruction of
Herculanum in the 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
* Magmatic Tuscan (
Monti Cimini ,
* Magmatic Latium (
Monti Volsini ,
Vico nel Lazio ,
Colli Albani ,
* Ultra-alkaline Umbrian Latium District (
San Venanzo , Cupaello and
Vesuvius , as seen from the
* Vulcanic bell (Vesuvius,
Campi Flegrei ,
* Windy arch and Tyrrhenian basin (
Aeolian Islands and Tyrrhenian
* African-Adriatic Avampa (Channel of
Sicily , Graham Island , Etna
Mount Vulture ).
Until the 1950s,
Italy was the first and only country to exploit
geothermal energy to produce electricity in the
Larderello area, and
later in the Mount
Amiata area. 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
List of national parks of Italy and List of regional parks
Italy National (green) and regional (orange) parks in
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 , 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 now make up about 12% of the total primary and final energy
consumption in Italy, with a future target share set at 17% for the
year 2020. Gran Paradiso , established in 1922, is the oldest
Italian national park
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
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,
Chernobyl disaster and a 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 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
Messina mudslides .
Fauna of Italy and
Flora of Italy The Italian
wolf , which inhabits the
Apennine Mountains and the Western Alps,
features prominently in
Latin and Italian cultures, such as in the
legend of the founding of
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. The
Italian peninsula is in the centre of the
Mediterranean Sea, forming a corridor between central
Europe and North
Africa, and has 8,000 km of coastline.
Italy also receives species
Eurasia , the
Middle East . Italy's varied
geological structure, including the
Alps and the
Apennines , Central
Italian woodlands, and Southern Italian
Maquis shrubland ,
also contribute to high climate and habitat diversity.
Italian fauna includes 4777 endemic animal species, such as the
Sardinian long-eared bat
Sardinian long-eared bat , Sardinian red deer , spectacled salamander
Brown cave salamander ,
Italian cave salamander , Monte Albo cave
salamander , Sardinian brook newt ,
Italian newt , Italian frog ,
Apennine yellow-bellied toad ,
Aeolian wall lizard , Sicilian wall
Italian Aesculapian snake , and
Sicilian pond turtle . There
are 102 mammals species in
Italy , such as the
Alpine marmot ,
Etruscan shrew (the smallest mammal in the world), and European snow
vole ; notable large mammals are the
Italian wolf , Marsican brown
Pyrenean chamois ,
Alpine ibex , rough-toothed dolphin ,
crested porcupine and
Mediterranean monk seal .
Italy has also
recorded 516 bird species and 56213 invertebrates species.
The flora was traditionally estimated to comprise about 5,500
vascular plant species. However, as of 2005 , 6,759 species are
recorded in the Data bank of Italian vascular flora. Geobotanically,
the Italian flora is shared between the
Circumboreal Region and
Mediterranean Region .
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 the Italian fauna and
Climate of Italy
Southern Italy has a
Thanks to the great longitudinal extension of the peninsula and the
mostly mountainous internal conformation, the climate of
highly diverse. In most of the inland northern and central regions,
the climate ranges from humid subtropical to humid continental and
oceanic . In particular, the climate of the
Po valley geographical
region is mostly continental, with harsh winters and hot summers.
The coastal areas of
Tuscany and most of the South
generally fit the
Mediterranean climate stereotype (Köppen climate
classification Csa). Conditions on peninsular coastal areas can be
very different from the interior's higher ground and valleys,
particularly during the 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 0
°C (32 °F ) on the
Alps to 12 °C (54 °F) in Sicily, like so the
average summer temperatures range from 20 °C (68 °F) to over 25 °C
Politics of Italy
Italy has been a unitary parliamentary republic since 2 June 1946,
when the monarchy was abolished by a 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 in
joint session .
Italy has a written democratic constitution ,
resulting from the work of a Constituent Assembly formed by the
representatives of all the anti-fascist forces that contributed to the
defeat of Nazi and Fascist forces during the Civil War .
Prime Minister since 2016
President since 2015
Italy has a parliamentary government based on a proportional voting
system. The parliament is perfectly bicameral : the two houses, the
Chamber of Deputies (that meets in
Palazzo Montecitorio ) and the
Senate of the
Republic (that meets in
Palazzo Madama ), have the same
powers. The Prime Minister, officially 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, but must pass a vote of confidence in
Parliament to come into office. The incumbent Prime Minister is Paolo
Gentiloni of the Democratic Party .
The prime minister is the President of the 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: coordinate intelligence policies, determining the
financial resources and strengthening national cyber security; apply
and protect State secrets; authorise agents to carry out operations,
Italy or abroad, in violation of the law. The Chamber of
Deputies is the lower house of Italy.
A peculiarity of the
Italian Parliament is the representation given
to Italian citizens permanently living abroad: 12 Deputies and 6
Senators elected in four distinct overseas constituencies . In
Italian Senate is characterised also by a small number
of 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
Italy's three major political parties are the Democratic Party ,
Forza Italia and the
Five Star Movement . During the 2013 general
election these three parties won 579 out of 630 seats available in the
Chamber of Deputies and 294 out of 315 in the Senate. Most of the
remaining seats were won by a short-lived electoral bloc formed to
support the outgoing Prime Minister
Mario Monti , the far left party
Left, Ecology, Freedom or by parties that contest elections only in
one part of Italy: the Northern League , the South Tyrolean People\'s
Party , Vallée d\'Aoste and Great South . On 15 November 2013, 58
splinter MPs from Forza Italia founded
New Centre-Right .
LAW AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE
Law of Italy and
Judiciary of Italy The Supreme
Court of Cassation
The Italian judicial system is based on
Roman law modified by the
Napoleonic code and later statutes. The Supreme Court of Cassation is
the highest court in
Italy for both criminal and civil appeal cases.
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,
Italian organised crime and criminal organisations have infiltrated
the social and economic life of many regions in
Southern Italy , 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 comuni 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 (in a group of 62 countries) and the 43rd
highest number of rapes per 1,000 people in the world (in a group of
65 countries), relatively low figures among developed countries.
Law enforcement in Italy A
Alfa Romeo vehicle of
Law enforcement in Italy is provided by multiple police forces, five
of which are national, Italian agencies. The
Polizia di Stato (State
Police) is the civil national police of Italy. Along with patrolling,
investigative and law enforcement duties, it patrols the Autostrada
(Italy's Express Highway network), and oversees the security of
railways, bridges and waterways. The
Carabinieri is the common name
for the Arma dei Carabinieri, a
Gendarmerie -like military corps with
police duties. They also serve as the military police for the Italian
Guardia di Finanza
Guardia di Finanza , (English: Financial Guard) is a corps under
the authority of the Minister of Economy and Finance, with a role as
police force. The Corps is in charge of financial, economic, judiciary
and public safety. The Polizia Penitenziaria (Prison Guards, literally
Penitentiary Police) operate the Italian prison system and handle the
transportation of inmates.
Foreign relations of Italy Prime Minister Paolo
Gentiloni with EU High Representative
Italy is a founding member of the
European Community , now the
European Union (EU), and of
Italy was admitted to the United
Nations in 1955, and it is a member and 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
World Trade Organization (GATT/WTO), the
Organization for Security and Co-operation in
Europe (OSCE), the
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
Europe in 2018, the G7 in 2017 and the EU Council from July to
Italy is also a recurrent 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. As of 2013 ,
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
Somalia , Mozambique , and East Timor and provides support for NATO
and UN operations in Bosnia ,
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 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
Lebanon for the United Nations' peacekeeping mission
Italy is one of the largest financiers of the Palestinian National
Authority , contributing €60 million in 2013 alone.
Italian Armed Forces The aircraft carrier MM
Eurofighter Typhoon operated by the Italian Air Force
Italian Army , Navy , Air Force and
Carabinieri collectively form
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, of which 114,778 are Carabinieri.
Total Italian military spending in 2010 ranked tenth in the world,
standing at $35.8 billion, equal to 1.7% of national GDP. As part of
NATO\'s nuclear sharing strategy
Italy also hosts 90
United States B61
nuclear bombs , located in the
Ghedi and Aviano air bases.
Italian Army is the national ground defence force, numbering
109,703 in 2008. Its best-known combat vehicles are the Dardo infantry
fighting vehicle , the
Centauro tank destroyer and the
Ariete tank ,
and among its aircraft the Mangusta attack helicopter , in the last
years deployed in EU,
NATO and UN missions. It also has at its
disposal a large number of
Leopard 1 and M113 armoured vehicles.
Italian Navy in 2008 had 35,200 active personnel with 85
commissioned ships and 123 aircraft. It 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.
Italian Air Force in 2008 had a strength of 43,882 and operated
585 aircraft, including 219 combat jets and 114 helicopters. A
transport capability is guaranteed by a fleet of 27 C-130Js and C-27J
An autonomous corps of the military, the
Carabinieri are the
gendarmerie and military police of Italy, policing the military and
civilian population alongside 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
Regions of Italy
Regions of Italy ,
Metropolitan cities of Italy ,
Provinces of Italy , and
Municipalities of Italy
Italy is subdivided into 20 regions (regioni), five of these regions
having a special autonomous status that enables them to enact
legislation on some of their local matters. The country is further
divided into 14 metropolitan cities (città metropolitane) and 96
provinces (province), which in turn are subdivided in 7,960
municipalities (2018) (comuni).
Venezia Giulia Aosta
Adriatic Sea Ionian
AREA (SQ MI)
Economy of Italy
Milan is a global financial
centre and a fashion capital of the world.
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 world trade and exports . It is a highly developed
country , with the world's 8th highest quality of life in 2005 and
Human Development Index
Human Development Index . The country is well known for its
creative and innovative business, a large and competitive
agricultural sector (
Italy is the world's largest wine producer),
and for its influential and high-quality automobile, machinery, food,
design and fashion industry. A
Fiat 500 .
Italy maintains a
large automotive industry , and is the world's seventh exporter of
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 a large number of 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 7th largest exporter in 2016. Its closest trade
ties are with the other countries of the European Union, with whom it
conducts about 59% of its total trade. Its largest EU trade partners,
in order of market share, are
France (11.4%), and
Italy is part of a monetary union, the Eurozone
(dark blue) and of the EU single market .
The 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
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (abbreviated in FCA) is currently the
world's seventh-largest auto maker . The country boasts a wide range
of acclaimed products, from very compact city cars to luxury supercars
Lamborghini , and
Ferrari , which was rated the
world's most powerful brand by
Brand Finance . Italian cars have also
won 12 times at the
European Car of the Year , with 9 awards won by
Fiat (the most of any manufacturer), 2 by
Alfa Romeo , and one by
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
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
Italy has been hit hard by the
Financial crisis of 2007–08
Financial crisis of 2007–08 , that
exacerbated the country's structural problems. Effectively, after a
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 135% of
GDP in 2014, ranking
second in the EU only after the Greek one (at 174%). For all that,
the largest chunk of 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
A gaping 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 department, Alto Adige-
South Tyrol , earns 152% of the
GDP per capita, while the poorest region, Calabria, 61%. The
unemployment rate (11.1%) stands slightly above the
but the disaggregated figure is 6.6% in the North and 19.2% in the
Vineyards in the
Chianti region, Tuscany. The Italian food
industry is well known for the high quality and variety of its
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 ). 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 world\'s top wine producer , and one of the leading in
olive oil , fruits (apples , olives , grapes , oranges , lemons ,
pears , apricots , hazelnuts , peaches , cherries , plums ,
strawberries and kiwifruits ), and vegetables (especially artichokes
and tomatoes ). The most famous Italian wines are probably the Tuscan
Chianti and the Piedmontese
Barolo . Other famous wines are Barbaresco
, Barbera d\'Asti ,
Brunello di Montalcino , Frascati , Montepulciano
Morellino di Scansano , and the sparkling wines
Prosecco . Quality goods in which
particularly the already mentioned wines and regional cheeses , are
often protected under the quality assurance labels DOC/DOP . This
geographical indication certificate , which is attributed by the
European Union , is considered important in order to avoid confusion
with low-quality mass-produced ersatz products .
Transport in Italy FS '
Frecciarossa 1000 high
speed train, with a maximum speed of 400 km/h (249 mph), is the
fastest train in
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 668,721 km
(415,524 mi) of serviceable roads in Italy, including 6,487 km (4,031
mi) of motorways, state-owned but privately operated by Atlantia . In
2005, about 34,667,000 passenger cars (590 cars per 1,000 people) and
4,015,000 goods vehicles circulated on the national road network.
The national railway network , state-owned and operated by Ferrovie
dello Stato , in 2008 totalled 16,529 km (10,271 mi) of which 11,727
km (7,287 mi) is electrified, and on which 4,802 locomotives and
The national inland waterways network comprised 1,477 km (918 mi) of
navigable rivers and channels in 2002. In 2004 there were
approximately 30 main airports (including the two hubs of Malpensa
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci International in Rome)
and 43 major seaports (including the seaport of
Genoa , the country's
largest and second largest in the
Mediterranean Sea ). In 2005 Italy
maintained a civilian air fleet of about 389,000 units and a merchant
fleet of 581 ships.
Italy needs to import about 80% of its energy requirements. Main
Water supply and sanitation in Italy
Italy does not invest enough to maintain its drinking water supply
and sanitation infrastructure, while water and sanitation tariffs are
among the lowest in the European Union. 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
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Science and technology in Italy Clockwise from
Alessandro Volta , inventor of the electric battery and
discoverer of methane ;
Galileo Galilei , recognized as the Father of modern science, physics
and observational astronomy;
Guglielmo Marconi , inventor of the long-distance radio transmission;
Enrico Fermi , creator of the first nuclear reactor , the Chicago
Through the centuries,
Italy has fostered the scientific community
that produced many major discoveries in physics and the other
sciences. 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 key improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical
observations, and ultimately the triumph of Copernicanism over the
Ptolemaic model .
Other astronomers suchs as
Giovanni Domenico Cassini (1625–1712)
Giovanni Schiaparelli (1835–1910) made many important
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 (1501–76) made fundamental advances in mathematics. Luca
Pacioli established accounting to the world. Physicist Enrico Fermi
(1901–54), a Nobel prize laureate, led the team in Chicago that
developed the first nuclear reactor and is also noted for his many
other contributions to physics, including the co-development of the
quantum theory and was one of the key figures in the creation of the
nuclear weapon . He,
Emilio G. Segrè ((1905–89) who discovered the
elements technetium and astatine , and the antiproton ), Bruno Rossi
((1905–93) a pioneer in Cosmic Rays and X-ray astronomy) and a
number of Italian physicists were forced to leave
Italy in the 1930s
by 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
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
Carlo Rubbia (1984 Nobel Prize in Physics for work leading
to the discovery of the
W and Z particles at
Antonio Meucci is
known for developing a voice-communication device which is often
credited as the first telephone .
Pier Giorgio Perotto
Pier Giorgio Perotto in 1964
designed the first
Desktop Computer , the
Programma 101 , arguably the
first kind of commercial personal computer . 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 important 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
Giuseppe Occhialini received the
Wolf Prize in Physics for
the discovery of the pion or pi-meson decay in 1947.
Ennio de Giorgi ,
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 .
Tourism in Italy The
Amalfi Coast is one of the
major tourist destinations
Italy is the fifth most visited country in the world, with a total of
50.7 million international arrivals in 2015. The total contribution
of travel "> Map of population density in
Italy as of the 2011
At the end of 2013,
Italy had 60,782,668 inhabitants. The resulting
population density, at 202 inhabitants per square kilometre (520/sq
mi), 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
Naples, while vast regions such as the
the plateaus of
Basilicata and the island of
Sardinia are very
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 start decline. The
population rapidly aged . At the end of the 2000s (decade), one in
Italians was over 65 years old. However, in recent years Italy
experienced a 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. The TFR is expected to reach 1.6–1.8 in
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 Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela,
the United States, Canada,
Australia and France.
Largest cities or towns in Italy
ISTAT estimates for 31 December 2014
METROPOLITAN CITIES AND LARGER URBAN ZONE
POPULATION1 JANUARY 2016
Functional Urban Areas
(FUA) Population (2014)
Immigration to Italy
Italy is home to a large
population of migrants from Eastern
Europe and North Africa
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 acquired Italian citizenship (130,000 in 2014). The official
figures also exclude illegal immigrants , that were estimated in 2008
to number at least 670,000.
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 and 2007 enlargements of the European Union,
large waves of migration originated from the former socialist
countries of Eastern
Albania , Ukraine
Poland ). An equally important source of immigration is
neighbouring North Africa (in particular,
Egypt and Tunisia
), with soaring arrivals as a consequence of the
Arab Spring .
Furthermore, in recent years, growing migration fluxes from
China and the
Philippines ) and
have been recorded.
Currently, about one million Romanian citizens (around 10% of them
being from the
Romani people ethnic group ) are officially registered
as living in Italy, representing thus the most important individual
country of origin, followed by
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. Overall,
at the end of the 2000s (decade) the foreign born population of Italy
Europe (54%), Africa (22%), Asia (16%), the Americas (8%)
and Oceania (0.06%). The distribution of immigrants is largely uneven
in Italy: 87% of immigrants live in the northern and central parts of
the country (the most economically developed areas), while only 13%
live in the southern half of the peninsula.
Languages of Italy and
Geographic distribution of the
Italian language in the world Native
language Secondary or non-official language Italophone minorities
According to the Article 12 of the Italian Constitution, Italy's
official language is Italian . It is estimated that there are about
64 million native Italian speakers while the total number of
Italian speakers, including those who use it as a second language, is
about 85 million.
Italy has numerous regional and minority languages;
however, the establishment of a national education system has 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 mass media and
television (the state broadcaster
RAI helped set a standard Italian).
All the minority language groups officially recognised by
Twelve historical minority languages are legally recognised: Albanian
, Catalan , German , Greek , Slovene , Croatian , French ,
Friulian , Ladin ,
Occitan and Sardinian (Law
number 482 of 15 December 1999). French is co-official in the Valle
Aosta —although in fact
Franco-Provencal is more commonly spoken
there. German has the same status in
South Tyrol as, in some parts of
that province and in parts of the neighbouring
Trentino , does Ladin .
Slovene is officially recognised in the provinces of
Trieste , Gorizia
and Udine . A number of other Ethnologue, ISO and
languages remain unrecognised by Italian law.
Italy has signed the
European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages , but has not
Because of significant recent immigration,
Italy has sizeable
populations whose native language is not Italian. According to the
Italian National Institute of Statistics , 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 (380,000
people) and Spanish (255,000 people). Other languages spoken in Italy
are Ukrainian ,
Hindi , Polish and Tamil amongst others.
Religion in Italy
Italy is home to
many of the world's largest churches and masterpieces of architecture.
Clockwise from left:
Florence Cathedral , which has the biggest brick
dome in the world; St. Peter\'s Basilica , the largest church of
Milan Cathedral , the largest Italian church and the
third largest in the world; and St Mark\'s Basilica , one of the best
known examples of Italo-
Roman Catholicism is, by far, the largest religion in the country,
although since 1985 no longer officially the state religion . In
2010, the proportion of
Italians that identify themselves as Roman
Catholic was 81.2%.
Holy See , the episcopal jurisdiction of
Rome , contains the
central government of the entire
Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church , including
various agencies essential to administration. Diplomatically, it is
recognised by other subjects of international law as a 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
Vatican City State, which came into existence only in 1929; the
Holy See dates back to early Christian times. Ambassadors are
officially accredited not to the
Vatican City State but to "the Holy
See", and papal representatives to states and international
organisations are recognised as representing the Holy See, not the
Vatican City State.
Minority Christian faiths in
Eastern Orthodox ,
Waldensians and other
Protestant communities. In 2011, there were an
estimated 1.5 million Orthodox Christians in Italy, or 2.5% of the
population; 0.5 million
Evangelicals (of whom 0.4
million are members of the
Assemblies of God
Assemblies of God ), 235,685 Jehovah\'s
Witnesses , 30,000 Waldensians, 25,000
Seventh-day Adventists ,
22,000 Latter-day Saints , 15,000 Baptists (plus some 5,000 Free
Lutherans , 4,000
Methodists (affiliated with the
Waldensian Church ).
One of the longest-established minority religious faiths in
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, as a result of the Holocaust
, about 20% of
Italian Jews lost their lives. This, together with the
emigration that preceded and followed World War II, has left only a
small community of around 28,400 Jews in Italy.
Soaring immigration in the last two decades has been accompanied by
an increase in non-Christian faiths. In 2010, there were 1.6 million
Muslims in Italy, forming 2.6% of population. In addition, there are
more than 200,000 followers of faiths originating in the Indian
subcontinent with some 70,000
Sikhs with 22 gurdwaras across the
Hindus , and 50,000
Buddhists . There were an
estimated 4,900 Bahá\'ís in
Italy in 2005.
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 (Otto per mille). 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 in Italy
Bologna University ,
established in AD 1088, is the oldest academic institution of the
Education in Italy is free and mandatory from ages six to sixteen,
and consists of five stages: kindergarten (scuola dell'infanzia,
formerly known as asilo), primary school (scuola primaria, formerly
known as scuola elementare), lower secondary school (scuola secondaria
di primo grado, formerly known as scuola media), upper secondary
school (scuola secondaria di secondo grado, formerly known as scuola
superiore) and university (università).
Primary education lasts eight years. The 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
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 2012, the
Italian secondary education has been evalued as slightly below the
OECD average, with a strong and steady improvement in science and
mathematics results since 2003; however, a wide gap exists between
northern schools, which performed significantly better than the
national average (among the best in the world in some subjects), and
schools in the South , that had much poorer results.
Tertiary education in
Italy is divided between public universities ,
private universities and the prestigious and selective superior
graduate schools , such as the
Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa . The
university system in
Italy is generally regarded as poor for a world
cultural powerhouse, with no universities ranked among the 100 world
best and only 20 among the top 500. However, the current government
has scheduled major reforms and investments in order to improve the
overall internationalisation and quality of the system.
Healthcare in Italy
Olive oil and vegetables are
central to the
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, very close the
OECD countries' average of 9.3%.
Italy in 2000 ranked as having the
world's 2nd best healthcare system, and the world's 2nd best
healthcare performance .
Life expectancy in
Italy is 80 for males and 85 for females, placing
the country 5th in the world for life expectancy . In comparison to
other Western countries,
Italy has a relatively low rate of adult
obesity (below 10% ), probably thanks to the 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
Smoking in public places including bars, restaurants, night clubs and
offices has been restricted to specially ventilated rooms since 2005.
UNESCO added the
Mediterranean diet to the Representative
List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of Italy
Culture of Italy
Culture of Italy The Trulli buildings of
For centuries divided by politics and geography until its eventual
unification in 1861,
Italy has developed a unique culture, shaped by a
multitude of regional customs and local centres of power and patronage
. During the
Middle Ages and the Renaissance, a number of magnificent
courts competed for attracting the best architects, artistis and
scholars, thus producing an immense legacy of monuments, paintings,
music and literature.
Italy has more
World Heritage Sites
World Heritage Sites (53 ) than any other
country in the world, and has rich collections of art, culture and
literature from many different periods. The country has had a broad
cultural influence worldwide, also because numerous
to other places during the
Italian diaspora . Furthermore, the nation
has, overall, an estimated 100,000 monuments of any sort (museums,
palaces, buildings, statues, churches, art galleries, villas,
fountains, historic houses and archaeological remains).
Italy has a very broad and diverse architectural style, which cannot
be simply classified by period, but also by region, because of Italy's
division into several regional states until 1861. This has created a
highly diverse and eclectic range in architectural designs.
Italy is known for its considerable architectural achievements, such
as the construction of arches, domes and similar structures during
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
Colosseum , the
Milan Cathedral and
Florence cathedral , the
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Leaning Tower of Pisa and the building designs of
Venice are found in
The city of
Venice , built on 117 islands
The Leaning Tower and the Duomo of
Royal Palace of Caserta
Villa Capra "La Rotonda" , one of the influential Palladian villas of
Temple of Concordia in the Valley of the Temples ,
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 .
Art of Italy The Last Supper (1494–1499),
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci , Church of
Santa Maria delle Grazie ,
The history of Italian visual art is part of Western painting
Roman art was influenced by
Greece and can in part be taken
as a descendant of ancient Greek painting. However, Roman painting
does have important unique characteristics. The only surviving Roman
paintings are wall paintings, many from villas in
Campania , in
Southern Italy. Such painting can be grouped into 4 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 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
Cimabue and then his pupil
Giotto . From
Giotto on, the treatment of composition by the best painters also
became much more free and innovative. They are considered to be the
two great medieval masters of painting in western culture.
Michelangelo\'s David (1501–1504), Galleria dell\'Accademia ,
Renaissance is said by many to be the 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.
Italy artists like
Paolo Uccello ,
Fra Angelico ,
Masaccio , Piero
della Francesca ,
Andrea Mantegna ,
Filippo Lippi ,
Tintoretto , Sandro
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci , Michelangelo
Giovanni Bellini , and
Titian took painting to
a higher level through the use of perspective , the study of human
anatomy and proportion, and through their development of an
unprecedented refinement in drawing and painting techniques.
Michelangelo was an active sculptor from about 1500 to 1520, and his
great masterpieces including his David , Pietà , Moses . Other
Renaissance sculptors include
Lorenzo Ghiberti , Luca Della
Donatello , Filippo
Andrea del Verrocchio
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
Piero della Francesca
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
Annibale Carracci ,
Artemisia Gentileschi ,
Mattia Preti ,
Carlo Saraceni and
Bartolomeo Manfredi . Subsequently,
in the 18th century, Italian Rococo was mainly inspired by French
France was the founding nation of that particular style,
with artists such as
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
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 painters were Francesco
Giuseppe Bezzuoli and
Francesco Podesti .
Italy by the
Macchiaioli , led by Giovanni
Fattori , and
Giovanni Boldini ; Realism by
Gioacchino Toma and
Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo . In the 20th century, with
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
Giorgio de Chirico , who exerted a strong influence on
Surrealists and generations of artists to follow.
LITERATURE AND THEATRE
Literature of Italy
Italian literature began after the founding of
Rome in 753 BC. Roman,
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 Elder ,
Pliny the Younger ,
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 . Dante ,
poised between the mountain of
Purgatory and the city of Florence,
displays the famous incipit "Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita" of
Divine Comedy in a detail of
Domenico di Michelino 's painting,
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 modeled on Provençal forms and themes were
written in a refined version of the local vernacular. The most
important of these poets was the notary
Giacomo da Lentini , inventor
of the sonnet form, though the most famous early sonneteer was
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
Guido Cavalcanti and the 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 . The two
great writers of the 14th century,
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
Niccolò Machiavelli , founder of the modern political
science and ethics
Renaissance authors produced a number of important works.
Niccolò Machiavelli 's
The Prince is one of the world's most famous
essays on political science and modern philosophy, in which the
effective truth is taken to be more important than any abstract ideal.
Another important work of the period,
Ludovico Ariosto 's Orlando
Furioso , continuation of
Matteo Maria Boiardo 's unfinished romance
Orlando Innamorato , is perhaps the greatest chivalry poem ever
Baldassare Castiglione 's dialogue The Book of the Courtier
describes the ideal of the perfect court gentleman and of spiritual
beauty. The lyric poet
Torquato Tasso in
Jerusalem Delivered wrote a
Christian epic, making use of the ottava rima , with attention to the
Aristotelian canons of unity.
Giovanni Francesco Straparola and
Giambattista Basile , which have
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, L\'Adone . The Baroque period also produced
the clear scientific prose of 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 Arcadians
began a movement to restore simplicity and classical restraint to
poetry, as in
Metastasio 's heroic melodramas. In the 18th century,
Carlo Goldoni created full written plays, many portraying
the middle class of his day.
Pinocchio , the title character of
The Adventures of
Carlo Collodi , is an icon of
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 Betrothed
Alessandro Manzoni , the leading Italian Romantic, 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.
In the late 19th century, a realistic literary movement called
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 the most
translated non-religious book in the world. A movement called
Italian literature in the early 20th century.
Filippo Tommaso Marinetti
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
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.
Prominent Italian philosophers include
Cesare Beccaria , Giordano
Benedetto Croce ,
Marsilio Ficino , and
Giambattista Vico .
Italian theatre can be traced back to the Roman tradition which was
heavily influenced by the Greek; as with many other literary genres,
Roman dramatists tended to adapt and translate from the Greek. For
example, Seneca's 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 .
Music of Italy
Music of Italy
Giacomo Puccini , Italian composer
whose operas, including
La bohème ,
Madama Butterfly and
Turandot , are among the most frequently worldwide performed in the
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.
Italy's most famous composers include the
Palestrina and Monteverdi , the Baroque composers Scarlatti , Corelli
and Vivaldi , the Classical composers Paganini and
Rossini , and the
Puccini . 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
Luciano Pavarotti ,
Italians have been no less appreciative
of their thriving contemporary music scene.
Luciano Pavarotti ,
one of the most influential tenors of all time
Italy is widely known for being the birthplace 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 as
Rossini , Bellini ,
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
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 PFM ,
Banco del Mutuo Soccorso ,
Le Orme ,
Goblin , and Pooh . The same period saw diversification in the cinema
Italy , and
Cinecittà films included complex scores by composers
Ennio Morricone ,
Armando Trovaioli ,
Piero Piccioni and
Piero Umiliani . The
Italian hip hop scene began in the early 1990s
Articolo 31 duo, mainly influenced by the East Coast rap.
Giorgio Moroder , pioneer of
Italo disco and electronic dance music ,
is known as the "Father of Disco"
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 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
Nu-disco ). Notable Italian DJs and
Benny Benassi , Gigi D\'Agostino , and
Gabry Ponte ,
member of the
Eiffel 65 group.
Producers such as
Giorgio Moroder , who won three Academy Awards for
his music, were highly influential in the development of electronic
dance music . Today, Italian pop music is represented annually with
Sanremo Music Festival , which served as inspiration for the
Eurovision song contest, and the
Festival of Two Worlds in
Singers such as Mina ,
Andrea Bocelli ,
Laura Pausini ,
Eros Ramazzotti and
Tiziano Ferro have attained international acclaim.
Cinema of Italy
Cinema of Italy
The history of Italian cinema began a few months after the Lumière
brothers began motion picture exhibitions. The first Italian film was
a few seconds, showing
Pope Leo XIII giving a blessing to the camera.
The Italian film industry was born between 1903 and 1908 with three
companies: the Società Italiana Cines, the
Ambrosio Film and the
Itala Film. Other companies soon followed in
Milan and in Naples. In a
short time these first companies reached a fair producing quality, and
films were soon sold outside Italy. Cinema was later used by Benito
Mussolini , who founded Rome's renowned
Cinecittà studio for the
production of Fascist propaganda until World War II.
After the war, Italian film was widely recognised and exported until
an artistic decline around the 1980s. Notable Italian film directors
from this period include
Vittorio De Sica ,
Federico Fellini , Sergio
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Pier Paolo Pasolini ,
Luchino Visconti , Michelangelo
Roberto Rossellini ; some of these are recognized among
the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time. Movies
include world cinema treasures such as
Bicycle Thieves , La dolce vita
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 neorealist
films , reflecting the poor condition of post-war Italy.
Cinecittà in Rome, the largest film studio in
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 Life Is Beautiful
Roberto Benigni , Il Postino: The Postman with Massimo
The Great Beauty directed by
Paolo Sorrentino .
Cinecittà studio is today the largest film and
television production facility in continental
Europe and the centre of
the Italian cinema, where a large number of biggest box office hits
are filmed, and one of the biggest production communities in the
world. 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
Academy Award nomination and 47 of these won it, from some cinema
classics to recent rewarded features (such as Ben-Hur , Cleopatra ,
Romeo and Juliet , The English Patient , Gladiator , The Passion of
the Christ , and
Gangs of New York
Gangs of New York ).
Italy is the most awarded country at the Academy Awards for Best
Foreign Language Film , with 14 awards won, 3
Special Awards and 31
nominations . As of 2016, Italian films have also won 12 Palmes d\'Or
(the second-most of any country), 11 Golden Lions and 7 Golden Bears .
Sport in Italy The Azzurri , here players of
2012, is the men's national football team
The most popular sport in
Italy is, by far, football . Italy's
national football team (nicknamed Gli Azzurri – "the Blues") is one
of the world's most successful team as it has won four FIFA World Cups
(1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006). Italian clubs have won 48 major European
Italy the second most successful country in European
football . Italy's top-flight club football league is named Serie A
and ranks as the fourth best in
Europe and is followed by millions of
fans around the world. Starting in 1909, the Giro d\'Italia is
the second oldest of the prestigious Grands Tours
Other popular team sports in
Italy include volleyball , basketball
and rugby . Italy's male and female national teams are often 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 2004 . Lega Basket
Serie A is widely
considered one of the most competitive in
Rugby union enjoys
a good level of popularity, especially in the north of the country.
Italy's national team competes in the
Six Nations Championship , and
is a regular at the
Rugby World Cup .
Italy ranks as a tier-one nation
World Rugby . The men\'s volleyball team won three consecutive
World Championships (in 1990, 1994, and 1998) and earned the Olympic
silver medal in 1996, 2004, and 2016. A
Ferrari SF70H by Scuderia
Ferrari , the oldest surviving and most successful
Formula One team.
Italy has a long and successful tradition in individual sports as
Bicycle racing is a very familiar sport in the country.
Italians have won the UCI World Championships 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 Tours , along with
the Tour de
France and the
Vuelta a España , each of which last
approximately three weeks.
Alpine skiing is also a very widespread
sport in Italy, and the country is a popular international skiing
destination, known for its ski resorts. Italian skiers achieved good
Winter Olympic Games , Alpine Ski World Cup , and World
Tennis has a significant following in Italy, ranking as
the fourth most practised sport in the country. The
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.
also extremely popular in Italy.
Italy has won, by far, the most
MotoGP World Championships . Italian Scuderia
Ferrari is the oldest
surviving team in Grand Prix racing, having competed since 1948, and
statistically the most successful
Formula One team in history with a
record of 228 wins.
Italy has been successful in the
Olympic Games , taking
part from the first Olympiad and in 47 Games out of 48. 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 fifth most successful
nation in Olympic history for total medals. The country hosted two
Olympics (in 1956 and 2006 ), and one Summer games (in 1960 ).
FASHION AND DESIGN
Italian fashion and
Prada shop in
Italian fashion has a long tradition , and is regarded as one most
important in the world. Milan,
Rome are Italy's main
fashion capitals . According to Top Global Fashion Capital Rankings
Global Language Monitor ,
Rome ranked sixth worldwide when
Milan was twelfth. Major
Italian fashion labels, such as
Versace , Valentino , Dolce "> Some typical
Italian foods: pizza (Margherita ), pasta (
Carbonara ), espresso , and
Italian cuisine has developed through centuries of social and
political changes, with roots as far back as the 4th century BC.
Italian cuisine in itself takes heavy influences, including Etruscan ,
ancient Greek , ancient Roman ,
Byzantine , and Jewish . Significant
changes occurred with the discovery of the
New World 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.
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 region .
A key factor in the success of
Italian cuisine is its heavy reliance
on traditional products;
Italy has the most traditional specialities
protected under EU law . Cheese , cold cuts and wine are a major part
of Italian cuisine, with many regional declinations and Protected
Designation of Origin or
Protected Geographical Indication labels, and
along with coffee (especially espresso ) make up a very important part
of the 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
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS
Public holidays in Italy and
Venice Film Festival is the oldest film festival in the world and
one of the "Big Three " alongside Cannes and Berlin .
Public holidays celebrated in
Italy include religious, national and
regional observances. Italy's National Day, the Festa della
Republic Day) is celebrated on 2 June each year, and
commemorates the birth of the Italian
Republic in 1946.
The Epiphany in
Italy is associated with the figure of the
Befana , a
broomstick-riding old woman who, in the night between 5 and 6 January,
brings gifts to children, or a lump of "coal" (really black candy) for
the times they have not been good during the year. The Saint Lucy\'s
Day , which take place on 13 December, is very popular among children
in some Italian regions, where she plays a role similar to Santa
Assumption of Mary
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: Rome
on 29 June (Saints Peter and Paul ) and
Milan on 7 December (S.
There are many festivals and festivities in Italy. Some of them
Palio di Siena
Palio di Siena , 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 pasos , such as the Varia
di Palmi , the
Macchina di Santa Rosa in
Viterbo , the Festa dei Gigli
Nola , and faradda di li candareri in
Other festivals include the carnivals in
Venice , Viareggio ,
Mamoiada , and
Ivrea , mostly known for its
Battle of the Oranges . The prestigious
Venice International Film
Festival , awarding the "
Golden Lion " and held annually since 1932,
is the oldest film festival in the world.
Index of Italy-related articles
Outline of Italy
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Italian peninsula is geographically located in Southern
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