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Italian Republic
Repubblica Italiana
Flag Coat of arms
AnthemIl Canto degli Italiani
(also known as Inno di Mameli)
The Song of the Italians
Location of  Italy  (dark green)

– on the European continent  (light green & dark grey)
– in the European Union  (light green)  —  [Legend]

Capital
(and largest city)
Rome
41°54′N 12°29′E / 41.9°N 12.483°E / 41.9; 12.483
Official language(s) Italian
Demonym Italian
Government Parliamentary republic
 -  President Giorgio Napolitano (PD)
 -  Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (PdL)
Legislature Parliament
 -  Upper House Senate of the Republic
 -  Lower House Chamber of Deputies
Formation
 -  Unification 17 March 1861 
 -  Republic 2 June 1946 
EU accession 25 March 1957 (founding member)
Area
 -  Total 301,338 km2 (71st)
116,346 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 2.4
Population
 -  2009 estimate 60,231,214[1] (23rd)
 -  2001 census 56,995,744 
 -  Density 199.8/km2 (54th)
517.4/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $1.817 trillion[2] (10th)
 -  Per capita $30,631[2] (27th)
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $2.314 trillion[2] (7th)
 -  Per capita $38,996[2] (21st)
Gini (2000) 36 
HDI (2007) 0.951[3] (very high) (18th)
Currency Euro ()2 (EUR)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 -  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Drives on the Right
Internet TLD .it3
Calling code 394
1 French is co-official in the Aosta Valley; Slovene is co-official in the province of Trieste and the province of Gorizia; German and Ladin are co-official in the province of Bolzano-Bozen.
2 Before 2002, the Italian Lira. The euro is accepted in Campione d'Italia, but the official currency is the Swiss Franc.[4]
3 The .eu domain is also used, as it is shared with other European Union member states.
4 To call Campione d'Italia, it is necessary to use the Swiss code +41.
.Italy en-us-Italy.ogg /ˈɪtəli/ (Italian: Italia, [iˈta:lja]), officially the Italian Republic (Italian: Repubblica Italiana), is a country located partly on the European Continent and partly on the Italian Peninsula in Southern Europe and on the two largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily and Sardinia.^ Of the three great peninsulas of Southern Europe , Italy is that whose adjoining seas penetrate deepest into the European Continent, while its frontiers border on the greatest number of other states (France, Switzerland , Austria ) and are in contact with a greater number of races: French, German, Slav .
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Terra d'Otranto, which comprises nearly the entire Salentine peninsula, was called the Tuscany of Southern Italy.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Italy has an area of 110,646 square miles, of which 91,393 are on the Continent of Europe , and 19,253 on the islands.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

.Italy shares its northern, Alpine boundary with France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia.^ By the Treaty of Utrecht (1713-14) Austria succeeded Spain in Northern Italy (Mantua, Milan ) and later (1737) obtained the Grand Duchy of Tuscany .
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ In any case, temporary emigration occurs more frequently from the provinces of Venice , Lombardy , and Piedmont , and is directed more especially towards France , Switzerland , Austria , and the Balkans.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ The daytime Paris-Milan TGV trains do not go via Switzerland but pass directly from France into Italy.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

The independent states of San Marino and the Vatican City are enclaves within the Italian Peninsula, and Campione d'Italia is an Italian exclave in Switzerland. The territory of Italy covers 301,338 km² and is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. .With 60.2 million inhabitants, it is the sixth most populous country in Europe, and the twenty-third most populous in the world.^ As to the distribution of population, 71.8 per cent of the inhabitants live in towns and 28.2 per cent live a country life.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ On 1 January, 1908, Italy had 33,909,776 inhabitants, being, therefore, the sixth state of Europe from the standpoint of population.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ The most crowded population is that of the province of Naples : 3448 inhabitants per sq.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

.The land known as Italy today has been the cradle of European cultures and peoples, such as the Etruscans and the Romans.^ The lands on the right of the Tiber, formerly inhabited by the Etruscans and afterwards conquered by the Romans, constitute the territory of Viterbo and the Campagna of Civitavecchia .
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ As to the origin of this people there are two opinions, that of Herodotus, according to which the Etruscans came by sea, driven from Lydia by famine; and the other, that of Niebuhr, Mommsen, and Helbig, according to which the Tyrrhenians came into Italy by land, over the Rhætian Alps.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Temperino; these mines were known to the Etruscans and to the Romans, who left there the traces of their industrial spirit.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

Italy's capital, Rome, was for centuries the political centre of Western civilisation, as the capital of the Roman Empire. .After its decline, Italy would endure numerous invasions by foreign peoples, from Germanic tribes such as the Lombards and Ostrogoths, to the Normans and later, the Byzantines, among others.^ Meanwhile a new political power, the Normans, had been growing up in Southern Italy at the expense of the Byzantines , the Saracens , and the remnants of the former Lombard duchies.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

Centuries later, Italy would become the birthplace of the Renaissance,[5] an immensely fruitful intellectual movement that would prove to be integral in shaping the subsequent course of European thought.
.Through much of its post-Roman history, Italy was fragmented into numerous kingdoms and city-states (such as the Kingdom of Sardinia, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and the Duchy of Milan), but was unified in 1861,[6] a tumultuous period in history known as the "Risorgimento". In the late 19th century, through World War I, and to World War II, Italy possessed a colonial empire, which extended its rule to Libya, Eritrea, Italian Somaliland, Ethiopia, Albania, Rhodes, the Dodecanese and a concession in Tianjin, China.^ The direct possessions of Italy are the colonies of Eritrea and Italian Somalia (Benadir).
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Political necessity eventually led to the abandonment of Rome as the administrative centre of the unwieldy empire and the foundation (327) of a new city (Constantinople, New Rome) on the site of ancient Greek Byzantium, in a situation so incomparable for defence and attack that for many centuries the new city was impregnable (Bury, "History of the Later Roman Empire", London, 1889).
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ After a century of destructive assaults on various parts of the empire, including the capture of Rome (408) by Alaric, King of the Goths , the Roman imperial authority collapsed in Italy, where Odoacer, King of the Heruli, ruled the peninsula (476-93) until overthrown by Theodoric , King of the Ostrogoths (493-526).
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

[7]
.Modern Italy is a democratic republic and the world's eighteenth most developed country,[8] with the eighth or tenth highest quality of life index rating in the world.^ This is the most famous of all rivers, because there stands on its banks the city which of all has exercised the greatest influence upon the world, in ancient, as well as in modern, times.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Italy is a country of mountains and hills, with few high table-lands; while, of the latter, the two most important, those of Tuscany and of the Murgie, are broken and surmounted by hills and mountainous groups.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Italy was once the classic land of agriculture; but, in our day, notwithstanding a reawakening that foretells better times, it is one of the countries in which agriculture is most backward.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

[9][10] Italy enjoys a very high standard of living, and has a high nominal GDP per capita.[11][12] It is a founding member of what is now the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Italy is also a member of the G8 and G20. It has the world's seventh-largest nominal GDP, tenth highest GDP (PPP)[13] and the fifth highest government budget in the world.[14] It is also a member state of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, the Council of Europe, and the Western European Union. .Italy, on addition to this, has the world's eight-largest defence budget and shares NATO's nuclear weapons.^ Italy tours are among the most popular vacations in Europe, and Vacations To Go works with the world's largest and most respected tour operators in Italy.
  • Italy Tours, Italy Tour Packages, Italian Tours, Italy Travel, Travel Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.tourvacationstogo.com [Source type: General]

.Italy, especially Rome, has an important place in political, military and cultural affairs, with worldwide organizations such as Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO),[15] World Food Programme (WFP), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Glocal Forum,[16] and the NATO Defence College being headquartered in the country and the city.^ Among industrial plants hemp and flax hold an important place in Italian agriculture, there being a yearly product of nearly 80,000 tons of the former and of nearly 20,000 tons of the latter, furnished in greater part by Lombardy .
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ In 1905 the King of Italy, at the petition of the American agriculturist Lubin, initiated the establishment of an International Agricultural Institute which, totally independent of all political connexion, should study agricultural conditions in the different countries for the general good.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ This is not the place to relate how gradually the small city of Rome extended its rule until all Italy, the Mediterranean lands, Gaul and Germany , Egypt and the hither Orient, i.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

.The country's European political, social and economic influence make it a major regional power, alongside the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Russia,[17][18][19][20][21] and Italy has been classified in a study, measuring hard power, as being the eleventh greatest worldwide national power.^ From Venice & Verona , the 18:20 departure from Venice Santa Lucia or 19:32 departure from Verona, change in Milan, arrives Turin Porta Nuova at 23:10.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

^ In 1860 the Duchies of Modena and Parma , the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Romagnas (12 March), the Marches and Umbria (5 November), Naples and Sicily (21 October), were incorporated with Piedmont , and on 17 March, 1861, the Parliament at Turin proclaimed the Kingdom of Italy.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ In 1905 the King of Italy, at the petition of the American agriculturist Lubin, initiated the establishment of an International Agricultural Institute which, totally independent of all political connexion, should study agricultural conditions in the different countries for the general good.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

[22] The country has a high public education level, high labour force,[23] is a globalised nation,[24] and also has 2009's sixth best international reputation.[25] Italy also has the world's nineteenth highest life expectancy,[26] and the world's second best healthcare system.[27][28][29] .It is the world's fifth most visited country, with over 43.7 million international arrivals,[30] and boasts a long tradition in the arts, science and technology, including the world's highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites to date (44).^ Start by visiting the Seat61 Ferry Shop , which can book most ferry routes and operators, or see each ferry company's own website to confirm sailing dates, times and fares.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

[31][32]

Contents

Etymology

The origin of the term Italia, from Latin: Italia,[33] is uncertain. According to one of the more common explanations, the term was borrowed through Greek from the Oscan Víteliú, meaning "land of young cattle" (cf. Lat vitulus "calf", Umb vitlo "calf").[34] The bull was a symbol of the southern Italian tribes and was often depicted goring the Roman wolf as a defiant symbol of free Italy during the Samnite Wars.
.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).^ Southern Italy is the part of the peninsula which lies south of this line.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Italy has the characteristic shape of a riding boot, of which the top is represented by the Alps, the seam by the Apennines, and the toe, the heel, and the spur, respectively, by the peninsulas of Calabria, Salento, and Gargano.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ According to Nissen and to others, it served to designate the southernmost portion of the peninsula of Calabria; but some authorities, as Cocchia and Gentile, hold that the name was given originally to that country between the Sele and the Lao which later was called Lucania.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

.But by his time Oenotria and Italy had become synonymous, and the name also applied to most of Lucania as well.^ This is the most famous of all rivers, because there stands on its banks the city which of all has exercised the greatest influence upon the world, in ancient, as well as in modern, times.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Italy was once the classic land of agriculture; but, in our day, notwithstanding a reawakening that foretells better times, it is one of the countries in which agriculture is most backward.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

.The Greeks gradually came to apply the name "Italia" to a larger region, but it was not until the time of the Roman conquests that the term was expanded to cover the entire peninsula.^ The central part of this region may be called the Helvetia of the peninsula; in ancient times it was the home of the intrepid Sabini, Marsi , Marrucini, Peligni, and Frentani, who for more than a century checked the progress of Roman arms.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ This region, which in ancient times was inhabited by different peoples, became Romanized after the Flaminian Way, which was the chief outlet of Rome , had been carried through; but it lost somewhat of its importance when preference came to be given to the shorter way through Tuscany .
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ At the time of writing, the English version of www.sitabus.it doesn't work, so leave it in Italian and under 'Scegli la Regione' select 'Campania' (the name of this region).
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

[35]

History

Prehistory to Magna Graecia

Emperor Augustus, who ruled Rome from 16 January 27 BC to 19 August AD 14.
.Excavations throughout Italy reveal a modern human presence dating back to the Palaeolithic period, some 200,000 years ago.^ Visitors to Italy take into the country from $60,000,000 to $80,000,000 each year.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ The Treasury receipts for the year 1907-1908 amounted to nearly $400,000,000, the expenditure for the same period being $340,000,000.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

[36] .In the 8th and 7th centuries BC Greek colonies were established all along the coast of Sicily and the southern part of the Italian Peninsula.^ On the southern portion of the peninsula there were established numerous Greek colonies, whose cities, as we have seen, arose to great power and splendour, whence the name Magna Grœcia, given to the southern part of Italy.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ The German language is spoken in Piedmont and in Venetia by the descendants of colonies that were established in those provinces in the eleventh and in the twelfth centuries.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ The coast-line of the Italian Peninsula measures 2100 miles.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

Subsequently, Romans referred to this area as Magna Graecia, as it was so densely inhabited by Greeks.[37][38][39] .The colonists who started arriving in the eighth century BC brought with them their Hellenic civilization, which was to leave a lasting imprint in Italy and particularly on the culture of ancient Rome.^ The language of Albania is spoken by the descendants of colonists who went to Southern Italy and to Sicily , in 1461, with Skanderbeg after the fall of Albanian independence.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ The heavy and contorted manner of building which prevailed in the seventeenth century gave way to a lighter but peculiar style marked by ornamentation; it was brought to Italy from France .
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ The last one leaves London St Pancras at 20:04 (20:32 on Sundays), arriving Paris Gare du Nord 2 hours later.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

Ancient Rome

.Ancient Rome was at first a small agricultural community founded circa the 8th century BC that grew over the course of the centuries into a colossal empire encompassing the whole Mediterranean Sea, in which Ancient Greek and Roman cultures merged into one civilization.^ Political necessity eventually led to the abandonment of Rome as the administrative centre of the unwieldy empire and the foundation (327) of a new city (Constantinople, New Rome) on the site of ancient Greek Byzantium, in a situation so incomparable for defence and attack that for many centuries the new city was impregnable (Bury, "History of the Later Roman Empire", London, 1889).
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ In ancient times, as at present, Apulia was the station between the East and the West; it was in the possession of the Greeks until the tenth century, when the Normans conquered it and established there the countship of Apulia, their first possession.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ On the other hand, the district is a hierarchical division of the province, while the borough is a division of the large communes or an aggregation of small ones and is an electoral territory, and in some measure a judicial and fiscal one.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

.This civilization was so influential that parts of it survive in modern law, administration, philosophy and arts, forming the ground that Western civilization is based upon.^ The administration of justice is under colonial judges, and is based upon Moslem jurisprudence ( Cheriat ), the common native law ( Testur ), and the different religious regulations and habits.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ This code, which is based upon Roman law, is the only civil law of the land; and it needs some reformation to make it more consonant with new economical and social needs.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

.In its twelve-century existence it transformed itself from monarchy to republic and finally to autocracy.^ In those centuries of conquest and assimilation Rome was alternately a kingdom, a republic, and finally an empire.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

.In steady decline since the 2nd century AD, the empire finally broke into two parts in 285 AD: the Western Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire in the East.^ This range extends from the Fiora to the Garigliano rivers and is divided into two parts.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Romans, became the capital of the Western Empire, later the capital of the Goths , and finally of the Greek Exarchate.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ The River Reno divides this region into two parts: the western, Emilia properly so-called, and the eastern, Romagna, a name that recalls the time when Ravenna was capital of the Western Roman Empire, and therefore called Romandiola, meaning Little Rome.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

.The western part under the pressure of Goths finally dissolved, leaving the Italian peninsula divided into small independent kingdoms and feuding city states for the next 14 centuries, and leaving the eastern part sole heir to the Roman legacy.^ The central part of this region may be called the Helvetia of the peninsula; in ancient times it was the home of the intrepid Sabini, Marsi , Marrucini, Peligni, and Frentani, who for more than a century checked the progress of Roman arms.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ After a century of destructive assaults on various parts of the empire, including the capture of Rome (408) by Alaric, King of the Goths , the Roman imperial authority collapsed in Italy, where Odoacer, King of the Heruli, ruled the peninsula (476-93) until overthrown by Theodoric , King of the Ostrogoths (493-526).
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ This range extends from the Fiora to the Garigliano rivers and is divided into two parts.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

Middle Ages

The Iron Crown with which Lombard rulers were crowned.
In the sixth century AD the Byzantine Emperor Justinian reconquered Italy from the Ostrogoths. .The invasion of a new wave of Germanic tribes, the Lombards, doomed his attempt to resurrect the Western Roman Empire but the repercussions of Justinian's failure resounded further still.^ Romans, became the capital of the Western Empire, later the capital of the Goths , and finally of the Greek Exarchate.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

.For the next thirteen centuries, whilst new nation-states arose in the lands north of the Alps, the Italian political landscape was a patchwork of feuding city states, petty tyrannies, and foreign invaders.^ Hence the facility of crossing over the Alps from without (France, Germany ), and the corresponding difficulty of the passage from the Italian side, as history has shown by foreign invasions.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ The Alps and the sea, the natural boundaries of Italy, constitute the best frontiers that a nation could desire, while they do not isolate the country from the neighbouring states.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

.For several centuries the armies and Exarchs, Justinian's successors, were a tenacious force in Italian affairs - strong enough to prevent other powers such as the Arabs, the Holy Roman Empire, or the Papacy from establishing a unified Italian Kingdom, but too weak to drive out these "interlopers" and recreate Roman Italy.^ They were subjugated, and then revolted under the Italic League; but Rome triumphed again, and from that time these people furnished the sinew of the Roman armies.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ The Congress of Vienna (1815) restored the ante-revolution situation, save in Venice , which remained subject to Austria , henceforth mistress of northern and central Italy, the rest of Italy being subject to three other powers, the Kingdom of Sardinia (Turin), the papacy , and the Spanish Bourbons of Naples and Sicily .
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ It enters the Italian region at Salurno and receives the Noce River, on the right, and the Avisio on the left, and it passes the boundary between the Kingdom of Italy and the Austrian Empire to the south of Ala.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

Italy was divided for centuries into small city-states.
Italy's regions were eventually subsumed by their neighbouring empires with their conflicting interests and would remain divided up to the 19th century. It was during this vacuum of authority that the region saw the rise of the Signoria and the Comune. In the anarchic conditions that often prevailed in medieval Italian city-states, people looked to strong men to restore order and disarm the feuding elites. .In times of anarchy or crisis, cities sometimes offered the Signoria to individuals perceived as strong enough to save the state, most notably the Della Scala family in Verona, the Visconti in Milan and the Medici in Florence.^ From Venice & Verona , leave Venice Santa Lucia at 15:20 or Verona at 16:32 by Eurostar City train , arriving Milan at 17:55.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

^ Day 1, take an afternoon train to Milan from Venice, Rome, Florence, Verona or anywhere in Italy.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

^ For Venice & Verona , a Eurostar City train leaves Milan at 16:05 arriving Verona at 17:27 & Venice Santa Lucia at 18:40.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

Italy during this period became notable for its merchant Republics. These city-states, oligarchical in reality, had a dominant merchant class which under relative freedom nurtured academic and artistic advancement. .The four classic Maritime Republics in Italy were Venice, Genoa, Pisa and Amalfi.^ Rome Florence Venice Verona Naples Milan Siena Lucca Bologna Pisa Sorrento Genoa Ancona Other Italian towns & cities .
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

^ Under the Romans and in the Middle Ages , under the powerful republics of Amalfi and of Pisa , of Genoa and of Venice , Italy ruled the Mediterranean Sea, which, however, after the discovery of America, ceased to be the centre of European maritime activity.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Florence, Rome, Venice, Milan, Tuscany, Sicily, Sorrento, Amalfi Coast and several other locations in Italy.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

Venice and Genoa were Europe's gateways to trade with the East, with the former producer of the renowned venetian glass. Florence was the capital of silk, wool, banks and jewelry. The Maritime Republics were heavily involved in the Crusades, taking advantage of the new political and trading opportunities, most evidently in the conquest of Zara and Constantinople funded by Venice.
.During the late Middle Ages Italy was divided into smaller city-states and territories: the kingdom of Naples controlled the south, the Republic of Florence and the Papal States the centre, the Genoese and the Milanese the north and west, and the Venetians the east.^ Scotland, north of England, East Anglia ► Italy .
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

^ As regards textile industries, in which Italy is making an effort to regain the primacy that it enjoyed in the glorious Middle Ages , we give in round numbers the following approximate data:— .
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ For the administration of the navy the coasts of the Kingdom of Italy are divided into three maritime departments: Spezia, Naples , and Venice .
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

Renaissance

.The unique political structures of late Middle Ages Italy and its its dynamic social climate and florescent trade allowed the emergence of a unique cultural efflorescence.^ Superior instruction is given in seventeen state universities, which, in the Middle Ages , had been centres of knowledge and culture for all Europe : the Universities of Bologna (1200?
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Industries and manufactures fell from the prosperous condition in which they were in the Middle Ages when Italy was the teacher of other countries.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ As regards textile industries, in which Italy is making an effort to regain the primacy that it enjoyed in the glorious Middle Ages , we give in round numbers the following approximate data:— .
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

.Italy never regained the unity it onde had in the days of the Roman Empire and throughout the Middle Ages was divided into smaller city states and territories: the kingdom of Naples controlled the south, the Republic of Florence and the Papal States the center, the Genoese and the Milanese the north and west, and the Venetians the east.^ They enclose the lofty plain of the Abruzzi that is divided into the Conca Aquilana, to the east, through which flows the River Aterno, and the Conca di Avezzano or of the Fucino, to the west.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ This lake stretches from north to south, the principal streams that flow into it being, at the north, the Ticino and the Maggia; on the west the Toce, and on the east the Tresa, which flows from Lake Lugano, and the Bardello which flows from Lake Varese.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Southern Italy is divided into the following regions: Campania, Apulia, the Basilicata, and Calabria.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

.Fifteenth-century Italy was one of the most urbanised areas in Europe.^ The volcanic group of Naples is the most important one of them all, and the most famous, because it contains the oldest active volcano in Europe , namely Mt.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Italy has an area of 110,646 square miles, of which 91,393 are on the Continent of Europe , and 19,253 on the islands.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Rail Europe: You can book most (but not all) connecting trains within Italy fairly painlessly online at www.raileurope.co.uk , in one transaction along with your other tickets.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

.Most historians agree that the ideas that characterized the Renaissance and their earliest apologists and supporters had their origin in late 13th century Florence or gravitated in or around Florence, as well as the other rival city-states.^ Venice Florence Rome & other cities .
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

^ All the others, as Siena, Perugia , Urbino , and Pesaro , are famous cities that flourished in past centuries; but they have not a brilliant future under present economical conditions.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ This is the most famous of all rivers, because there stands on its banks the city which of all has exercised the greatest influence upon the world, in ancient, as well as in modern, times.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

.The Renaissance achieved its epitome, in particular with the writings of Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) and Francesco Petrarch (1304–1374), Bocaccio, as well as the paintings of great masters starting with Giotto di Bondone (1267–1337).^ It is in this city that the immortal Catholic poet Dante Alighieri died, and where also is preserved his sepulchre.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

The Renaissance was an extremely important period in Italian history, and in European history, and brought along numerous political, philosophical, literary, cultural, social and religious reforms.[40]
Michelangelo's David, a common symbol of the Italian Renaissance (Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence).
The Renaissance was so called because it was a "rebirth" of many classical ideas that had long been buried in the chapters of classical Antiquity. One could argue that the fuel for this rebirth was the rediscovery of ancient texts that had been almost 'forgotten' by Western civilization, but were preserved in some monastic libraries or private libraries of powerful and wealthy patrons (see the Medici). .Some would argue that there were translations of Greek and Arabic texts into Latin from the Islamic world that found their way into Italy and contributed to the Italian/European Renaissance.^ Trenitalia: The cheapest way to buy tickets for any train within Italy is online at the Italian Railways website, www.trenitalia.com .
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

^ The centre of European interests was carried towards the west: the Italian republics fell into decay, and sea power went to the countries on the Atlantic Ocean.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Relatively nearer to our times, there are two orders of the Aryan immigration into Italy: the primitive and the posterior immigrations.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

.However, most of the manuscripts were either already in the Italian Peninsula or in 'Greece' and were taken to Italy in the centuries preceding the Renaissance by the Italians themselves (by the traders who travelled regularly to the Eastern Mediterranean, including Greece) and by Byzantine Greeks who migrated to Italy during the onslaught of the Ottoman empire, against the Byzantine Empire in the 1400s, and specially after 1453, once the Ottomans had conquered the Byzantine capital, Constantinople.^ The synodal life of the peninsula was vigorous ( Hefele , "History of the Councils") in the fourth and fifth centuries, particularly at Rome , and the relations with Constantinople were close and often friendly, a situation that was sadly affected by the momentous Acacian schism that divided Constantinople and Rome for thirty-five years (484-519) and inaugurated, though remotely, the final separation of Italy from the Eastern Empire.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ After a century of destructive assaults on various parts of the empire, including the capture of Rome (408) by Alaric, King of the Goths , the Roman imperial authority collapsed in Italy, where Odoacer, King of the Heruli, ruled the peninsula (476-93) until overthrown by Theodoric , King of the Ostrogoths (493-526).
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Romans, became the capital of the Western Empire, later the capital of the Goths , and finally of the Greek Exarchate.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

.These Byzantines fled the Turks, sometimes carrying precious manuscripts and their knowledge (Greek and Ancient Greek) and while fixating themselves in Italy made a discreet but crucial contribution to the Renaissance.^ At the same time the Greeks brought the Byzantine style to Italy (San Vitale in Ravenna , 537, and San Marco in Venice , 876).
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

Renaissance scholars such as Niccolò de' Niccoli and Poggio Bracciolini scoured the libraries in search of works by such classical authors as Plato, Cicero and Vitruvius. The works of ancient Greek and Hellenistic writers (such as Plato, Aristotle, Euclid, and Ptolemy) and Muslim scientists were diffused in the Christian world, providing new intellectual material for European scholars.
.The Black Death pandemic in 1348 left its mark on Italy by killing one third of the population.^ Lowland plains are, on the contrary, the dominant characteristic of Northern Italy; plains, in fact, occupy about one-third of the surface of the country.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

[41][42] .However, the recovery from the disaster of the Black Death led to a resurgence of cities, trade and economy which greatly stimulated the successive phase of the Humanism and Renaissance (15th-16th centuries) when Italy again returned to be the center of Western civilization, strongly influencing the other European countries with Courts like Este in Ferrara and De Medici in Florence.^ Contrary to the functions of the other High Courts of Appeal, which are established respectively at Turin , Florence , Naples , and Palermo, that of Rome is final in criminal, in revenue, and in ecclesiastical matters.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Nevertheless private enterprise has not been abated in the development of the merchant marine, although it be true that it has not attained the favourable results that have crowned like efforts in other countries.
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^ Great Rail Journeys also offer holidays by train to other European countries.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

.Florence became Italy's main centre of the Renaissance.^ The train arrives at Florence's main SMN (Santa Maria Novella) station right in the city centre.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

.Numerous artists, such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli[43] worked in the city.^ Here it is enough to mention the three great names of Leonardo da Vinci (1425-1519), Michelangelo Buonarroti (1474-1564), and of Raphael Sanzio (1483-1520), which have made that age immortal.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

Its economy flourished, and according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Florence from the 14th century to the 16th century was one of Europe's greatest cities, and its numerous museums, palazzi and churches, such as the Pitti Palace and the Uffizi have been described by the encyclopedia as works of art themselves.[44]
Rome was also a city particularly affected by the Renaissance. This period of reform changed the city's face dramatically, with works like the Pietà by Michelangelo and the frescoes of the Borgia Apartment. Rome reached the highest point of splendour under Pope Julius II (1503–1513) and his successors Leo X and Clement VII, both members of the Medici family. .In this twenty-years period Rome became one of the greatest centres of art in the world.^ Imprisonment for life has taken the place of the death sentence, and periods of imprisonment for various offences vary from three days to twenty-three years, with or without hard labour according to the nature of the offence.
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^ The contract period is limited to twenty years, the present contracts coming to an end on 30 June, 1910.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

The old St. Peter's Basilica built by Emperor Constantine the Great, was re-built mainly by Michelangelo,[45] who in Rome became one the most famous painters of Italy creating frescos in the Cappella Niccolina, the Villa Farnesina, the Raphael's Rooms, plus many other famous paintings. .Michelangelo started the decoration of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and executed the famous statue of the Moses for the tomb of Julius.^ From the Colosseum to the Sistine Chapel, where Michaelangelo's ceiling paintings float above visitors, Rome's treasures are a part of many Italy tour packages.
  • Italy Tours, Italy Tour Packages, Italian Tours, Italy Travel, Travel Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.tourvacationstogo.com [Source type: General]

Rome lost in part its religious character, becoming increasingly a true Renaissance city, with a great number of popular feasts, horse races, parties, intrigues and licentious episodes. Its economy was rich, with the presence of several Tuscan bankers, including Agostino Chigi, who was a friend of Raphael and a patron of arts. .Before his early death, Raphael also promoted for the first time the preservation of the ancient ruins.^ The Garigliano River in the first part of its course is called the Lin ( Liris ), but, after receiving the Rapido, it takes the name of Garigliano, because the Rapido in its lower part preserves its ancient name of Gari.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

Foreign domination and Enlightenment (16th–19th centuries)

A map depicting Western Europe's borders after the Treaties of Utrecht and Rastatt.
During the 18th century, Italy was one of the main centres of the Grand Tour, when many foreign aristocrats came to appreciate Italian culture and art.
.After a century where the fragmented system of Italian states and principalities were able to maintain a relative independence and a balance of power in the peninsula, in 1494 the French king Charles VIII opened the first of a series of invasions, lasting half of the sixteenth century, and a competition between France and Spain for the possession of the country.^ For a while the well-known "five states" of Italy (Milan, Venice , Florence , Naples , Rome ) represented the political order, but from the end of the fifteenth and the first half of the sixteenth century Spain and the pope divided the mastery of the peninsula until early in the eighteenth century.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ In ancient times, as at present, Apulia was the station between the East and the West; it was in the possession of the Greeks until the tenth century, when the Normans conquered it and established there the countship of Apulia, their first possession.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Near Borgotaro, on the Taro River, where it receives the Ceno, is Fornovo, where Charles VIII of France defeated the Italian Confederation in 1495.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

.Ultimately Spain prevailed (the Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis in 1559 recognised the Spanish possession of the Duchy of Milan and the Kingdom of Naples) and for almost two centuries became the hegemon in Italy.^ By the Treaty of Utrecht (1713-14) Austria succeeded Spain in Northern Italy (Mantua, Milan ) and later (1737) obtained the Grand Duchy of Tuscany .
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ The heavy and contorted manner of building which prevailed in the seventeenth century gave way to a lighter but peculiar style marked by ornamentation; it was brought to Italy from France .
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ In 1860 the Duchies of Modena and Parma , the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Romagnas (12 March), the Marches and Umbria (5 November), Naples and Sicily (21 October), were incorporated with Piedmont , and on 17 March, 1861, the Parliament at Turin proclaimed the Kingdom of Italy.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

.The holy alliance between Habsburg Spain and the Holy See resulted in the systematic persecution of any Protestant movement, with the result that Italy remained a Catholic country with marginal Protestant presence.^ The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries offer a rather sad spectacle in the various politico-ecclesiastical conflicts of Catholic states with the Holy See , in large measure, however indirectly, a result of the Thirty Years War (1618-48), e.g.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Wherefore northern and central Italy are connected by five railroads which, together with the common roads, constitute the unifying system between these two divisions of the country.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

During its long rule on Italy, the Spanish Empire systematically spoiled the country and imposed heavy taxation. It interfered and held a tight grip over the affairs of the Vatican. Moreover, Spanish administration was slow and inefficient, and its social consequences in the long term, in Southern Italy, where Spanish rule was effective, have lasted till the current age.
.Austria succeeded Spain as hegemon in Italy after the Peace of Utrecht (1713), having acquired the State of Milan and the Kingdom of Naples.^ By the Treaty of Utrecht (1713-14) Austria succeeded Spain in Northern Italy (Mantua, Milan ) and later (1737) obtained the Grand Duchy of Tuscany .
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ For a while the well-known "five states" of Italy (Milan, Venice , Florence , Naples , Rome ) represented the political order, but from the end of the fifteenth and the first half of the sixteenth century Spain and the pope divided the mastery of the peninsula until early in the eighteenth century.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ For the administration of the navy the coasts of the Kingdom of Italy are divided into three maritime departments: Spezia, Naples , and Venice .
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

The Austrian domination, thanks to the Enlightenment embraced by Habsburgic emperors, somewhat improved the situation. The northern part of Italy, under the direct control of Vienna, gained economic dynamism and intellectual fervour. .The main Italian cities, such as Milan, Rome, Turin, Venice, Florence and Naples became fertile grounds for intellectual discussion and thought, and several Italian philosophers and literary figures were active at the time, such as the Milanese Cesare, Marquis of Beccaria-Bonesana, better known as Cesare Beccaria, or Antonio Genovesi.^ Venice Florence Rome & other cities .
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

^ At Italian stations such as Florence, Rome, Verona, Venice, Milan, Bologna & Padua, sleeper passengers may use the 'Club Eurostar' first class lounges, with newspapers, magazines, internet access & complimentary non-alcoholic drinks.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

^ From Venice & Verona , the 18:20 departure from Venice Santa Lucia or 19:32 departure from Verona, change in Milan, arrives Turin Porta Nuova at 23:10.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

.Leopold I, Grand Duke of Tuscany or also known as Leopold II of the Holy Roman Empire, abolished the death penalty in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, a leap forward in the modernisation of Italy at the time.^ By the Treaty of Utrecht (1713-14) Austria succeeded Spain in Northern Italy (Mantua, Milan ) and later (1737) obtained the Grand Duchy of Tuscany .
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ In 1860 the Duchies of Modena and Parma , the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Romagnas (12 March), the Marches and Umbria (5 November), Naples and Sicily (21 October), were incorporated with Piedmont , and on 17 March, 1861, the Parliament at Turin proclaimed the Kingdom of Italy.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ The Roman conquests spread popular Latin, first, over Italy, and then over the known world; it was at first slowly altered by the linguistic habits of the various countries, and then, more rapidly, through the decay of the Roman Empire and through distance from Rome .
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

Italy in the 1700s was an important stop in the European Grand Tour, a period in which foreign, mostly British, aristocrats toured France, Italy and Greece to appreciate their arts and cultures, and their monuments. .With the discovery of the classical ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 1748, and the restoration of the derelict parts of the surviving ancient monuments in Rome, figures such as Goethe, Shelley, Keats and Byron toured the country.^ That ancient volcano rises between the destroyed cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, at about six miles from Naples .
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Ostia, founded by Ancus Marcius, was the ancient port of Rome , but now its ruins are totally buried and at a distance of one and a half miles from the sea.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

.Cities such as Venice, Florence, Rome and Naples were the major attractions, and Sicily was popular too.^ Venice Florence Rome & other cities .
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

^ Tours include a 14-day Grand Tour of Italy to Florence, Venice & Rome from 2,250, a tour to the Bay of Naples, Capri & Amalfi from 1,895, and to Lake Garda from 1,095, all with travel from London to Italy and back by train.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

^ Change there for high-speed trains to Florence, Venice, Rome or Naples, arriving early evening.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

Keats famously said that "Italy is the paradise of exiles".[46]
.The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars (1796–1815) stirred the ideas of equality, democracy, law and nation which many in Italy endorsed and even supported as the basis on which they could and eventually would build national unity in Italy.^ This statute which was extended to the various parts of Italy, as they were annexed by the Piedmontese realm, is similar to the French Constitution of 1830; according to it, sovereignty is divided between the king and the nation, the latter electing its representatives by popular suffrage.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Peninsular Italy has no lack of good positions for defence, but they are of little value if the army be not supported by a powerful fleet.
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^ The industries are few, but they are being developed gradually by means of fiscal assistance, for which provision is made by the recent law that was promulgated in behalf of Southern Italy.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

.This unity, or creation of modern Italy was yet to come in the second half of the nineteenth century (see Risorgimento and Italian Unification).^ Trenitalia: You can buy tickets for any train within Italy online at the Italian Railways website, www.trenitalia.com , but first see my advice on using the Trenitalia website .
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

The plague repeatedly returned to haunt Italy throughout the 14th to 17th centuries.[47] Italy's last major epidemic occurred in 1656 in Naples.[48] .Italy’s population between 1700 and 1800 rose by about one-third, to 18 million.^ Lowland plains are, on the contrary, the dominant characteristic of Northern Italy; plains, in fact, occupy about one-third of the surface of the country.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Its principal affluent is the Tanagro, which disappears into the ground at Polla and appears again about one-third of a mile farther down the valley.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

[49]

Italian unification (1816-1861) and Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)

The creation of the Kingdom of Italy was the result of efforts by Italian nationalists and monarchists loyal to the House of Savoy to establish a united kingdom encompassing the entire Italian Peninsula. In the context of the 1848 liberal revolutions that swept through Europe, an unsuccessful war was declared on Austria.
.Giuseppe Garibaldi, popular amongst southern Italians, led the Italian republican drive for unification in southern Italy,[50] while the northern Italian monarchy of the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia whose government was led by Camillo Benso, conte di Cavour, had the ambition of establishing a united Italian state under its rule.^ The unification of Italy was essentially an act of the Piedmontese Government; otherwise Cavour himself and Massimo d'Azeglio would not have said that once Italy was created it remained to create Italians, nor would there be still, after fifty years of legal unity, that latent germ of regionalism which occasionally asserts itself more or less vigorously.
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^ In the formation of the new kingdom, says Minghetti, the revolution was the impelling force, not abandoned, however, to the hands of conspirators unorganized and without authority, but directed by the government of Piedmont , especially by Baron Cavour, who used it in the interest of Piedmontese supremacy, while he appealed to the sentiments of independence and of Italianism very strong in the people of northern Italy.
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^ From 1 July, 1906, to 30 June, 1907, there emigrated to the United States 285,731 Italians, nearly 43 per cent of the total of emigration .
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.The kingdom successfully challenged the Austrian Empire in the Second Italian War of Independence with the help of Napoleon III, liberating the Lombardy-Venetia.^ Ten years later, however, Piedmont made an alliance with France , the second war of independence was declared, and Austria having been defeated at Solferino, 20 July, 1859, by the Franco-Sardinian allies, Lombardy was annexed to Piedmont .
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^ The Italian territories subject to foreign powers were: Corsica , belonging to France ; the group of Malta , belonging to England ; the Canton Ticino, belonging to Switzerland ; Lombardy , Venice , Trent , Triest , and Istria , belonging to the Austrian Empire .
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ In 1848 Piedmont went to war with Austria for Italian independence, but was defeated at Novara in 1849.
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It established Turin as capital of the newly formed state. In 1865 the capital was moved to Florence.
In 1866, Victor Emmanuel II aligned the kingdom with Prussia during the Austro-Prussian War, waging the Third Italian War of Independence which allowed Italy to annex Venice. .In 1870, as France during the disastrous Franco-Prussian War abandoned its positions in Rome, Italy rushed to fill the power gap by taking over the Papal State from French sovereignty.^ Peninsular Italy has no lack of good positions for defence, but they are of little value if the army be not supported by a powerful fleet.
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^ Day 1, take an afternoon train to Milan from Venice, Rome, Florence, Verona or anywhere in Italy.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

^ Concerning the temporal power of the popes and events culminating in the seizure of Rome in 1870 see the article PAPAL STATES .
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.Italian unification finally was achieved, and shortly afterwards Italy's capital was moved from Florence to Rome.^ Next morning, Italian high-speed trains take just 2 hours from Milan to Florence, 2 hours to Venice or 3 hours to Rome.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

^ Day 1, take an afternoon train to Milan from Venice, Rome, Florence, Verona or anywhere in Italy.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

^ Day 3, change in Milan for a morning Italian domestic train to Florence, Rome, Verona or Venice.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

Whilst keeping the monarchy, the government became a parliamentary system, run by liberals.
As Northern Italy became industrialized and modernized, Southern Italy and agricultural regions of the north remained under-developed and stagnant, forcing millions of people to migrate to the emerging Industrial Triangle or abroad. .The Sardinian Statuto Albertino of 1848, extended to the whole Kingdom of Italy in 1861, provided for basic freedoms, but the electoral laws excluded the non-propertied and uneducated classes from voting.^ The Kingdom of Italy took the form of a constitutional monarchy, hereditary in the male line of the House of Savoy, according to the Salic law, and conformably to the Fundamental Statute that was promulgated by King Charles Albert on 4 March, 1848, for the Sardinian states.
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In 1913, male universal suffrage was adopted. The Italian Socialist Party increased in strength, challenging the traditional liberal and conservative organisations. .The high point of Italian emigration was 1913, when 872,598 persons left Italy.^ In all, there are nearly 770,000 persons in Italy who speak languages other than Italian.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

[51]
.Starting from the last two decades of the nineteenth century, Italy developed into a colonial power by forcing Somalia, Eritrea and later Libya and the Dodecanese under its rule.^ The direct possessions of Italy are the colonies of Eritrea and Italian Somalia (Benadir).
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^ Ticino and the Maroggia Rivers, was the seat of a powerful Longobard duchy, and afterwards the residence of the Frankish dukes, of whom the last two, Guido and his son Lambert, were Kings of Italy.
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^ Under the Romans and in the Middle Ages , under the powerful republics of Amalfi and of Pisa , of Genoa and of Venice , Italy ruled the Mediterranean Sea, which, however, after the discovery of America, ceased to be the centre of European maritime activity.
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[52] .During World War I, Italy at first stayed neutral but in 1915 signed the Treaty of London, entering Entente on the promise of receiving Trento, Trieste, Istria, Dalmatia and parts of Ottoman Empire.^ The Paris-Italy overnight trains enter and then leave Switzerland during the night, if that makes any difference to you visa-wise.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

^ The Roman conquests spread popular Latin, first, over Italy, and then over the known world; it was at first slowly altered by the linguistic habits of the various countries, and then, more rapidly, through the decay of the Roman Empire and through distance from Rome .
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During the war, 600,000 Italians died, and the economy collapsed. Under the Peace Treaty of Saint-Germain, Italy obtained just Bolzano-Bozen, Trento, Trieste and Istria in a victory described as "mutilated" by the public.
Fascist stamp promoting a colonial art exhibition, 1934.
The turbulence that followed the devastation of World War I, inspired by the Russian Revolution, led to turmoil and anarchy. The liberal establishment, fearing a socialist revolution, started to endorse the small National Fascist Party, led by Benito Mussolini. In October 1922 the fascists attempted a coup (the Marcia su Roma, "March on Rome"), but the king ordered the army not to intervene, instead forming an alliance with Mussolini. Over the next few years, Mussolini banned all political parties and curtailed personal liberties, thus forming a dictatorship.
In 1935, Mussolini subjugated Ethiopia after a surprisingly lengthy campaign. This resulted in international alienation and the exodus of the country from the League of Nations. A first pact with Nazi Germany was concluded in 1936, and a second in 1938. Italy strongly supported Franco in the Spanish civil war. The country was opposed to Adolf Hitler's annexations of Austria, but did not interfere with it. Italy supported Germany's annexation of Sudetenland, however[citation needed].
.On 7 April 1939 Italy occupied Albania, a de facto protectorate for decades, and entered World War II in 1940, taking part in the late stages of the Battle of France.^ It should be noted, as history shows, that the determining events of war in Italy always take place — or thus far have done so — on the Continental portion of the territory.
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Mussolini, wanting a quick victory like Hitler's Blitzkriegs in Poland and France, invaded Greece in October 1940 via Albania but was forced to accept a humiliating defeat after a few months. At the same time, Italy, after initially conquering British Somalia, saw an allied counter-attack lead to the loss of all possessions in the Horn of Africa. Italy was also defeated by British forces in North Africa and was only saved by the urgently dispatched German Africa Corps led by Erwin Rommel.
Italy was invaded by the Allies in June 1943, leading to the collapse of the fascist regime and the arrest of Mussolini. In September 1943, Italy surrendered. The country remained a battlefield for the rest of the war, as the allies were moving up from the south as the north was the base for loyalist Italian fascist and German Nazi forces. .The whole picture became more complex by the activity of the Italian partisans; see Italian resistance movement.^ See the guide to on-board accommodation at the bottom of this page for pictures and more information.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

^ See the guide to on-board accommodation at the bottom of this page for pictures of each type of couchette and sleeper and more information about this train.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

The Nazis left the country on 25 April 1945 and the remaining Italian fascist forces eventually disbanded. .Nearly half a million Italians (including civilians) died between June 1940 and May 1945. An estimated 200,000 partisans took part in the Resistance, and German or fascist forces killed some 70,000 Italians (including both partisans and civilians) for Resistance activities.^ Among industrial plants hemp and flax hold an important place in Italian agriculture, there being a yearly product of nearly 80,000 tons of the former and of nearly 20,000 tons of the latter, furnished in greater part by Lombardy .
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^ From 1 July, 1906, to 30 June, 1907, there emigrated to the United States 285,731 Italians, nearly 43 per cent of the total of emigration .
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^ This sea lies between the Italian and the Balkan Peninsulas, with an area of 51,000 sq.
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[53] At least 54,000 Italian prisoners of war died in the Soviet Union.

The Italian Republic (1946–)

Partisans parading in Milan after the liberation of the city in 1945.
In 1946, Vittorio Emanuele III's son, Umberto II, was forced to abdicate. 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 in Italy that Italian women were entitled to vote.^ Trenitalia: You can buy tickets for any train within Italy online at the Italian Railways website, www.trenitalia.com , but first see my advice on using the Trenitalia website .
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

[54] .The Republican Constitution was approved and came into force on 1 January 1948. Under the Paris Peace Treaties of 1947, the eastern border area was lost to Yugoslavia, and, later, the free territory of Trieste was divided between the two states.^ The tours below are divided into two groups.
  • Italy Tours, Italy Tour Packages, Italian Tours, Italy Travel, Travel Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.tourvacationstogo.com [Source type: General]

Fears in the Italian electorate of a possible Communist takeover proved crucial for the first universal suffrage electoral outcome on the 18th of April 1948 when the Christian Democrats, under the leadership of Alcide De Gasperi, won the election with 48 percent of the vote. In the 1950s Italy became a member of NATO and allied itself with the United States. The Marshall Plan helped revive the Italian economy which, until the 1960s, enjoyed a period of sustained economic growth commonly called the "Economic Miracle". In 1957, Italy was a founder member of the European Economic Community (EEC), which became the European Union (EU) in 1993.
From the late 1960s till late 1980s the country experienced a hard economic crisis and the Years of Lead, a period characterized by widespread social conflicts and terrorist acts carried out by extra-parliamentary movements. The Years of Lead culminated in the assassination of the Christian Democrat leader Aldo Moro in 1978, bringing to an end the "Historic Compromise" between the DC and the Communist Party. In the 1980s, for the first time since 1945, two governments were led by non-Christian-Democrat premiers: a republican (Giovanni Spadolini) and a socialist (Bettino Craxi); the Christian Democrats remained, however, the main force supporting the government. The Socialist Party (PSI), led by Bettino Craxi, became more and more critical of the Communists and of the Soviet Union; Craxi himself pushed in favour of US president Ronald Reagan's positioning of Pershing missiles in Italy, a move the Communists hotly contested.
The 1957 Treaties of Rome signing ceremony.
From 1992 to 2009, Italy faced significant challenges, as voters, disenchanted with past political paralysis, massive government debt and extensive corruption (collectively called Tangentopoli after being uncovered by Mani pulite – "Clean hands"), demanded political, economic, and ethical reforms. .The scandals involved all major parties, but especially those in the government coalition: between 1992 and 1994 the Christian Democrats underwent a severe crisis and was dissolved, splitting up into several pieces, while the Socialists and the other governing minor parties also dissolved.^ The other rivers, the Dragogna, the Quieto, the Lerne, which rises under the name of Foiba, all develop fords at their mouths, and the Foiba disappears and reappears several times; the Arsa empties into the Gulf of Quarnero.
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The 1994 elections put media magnate Silvio Berlusconi into the Prime Minister's seat. However, he was forced to step down in December of that year when the Lega Nord Party withdrew its support. In April 1996, national elections led to the victory of a centre-left coalition under the leadership of Romano Prodi. Prodi's first government became the third-longest to stay in power before he narrowly lost a vote of confidence, by three votes, in October 1998. A new government was formed by Massimo D'Alema, but in April 2000 he resigned.
.In 2001, national elections led to the victory of a centre-right coalition under the leadership of Silvio Berlusconi, who became prime minister once again.^ Pius X modified this measure (1905), and has permitted, under given circumstances, the participation of Catholics in the national elections.
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^ Under this head comes a special supervision over aqueducts, the sewage system, and the right of the Minister of the Interior to prevent or to suppress evils regarded as causes of contagious disease.
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Mr. Berlusconi was able to remain in power for a complete five-year mandate, but with two different governments. The first one (2001–2005) became the longest-lived government in post-war Italy. Under that government, Italy joined the US-led military coalition in Iraq. The elections in 2006 were won by the centre-left, allowing Prodi to form his second government, but in early 2008 he resigned after losing a confidence vote in Parliament. Mr. Berlusconi won the ensuing elections in April 2008 to form a government for a third time.

Geography

Topography

Satellite image of Italy.
The Italian Alps.
.Italy is located in Southern Europe and comprises the long, boot-shaped Italian Peninsula, and a number of islands including the two largest, Sicily (9,926 sq mi/25,708 km2) and Sardinia (9,301 sq mi/24,089 km2).^ Southern Italy & Sicily 2010 .
  • Italy Tours, Italy Tour Packages, Italian Tours, Italy Travel, Travel Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.tourvacationstogo.com [Source type: General]

^ Italy has the characteristic shape of a riding boot, of which the top is represented by the Alps, the seam by the Apennines, and the toe, the heel, and the spur, respectively, by the peninsulas of Calabria, Salento, and Gargano.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ The regions that furnished the largest numbers to the total emigration in 1906 were Piedmont , Venice , the Marches, the Abruzzi, Campania, the Basilicata, Calabria, and Sicily .
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The country's total area is 301,230 km², of which 294,020 km² is land and 7,210 km² is water.
.Including the islands, Italy has a coastline and border of 7,600 km on the Adriatic, Ionian, Tyrrhenian seas (740 km), and borders shared with France (488 km), Austria (430 km), Slovenia (232 km) and Switzerland; San Marino (39 km) and Vatican City (3.2 km), both enclaves, account for the remainder.^ Of the three great peninsulas of Southern Europe , Italy is that whose adjoining seas penetrate deepest into the European Continent, while its frontiers border on the greatest number of other states (France, Switzerland , Austria ) and are in contact with a greater number of races: French, German, Slav .
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^ Its boundaries are the Ofanto River and its affluent the Locone, the Sella di Spinazzola, the Basentiello River, the Bradano, and the coasts of the Ionian and the Adriatic Seas.
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^ In any case, temporary emigration occurs more frequently from the provinces of Venice , Lombardy , and Piedmont , and is directed more especially towards France , Switzerland , Austria , and the Balkans.
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.The Apennine Mountains form the peninsula's backbone, the Alps form its northern boundary.^ Italy has the characteristic shape of a riding boot, of which the top is represented by the Alps, the seam by the Apennines, and the toe, the heel, and the spur, respectively, by the peninsulas of Calabria, Salento, and Gargano.
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^ This range is not formed of a single, well-defined chain, as is the case in the Northern Apennines, but, of three parallel ranges, in echelon, that gradually approach the Adriatic Sea towards the south.
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^ The mountains of Calabria, by their crystalline and granite nature, by their alpine appearance and by difference of direction, form a system that is independent of the Apennines.
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.The Po, Italy's longest river, flows from the Alps on the western border with France and crosses the Padan plain on its way to the Adriatic Sea.^ The rivers of Continental Italy empty into the Adriatic and the Ligurian Seas.
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^ The Adriatic watershed being bounded by the Alps and by the Apennines, it follows that the rivers flowing from the latter mountains are shorter than those coming from the Alps, and as they do not receive the drainage of the glaciers, but only that of the snow and of the rains, they have the nature of torrents, rather than that of rivers.
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^ Its boundaries are the Ofanto River and its affluent the Locone, the Sella di Spinazzola, the Basentiello River, the Bradano, and the coasts of the Ionian and the Adriatic Seas.
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The five largest lakes are, in order of diminishing size[55]:

Volcanism

Lake Garda, the biggest lake in the country.
The country is situated at the meeting point of the Eurasian Plate and the African Plate, leading to considerable sismic and volcanic activity. .There are 14 volcanoes in Italy, three of which are active, Etna, Stromboli and Vesuvius, the latter being the only active volcano in mainland Europe and most famous for the destruction of Pompeii and Herculanum.^ The volcanic group of Naples is the most important one of them all, and the most famous, because it contains the oldest active volcano in Europe , namely Mt.
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^ Lastly there are the mephitic springs that produce carbonic acid, the most famous of them being the so-called Grotta del Cane, near the Lake of Aguano, which is an ancient, extinct crater, near Naples.
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^ This is the most famous of all rivers, because there stands on its banks the city which of all has exercised the greatest influence upon the world, in ancient, as well as in modern, times.
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.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.^ On the coast is the region of Campi Flegrei, formed of small, extinct volcanoes; then the active volcano Mt.
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^ The Campi Flegrei to the west of Naples occupy a surface of nearly 60 sq.
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^ Roccamonfina is almost entirely covered by extinct volcanoes: the San Vincenzo hills, to the north of Campiglia, and the Sassofondino hills, to the west of Roccastrada, are of volcanic nature, as is also the great cone of Mt.
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Climate

The climate of Italy is highly diverse and can be far from the stereotypical Mediterranean climate, depending on location. .Most of the inland northern regions of Italy, for example Piedmont, Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna, have a continental climate often classified as humid subtropical (Köppen climate classification Cfa).^ Northern Italy is divided into the following regions, Piedmont , Lombardy , Venice , Emilia, and Liguria, which are politically subdivided into provinces.
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^ Piedmont , Lombardy , Tuscany , Venice , and the historic towns within those regions will also be found the subject of separate articles.
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^ The rivers of Continental Italy that empty into the Adriatic Sea are divided into four groups: (a) the Po and its tributaries; (b) the Venetian rivers; (c) the rivers of the Romagna, and (d) the rivers of Istria, grouped on account of their special characteristics.
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The coastal areas of Liguria and most of the peninsula south of Florence generally fit the Mediterranean 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.^ The water-courses of the Ligunian slope are rapid torrents, dry in summer, while in autumn and in winter they carry enormous volumes of water.
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Nature

The Praemuricea clavata.
.Italy is one of the richest countries in Europe and in the Mediterranean basin in terms of species biodiversity.^ Lowland plains are, on the contrary, the dominant characteristic of Northern Italy; plains, in fact, occupy about one-third of the surface of the country.
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^ Italy was once the classic land of agriculture; but, in our day, notwithstanding a reawakening that foretells better times, it is one of the countries in which agriculture is most backward.
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^ EMIGRATION TO EUROPE AND TO MEDITERRANEAN COUNTRIES .
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The Italian flora is the richest in Europe.[citation needed] Traditionally it was estimated to comprise about 5,500 vascular plant species. However, as of 2004, 6,759 species are recorded in the Data bank of Italian vascular flora.[56] (9,000 plant species if non-vascular species are included, half Europe’s total). .The nation has one of the highest levels of faunal biodiversity in Europe with over 57,000 species recorded (more than a third of all European fauna).^ Sociology cannot overlook the alarming increase in the number of the still-born which is found especially in the cities of more than 100,000 inhabitants.
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^ Venice ; and the military expenses were reduced from $116,000,000 to little more than $37,000,000.
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^ From the establishment of the kingdom to the last named fiscal year, the State has paid more than $5,000,000,000 in interest on debts .
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.This is due to Italy’s Southerly geographical position, surrounded by the Mediterranean and Aegean seas.^ As a whole, Italy has a good climate, due to the Alpine wall that screens it from the northern wind and to the sea that surrounds it on three sides.
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There are 8,000 km of coastline and the peninsula is in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, forming a corridor between central Europe and North Africa. Italy also receives species from the Balkans, Eurasia and the Middle East.
86% of the Italian fauna is land-based, 14% is aquatic. .Insects represent about two thirds of all of Italy’s fauna.^ Save 6% : You can save about 6% on all these Paris-Italy fares by paying in euros at voyages-sncf.com, as opposed to paying in pounds with UK agencies or websites.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

Government and politics

President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano.
.The politics of Italy take place in a framework of a parliamentary, democratic republic, and of a multi-party system.^ It should be noted, as history shows, that the determining events of war in Italy always take place — or thus far have done so — on the Continental portion of the territory.
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.Executive power is exercised collectively by the Council of Ministers, which is led by a President (Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri), informally referred to as "premier" or primo ministro (that is, "prime minister").^ The minister who is the head of the cabinet, called also president of the council, represents the unity of action of the Government, in contraposition to the diversity of functions among the different ministers.
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^ In the province, which is regarded as the local arm of governmental administration, the State exercises its functions through a prefect, who represents the central executive power and is assisted by a prefectoral council and an office of his own.
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^ The king, as the head of the executive power has the assistance of ministers who are responsible to Parliament; they constitute the cabinet, and are responsible collectively for the official acts of each.
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.Legislative power is vested in the two houses of Parliament primarily, and secondarily in the Council of Ministers.^ The legislative power is exercised by the king and Parliament, which consists of the Senate and of the Chamber of Deputies.
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The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislative. .Italy has been a democratic republic since 2 June 1946, when the monarchy was abolished by popular referendum (see "birth of the Italian Republic").^ Trenitalia: You can buy tickets for any train within Italy online at the Italian Railways website, www.trenitalia.com , but first see my advice on using the Trenitalia website .
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

The constitution was promulgated on 1 January 1948.
Giorgio Napolitano is the President of the Italian Republic, whilst Silvio Berlusconi is the nation's Prime Minister (President of the Council of Ministers).
The President of the Italian Republic (Presidente della Repubblica) is elected for seven years by the parliament sitting jointly with a small number of regional delegates. As the head of state, the President of the Republic represents the unity of the nation and has many of the duties previously given to the King of Italy. .The president serves as a point of connection between the three branches of power: he is elected by the lawmakers, he appoints the executive, he is the president of the judiciary and he is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.^ In the not remote possibility of conflict between the judicial and the executive powers, the Court of Cassation of Rome , which is the supreme organ of the judicial branch of government, has the deciding power.
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The Quirinal Palace, which is the official residence of the President of the Italian Republic.
The president nominates the Prime Minister, who proposes the other ministers (formally named by the president). The Council of Ministers must obtain a confidence vote from both houses of Parliament. .Legislative bills may originate in either house and must be passed by a majority in both.^ Legislative bills may originate in either house and must be passed by a majority in both.
  • ITALY - Ferry Tickets, Travel and Country Information 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.ferryto.co.uk [Source type: General]

^ In the elections of May 2001, Berlusconi's coalition won an absolute majority in both chambers of parliament, and he was sworn in as prime minister the following month.
  • ITALY 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.history.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The members of the legislative council have deliberative voices on the projects proposed by the president, which cannot be passed but by an absolute majority of votes.
  • Alien and Sedition Acts of the United States 1798. 25 September 2009 1:38 UTC www.napoleon-series.org [Source type: Original source]

.Italy elects a parliament consisting of two houses, the Chamber of Deputies (Camera dei Deputati), which has 630 members and the Senate of the Republic (Senato della Repubblica), comprising 315 elected members and a small number of senators for life).^ The legislative power is exercised by the king and Parliament, which consists of the Senate and of the Chamber of Deputies.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ With the exception of the right of initiative, which is common to all, these three governmental entities have each special functions: it is the province of the king to convoke both houses of Parliament, to close the sessions, to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies, to sanction and promulgate the laws.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ The Senate consists of members, partly hereditary (the princes of the blood), and partly appointed by the king for life, and without a definite limitation in their number, the age of forty years being a requisite for appointment.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

Legislation may originate in either house and must be passed in identical form by a majority in each. The houses of parliament are popularly and directly elected through a complex electoral system (latest amendment in 2005) which combines proportional representation with a majority prize for the largest coalition. .All Italian citizens 18 years of age and older can vote.^ All citizens who have attained the age of thirty years and who enjoy political and civil rights are eligible to office.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

However, to vote for the Senate, the voter must be 25 or older.
The electoral system for the Senate is based upon regional representation. As of 15 May 2006 there are seven life senators (of which three are former Presidents). .Both houses are elected for a maximum of five years, but both may be dissolved by the President before the expiration of their normal term if the Parliament is unable to elect a stable government.^ Article 60 [Term] (1) The house of representatives and the senate are elected for five years.
  • ICL - Italy - Constitution 25 September 2009 1:38 UTC www.servat.unibe.ch [Source type: Original source]

^ Each commune is governed by a communal council elected for a 4-year term by universal suffrage.
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^ The president may send messages to parliament.
  • ICL - Italy - Constitution 25 September 2009 1:38 UTC www.servat.unibe.ch [Source type: Original source]

In post-war history, this has happened in 1972, 1976, 1979, 1983, 1994, 1996, and 2008.
A peculiarity of the Italian Parliament is the representation given to Italian citizens permanently living abroad (about 2.7 million people). Among the 630 Deputies and the 315 Senators there are respectively 12 and 6 elected in four distinct overseas constituencies. Those members of Parliament were elected for the first time in April 2006, and they have the same rights as members elected in Italy.

Law

.The Italian judicial system is based on Roman law modified by the Napoleonic code and later statutes.^ The dialects that properly belong to the Italian system are the Tuscan , which is the typical and the literary language of the Italians, the Venetian , Corsican , Sicilian and Neapolitan , the Umbro-Roman, and the Marchisan.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ This code, which is based upon Roman law, is the only civil law of the land; and it needs some reformation to make it more consonant with new economical and social needs.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ By two ordinances of Louis XIV (1673, 1681) the commercial law was codified and from this the Napoleonic Code was partly taken (1808).
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

.The Supreme Court of Cassation is the court of last resort for most disputes.^ In the not remote possibility of conflict between the judicial and the executive powers, the Court of Cassation of Rome , which is the supreme organ of the judicial branch of government, has the deciding power.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

.The Constitutional Court of Italy (Corte Costituzionale) rules on the conformity of laws with the Constitution and is a post-World War II innovation.^ As regards the acts of the executive power, these, to be valid before the courts, must be conformable to the laws.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ The Kingdom of Italy took the form of a constitutional monarchy, hereditary in the male line of the House of Savoy, according to the Salic law, and conformably to the Fundamental Statute that was promulgated by King Charles Albert on 4 March, 1848, for the Sardinian states.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

Foreign relations

US President Barack Obama meets with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
Italy was a founding member of the European Community—now the European Union (EU). .Italy was admitted to the United Nations in 1955 and is a member and strong supporter of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization (GATT/WTO), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe, and the Central European Initiative.^ Rail Europe is North America's biggest European rail agency, and it's a subsidiary of French Railways.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

^ Italy occupies an important position with regard to the industrial trades, the development of which is being promoted through the establishment of the museums of Turin , of Rome and of Naples , and by the opening of industrial schools.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Europe , after Belgium , Holland , and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; but, when it is considered that those countries are agricultural, industrial, and commercial while Italy is devoted essentially to agriculture, and is backward in the development of that industry, its population is shown to be dense, which accounts for emigration.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

Its recent turns in the rotating Presidency of international organisations include the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE), the forerunner of the OSCE, in 1994; G8; and the EU in 2001 and from July to December 2003.
.Italy supports the United Nations and its international security activities.^ Great Britain and Italy have qualified for the women's International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Nations Cup match racing grand final in Brazil next March.
  • Italy: News & Videos about Italy - CNN.com 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC topics.edition.cnn.com [Source type: News]

^ If you are a dual U.S/Italian national working in employment or self-employment covered by the United States and Italy, your election for that particular job is final and may not be changed.
  • Description of the U.S.-Italian Social Security Agreement 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.ssa.gov [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ "Forza Italia" is the slogan that supporters of the national teams in all sports scream during international games.
  • ITALY - The Museum of Broadcast Communications 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC museum.tv [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

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, Kosovo and Albania. .Italy deployed over 2,000 troops to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in February 2003. Italy still supports international efforts to reconstruct and stabilize Iraq, but it has withdrawn its military contingent of some 3,200 troops as of November 2006, maintaining only humanitarian workers and other civilian personnel.^ In all, there are nearly 770,000 persons in Italy who speak languages other than Italian.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

In August 2006 Italy sent about 2,450 soldiers to Lebanon for the United Nations' peacekeeping mission UNIFIL.[57] Furthermore, since 2 February 2007 an Italian, Claudio Graziano, is the commander of the UN force in the country.

Military

.Italy rejects war as an instrument of aggression against the freedoms of other peoples and as a means for settling international controversies; it agrees, on conditions of equality with other states, to the limitations of sovereignty necessary for an order that ensures peace and justice among Nations; it promotes and encourages international organizations having such ends in view.^ Unfortunately, notwithstanding so many favourable conditions, agriculture, which is a source of great profit in foggy England , in Italy is in a rudimentary state as yet.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ Industries and manufactures fell from the prosperous condition in which they were in the Middle Ages when Italy was the teacher of other countries.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

^ In the relations of individuals to the State the constitution establishes the following general principles of justice : legal equality, individual liberty, inviolability of domicile, that of property and of public debt , liberty of the press, freedom of association and of meetings, and, finally, equity and proportion in taxation.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

—Article 11 of Italian Constitution

The Italian armed forces are under the command of the Supreme Defence Council, presided over by the President of the Italian Republic. In 2008 the military had 186,798 personnel on active duty, along with 114,778 in the national gendarmerie.[58] As part of NATO's nuclear sharing strategy Italy also hosts 90 United States nuclear bombs, located in the Ghedi Torre and Aviano air bases.[59] Total military spending in 2007 was $33.1 billion, equal to 1.8% of national GDP.[60]
The Italian armed forces are divided into four branches:

Army

Dardo IFV on exercise
The Italian Army (Esercito Italiano) is the ground defence force of the Italian Republic. It has recently become a professional all-volunteer force of active-duty personnel, 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, recently deployed in UN missions. The Esercito Italiano also has at its disposal a large number of Leopard 1 and M113 armored vehicles.

Navy

Cavour, an aircraft carrier
The Italian Navy (Marina Militare) in 2008 had a strength of 43,882 and ships of every type, such as aircraft carriers, destroyers, modern frigates, submarines, amphibious ships, and other smaller ships such as oceanographic research ships[61] The Marina Militare is now equipping itself with a bigger aircraft carrier, (the Cavour), new destroyers, submarines and multipurpose frigates. .In modern times the Italian Navy, being a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), has taken part in many coalition peacekeeping operations around the world.^ This is the most famous of all rivers, because there stands on its banks the city which of all has exercised the greatest influence upon the world, in ancient, as well as in modern, times.
  • CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.newadvent.org [Source type: Original source]

Air Force

The Eurofighter is built by a consortium of Italy and three other countries.
The Italian Air Force in 2008 has a strength of 43,882 and operates 585 aircraft, including 219 combat jets and 114 helicopters. As a stopgap and as replacement for leased Tornado ADV interceptors, the AMI has leased 30 F-16A Block 15 ADF and four F-16B Block 10 Fighting Falcons, with an option for more.
The coming years also will see the introduction of 121 EF2000 Eurofighter Typhoons, replacing the leased F-16 Fighting Falcons. Further updates are foreseen in the Tornado IDS/IDT and AMX fleets. A transport capability is guaranteed by a fleet of 22 C-130Js and Aeritalia G.222s of which 12 are being replaced with the newly developed G.222 variant called the C-27J Spartan.

Gendarmerie

The Carabinieri are the gendarmerie and military police of Italy, providing the republic with a national police service. At the Sea Islands Conference of the G8 in 2004, the Carabinieri was given the mandate to establish a Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units (CoESPU) to spearhead the development of training and doctrinal standards for civilian police units attached to international peacekeeping missions.[62]

Administrative divisions

.Italy is subdivided into 20 regions (regioni, singular regione).^ Italy is divided into 20 regions, which fall into the following areas.
  • Italy - Wiki Travel Guide - Travellerspoint 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.travellerspoint.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ With 20 different regions, hundreds of DOCs and even more indigenous varieties, the amount of wine made in Italy is mind-boggling.
  • Italy Wine 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.wine.com [Source type: General]
  • Wines from Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.wine.com [Source type: General]

^ Language: Languages: Italian (official); German-, French-, and Slovene-speaking minorities Religion: 90 per cent Roman Catholic with Protestant minorities Official Currency: Euro Administrative divisions: Italy is subdivided into 20 regions.
  • Italian Republic. History. Geography. The useful information. 25 September 2009 1:38 UTC www.tiwatiwa.com [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Five of these regions have a special autonomous status that enables them to enact legislation on some of their local matters; these are marked by an asterisk (*) in the table below. The country is further divided into 110 provinces (province) and 8,100 municipalities (comuni).
Region Capital Area (km²) Population
Abruzzo L'Aquila &0000000000010794.00000010,794 &0000000001324000.0000001,324,000
Aosta Valley* Aosta &0000000000003263.0000003,263 &0000000000126000.000000126,000
Apulia Bari &0000000000019362.00000019,362 &0000000004076000.0000004,076,000
Basilicata Potenza &0000000000009992.0000009,992 &0000000000591000.000000591,000
Calabria Catanzaro &0000000000015080.00000015,080 &0000000002007000.0000002,007,000
Campania Naples &0000000000013595.00000013,595 &0000000005811000.0000005,811,000
Emilia-Romagna Bologna &0000000000022124.00000022,124 &0000000004276000.0000004,276,000
Friuli-Venezia Giulia* Trieste &0000000000007855.0000007,855 &0000000001222000.0000001,222,000
Lazio Rome &0000000000017207.00000017,207 &0000000005561000.0000005,561,000
Liguria Genoa &0000000000005421.0000005,421 &0000000001610000.0000001,610,000
Lombardy Milan &0000000000023861.00000023,861 &0000000009642000.0000009,642,000
Marche Ancona &0000000000009694.0000009,694 &0000000001553000.0000001,553,000
Molise Campobasso &0000000000004438.0000004,438 &0000000000320000.000000320,000
Piedmont Turin &0000000000025399.00000025,399 &0000000004401000.0000004,401,000
Sardinia* Cagliari &0000000000024090.00000024,090 &0000000001666000.0000001,666,000
Sicily* Palermo &0000000000025708.00000025,708 &0000000005030000.0000005,030,000
Tuscany Florence &0000000000022997.00000022,997 &0000000003677000.0000003,677,000
Trentino-Alto Adige* Trento &0000000000013607.00000013,607 &0000000001007000.0000001,007,000
Umbria Perugia &0000000000008456.0000008,456 &0000000000884000.000000884,000
Veneto Venice &0000000000018391.00000018,391 &0000000004832000.0000004,832,000

Demographics

Population

Population 1960–2006. Number of inhabitants in thousands.
At the end of 2008, the Italian population surpassed 60 million.[63] Italy has the fourth-largest population in the European Union and the 23rd-largest population worldwide. .Italy's population density, at 199.2 persons per square kilometre, is the fifth highest in the European Union.^ Budget Italy Tours = Tours typically range from $45 to $130 per person, per day, plus airfare.
  • Italy Tours, Italy Tour Packages, Italian Tours, Italy Travel, Travel Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.tourvacationstogo.com [Source type: General]

^ GRJ offers five-star inclusive escorted tours to Italy, with 1st class train travel and 4* or 5* hotels, from around 1,125 per person.
  • How to travel by train from London to Italy | Venice Florence Rome & other cities 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.seat61.com [Source type: General]

^ Luxury Italy Tours = Tours typically range from $400 to $600 per person, per day, plus airfare.
  • Italy Tours, Italy Tour Packages, Italian Tours, Italy Travel, Travel Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.tourvacationstogo.com [Source type: General]

The highest density is in Northern Italy, as that one-third of the country contains almost half of the total population. After World War II, Italy enjoyed a prolonged economic boom which caused a major rural exodus to the cities, and at the same time transformed the nation from a massive emigration country to a net immigrant-receiving country. High fertility persisted until the 1970s, when it plunged below the replacement rates, so that as of 2008, one in five Italians was over 65 years old.[64]
.Despite this, thanks mainly to the massive immigration of the last two decades, in the 2000s Italy saw a crude birth rates growth (especially in the northern regions) for the first time in many years.^ First, there is a list of tours that only visit Italy, then there is a list of tours that include a visit to Italy as well as other regions.
  • Italy Tours, Italy Tour Packages, Italian Tours, Italy Travel, Travel Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.tourvacationstogo.com [Source type: General]

[65] The total fertility rate also significantly grew in the past few years, thanks both to rising births in foreign born and Italian women, as it climbed to 1.41 children per woman in 2008 compared to 2005 when it sat at 1.32.[66]

Cities and metropolitan areas

Rank City Location Pop. Rank City Location Pop.
1 Rome Lazio 2,724,347 11 Venice Veneto 270,098
2 Milan Lombardy 1,295,705 12 Verona Veneto 265,368
3 Naples Campania 963,661 13 Messina Sicily 243,381
4 Turin Piedmont 908,825 14 Padua Veneto 211,936
5 Palermo Sicily 659,433 15 Trieste Friuli-Venezia Giulia 205,341
6 Genoa Liguria 611,171 16 Taranto Apulia 194,021
7 Bologna Emilia-Romagna 374,944 17 Brescia Lombardy 190,844
8 Florence Tuscany 365,659 18 Reggio Calabria Calabria 185,621
9 Bari Apulia 320,677 19 Prato Tuscany 185,091
10 Catania Sicily 296,469 20 Parma Emilia-Romagna 182,389
Figures are ISTAT estimates for 31 December 2008 and represent the population of the communes, rather than of the urban areas.
According to the OECD,[67] the largest metropolitan areas are:
Metropolitan area Population
Milan 7.4 million
Rome 3.7 million
Naples 3.1 million
Turin 2.2 million

Independent estimates on metropolitan areas

According to Censis Foundation,[68] the largest Metroplexes in Italy are:
Metroplex/ Metropolitan area Population
Area
(in km²)
Density
(people/km²)
1 Milan metropolitan area (Lombardy mega region) 8,047,125 8,362.1 965.6
2 Naples metropolitan area 4,996,084 3,841.7 1,300.5
3 Rome metropolitan area 4,339,112 4,766.3 910.4
4 VenicePadovaVerona (Veneto mega region) 3,267,420 6,679.6 489.2
5 BariTarantoLecce (Low adriatic linear system) 2,603,831 6,127.7 424.9
6 RiminiPesaroAncona (High adriatic linear system) 2,359,068 5,404.8 436.5
7 Turin metropolitan area 1,997,975 1,976.8 1,010.7
8 Greater BolognaPiacenza 1,944,401 3,923.6 495,6
9 FlorencePisaSiena 1,760,737 3,795.9 629.8
10 MessinaCataniaSiracusa (Eastern Sicilian linear system) 1,693,173 2,411.7 702.1

Immigration

Venice is part of the Veneto mega region, the fourth largest metroplex in Italy.
At the start of 2009 there were 3,891,295 foreign nationals resident in Italy and registered with the authorities. This amounted to 6.5% of the country’s population and represented a year-on-year increase of 458,644 or 13.4%. These figures include more than half a million children born in Italy to foreign nationals—second generation immigrants are becoming an important element in the demographic picture—but exclude foreign nationals who have subsequently acquired Italian nationality; this applied to 53,696 people in 2008.[69] They also exclude illegal immigrants, the so-called clandestini whose numbers are difficult to determine. In May 2008 the The Boston Globe quoted an estimate of 670,000 for this group.[70]
Since the expansion of the European Union, the most recent wave of migration has been from surrounding European nations, particularly Eastern Europe, and increasingly Asia,[71] replacing North Africa as the major immigration area. Some 800,000 Romanians, around 10 percent of them being Gypsies,[72] are officially registered as living in Italy, replacing Albanians and Moroccans as the largest ethnic minority group. The number unregistered Romanians is difficult to estimate, but the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network suggested that in 2007 that there might half been half a million or more.[73]
As of 2009, the foreign born population origin of Italy was subdivided as follows: Europe (53.5%), Africa (22.3%), Asia (15.8%), the Americas (8.1%) and Oceania (0.06%). The disribution of foreign born population is largely uneven in Italy: 87.3% of immigrants live in the northern and central parts of the country (the most economically developed areas), while only 12.8% live in the southern half of the peninsula.
Origin Population  % of total*
Italian &0000000056153773.00000056,153,773 93.52%
Romanian &0000000000796477.000000796,477 1.32%
North African &0000000000606556.000000606,556 1.01%
Albanian &0000000000441396.000000441,396 0.73%
Chinese &0000000000170265.000000170,265 0.28%
Ukrainian &0000000000153998.000000153,998 0.26%
Asian (non-Chinese) &0000000000445795.000000445,795 0.74%
Latin American &0000000000298860.000000298,860 0.50%
Sub-Saharan African &0000000000264570.000000264,570 0.44%
Other &0000000000713378.000000713,378 1.19%
* Percentage of total Italy population as of 1 January 2009

The Italian diaspora

Little Italy in New York, ca.1900.
Italy became a country of mass emigration soon after the national reunification process in the late 1800s. Between 1898 and 1914, the peak years of Italian diaspora, approximately 750,000 Italians emigrated each year.[74] Italian communities once thrived in the former African colonies of Eritrea (nearly 100,000 at the beginning of World War II),[75] Somalia and Libya (150,000 Italians settled in Libya, constituting about 18% of the total population).[76] All of Libya's Italians were expelled from the North African country in 1970.[77]
In the decade after World War II, up to 350,000 ethnic Italians left Yugoslavia (see Istrian exodus).[78] Large numbers of people with full or significant Italian ancestry are found in Brazil (25 million),[79] Argentina (20 million),[80] United States (17.8 million),[81] Uruguay (1.5 million),[82] Canada (1.4 million),[83] Venezuela (900,000)[84] and Australia (800,000).[85]

Recognized ethnic minorities and minority languages

Several ethnic groups are legally recognized,[citation needed] and a number of minority languages have co-official status alongside Italian in various parts of the country. French is co-official in the Valle d’Aosta—although in fact Franco-Provencal is more commonly spoken there. German has the same status in the Province of Bolzano-Bozen 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 and Gorizia in Venezia Giulia.
In these regions official documents are bilingual (trilingual in Ladin communities), or available upon request in either Italian or the co-official language. Traffic signs are also multilingual, except in the Valle d’Aosta where—with the exception of Aosta itself which has retained its Latin form in Italian as in English—French toponyms are generally used, attempts to Italianise them during the Fascist period having been abandoned. Education is possible in minority languages where such schools are operating.

Language

A map showing the 'Italophone' world. Dark blue rapresents where Italian is an official or native language; green rapresents where Italian is a secondary, widely spoken or understood language, and light blue is where Italian is understood (mainly due to many of these countries being ex-Italian colonies).

Standard Italian

Italy's official language is Standard Italian,[86] which is a descendant of the Tuscan dialect and Latin. Ethnologue has estimated that there are about 55 million speakers of the language in Italy and a further 6.7 million outside of the country.[87] However, there are over 150 million people in the world who use Italian as a second or cultural language. In Switzerland, Italian is one of four official languages. It is also the official language of San Marino, as well as the primary language of Vatican City.[88]
Standard Italian, adopted by the state after the unification of Italy, is based on Tuscan (in particular on the dialects of the city of Florence) and is somewhat intermediate between the Italo-Dalmatian languages of the South and the Gallo-Romance Northern Italian languages. Its development was also influenced by the other Italian dialects and by the Germanic language of the post-Roman invaders.
Italian derives diachronically from Latin and is the closest language to Latin. Unlike most other Romance languages, Italian has retained the contrast between short and long consonants which existed in Latin. As in most Romance languages, stress is distinctive. In particular, among the Romance languages, Italian is considered to be the closest to Latin in terms of vocabulary.[89]

Italian dialects and other languages spoken

Italy has a numerous dialects, spoken all over the country, and some Italians cannot speak the standard language at all.[90] However, the establishment of a national education system led to a decrease in variation in the languages spoken across the country. Standardization was further expanded in the 1950s and 1960s thanks to economic growth and the rise of mass media and television (the state broadcaster RAI helped set an Italian standard).
Other historic Romance languages spoken in Italy except Italian include Emiliano-Romagnolo, Friulian, Ladin, Ligurian, Lombard, Neapolitan, Piedmontese, Sardinian, Sicilian, Venetian and Romansh. These languages have given way to regional varieties of Italian. Variety is often used in idioms and folk songs.
However, there are other languages spoken in Italy, such as Albanian, Catalan, Croatian, Franco-Provençal, French, Friulian, German, Greek, Ladin, Occitan, Sardinian, and Slovene. A law passed in 1999 recognises the existence of twelve linguistic minorities which are thus officially protected.

Religion

Roman Catholicism is by far the largest religion in the country, although the Catholic Church is no longer officially the state religion. Fully 87.8% of Italians identified themselves as Roman Catholic,[91] although only about one-third of these described themselves as active members (36.8%).
Most Italians believe in God, or a form of a spiritual life force. According to the most recent Eurobarometer Poll 2005:[92]
  • 74% of Italian citizens responded that they believe there is a God;
  • 16% answered that they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force;
  • 6% answered that they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God, or life force.

Christianity

Roman Catholicism

The Italian Catholic Church is part of the global Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope, curia in Rome, and the Conference of Italian Bishops. .In addition to Italy, two other sovereign nations are included in Italian-based dioceses, San Marino and Vatican City.^ Many Italian tours will include St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City.
  • Italy Tours, Italy Tour Packages, Italian Tours, Italy Travel, Travel Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.tourvacationstogo.com [Source type: General]

There are 225 dioceses in the Italian Catholic Church, see further in this article and in the article List of the Roman Catholic dioceses in Italy. Even though by law the Vatican City is not part of Italy, it is in Rome, and along with Latin, Italian is the most spoken and second language of the Vatican.[93]
Italy has a rich Catholic culture, especially due to the fact that numerous Catholic saints, martyrs and popes were Italian themselves. .Roman Catholic art in Italy especially flourished during the Middle-Ages, Renaissance and Baroque periods, with numerous Italian artists, such as Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, Caravaggio, Fra Angelico, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Sandro Botticelli, Tintoretto, Titian, Raphael and Giotto, to name a few.^ On our Italian tours, you can learn about the art and antiquities of Rome, the shining star of Italy travel.
  • Italy Tours, Italy Tour Packages, Italian Tours, Italy Travel, Travel Italy 28 January 2010 0:00 UTC www.tourvacationstogo.com [Source type: General]

Roman Catholic architecture in Italy is equally as rich and impressive, with churches, basilicas and cathedrals such as St Peter's Basilica, Florence Cathedral and St Mark's Basilica, to name a few. Roman Catholicism is the largest religion and denomination in Italy, with around 87.8% of Italians considering themselves Catholic. Italy also is home to the greatest number of cardinals in the world.[94]

Other Christian denominations

Even though the main Christian denomination in Italy is Roman Catholicism, there are some minorities of Protestant, Waldensian, Eastern Orthodox and other Christian churches.
In the 20th century, Jehovah's Witnesses, Pentecostalism, non-denominational Evangelicalism, and Mormonism were the fastest-growing Protestant churches. Immigration from Western, Central, and Eastern Africa at the beginning of the 21st century has increased the size of Baptist, Anglican, Pentecostal and Evangelical communities in Italy, while immigration from Eastern Europe has produced large Eastern Orthodox communities.
In 2006, Protestants made up 2.1% of Italy's population, and members of Eastern Orthodox churches comprised 1.2%. Other Christian groups in Italy include more than 700,000 Eastern Orthodox Christians including 180,000 Greek Orthodox,[95] 550,000 Pentecostals and Evangelicals (0.8%), of whom 400,000 are members of the Assemblies of God, 235,685 Jehovah's Witnesses (0.4%),[96] 30,000 Waldensians,[97] 25,000 Seventh-day Adventists, 22,000 Mormons, 15,000 Baptists (plus some 5,000 Free Baptists), 7,000 Lutherans, 4,000 Methodists (affiliated with the Waldensian Church).[98]

Other Faiths

The longest-established religious faith in Italy is Judaism, Jews having been present in Ancient Rome before the birth of Christ. Italy has seen many influential Italian-Jews, such as Luigi Luzzatti, who took office in 1910, Ernesto Nathan served as mayor of Rome from 1907 to 1913 and Shabbethai Donnolo (died 982). During the Holocaust, Italy took in many Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. .However, with the creation of the Nazi-backed puppet Italian Social Republic, about 15% of Italy's Jews were killed, despite the Fascist government's refusal to deport Jews to Nazi death camps.^ On our Italian tours, you can learn about the art and antiquities of Rome, the shining star of Italy travel.
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This, together with the emigration that preceded and followed the Second World War, has left only a small community of around 45,000 Jews in Italy today.
Due to immigration from around the world, there has been an increase in non-Christian faiths. In 2009, there were 1.0 million Muslims in Italy[99] forming 1.6 percent of population although, only 50,000 hold Italian citizenship. Independent estimates put the Islamic population in Italy anywhere from 0.8 million[100] to 1.5 million.[101]
There are more than 200,000 followers of faith originating in the Indian subcontinent woth some 70,000 Sikhs with 22 gurdwaras across the country,[102] 70,000 Hindus, and 50,000 Buddhists.[103]

Economy

The Bank of Italy; the central bank of Italy.
According to the International Monetary Fund, in 2008 Italy was the seventh-largest economy in the world and the fourth-largest in Europe. Italy is member of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations,[104] it is a member of the European Union, OECD, and the Group of Seven (G7). The country is divided into a developed industrial north dominated by large private companies and a primarily agricultural, state-assisted south.
.In the post-war period, Italy was transformed from a weak, agricultural based economy which had been severely affected by the consequences of World War II, into one of the world's most industrialized nations and a leading country in world trade and exports, even so that in 1987, the Italian economy surpassed the British economy, by GDP (nominal), an event known as 'il sorpasso'[105].^ Italy tour packages that visit Florence might give you a glimpse of Michelangelo's David, one of the most famous sculptures in the world.
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^ Italy tours are among the most popular vacations in Europe, and Vacations To Go works with the world's largest and most respected tour operators in Italy.
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According to the World Bank, Italy has high levels of freedom for investments, business and trade. Italy is a developed country, and, according to The Economist, has the world's 8th highest quality of life.[106] The country enjoys a very high standard of living, and is the world's 18th most developed country, surpassing the Germany, UK and Greece.[8] According to the last Eurostat data, Italian per capita GDP at purchasing power parity remains approximately equal to the EU average.[107] On addition to that, Italy has the world's 4th (3rd excluding the IMF) largest gold reserves, that of 2,451.8 tonnes, coming after the USA and Germany, and surpassing France and China.[108]
Despite this, the country's economy suffers from many problems. After a strong GDP growth of +8% from 1964 onwards,[109] the last decade's average annual growth rate lagged with 1.23% in comparison to an average EU annual growth rate of 2.28%.[110] In addition, Italian living standards have a considerable north-south divide. The average GDP per capita in Northern Italy can far exceed the EU average (an example of this could be the Province of Bolzano-Bozen, with a 2006 average GDP per capita of €32,900 (US$ 43,861), which is 135.5% of EU average),[111] whilst some regions and provinces in Southern Italy can be considerably below the EU average (such as Campania, which has an average GDP per capita of € 16,294, or US$ 21,722). Italy has often been referred the sick man of Europe,[112][113] characterised by economic stagnation, political instability and problems in pursuing reform programs.
A Ferrari 612. Ferraris are amongst Italy's most iconic supercars.
Firstly, Italy suffers from structural weaknesses due to its geographical conformation and the lack of raw materials and energy resources. The territory is mostly mountainous, so much of the terrain is not suitable for intensive cultivation and communication is made more difficult.[citation needed]
Secondly, the Italian economy is weakened by the lack of infrastructure development, market reforms and research investment. In the Index of Economic Freedom 2008, the country ranked 64th in the world and 29th in Europe, the lowest rating in the Eurozone. Italy still receives development assistance from the European Union every year. Between 2000 and 2006, Italy received €27.4 billion from the EU [114]. .The country has an inefficient state bureaucracy, low property rights protection and high levels of corruption, heavy taxation and public spending that accounts for about half of the national GDP.[115] In addition, the most recent data show that Italy's spending in R&D in 2006 was equal to 1.14% of GDP, below the EU average of 1.84% and the Lisbon Strategy target of devoting 3% of GDP to research and development activities.^ Many Italy tours explore only that country, usually spending a few days in several cities.
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[116]
Thirdly, Italy has a smaller number of world-class multinational corporations than other economies of comparable size, but there are a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises, and in the Northern "industrial triangle" (made of up of the main Italian manufacturing centres, Milan, Turin and Genoa) or the Tuscan industrial triangle (Florence-Prato-Pistoia), where there is an area of intense industrial and machinery production, notably in their several industrial districts, which were for long the backbone of the Italian industry. This has produced a manufacturing sector often focused on the export of niche market and luxury products, capable of facing the competition from China and other emerging Asian economies based on lower labour costs.[117] Italy's major exports and companies by sector are motor vehicles (Fiat Group, Aprilia, Ducati, Piaggio); chemicals and petrochemicals (Eni); energy and electrical engineering (Enel, Edison); home appliances (Candy, Indesit), aerospace and defense technologies (Alenia, Agusta, Finmeccanica), firearms (Beretta), fashion (Armani, Valentino, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli, Benetton, Prada, Luxottica); food processing (Ferrero, Barilla Group, Martini & Rossi, Campari, Parmalat); sport and luxury vehicles (Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Pagani); yachts (Ferretti, Azimut).
The automobile industry in Italy is also quite large employer in the country, with a labour force of over 196,000 (2004) working in this particular industry industry. The automotive industry makes a significant contribution of 8.5% to Italian GDP.[118][119] Italy is the 5th largest automobile producer in Europe (2006).[120]

Tourism

The Amalfi Coast, seen from Ravello, is one of Italy's most popular tourist destinations.
Tourism is one of the fastest growing and profitable sectors of the national economy: with 43.7 million international tourist arrivals and total receipts estimated at $42.7 billion, Italy is the fourth highest tourism earner and the fifth most visited country in the world.[121] Despite a slump in the late-1980s and during the Gulf War, Italy has, since the mid-1990s, rebuilt a strong tourism industry.[122] Italy's most popular tourist attractions are the Colosseum (4 million tourists per year, and the world's 39th most visited sight) and the ruins at Pompeii (48th in the world, with 2.5 million visitors).[123] In 2008, Italy's most internationally visited cities were in order: Rome (11th in the world with 6,123,000 tourists), Milan (52nd with 1,914,000 visitors), Venice (57th with 1,798,000), Florence (59th in the world with 1,729,000 international arrivals), Naples (166th with 381,000 tourists), Palermo (183rd with 316,000 visitors), Verona (188th with 289,000), Rimini (189th with 284,000 international visitors), Bologna (191st in the world, with 279,000 arrivals), Genoa (200th, with 243,000 tourists), Turin (203rd with 240,000 visitors), and finally Siena (229th, with 163,000).[124]

Infrastructure

Rome-Fiumicino Airport in 2008 was the sixth busiest airport in Europe.
In 2004 the transport sector in Italy generated a turnover of about 119.4 billion euros, employng 935,700 persons in 153,700 enterprises. Regarding to the national road network, in 2002 there were 668,721 km (415,612 mi) of serviceable roads in Italy, including 6,487 km (4,031 mi) of motorways, state-owned but privately operated by Atlantia company. In 2005, about 34,667,000 passenger cars (equal to 590 cars per 1,000 people) and 4,015,000 road good vehicles circulated on the national road network. The national railway network, state-owned and operated by Ferrovie dello Stato, in 2003 totalled 16,287 km (10,122 mi) of which 69% electrified, and on which 4,937 locomotives and railcars circulated. The national inland waterways network comprised 1,477 km (918 mi) of navigable rivers and channells in 2002. In 2004 there were approximately 30 main airports (including the two hubs of Malpensa International in Milan and Leonardo Da Vinci International in Rome) and 43 major seaports in Italy (including the seaport of Genoa, that is the country largest and the second largest in the Mediterranean Sea after Marseille). In 2005 Italy maintained a civilian air fleet of about 389,000 units and a merchant fleet of 581 ships.[125]
Italy's economy has a diversified energy sector. .The energy is highly dependent on imports from abroad: in 2006 the country imported more than 86% of its total energy consumption (99.7% of the solid fuels demand, 92.5% of oil, 91.2% of natural gas and 15% of electricity)[126][127] Italy, however, ranked as the world’s sixth largest producer of wind power with an installed nameplate capacity of 3,736 GW in 2008, behind India and ahead of France and the United Kingdom.^ Italy tours are among the most popular vacations in Europe, and Vacations To Go works with the world's largest and most respected tour operators in Italy.
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[128] The country has also built several nuclear reactors from 1963–1990, but after Chernobyl, the country stopped all work on its nuclear program. The majority of Italy’s electricity is produced by gas, oil, coal, and hydro.

Exports

The country is the world's sixth highest exporter, with US$546.9 billion exports in 2008,[129] and the fifth world's largest industrial goods producer with a US$381 billion output in 2008.[130] In 2007, Italy's total merchandise exports were at US$ 491.507 billion, US$ 118.261 billion for commercial services and they were at US$ 504.404 billion by selected region, according to the World Trade Organization.[131]
Italy's major exports are precision machinery, motor vehicles (utilitaries, luxury vehicles, motorcycles, scooters), chemicals and electric goods, but the country's more famous exports are in the fields of food and clothing.
Also, Italy is an important agricultural exporter, including the fact that it is the largest kiwifruit (415,050 tonnes), grape (8,519,418 tonnes) and artichoke (469,980 tonnes) producer worldwide. The country exports and produces the highest level of wine in the world,[132][133] exporting over 1,793 tonnes. Italy was responsible for producing approximately one-fifth of world wine production in 2005.[134]
Italy's closest trade ties are with the other countries of the European Union, with whom it conducts about 59% of its total trade. Italy's largest EU trade partners, in order of market share, are Germany (12.9%), France (11.4%), and Spain (7.4%).[26]

Public services

Healthcare

The Fatebenefratelli Hospital in Milan.[135]
Healthcare spending in Italy has accounted for more the 9.0% of the country's GDP, slightly above the OECD countries' average of 8.9%,[136] however, this has resulted in Italy having the world's 2nd best healthcare system,[137] 19th highest life expectancy,[26] and the world's 3rd best healthcare performance.[138] Italy's life expectancy at birth was in 2004 80.9, two years above the OECD average.[139] The infant mortality rate in Italy was 4.7 % (OECD: 5.4 %) in 2005.
Nevertheless, in Italy, just like in virtually all OECD countries, there has been an increase in the proportion of overweight and obese people. This figure rose from 7.0% in 1994 to 9.9% in the year 2005. There are now also in hospital structures in Italy for this group of people
In addition, the proportion of daily smokers fell in the same period from 1990 to 2005 from 27.8% to 22.3% (OECD: 24.3%). Since 10 January 2005, there is also a general smoke ban on all public buildings. Anyone who violates this law must pay a fine a fine from €27.5 to €275.

Education

.Italy's public education is free and compulsory from 6–14 years of age,[140] and has a five-year primary stage and an eight-year secondary stage, divided into first-grade secondary school (middle school) and second-grade secondary school (or high school).^ Infants under 2 years of age travel free of charge on Monograms tours.
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Italy has a high public education standard, surpassing that of other comparable developed countries, such as the UK and Germany.[141] The country has both public and private education systems.
According to National Science Indicators (1981–2002), a database produced by Research Services Group containing listings of output and citation statistics for more than 90 countries, Italy has an above-average output of scientific papers (in terms of number of papers written with at least one author being from Italy) in space science (9.75% of papers in the world being from Italy), mathematics (5.51% of papers in the world), computer science, neurosciences, and physics; the lowest, but still slightly above world-average, output in terms of number of papers produced is recorded in the social sciences, psychology and psychiatry, and economics and business.[142]
Turin's Castello del Valentino, which is the seat of the Polytechnic University of Turin.
Italy hosts a broad variety of universities, colleges and academies. Milan's Bocconi University, has been ranked among the top 20 best business schools in the world by The Wall Street Journal international rankings, especially thanks to its M.B.A. program, which in 2007 placed it no. 17 in the world in terms of graduate recruitment preference by major multinational companies.[143] Also, Forbes has ranked Bocconi no.1 worldwide in the specific category Value for Money.[144] In May 2008, Bocconi overtook several traditionally top global business schools in the Financial Times Executive education ranking, reaching no. 5 in Europe and no. 15 in the world.[145]
Other top universities and polytechnics include the Polytechnic University of Turin, the Politecnico di Milano (which in 2009 was ranked as the 57th technical university in the world by Top Universities, in a research conducted on behalf of Times Higher Education.[146] This was a 6-positions growth from the 63rd position in 2008. In 2009 an Italian research ranked it as the best in Italy over indicators such as scientific production, attraction of foreign students, and others [147]), the La Sapienza (which in 2005 was Europe's 33rd best university,[148] and ranks amongst Europe's 50 and the world's 150 best colleges[149]) and the University of Milan (whose research and teaching activities have developed over the years and have received important international recognitions. The University is the only Italian member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU), a prestigious group of twenty research-intensive European Universities. It also been awarded ranking positions as such: -1st in Italy and 7th in Europe (The Leiden Ranking - Universiteit Leiden).
Italy and the Western world's oldest college is the University of Bologna.[150] In 2009, the University of Bologna is, according to The Times, the only Italian college in the top 200 World Universities. The University of Padua, also remains one of Europe's oldest.

Communications

Italy has modern telephone and data services.[151] The country has 17.7 million internet hosts, 4th-most in the world,[151] and 32 million internet users, 10th highest in the world. There are 88.58 million mobile cellular telephones in Italy, far exceeding the actual population and ranking 11th in the world, and 20 million landline telephones.[151] Italy has high-capacity cables for domestic usage of phones, and numerous international connections.[151]

Media and censorship

The first form of televised media in Italy was introduced in 1939, when the first experimental broadcasting began. However, this lasted for a very short time: when fascist Italy entered World War II in 1940 all the transmission were interrupted, and were resumed in earnest only nine years after the end of the conflict, in 1954. There are two main national television networks responsible for most viewing: state-owned RAI, funded by a yearly mandatory licence fee and Mediaset, commercial network founded by current Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. While many other networks are also present, both nationally and locally, these two together reach 80% of the TV ratings.
.As with all the other media of Italy, the Italian television industry is widely considered both inside and outside the country to be overtly politicized.^ Tours of Italy & other countries .
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[152] The public broadcaster RAI is, unlike the BBC which is controlled by an independent trust, under direct control of the government; the most important commercial stations in the country are, in turn, owned by the current prime minister. According to a December 2008 poll, only 24% of Italians trust television news programmes, compared unfavourably to the British rate of 38%, making Italy one of only three examined countries where online sources are considered more reliable than television ones for information.[153][154] Also, along with Turkey, Italy has one of the lowest levels of press freedom in Europe, even falling behind some ex-communist countries, such as Poland and the Czech Republic.[155]

Society

Italy has established a positive reputation worldwide (Sophia Loren, Italian actress).
Italy has been nominated 2009's sixth most internationally valued country,[25] (falling short of France, Germany, The United Kingdom, Canada and Japan, and surpassing the United States, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden and Spain), coming ninth in export branding 2008, first in tourism branding, second in cultural branding, third in people branding and ninth in immigration branding.

Social class

Italian society is often divided into different ranks of social class. Italian society is divided between the Bourgeosie, the white collar middle class, the petit urban bourgeosie, the petit rural bourgeosie, the urban working class and the rural working class.[156]

Women

Women have equal rights as men, and have mainly the same job, business and education opportunities. Some, more traditionalist people (especially in the South) in Italian society still tend to treat women as slightly inferior, but women's rights in Italy are just as one would expect of a developed G8 country.[157]

LGBT rights

Italy legally accepts homosexuals and transgenders, however they may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity are legal in Italy, but same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex couples.
Italian opinions have changed in the past and people now tend to be more supportive and liberal of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights, but tend to be more repressive than other European nations. Tolerance is seen in a peculiar way that is due to the religious influence of the Roman Catholic Church, which has been ingrained in Italian society for 1,700 years. Conservative Italian politicians such as Silvio Berlusconi have often been opposed to increasing gay rights.[158] A Eurobarometer survey published on December 2006 showed that 31% of Italians surveyed support same-sex marriage and 24% recognise same-sex couple's right to adopt (EU-wide average 44% and 33%).[159] A recent 2007 poll asking whether they supported the civil partnership law for gays. Support for the measure was at 45% support, with 47% oppose. 8% said they were unsure.[160] Homosexuals are also allowed to serve fully in military service.

Daily life and leisure

A popular beach in Sicily.
Italians' social customs and daily lives have profoundly changed since World War II, transforming the nation from a highly traditional, agricultural-based society, into a progressive and modernized one.[122]
Most Italians favour activities such as going to the cinema, reading newspapers, watching television and listening to the radio; reading books and playing sport has proved less popular.[122] According to some surveys, Italians are generally highly satisfied with social relations and family, healthcare, daily life and friendship relations; however, Italians find economic status and job opportunites generally less satisfying, especially with the fact that Southern Italy still suffers from relatively high unemployment.[122] Also, meeting up and socializing with friends in the country's abundant piazzas, going to bars, discos, pizzerias and restaurants and finding other forms of entertainment remain popular with Italians, especially the younger generations.[122] Automobiles still hold a strong part of Italian daily life, however this results in many cities being congested.[122]

Public holidays

Example of masks worn during the carnival of Venice.
Date English Name Local Name Remarks
1 January New Year's Day Capodanno
6 January Epiphany Epifania
Movable Easter Sunday Pasqua
Monday after Easter Easter Monday Lunedì dell'Angelo, Pasquetta
25 April Anniversary of Liberation Festa della Liberazione End of World War II in Italy, 1945
1 May Labour Day Festa dei Lavoratori
2 June Republic Day Festa della Repubblica Birth of the Italian Republic, 1946
15 August Ferragosto/Assumption Day Ferragosto and Assunzione
1 November All Saints Ognissanti or Tutti i santi
8 December Immaculate Conception Immacolata Concezione (or just Immacolata)
25 December Christmas Day Natale
26 December St Stephen's Day Santo Stefano

Culture

Italy did not exist as a state until the country's unification in 1861. Due to this comparatively late unification, and the historical autonomy of the regions that comprise the Italian Peninsula, many traditions and customs that are now recognized as distinctly Italian can be identified by their regions of origin. Despite the political and social distinction of these regions, Italy's contributions to the cultural and historical heritage of Europe and the world remain immense. Italy is home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (44) to date, and has rich collections of world art, culture and literature from many different periods. Italy has had a broad cultural influence worldwide, also due to the fact that numerous Italians emigrated to other countries during the Italian diaspora. Italy has, overall, an estimated 100,000 monuments of any sort (museums, palaces, buildings, statues, churches, art galleries, villas, fountains, historic houses and archaeological remains).[161]

The arts

Architecture

Piazza del Campo in Siena, a perfect example of Italian Medieval architecture.
Italy boasts a long period of different architectural styles, from Classical Roman and Greek, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Neo-Classical, Art Nouveau to Modern. The nation contains several architectural monuments, such as the Pantheon, the Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Piazza del Campo, Milan Cathedral, Florence Cathedral, the Palladian Villas of the Veneto, the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, Villa Olmo and the Pirelli Tower. Italy has also been home to numerous famous architects, some who even changed the course of architectural history, such as Andrea Palladio (who founded Palladianism), Filippo Brunelleschi, Bernini and Renzo Piano, to name but a few.
Classical to Gothic
The Roman Colosseum.
Italian architecture began with Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome and Etruscans, when both civilizations built temples, basilicae, columns, fora, palaces, aqueducts, walls and public baths.[162] Roman architecture had great influence on that of Italy and the Western world. Because the Roman Empire extended over so great an area and included so many urbanised areas, Roman engineers developed methods for civic development on a grand scale, including the use of concrete. Massive buildings like the Pantheon and the Colosseum could never have been constructed with pre-existing techniques. Though concrete had been invented a thousand years earlier in the Near East, the Romans extended its use from fortifications to their most impressive buildings and monuments, capitalising on the material’s strength and low cost.[163] In Roman architecture, a wall's concrete core was covered with a plaster, brick, stone, or marble veneer, and decorative polychrome and gold-gilded sculpture was often added to produce a dazzling effect of power and wealth.[163]
Gothic architecture appeared in Italy in the 12th century, but did not mature into a regionally distinct style until the 13th century, partly due to geographic factors. Due to its comparatively late maturity, the influence of Byzantine and classical art, and the fact that brick —not stone— was the most common building material and marble the most common decorative material, Italian Gothic architecture maintained peculiar characteristics which differentiated its evolution from that in France, where it had originated, and in other European countries.
In particular, the architecturally daring solutions and technical innovations of the French Gothic cathedrals rarely appeared. With the exception of the Cathedral of Milan, the product of a centuries-long collaboration between Italian, French, and German minds, few Italian churches show the emphasis on vertical development, clustered shafts, ornate tracery and complex ribbed vaulting that characterise Gothic in other parts of Europe. Notable examples of Italian Gothic architecture include Basilica of Santa Croce, Orvieto Cathedral, and Siena Cathedral, where the distinctively ornate Italian realization of façade design is evident.[164]
Renaissance to Modern
The Romanesque Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The Trevi Fountain in Rome, an example of Italian Baroque architecture.
Italy of the 15th century, and the city of Florence in particular, was home to the Renaissance. It is in Florence that the new architectural style had its beginning, not slowly evolving in the way that Gothic grew out of Romanesque, but consciously brought to being by particular architects who sought to revive the order of a past "Golden Age". The scholarly approach to the architecture of the ancient coincided with the general revival of learning. A number of factors were influential in bringing this about.
Italian architects had always preferred forms that were clearly defined and structural members that expressed their purpose. Many Tuscan Romanesque buildings demonstrate these characteristics, as seen in the Florence Bapistry and Pisa Cathedral.
The presence, particularly in Rome, of ancient architectural remains showing the ordered Classical style provided an inspiration to artists at a time when philosophy was also turning towards the Classical.
Italy then became a main European centre for the baroque, with diverse baroque architectural styles emerging, especially in Sicily (see Sicilian baroque). In the 18th and 19th centuries neo-classical style buildings began to appear in Rome, Milan, Turin and all around Italy. Modern Italian architecture and design is considered world-class.[165] with Milan as the country's capital. Numerous modern Italian architects, such as Renzo Piano, are famous worldwide.[166]
Palazzi and villas
Detail of the central salone in the Palazzina di caccia of Stupinigi.
View of the gardens of the Palace of Caserta. In 1996, it was listed among the World Heritage Sites on the grounds that it was "the swan song of the spectacular art of the Baroque".[167]
Italy boasts a wide variety of palaces, in various cities, mainly Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, Turin, Bologna and Naples, built in a wide variety of different styles, from Roman, Byzantine, Romanesque, Medieval and Gothic, to Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neo-Classical and Fascism. In Italian, the word "Palazzo" is more broadly used in Italy than its English equivalent “palace”. In Italy, a palazzo is a grand building of some architectural ambition that is the headquarters of a family of some renown or of an institution, or even what the British would call a “block of flats” or a tenement. In Venice, most palaces are referred to as "Ca'", which is short for "Casa", meaning "house" in Italian, for example Ca' Pesaro or Ca' Rezzonico.
Gardens and villas
Gardens of the Villa d'Este.
Villa Torrigiani in Lucca.
Italy has several villas with notable formal gardens, most of which designed as Italian gardens, such as those of Villa d'Este. Their principles are of perfect geometry and symmetry and of imposing order over nature. Italian gardens were influenced by Roman gardening and Italian Renaissance gardening, and have been copied by other courts around Europe over the centuries.
The Italian Renaissance garden emerged in the late fifteenth century at villas in Rome and Florence. Inspired by classical ideals of order and beauty, they were intended to provide a pleasurable view of the garden and the landscape beyond it, for contemplation, and for enjoyment of the sights, sounds and smells of the garden itself.
In the late Renaissance, the gardens became larger, grander and more symmetrical, and were filled with fountains, statues, grottoes, water organs and other features designed to delight their owners and amuse and impress visitors. The style was imitated throughout Europe, influencing the gardens of the French Renaissance and the English garden.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Visual art

Picture gallery with views of ancient Rome (1758), by Italian Rococo artist Giovanni Paolo Pannini.
Over the centuries, Italian art has gone through many stylistic changes. Italian painting is traditionally characterized by a warmth of colour and light, as exemplified in the works of Caravaggio and Titian, and a preoccupation with religious figures and motifs. Italian painting enjoyed preeminence in Europe for hundreds of years, from the Romanesque and Gothic periods, and through the Renaissance and Baroque periods, the latter two of which saw fruition in Italy. Notable artists who fall within these periods include Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, Botticelli, Fra Angelico, Tintoretto, Caravaggio, Bernini, Titian and Raphael.
Thereafter, Italy was to experience a continual subjection to foreign powers which caused a shift of focus to political matters, leading to its decline as the artistic authority in Europe. Not until 20th century Futurism, primarily through the works of Umberto Boccioni and Giacomo Balla, would Italy recapture any of its former prestige as a seminal place of artistic evolution. Futurism was succeeded by the metaphysical paintings of Giorgio de Chirico, who exerted a strong influence on the Surrealists and generations of artists to follow.

Literature

The basis of the modern Italian language was established by the Florentine poet Dante Alighieri, whose greatest work, the Divine Comedy, is considered amongst the foremost literary statements produced in Europe during the Middle Ages. There is no shortage of celebrated literary figures in Italy: Giovanni Boccaccio, Giacomo Leopardi, Alessandro Manzoni, Torquato Tasso, Ludovico Ariosto, and Petrarch, whose best-known vehicle of expression, the sonnet, was invented in Italy.
Prominent philosophers include Giordano Bruno, Marsilio Ficino, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Giambattista Vico. Modern literary figures and Nobel laureates are nationalist poet Giosuè Carducci in 1906, realist writer Grazia Deledda in 1926, modern theatre author Luigi Pirandello in 1936, poets Salvatore Quasimodo in 1959 and Eugenio Montale in 1975, satirist and theatre author Dario Fo in 1997.[168]
Statue of Niccolo Machiavelli at the Uffizi

Theatre

The important Milanese theatre and operahouse La Scala.
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

Italian baroque composer Antonio Vivaldi.
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 sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Italian music.
Italy's most famous composers include the Renaissance composers Palestrina and Monteverdi, the Baroque composers Alessandro Scarlatti, Corelli and Vivaldi, the Classical composers Paganini and Rossini, and the Romantic composers Verdi and 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 late tenor Luciano Pavarotti, Italians have been no less appreciative of their thriving contemporary music scene.
Italy is widely known for being the birthplace of opera.[169] Italian opera was believed to have been founded in the early 1600s, in Italian cities such as Mantua and Venice.[169] Later, works and pieces composed by native Italian composers of the 19th and early 20th centuries, such as Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini, are amongst the most famous operas ever written and today are performed in opera houses across the world. La Scala operahouse in Milan is also renowned as one of the best in the world. Famous Italian opera singers include Enrico Caruso, Alessandro Bonci, the late Luciano Pavarotti, and Andrea Bocelli, to name a few.
Introduced in the early 1920s, jazz took a particularly strong foothold in Italy, and remained popular despite the anti-American cultural policies of the Fascist regime. Today, the most notable centers of jazz music in Italy include Milan, Rome, and Sicily. Later, Italy was at the forefront of the progressive rock movement of the 1970s, with bands like PFM and Goblin. Today, Italian pop music is represented annually with the Sanremo Music Festival, which served as inspiration for the Eurovision song contest, and the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto. Singers such as pop diva Mina, classical crossover artist Andrea Bocelli, Grammy winner Laura Pausini, and European chart-topper Eros Ramazzotti have attained international acclaim.

Cinema

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 long, 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 the World War II.[170]
After the war, Italian film was widely recognised and exported until an artistic decline around the 1980s. World-famous Italian film directors from this period include Vittorio De Sica, Federico Fellini, Sergio Leone, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Michelangelo Antonioni and Dario Argento. Movies include world cinema treasures such as La dolce vita, Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo and Ladri di biciclette. In recent years, the Italian scene has received only occasional international attention, with movies like La vita è bella directed by Roberto Benigni and Il postino with Massimo Troisi.

Science and technology

Through the centuries, Italy has given birth to some notable scientific minds. Amongst them, and perhaps the most famous polymath in history, Leonardo da Vinci made several contributions to a variety of fields including art, biology, and technology. Galileo Galilei was a physicist, mathematician, and astronomer who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations, and support for Copernicanism. The physicist Enrico Fermi, a Nobel prize laureate, was the leader of the team that built the first nuclear reactor and is also noted for his many other contributions to physics, including the co-development of the quantum theory.
A brief overview of some other notable figures includes the astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini, who made many important discoveries about the Solar System; the physicist Alessandro Volta, inventor of the electric battery; the mathematicians Lagrange, Fibonacci, and Gerolamo Cardano, whose Ars Magna is generally recognized as the first modern treatment on mathematics, made fundamental advances to the field; Marcello Malpighi, a doctor and founder of microscopic anatomy; the biologist Lazzaro Spallanzani, who conducted important research in bodily functions, animal reproduction, and cellular theory; the physician, pathologist, scientist, and Nobel laureate Camillo Golgi, whose many achievements include the discovery of the Golgi complex, and his role in paving the way to the acceptance of the Neuron doctrine; and Guglielmo Marconi, who received the Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention of radio.

Sport

Popular sports include football, basketball, volleyball, waterpolo, fencing, Rugby Union, Rugby League, cycling, ice hockey (mainly in Milan, Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto), roller hockey and motor racing. Winter sports are most popular in the northern regions, with Italians competing in international games and Olympic venues. Turin hosted the 2006 Winter Olympic Games. Sports are incorporated into Italian festivities like Palio (see also Palio di Siena), and the gondola race (regatta) that takes place in Venice on the first Sunday of September. Sports venues have extended from the gladiatorial games of Ancient Rome in the Colosseum to the Stadio Olimpico of contemporary Rome, where football clubs compete.
The most popular sport in Italy is football, the Serie A being one of the most famous competitions in the world. Italy's national football team is the second-most-successful team in the world, with four World Cup victories, the first one of which was in 1934. Rugby has gained popularity in Italy, and the Italian rugby union national team takes part in the Six Nations Championship.[171] Cricket is also slowly gaining popularity; the Italian national cricket team is administered by the Federazione Cricket Italiana‎ (Italian Cricket Federation). They are ranked 27th in the world by the International Cricket Council and are ranked fifth amongst European non-Test teams.

Fashion

A Valentino collection.
Italian fashion is regarded as one of the most important in the world, along with French fashion, American fashion, British fashion and Japanese fashion. Milan and Rome are Italy's main capitals, however Florence, Naples, Turin, Venice, Bologna, Genoa and Vicenza are other major centres. According to the 2009 Global Language Monitor, Milan was nominated the true fashion capital of the world, even surpassing other international cities, such as New York, Paris, London and Tokyo, and Rome came 4th.[172] Major Italian fashion labels, such as Gucci, Prada, Versace, Valentino, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Missoni, Fendi, Moschino, Max Mara and Ferragamo, to name a few, are regarded as amongst the finest fashion houses in the world. Also, the fashion magazine Vogue Italia, is considered the most important and prestigious fashion magazine in the world.[173]

Design

Italy is prominent in the field of design, notably interior design, architectural design, industrial design and urban design. Italy has produced some well-known furniture designers, such as Gio Ponti and Ettore Sottsass, and Italian phrases such as "Bel Disegno" and "Linea Italiana" have entered the vocabulary of furniture design.[174] Examples of classic pieces of Italian white goods and pieces of furniture include Zanussi's washing machines and fridges,[175] the "New Tone" sofas by Atrium,[175] and the post-modern bookcase by Ettore Sottsass, inspired by Bob Dylan's song Memphis Blues.[175] Today, Milan and Turin are the nation's leaders in architectural design and industrial design. The city of Milan hosts the FieraMilano, Europe's biggest design fair.[176] Milan also hosts major design and architecture-related events and venues, such as the "Fuori Salone" and the "Salone del Mobile", and has been home to the designers Bruno Munari, Lucio Fontana, Enrico Castellani and Piero Manzoni[177]

Cuisine

Authentic Neapolitan pizza.
Modern Italian cuisine has evolved through centuries of social and political changes, with its roots reaching back to the 4th century BC. Significant change occurred with the discovery of the New World, when vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, and maize became available. However, these central ingredients of modern Italian cuisine were not introduced in scale before the 18th century.[178]
Ingredients and dishes vary by region. However, many dishes that were once regional have proliferated in different variations across the country. Cheese and wine are major parts of the cuisine, playing different roles both regionally and nationally with their many variations and Denominazione di origine controllata (regulated appellation) laws. Coffee, and more specifically espresso, has become highly important to the cultural cuisine of Italy. Some famous dishes and items include pasta, pizza, lasagna, focaccia, and gelato.

International rankings

Organization Survey Ranking
UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites[179] 1 out of 148
WHO (World Health Organization) Healthcare system rankings[180] 2 out of 180
UNTWO (World Tourism Organization) Number of tourists per year rankings[181] 5 out of 58
World Bank, CIA World Factbook, International Monetary Fund GDP nominal rankings[182][183][184] 7 out of 179, 182 and 190
The Economist, International Living Quality-of-life index[9][185] 8 out of 111 according to TE, 10 out of 194 according to IL
Institute for Economics and Peace Global Peace Index[186] 36 out of 144
United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index 18 out of 182
International Monetary Fund GDP per capita (PPP)[187] 27 out of 180
Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 63 out of 180
Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom[188] 74 out of 183
Reporters Without Borders Worldwide Press Freedom Index 49 out of 175
World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 48 out of 133
European countries by press freedom index List of European countries by press freedom index 25 out of 27
Human development Education Index[189] 22 out of 176
Environmental Performance Index 18 out of 30
List of countries by public debt CIA 2008
OECD 2008
IMF 2008
103.7% (6th of World \ 1st of Europe)
113% (1st of Europe)
104.3% (6th of World \ 1st of Europe)
Gender Equity Index GEI 2008 65 out of 89 (89 = best equity Sweden)
Nationmaster Labor strikes[190] 10 out of 27

See also

Notes

1 According to Mitrica, an October 2005 Romanian report estimates that 1,061,400 Romanians are living in Italy, constituting 37.2% of 2.8 million immigrants in that country[191] but it is unclear how the estimate was made, and therefore whether it should be taken seriously.
2 See also (in Italian): L. Lepschy e G. Lepschy, La lingua italiana: storia, varietà d'uso, grammatica, Milano, Bompiani
3 Official French maps show the border detouring south of the main summit, and claim the highest point in Italy is Mont Blanc de Courmayeur (4,748 m), but these are inconsistent with an 1861 convention and topographic watershed analysis.

Bibliography

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  • Miller, Judith (2005). Furniture: world styles from classical to contemporary. DK Publishing. ISBN 075661340X. 
  • Italy. DK. 2005. ISBN 1405307811. 

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External links

Country profiles
General
Government
Public institutions
History and prehistory

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

For wheresoe'er I turn my ravish'd eyes,
Gay gilded scenes and shining prospects rise,
Poetic fields encompass me around,
And still I seem to tread on classic ground.
Italy is a country in the south of Europe.

Sourced

  • L'Italia farà da sè.
    • Translation: "Italy will take care of itself."
    • Italian proverb; a common expression when Italy was in the process of reunification.
  • For wheresoe'er I turn my ravish'd eyes,
    Gay gilded scenes and shining prospects rise,
    Poetic fields encompass me around,
    And still I seem to tread on classic ground.
  • Gli Italiani tutti ladroni.
  • Non tutti, ma buona parte.
    • Not all but a good part.
    • Supposed response by a lady who overheard him.
    • Reported in Samuel Taylor, Biographia Literaria, Satyrane's Letters No 2 (Ed 1870). Also reported as "I Francesci son tutti ladri", "Non tutti ma - buona parte" in Pasquin, when the French were in possession of Rome; see Catherine Taylor's Letters from Italy Vol I P 239 (Ed 1840) Quoted also by Charlotte Eaton, Rome in the Nineteenth Cent Vol II P 120 (Ed 1852).
  • Italy, my Italy!
    Queen Mary's saying serves for me
    (When fortune's malice Lost her Calais)
    "Open my heart and you will see Graved inside of it, 'Italy.'"
  • Italia, Italia, O tu cui feo la sorte,
    Dono infelice di bellezza, ond' hai
    Funesta dote d'infiniti guai
    Che in fronte scritti per gran dogha porte
    • Italia! O Italia! thou who hast
      The fatal gift of beauty, which became
      A funeral dower of present woes and past,
      On thy sweet brow is sorrow plough'd by shame,
      And annals graved in characters of flame
    • Vicenzo Filicaja, Italia, English rendering by Lord Byron, Childe Harold, Canto IV, St 42.
  • Beyond the Alps lies Italy.
    • James William Foley, Graduation Time Expression found in Livy Ab Urbe Bk 21 30.
  • In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed - they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love and five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock!
  • Throughout all Italy beside,
    What does one find, but Want and Pride?
    Farces of Superstitious folly,
    Decay, Distress and Melancholy:
    The Havock of Despotick Power,
    A Country rich, its owners poor;
    Unpeopled towns, and Lands untilled,
    Bodys uncloathed, and mouths unfilled.
    The nobles miserably great,
    In painted Domes and empty state,
    Too proud to work, too poor to eat,
    No arts the meaner sort employ,
    They nought approve, nor ought enjoy.
    Each blown from misery grows a Saint,
    He prays from Idleness and fast from Want.
    • John Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey (1729), quoted in Jeremy Black, The British and the Grand Tour, (1985), p. 174
  • A man who has not been in Italy, is always conscious of an inferiority, from his not having seen what it is expected a man should see.
  • L'ltalie est un nom geographique.
    • Italy is only a geographical expression
    • Klemens Wenzel, Prince von Metternich to Lord Palmerston (1847); reported in his Letter to Count Prokesch-Osten (November 19, 1849), Correspondence of Prokesch II 343; First used by Metternich in his Memorandum to the Great Powers (August 2, 1814).
  • On desperate seas long wont to roam,
    Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
    Thy naiad airs have brought me home
    To the glory that was Greece
    And the grandeur that was Rome
  • Italy, and the spring and first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy.
  • Some jay of Italy,
    Whose mother was her painting, hath betray’d him:
    Poor I am stale, a garment out of fashion.
  • Report of fashions in proud Italy, Whose manners still our apish nation Limps after in base imitation.
  • How beautiful is sunset when the glow
    Of Heaven descends upon a land like thee,
    Thou Paradise of exiles, Italy!
  • Comme on craint peu de choquer la vanité, on arrive fort vite en Italie au ton de l'intimité, et à dire des choses personnelles.
    • Translated: "Because one has little fear of shocking vanity in Italy, people adopt an intimate tone very quickly and discuss personal things".
    • Stendhal, La Chartreuse de Parme (The Charterhouse of Parma) (1839), Chapter 6.
  • Enough, enough, enough! Say no more! Lump the whole thing! say the Creator made Italy from designs by Michael Angelo!
    • Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad. Twain humorously depicts tourists being told that most every monument in Italy was designed or painted by "Michael Angelo", oblivious to the historic significance of Michelangelo.
  • You may have the universe if I may have Italy.
    • Giuseppe Verdi, reported in Michael Angelo Musmanno, The Story of the Italians in America (1965), p. 255.

See also

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:
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Look up Italy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Italy
Italy (Italian: Italia) [1] is a large country in Southern Europe. It is home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites - art and monuments are everywhere around the country. It is also famous worldwide for its cuisine, its fashion, luxury sports cars and motorcycles, as well as for its beautiful coasts, lakes and mountains (the Alps and Appennines).
Location
Image:LocationItaly.png
Flag
Image:it-flag.png
Quick Facts
Capital Rome
Government republic
Currency euro € (EUR)
Area 301,230 km2
Population 59,619,290 (Jan 2008 est.)
Language Italian (official); minor German, French and Slovene-speaking communities
Religion predominately Roman Catholic with mature Protestant and Jewish communities and a growing Muslim immigrant community
Electricity 230V/50Hz (European or Italian plug)
Calling Code +39
Internet TLD .it
Time Zone UTC+1
Two independent mini-states lie within Italy: San Marino and Vatican City. While technically not part of the European Union, both of these states are also part of the Schengen Region and the European Monetary Union.

Understand

Italy is largely a peninsula situated on the Mediterranean Sea, bordering France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia in the north. The country, which is a boot-shaped, is surrounded by the Ligurian Sea, the Sardinian Sea, and the Tyrrhenian Sea in the west, the Sicilian and Ionian Sea in the South, and Adriatic Sea in the East. Italian is the official language spoken by the majority of the population, but as you travel throughout the country, you will find there are several distinct Italian dialects corresponding to the region you are in. Italy has a very diverse landscape, but can be primarily described as mountainous including the Alps and the Apennies mountain ranges that run through the vast majority of it. Italy has two major islands as part of its country: Sardinia, which is an island off the west coast of Italy, and Sicily, which is at the southern tip (the "toe") of the boot. Italy has a population of 59,619,290, and the capital city of Italy is Rome.

History

There have certainly been humans on the Italian peninsula for at least 200,000 years. Prior to the Romans the Etruscan Civilization lasted from prehistory to the founding of Rome. Etruscans flourished in the centre and north of what is now Italy, particularly in areas now represented by northern Lazio, Umbria and Tuscany. Rome was dominated by Etruscans until the Romans sacked the nearby Etruscan city of Veii in 396 BC. In the 8th and 7th centuries BC Greek colonies were established in Sicily and the southern part of the Italy and the Etruscan culture rapidly became influenced by that of Greece. This is well illustrated at some excellent Etruscan museums; Etruscan burial sites are also well worth visiting.
Ancient Rome was at first a small village founded around the 8th century BC. In time it grew into an empire covering the whole Mediterranean and as far north as Scotland. Its steady decline began in the 2nd century AD, and the empire finally broke into two parts in 285 AD: the Western Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire in the East. The western part, under attack from the Goths, finally collapsed, leaving the Italian peninsula divided. After this Rome passed into the so-called Dark Ages. The city itself was sacked by Saracens in 846.
In the 6th century AD a Germanic tribe, the Lombards, arrived from the north; hence the present-day northern region of Lombardy. The balance of power between them and other invaders such as the Byzantines, Arabs, and Muslim Saracens, with the Holy Roman Empire and the Papacy meant that it was not possible to unify Italy, although later arrivals such as the Carolingians and the Hohenstaufens managed to impose some control. In the south the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, a result of unification of the Kingdom of Sicily with the Kingdom of Naples in 1442, had its capital in Naples. In the north Italy was a collection of small independent city states and kingdoms and would remain so until the 19th century. People looked to strong men who could bring order to the cities and this is how dynasties such as the Medici in Florence developed. In turn, these families became patrons of the arts, allowing Italy to become the birthplace of the Renaissance, with the emergence of men of genius such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.
From 1494 onwards Italy suffered a series of invasions from the French and Spanish. The north became dominated by the Austrians.
The Kingdom of Italy lasted from 1861 to 1946. Giuseppe Garibaldi led a drive for unification in southern Italy, while the north wanted to establish a united Italian state under its rule. The northern kingdom successfully challenged the Austrians and established Turin as capital of the newly formed state. In 1866, Victor Emmanuel II managed to annex Venice. In 1870, shortly after France abandoned it, Italy's capital was moved to Rome.
In October 1922, a small National Fascist Party led by Benito Mussolini attempted a coup with its "March on Rome" which resulted in the King forming an alliance with Mussolini. A pact with Germany was concluded by Mussolini in 1936, and a second in 1938. During the Second World War Italy was invaded by the Allies in June 1943, leading to the collapse of the fascist regime and the arrest, flight, eventual re-capture and death of Mussolini. In September 1943, Italy surrendered. However, fighting continued on its territory for the rest of the war, with the allies fighting those Italian fascists who did not surrender, as well as German forces.
In 1946, King Umberto II, was forced to abdicate and Italy became a republic. In the 1950s Italy became a member of NATO and allied itself with the United States. The Marshall Plan helped revive the Italian economy which, until the 1960s, enjoyed a period of sustained economic growth In 1957, Italy became a founding member of the European Economic Community.
From the late 1960s till the late 1980s the country experienced an economic crisis. There was a constant fear, both inside and outside Italy (particularly in the USA), that the Communist Party, which regularly polled over 20% of the vote, would one day form a government and all sorts of dirty tricks were concocted to prevent this. From 1992 to the present day Italy has faced massive government debt and extensive corruption. Scandals have involved all major parties, but especially the Christian Democrats and the Socialists, which were both dissolved. The 1994 elections put media magnate Silvio Berlusconi into the Prime Minister's seat. He has twice been defeated but he emerged triumphant again in the 2008 election.
Despite Unification having lasted for close to 150 years there remain significant divisions in Italy. The northern part of the country is richer and more industrialized than the south and many northerners object to being effectively asked to subsidise southerners. The Northern League political party pushes for greater autonomy for the north and for reduced fund transfers to the south. On one thing the people of the north and the south can agree: none of them likes paying for the enormous bureaucracy that is based in Rome.

Climate

The climate of Italy is that of typical Mediterranean countries. Italy has hot, dry summers, with July being the hottest month of the year. In the north, they experience cold winters often with snow, as compared to mild ones in the south. Some regions in the south of Italy can experience no rainfall for the whole summer season. The long mountain ranges in Italy impact the weather significantly, as you can experience very different weather going from town to town.

Literature

Non-Guidebooks about Italy or by Italian writers.
  • The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone — a biography of Michelangelo that also paints a lovely portrait of Tuscany and Rome
  • Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture by Ross King — a compelling story of one of the greatest structural engineering achievements of the Renaissance. The story of the building of the immense dome on top of the basilica in Florence, Italy.
  • Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes — an account of a woman who buys and restores a holiday home in Cortona, Italy. Full of local flavor and a true taste of Tuscany.
  • The Sea and Sardinia by D.H. Lawrence — describes a brief excursion undertaken by Lawrence and Frieda, his wife aka Queen Bee, from Taormina in Sicily to the interior of Sardinia. They visited Cagliari, Mandas, Sorgono, and Nuoro. Despite the brevity of his visit, Lawrence distills an essence of the island and its people that is still recognisable today. Also by D.H. Lawrence is Etruscan Places, recording his impressions of Cerveteri, Tarquinia, Vulci and Volterra.
  • Italian neighbours and A season with Verona by Tim Parks. Two portraits of nowdays life in Italy as seen by an English writer who decided to live just outside Verona.
  • Winter Stars by Beatrice Lao — poems born between the Alps and the Tyrrhenian by the oriental poetess, 988979991X
  • The Travels of Marco Polo by Marco Polo — stories about China by the Venetian traveller
Regions of Italy
Regions of Italy
Northwest Italy (Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy and Valle d'Aosta)
Home of the Italian Riviera, including Portofino, and of Cinque Terre. World class cities like Turin, the manufacturing capital of Italy, Milan, the business capital, and the important port of Genoa share the region's visitors with beautiful landscapes like the Lake Como area.
Northeast Italy (Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto)
From the famous canals of Venice to impressive mountains such as the Dolomites in the Italian Alps and first-class ski resorts like Cortina d'Ampezzo these four regions offer much to see and do. The food and wine are great, too. Alto-Adige offers an Austrian-flair.
Central Italy (Lazio, Abruzzo, Marche, Tuscany and Umbria)
Breathes history and art. Rome boasts the remaining wonders of the Roman Empire and some of the world's best known landmarks such as the Colosseum. Florence, cradle of the Renaissance, is Tuscany's top attraction, whereas nearby cities like Siena, Pisa and Lucca have much to offer to those looking for the country's rich history and cultural heritage. Umbria's population is small but it has many important cities such as Perugia and Assisi
Southern Italy (Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania and Molise)
Bustling Naples, the dramatic ruins of Pompeii, the romantic Amalfi Coast and Ravello, laidback Apulia and stunning beaches of Calabria, as well as up-and-coming agritourism help making Italy's less visited region a great place to explore.
Sicily
The beautiful island famous for archaeology, seascape and some of the best cuisine the Italian kitchen has to offer.
Sardinia
Large island some 250 kilometers west of the Italian coastline. Beautiful scenery, lovely seas and beaches: a major holiday destination for mainland Italians including Prime Minister Berlusconi, who has a large villa there.

Cities

There are hundreds of Italian cities, here are nine of its most famous:
Florence and the River Arno, with Ponte Vecchio in the foreground
Florence and the River Arno, with Ponte Vecchio in the foreground
  • Rome (Roma) — the capital, both of Italy and, in the past, of the Roman Empire until 285 AD; home of the Roman Catholic Church (the Vatican).
  • Bologna — home of the first university in the western world. This city is filled with history, culture, and technology. Bologna is well known for its food. One of the world's great university cities.
  • Florence (Firenze) — city of "rebirth". This city is known for its architecture and art and for the impact it has had throughout the world. Florence is also home to Michelangelo's famous statue of David. Home to many other well-known museums of art.
  • Genoa (Genova) — it was one of the most important medieval maritime republic. Very wealthy and diverse city. Its port brings in tourism and trade, along with art and architecture. Genoa is birthplace of Columbus and jeans.
  • Milan (Milano) — known as one of the main fashion cities of the world, it's also the most important centre of trade and business in all the country.
  • Naples (Napoli) — is one of the oldest cities of the western world, with a historic city centre that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Naples is also near the famous volcano Vesuvius and the ruins of the ancient Roman towns of Pompeii and Ercolano.
  • Pisa — one the medieval maritime republic, is home to the unmistakable image of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Very touristy city. Streets are filled with vendors who will try to sell you anything. Famous too for the University "La Normale".
  • Turin (Torino) — first capital of Italy, after being the capital of Kingdom of Sardinia (actually Piedmont-centred), what had promoted national reunification. Home of the FIAT, the most important industry in Italy,. Turin is a well known industrial city, based on the aerospace industry and, of course, automobile industry. Home of the 2006 Winter Olympics.
  • Venice (Venezia) — known for its history (the most important, beside Genoa and Pisa, of the medieval maritime republics), art, and world famous canals. One of the most beautiful cities in Italy; it is home to Island of Murano, which is famous for its hand-blown glass. St. Mark's Square is where most of the tourists are and can get very crowded in the summertime.
Praja a Mare, Calabria
Praja a Mare, Calabria
  • Amalfi Coast and Sorrento. Stunningly beautiful rocky coastline, so popular that private cars are banned in the summer months. Sorrento is a good base for ferries to Capri (see below).
  • Calabria and its pearl Praja a Mare - the italian best kept secret, with the stunning Dino Island, the Blu Grotto, and the Arcomagno bays
  • Capri and Ischia - the famed islands in the Bay of Naples
  • Cinque Terre - five tiny, scenic, towns strung along the steep vineyard-laced coast of Liguria
  • Courmayeur - offers the attractions of a large international resort for skiers and mountaineers
  • Elba - the largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago, and the third largest island in Italy after Sicily and Sardinia
  • Rimini and the Romagna Riviera, Italy's most famous and visited beach tourism locations.
  • Vatican City - the independent city-state and seat of the Pope, head of the Roman Catholic Church
  • Lake Garda (Lago di Garda) - A beautiful lake in Northern Italy
  • Italian Alps, including The Dolomites - Some of the most beautiful mountains include Mount Blanc/Bianco and Mount Rosa.

National Parks

Alps
  • Gran Paradiso, region Piemont, Aosta Valley (first national park in Italy, founded 1972, former hunting area of the Izalien kings, area: 70.000 ha), 011-8606221, [2].  edit
  • Stilfserjoch National Park, region Lombardia, Trentino-South Tyrol (founded 1935, area: 135.000 ha), 0342-910100, [3].  edit
  • Valgrande National Park, region Piemont (founded 1991), 0323-557960, [4].  edit
  • Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park, Region Giulia-Venezia (founded 1988), 0439-3328, [5].  edit
Apennines
  • Abruzzzi Lazio Molise National Park, regiones Abruzzi, Lazio, Molise (founded 1923), 0863-910715, [6].  edit
  • Majella National Park, Region Abruzzi (founded 1991), 0871-80371 (fax: 0871-800340), [7].  edit
  • Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park, regions Abruzzi, Lazio. Marche (founded 2001, area. 150.000 ha, with the highest momtain in the Apennines Corno Grande, 2.912 meters, and the southernmost glacier in Europe, Calderone), 0862 60521, [8].   edit
  • Toscana Emilia Apennines National Park, (founded 2001, area 26.000 ha, with extensive beech-tree forests), 0522 891200-891585 (fax: 0522-891587), [9].  edit
  • Forests of Casentino, Monti Falterona und Campigna National Park, regions Emilia Romagna, Toscana (founded 1989, area: 36.400 ha), 0575 50301 (fax: 0575 504497), [10].   edit
  • Sibllini Mountains National Park, regions Marche, Umbria (founded 1988, area: 71.000 ha), 0737 971711 (fax: 0737 972707), [11].  edit
  • Cilento und Vallo di Diano National Park, region Campania (founded 1991, area: 180.000 ha), 0974 (fax: 0974 7199217), [12].  edit
  • Mount Vesuvius National Park, region Campania (founded 1991, area: 8480 ha, Mount Vesuvius being the only active vulcano in Europe), 0871 7710911, [13].  edit
  • Pollino National Park, regions Basilicata, Calabria (founded 1988, area: 192.000 ha), 0973 661692 (fax: 0973 667802), [14].  edit
  • Calabria National Park, region Calabria (founded 1968, area: 12.700 ha), 0984 71093, [15].  edit
  • Aspromonte National Park, region Calabria (founded 1989, area: 78.000 ha), 0965 743060 (fax: 0695 734026), [16].  edit
Coasts and Islands
  • Cinque Terre National Park, region Liguria (founded 1999, area: 3.850 ha), 0187 760000 (fax: 0187 760061), [17].  edit
  • Circeo National Park, region Lazio (founded 1934, area: 8.400 ha), 0773 544385, [18].  editprice=""></see>
  • La Maddalena National Park (Region Sardinien), (gegründet 1994, Fläche: 5.130 ha Land, 15.000 ha Meer), 0789 720044 (fax: 0789 720050), [19].  edit
  • Asinara National Park, region Sardinia (founded 1997, area: 5.350 ha land, 21.800 ha sea), 079 503388 (fax: 079 501415), [20].  edit
  • Gargano National Park, region Puglia (founded 1991, area: 120.000 ha), 0884 568911 (fax: 0884 561648), [21].  edit

Get in

Italy is a member of the Schengen Agreement. For EU, EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) or Swiss citizens, an officially approved ID card (or a passport) is sufficient for entry. In no case will they need a visa for a stay of any length. Others will generally need a passport for entry.
There are no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented the treaty - the European Union (except Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom), Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen member is valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. But be careful: Not all EU members have signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen members are part of the European Union.
Airports in Europe are thus divided into "Schengen" and "non-Schengen" sections, which effectively act like "domestic" and "international" sections elsewhere. If you are flying from outside Europe into one Schengen country and continuing to another, you will clear Immigration and Customs at the first country and then continue to your destination with no further checks. Travel between a Schengen member and a non-Schengen country will result in the normal border checks. Note that regardless of whether you travelling within the Schengen area or not, some airlines will still insist on seeing your ID card or passport.
Keep in mind that the counter begins once you enter any country in the Schengen Area and is not reset by leaving a specific Schengen country for another Schengen country, or vice-versa.
As of January 2010 only the citizens of the following non-EU/EEA/Swiss countries do not need a visa for entry into the Schengen Area; note that they must not stay longer than three months in half a year and must not work while in the EU: Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Macedonia*, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro*, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Serbia*/**, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, United States, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela, additionally persons holding British National (Overseas), Hong Kong SAR or Macau SAR passports.
Note that
  • while British subjects with the right of abode in the United Kingdom and British Overseas Territories citizens connected to Gibraltar are considered "United Kingdom nationals for European Union purposes" and therefore eligible for unlimited access to the Schengen Area,
  • British Overseas Territories citizens without the right of abode in the United Kingdom and British subjects without the right of abode in the United Kingdom as well as British Overseas citizens and British protected persons in general do require visas.
However, all British Overseas Territories citizens except those solely connected to the Cyprus Sovereign Base Areas are eligible for British citizenship and thereafter unlimited access to the Schengen Area.
Further note that
(*) Macedonian, Montenegrin and Serbian citizens need a biometric passport to enjoy visa-free travel and
(**) Serbian citizens with passports issued by the Serbian Coordination Directorate (Serbs residing in Kosovo) still do need a visa.

By plane

Italy has a national airline, Alitalia [22], as well as several smaller carriers, such as Meridiana [23] or Air One [24]. In January 2009 Air One and Alitalia merged, although for the time being at least they keep their separate identities. As a result of this merger, Germany's Lufthansa started an Italian subsidiary [25] that tries to become a main rival for Alitalia with a hub in Milan.
Italy is one of the main battle grounds for European low cost airlines several routes to/from and within Italy are offered. Fhe larger airports are, of course, served by the major European airlines.
Intercontinental airlines mainly arrive in Milan and Rome. Although a major tourist destination, Rome is relatively poorly serviced by long-distance flights compared to London, Frankfurt, Paris, Madrid or even Milan.
Most of mid-range international flights arrive to the following Italian cities:
  • Milan - with 2 airports: Malpensa (MXP) and Linate (LIN); in addition, Bergamo (BGY - Orio al Serio) is sometimes referred to as "Milan Bergamo"
  • Rome - with two airports: Fiumicino (FCO - Leonardo Da Vinci) and Ciampino (CIA) for budget airlines
  • Bologna (BLQ – Guglielmo Marconi)
  • Pisa (PSA - Galileo Galilei)
  • Turin (TRN – Sandro Pertini)
  • Bari (BRI - Karol Wojtyla or Palese)
  • Genoa (GOA - Cristoforo Colombo)

By car

Italy borders on France, Austria, Switzerland and Slovenia. All borders are open (without passport/customs checks), but cars can be stopped behind the border for random checks. Switzerland is now part of the Schengen zone, and ended systematic identity checks for travellers on land borders from December 2008.

By bus

With Eurolines [26]. There are regular buses between Ljubljana, Slovenian coastal towns and Istria (Croatia) and Trieste (Italy). These services are cheap and from Trieste onward connections with the rest of Italy are plentiful.

By boat

There are several ferries departing from Greece, Albania, Montenegro and Croatia. Most of them arrive at Venice, Ancona, Bari and Brindisi.
Some regular ferry services connect the island of Corsica in France to Genoa, Livorno, Civitavecchia, Naples and North of Sardinia. Barcelona is connected to Civitavecchia and to Genoa.
Some regular ferry services connect Sicily and Naples to some North African harbours.
There is a hydrofoil service running from Pozzallo on the south-eastern coast of Sicily to Malta.
There is a year-round service between Trieste and Albania and summer services between Trieste and Piran (Slovenia) and Porec and Rovinj in Croatian Istria. The service between Trieste and Rovinj takes less than 2 hours which is quicker than the bus service.

Get around

By train

The Italian rail system has different train types: TBiz, EurostarItalia, Eurostar Italia AV (for Alta velocita or high speed with the ESAV logo), Eurostar City Italia, IntercityPlus, Intercity, Espresso, Interregionale and Regionale, Eurostar Italia and TBiz being the classiest. Generally speaking, for a given distance each tier costs from 40% to 100% more than the one below it. The train cars used by the TBiz and Eurostar Italia services are far newer than those used by the other types, but are not necessarily more comfortable; however many of them provide power sockets which may be useful if you plan on working on the train. On the other hand the cars used by Intercity trains might be split up into distinct, six-seater compartments, which is really nice when you're travelling in groups. A new level has been introduced recently. It is called Intercity-plus and it is just a way to have passengers pay more than the intercity fares. Recently, many of Interegionale trains have been classified as Intercity.
The main practical difference between train types is reliability. Intercity services are generally reliable, but if you need to catch a flight, for example, it might be better to pay extra for the Eurostar Italia. Interregionale and Regionale are less reliable, and stop in many more stations along the way. The other big difference between TBiz, Eurostar Italia, Intercity Plus and Intercity with Interregionale, Regionale and Espresso services is that on the best ones seating reservation is compulsory, where every passenger has a seat allocated to him/her. This means that the train will never (theoretically) be packed with an impossible number of people, but it also means you will need to purchase tickets in advance. Actually, many passengers with tickets for other trains that take a wrong one will have to pay the cheap fine for not having a seat reservation. As a result, on major routes or peak hours, expect to find your seat taken, in this case usually a brief discussion is enough to get your seat. During commuter hours, on major north-south routes during the holidays, or before and after large political demonstrations, trains on the lower train types can become extremely full, to the point where it gets very uncomfortable, in which case you could find yourself sitting on a tiny fold out flap in the hallway, where you'll have to move for everyone passing by.
The pricier train types are usually faster, but there is not a consistent speed difference between trains. The main difference being the number of stops made along the same routes. On some routes, the Eurostar will cut the travel time in half, but on others all trains go more or less at the same speed, and taking the Eurostar Italia might be a waste of money. Just check the Trenitalia website [27] or the printed schedule, usually located near the entrance to each platform, to see how long the trip will take.
On long routes, such as Milan - Rome or Milan - Reggio Calabria, Trenitalia operates special night trains Treni Notte. They depart around 22.00 and arrive in the morning. Depending on the train, you may be able to choose between normal seats, couchette and sleeper cabins of different categories. Seats are cheapest, but even sleeper cabins are not prohibitively expensive and are a very relaxing way to travel long distances. Also keep in mind some trains do not provide air conditioning so bring your own water bottle during the hot summer months.
On the train schedules displayed at each station, every train is listed in different colours (i.e. blue, red, green). The arrival times are listed in parentheses next to the names of each destination. One thing to watch out for is that certain trains only operate seasonally, or for certain time periods (for example, during holidays).
The lines to buy tickets can be very long, and slow, so get to the station early. There are touch-screen ticket machines which are very useful, efficient, and multilingual, but there are never that many, and the lines for those can be very long too.
You can also buy tickets online on the Trenitalia [28] website; you will receive a code (codice di prenotatione (PNR)) that is used to pick up the ticket from a ticket machine in the station ("Self Service"). For some (but not all) trains you can also choose a ticketless option, where you print out the ticket yourself. See also below at Trenitalia Ticketless. You can also choose an option to have a "proper" receipt printed on the train, should you need one. By default the site will only show the "best" (usually more expensive) connections - you may select to "show all connections" to see if there are slower but cheaper connections available.
Eurostar trains can fill up, so if you're on a tight schedule you should buy those tickets in advance. In general, you should buy the tickets before boarding the train. The Italian Rail recently (end of 2007) started a campaign against fare evasion, and introduced heftier fines (starting at €50). If you're really running late and you have no ticket, it's probably best to directly talk with the conductor ('il controllore or il capotreno) outside the train when boarding.
Remember that you must validate the ticket before boarding, by stamping it in one of the yellow boxes (marked Convalida). Travelling with an unstamped ticket is technically the same as travelling without ticket. It is quite important not to forget to validate your ticket as the conductors are generally not tolerant in this particular matter.
The cheapest way to travel in a region is to buy a zone ticket card. A chart displayed near the validating machine tells you how many zones you must pay between stations. To buy a zone card for the next region you would have to get off the train at the last station and because the stops are so short you would have to board the next train (usually in about 1 hour).
As of January 10, 2005 a smoking ban in public places went into effect in Italy. You will be subject to fines for smoking on any Italian train.
There are special deals offered too...some of them are reserved to foreign tourist and others are available to locals. Some deals are passes that allow travel during a chosen period, while other special offers are normal tickets sold at decent prices with some restrictions. Before you choose to buy a pass, check first if it is cheaper than buying a normal ticket (or better, a discounted normal ticket, if available).
If you are travelling a lot, and you're not Italian, you can get a TRENITALIA PASS: you buy a number of days of travel to be used within 2 months, however you still have to pay a supplement on the compulsory reservation services, i.e. TBiz, Eurostar Italia, Intercity Plus and Intercity which will between EUR 5.00 and EUR 25.00 depending on the train type. Details are on the Trenitalia website [29], and also on RailChoice website at [30].

Trenitalia Ticketless

Trenitalia's Ticketless option is only available for single direct trips when booked online. You can book a combined trip comprising more than one train, but then the only option is Self Service, meaning you must pick up the printed ticket from a machine.
A workaround is to book each train segment separately and choose the Ticketless option for each - the total cost is the same.
The Self Service option requires you do perform steps:
1. pay online for the train voyage and get a PNR via email
2. before departure queue at the Self Service machine and get a printed ticket
3. queue at the counter and get a receipt for your ticket
4. get on the train
Step 3 is not required for legally getting on the train, but without a receipt you will not be able to claim expenses from your employer or from any tax authority.
Keep in mind that sometimes: the machines are out of order; the queue at the counter is very long and slow moving.

By car

Italy has a well-developed system of highways in the northern side of the country while in the south it's a bit worse for quality and extent. Every highway is identified by an A followed by a number on a green backdrop. Most of the highways (autostrade) are toll roads. Some have toll stations giving you access to a section (particularly the tangenziali of Naples, Rome, and Milan, for example), but generally, most have entrance and exit toll stations. Don't lose your entrance ticket, for if you do, you will be charged for the longest distance (example: if you are on A1 Milano-Napoli at the Milano toll station you'll be charged for the entire 700km distance). All the blue lanes (marked "Viacard") of toll stations accept major credit cards as well as pre-paid card (Viacard) that you can buy at tobacconist, Autogrill, or gas stations.
Many Italians use an electronic pay-toll device, and there are reserved lanes marked in Yellow with the sign "Telepass" or a simply "T". Driving through those lanes (controlled by camera system) without the device will result in a fine and a payment of the toll for the longest distance. Due to agreement with other countries, if you're foreigner, you'll pay also extra cost for locating you in your country.
Even if speeding is very common on autostrade,(although lot less than in the past) be aware that there are a number of automatic and almost invisible systems to punish speeding and hazardous driving, also Italian Highway Patrol (Polizia Stradale) has several unmarked cars equipped with speed radars and camera systems. If you don't know the road very well you should probably keep to a reasonable speed.
Since 2006, several sections of the italian Highways are equipped with an automatic system called SICVE or TUTOR that check the average speed of the vehicles over a long distance (5/10 km), and the coverage is continuously improved (at the moment, signs are posted at the beginning of the section covered - full list of sections covered is here [31]).
A good clue of a nearby check system is when cars around you suddenly reduce speed. If you see a lot of cars keeping themselves just under the limit and nobody overtaking, you'd better do the same. Driving outside an autostrada, when cars coming in the opposite direction are flashing lights to you, you're probably driving towards a speed check.
Note that common use of flashlights may be different from your country. Flashing lights may be meant either as a warning to give way or as an invitation to go first, depending on the situation: so, please, be extremely careful in order to avoid any problem.
Speed limits are:
  • 130 km/h on highways (autostrade) (110 km/h in case of rain);
  • 110 km/h on freeways (superstrade);
  • 90 km/h on single-lane roads;
  • 50 km/h inside cities.
Italian laws allow a 5% (minumum 5 km/h) tolerance on local speed limit. Fines are generally very expensive.
Motorbikes should drive always with the headlights on, for other vehicles that applies only outside cities and on autostrade.
Drunk driving is a controversial issue. The tolerated limit is 0.50g/L in blood; being above this limit punishable by a heavy fine, licence revocation and jail time, but drunk driving is still rather common.
After several deadly accidents involving drunk drivers the checks are becoming more and more frequent and as of January 2009 the Government was planning to reduce the limit to 0.20g/L or even to 0.0g/L.
All passengers are required to wear their seat belt and children under 10 must use the back seat. Unless clearly posted on the road you are using, you are supposed to yield to any vehicle coming from your right from another public thoroughfare. Signposts used in Italy are patterned according to EU recommendations and use mostly pictograms (not text) but there are minor differences (example: highway (Autostrade) directions are written on a green background while the white stands for local roads and blue for other roads).
Avoid using the blue roads for long distances. While autostrade may be expensive, they significantly decrease the time it takes to travel from one place to another, as blue roads often oblige you to drive through several cities and villages.
As can be expected, fuel is considerably more expensive than in North America and Japan, but on par with most of the rest of western Europe. Expect to pay about €1.25 per liter for fuel.
Many tourists report [32] that they got fined (about €100) for entering a ZTL [33] (zona a traffico limitato; Limited Traffic Zone) unknowingly. ZTLs [34] are restricted areas in many Italian cities where vehicles are not permitted except for limited reasons between certain hours. The entrance to a ZTL is marked by signs and cameras, which go easily unnoticed by tourists driving a car. They are traps for tourists renting a car that end up receiving one or more tickets up to a year later and finding out that the fine was doubled just because of the paper work needed to send the papers abroad. Also the renting companies may charge from 15 to 50 euros to give the driver details to the police. So beware a fine might add up to 200 euros easily.
Be aware that if traveling between Trieste and Slovenia that a 'vignette' pass is required to drive on Slovenia's highways and costs 15 € for a one week pass.

By bus

Buy town bus tickets from corner stores and other shops before boarding. The payment system for most mass transit in Italy (trains, city buses, subway) is based on voluntary payment combined with sporadic enforcement. Specifically, you buy a ticket which can be used at any time (for that level of service, anyway) and when you use it you validate the ticket by sticking it into a machine that stamps a date on it. Once in a while (with varying frequency depending on the mode of transportation) someone will ask you for your ticket and if you don't have one you get a fine, and theoretically (sometimes happens, if a fraud is suspected) you can be asked to present to the Police for a formal report. Usually ticket inspectors aren't very sympathetic, especially in northern Italy. In almost every city there's a different pricing scheme, so check in advance ticket formulas and availability.
For tourists it may be very convenient to buy daily (or multi-day) tickets that allow you to travel as much as you want in a single (or more) day. Every major city also has some type of City Card, a fixed-fee card allowing you to travel on local public transportation and visit a number of museums and giving you discounts in shops, hotels and restaurants.
Check for both these possibilities at local Tourist Offices or on the city's website (which is often of the form www.comune.cityname.it as for example www.comune.roma.it).

By thumb

Hitchhiking in Italy is related with the hippies and "on the road" kind of culture. Therefore, it is considered out-dated and useless. You will rarely find Italians hitchhiking unless there's a serious problem with the bus or other means of transportation. Hitchhiking in the summer in touristy areas works okay because you'll get rides from Northern European tourists, and it works okay in very rural areas as long as there is consistent traffic (because you're still playing the odds), but hitchhiking near large cities or along busy routes is extremely frustrating. Hitchhiking is not recommended for women travelling alone. Hitchhiking along expressways and highways is forbidden. Off the Autostrada things are also a bit difficult: Italians are generally very friendly and open people, but they're less likely to pick up hitchhikers than anyone else in the world. It is easier to hitchhike out of the Bronx than it is to hitchhike in Italy.

By boat

Approaching Italy by sea can be a great experience and is a good alternative to traditional onshore “tours”. A yacht charter to Italy is a fulfilling way to experience the country. Although the yacht charter industry is smaller than one would expect for this incredibly popular tourist destination, there are many reasons to choose a yacht over a more conventional onshore approach. The Italian coast, like the French coast, attracts luxury yacht charters of the highest standards. “Touring” Italy from a private yacht is surprisingly convenient and comfortable. Italy’s dramatic coastline is best appreciated from the sea and the Italians know it! You may take a swim whenever you like, and many of the most famous sights are within easy reach of the seashore. Cruising on a private yacht also offers you a certain relief from the crowds and traffic that are traditionally unavoidable in Italy’s most popular destinations. There are major distinct nautical regions in Italy: Tuscany, Amalfi Coast, Sardinia and Sicily. Each has its own flavor and focus. Be sure to plan your itinerary carefully as each region is rewarding in its own particular way.

Talk

Not surprisingly, Italian is the language spoken by the vast majority of Italians. You'll want a good phrasebook if you're going anywhere remote, although this may not help as much in the smaller towns and villages, as many areas still speak dialects that you won't find in any phrasebooks. Most younger Italians will speak standard Italian, even in small towns and remote areas, however. Unlike in France (especially in Paris), Italians will be happy to hear you trying to speak their language, and will try to understand you even if you are making many mistakes. If you want your errors to be corrected, to help you better learn the language, don't forget to ask before starting a conversation. Italians will rarely correct you otherwise, considering it very impolite. They also appreciate your efforts to speak their language, and won't make too much fuss about your mistakes.
English is widely spoken on the well-travelled path, especially in touristic areas where it is widely spoken by sellers and tourist operators. In the cities you can often speak English with younger people, aged between 14 and 35: almost everyone has had to take English in school since the 1980s. At least the most basic phrases usually stick, and normally there's at least one person in a group with a decent command of English. On the other hand, senior citizens rarely know English, but they'll try to help you anyway with gestures or similar words. If you are going to speak in English it is polite to ask "Do you speak English?" before starting a conversation. Speaking English (and, more than English, speaking French) while taking for granted it will be understood can be considered very arrogant and impolite.
In the northern part of Italy German is more widely understood than you might think, especially near the Austrian and Swiss borders, particularly in Trentino-Alto Adige (German: Bozen) where it's even a native language to a considerable population, though still very far from being universally understood. These regions were historically part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the end of World War I.
The Romance languages, Spanish, French and Portuguese, are not widely spoken but as they are similar to Italian you can usually find some words that Italians will recognize and make yourself understood. There is a small French-speaking minority in the Valle d'Aosta region.
In the northern part of Italy there are small pockets of other romance languages like Ladin, a Rhaeto-Romance language related to Switzerland's Romansh. Fruali, another Rhaeto-Romance language, is still spoken by a small minority in the border province near Slovenia. There are several small pockets of Greek-speaking communities in the southern regions of Calabria and Puglia and there are an estimated 100,000 Albanian speakers in Puglia, Calabria and Sicily. Local dialects are widely spoken as a second language, especially in rural Sicily; often the accent and some distinctive words are maintained even while speaking Italian. There is a big variety of dialects, often viewed as a result of centuries of division (Italy was not fully unified until 1871, much like Germany) with small differences of accent even in adjacent towns.
Italian and Slovene are official language in Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Slovene is commonly spoken in areas surrounding Trieste with many of the small villages being entirely Slovene-speaking. Frulano is a language spoken by many people in the north of the same region (north of Udine).

See

There is so much to see in Italy that it is difficult to know where to begin. Virtually every small city has an interesting church or two, plus a couple of other things to see.
  • Etruscan Italy. If you have limited time and no potential to travel outside the main cities, then don't miss the amazing collection at the Etruscan Museum at Villa Giulia in Rome. Hiring a car gives access to the painted tombs and museum of Tarquinia or the enormous burial complex at Cerveteri and those are just the sites within easy reach of Rome.
Roman bikinis. Mosaic from the Villa Romana at Piazza Armerina, Sicily.
Roman bikinis. Mosaic from the Villa Romana at Piazza Armerina, Sicily.
  • The Greek Influence. Well-preserved Greek temples at Agrigento in the southwest of Sicily and at Paestum, just south of Naples, give a good understanding of the extent of Greek influence on Italy.
  • Roman ruins. From the south, in Sicily, to the north of the country Italy is full of reminders of the Roman empire. In Taormina, Sicily check out the Roman theatre, with excellent views of Mt. Etna on a clear day. Also in Sicily, don't miss the well-preserved mosaics at Piazza Armerina. Moving north to just south of Naples, you find Pompeii and Herculaneum, covered in lava by Mt. Vesuvius and, as a result, amazingly well preserved. To Rome and every street in the center seems to have a few pieces of inscribed Roman stone built into more recent buildings. Don't miss the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Aqueducts, the Appian Way, and a dozen or so museums devoted to Roman ruins. Further north, the Roman amphitheatre at Verona is definitely not to be missed.
Florence's cathedral; bell tower by Giotto to the left and the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio in front
Florence's cathedral; bell tower by Giotto to the left and the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio in front
  • Christian Italy. The Vatican is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church. Although inside Rome it has the status of a separate state. Don't miss St Peter's and the Vatican Museum. Rome, itself, has over 900 churches; a large number of these are worth a quick visit. Throughout Italy there is some truly amazing Christian architecture covering the Romanesque (700-1200); Gothic (1100-1450); Renaissance (1400-1600); and ornate Baroque (1600-1830) styles. Although theft of artwork has been a problem, major city churches and cathedrals retain an enormous number of paintings and sculptures and others have been moved to city and Church museums. Frescoes and mosaics are everywhere, and quite stunning. Don't just look for churches: in rural areas there are some fascinating monasteries to be discovered. When planning to visit churches, note that all but the largest are usually closed between 12.30 and 15.30.
  • The Byzantine Cities. The Byzantines controlled northern Italy until kicked out by the Lombards in 751. Venice is of course world famous and nearby Chioggia, also in the Lagoon, is a smaller version. Ravenna's churches have some incredible mosaics. Visiting Ravenna requires a bit of a detour, but it is well worth it.
  • The Renaissance.Start with a visit to Piazza Michelangelo in Florence to admire the famous view. Then set about exploring the many museums, both inside and outside Florence, that house Renaissance masterpieces. The Renaissance, or Rebirth, (Rinascimento in Italian) lasted between 14th and 16th centuries and is generally believed to have begun in Florence. The list of famous names is endless: in architecture Ghiberti (the cathedral's bronze doors), Brunelleschi (the dome), and Giotto (the bell tower). In literature: Dante, Petrarch and Machiavelli. In painting and sculpture: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello, Masaccio and Boticelli.
  • The Streets and squares. You could visit Italy's cities, never go in a church, museum or Roman ruin, and still have a great time. Just wander around, keeping your eyes open. Apart from in the northern Po and Adige valleys most of Italy (including the cities) is hilly or mountainous, giving some great views. Look up when walking around to see amazing roof gardens and classical bell towers. In cities such as Rome, note the continued juxtaposition of expensive stores with small workplaces for artisans. Search for interesting food shops and places to get a good ice cream (gelato). Above all, just enjoy the atmosphere.

Islands

Dino Island, Praja a Mare, Calabria
Dino Island, Praja a Mare, Calabria

Museums

Every major city has a number of local museums, but some of them have national and international relevance.
These are some of the most important permanent collections.
  • Uffizi Museum [35] in Florence, is one of the greatest museums in the world and a must see. Given the great number of visitors, advance ticket reservation is a good idea, to avoid hour-long queues.
  • The Etruscan Academy Museum of the City of Cortona [36] in Cortona, Tuscany.
  • Egyptian Museum [37] in Turin, holds the second-largest Egyptian collection in the world, after Egypt's Cairo Museum collection.
  • The Aquarium [38] in Genoa, one of the largest and most beautiful in the world, is in the Porto Antico (ancient port) in an area completely renewed by architect Renzo Piano in 1992.
  • Science and Technology Museum [39] in Milan, one of the largest in Europe, holds collections about boats, airplanes, trains, cars, motorcycles, radio and energy. Recently has also acquired the Toti submarine, which is open to visitors.
  • Roman Civilization Museum [40] in Rome, hold the world's largest collection about ancient Rome and a marvellous reproduction (scale 1:250) of the entire Rome area in 325 A.D., the age of Constantine the Great.
  • National Cinema Museum [41] in Turin, located inside the wonderful Mole Antonelliana, historical building and symbol of the city.
  • Automobile Museum [42] in Turin, one of the largest in the world, with a 170 car collection covering the entire history of automobiles.
  • The Vatican Museum. Not, strictly speaking, in Italy as the Vatican is a separate territory. Visit the museum to see the Sistine Chapel, the rooms painted by Raphael, some amazing early maps and much, much more.
  • The Etruscan Museum at Villa Giulia, Rome. Amazing collection of Etruscan art.

Do

The beaches

One of the great things about Italy is that its long thin shape means that when you get fed up with sightseeing you are but a relatively short distance from a beach. But when you get there you might be rather confused, especially if you come from a country where beach access is free to all.
In theory that is the case in Italy but as with a lot of things in this country the practice may be somewhat different to the law. Many stretches of beach, particularly those close to urban areas, are let out to private concessions. In the season they cover almost all the beach with rows and rows of sunbeds (lettini) and umbrellas (ombrelloni). In theory you should be able to pass through these establishments to get to the sea, and should be able to walk along the sea in front of them, but you may be prevented from doing so.
While renting lettini for the day is not particularly expensive the establishments can fill up very quickly. There are some free beaches everywhere and these may be your best bet. They are easily identifiable by the absence of regimented rows of lettini. They can get very crowded: on a Saturday or Sunday in the summer you won’t find an empty stretch of beach anywhere. Close to urban areas you will never be far from a fish restaurant on the beach or, at the very least, a bar. On the beach, topless women are more or less accepted everywhere but nudity is limited to certain beaches. These are unlikely to be announced as such, so you will have to be guided by what others are doing.

Visit the vineyards

Italy is famous for its wine. And its vineyards tend to be in the middle of some beautiful scenery. Taking an organized tour is probably your best bet. Day trips can usually be organized through your hotel if you are staying in a major wine area such as Chianti or through the local tourism office. There are several companies offering longer tours that include meals and accommodation. A simple web search for “Italian vineyard tours” or “wine tour Italy” will find them. Note that these longer tours tend to emphasise good food, great wine and a high standard of accommodation and are thus expensive. If you rent a car and want to organize your own trips, a helpful website is that of the Movimento Turismo del Vino. [43] The Italian page has a link to itinerari which is not available in English. Even if you don’t read Italian you can still find addresses and opening hours of some interesting wine producers. Note that “su prenotazione” means By Appointment Only.

Cycling tours

Several companies offer cycling tours of the Italian countryside. They provide cycles, a guide, and transportation for your suitcase, and for you if i