الإحداثيات : 43 ° شمالاً 12 درجة شرقاً / 43°N 12°E
ريبوبليكا إيطاليانا ( إيطالي )
نشيد وطني: Il Canto degli Italiani ( إيطالي )
موقع إيطاليا (أخضر غامق)
- في أوروبا (أخضر فاتح ورمادي غامق)
|روما 41 ° 54'N 12 ° 29'E|
/ 41.900°N 12.483°E
|اللغات الرسمية||الايطالية a|
|اللغات الأم||انظر القائمة الكاملة|
|جماعات عرقية |
|حكومة|| جمهورية دستورية برلمانية موحدة|
• رئيس الوزراء
• رئيس مجلس الشيوخ
• رئيس مجلس النواب
• البيت العلوي
|مجلس شيوخ الجمهورية|
• البيت السفلي
|تشكيل - تكوين|
|17 مارس 1861|
|2 يونيو 1946|
• الدستور الحالي
|1 يناير 1948|
• تأسست في EEC (الآن الاتحاد الأوروبي )
|1 يناير 1958|
|301،340 كم 2 (116،350 ميل مربع) ( 71 )|
• ماء (٪)
|1.24 (اعتبارًا من 2015) |
• تقدير عام 2020
|60317116  ( 23 )|
• تعداد 2011
|201.3 / كم 2 (521.4 / sq mi) ( 63 )|
|الناتج المحلي الإجمالي ( تعادل القوة الشرائية )||2021 تقدير|
|2.610 تريليون دولار  ( الثالث عشر )|
|43376 دولارًا  ( 29 )|
|الناتج المحلي الإجمالي (الاسمي)||2021 تقدير|
|2.106 تريليون دولار  ( الثامن )|
|34997 دولارًا  ( 25 )|
|جيني (2018)|| 33.4  |
|HDI (2019)|| 0.892  |
مرتفع جدًا · التاسع والعشرون
|عملة||يورو ( € ) ب ( EUR )|
|وحدة زمنية||التوقيت العالمي +1 ( توقيت وسط أوروبا )|
• الصيف ( DST )
|التوقيت العالمي +2 ( توقيت وسط أوروبا الصيفي )|
|صيغة التاريخ||dd / mm / yyyy |
yyyy - mm - dd ( AD ) 
|رمز الاتصال||+39 ج|
|كود ISO 3166||هو - هي|
|الإنترنت TLD||.it د|
إيطاليا ( الإيطالية : Italia [iˈtaːlja] ( استمع ) ) رسميًا الجمهورية الإيطالية (بالإيطالية: Repubblica Italiana [جمهورية italjaːna] )،     هو بلد يتألف من الجزء القاري ، محدد من قبل جبال الألب ، وهي شبه جزيرة و العديد من الجزر المحيطة به. تقع إيطاليا في جنوب أوروبا ،   وتعتبر أيضًا جزءًا من أوروبا الغربية .   و حدوية جمهورية برلمانية مع روما عاصمتها، البلد يغطي مساحة إجمالية قدرها 301340 كم 2 (116350 ميل مربع) وسهم الحدود البريةمع فرنسا، سويسرا، النمسا، سلوفينيا، و معزولة microstates من مدينة الفاتيكان و سان مارينو . إيطاليا لديها جيب إقليمي في سويسرا ( كامبيوني ) ومخزن بحري في المياه التونسية ( لامبيدوزا ). مع حوالي 60 مليون نسمة ، تعد إيطاليا ثالث أكبر دولة عضو في الاتحاد الأوروبي من حيث عدد السكان .
نظرا لموقعها الجغرافي المركزي في جنوب أوروبا و البحر الأبيض المتوسط ، كانت إيطاليا تاريخيا موطن الشعوب والثقافات لا تعد ولا تحصى. بالإضافة إلى العديد من الشعوب القديمة المتناثرة في أنحاء ما هو الآن في العصر الحديث إيطاليا، ومعظم السائد كونها الهندو أوروبية الشعوب مائل الذي أعطى الجزيرة اسمها، بدءا من الكلاسيكية العصر، الفينيقيين و القرطاجيين تأسست المستعمرات معظمها في الجزر إيطاليا ،  أنشأ اليونانيون مستوطنات في ما يسمى ماجنا جراسيا في جنوب إيطاليا، في حين الاتروريون و الكلت يسكنها المركزية و شمال إيطاليا على التوالي. شكلت قبيلة مائلة معروفة باسم اللاتين المملكة الرومانية في القرن الثامن قبل الميلاد ، والتي أصبحت في النهاية جمهورية مع حكومة مجلس الشيوخ والشعب . في الجمهورية الرومانية في البداية غزا و استيعابهم جيرانها في شبه الجزيرة الإيطالية، في نهاية المطاف توسيع وقهر أجزاء من أوروبا ، شمال أفريقيا و آسيا . بحلول القرن الأول قبل الميلاد ، كانالإمبراطورية الرومانية ظهرت كقوة مهيمنة في حوض البحر الأبيض المتوسط ، وأصبح الثقافي والسياسي والديني الرائدة مركز ، افتتاح باكس رومانا ، وهي فترة من أكثر من 200 سنة خلالها ايطاليا القانون ، التكنولوجيا ، الاقتصاد ، الفن ، و الأدب تطويرها.   إيطاليا ظلت وطن الرومان و الحواضر الكبيرة من الإمبراطورية، التي إرث يمكن أيضا أن لوحظ في التوزيع العالمي للثقافة والحكومات و المسيحية ونص لاتيني .
خلال أوائل العصور الوسطى ، تحملت إيطاليا سقوط الإمبراطورية الرومانية الغربية و الغزوات البربرية ، ولكن بحلول القرن ال11 العديد من منافسة دول المدن و الجمهوريات البحرية ، وخاصة في المناطق الشمالية والوسطى من إيطاليا، ارتفع إلى الازدهار الكبير من خلال التجارة، التجارة والأعمال المصرفية ، مما يرسي الأساس للرأسمالية الحديثة .  كانت هذه الدويلات المستقلة في الغالب بمثابة مراكز تجارية رئيسية لأوروبا مع آسيا والشرق الأدنى ، وغالبًا ما تتمتع بدرجة أكبر من الديمقراطية مقارنة بالإقطاعية الأكبرالملكيات التي كانت تتوطد في جميع أنحاء أوروبا ؛ ومع ذلك، كان جزء من وسط ايطاليا تحت سيطرة ثيوقراطية الدولة البابوية ، في حين أن جنوب إيطاليا بقي الإقطاعية إلى حد كبير حتى القرن 19، جزئيا نتيجة لسلسلة من البيزنطية ، العربية ، نورمان ، أنجفين] ، أراغون والفتوحات الأجنبية الأخرى لل منطقة.  و عصر النهضة بدأت في ايطاليا وانتشر في بقية أوروبا، وبذلك تجدد الاهتمام في الإنسانية ، العلوم ، استكشاف و الفن. ازدهرت الثقافة الإيطالية ، وأنتجت علماء وفنانين ومثقفين مشهورين . خلال العصور الوسطى ، اكتشف المستكشفون الإيطاليون طرقًا جديدة للشرق الأقصى والعالم الجديد ، مما ساعد على الدخول في عصر الاكتشاف الأوروبي . ومع ذلك ، تضاءلت القوة التجارية والسياسية لإيطاليا بشكل كبير مع فتح طرق التجارة التي تجاوزت البحر الأبيض المتوسط.  قرون من التدخل الأجنبي والغزو والتنافس والاقتتال الداخلي بين دول المدن الإيطالية ، مثل الحروب الإيطالية في القرنين الخامس عشر والسادس عشر ، تركت إيطاليا مجزأة سياسيًا ، وتم احتلالها وتقسيمها بين قوى أوروبية أجنبية متعددة على مر القرون.
بحلول منتصف القرن التاسع عشر ، أدى ارتفاع القومية الإيطالية والدعوات إلى الاستقلال عن السيطرة الأجنبية إلى فترة من الاضطرابات السياسية الثورية. بعد قرون من الهيمنة الأجنبية والانقسام السياسي ، تم توحيد إيطاليا بالكامل تقريبًا في عام 1861 ، لتأسيس مملكة إيطاليا كقوة عظمى .  من أواخر القرن التاسع عشر إلى أوائل القرن العشرين ، تحولت إيطاليا بسرعة إلى التصنيع ، خاصة في الشمال ، واكتسبت إمبراطورية استعمارية ،  بينما ظل الجنوب فقيرًا إلى حد كبير ومستبعدًا من التصنيع ، مما أدى إلى تأجيج الشتات الكبير والمؤثر . على الرغم من كونها واحدة من أربع قوى حليفة رئيسية في الحرب العالمية الأولى ، دخلت إيطاليا فترة من الأزمة الاقتصادية والاضطراب الاجتماعي ، مما أدى إلى صعودالدكتاتورية الفاشية الإيطالية في عام 1922.وانتهتالمشاركة في الحرب العالمية الثانية علىجانب المحور في الهزيمة العسكرية والدمار الاقتصادي والحرب الأهلية الإيطالية . بعد تحرير إيطاليا وصعود المقاومة الإيطالية ، ألغت البلاد نظامها الملكي ، وأنشأت جمهورية ديمقراطية ، وتمتعت بازدهار اقتصادي طويل الأمد، وأصبحت دولة متطورة للغاية. 
تعتبر إيطاليا اليوم واحدة من أكثر دول العالم تقدمًا ثقافيًا واقتصاديًا ،    مع ثامن أكبر اقتصاد في العالم من حيث الناتج المحلي الإجمالي الاسمي (الثالث في الاتحاد الأوروبي ) ، سادس أكبر ثروة وطنية وثالث أكبر احتياطي ذهب للبنك المركزي . كما أنها تحتل المرتبة العالية جدا في متوسط العمر المتوقع ، ونوعية الحياة،  الرعاية الصحية ،  والتعليم. تلعب الدولة دورًا بارزًا في الشؤون الاقتصادية والعسكرية والثقافية والدبلوماسية الإقليمية والعالمية ؛ فمن كل من قوة إقليمية   و قوة عظمى،   ويحتل المرتبة الثامنة في العالم من حيث القوة العسكرية . إيطاليا هو تأسيس و الرائدة عضوا في الاتحاد الأوروبي وعضو في العديد من المؤسسات الدولية، بما في ذلك الأمم المتحدة ، حلف شمال الأطلسي ، و منظمة التعاون والتنمية ، و منظمة الأمن والتعاون في أوروبا ، و منظمة التجارة العالمية ، و مجموعة الدول الصناعية السبع ، و G20 ، و الاتحاد من أجل المتوسط ، و مجلس أوروبا ، الاتحاد من أجل توافق ، ومنطقة شنغن وغيرها الكثير . مصدر العديد من الاختراعات والاكتشافات ، كانت البلاد منذ فترة طويلة مركزا عالميا لل الفن ، الموسيقى ، الأدب ، الفلسفة ، العلوم والتكنولوجيا ، و الأزياء ، وأثرت إلى حد كبير وساهم في مختلف المجالات بما في ذلك السينما ، المطبخ ، الرياضة ، الفقه، الأعمال المصرفية والتجارية.  انعكاسًا لثروتها الثقافية ، تعد إيطاليا موطنًا لأكبر عدد من مواقع التراث العالمي في العالم (55 ) ، وهي خامس أكثر الدول زيارة .
تتعدد الفرضيات المتعلقة بأصل اسم "Italia".  إحداها أنه تم استعارتها عن طريق اليونانية من Oscan Víteliú "أرض العجول" ( راجع Lat vitulus "العجل" ، Umb vitlo "العجل").  المؤرخ اليوناني ديونيسيوس من هاليكارناسوس ينص هذا الحساب جنبا إلى جنب مع الأسطورة أن إيطاليا سميت Italus ،  كما ذكر من قبل أرسطو  و ثيوسيديدز . 
ووفقا ل أنطيوخس من سيراكيوز ، تم استخدام مصطلح ايطاليا من قبل اليونانيين للإشارة البداية فقط إلى الجزء الجنوبي من شبه الجزيرة قلورية المقابلة لمحافظة الحديثة من ريجيو وجزء من محافظات كاتانزارو و فيبو فالينتيا في جنوب إيطاليا . ومع ذلك ، بحلول وقته ، أصبح المفهوم الأكبر لـ Oenotria و "إيطاليا" مرادفًا ، كما تم تطبيق الاسم أيضًا على معظم Lucania أيضًا. وفقًا لـ Strabo 's Geographica ، قبل توسع الجمهورية الرومانية ، استخدم الإغريق الاسم للإشارة إلى الأرض الواقعة بين مضيق ميسيناوالخط الذي يربط بين خليج ساليرنو و خليج تارانتو ، تعادل تقريبا إلى المنطقة الحالية من كالابريا . جاء الإغريق تدريجياً لتطبيق اسم "إيطاليا" على منطقة أكبر  بالإضافة إلى "إيطاليا اليونانية" في الجنوب ، اقترح المؤرخون وجود "إيطاليا إتروسكان" تغطي مناطق متغيرة من وسط إيطاليا. 
حدود الروم إيطاليا، ايطاليا ، يتم وضع أفضل. وصف أصول كاتو ، وهو أول عمل تاريخي مؤلف باللاتينية ، إيطاليا على أنها شبه الجزيرة بأكملها جنوب جبال الألب .  وفقًا لكاتو والعديد من المؤلفين الرومان ، شكلت جبال الألب "أسوار إيطاليا".  في 264 قبل الميلاد، مدد الروماني ايطاليا من أرنو و روبيكون أنهار مركز الشمال إلى الجنوب بأكمله. احتلت روما المنطقة الشمالية من كيسالبين Gaul في 220s قبل الميلاد وأصبحت تعتبر جغرافيًا وفعليًا جزءًا من إيطاليا ، لكنها بقيت سياسيًا وشرعيًا منفصلين. تم دمجها قانونًا في الوحدة الإدارية لإيطاليا في 42 قبل الميلاد من قبل تريومفير أوكتافيان كتصديق على أعمال قيصر غير المنشورة ( أكتا سيزاريس ).      تمت إضافة جزر سردينيا وكورسيكا وصقلية ومالطا إلى إيطاليا بواسطة دقلديانوس في 292 م. 
عصور ما قبل التاريخ والعصور القديمة
تم انتشال الآلاف من القطع الأثرية من العصر الحجري القديم -يرا من مونتي بوجيولو وتاريخها إلى حوالي 850 ألف سنة قبل الوقت الحاضر ، مما يجعلها أقدم دليل على استيطان أول أشباه البشر في شبه الجزيرة.  كشفت الحفريات في جميع أنحاء إيطاليا عن وجود إنسان نياندرتال يعود إلى العصر الحجري القديم منذ حوالي 200 ألف عام ،  بينما ظهر الإنسان الحديث منذ حوالي 40 ألف عام في ريبارو موتشي .  تشمل المواقع الأثرية من هذه الفترة كهف أدورا ، وألتامورا ، وسيبرانو ، وغرافينا في بوليا . 
و الشعوب القديمة ما قبل الرومانية إيطاليا - مثل Umbrians ، و اللاتين (التي من الرومان برزت)، فولسكي ، Oscans ، الأوسكان والسامنيون ، سابين ، و الكلت ، و الليغور ، و Veneti ، و Iapygians وكثير غيرها - كانت الهندى الشعوب الأوروبية ، ومعظمهم على وجه التحديد من المجموعة الإيطالية . تشمل الشعوب التاريخية الرئيسية للتراث المحتمل غير الهندو-أوروبي أو ما قبل الهندو-أوروبي الأتروسكان في وسط وشمال إيطاليا ،شعب إيليمي و شعب سيكاني في صقلية، و عصور ما قبل التاريخ سردينيا ، التي ولدت في الحضارة Nuragic . السكان القدامى الآخرون هم من عائلات لغوية غير محددة ومن أصول غير هندو أوروبية محتملة تشمل شعب Rhaetian و Cammuni ، المعروفين بنقوشهم الصخرية في Valcamonica ، أكبر مجموعات من الصخور الصخرية في عصور ما قبل التاريخ في العالم.  تم اكتشاف مومياء طبيعية محفوظة جيدًا تُعرف باسم Ötzi the Iceman ، ويبلغ عمرها 5000 عام (بين 3400 و 3100 قبل الميلاد ، العصر النحاسي) ، وتم اكتشافها في نهر Similaun الجليدي في جنوب تيرول في عام 1991. 
كان الفينيقيون أول المستعمرين الأجانب ، الذين أسسوا في البداية مستعمرات وأسسوا العديد من المحلات التجارية على سواحل صقلية وسردينيا. سرعان ما أصبح بعضها مراكز حضرية صغيرة وتم تطويرها بالتوازي مع المستعمرات اليونانية. بين المراكز الرئيسية كانت هناك مدن موتيا ، ZYZ (الحديث باليرمو )، سولونتوم في صقلية و نورا ، سولسي ، و ثاروس في سردينيا. 
بين القرنين السابع عشر والحادي عشر قبل الميلاد ، أقام الإغريق الميسينيون اتصالات مع إيطاليا     وفي القرنين الثامن والسابع قبل الميلاد تم إنشاء عدد من المستعمرات اليونانية على طول ساحل صقلية والجنوب جزء من شبه الجزيرة الإيطالية ، والذي أصبح يعرف باسم Magna Graecia . وضع الاستعمار اليوناني الشعوب المائل في اتصال مع أشكال الحكم الديمقراطي وبتعابير فنية وثقافية عالية.  ]
الاستعمار الفينيقي واليوناني
وكان المستعمر الأجنبي الأول الفينيقيين ، الذي أسس في البداية امبوريومس مختلفة على سواحل صقلية و سردينيا . سرعان ما تحول بعضها إلى مراكز حضرية صغيرة وتطورت بالتوازي مع المستعمرات اليونانية ؛ بين المراكز الرئيسية هي المدن من Mozia ، ZYZ ، Kfra في صقلية و نورا ، سولسي ، ثاروس في سردينيا. 
بعد القرن الثامن قبل الميلاد ، استقر المستعمرون من اليونان على سواحل جنوب إيطاليا وأعطوا الحياة لماغنا جرايسيا وتلك الموجودة في صقلية. الأيوني أسس المستوطنون إيلايا ، Kyme ، Rhegion ، ناكسوس ، Zankles ، هايميرا و Katane . الدوريسي تأسست المستعمرين تاراس ، Syrakousai ، ميغارا Hyblaia ، Leontinoi ، اكراغاس ، Ghelas . و Syracusansتأسست Ankón و أدريا . أسس megarese Selinunte . و أخيون تأسست سيباريس ، فندق Poseidonia ، Kroton ، Lokroi Epizephyrioi و Metapontum . تارانتيني و thuriots وجد Herakleia .
و الاستعمار اليوناني يضع الشعوب مائل في اتصال مع أشكال الحكم الديمقراطي ومع التعبيرات الفنية والثقافية العالية. 
روما ، إلى تسوية حول فورد على نهر التيبر في وسط إيطاليا تقليديا تأسست حكمت في 753 قبل الميلاد، لمدة 244 عاما من قبل الملكي النظام، في البداية مع ملوك اللاتينية و سابين الأصل، في وقت لاحق من قبل الملوك الأترورية. تناقل التقليد سبعة ملوك: رومولوس ، ونوما بومبيليوس ، وتولوس هوستيليوس ، وأنكوس مارسيوس ، وتاركوينيوس بريسكس ، وسيرفيوس توليوس ، وتاركوينيوس سوبيربوس . في عام 509 قبل الميلاد ، طرد الرومان آخر ملوك مدينتهم ، وفضلوا حكومةمجلس الشيوخ والشعب (SPQR) وتأسيس جمهورية الأقلية .
تم توحيد شبه الجزيرة الإيطالية ، المسماة Italia ، في كيان واحد خلال التوسع الروماني وغزو الأراضي الجديدة على حساب القبائل الإيطالية الأخرى ، الإتروسكان ، السلتيون ، والإغريق . تم تشكيل ارتباط دائم مع معظم القبائل والمدن المحلية ، وبدأت روما في غزو أوروبا الغربية وشمال إفريقيا والشرق الأوسط . في أعقاب صعود وموت يوليوس قيصر في القرن الأول قبل الميلاد ، نمت روما على مر القرون لتصبح إمبراطورية ضخمة تمتد من بريطانيا.إلى حدود بلاد فارس ، واجتياح حوض البحر الأبيض المتوسط بأكمله ، حيث اندمجت الثقافات اليونانية والرومانية والعديد من الثقافات الأخرى في حضارة فريدة من نوعها . بدأ العهد الطويل والمنتصر للإمبراطور الأول ، أغسطس ، عصرًا ذهبيًا من السلام والازدهار. ظلت إيطاليا عاصمة الإمبراطورية ، وباعتبارها موطنًا للرومان وإقليمًا للعاصمة ، فقد احتفظت بوضع خاص جعلها "ليست مقاطعة ، بل دومينا (حاكم) المقاطعات ".  تبع ذلك أكثر من قرنين من الاستقرار ، وخلالهما تمت الإشارة إلى إيطاليا باسم ريكريكس موندي (ملكة العالم) وomnium terrarum parens (الوطن الأم لجميع الأراضي). 
كانت الإمبراطورية الرومانية من بين أقوى القوى الاقتصادية والثقافية والسياسية والعسكرية في العالم في ذلك الوقت ، وكانت واحدة من أكبر الإمبراطوريات في تاريخ العالم . في أوجها تحت تراجان ، غطت 5 ملايين كيلومتر مربع.   أثر الإرث الروماني بعمق على الحضارة الغربية ، وشكل معظم العالم الحديث. من بين العديد من الموروثات الهيمنة الرومانية هي استخدام واسع النطاق من اللغات الرومانسية المشتقة من اللاتينية، و النظام العددي ، والغربية الحديثة الأبجدية و التقويم ، وظهور المسيحية كدين عالمي رئيسي.  وتشهد العلاقات التجارية بين الهند ورومان ، والتي بدأت في حوالي القرن الأول قبل الميلاد ، على تجارة رومانية واسعة النطاق في مناطق بعيدة ؛ تم العثور على العديد من التذكيرات بالتجارة التجارية بين شبه القارة الهندية وإيطاليا ، مثل التمثال العاجي بومبي لاكشمي من أنقاض بومبي .
في تراجع بطيء منذ القرن الثالث الميلادي ، انقسمت الإمبراطورية إلى قسمين عام 395 م. و الإمبراطورية الغربية ، تحت ضغط من الغزوات البربرية ، وحلت في نهاية المطاف في 476 م عندما الماضي إمبراطورها، رومولوس أوغستولوس ، أنه أطيح به الرئيس الألماني اودواسير . في الشرق نصف من الإمبراطورية على قيد الحياة لألف سنة أخرى.
بعد سقوط الإمبراطورية الرومانية الغربية ، سقطت إيطاليا تحت سلطة مملكة أودواسر ، وفي وقت لاحق ، استولى عليها القوط الشرقيون ،  تلاها في القرن السادس استعمار قصير تحت حكم الإمبراطور البيزنطي جستنيان . أدى غزو قبيلة جرمانية أخرى ، اللومبارديين ، في أواخر القرن نفسه ، إلى تقليص الوجود البيزنطي إلى عالم الردف من إكسرخسية رافينا وبدأ نهاية الوحدة السياسية لشبه الجزيرة لمدة 1300 عام. تسببت غزوات شبه الجزيرة في تعاقب فوضوي للممالك البربرية وما يسمى بـ " العصور المظلمة "". تم استيعاب مملكة لومبارد لاحقًا في إمبراطورية الفرنجة من قبل شارلمان في أواخر القرن الثامن. كما ساعد الفرنجة أيضًا في تشكيل الولايات البابوية في وسط إيطاليا. حتى القرن الثالث عشر ، كانت العلاقات بين الرومان المقدسة تهيمن على السياسة الإيطالية. الأباطرة والبابوية، مع معظم دول المدن الإيطالية تقف مع السابق ( الغيبلينيين ) أو مع الأخير ( الغويلفيين ) من الراحة لحظة. 
أصبح الإمبراطور الجرماني والحبر الروماني القوى العالمية لأوروبا في العصور الوسطى. ومع ذلك ، فإن الخلاف على الجدل حول التنصيب (صراع حول رأيين مختلفين جذريًا حول ما إذا كان للسلطات العلمانية مثل الملوك ، أو الدوقات ، أو الدوقات ، أي دور شرعي في التعيينات في المناصب الكنسية) ، وأدى الصدام بين غويلف وغيبلينيين إلى النهاية. من النظام الإمبراطوري الإقطاعي في شمال إيطاليا حيث نالت دول المدن استقلالها. خلال هذه الحقبة الفوضوية ، شهدت المدن الإيطالية ظهور مؤسسة غريبة ، كوميونات القرون الوسطى . بالنظر إلى فراغ السلطة الناجم عن التجزئة الإقليمية الشديدة والصراع بين الإمبراطورية والكرسي الرسوليسعت المجتمعات المحلية إلى طرق مستقلة للحفاظ على القانون والنظام.  تم حل الخلاف حول التنصيب أخيرًا بواسطة Concordat of Worms . في عام 1176 ، هزمت رابطة دول المدن ، الرابطة اللومباردية ، الإمبراطور الألماني فريدريك بارباروسا في معركة لينانو ، وبالتالي ضمنت الاستقلال الفعال لمعظم المدن الإيطالية الشمالية والوسطى.
لعبت دول المدن الإيطالية مثل ميلانو وفلورنسا والبندقية دورًا ابتكاريًا حاسمًا في التنمية المالية ، حيث ابتكرت الأدوات والممارسات الرئيسية للبنوك وظهور أشكال جديدة من التنظيم الاجتماعي والاقتصادي.  في المناطق الساحلية والجنوبية ، نمت الجمهوريات البحرية لتهيمن في النهاية على البحر الأبيض المتوسط وتحتكر طرق التجارة إلى الشرق . كانت دولًا - مدنًا ثلاسوقراطية مستقلة ، على الرغم من أن معظمهم نشأوا من مناطق كانت تنتمي إلى الإمبراطورية البيزنطية. كل هذه المدن خلال فترة استقلالها كان لديها أنظمة حكم مماثلة حيث كان لطبقة التجار سلطة كبيرة. على الرغم من أن هذه كانت في الممارسة العملية حكم القلة ، ولا تشبه إلى حد ما الحديثكانت الديمقراطية ، والحرية السياسية النسبية التي أتاحوها مواتية للتقدم الأكاديمي والفني.  وكانت الجمهوريات البحرية أربعة أشهرها البندقية ، جنوى ، بيزا و أمالفي . وكان آخرون أنكونا ، جنوى ، نولى ، و راغوزا .   كان لكل من الجمهوريات البحرية السيادة على أراضي ما وراء البحار المختلفة ، بما في ذلك العديد من جزر البحر الأبيض المتوسط (خاصة سردينيا وكورسيكا) ، والأراضي على البحر الأدرياتيكي ، وبحر إيجه ، والبحر الأسود (القرم) ، والمستعمرات التجارية في الشرق الأدنى وشمال إفريقيا. حافظت البندقية على مساحات شاسعة من الأرض في اليونان وقبرص وإستريا ودالماتيا حتى أواخر القرن السابع عشر. 
كانت البندقية وجنوة البوابة الرئيسية لأوروبا للتجارة مع الشرق ، ومنتجة للزجاج الفاخر ، بينما كانت فلورنسا عاصمة للحرير والصوف والبنوك والمجوهرات. تعني الثروة التي جلبتها مثل هذه الأعمال إلى إيطاليا أنه يمكن التكليف بمشاريع فنية عامة وخاصة كبيرة. كانت الجمهوريات منخرطة بشكل كبير في الحروب الصليبية ، حيث قدمت الدعم والنقل ، ولكن بشكل خاص استفادت من الفرص السياسية والتجارية الناتجة عن هذه الحروب.  شعرت إيطاليا أولاً بتغيرات اقتصادية ضخمة في أوروبا أدت إلى الثورة التجارية : تمكنت جمهورية البندقية من هزيمة الإمبراطورية البيزنطية وتمويل رحلات ماركو بولوالى آسيا تم تشكيل الجامعات الأولى في المدن الإيطالية ، وحصل علماء مثل توماس أكويناس على شهرة عالمية ؛ جعل فريدريك من صقلية إيطاليا المركز السياسي والثقافي للعهد الذي شمل بشكل مؤقت الإمبراطورية الرومانية المقدسة ومملكة القدس . ظهرت الرأسمالية والمصرفية الأسر في فلورنسا، حيث دانتي و جيوتو كانت حول نشط 1300. 
في الجنوب ، أصبحت صقلية إمارة إسلامية في القرن التاسع ، وازدهرت حتى احتلها الإيطاليون النورمانديون في أواخر القرن الحادي عشر مع معظم الإمارات اللومباردية والبيزنطية في جنوب إيطاليا.  من خلال سلسلة معقدة من الأحداث ، تطور جنوب إيطاليا كمملكة موحدة ، في البداية تحت حكم منزل هوهنشتاوفن ، ثم تحت بيت الكابيتي في أنجو ، ومن القرن الخامس عشر تحت حكم آل أراغون. في سردينيا ، أصبحت المقاطعات البيزنطية السابقة دولًا مستقلة تُعرف بالإيطالية باسم Judicates، على الرغم من أن بعض أجزاء الجزيرة كانت تحت حكم جنوة أو بيزان حتى ضم أراغون في نهاية المطاف في القرن الخامس عشر. و الموت الأسود باء من 1348 ترك بصماته على إيطاليا عن طريق قتل ربما ثلث السكان.   ومع ذلك، فإن التعافي من الطاعون أدى إلى تجدد المدن والتجارة والاقتصاد الذي يسمح للازهر من الإنسانية و النهضة ، أن انتشار لاحق إلى أوروبا.
كانت إيطاليا مهد وقلب عصر النهضة خلال القرنين الرابع عشر والسادس عشر. شهد عصر النهضة الإيطالية الانتقال من فترة القرون الوسطى إلى العصر الحديث حيث تعافت أوروبا اقتصاديًا وثقافيًا من أزمات العصور الوسطى المتأخرة ودخلت العصر الحديث المبكر . كانت الأنظمة السياسية الإيطالية الآن دول المنطقة قضت على نحو فعال من قبل الأمراء ، بحكم الأمر الواقع الملوك في السيطرة على التجارة والإدارة، ومحاكمها أصبحت المراكز الرئيسية لل فنون و العلوم. مثلت الأمراء الإيطالية الشكل الأول من الدول الحديثة على عكس الملكيات الإقطاعية والإمبراطوريات متعددة الجنسيات. كانت الأميرات بقيادة السلالات السياسية والعائلات التجارية مثل Medici في فلورنسا ، و Visconti و Sforza في دوقية ميلانو ، و Doria في جمهورية جنوة ، و Mocenigo و Barbarigo في جمهورية البندقية ، و Este في فيرارا ، و غونزاغا في مانتوا .  لذلك كان عصر النهضة نتيجة للثروة الكبيرة التي تراكمت من قبل المدن التجارية الإيطالية جنبًا إلى جنب مع رعاية العائلات المهيمنة.  مارست النهضة الإيطالية تأثيرًا مهيمنًا على الرسم والنحت الأوروبي اللاحقين لعدة قرون بعد ذلك ، مع فنانين مثل ليوناردو دافنشي ، برونليسكي ، بوتيتشيلي ، مايكل أنجلو ، رافائيل ، جيوتو ، دوناتيلو ، وتيتيان ، والمهندسين المعماريين مثل فيليبو برونليسكي ، ليون باتيستا البرتي ، أندريا بالاديو ، ودوناتو برامانتي .
بعد انتهاء الانقسام الغربي لصالح روما في مجلس كونستانس (1415-1417) ، عاد البابا الجديد مارتن الخامس إلى الولايات البابوية بعد رحلة استمرت ثلاث سنوات طالت العديد من المدن الإيطالية وأعادت إيطاليا لتكون الدولة الوحيدة. مركز المسيحية الغربية. خلال هذه الرحلة ، أصبح بنك ميديشي مؤسسة الائتمان الرسمية للبابوية وتم إنشاء العديد من العلاقات المهمة بين الكنيسة والسلالات السياسية الجديدة في شبه الجزيرة. وضع البابوات "كما الملوك الاختيارية تحول مجامع و consistoriesمن عصر النهضة إلى معارك سياسية بين المحاكم الإيطالية من أجل السيادة في شبه الجزيرة والوصول إلى الموارد الهائلة للكنيسة الكاثوليكية . في عام 1439 ، وقع البابا أوجينيوس الرابع والإمبراطور البيزنطي يوحنا الثامن باليولوجوس اتفاق مصالحة بين الكنيسة الكاثوليكية والكنيسة الأرثوذكسية في مجلس فلورنسا الذي استضافه كوزيمو دي ميديشي القديم . في عام 1453 ، أرسل البابا نيكولاس الخامس القوات الإيطالية بقيادة جيوفاني جوستينياني للدفاع عن أسوار القسطنطينية ، لكن المعركة الحاسمة خسرت أمام الجيش التركي الأكثر تقدمًا والمجهز بالمدافع ، وسقطت بيزنطة في يد السلطان محمد الثاني .
أدى سقوط القسطنطينية إلى هجرة العلماء والنصوص اليونانية إلى إيطاليا ، مما أدى إلى إعادة اكتشاف الإنسانية اليونانية الرومانية .    حكام انساني مثل فيديريكو دا مونتيفيلترو و البابا بيوس الثاني عملت على إنشاء المدن مثالية حيث الإنسان هو مقياس كل شيء ، وبالتالي تأسيس أوربينو و بينزا على التوالي. كتب بيكو ديلا ميراندولا الخطبة حول كرامة الإنسان ، والتي تعتبر بيانًا عن عصر النهضة الإنسانية ، والتي شدد فيها على أهميةالإرادة الحرة في البشر. كان المؤرخ الإنساني ليوناردو بروني أول من قسم تاريخ البشرية إلى ثلاث فترات: العصور القديمة والعصور الوسطى والحداثة.  النتيجة الثانية لسقوط القسطنطينية كانت بداية عصر الاكتشاف .
المستكشفون والملاحون الإيطاليون من الجمهوريات البحرية المهيمنة ، حريصون على إيجاد طريق بديل لجزر الهند من أجل تجاوز الإمبراطورية العثمانية ، وقدموا خدماتهم لملوك دول الأطلسي ولعبوا دورًا رئيسيًا في بدء عصر الاكتشاف والاستعمار الأوروبي من الأمريكتين. كان أبرزهم: كريستوفر كولومبوس ، المستعمر باسم إسبانيا ، الذي يُنسب إليه اكتشاف العالم الجديد وفتح الأمريكتين للغزو والاستيطان من قبل الأوروبيين ؛  جون كابوت ، مبحرًا إلى إنجلترا ، وكان أول أوروبي تطأ قدمه "نيو فاوند لاند" واستكشف أجزاء من قارة أمريكا الشمالية عام 1497 ؛  أميريجو فسبوتشي، الإبحار للبرتغال ، الذي أظهر لأول مرة في حوالي عام 1501 أن العالم الجديد (خاصة البرازيل) لم يكن آسيا كما كان متوقعًا في البداية ، ولكنه قارة رابعة لم تكن معروفة من قبل لشعوب العالم القديم (سميت أمريكا باسمه) ؛   و Giovanni da Verrazzano ، في خدمة فرنسا ، اشتهر كأول أوروبي يستكشف الساحل الأطلسي لأمريكا الشمالية بين فلوريدا ونيو برونزويك في 1524 ؛ 
بعد سقوط القسطنطينية ، انتهت الحروب في لومباردي وتشكل تحالف دفاعي يعرف باسم الدوري الإيطالي بين البندقية ونابولي وفلورنسا وميلانو والبابوية. كان Lorenzo the Magnificent de Medici أعظم راعي فلورنسا لعصر النهضة ومؤيد للرابطة الإيطالية. لقد تجنب بشكل خاص انهيار العصبة في أعقاب مؤامرة Pazzi وخلال الغزو المجهض لإيطاليا من قبل الأتراك. ومع ذلك ، تسببت الحملة العسكرية التي قام بها تشارلز الثامن ملك فرنسا في إيطاليا في نهاية الرابطة الإيطالية وبدأت الحروب الإيطالية بين فالوا وهابسبورغ. أثناء العصر النهضة العالي في القرن الخامس عشر الميلادي ، كانت إيطاليا بالتالي ساحة المعركة الأوروبية الرئيسية والمركز الثقافي الاقتصادي للقارة. قاتل الباباوات مثل يوليوس الثاني (1503-1513) من أجل السيطرة على إيطاليا ضد الملوك الأجانب ، وفضل آخرون مثل بول الثالث (1534-1549) التوسط بين القوى الأوروبية من أجل تأمين السلام في إيطاليا. في وسط هذا الصراع، ميديشي باباوات ليو العاشر (1513-1521) و كليمنت السابع (1523-1534) يعارض الاصلاح البروتستانتي و تقدم مصالح أسرهم . تركت نهاية الحروب في نهاية المطاف شمال إيطاليا خاضعًا بشكل غير مباشر لهابسبورغ النمساويين وجنوب إيطاليا تحت حكم هابسبورغ الإسباني المباشر.
ظلت البابوية مستقلة وأطلقت الإصلاح المضاد . تشمل الأحداث الرئيسية في الفترة ما يلي: مجلس ترينت (1545-1563) ؛ حرمان إليزابيث الأولى (1570) ومعركة ليبانتو (1571) ، وكلاهما حدث خلال عهد البابا بيوس الخامس ؛ بناء مرصد الميلادي ، واعتماد التقويم الغريغوري ، و البعثة اليسوعية الصين من ماتيو ريتشي تحت البابا غريغوري الثالث عشر . في حروب فرنسا الدينية . في الحرب التركية طويل وتنفيذ جيوردانو برونوفي عام 1600 ، في عهد البابا كليمنت الثامن ؛ ولادة أكاديمية Lyncean من الدولة البابوية ، والتي كان الشكل الرئيسي غاليليو غاليلي (وضعت في وقت لاحق للمحاكمة )؛ المراحل الأخيرة من حرب الثلاثين عاما (1618-1648) خلال الباباوات من الثامن الحضرية و X الأبرياء . وتشكيل آخر عصبة مقدسة من قبل Innocent XI خلال الحرب التركية العظمى
انخفض الاقتصاد الإيطالي خلال القرنين السابع عشر والثامن عشر ، حيث تم استبعاد شبه الجزيرة من ارتفاع تجارة الرقيق عبر المحيط الأطلسي . بعد حروب الخلافة الأوروبية في القرن الثامن عشر ، انتقل الجنوب إلى فرع متدرب من البوربون الأسبان ، وسقط الشمال تحت تأثير هابسبورغ-لورين النمسا. خلال حروب التحالف ، أعاد نابليون تنظيم شمال وسط إيطاليا في عدد من الجمهوريات الشقيقة في فرنسا ثم كمملكة إيطاليا في اتحاد شخصي مع الإمبراطورية الفرنسية .  النصف الجنوبي من شبه الجزيرة كان يُدار من قبل يواكيم مراد، صهر نابليون ، الذي توج ملكًا على نابولي . أعاد مؤتمر فيينا لعام 1814 استعادة الوضع في أواخر القرن الثامن عشر ، ولكن لم يكن من الممكن القضاء على مُثُل الثورة الفرنسية ، وسرعان ما عادت إلى السطح خلال الاضطرابات السياسية التي ميزت الجزء الأول من القرن التاسع عشر.
كانت ولادة مملكة إيطاليا نتيجة جهود القوميين الإيطاليين والملكيين الموالين لآل سافوي لتأسيس مملكة موحدة تشمل شبه الجزيرة الإيطالية بأكملها . بعد مؤتمر فيينا عام 1815 ، ظهرت حركة التوحيد الإيطالية السياسية والاجتماعية ، أو Risorgimento ، لتوحيد إيطاليا لتوحيد ولايات شبه الجزيرة المختلفة وتحريرها من السيطرة الأجنبية. من الشخصيات الراديكالية البارزة الصحفي الوطني جوزيبي مازيني ، عضو الجمعية الثورية السرية كاربوناري ومؤسس الحركة السياسية المؤثرة في إيطاليا الشباب.في أوائل ثلاثينيات القرن التاسع عشر ، الذين فضلوا جمهورية وحدوية ودافعوا عن حركة قومية واسعة. ساعد إنتاجه الغزير للدعاية حركة التوحيد على البقاء نشطة.
كان العضو الأكثر شهرة في Young Italy هو الثوري والجنرال جوزيبي غاريبالدي ، المعروف بأتباعه المخلصين للغاية ،  الذي قاد الحملة الجمهورية الإيطالية من أجل التوحيد في جنوب إيطاليا. ومع ذلك ، فإن النظام الملكي لشمال إيطاليا في منزل سافوي في مملكة سردينيا ، الذي كان يقوده كاميلو بينسو ، كونت كافور ، كان لديه أيضًا طموحات لتأسيس دولة إيطالية موحدة. في سياق الثورات الليبرالية عام 1848 التي اجتاحت أوروبا ، أُعلنت أول حرب استقلال فاشلة على النمسا . في عام 1855 ، أصبحت مملكة سردينيا حليفًا لبريطانيا وفرنسا في حرب القرم، مما يعطي شرعية لدبلوماسية كافور في نظر القوى العظمى.   هاجمت مملكة سردينيا مرة أخرى الإمبراطورية النمساوية في حرب الاستقلال الإيطالية الثانية عام 1859 ، بمساعدة فرنسا ، مما أدى إلى تحرير لومباردي .
في 1860-1861 ، قاد غاريبالدي حملة التوحيد في نابولي وصقلية ( بعثة الألف ) ،  بينما احتلت قوات آل سافوي الأراضي الوسطى لشبه الجزيرة الإيطالية ، باستثناء روما وجزء من الولايات البابوية. كان Teano موقع الاجتماع الشهير في 26 أكتوبر 1860 بين جوزيبي غاريبالدي وفيكتور عمانويل الثاني، آخر ملوك سردينيا ، حيث صافح غاريبالدي يد فيكتور إيمانويل وأشاد به كملك لإيطاليا ؛ وهكذا ، ضحى غاريبالدي بآمال الجمهوريين من أجل الوحدة الإيطالية في ظل نظام ملكي. وافق كافور على ضم جنوب إيطاليا في عهد غاريبالدي ، مما سمح لها بالانضمام إلى الاتحاد مع مملكة سردينيا في عام 1860. وقد سمح ذلك لحكومة سردينيا بإعلان مملكة إيطالية موحدة في 17 مارس 1861.  أصبح فيكتور عمانويل الثاني بعد ذلك أول ملك لمملكة سردينيا وحدت إيطاليا ، وتم نقل العاصمة من تورين إلى فلورنسا.
في عام 1866 ، تحالف فيكتور عمانويل الثاني مع بروسيا خلال الحرب النمساوية البروسية ، وشن حرب الاستقلال الإيطالية الثالثة التي سمحت لإيطاليا بضم البندقية . أخيرًا ، في عام 1870 ، عندما تخلت فرنسا عن حامياتها في روما خلال الحرب الفرنسية البروسية الكارثية لإبقاء الجيش البروسي الكبير في مأزق ، سارع الإيطاليون لملء فجوة السلطة من خلال الاستيلاء على الولايات البابوية . اكتمل التوحيد الإيطالي وبعد ذلك بوقت قصير تم نقل العاصمة الإيطالية إلى روما. تمت الإشارة إلى فيكتور عمانويل وغاريبالدي وكافور ومازيني على أنهم آباء إيطاليا الأربعة للوطن . 
حصلت مملكة إيطاليا الجديدة على وضع القوة العظمى . القانون الدستوري للمملكة سردينيا في النظام الأساسي ألبرتين ، مددت عام 1848 إلى المملكة كلها من إيطاليا في عام 1861، وينص الدستور على الحريات الأساسية للدولة الجديدة، ولكن القوانين الانتخابية استثنى الفئات غير المالكة وغير المتعلمين من التصويت. جاءت حكومة المملكة الجديدة في إطار ملكية دستورية برلمانية تهيمن عليها القوى الليبرالية. مع تحول شمال إيطاليا سريعًا إلى التصنيع ، ظلت المناطق الجنوبية والريفية في الشمال متخلفة ومكتظة بالسكان ، مما أجبر ملايين الأشخاص على الهجرة إلى الخارج وتأجيج الشتات الكبير والمؤثر . و الحزب الاشتراكي الإيطالي ازدادت قوتها باستمرار ، متحدية بذلك المؤسسة التقليدية الليبرالية والمحافظة.
بدءا من العقدين الأخيرين من القرن 19، وضعت إيطاليا إلى القوة الاستعمارية من خلال إجبار تحت حكمها إريتريا و الصومال في شرق أفريقيا، طرابلس و برقة في شمال أفريقيا (موحدة في وقت لاحق مستعمرة ليبيا ) و دوديكانيز الجزر.  من 2 نوفمبر 1899 إلى 7 سبتمبر 1901 ، شاركت إيطاليا أيضًا كجزء من قوات تحالف الدول الثماني أثناء تمرد الملاكمين في الصين ؛ في 7 سبتمبر 1901 ، امتياز في تينتسينتم التنازل عنه للبلاد ، وفي 7 يونيو 1902 ، تم أخذ الامتياز في الحيازة الإيطالية وإدارتها من قبل القنصل . في عام 1913 ، تم اعتماد حق الاقتراع العام للذكور. تميزت فترة ما قبل الحرب التي هيمن عليها جيوفاني جيوليتي ، رئيس الوزراء خمس مرات بين عامي 1892 و 1921 ، بالتحديث الاقتصادي والصناعي والسياسي والثقافي للمجتمع الإيطالي.
دخلت إيطاليا الحرب العالمية الأولى في عام 1915 بهدف استكمال الوحدة الوطنية: لهذا السبب ، يعتبر التدخل الإيطالي في الحرب العالمية الأولى أيضًا حرب الاستقلال الإيطالية الرابعة ،  من منظور تاريخي يُحدد في أخيرًا إبرام توحيد إيطاليا ، التي بدأت أعمالها العسكرية خلال ثورات 1848 مع حرب الاستقلال الإيطالية الأولى .  
إيطاليا، المتحالفة اسميا مع الإمبراطورية الألمانية والإمبراطورية النمساوية المجرية في التحالف الثلاثي ، وانضم في عام 1915 إلى الحلفاء في الحرب العالمية الأولى مع وعد من مكاسب إقليمية كبيرة، شملت الغربي كارنيولا الداخلية الأسبق الساحلية النمساوية ، دلمتيا كذلك كأجزاء من الإمبراطورية العثمانية . قدمت البلاد مساهمة أساسية في انتصار الصراع كواحدة من " الأربعة الكبار " قوى الحلفاء. كانت الحرب في البداية غير حاسمة ، حيث علق الجيش الإيطالي في حرب استنزاف طويلةفي جبال الألب ، ولم يحرز تقدمًا يذكر ويعاني من خسائر فادحة للغاية. ومع ذلك ، أدت إعادة تنظيم الجيش وتجنيد ما يسمى بـ 99 بويز ( Ragazzi del '99 ، جميع الذكور الذين ولدوا في عام 1899 وكانوا يبلغون من العمر 18 عامًا) إلى انتصارات إيطالية أكثر فاعلية في المعارك الكبرى ، مثل مونتي جرابا و في سلسلة من المعارك على نهر بيافي . في نهاية المطاف ، في أكتوبر 1918 ، شن الإيطاليون هجومًا هائلاً بلغ ذروته بانتصار فيتوريو فينيتو . انتصار إيطاليا،    الذي تم الإعلان عنه من قبل Bollettino ديلا فيتوريا و ديلا فيتوريا Bollettino Navale, marked the end of the war on the Italian Front, secured the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and was chiefly instrumental in ending the First World War less than two weeks later.
During the war, more than 650,000 Italian soldiers and as many civilians died and the kingdom went to the brink of bankruptcy. The Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1919) and the Treaty of Rapallo (1920) allowed the annexation of Trentino Alto-Adige, Julian March, Istria, Kvarner as well as the Dalmatian city of Zara. The subsequent Treaty of Rome (1924) led to the annexation of the city of Fiume to Italy. Italy did not receive other territories promised by the Treaty of London (1915), so this outcome was denounced as a "Mutilated victory". The rhetoric of "Mutilated victory" was adopted by Benito Mussolini and led to the rise of Italian fascism, becoming a key point in the propaganda of Fascist Italy. Historians regard "Mutilated victory" as a "political myth", used by fascists to fuel Italian imperialism and obscure the successes of liberal Italy in the aftermath of World War I. Italy also gained a permanent seat in the League of Nations's executive council.
The socialist agitations that followed the devastation of the Great War, inspired by the Russian Revolution, led to counter-revolution and repression throughout Italy. The liberal establishment, fearing a Soviet-style revolution, started to endorse the small National Fascist Party, led by Benito Mussolini. In October 1922 the Blackshirts of the National Fascist Party attempted a coup named the "March on Rome" which failed but at the last minute, King Victor Emmanuel III refused to proclaim a state of siege and appointed Mussolini prime minister. Over the next few years, Mussolini banned all political parties and curtailed personal liberties, thus forming a dictatorship. These actions attracted international attention and eventually inspired similar dictatorships such as Nazi Germany and Francoist Spain.
Italian Fascism is based upon Italian nationalism and in particular seeks to complete what it considers as the incomplete project of Risorgimento by incorporating Italia Irredenta (unredeemed Italy) into the state of Italy. To the east of Italy, the Fascists claimed that Dalmatia was a land of Italian culture whose Italians, including those of Italianized South Slavic descent, had been driven out of Dalmatia and into exile in Italy, and supported the return of Italians of Dalmatian heritage. Mussolini identified Dalmatia as having strong Italian cultural roots for centuries via the Roman Empire and the Republic of Venice. To the west of Italy, the Fascists claimed that the territories of Corsica, Nice and Savoy held by France were Italian lands. The Fascist regime produced literature on Corsica that presented evidence of the island's italianità. The Fascist regime produced literature on Nice that justified that Nice was an Italian land based on historic, ethnic and linguistic grounds.
In 1935, Mussolini invaded Ethiopia and founded the Italian East Africa, resulting in an international alienation and leading to Italy's withdrawal from the League of Nations; Italy allied with Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan and strongly supported Francisco Franco in the Spanish civil war. In 1939, Italy annexed Albania, a de facto protectorate for decades. Italy entered World War II on 10 June 1940. After initially advancing in British Somaliland, Egypt, the Balkans and eastern fronts, the Italians were defeated in East Africa, Soviet Union and North Africa.
The Armistice of Villa Giusti, which ended fighting between Italy and Austria-Hungary at the end of World War I, resulted in Italian annexation of neighbouring parts of Yugoslavia. During the interwar period, the fascist Italian government undertook a campaign of Italianisation in the areas it annexed, which suppressed Slavic language, schools, political parties, and cultural institutions. During World War II, Italian war crimes included extrajudicial killings and ethnic cleansing by deportation of about 25,000 people, mainly Jews, Croats, and Slovenians, to the Italian concentration camps, such as Rab, Gonars, Monigo, Renicci di Anghiari and elsewhere. In Italy and Yugoslavia, unlike in Germany, few war crimes were prosecuted. Yugoslav Partisans perpetrated their own crimes against the Italians during and after the war, including the foibe massacres, which refers to mass killings against the local ethnic Italian population (Istrian Italians and Dalmatian Italians), mainly in Julian March, Istria, Kvarner and Dalmatia. The term refers to the victims who were often thrown alive into foibas (deep natural sinkholes; by extension, it also was applied to the use of mine shafts, etc. to hide the bodies).
An Allied invasion of Sicily began in July 1943, leading to the collapse of the Fascist regime and the fall of Mussolini on 25 July. Mussolini was deposed and arrested by order of King Victor Emmanuel III in co-operation with the majority of the members of the Grand Council of Fascism, which passed a motion of no confidence. On 8 September, Italy signed the Armistice of Cassibile, ending its war with the Allies. The Germans helped by the Italian fascists shortly succeeded in taking control of northern and central Italy. The country remained a battlefield for the rest of the war, as the Allies were slowly moving up from the south.
In the north, the Germans set up the Italian Social Republic (RSI), a Nazi puppet state with Mussolini installed as leader after he was rescued by German paratroopers. Some Italian troops in the south were organized into the Italian Co-belligerent Army, which fought alongside the Allies for the rest of the war, while other Italian troops, loyal to Mussolini and his RSI, continued to fight alongside the Germans in the National Republican Army. As result, the country descended into civil war. Also, the post-armistice period saw the rise of a large anti-fascist resistance movement, the Resistenza, which fought a guerilla war against the German and RSI forces. In late April 1945, with total defeat looming, Mussolini attempted to escape north, but was captured and summarily executed near Lake Como by Italian partisans. His body was then taken to Milan, where it was hung upside down at a service station for public viewing and to provide confirmation of his demise. Hostilities ended on 29 April 1945, when the German forces in Italy surrendered. Nearly half a million Italians (including civilians) died in the conflict, and the Italian economy had been all but destroyed; per capita income in 1944 was at its lowest point since the beginning of the 20th century.
Italy became a republic after a referendum held on 2 June 1946, a day celebrated since as Republic Day. This was also the first time that Italian women were entitled to vote. Victor Emmanuel III's son, Umberto II, was forced to abdicate and exiled. The Republican Constitution was approved on 1 January 1948. Under the Treaty of Peace with Italy, 1947, Istria, Kvarner, most of the Julian March as well as the Dalmatian city of Zara was annexed by Yugoslavia causing the Istrian-Dalmatian exodus, which led to the emigration of between 230,000 and 350,000 of local ethnic Italians (Istrian Italians and Dalmatian Italians), the others being ethnic Slovenians, ethnic Croatians, and ethnic Istro-Romanians, choosing to maintain Italian citizenship. Later, the Free Territory of Trieste was divided between the two states. Italy also lost all of its colonial possessions, formally ending the Italian Empire. In 1950, Italian Somaliland was made a United Nations Trust Territory under Italian administration until 1 July 1960. The Italian border that applies today has existed since 1975, when Trieste was formally re-annexed to Italy.
Fears of a possible Communist takeover (especially in the United States) proved crucial for the first universal suffrage electoral outcome on 18 April 1948, when the Christian Democrats, under the leadership of Alcide De Gasperi, obtained a landslide victory. Consequently, in 1949 Italy became a member of NATO. The Marshall Plan helped to revive the Italian economy which, until the late 1960s, enjoyed a period of sustained economic growth commonly called the "Economic Miracle". In 1957, Italy was a founding member of the European Economic Community (EEC), which became the European Union (EU) in 1993.
From the late 1960s until the early 1980s, the country experienced the Years of Lead, a period characterised by economic crisis (especially after the 1973 oil crisis), widespread social conflicts and terrorist massacres carried out by opposing extremist groups, with the alleged involvement of US and Soviet intelligence. The Years of Lead culminated in the assassination of the Christian Democrat leader Aldo Moro in 1978 and the Bologna railway station massacre in 1980, where 85 people died.
In the 1980s, for the first time since 1945, two governments were led by non-Christian-Democrat premiers: one republican (Giovanni Spadolini) and one socialist (Bettino Craxi); the Christian Democrats remained, however, the main government party. During Craxi's government, the economy recovered and Italy became the world's fifth-largest industrial nation after it gained the entry into the Group of Seven in the 1970s. However, as a result of his spending policies, the Italian national debt skyrocketed during the Craxi era, soon passing 100% of the country's GDP.
Italy faced several terror attacks between 1992 and 1993 perpetrated by the Sicilian Mafia as a consequence of several life sentences pronounced during the "Maxi Trial", and of the new anti-mafia measures launched by the government. In 1992, two major dynamite attacks killed the judges Giovanni Falcone (23 May in the Capaci bombing) and Paolo Borsellino (19 July in the Via D'Amelio bombing). One year later (May–July 1993), tourist spots were attacked, such as the Via dei Georgofili in Florence, Via Palestro in Milan, and the Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano and Via San Teodoro in Rome, leaving 10 dead and 93 injured and causing severe damage to cultural heritage such as the Uffizi Gallery. The Catholic Church openly condemned the Mafia, and two churches were bombed and an anti-Mafia priest shot dead in Rome. Also in the early 1990s, Italy faced significant challenges, as voters – disenchanted with political paralysis, massive public debt and the extensive corruption system (known as Tangentopoli) uncovered by the Clean Hands (Mani Pulite) investigation – demanded radical reforms. The scandals involved all major parties, but especially those in the government coalition: the Christian Democrats, who ruled for almost 50 years, underwent a severe crisis and eventually disbanded, splitting up into several factions. The Communists reorganised as a social-democratic force. During the 1990s and the 2000s, centre-right (dominated by media magnate Silvio Berlusconi) and centre-left coalitions (led by university professor Romano Prodi) alternately governed the country.
Amidst the Great Recession, Berlusconi resigned in 2011, and his conservative government was replaced by the technocratic cabinet of Mario Monti. Following the 2013 general election, the Vice-Secretary of the Democratic Party Enrico Letta formed a new government at the head of a right-left Grand coalition. In 2014, challenged by the new Secretary of the PD Matteo Renzi, Letta resigned and was replaced by Renzi. The new government started important constitutional reforms such as the abolition of the Senate and a new electoral law. On 4 December the constitutional reform was rejected in a referendum and Renzi resigned; the Foreign Affairs Minister Paolo Gentiloni was appointed new Prime Minister.
In the European migrant crisis of the 2010s, Italy was the entry point and leading destination for most asylum seekers entering the EU. From 2013 to 2018, the country took in over 700,000 migrants and refugees, mainly from sub-Saharan Africa, which caused great strain on the public purse and a surge in the support for far-right or eurosceptic political parties. The 2018 general election was characterized by a strong showing of the Five Star Movement and the League and the university professor Giuseppe Conte became the Prime Minister at the head of a populist coalition between these two parties. However, after only fourteen months the League withdrew its support to Conte, who formed a new unprecedented government coalition between the Five Star Movement and the centre-left.
In 2020, Italy was severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. From March to May, Conte's government imposed a national lockdown as a measure to limit the spread of the disease, while further restrictions were introduced during the following winter. The measures, despite being widely approved by the public opinion, were also described as the largest suppression of constitutional rights in the history of the republic. With more than 115,000 confirmed victims, Italy was one of the countries with the highest total number of deaths in the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic caused also a severe economic disruption, in which Italy resulted as one of the most affected countries.
In February 2021, after a government crisis within his majority, Conte was forced to resign and Mario Draghi, former president of the European Central Bank, formed a national unity government supported by almost all the main parties, pledging to oversee implementation of economic stimulus to face the crisis caused by the pandemic.
Italy is located in Southern Europe (it is also considered a part of western Europe) between latitudes 35° and 47° N, and longitudes 6° and 19° E. To the north, Italy borders France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia and is roughly delimited by the Alpine watershed, enclosing the Po Valley and the Venetian Plain. To the south, it consists of the entirety of the Italian Peninsula and the two Mediterranean islands of Sicily and Sardinia (the two biggest islands of the Mediterranean), in addition to many smaller islands. The sovereign states of San Marino and the Vatican City are enclaves within Italy, while Campione d'Italia is an Italian exclave in Switzerland.
The country's total area is 301,230 square kilometres (116,306 sq mi), of which 294,020 km2 (113,522 sq mi) is land and 7,210 km2 (2,784 sq mi) is water. Including the islands, Italy has a coastline and border of 7,600 kilometres (4,722 miles) on the Adriatic, Ionian, Tyrrhenian seas (740 km (460 mi)), and borders shared with France (488 km (303 mi)), Austria (430 km (267 mi)), Slovenia (232 km (144 mi)) and Switzerland (740 km (460 mi)). San Marino (39 km (24 mi)) and Vatican City (3.2 km (2.0 mi)), both enclaves, account for the remainder.
Over 35% of the Italian territory is mountainous. The Apennine Mountains form the peninsula's backbone, and the Alps form most of its northern boundary, where Italy's highest point is located on Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco) (4,810 m or 15,780 ft).[note 1] Other worldwide-known mountains in Italy include the Matterhorn (Monte Cervino), Monte Rosa, Gran Paradiso in the West Alps, and Bernina, Stelvio and Dolomites along the eastern side.
The Po, Italy's longest river (652 kilometres or 405 miles), flows from the Alps on the western border with France and crosses the Padan plain on its way to the Adriatic Sea. The Po Valley is the largest plain in Italy, with 46,000 km2 (18,000 sq mi), and it represents over 70% of the total plain area in the country.
Many elements of the Italian territory are of volcanic origin. Most of the small islands and archipelagos in the south, like Capraia, Ponza, Ischia, Eolie, Ustica and Pantelleria are volcanic islands. There are also active volcanoes: Mount Etna in Sicily (the largest active volcano in Europe), Vulcano, Stromboli, and Vesuvius (the only active volcano on mainland Europe).
The five largest lakes are, in order of diminishing size: Garda (367.94 km2 or 142 sq mi), Maggiore (212.51 km2 or 82 sq mi, whose minor northern part is Switzerland), Como (145.9 km2 or 56 sq mi), Trasimeno (124.29 km2 or 48 sq mi) and Bolsena (113.55 km2 or 44 sq mi).
Although the country includes the Italian peninsula, adjacent islands, and most of the southern Alpine basin, some of Italy's territory extends beyond the Alpine basin and some islands are located outside the Eurasian continental shelf. These territories are the comuni of: Livigno, Sexten, Innichen, Toblach (in part), Chiusaforte, Tarvisio, Graun im Vinschgau (in part), which are all part of the Danube's drainage basin, while the Val di Lei constitutes part of the Rhine's basin and the islands of Lampedusa and Lampione are on the African continental shelf.
Four different seas surround the Italian Peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea from three sides: the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea in the south, and the Ligurian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea in the west.
Including islands, Italy has a coastline of 7,900 km. Italian coasts include the Amalfi Coast, Cilentan Coast, Coast of the Gods, Costa Verde, Riviera delle Palme, Riviera del Brenta, Costa Smeralda and Trabocchi Coast. The Italian Riviera includes nearly all of the coastline of Liguria, extending from the border with France near Ventimiglia eastwards to Capo Corvo, which marks the eastern end of the Gulf of La Spezia.
The Apennines run along the entire length of the peninsula, dividing the waters into two opposite sides. On the other hand, the rivers are numerous due to the relative abundance of rains and to the presence of the Alpine chain in northern Italy with snowfields and glaciers. The fundamental watershed follows the ridge of the Alps and the Apennines and delimits five main slopes, corresponding to the seas into which the rivers flow: the Adriatic, Ionic, Tyrrhenian, Ligurian and Mediterranean sides. Taking into consideration their origin, the Italian rivers can be divided into two main groups: the Alpine-Po rivers and the Apennine-island rivers.
Most of the rivers of Italy drain either into the Adriatic Sea, such as the Po, Piave, Adige, Brenta, Tagliamento, and Reno, or into the Tyrrhenian, like the Arno, Tiber and Volturno. The waters from some border municipalities (Livigno in Lombardy, Innichen and Sexten in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol) drain into the Black Sea through the basin of the Drava, a tributary of the Danube, and the waters from the Lago di Lei in Lombardy drain into the North Sea through the basin of the Rhine.
The longest Italian river is Po, which flows either 652 km (405 mi) or 682 km (424 mi) (considering the length of the right bank tributary Maira) and whose headwaters are a spring seeping from a stony hillside at Pian del Re, a flat place at the head of the Val Po under the northwest face of Monviso. The vast valley around the Po is called Po Valley (Italian: Pianura Padana or Val Padana) the main industrial area of the country; in 2002, more than 16 million people lived there, at the time nearly ⅓ of the population of Italy. The second longest Italian river is Adige, which originates near Lake Resia and flows into the Adriatic Sea, after having made a north–south route, near Chioggia.
In the north of the country are a number of large subalpine moraine-dammed lakes, commonly referred to as the Italian Lakes. There are more than 1000 lakes in Italy, the largest of which is Garda (370 km2 or 143 sq mi). Other well-known subalpine lakes are Lake Maggiore (212.5 km2 or 82 sq mi), whose most northerly section is part of Switzerland, Como (146 km2 or 56 sq mi), one of the deepest lakes in Europe, Orta, Lugano, Iseo, and Idro. Other notable lakes in the Italian peninsula are Trasimeno, Bolsena, Bracciano, Vico, Varano and Lesina in Gargano and Omodeo in Sardinia.
Along the Italian coasts there are lagoons, including the Venice, Grado Lagoon and Marano lagoons in northern Adriatic, and the Orbetello lagoon on the Tuscan coast. The swamps and ponds that in the past covered vast flat areas of Italy, have largely been dried up in recent centuries; the few remaining wetlands, such as the Comacchio Valleys in Emilia-Romagna or the Stagno di Cagliari in Sardinia, are protected natural environments.
The country is situated at the meeting point of the Eurasian Plate and the African Plate, leading to considerable seismic and volcanic activity. There are 14 volcanoes in Italy, four of which are active: Etna, Stromboli, Vulcano and Vesuvius. The last is the only active volcano in mainland Europe and is most famous for the destruction of Pompeii and Herculanum in the eruption in 79 AD. Several islands and hills have been created by volcanic activity, and there is still a large active caldera, the Campi Flegrei north-west of Naples.
The high volcanic and magmatic neogenic activity is subdivided into provinces:
- Magmatic Tuscan (Monti Cimini, Tolfa and Amiata);
- Magmatic Latium (Monti Volsini, Vico nel Lazio, Colli Albani, Roccamonfina);
- Ultra-alkaline Umbrian Latium District (San Venanzo, Cupaello and Polino);
- Volcanic bell (Vesuvius, Campi Flegrei, Ischia);
- Windy arch and Tyrrhenian basin (Aeolian Islands and Tyrrhenian seamounts);
- African-Adriatic Avampa (Channel of Sicily, Graham Island, Etna and Mount Vulture).
Italy was the first country to exploit geothermal energy to produce electricity. The high geothermal gradient that forms part of the peninsula makes potentially exploitable also other provinces: research carried out in the 1960s and 1970s identifies potential geothermal fields in Lazio and Tuscany, as well as in most volcanic islands.
After its quick industrial growth, Italy took a long time to confront its environmental problems. After several improvements, it now ranks 84th in the world for ecological sustainability. National parks cover about 5% of the country.
In the last decade, Italy has become one of the world's leading producers of renewable energy, ranking as the world's fourth largest holder of installed solar energy capacity and the sixth largest holder of wind power capacity in 2010. Renewable energies now make up about 12% of the total primary and final energy consumption in Italy, with a future target share set at 17% for the year 2020.However, air pollution remains a severe problem, especially in the industrialised north, reaching the tenth highest level worldwide of industrial carbon dioxide emissions in the 1990s. Italy is the twelfth largest carbon dioxide producer.
Extensive traffic and congestion in the largest metropolitan areas continue to cause severe environmental and health issues, even if smog levels have decreased dramatically since the 1970s and 1980s, and the presence of smog is becoming an increasingly rarer phenomenon and levels of sulphur dioxide are decreasing.
Many watercourses and coastal stretches have also been contaminated by industrial and agricultural activity, while because of rising water levels, Venice has been regularly flooded throughout recent years. Waste from industrial activity is not always disposed of by legal means and has led to permanent health effects on inhabitants of affected areas, as in the case of the Seveso disaster. The country has also operated several nuclear reactors between 1963 and 1990 but, after the Chernobyl disaster and a referendum on the issue the nuclear programme was terminated, a decision that was overturned by the government in 2008, planning to build up to four nuclear power plants with French technology. This was in turn struck down by a referendum following the Fukushima nuclear accident.
Deforestation, illegal building developments and poor land-management policies have led to significant erosion all over Italy's mountainous regions, leading to major ecological disasters like the 1963 Vajont Dam flood, the 1998 Sarno and 2009 Messina mudslides. The country had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 3.65/10, ranking it 142nd globally out of 172 countries.
Italy has the highest level of faunal biodiversity in Europe, with over 57,000 species recorded, representing more than a third of all European fauna. Italy's varied geological structure contributes to its high climate and habitat diversity. The Italian peninsula is in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, forming a corridor between central Europe and North Africa, and has 8,000 km (5,000 mi) of coastline. Italy also receives species from the Balkans, Eurasia, the Middle East. Italy's varied geological structure, including the Alps and the Apennines, Central Italian woodlands, and Southern Italian Garigue and Maquis shrubland, also contributes to high climate and habitat diversity.
Italian fauna includes 4,777 endemic animal species, which include the Sardinian long-eared bat, Sardinian red deer, spectacled salamander, brown cave salamander, Italian newt, Italian frog, Apennine yellow-bellied toad, Aeolian wall lizard, Sicilian wall lizard, Italian Aesculapian snake, and Sicilian pond turtle. There are 102 mammals species (most notably the Italian wolf, Marsican brown bear, Pyrenean chamois, Alpine ibex, crested porcupine, Mediterranean monk seal, Alpine marmot, Etruscan shrew, and European snow vole), 516 bird species and 56,213 invertebrate species.
The flora of Italy was traditionally estimated to comprise about 5,500 vascular plant species. However, as of 2005[update], 6,759 species are recorded in the Data bank of Italian vascular flora. Italy is a signatory to the Berne Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats and the Habitats Directive both affording protection to Italian fauna and flora.
Because of the great longitudinal extension of the peninsula and the mostly mountainous internal conformation, the climate of Italy is highly diverse. In most of the inland northern and central regions, the climate ranges from humid subtropical to humid continental and oceanic. In particular, the climate of the Po valley geographical region is mostly continental, with harsh winters and hot summers.
The coastal areas of Liguria, Tuscany and most of the South generally fit the Mediterranean climate stereotype (Köppen climate classification Csa). Conditions on peninsular coastal areas can be very different from the interior's higher ground and valleys, particularly during the winter months when the higher altitudes tend to be cold, wet, and often snowy. The coastal regions have mild winters and warm and generally dry summers, although lowland valleys can be quite hot in summer. Average winter temperatures vary from 0 °C (32 °F) on the Alps to 12 °C (54 °F) in Sicily, so average summer temperatures range from 20 °C (68 °F) to over 25 °C (77 °F). Winters can vary widely across the country with lingering cold, foggy and snowy periods in the north and milder, sunnier conditions in the south. Summers can be hot and humid across the country, particularly in the south while northern and central areas can experience occasional strong thunderstorms from spring to autumn.
Italy has been a unitary parliamentary republic since 2 June 1946, when the monarchy was abolished by a constitutional referendum. The President of Italy (Presidente della Repubblica), currently Sergio Mattarella since 2015, is Italy's head of state. The President is elected for a single seven years mandate by the Parliament of Italy and some regional voters in joint session. Italy has a written democratic constitution, resulting from the work of a Constituent Assembly formed by the representatives of all the anti-fascist forces that contributed to the defeat of Nazi and Fascist forces during the Civil War.
Italy has a parliamentary government based on a mixed proportional and majoritarian voting system. The parliament is perfectly bicameral: the two houses, the Chamber of Deputies that meets in Palazzo Montecitorio, and the Senate of the Republic that meets in Palazzo Madama, have the same powers. The Prime Minister, officially President of the Council of Ministers (Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri), is Italy's head of government. The Prime Minister and the cabinet are appointed by the President of the Republic of Italy and must pass a vote of confidence in Parliament to come into office. To remain the Prime Minister has to pass also eventual further votes of confidence or no confidence in Parliament.
The prime minister is the President of the Council of Ministers – which holds effective executive power – and he must receive a vote of approval from it to execute most political activities. The office is similar to those in most other parliamentary systems, but the leader of the Italian government is not authorised to request the dissolution of the Parliament of Italy.
Another difference with similar offices is that the overall political responsibility for intelligence is vested in the President of the Council of Ministers. By virtue of that, the Prime Minister has exclusive power to: co-ordinate intelligence policies, determining the financial resources and strengthening national cyber security; apply and protect State secrets; authorise agents to carry out operations, in Italy or abroad, in violation of the law.
A peculiarity of the Italian Parliament is the representation given to Italian citizens permanently living abroad: 12 Deputies and 6 Senators elected in four distinct overseas constituencies. In addition, the Italian Senate is characterised also by a small number of senators for life, appointed by the President "for outstanding patriotic merits in the social, scientific, artistic or literary field". Former Presidents of the Republic are ex officio life senators.
Italy's three major political parties are the Five Star Movement, the Democratic Party and the Lega. During the 2018 general election these three parties and their coalitions won 614 out of 630 seats available in the Chamber of Deputies and 309 out of 315 in the Senate. Berlusconi's Forza Italia which formed a centre-right coalition with Matteo Salvini's Northern League and Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy won most of the seats without getting the majority in parliament. The rest of the seats were taken by Five Star Movement, Matteo Renzi's Democratic Party along with Achammer and Panizza's South Tyrolean People's Party & Trentino Tyrolean Autonomist Party in a centre-left coalition and the independent Free and Equal party.
Law and criminal justice
The Italian judicial system is based on Roman law modified by the Napoleonic code and later statutes. The Supreme Court of Cassation is the highest court in Italy for both criminal and civil appeal cases. The Constitutional Court of Italy (Corte Costituzionale) rules on the conformity of laws with the constitution and is a post–World War II innovation. Since their appearance in the middle of the 19th century, Italian organised crime and criminal organisations have infiltrated the social and economic life of many regions in Southern Italy, the most notorious of which being the Sicilian Mafia, which would later expand into some foreign countries including the United States. Mafia receipts may reach 9% of Italy's GDP.
A 2009 report identified 610 comuni which have a strong Mafia presence, where 13 million Italians live and 14.6% of the Italian GDP is produced. The Calabrian 'Ndrangheta, nowadays probably the most powerful crime syndicate of Italy, accounts alone for 3% of the country's GDP. However, at 0.013 per 1,000 people, Italy has only the 47th highest murder rate compared to 61 countries and the 43rd highest number of rapes per 1,000 people compared to 64 countries in the world. These are relatively low figures among developed countries.
The Italian law enforcement system is complex, with multiple police forces. The national policing agencies are the Polizia di Stato (State Police), the Arma dei Carabinieri, the Guardia di Finanza (Financial Guard), and the Polizia Penitenziaria (Prison Police), as well as the Guardia Costiera (coast guard police).
The Polizia di Stato are a civil police supervised by the Interior Ministry, while the Carabinieri is a gendarmerie supervised by the Defense Ministry; both share duties in law enforcement and the maintenance of public order. Within the Carabinieri is a unit devoted to combating environmental crime. The Guardia di Finanza is responsible for combating financial crime and white-collar crime, as well as customs. The Polizia Penitenziaria are responsible for guarding the prison system. The Corpo Forestale dello Stato (State Forestry Corps) formerly existed as a separate national park ranger agency, but was merged into the Carabinieri in 2016. Although policing in Italy is primarily provided on a national basis, there also exists Polizia Provinciale (provincial police) and Polizia Municipale (municipal police).
Italy is a founding member of the European Economic Community (EEC), now the European Union (EU), and of NATO. Italy was admitted to the United Nations in 1955, and it is a member and a strong supporter of a wide number of international organisations, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization (GATT/WTO), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe, and the Central European Initiative. Its recent or upcoming turns in the rotating presidency of international organisations include the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in 2018, the G7 in 2017 and the EU Council from July to December 2014. Italy is also a recurrent non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, the most recently in 2017.
Italy strongly supports multilateral international politics, endorsing the United Nations and its international security activities. As of 2013[update], Italy was deploying 5,296 troops abroad, engaged in 33 UN and NATO missions in 25 countries of the world. Italy deployed troops in support of UN peacekeeping missions in Somalia, Mozambique, and East Timor and provides support for NATO and UN operations in Bosnia, Kosovo and Albania. Italy deployed over 2,000 troops in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) from February 2003.
Italy supported international efforts to reconstruct and stabilise Iraq, but it had withdrawn its military contingent of some 3,200 troops by 2006, maintaining only humanitarian operators and other civilian personnel. In August 2006 Italy deployed about 2,450 troops in Lebanon for the United Nations' peacekeeping mission UNIFIL. Italy is one of the largest financiers of the Palestinian National Authority, contributing €60 million in 2013 alone.
The Italian Army, Navy, Air Force and Carabinieri collectively form the Italian Armed Forces, under the command of the Supreme Defence Council, presided over by the President of Italy. Since 2005, military service is voluntary. In 2010, the Italian military had 293,202 personnel on active duty, of which 114,778 are Carabinieri. Total Italian military spending in 2010 ranked tenth in the world, standing at $35.8 billion, equal to 1.7% of national GDP. As part of NATO's nuclear sharing strategy Italy also hosts 90 United States B61 nuclear bombs, located in the Ghedi and Aviano air bases.
The Italian Army is the national ground defence force, numbering 109,703 in 2008. Its best-known combat vehicles are the Dardo infantry fighting vehicle, the Centauro tank destroyer and the Ariete tank, and among its aircraft the Mangusta attack helicopter, in the last years deployed in EU, NATO and UN missions. It also has at its disposal many Leopard 1 and M113 armoured vehicles.
The Italian Navy in 2008 had 35,200 active personnel with 85 commissioned ships and 123 aircraft. It is a blue-water navy. In modern times the Italian Navy, being a member of the EU and NATO, has taken part in many coalition peacekeeping operations around the world.
The Italian Air Force in 2008 had a strength of 43,882 and operated 585 aircraft, including 219 combat jets and 114 helicopters. A transport capability is guaranteed by a fleet of 27 C-130Js and C-27J Spartan.
An autonomous corps of the military, the Carabinieri are the gendarmerie and military police of Italy, policing the military and civilian population alongside Italy's other police forces. While the different branches of the Carabinieri report to separate ministries for each of their individual functions, the corps reports to the Ministry of Internal Affairs when maintaining public order and security.
Italy is constituted by 20 regions (regioni)—five of these regions having a special autonomous status that enables them to enact legislation on additional matters, 107 provinces (province) or metropolitan cities (città metropolitane), and 7,960 municipalities (comuni).
|Region||Capital||Area (km2)||Area (sq mi)||Population (January 2019)||Nominal GDP EURO billions (2016)||Nominal GDP EURO per capita(2016) |
Italy has a major advanced capitalist mixed economy, ranking as the third-largest in the Eurozone and the eighth-largest in the world. A founding member of the G7, the Eurozone and the OECD, it is regarded as one of the world's most industrialised nations and a leading country in world trade and exports. It is a highly developed country, with the world's 8th highest quality of life in 2005 and the 26th Human Development Index. The country is well known for its creative and innovative business, a large and competitive agricultural sector (with the world's largest wine production), and for its influential and high-quality automobile, machinery, food, design and fashion industry.
Italy is the world's sixth largest manufacturing country, characterised by a smaller number of global multinational corporations than other economies of comparable size and many dynamic small and medium-sized enterprises, notoriously clustered in several industrial districts, which are the backbone of the Italian industry. This has produced a manufacturing sector often focused on the export of niche market and luxury products, that if on one side is less capable to compete on the quantity, on the other side is more capable of facing the competition from China and other emerging Asian economies based on lower labour costs, with higher quality products. Italy was the world's 7th largest exporter in 2016. Its closest trade ties are with the other countries of the European Union, with whom it conducts about 59% of its total trade. Its largest EU trade partners, in order of market share, are Germany (12.9%), France (11.4%), and Spain (7.4%).
The automotive industry is a significant part of the Italian manufacturing sector, with over 144,000 firms and almost 485,000 employed people in 2015, and a contribution of 8.5% to Italian GDP. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles or FCA is currently the world's seventh-largest auto maker. The country boasts a wide range of acclaimed products, from very compact city cars to luxury supercars such as Maserati, Lamborghini, and Ferrari, which was rated the world's most powerful brand by Brand Finance.
Italy is part of the European single market which represents more than 500 million consumers. Several domestic commercial policies are determined by agreements among European Union (EU) members and by EU legislation. Italy introduced the common European currency, the Euro in 2002. It is a member of the Eurozone which represents around 330 million citizens. Its monetary policy is set by the European Central Bank.
Italy has been hit hard by the Financial crisis of 2007–08, that exacerbated the country's structural problems. Effectively, after a strong GDP growth of 5–6% per year from the 1950s to the early 1970s, and a progressive slowdown in the 1980-90s, the country virtually stagnated in the 2000s. The political efforts to revive growth with massive government spending eventually produced a severe rise in public debt, that stood at over 131.8% of GDP in 2017, ranking second in the EU only after the Greek one. For all that, the largest chunk of Italian public debt is owned by national subjects, a major difference between Italy and Greece, and the level of household debt is much lower than the OECD average.
A gaping North–South divide is a major factor of socio-economic weakness. It can be noted by the huge difference in statistical income between the northern and southern regions and municipalities. The richest province, Alto Adige-South Tyrol, earns 152% of the national GDP per capita, while the poorest region, Calabria, 61%. The unemployment rate (11.1%) stands slightly above the Eurozone average, but the disaggregated figure is 6.6% in the North and 19.2% in the South. The youth unemployment rate (31.7% in March 2018) is extremely high compared to EU standards.
Italy has a strong cooperative sector, with the largest share of the population (4.5%) employed by a cooperative in the EU.
According to the last national agricultural census, there were 1.6 million farms in 2010 (−32.4% since 2000) covering 12.7 million hectares (63% of which are located in Southern Italy). The vast majority (99%) are family-operated and small, averaging only 8 hectares in size. Of the total surface area in agricultural use (forestry excluded), grain fields take up 31%, olive tree orchards 8.2%, vineyards 5.4%, citrus orchards 3.8%, sugar beets 1.7%, and horticulture 2.4%. The remainder is primarily dedicated to pastures (25.9%) and feed grains (11.6%).
Italy is the world's largest wine producer, and one of the leading in olive oil, fruits (apples, olives, grapes, oranges, lemons, pears, apricots, hazelnuts, peaches, cherries, plums, strawberries and kiwifruits), and vegetables (especially artichokes and tomatoes). The most famous Italian wines are probably the Tuscan Chianti and the Piedmontese Barolo. Other famous wines are Barbaresco, Barbera d'Asti, Brunello di Montalcino, Frascati, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Morellino di Scansano, and the sparkling wines Franciacorta and Prosecco.
Quality goods in which Italy specialises, particularly the already mentioned wines and regional cheeses, are often protected under the quality assurance labels DOC/DOP. This geographical indication certificate, which is attributed by the European Union, is considered important in order to avoid confusion with low-quality mass-produced ersatz products.
In 2004 the transport sector in Italy generated a turnover of about 119.4 billion euros, employing 935,700 persons in 153,700 enterprises. Regarding the national road network, in 2002 there were 668,721 km (415,524 mi) of serviceable roads in Italy, including 6,487 km (4,031 mi) of motorways, state-owned but privately operated by Atlantia. In 2005, about 34,667,000 passenger cars (590 cars per 1,000 people) and 4,015,000 goods vehicles circulated on the national road network.
The national railway network, state-owned and operated by Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (FSI), in 2008 totalled 16,529 km (10,271 mi) of which 11,727 km (7,287 mi) is electrified, and on which 4,802 locomotives and railcars run. The main public operator of high-speed trains is Trenitalia, part of FSI. Higher-speed trains are divided into three categories: Frecciarossa (English: red arrow) trains operate at a maximum speed of 300 km/h on dedicated high-speed tracks; Frecciargento (English: silver arrow) trains operate at a maximum speed of 250 km/h on both high-speed and mainline tracks; and Frecciabianca (English: white arrow) trains operate on high-speed regional lines at a maximum speed of 200 km/h. Italy has 11 rail border crossings over the Alpine mountains with its neighbouring countries.
Italy is one of the countries with the most vehicles per capita, with 690 per 1000 people in 2010. The national inland waterways network comprised 2,400 km (1,491 mi) of navigable rivers and channels for various types of commercial traffic in 2012.
Italy's largest airline is Alitalia, which serves 97 destinations (as of October 2019) and also operates a regional subsidiary under the Alitalia CityLiner brand. The country also has regional airlines (such as Air Dolomiti), low-cost carriers, and Charter and leisure carriers (including Neos, Blue Panorama Airlines and Poste Air Cargo. Major Italian cargo operators are Alitalia Cargo and Cargolux Italia.
Italy is the fifth in Europe by number of passengers by air transport, with about 148 million passengers or about 10% of the European total in 2011. In 2012 there were 130 airports in Italy, including the two hubs of Malpensa International in Milan and Leonardo da Vinci International in Rome. In 2004 there were 43 major seaports, including the seaport of Genoa, the country's largest and second largest in the Mediterranean Sea. In 2005 Italy maintained a civilian air fleet of about 389,000 units and a merchant fleet of 581 ships.
Italy does not invest enough to maintain its drinking water supply. The Galli Law, passed in 1993, aimed at raising the level of investment and to improve service quality by consolidating service providers, making them more efficient and increasing the level of cost recovery through tariff revenues. Despite these reforms, investment levels have declined and remain far from sufficient.
Italy has been the final destination of the Silk Road for many centuries. In particular, the construction of the Suez Canal intensified sea trade with East Africa and Asia from the 19th century. Since the end of the Cold War and increasing European integration, the trade relations, which were often interrupted in the 20th century, have intensified again and the northern Italian ports such as the deep-water port of Trieste in the northernmost part of the Mediterranean with its extensive rail connections to Central and Eastern Europe are once again the destination of government subsidies and significant foreign investment.
Eni, with operations in 79 countries, is one of the seven "Supermajor" oil companies in the world, and one of the world's largest industrial companies. The Val d'Agri area, Basilicata, hosts the largest onshore hydrocarbon field in Europe.
Moderate natural gas reserves, mainly in the Po Valley and offshore Adriatic Sea, have been discovered in recent years and constitute the country's most important mineral resource.
Italy is one of the world's leading producers of pumice, pozzolana, and feldspar. Another notable mineral resource is marble, especially the world-famous white Carrara marble from the Massa and Carrara quarries in Tuscany. Italy needs to import about 80% of its energy requirements.
In the last decade, Italy has become one of the world's largest producers of renewable energy, ranking as the second largest producer in the European Union and the ninth in the world. Wind power, hydroelectricity, and geothermal power are also important sources of electricity in the country. Renewable sources account for the 27.5% of all electricity produced in Italy, with hydro alone reaching 12.6%, followed by solar at 5.7%, wind at 4.1%, bioenergy at 3.5%, and geothermal at 1.6%. The rest of the national demand is covered by fossil fuels (38.2% natural gas, 13% coal, 8.4% oil) and by imports.
Solar energy production alone accounted for almost 9% of the total electric production in the country in 2014, making Italy the country with the highest contribution from solar energy in the world. The Montalto di Castro Photovoltaic Power Station, completed in 2010, is the largest photovoltaic power station in Italy with 85 MW. Other examples of large PV plants in Italy are San Bellino (70.6 MW), Cellino san Marco (42.7 MW) and Sant’ Alberto (34.6 MW). Italy was also the first country to exploit geothermal energy to produce electricity.
Italy has managed four nuclear reactors until the 1980s. However, nuclear power in Italy has been abandoned following a 1987 referendum (in the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Soviet Ukraine). The national power company Enel operates several nuclear reactors in Spain, Slovakia and France, managing it to access nuclear power and direct involvement in design, construction, and operation of the plants without placing reactors on Italian territory.
Science and technology
Through the centuries, Italy has fostered the scientific community that produced many major discoveries in physics and the other sciences. During the Renaissance Italian polymaths such as Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), Michelangelo (1475–1564) and Leon Battista Alberti (1404–1472) made important contributions to a variety of fields, including biology, architecture, and engineering. Galileo Galilei (1564–1642), a physicist, mathematician and astronomer, played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include key improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations, and ultimately the triumph of Copernicanism over the Ptolemaic model.
Other astronomers suchs as Giovanni Domenico Cassini (1625–1712) and Giovanni Schiaparelli (1835–1910) made many important discoveries about the Solar System. In mathematics, Joseph Louis Lagrange (born Giuseppe Lodovico Lagrangia, 1736–1813) was active before leaving Italy. Fibonacci (c. 1170 – c. 1250), and Gerolamo Cardano (1501–1576) made fundamental advances in mathematics. Luca Pacioli established accounting to the world. Physicist Enrico Fermi (1901–1954), a Nobel prize laureate, led the team in Chicago that developed the first nuclear reactor and is also noted for his many other contributions to physics, including the co-development of the quantum theory and was one of the key figures in the creation of the nuclear weapon. He, Emilio G. Segrè (1905–1989) who discovered the elements technetium and astatine, and the antiproton), Bruno Rossi (1905–1993) a pioneer in Cosmic Rays and X-ray astronomy) and a number of Italian physicists were forced to leave Italy in the 1930s by Fascist laws against Jews.
Other prominent physicists include: Amedeo Avogadro (most noted for his contributions to molecular theory, in particular the Avogadro's law and the Avogadro constant), Evangelista Torricelli (inventor of barometer), Alessandro Volta (inventor of electric battery), Guglielmo Marconi (inventor of radio), Galileo Ferraris and Antonio Pacinotti, pioneers of the induction motor, Alessandro Cruto, pioneer of light bulb and Innocenzo Manzetti, eclectic pioneer of auto and robotics, Ettore Majorana (who discovered the Majorana fermions), Carlo Rubbia (1984 Nobel Prize in Physics for work leading to the discovery of the W and Z particles at CERN). Antonio Meucci is known for developing a voice-communication device which is often credited as the first telephone. Pier Giorgio Perotto in 1964 designed one of the first desktop programmable calculators, the Programma 101. In biology, Francesco Redi has been the first to challenge the theory of spontaneous generation by demonstrating that maggots come from eggs of flies and he described 180 parasites in details and Marcello Malpighi founded microscopic anatomy, Lazzaro Spallanzani conducted important research in bodily functions, animal reproduction, and cellular theory, Camillo Golgi, whose many achievements include the discovery of the Golgi complex, paved the way to the acceptance of the Neuron doctrine, Rita Levi-Montalcini discovered the nerve growth factor (awarded 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine). In chemistry, Giulio Natta received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1963 for his work on high polymers. Giuseppe Occhialini received the Wolf Prize in Physics for the discovery of the pion or pi-meson decay in 1947. Ennio de Giorgi, a Wolf Prize in Mathematics recipient in 1990, solved Bernstein's problem about minimal surfaces and the 19th Hilbert problem on the regularity of solutions of Elliptic partial differential equations.
There are numerous technology parks in Italy such as the Science and Technology Parks Kilometro Rosso (Bergamo), the AREA Science Park (Trieste), The VEGA-Venice Gateway for Science and Technology (Venezia), the Toscana Life Sciences (Siena), the Technology Park of Lodi Cluster (Lodi), and the Technology Park of Navacchio (Pisa). ELETTRA, Eurac Research, ESA Centre for Earth Observation, Institute for Scientific Interchange, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation and the International Centre for Theoretical Physics conduct basic research. Trieste has the highest percentage of researchers in Europe in relation to the population.
Italy is the fifth most visited country in the world, with a total of 52.3 million international arrivals in 2016. The total contribution of travel & tourism to GDP (including wider effects from investment, the supply chain and induced income impacts) was EUR162.7bn in 2014 (10.1% of GDP) and generated 1,082,000 jobs directly in 2014 (4.8% of total employment).
Italy is well known for its cultural and environmental tourist routes and is home to 55 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the most in the world. Rome is the 3rd most visited city in Europe and the 12th in the world, with 9.4 million arrivals in 2017 while Milan is the 27th worldwide with 6.8 million tourists. In addition, Venice and Florence are also among the world's top 100 destinations.
At the beginning of 2020, Italy had 60,317,116 inhabitants. The resulting population density, at 202 inhabitants per square kilometre (520/sq mi), is higher than that of most Western European countries. However, the distribution of the population is widely uneven. The most densely populated areas are the Po Valley (that accounts for almost a half of the national population) and the metropolitan areas of Rome and Naples, while vast regions such as the Alps and Apennines highlands, the plateaus of Basilicata and the island of Sardinia are very sparsely populated.
The population of Italy almost doubled during the 20th century, but the pattern of growth was extremely uneven because of large-scale internal migration from the rural South to the industrial cities of the North, a phenomenon which happened as a consequence of the Italian economic miracle of the 1950–1960s. High fertility and birth rates persisted until the 1970s, after which they started to decline. The population rapidly aged; by 2010, one in five Italians was over 65 years old, and the country currently has the fifth oldest population in the world, with a median age of 46.5 years. However, in recent years Italy has experienced significant growth in birth rates. The total fertility rate has also climbed from an all-time low of 1.18 children per woman in 1995 to 1.41 in 2008, albeit still below the replacement rate of 2.1 and considerably below the high of 5.06 children born per woman in 1883. Nevertheless, the total fertility rate is expected to reach 1.6–1.8 in 2030.
From the late 19th century until the 1960s Italy was a country of mass emigration. Between 1898 and 1914, the peak years of Italian diaspora, approximately 750,000 Italians emigrated each year. The diaspora concerned more than 25 million Italians and it is considered the biggest mass migration of contemporary times. As a result, today more than 4.1 million Italian citizens are living abroad, while at least 60 million people of full or part Italian ancestry live outside of Italy, most notably in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela, the United States, Canada, Australia and France.
Largest cities or towns in Italy
ISTAT estimates for 31 December 2014
Metropolitan cities and larger urban zone
|Metropolitan city||Region||Area (km2)||Population (1 January 2019)||Functional Urban Areas |
(FUA) Population (2016)
In 2016, Italy had about 5.05 million foreign residents, making up 8.3% of the total population. The figures include more than half a million children born in Italy to foreign nationals (second generation immigrants) but exclude foreign nationals who have subsequently acquired Italian citizenship; in 2016, about 201,000 people became Italian citizens, compared to 130,000 in 2014. The official figures also exclude illegal immigrants, who estimated to number at least 670,000 as of 2008.
Starting from the early 1980s, until then a linguistically and culturally homogeneous society, Italy begun to attract substantial flows of foreign immigrants. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and, more recently, the 2004 and 2007 enlargements of the European Union, large waves of migration originated from the former socialist countries of Eastern Europe (especially Romania, Albania, Ukraine and Poland). An equally important source of immigration is neighbouring North Africa (in particular, Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia), with soaring arrivals as a consequence of the Arab Spring. Furthermore, in recent years, growing migration fluxes from Asia-Pacific (notably China and the Philippines) and Latin America have been recorded.
Currently, about one million Romanian citizens (around 10% of them being ethnic Romani people) are officially registered as living in Italy, representing thus the most important individual country of origin, followed by Albanians and Moroccans with about 500,000 people each. The number of unregistered Romanians is difficult to estimate, but the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network suggested in 2007 that there might have been half a million or more.[note 2]
As of 2010, the foreign born population of Italy was from the following regions: Europe (54%), Africa (22%), Asia (16%), the Americas (8%) and Oceania (0.06%). The distribution of immigrants is largely uneven in Italy: 87% live in the northern and central parts of the country (the most economically developed areas), while only 13% live in the southern half.
Italy's official language is Italian, as stated by the framework law no. 482/1999 and Trentino Alto-Adige's special Statute, which is adopted with a constitutional law. Around the world there are an estimated 64 million native Italian speakers and another 21 million who use it as a second language. Italian is often natively spoken in a regional variety, not to be confused with Italy's regional and minority languages; however, the establishment of a national education system led to a decrease in variation in the languages spoken across the country during the 20th century. Standardisation was further expanded in the 1950s and 1960s due to economic growth and the rise of mass media and television (the state broadcaster RAI helped set a standard Italian).
Twelve "historical minority languages" (minoranze linguistiche storiche) are formally recognised: Albanian, Catalan, German, Greek, Slovene, Croatian, French, Franco-Provençal, Friulian, Ladin, Occitan and Sardinian. Four of these also enjoy a co-official status in their respective region: French in the Aosta Valley; German in South Tyrol, and Ladin as well in some parts of the same province and in parts of the neighbouring Trentino; and Slovene in the provinces of Trieste, Gorizia and Udine. A number of other Ethnologue, ISO and UNESCO languages are not recognised by Italian law. Like France, Italy has signed the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, but has not ratified it.
Because of recent immigration, Italy has sizeable populations whose native language is not Italian, nor a regional language. According to the Italian National Institute of Statistics, Romanian is the most common mother tongue among foreign residents in Italy: almost 800,000 people speak Romanian as their first language (21.9% of the foreign residents aged 6 and over). Other prevalent mother tongues are Arabic (spoken by over 475,000 people; 13.1% of foreign residents), Albanian (380,000 people) and Spanish (255,000 people).
In 2017, the proportion of Italians who identified themselves as Roman Catholic Christians was 74.4%. Since 1985, Roman Catholicism is no longer officially the state religion. Italy has the fifth world's largest Roman Catholic population, and the largest Catholic nation in Europe.
The Holy See, the episcopal jurisdiction of Rome, contains the central government of the Roman Catholic Church. It is recognised by other subjects of international law as a sovereign entity, headed by the Pope, who is also the Bishop of Rome, with which diplomatic relations can be maintained. Often incorrectly referred to as "the Vatican", the Holy See is not the same entity as the Vatican City State,[clarification needed] which came into existence only in 1929.
In 2011, minority Christian faiths in Italy included an estimated 1.5 million Orthodox Christians, or 2.5% of the population; 500,000 Pentecostals and Evangelicals (of whom 400,000 are members of the Assemblies of God), 251,192 Jehovah's Witnesses, 30,000 Waldensians, 25,000 Seventh-day Adventists, 26,925 Latter-day Saints, 15,000 Baptists (plus some 5,000 Free Baptists), 7,000 Lutherans, 4,000 Methodists (affiliated with the Waldensian Church).
One of the longest-established minority religious faiths in Italy is Judaism, Jews having been present in Ancient Rome since before the birth of Christ. Italy has for centuries welcomed Jews expelled from other countries, notably Spain. However, about 20% of Italian Jews were killed during the Holocaust. This, together with the emigration which preceded and followed World War II, has left only around 28,400 Jews in Italy.
|Religion in Italy in 2017|
Soaring immigration in the last two decades has been accompanied by an increase in non-Christian faiths. There are more than 800,000 followers of faiths originating in the Indian subcontinent with some 70,000 Sikhs with 22 gurdwaras across the country.[clarification needed]
The Italian state, as a measure to protect religious freedom, devolves shares of income tax to recognised religious communities, under a regime known as Eight per thousand. Donations are allowed to Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu communities; however, Islam remains excluded, since no Muslim communities have yet signed a concordat with the Italian state. Taxpayers who do not wish to fund a religion contribute their share to the state welfare system.
Education in Italy is free and mandatory from ages six to sixteen, and consists of five stages: kindergarten (scuola dell'infanzia), primary school (scuola primaria), lower secondary school (scuola secondaria di primo grado, upper secondary school (scuola secondaria di secondo grado) and university (università).
Primary education lasts eight years. Students are given a basic education in Italian, English, mathematics, natural sciences, history, geography, social studies, physical education and visual and musical arts. Secondary education lasts for five years and includes three traditional types of schools focused on different academic levels: the liceo prepares students for university studies with a classical or scientific curriculum, while the istituto tecnico and the Istituto professionale prepare pupils for vocational education. In 2018, the Italian secondary education was evaluated as below the OECD average. A wide gap exists between northern schools, which perform better than average, and schools in the South, that had much poorer results.
Tertiary education in Italy is divided between public universities, private universities and the prestigious and selective superior graduate schools, such as the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa. 33 Italian universities were ranked among the world's top 500 in 2019, the third-largest number in Europe after the United Kingdom and Germany. Bologna University, founded in 1088, is the oldest university in continuous operation, as well as one of the leading academic institutions in Italy and Europe. The Bocconi University, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, LUISS, Polytechnic University of Turin, Polytechnic University of Milan, Sapienza University of Rome, and University of Milan are also ranked among the best in the world.
The Italian state runs a universal public healthcare system since 1978. However, healthcare is provided to all citizens and residents by a mixed public-private system. The public part is the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale, which is organised under the Ministry of Health and administered on a devolved regional basis. Healthcare spending in Italy accounted for 9.2% of the national GDP in 2012, very close the OECD countries' average of 9.3%. Italy in 2000 ranked as having the world's 2nd best healthcare system, and the world's 2nd best healthcare performance.
Life expectancy in Italy is 80 for males and 85 for females, placing the country 5th in the world for life expectancy. In comparison to other Western countries, Italy has a relatively low rate of adult obesity (below 10%), as there are several health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. The proportion of daily smokers was 22% in 2012, down from 24.4% in 2000 but still slightly above the OECD average. Smoking in public places including bars, restaurants, night clubs and offices has been restricted to specially ventilated rooms since 2005. In 2013, UNESCO added the Mediterranean diet to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of Italy (promoter), Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Croatia.
In the decades following the unification of Italy, the northern regions of the country, Lombardy, Piedmont and Liguria in particular, began a process of industrialization and economic development while the southern regions remained behind. Due to the growing economic and social gap, the southern question is beginning to be talked about The imbalance between North and South, which widened steadily in the first post-unification century, was reduced in the sixties and seventies also through the construction of public works, the implementation of agrarian and scholastic reforms, the expansion of industrialization and the improved living conditions of the population. This convergence process was interrupted, however, in the 1980s. To date, the per capita GDP of the South is just 58% of that of the Center-North, while the unemployment rate is more than double (6.7% in the North against 14.9% in the South).
A study by Censis attributes to the pervasive presence of criminal organizations an important role in the delay of Southern Italy, they estimate an annual loss of wealth of 2.5% in the South in the period 1981–2003 due to the presence of such organizations and evaluating that without of these, the per capita GDP of the South would have reached that of the North.
Italy is considered one of the birthplaces of western civilization and a cultural superpower. Divided by politics and geography for centuries until its eventual unification in 1861, Italy's culture has been shaped by a multitude of regional customs and local centres of power and patronage. Italy has had a central role in Western culture for centuries and is still recognised for its cultural traditions and artists. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, a number of magnificent courts competed for attracting the best architects, artists and scholars, thus producing a great legacy of monuments, paintings, music and literature. Despite the political and social isolation of these courts, Italy's contribution to the cultural and historical heritage of Europe and the world remain immense.
Italy has more UNESCO World Heritage Sites (55) than any other country in the world, and has rich collections of art, culture and literature from many periods. The country has had a broad cultural influence worldwide, also because numerous Italians emigrated to other places during the Italian diaspora. Furthermore, Italy has, overall, an estimated 100,000 monuments of any sort (museums, palaces, buildings, statues, churches, art galleries, villas, fountains, historic houses and archaeological remains), and according to some estimates the nation is home to half the world's great art treasures.
Italy is known for its considerable architectural achievements, such as the construction of arches, domes and similar structures during ancient Rome, the founding of the Renaissance architectural movement in the late-14th to 16th centuries, and being the homeland of Palladianism, a style of construction which inspired movements such as that of Neoclassical architecture, and influenced the designs which noblemen built their country houses all over the world, notably in the UK, Australia and the US during the late 17th to early 20th centuries.
Along with pre-historic architecture, the first people in Italy to truly begin a sequence of designs were the Greeks and the Etruscans, progressing to classical Roman, then to the revival of the classical Roman era during the Renaissance and evolving into the Baroque era. The Christian concept of a Basilica, a style of church architecture that came to dominate the early Middle Ages, was invented in Rome. They were known for being long, rectangular buildings, which were built in an almost ancient Roman style, often rich in mosaics and decorations. The early Christians' art and architecture was also widely inspired by that of the pagan Romans; statues, mosaics and paintings decorated all their churches. The first significant buildings in the medieval Romanesque style were churches built in Italy during the 800's. Byzantine architecture was also widely diffused in Italy. The Byzantines kept Roman principles of architecture and art alive, and the most famous structure from this period is the Basilica of St. Mark in Venice.
The Romanesque movement, which went from approximately 800 AD to 1100 AD, was one of the most fruitful and creative periods in Italian architecture, when several masterpieces, such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa in the Piazza dei Miracoli, and the Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio in Milan were built. It was known for its usage of the Roman arches, stained glass windows, and also its curved columns which commonly featured in cloisters. The main innovation of Italian Romanesque architecture was the vault, which had never been seen before in the history of Western architecture.
The greatest flowering of Italian architecture took place during the Renaissance. Filippo Brunelleschi made great contributions to architectural design with his dome for the Cathedral of Florence, a feat of engineering that had not been accomplished since antiquity. A popular achievement of Italian Renaissance architecture was St. Peter's Basilica, originally designed by Donato Bramante in the early 16th century. Also, Andrea Palladio influenced architects throughout western Europe with the villas and palaces he designed in the middle and late 16th century; the city of Vicenza, with its twenty-three buildings designed by Palladio, and twenty-four Palladian Villas of the Veneto are listed by UNESCO as part of a World Heritage Site named City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto.
The Baroque period produced several outstanding Italian architects in the 17th century, especially known for their churches. The most original work of all late Baroque and Rococo architecture is the Palazzina di caccia di Stupinigi, dating back to the 18th century. Luigi Vanvitelli began in 1752 the construction of the Royal Palace of Caserta. In this large complex, the grandiose Baroque style interiors and gardens are opposed to a more sober building envelope. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries Italy was affected by the Neoclassical architectural movement. Everything from villas, palaces, gardens, interiors and art began to be based on Roman and Greek themes.
During the Fascist period, the so-called "Novecento movement" flourished, based on the rediscovery of imperial Rome, with figures such as Gio Ponti and Giovanni Muzio. Marcello Piacentini, responsible for the urban transformations of several cities in Italy and remembered for the disputed Via della Conciliazione in Rome, devised a form of simplified Neoclassicism.
The history of Italian visual arts is significant to the history of Western painting. Roman art was influenced by Greece and can in part be taken as a descendant of ancient Greek painting. Roman painting does have its own unique characteristics. The only surviving Roman paintings are wall paintings, many from villas in Campania, in Southern Italy. Such paintings can be grouped into four main "styles" or periods and may contain the first examples of trompe-l'œil, pseudo-perspective, and pure landscape.
Panel painting becomes more common during the Romanesque period, under the heavy influence of Byzantine icons. Towards the middle of the 13th century, Medieval art and Gothic painting became more realistic, with the beginnings of interest in the depiction of volume and perspective in Italy with Cimabue and then his pupil Giotto. From Giotto onwards, the treatment of composition by the best painters also became much more free and innovative. The two are considered to be the two great medieval masters of painting in western culture.
The Italian Renaissance is said by many to be the golden age of painting; roughly spanning the 14th through the mid-17th centuries with a significant influence also out of the borders of modern Italy. In Italy artists like Paolo Uccello, Fra Angelico, Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, Andrea Mantegna, Filippo Lippi, Giorgione, Tintoretto, Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Raphael, Giovanni Bellini, and Titian took painting to a higher level through the use of perspective, the study of human anatomy and proportion, and through their development of an unprecedented refinement in drawing and painting techniques. Michelangelo was an active sculptor from about 1500 to 1520, and his great masterpieces including his David, Pietà, Moses. Other prominent Renaissance sculptors include Lorenzo Ghiberti, Luca Della Robbia, Donatello, Filippo Brunelleschi and Andrea del Verrocchio.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, the High Renaissance gave rise to a stylised art known as Mannerism. In place of the balanced compositions and rational approach to perspective that characterised art at the dawn of the 16th century, the Mannerists sought instability, artifice, and doubt. The unperturbed faces and gestures of Piero della Francesca and the calm Virgins of Raphael are replaced by the troubled expressions of Pontormo and the emotional intensity of El Greco.
In the 17th century, among the greatest painters of Italian Baroque are Caravaggio, Annibale Carracci, Artemisia Gentileschi, Mattia Preti, Carlo Saraceni and Bartolomeo Manfredi. Subsequently, in the 18th century, Italian Rococo was mainly inspired by French Rococo, since France was the founding nation of that particular style, with artists such as Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and Canaletto. Italian Neoclassical sculpture focused, with Antonio Canova's nudes, on the idealist aspect of the movement.
In the 19th century, major Italian Romantic painters were Francesco Hayez, Giuseppe Bezzuoli and Francesco Podesti. Impressionism was brought from France to Italy by the Macchiaioli, led by Giovanni Fattori, and Giovanni Boldini; Realism by Gioacchino Toma and Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo. In the 20th century, with Futurism, primarily through the works of Umberto Boccioni and Giacomo Balla, Italy rose again as a seminal country for artistic evolution in painting and sculpture. Futurism was succeeded by the metaphysical paintings of Giorgio de Chirico, who exerted a strong influence on the Surrealists and generations of artists to follow like Bruno Caruso and Renato Guttuso.
Formal Latin literature began in 240 BC, when the first stage play was performed in Rome. Latin literature was, and still is, highly influential in the world, with numerous writers, poets, philosophers, and historians, such as Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger, Virgil, Horace, Propertius, Ovid and Livy. The Romans were also famous for their oral tradition, poetry, drama and epigrams. In early years of the 13th century, St. Francis of Assisi was considered the first Italian poet by literary critics, with his religious song Canticle of the Sun.
Another Italian voice originated in Sicily. At the court of Emperor Frederick II, who ruled the Sicilian kingdom during the first half of the 13th century, lyrics modelled on Provençal forms and themes were written in a refined version of the local vernacular. The most important of these poets was the notary Giacomo da Lentini, inventor of the sonnet form, though the most famous early sonneteer was Petrarch.
Guido Guinizelli is considered the founder of the Dolce Stil Novo, a school that added a philosophical dimension to traditional love poetry. This new understanding of love, expressed in a smooth, pure style, influenced Guido Cavalcanti and the Florentine poet Dante Alighieri, who established the basis of the modern Italian language; his greatest work, the Divine Comedy, is considered among the foremost literary statements produced in Europe during the Middle Ages; furthermore, the poet invented the difficult terza rima. The two great writers of the 14th century, Petrarch and Giovanni Boccaccio, sought out and imitated the works of antiquity and cultivated their own artistic personalities. Petrarch achieved fame through his collection of poems, Il Canzoniere. Petrarch's love poetry served as a model for centuries. Equally influential was Boccaccio's The Decameron, one of the most popular collections of short stories ever written.
Italian Renaissance authors produced a number of important works. Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince is one of the world's most famous essays on political science and modern philosophy, in which the "effectual truth" is taken to be more important than any abstract ideal. Another important work of the period, Ludovico Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, continuation of Matteo Maria Boiardo's unfinished romance Orlando Innamorato, is perhaps the greatest chivalry poem ever written. Baldassare Castiglione's dialogue The Book of the Courtier describes the ideal of the perfect court gentleman and of spiritual beauty. The lyric poet Torquato Tasso in Jerusalem Delivered wrote a Christian epic, making use of the ottava rima, with attention to the Aristotelian canons of unity.
Giovanni Francesco Straparola and Giambattista Basile, which have written The Facetious Nights of Straparola (1550–1555) and the Pentamerone (1634) respectively, printed some of the first known versions of fairy tales in Europe. In the early 17th century, some literary masterpieces were created, such as Giambattista Marino's long mythological poem, L'Adone. The Baroque period also produced the clear scientific prose of Galileo as well as Tommaso Campanella's The City of the Sun, a description of a perfect society ruled by a philosopher-priest. At the end of the 17th century, the Arcadians began a movement to restore simplicity and classical restraint to poetry, as in Metastasio's heroic melodramas. In the 18th century, playwright Carlo Goldoni created full written plays, many portraying the middle class of his day.
The Romanticism coincided with some ideas of the Risorgimento, the patriotic movement that brought Italy political unity and freedom from foreign domination. Italian writers embraced Romanticism in the early 19th century. The time of Italy's rebirth was heralded by the poets Vittorio Alfieri, Ugo Foscolo, and Giacomo Leopardi. The works by Alessandro Manzoni, the leading Italian Romantic, are a symbol of the Italian unification for their patriotic message and because of his efforts in the development of the modern, unified Italian language; his novel The Betrothed was the first Italian historical novel to glorify Christian values of justice and Providence, and it has been called the most famous and widely read novel in the Italian language.
In the late 19th century, a realistic literary movement called Verismo played a major role in Italian literature; Giovanni Verga and Luigi Capuana were its main exponents. In the same period, Emilio Salgari, writer of action adventure swashbucklers and a pioneer of science fiction, published his Sandokan series. In 1883, Carlo Collodi also published the novel The Adventures of Pinocchio, the most celebrated children's classic by an Italian author and the most translated non-religious book in the world. A movement called Futurism influenced Italian literature in the early 20th century. Filippo Tommaso Marinetti wrote Manifesto of Futurism, called for the use of language and metaphors that glorified the speed, dynamism, and violence of the machine age.
Modern literary figures and Nobel laureates are Gabriele D'Annunzio from 1889 to 1910, nationalist poet Giosuè Carducci in 1906, realist writer Grazia Deledda in 1926, modern theatre author Luigi Pirandello in 1936, short stories writer Italo Calvino in 1960, poets Salvatore Quasimodo in 1959 and Eugenio Montale in 1975, Umberto Eco in 1980, and satirist and theatre author Dario Fo in 1997.
Over the ages, Italian philosophy and literature had a vast influence on Western philosophy, beginning with the Greeks and Romans, and going onto Renaissance humanism, the Age of Enlightenment and modern philosophy. Philosophy was brought to Italy by Pythagoras, founder of the Italian school of philosophy in Crotone. Major Italian philosophers of the Greek period include Xenophanes, Parmenides, Zeno, Empedocles and Gorgias. Roman philosophers include Cicero, Lucretius, Seneca the Younger, Musonius Rufus, Plutarch, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Clement of Alexandria, Sextus Empiricus, Alexander of Aphrodisias, Plotinus, Porphyry, Iamblichus, Augustine of Hippo, Philoponus of Alexandria and Boethius.
Italian Medieval philosophy was mainly Christian, and included several important philosophers and theologians such as St Thomas Aquinas, the foremost classical proponent of natural theology and the father of Thomism, who reintroduced Aristotelian philosophy to Christianity. Notable Renaissance philosophers include: Giordano Bruno, one of the major scientific figures of the western world; Marsilio Ficino, one of the most influential humanist philosophers of the period; and Niccolò Machiavelli, one of the main founders of modern political science. Machiavelli's most famous work was The Prince, whose contribution to the history of political thought is the fundamental break between political realism and political idealism. Italy was also affected by the Enlightenment, a movement which was a consequence of the Renaissance. Cities with important universities such as Padua, Bologna and Naples remained great centres of scholarship and the intellect, with several philosophers such as Giambattista Vico (who is widely regarded as being the founder of modern Italian philosophy) and Antonio Genovesi. Cesare Beccaria was also one of the greatest Italian Enlightenment writers and is now considered one of the fathers of classical criminal theory as well as modern penology. Beccaria is famous for his On Crimes and Punishments (1764), a treatise that served as one of the earliest prominent condemnations of torture and the death penalty and thus a landmark work in anti-death penalty philosophy.
Italy also had a renowned philosophical movement in the 1800s, with Idealism, Sensism and Empiricism. The main Sensist Italian philosophers were Melchiorre Gioja and Gian Domenico Romagnosi. Criticism of the Sensist movement came from other philosophers such as Pasquale Galluppi (1770–1846), who affirmed that a priori relationships were synthetic. Antonio Rosmini, instead, was the founder of Italian Idealism. During the late 19th and 20th centuries, there were also several other movements which gained some form of popularity in Italy, such as Ontologism (whose main philosopher was Vincenzo Gioberti), anarchism, communism, socialism, futurism, fascism and Christian democracy. Giovanni Gentile and Benedetto Croce were two of the most significant 20th-century Idealist philosophers. Anarcho-communism first fully formed into its modern strain within the Italian section of the First International. Antonio Gramsci remains an important philosopher within Marxist and communist theory, credited with creating the theory of cultural hegemony. Italian philosophers were also influential in the development of the non-Marxist liberal socialism philosophy, including Carlo Rosselli, Norberto Bobbio, Piero Gobetti and Aldo Capitini. In the 1960s, many Italian left-wing activists adopted the anti-authoritarian pro-working class leftist theories that would become known as autonomism and operaismo.
Early and important Italian feminists include Sibilla Aleramo, Alaide Gualberta Beccari, and Anna Maria Mozzoni, though proto-feminist philosophies had previously been touched upon by earlier Italian writers such as Christine de Pizan, Moderata Fonte, and Lucrezia Marinella. Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori is credited with the creation of the philosophy of education that bears her name, an educational philosophy now practiced throughout the world. Giuseppe Peano was one of the founders of analytic philosophy and contemporary philosophy of mathematics. Recent analytic philosophers include Carlo Penco, Gloria Origgi, Pieranna Garavaso and Luciano Floridi.
Italian theatre can be traced back to the Roman tradition. The theatre of ancient Rome was a thriving and diverse art form, ranging from festival performances of street theatre, nude dancing, and acrobatics, to the staging of Plautus's broadly appealing situation comedies, to the high-style, verbally elaborate tragedies of Seneca. Although Rome had a native tradition of performance, the Hellenization of Roman culture in the 3rd century BCE had a profound and energising effect on Roman theatre and encouraged the development of Latin literature of the highest quality for the stage. As with many other literary genres, Roman dramatists was heavily influenced or tended to adapt from the Greek. For example, Seneca's Phaedra was based on that of Euripides, and many of the comedies of Plautus were direct translations of works by Menander.
During the 16th century and on into the 18th century, Commedia dell'arte was a form of improvisational theatre, and it is still performed today. Travelling troupes of players would set up an outdoor stage and provide amusement in the form of juggling, acrobatics and, more typically, humorous plays based on a repertoire of established characters with a rough storyline, called canovaccio. Plays did not originate from written drama but from scenarios called lazzi, which were loose frameworks that provided the situations, complications, and outcome of the action, around which the actors would improvise. The characters of the commedia usually represent fixed social types and stock characters, each of which has a distinct costume, such as foolish old men, devious servants, or military officers full of false bravado. The main categories of these characters include servants, old men, lovers, and captains.
The first recorded Commedia dell'arte performances came from Rome as early as 1551, and was performed outdoors in temporary venues by professional actors who were costumed and masked, as opposed to commedia erudita, which were written comedies, presented indoors by untrained and unmasked actors. By the mid-16th century, specific troupes of commedia performers began to coalesce, and by 1568 the Gelosi became a distinct company. Commedia often performed inside in court theatres or halls, and also as some fixed theatres such as Teatro Baldrucca in Florence. Flaminio Scala, who had been a minor performer in the Gelosi published the scenarios of the commedia dell'arte around the start of the 17th century, really in an effort to legitimize the form—and ensure its legacy. These scenari are highly structured and built around the symmetry of the various types in duet: two zanni, vecchi, inamorate and inamorati, among others.
In commedia dell'arte, female roles were played by women, documented as early as the 1560s, making them the first known professional actresses in Europe since antiquity. Lucrezia Di Siena, whose name is on a contract of actors from 10 October 1564, has been referred to as the first Italian actress known by name, with Vincenza Armani and Barbara Flaminia as the first primadonnas and the first well documented actresses in Europe.
The Ballet dance genre also originated in Italy. It began during the Italian Renaissance court as an outgrowth of court pageantry, where aristocratic weddings were lavish celebrations. Court musicians and dancers collaborated to provide elaborate entertainment for them. Domenico da Piacenza was one of the first dancing masters. Along with his students, Antonio Cornazzano and Guglielmo Ebreo, he was trained in dance and responsible for teaching nobles the art. Da Piacenza left one work: De arte saltandi et choreus ducendi (On the art of dancing and conducting dances), which was put together by his students.
At first, ballets were woven in to the midst of an opera to allow the audience a moment of relief from the dramatic intensity. By the mid-seventeenth century, Italian ballets in their entirety were performed in between the acts of an opera. Over time, Italian ballets became a more beloved and important part of theatrical life: ballet companies in Italy's major opera houses employed an average of four to twelve dancers; in 1815 many companies employed anywhere from eighty to one hundred dancers.
Carlo Goldoni, who wrote a few scenarios starting in 1734, superseded the comedy of masks and the comedy of intrigue by representations of actual life and manners through the characters and their behaviours. He rightly maintained that Italian life and manners were susceptible of artistic treatment such as had not been given them before. Italian theatre has been active in producing contemporary European work and in staging important revivals, including the works of Luigi Pirandello and Dario Fo.
The Teatro di San Carlo in Naples is the oldest continuously active venue for public opera in the world, opening in 1737, decades before both the Milan's La Scala and Venice's La Fenice theatres.
From folk music to classical, music has always played an important role in Italian culture. Instruments associated with classical music, including the piano and violin, were invented in Italy, and many of the prevailing classical music forms, such as the symphony, concerto, and sonata, can trace their roots back to innovations of 16th- and 17th-century Italian music.
Italy's most famous composers include the Renaissance composers Palestrina, Monteverdi and Gesualdo, the Baroque composers Scarlatti, Corelli and Vivaldi, the Classical composers Paisiello, 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 (the oldest continuously active venue for public opera in the world), and performers such as the pianist Maurizio Pollini and tenor Luciano Pavarotti, Italians have been no less appreciative of their thriving contemporary music scene.
Italy is widely known for being the birthplace of opera. Italian opera was believed to have been founded in the early 17th century, in cities such as Mantua and Venice. Later, works and pieces composed by native Italian composers of the 19th and early 20th centuries, such as Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini, are among the most famous operas ever written and today are performed in opera houses across the world. La Scala operahouse in Milan is also renowned as one of the best in the world. Famous Italian opera singers include Enrico Caruso and Alessandro Bonci.
Introduced in the early 1920s, jazz took a particularly strong foothold in Italy, and remained popular despite the xenophobic cultural policies of the Fascist regime. Today, the most notable centres of jazz music in Italy include Milan, Rome, and Sicily. Later, Italy was at the forefront of the progressive rock and pop movement of the 1970s, with bands like PFM, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Le Orme, Goblin, and Pooh. The same period saw diversification in the cinema of Italy, and Cinecittà films included complex scores by composers including Ennio Morricone, Armando Trovaioli, Piero Piccioni and Piero Umiliani. In the early 1980s, the first star to emerge from the Italian hip hop scene was singer Jovanotti. Popular Italian metal bands such as Rhapsody of Fire, Lacuna Coil, Elvenking, Forgotten Tomb, and Fleshgod Apocalypse are also seen as pioneers of various heavy metal subgenres.
Italy was also an important country in the development of disco and electronic music, with Italo disco, known for its futuristic sound and prominent use of synthesisers and drum machines, being one of the earliest electronic dance genres, as well as European forms of disco aside from Euro disco (which later went on to influence several genres such as Eurodance and Nu-disco). By circa 1988, the genre had merged into other forms of European dance and electronic music, such as Italo house, which blended elements of Italo disco with traditional house music; its sound was generally uplifting, and made strong usage of piano melodies. Some bands of this genre are Black Box, East Side Beat, and 49ers. By the latter half of the 1990s, a subgenre of Eurodance known as Italo dance emerged. Taking influences from Italo disco and Italo house, Italo dance generally included synthesizer riffs, a melodic sound, and the usage of vocoders. Notable Italian DJs and remixers include Gabry Ponte (member of the group Eiffel 65), Benny Benassi, Gigi D'Agostino, and the trio Tacabro.
Producers such as Giorgio Moroder, who won three Academy Awards and four Golden Globes for his music, were highly influential in the development of electronic dance music. Today, Italian pop music is represented annually with the Sanremo Music Festival, which served as inspiration for the Eurovision song contest, and the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto. Singers such as Mina, Andrea Bocelli, Grammy winner Laura Pausini, Zucchero, Eros Ramazzotti and Tiziano Ferro have attained international acclaim.
The history of Italian cinema began a few months after the Lumière brothers began motion picture exhibitions. The first Italian film was a few seconds, showing Pope Leo XIII giving a blessing to the camera. The Italian film industry was born between 1903 and 1908 with three companies: the Società Italiana Cines, the Ambrosio Film and the Itala Film. Other companies soon followed in Milan and in Naples. In a short time these first companies reached a fair producing quality, and films were soon sold outside Italy. Cinema was later used by Benito Mussolini, who founded Rome's renowned Cinecittà studio for the production of Fascist propaganda until World War II.
After the war, Italian film was widely recognised and exported until an artistic decline around the 1980s. Notable Italian film directors from this period include Vittorio De Sica, Federico Fellini, Sergio Leone, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Luchino Visconti, Michelangelo Antonioni and Roberto Rossellini; some of these are recognised among the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time. Movies include world cinema treasures such as Bicycle Thieves, La dolce vita, 8½, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West. The mid-1940s to the early 1950s was the heyday of neorealist films, reflecting the poor condition of post-war Italy.
As the country grew wealthier in the 1950s, a form of neorealism known as pink neorealism succeeded, and other film genres, such as sword-and-sandal followed as Spaghetti Westerns, were popular in the 1960s and 1970s. Actresses such as Sophia Loren, Giulietta Masina and Gina Lollobrigida achieved international stardom during this period. Erotic Italian thrillers, or giallos, produced by directors such as Mario Bava and Dario Argento in the 1970s, also influenced the horror genre worldwide. In recent years, the Italian scene has received only occasional international attention, with movies like Life Is Beautiful directed by Roberto Benigni, Il Postino: The Postman with Massimo Troisi and The Great Beauty directed by Paolo Sorrentino.
The aforementioned Cinecittà studio is today the largest film and television production facility in continental Europe and the centre of the Italian cinema, where many of the biggest box office hits are filmed, and one of the biggest production communities in the world. In the 1950s, the number of international productions being made there led to Rome's being dubbed "Hollywood on the Tiber". More than 3,000 productions have been made on its lot, of which 90 received an Academy Award nomination and 47 of these won it, from some cinema classics to recent rewarded features (such as Roman Holiday, Ben-Hur, Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet, The English Patient, The Passion of the Christ, and Gangs of New York).
Italy is the most awarded country at the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, with 14 awards won, 3 Special Awards and 31 nominations. As of 2016[update], Italian films have also won 12 Palmes d'Or (the second-most of any country), 11 Golden Lions and 7 Golden Bears.
The most popular sport in Italy is football. Italy's national football team is one of the world's most successful teams with four FIFA World Cup victories (1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006). Italian clubs have won 48 major European trophies, making Italy the second most successful country in European football. Italy's top-flight club football league is named Serie A and is followed by millions of fans around the world.
Other popular team sports in Italy include basketball, volleyball and rugby. Italy's male and female national volleyball teams are often featured among the world's best. The Italian national basketball team's best results were gold at Eurobasket 1983 and EuroBasket 1999, as well as silver at the Olympics in 2004. Lega Basket Serie A is widely considered one of the most competitive in Europe. Rugby union enjoys a good level of popularity, especially in the north of the country. Italy's national team competes in the Six Nations Championship, and is a regular at the Rugby World Cup. Italy ranks as a tier-one nation by World Rugby. The men's volleyball team won three consecutive World Championships (in 1990, 1994, and 1998) and earned the Olympic silver medal in 1996, 2004, and 2016.
Italy has a long and successful tradition in individual sports as well. Bicycle racing is a very familiar sport in the country. Italians have won the UCI World Championships more than any other country, except Belgium. The Giro d'Italia is a cycling race held every May, and constitutes one of the three Grand Tours, along with the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España, each of which last approximately three weeks. Alpine skiing is also a very widespread sport in Italy, and the country is a popular international skiing destination, known for its ski resorts. Italian skiers achieved good results in Winter Olympic Games, Alpine Ski World Cup, and World Championship.
Tennis has a significant following in Italy, ranking as the fourth most practised sport in the country. The Rome Masters, founded in 1930, is one of the most prestigious tennis tournaments in the world. Italian professional tennis players won the Davis Cup in 1976 and the Fed Cup in 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2013. Motorsports are also extremely popular in Italy. Italy has won, by far, the most MotoGP World Championships. Italian Scuderia Ferrari is the oldest surviving team in Grand Prix racing, having competed since 1948, and statistically the most successful Formula One team in history with a record of 232 wins.
The Italian Grand Prix of Formula 1 is the fifth oldest surviving Grand Prix, having been held since 1921. It is also one of the two Grand Prix present in every championship since the first one in 1950. Every Formula 1 Grand Prix (except for the 1980) has been held at Autodromo Nazionale Monza. Formula 1 was also held at Imola (1980–2006, 2020) and Mugello (2020)
Historically, Italy has been successful in the Olympic Games, taking part from the first Olympiad and in 47 Games out of 48. Italian sportsmen have won 522 medals at the Summer Olympic Games, and another 106 at the Winter Olympic Games, for a combined total of 628 medals with 235 golds, which makes them the fifth most successful nation in Olympic history for total medals. The country hosted two Winter Olympics and will host a third (in 1956, 2006, and 2026), and one Summer games (in 1960).
Fashion and design
Italian fashion has a long tradition, and is regarded as one most important in the world. Milan, Florence and Rome are Italy's main fashion capitals. According to Top Global Fashion Capital Rankings 2013 by Global Language Monitor, Rome ranked sixth worldwide when Milan was twelfth. Major Italian fashion labels, such as Gucci, Armani, Prada, Versace, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Missoni, Fendi, Moschino, Max Mara, Trussardi, and Ferragamo, to name a few, are regarded as among the finest fashion houses in the world. Jewellers like Bvlgari, Damiani and Buccellati have been founded in Italy. Also, the fashion magazine Vogue Italia, is considered one of the most prestigious fashion magazines in the world. The talent of young, creative fashion is also promoted, as in the ITS young fashion designer competition in Trieste.
Italy is also prominent in the field of design, notably interior design, architectural design, industrial design and urban design. The country has produced some well-known furniture designers, such as Gio Ponti and Ettore Sottsass, and Italian phrases such as "Bel Disegno" and "Linea Italiana" have entered the vocabulary of furniture design. Examples of classic pieces of Italian white goods and pieces of furniture include Zanussi's washing machines and fridges, the "New Tone" sofas by Atrium, and the post-modern bookcase by Ettore Sottsass, inspired by Bob Dylan's song "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again". Today, Milan and Turin are the nation's leaders in architectural design and industrial design. The city of Milan hosts Fiera Milano, Europe's largest design fair. Milan also hosts major design and architecture-related events and venues, such as the "Fuori Salone" and the Salone del Mobile, and has been home to the designers Bruno Munari, Lucio Fontana, Enrico Castellani and Piero Manzoni.
The Italian cuisine has developed through centuries of social and political changes, with roots as far back as the 4th century BC. Italian cuisine in itself takes heavy influences, including Etruscan, ancient Greek, ancient Roman, Byzantine, and Jewish. Significant changes occurred with the discovery of the New World with the introduction of items such as potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers and maize, now central to the cuisine but not introduced in quantity until the 18th century. Italian cuisine is noted for its regional diversity, abundance of difference in taste, and is known to be one of the most popular in the world, wielding strong influence abroad.
The Mediterranean diet forms the basis of Italian cuisine, rich in pasta, fish, fruits and vegetables and characterised by its extreme simplicity and variety, with many dishes having only four to eight ingredients. Italian cooks rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation. Dishes and recipes are often derivatives from local and familial tradition rather than created by chefs, so many recipes are ideally suited for home cooking, this being one of the main reasons behind the ever-increasing worldwide popularity of Italian cuisine, from America to Asia. Ingredients and dishes vary widely by region.
A key factor in the success of Italian cuisine is its heavy reliance on traditional products; Italy has the most traditional specialities protected under EU law. Cheese, cold cuts and wine are a major part of Italian cuisine, with many regional declinations and Protected Designation of Origin or Protected Geographical Indication labels, and along with coffee (especially espresso) make up a very important part of the Italian gastronomic culture. Desserts have a long tradition of merging local flavours such as citrus fruits, pistachio and almonds with sweet cheeses like mascarpone and ricotta or exotic tastes as cocoa, vanilla and cinnamon. Gelato, tiramisù and cassata are among the most famous examples of Italian desserts, cakes and patisserie.
Public holidays and festivals
Public holidays celebrated in Italy include religious, national and regional observances. Italy's National Day, the Festa della Repubblica (Republic Day) is celebrated on 2 June each year, and commemorates the birth of the Italian Republic in 1946.
The Saint Lucy's Day, which take place on 13 December, is very popular among children in some Italian regions, where she plays a role similar to Santa Claus. In addition, the Epiphany in Italy is associated with the folkloristic figure of the Befana, a broomstick-riding old woman who, in the night between 5 and 6 January, bringing good children gifts and sweets, and bad ones charcoal or bags of ashes. The Assumption of Mary coincides with Ferragosto on 15 August, the summer vacation period which may be a long weekend or most of the month. Each city or town also celebrates a public holiday on the occasion of the festival of the local patron saint, for example: Rome on 29 June (Saints Peter and Paul) and Milan on 7 December (Saint Ambrose).
There are many festivals and festivities in Italy. Some of them include the Palio di Siena horse race, Holy Week rites, Saracen Joust of Arezzo, Saint Ubaldo Day in Gubbio, Giostra della Quintana in Foligno, and the Calcio Fiorentino. In 2013, UNESCO has included among the intangible cultural heritage some Italian festivals and pasos (in Italian "macchine a spalla"), such as the Varia di Palmi, the Macchina di Santa Rosa in Viterbo, the Festa dei Gigli in Nola, and faradda di li candareri in Sassari.
Other festivals include the carnivals in Venice, Viareggio, Satriano di Lucania, Mamoiada, and Ivrea, mostly known for its Battle of the Oranges. The prestigious Venice International Film Festival, awarding the "Golden Lion" and held annually since 1932, is the oldest film festival in the world.
- Index of Italy-related articles
- Outline of Italy
- ^ 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 or 15,577 ft), but these are inconsistent with an 1861 convention and topographic watershed analysis.
- ^ According to Mitrica, an October 2005 Romanian report estimates that 1,061,400 Romanians are living in Italy, constituting 37% of 2.8 million immigrants in that country but it is unclear how the estimate was made, and therefore whether it should be taken seriously.
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- ^ "The Global Religious Landscape" (PDF). Pewforum.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 January 2017. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
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- ^ "La popolazione legale del 15° Censimento della popolazione". www.istat.it (in Italian). 19 December 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
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- ^ "Gini coefficient of equivalised disposable income – EU-SILC survey". ec.europa.eu. Eurostat. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
- ^ "Human Development Report 2020" (PDF). United Nations Development Programme. 15 December 2020. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
- ^ Year-month-day also sometimes used, though rarely, mainly used for computing contexts. See Date and time notation in Italy.
- ^ "Legge Regionale 15 ottobre 1997, n. 26". Regione autonoma della Sardegna – Regione Autònoma de Sardigna.
- ^ "Regione Autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia - Comunità linguistiche regionali". www.regione.fvg.it.
- ^ "Comune di Campione d'Italia". Comune.campione-d-italia.co.it. 14 July 2010. Archived from the original on 30 April 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2010.
- ^ Search the agreements database Archived 29 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine Council of the European Union (retrieved 13 October 2013).
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- ^ "Italy – Facts, Geography, & History". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
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- ^ Italy is often grouped in Western Europe. Academic works describing Italy as a Western European country:
- Hancock, M. Donald; Conradt, David P.; Peters, B. Guy; Safran, William; Zariski, Raphael (11 November 1998). Politics in Western Europe : an introduction to the politics of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and the European Union (2nd ed.). Chatham House Publishers. ISBN 978-1-56643-039-5.
list of Western European countries Italy.
- Ugo, Ascoli; Emmanuele, Pavolini (2016). The Italian welfare state in a European perspective: A comparative analysis. Policy Press. ISBN 978-1-4473-3444-6.
- Zloch-Christy, Iliana (1991). East-West Financial Relations: Current Problems and Future Prospects. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-39530-4. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
list of Western European countries Italy.
- Clout, Hugh D. (1989). Western Europe: Geographical Perspectives. Longman Scientific & Technical. ISBN 978-0-582-01772-6. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
- Furlong, Paul (2003). Modern Italy: Representation and Reform. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-97983-7. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
- Hanf, Kenneth; Jansen, Alf-Inge (2014). Governance and Environment in Western Europe: Politics, Policy and Administration. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-87917-6. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
- Hancock, M. Donald; Conradt, David P.; Peters, B. Guy; Safran, William; Zariski, Raphael (11 November 1998). Politics in Western Europe : an introduction to the politics of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and the European Union (2nd ed.). Chatham House Publishers. ISBN 978-1-56643-039-5.
- ^ Carl Waldman; Catherine Mason (2006). Encyclopedia of European Peoples. Infobase Publishing. p. 586. ISBN 978-1-4381-2918-1. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
- ^ Lazenby, John Francis (4 February 1998). Hannibal's War: A Military History of the Second Punic War. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-8061-3004-0 – via Internet Archive.
Italy homeland of the Romans.
- ^ Maddison, Angus (20 September 2007). Contours of the World Economy 1-2030 AD: Essays in Macro-Economic History. OUP Oxford. ISBN 978-0-19-922721-1 – via Google Books.
- ^ a b Sée, Henri. "Modern Capitalism Its Origin and Evolution" (PDF). University of Rennes. Batoche Books. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 October 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- ^ Jepson, Tim (2012). National Geographic Traveler: Italy. National Geographic Books. ISBN 978-1-4262-0861-4.
- ^ Bouchard, Norma; Ferme, Valerio (2013). Italy and the Mediterranean: Words, Sounds, and Images of the Post-Cold War Era. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-137-34346-8. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
- ^ "Unification of Italy". Library.thinkquest.org. 4 April 2003. Archived from the original on 7 March 2009. Retrieved 19 November 2009.
- ^ "The Italian Colonial Empire". All Empires. Archived from the original on 24 February 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
At its peak, just before WWII, the Italian Empire comprehended the territories of present time Italy, Albania, Rhodes, Dodecanese, Libya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, the majority of Somalia and the little concession of Tientsin in China
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