A Country Guide to Italy

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Overview

Italy, with its legendary cultural heritage and volatile society, has been a source of inspiration for poets and painters from all across the globe. Its cultural and political thought has tremendous influence on the growth and development of European society.

Italy was inhabited by the Etruscans (mostly in northern and central regions of the country), by the 6th Century BC. However, by the 3rd Century BC, the mighty State of Rome displaced the culture and traditions of Etruscans through its expansionist designs. For centuries on end, the Roman Empire established its supremacy from Egypt to England. The inhabitants of the Roman controlled regions enjoyed the benefits of Pax Romana – culture, law, peace and prosperity. Peace and prosperity was only relatively better than other regions, and the culture had Hellenic origins.

The 15th century Italy was the centre of Renaissance movement with art and culture redefining themselves and assuming a new identity. The country was blessed with great artists of the calibre of Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, Botticelli, and Fra Angelico.

The modern Italy is better known for its fashion cities, like Venice, Florence, Siena, and Naples. These cities have lots in common, and yet have unique identity and architecture. The country’s landscape is strewn with its historical past from the medieval hill town of San Gimignao in Tuscany to the unspoilt fishing village of Positano on the Amalfi coast. In fact, the Italian landscape is golden light coloured, which has a mesmerizing effect on the tourists.

The turquoise waters of Costa Smeralda are hugely popular among the Europeans as one of the best scenic stretches of sand, sea and sunshine on the planet. If you are a winter sports’ freak, then there are just a few places in the world better than snow-covered slopes of Dolomite Mountains. The wine enthusiasts have plenty on their mind to think about because Italy has some of the world’s best vineyards and cellars that produce classic regional wines.

Italy and opera have an unbreakable bond with the influence of Federico Fellini clearly visible in Turin’s Museum of Cinema. Most operatic productions are staged in Verona’s ancient amphitheatre. The country has a nice amalgam of arts, crafts, history, and contemporary fashion to show to the world. And of course, you just can’t skip Italian trattorie from the itinerary with exotic delicacies on offer.

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