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Italian speaking
Language Italian
Capital Rome
Other main cities Milan, Naples, Turin, Genoa
Area (km2) 301,268
Population 57,240,000
Currency Euro
History of Italy
The North of Italy is bordered by Slovenia, Switzerland and Austria. The nation then stretches down into the characteristic boot shaped peninsula and also includes the Mediterranean Islands of Elba, Sardinia. Lampedusa, Linosa, Pantelleria and Sicily.

From the 2nd Century BC Italy was dominated by Rome for over 700 years. The Romans had ousted the previous Etruscan civilisation. After the destruction of the Empire by barbarians the region was controlled by numerous city states and principalities, but despite its divided nature the region was considered to be the peak of Western culture for over 300 years. The first Union of Italy was under Napoleon as Emperor in 1805, but this was short-lived and 10 years later Austria controlled much of the region.

After a series of nationalist uprisings (notably the 'Resurrection' orchestrated by Mazzini in the 1830s) the regions of Modena, Tuscany, Parma and Romagna voted to join Sardinia in 1860. After Garibaldi handed Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia the newly conquered Sicily and Naples, the Sardinian King was proclaimed King of Italy. With the addition of Venetia and Rome (now an independent Papal State), the unification of Italy was complete.

In World War I the Italian state fought on the side of the Allies but the lack of new territory offered by the final peace treaty provoked ill feeling. In this climate of dissatisfaction Benito Mussolini (Il Duce) organised the Italian Fascist party. He became the nation's leader in 1922 and swiftly turned Italy into a dictatorship.

Under Mussolini, Italy became an expansionist state, allied with Hitler's Nazi Party. But by 1943 the Allies had invaded and Italy had joined them against Germany. Mussolini was executed by Partisans in 1945.

After the war, as Italy rebuilt its economy, a national plebiscite led to the proclamation of a Republic instead of a return to the pre-war constitutional monarchy.

Did you know?
There are no "primitive" languages. All languages have a system of sounds, words and sentences that can adequately communicate the content of culture.
Italian History
Italian Speaking
» Italy
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