Geographic Location of Italy

The outlines of Italy resemble a boot that divides the Mediterranean into western and eastern parts. The country stretches from the Alps in the north to the Mediterranean in the south. The country has two large connected islands: Sardinia and Sicily. Sicily is in the far south, with Mount Etna at 3,330 meters high, which erupts almost every year. To the north lies the fertile Po Plain, lying between the mountain ranges of the Alps and the Apennines. Italy has a very diverse climate - temperate in the northern parts, and Mediterranean in the southern parts, with dry and hot summers and mild and rainy winters. The further south you go, the less rainfall per year.

Brief History of Italy

In ancient times, Italy was home to the largest empire in Europe. The Etruscans gathered small communities around the Tiber River into a city-state around 600 BC. Eventually the citizens rebelled and formed the Roman Republic, which became the beginning of the Roman Empire. At its greatest extent, the empire stretched from England in the west across the entire Mediterranean to the Caspian Sea in the east. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the fourth century, the country was repeatedly occupied and plundered. In the 14th century, city-states flourished. The city-states of Florence, Milan and Venice became important centers of trade and were considered the most influential in Europe. Several attempts to unify the country after the Napoleonic Wars at the end of the 18th century ended with the revolution of 1848, and in 1861 Italy became an independent state.

The 20th century was characterized by political unrest and several power struggles. The country actively participated in both world wars, which led to great suffering for the civilian population. With the help of American support for Marshall Aid, the Italian economy was able to recover from World War II. There was still a big difference between industrialization in the north and the poor south. Italy made an early decision to engage in cooperation with the West and joined NATO in 1949. In the post-war period, Italy was an important country in international politics and played a decisive role in the European Union. In the 1970s, there were several terrorist attacks in the country associated with major political conflicts between the communists and the right. In addition, the economy was characterized by unemployment, inflation and low growth rates.

Society and Politics of Italy

After World War II, Italy changed from a monarchy to a republic. The country has a parliamentary government, where the president appoints the prime minister and the government. Tensions between rich areas in the north and poor areas in the south dominated Italian politics for a number of years. New governments have been appointed almost every year since World War II.

In 1992, a major political scandal erupted. Politicians in the government and the opposition were accused of corruption. This has led Italians to have little confidence in politicians and the political system. In 1994, Silvio Berlusconi ran for election for the first time. He founded his own party, Forza Italia, and adhered to liberal values: privatization, government spending cuts, and tax cuts. Berlusconi's period as prime minister in the 2000s is characterized by the concentration of economic, political and media power in the hands of the prime minister. In September 2022, new elections were held, which were won by the right-wing coalition led by Georgia Meloni. It is the first far-right government in Italy since Mussolini's dictatorship. They promised tax cuts, higher pensions and tighter immigration policies.

Family ties are strong in Italy, especially in the south, where several generations still live under the same roof. There are now more women with higher education than men, and the number of working women has also increased. Italy also has the highest proportion of people in their 20s without education or work in the entire EU.
Every year, thousands of refugees arrive in Italy by boat. Strengthening border controls and support for the coast guard in Libya have led to a decrease in the flow of refugees. Italy's interior minister, on the other hand, is demanding that other countries stand up or else Italy will let the refugees go to the rest of Europe. This would be contrary to the Dublin Agreement, which states that refugees must seek asylum in the first country in which they arrived in Europe.

Economy and Trade of Italy

Italy today has an advanced and diverse industry and is one of the largest economies in the world. The country is industrialized, but almost all industry is located in northern Italy. The north of Italy accounts for 60% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). As in many other countries, youth unemployment is a serious problem. Unemployment is high, but it is much higher in the south than in the north.

The main export markets for Italy are Germany and France, and the main export commodities are machinery, household appliances, vehicles, clothing, footwear, leather goods and agricultural products. The service sector accounts for about 70% of the gross domestic product, and the tourism sector plays a very important role in the Italian economy.

Italy is part of the euro cooperation. At the turn of the millennium, Italy had the lowest economic growth and the highest public debt of any Eurozone country. Unemployment was high, and rising life expectancy, low birth rates, and high pensions pushed up government spending. This caused massive demonstrations. Italy has come close to EU punitive measures several times due to budget deficits. In 2005, the EU requirement was relaxed, but the need for tightening and change was still great. In the spring of 2010, Italy found itself in a group of countries that, with their economic failures, were considered a threat to European cooperation. The EU has again put forward a series of demands for austerity measures.

Italian Cuisine and Culinary Traditions of Italy

Italian cuisine is the founder of the culinary traditions of Europe, despite the fact that at present everyone is guided by French cuisine as the standard of culinary art. Italian cuisine uses various products in its recipes - meat, fish, seafood, vegetables, herbs and much more. The hallmark of Italy is pasta - many types of noodles, pasta, spaghetti and other types of dough products. Some dishes remain traditional Italian dishes, and some are borrowed from other countries, for example, America took the Italian pizza recipe and made pizza a traditional American dish. Typical Italian dishes are recipes such as risotto, ravioli, chop milanese, focaccia, caprese, minestrone, tagliatelle bolognese, spaghetti carbonara, lasagna, polenta, bruschetta, granita, panna cotta, tiramisu, carpaccio, ribollita, Neapolitan pizza, arancini, cannoli, bottarga, tortellini in broth, ossobucco, parmigiana, Florentine steak, porchetta, gelato, panini and many other dishes. Speaking of Italian cuisine, one should not forget the unique Italian products - parmesan cheese, mozzarella di buffalo, grana padano and burrata, gorgonzola, pecorino. Italy is also famous for its sausages and meat products - prosciutto, salsiccia, salami, mortadella. Also, do not forget about the famous Italian pesto sauce, as well as the unique balsamic vinegar from Modena, which will give any dish a unique flavor of Italian cuisine.

Italy flag
Italy coat of arms

Basic Information About Italy

  • Full name - Italian Republic
  • Capital - Rome
  • Language - Italian
  • Population - 60 367 471
  • Form of government - republic
  • Area - 301 340 km2
  • Currency - euro
  • National Day - June 2