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Italy Guide

Italy, or formally known as the Italian Republic, shares its northern border with France, Austria, Switzerland and Slovenia – whereas the rest of the country forms a peninsula encompassing the Mediterranean Sea hosting the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Within the peninsula forming the Italian Republic are the independent states of the Vatican and San Marino.

Italy has a colourful history dating back before the Roman Empire. In more recent times, The Italian Kingdom, which forms Italy as we know it today, was formed in only 1861. It became the Italian Republic shortly after the Second World War in 1946. The Italian language is relatively modern; it was unified from all the dialects that are still very prevalent today. The language is based on Latin and many similarities are found. The local dialect of Sardinian, however, is completely unrecognisable from the Italian language as we know it. Sicilian follows as also quite different.

At the end of 2008, the population of Italy was 60 million people. The highest populated city is Rome (Roma) with approximately 2.8 million people. But by far the largest metropolitan area is the Milan Metropolitan area with just over 8million people. Italy has many beautiful cities and is very popular with tourists for all sorts of reasons: the culture tourist to experience the rich history of the country; the sun worshipper – because Italy boasts a wonderful climate in the summer; and the gastronomic adventurer to experience the fine food and wine in the various regions of this fine country.

Italy boasts a rich culture in the art world, having a dominant position in world art for hundreds of years during the Romanesque and Gothic periods, spanning to the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Arguable Italy’s most famous painter is Leonardo da Vinci.

Having given birth to opera, Italy provides many of the foundations of the classical music tradition. Instruments associated with classical music, including the piano and violin, were invented in Italy, and many of the prevailing classical music forms, such as the symphony, concerto, and sonata, can trace their roots back to innovations of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Italian music. Italy's most famous composers include the Renaissance composers Palestrina and Monteverdi, the Baroque composers Alessandro Scarlatti, Corelli and Vivaldi, the Classical composers Paganini and Rossini, and the Romantic composers Verdi and Puccini.

The country has a wonderful reputation for many things, including (but not limited to) fashion and food! Italy is home to some great chefs that have graced many menus with their inventive pasta dishes. Various regions have their own specialities, with pasta, pizza, cheese and wine playing a major part in almost all regions. Milan is the fashion capital of Italy, and has produced some of the world’s leading designers over time, including Giorgio Armani, Roberto Cavalli, Guccio Gucci, Miuccia Prada, Nini Ricci, Sergio Tacchini, and Gianni Versace.

There are many more Italian designers, which illustrates just how important this country is in the world fashion scene.

To summarise, Italy is a culturally rich country set in very pleasing part of Europe. Whatever your reason for visiting a foreign country, Italy has probably got it!






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