Portal:Italy
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Portal:Italy

The Italy portal
Portale Italia

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Location of Italy within Europe

Italy (Italian: Italia [i'ta:lja] ), officially the Italian Republic (Italian: Repubblica Italiana [re'pub:lika ita'lja:na]), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps and several islands surrounding it. Italy is located in Southern Europe, and is also considered part of Western Europe. A unitary parliamentary republic with Rome as its capital, the country covers a total area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and shares land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, and the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. Italy has a territorial enclave in Switzerland (Campione) and a maritime exclave in Tunisian waters (Lampedusa). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the third-most populous member state of the European Union.

Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has historically been home to myriad peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout what is now modern-day Italy, the most predominant being the Indo-European Italic peoples who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era, Phoenicians and Carthaginians founded colonies mostly in insular Italy, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia of Southern Italy, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively. An Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which eventually became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People. The Roman Republic initially conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the Italian peninsula, eventually expanding and conquering parts of Europe, North Africa and Asia. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became a leading cultural, political and religious centre, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's law, technology, economy, art, and literature developed. Italy remained the homeland of the Romans and the metropole of the empire, whose legacy can also be observed in the global distribution of culture, governments, Christianity and the Latin script. (Full article...)

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tools holding glass horse being shaped
Glassmaking tools holding a glass horse being shaped
Venetian glass (Italian: vetro veneziano) is thought to have been made for over 1,500 years, and production has been concentrated on the Venetian island of Murano since the 13th century. Today Murano is known for its art glass, but it has a long history of innovations in glassmaking in addition to its artistic fame--and was Europe's major glassmaking center from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance. During the 15th century, Murano glassmakers created cristallo--which was almost transparent and considered the finest glass in the world. Murano glassmakers also developed a white-colored glass (milk glass called lattimo) that looked like porcelain. They later became Europe's finest makers of mirrors. Originally, Venice was controlled by the Byzantine Empire, but it eventually became an independent city state. It flourished as a trading center and seaport. Its connections with the Middle East helped its glassmakers gain additional skills, as glassmaking was more advanced in areas such as Syria and Egypt. Although Venetian glassmaking in factories existed as far back as the 8th Century, it became concentrated in Murano by law, beginning in 1291. Since glass factories often caught fire, this removed much of the possibility of a major fire disaster for the city. Venetian glassmakers developed secret recipes and methods for making glass, and the concentration of Venice's glassmaking on the island of Murano enabled better control of those secrets. (Full article...)

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Umbrian Pizza di Pasqua
The pizza di Pasqua ("Easter Pizza" in English), in some areas also called crescia di Pasqua, torta di Pasqua, torta al formaggio or crescia brusca, is a leavened savory cake typical of many areas of central Italy based on wheat flour, eggs, pecorino and parmesan. Traditionally served at breakfast on Easter morning, or as an appetizer during Easter lunch, it is accompanied by blessed boiled eggs, ciauscolo and red wine or, again, served at the Easter Monday picnic. Having the same shape as panettone, the pizza di Pasqua with cheese is a typical product of the Marche region, but also Umbrian (where, as a traditional food product, it obtained the P.A.T. recognition). There is also a sweet variant. The peculiarity of this product is its shape, given by the particular mold in which it is leavened and then baked in the oven: originally in earthenware, today in aluminum, it has a flared shape. (Full article...)

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