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'pubblika ita'lja:na]), is a European country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps and surrounded by several islands. Italy is located in south-central Europe, and it is also considered a part of Western Europe. 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 exclave in Switzerland (Campione) and a maritime exclave in the Tunisian Sea (Lampedusa). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the third-most populous member state of the European Union. The capital and largest city is Rome; other major cities are Milan, Naples, Turin, Palermo, Genoa, Bologna, Florence and Venice.

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.

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Italian Renaissance painting is the painting of the period beginning in the late 13th century and flourishing from the early 15th to late 16th centuries, occurring in the Italian peninsula, which was at that time divided into many political states, some independent but others controlled by external powers. The painters of Renaissance Italy, although often attached to particular courts and with loyalties to particular towns, nonetheless wandered the length and breadth of Italy, often occupying a diplomatic status and disseminating artistic and philosophical ideas.

The city of Florence in Tuscany is renowned as the birthplace of the Renaissance, and in particular of Renaissance painting, although later in the era Rome and Venice assumed increasing importance in painting. A detailed background is given in the companion articles Renaissance art and Renaissance architecture. Read more...

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  • ...that Poliphilo, the main character in the Renaissance book Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, was said to have felt "extreme delight," "incredible joy," and "frenetic pleasure and cupidinous frenzy" when he saw the buildings depicted in the book?

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A mosaic depicting a banquet during a hunting trip from the Late Roman Villa Romana del Casale in Sicily

Ancient Roman cuisine changed greatly over the duration of the civilization's existence. Dietary habits were affected by the political changes from kingdom to republic to empire, and the empire's enormous expansion, which exposed Romans to many new provincial culinary habits and cooking methods.

In the beginning, dietary differences between Roman social classes were not great, but disparities developed with the empire's growth. Read more...

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