Italy has been inhabitated since the Paleolitithic Era. Important archeological remains widespread throughtout the entire country testify the presence of the first human settlements since then. There were a great number of different ethnic populations such as Paleoveneti, Liguri, Galli, Latini, Sabini, Lucani, Sicani, Sardi and in particular Etruschi. Between 8th and 7th century BC, the Greeks colonized the regions of Puglia,Campania and Basilicata in the South of Italy, where they gave birth to the so-called Magna Grecia and left important archeological sites such as Metapontum, Siris, Herakleia. THE ROMAN AGE After the Greeks, there were the Romans to dominate. The Roman period lasted from 509 BC to 476 AD. Of this presence, we can find an impressive artistic and cultural heritage in almost every corner of the country. The Roman Empire founded also the Western culture with authors such as Lucilio, Catullo, Cicerone, Ovidio, Orazio born in Venosa in Basicata and even more. After the fall of the Roman Empire, it was the turn of people coming from Northen Europe to invade the country. Germans, Ostrogoths, Normans and many others came in massive numbers, dividing the country into several different small kingdoms. Later the peninsula was almost totally dominated by the emperor Charles Magne. Since the 10th century Italy experienced a new form of government. A period of great economic, spiritual and artistic development began, testified by geniuses such as Francesco D’Assisi or Jacopo Da Lentini, Dante Alighieri, Giovanni Boccaccio, Francesco Petrarca, Giotto, Cimabue and so on. THE MIDDLE AGES The golden age was without doubt the Renaissance. In this period, in the 15th century, Italy became the cultural center of the western world, paving the way to modernity and innovation. Names such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Niccolò Macchiavelli , only to quote some of them, were the creators of works of art destined to the live forever. Later, in the 16th century due to a succession of internal instability and wars the country lost its centrality in the World and fell under the domination of foreign powers such as France, Spain and Austria. THE MODERN AGE THE RISORGIMENTO These are the protagonists of the Italian Risorgimento: above, Vittorio Emanuele II and Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, below Giuseppe Garibaldi and Giuseppe Mazzini. The Italian Risorgimento is a cultural, political and social movement that achieved the unification of the Peninsula. This period started with the Carboneria, a secret society, and was followed by some attempts of insurrection and by the First War of Independence against the Austrian Empire. Only with the Second War of Independence in 1859 Italy won against Austria. On the 17th March 1861 Vittorio Emanuele II proclaimed unity and became the first king of Italy. Finally, Rome became the capital of the kingdom of Italy. In the first years of the unification, Italy had to face what was later defined “ the Southern Question”. In particular, in Basilicata there was the phenomenon of “brigantaggio”: women and men hid in woods to protest against the taxation of the new government. After some decades of internal peace, Italy took part in World War I (1915). With the end of the Great War (1918) , Italy completed its unification incorporating Trentino-Alto Adige and Friuli Venezia Giulia. In 1919, Benito Mussolini imposed himself on the political scene: a very dark era began. The worst period of the Italian history was of course when the alliance between Mussolini and Adolf Hitler was signed, and then, when Italy entered World War II (1940). The country was in chaos and Mussolini was killed, while the Anti-fascist Resistance won against Nazi-Fascism on 25th April 1945. THE FIRST REPUBLIC On 2nd June 1946 an institutional referendum established the end of the monarchy and the birth of the Italian Republic. For the first time in Italy, on this occasion, even women could vote. Enrico De Nicola was appointed the first President of the Italian Republic. The new Republican Constitution was proclaimed on 1st January 1948. From 1946 to 1993 the Christian Democracy party went to Parliament. In those years Italy knew the so-called “economic miracle” or “boom”. Italy contributed to the creation first of the CEA and then of the CEE and was one of founding states of the European Union. In fact, Altiero Spinelli, an Italian federalist politician and writer, is considered the founding father of Europe for his influence on the European integration. In 1968 there were radical changes due to economic improvements and movements such as Communism, that brought a new mentality and customs. In the ’70s and ’80s , there were strong political tensions because of the Cold War: it was then that terroristic groups affirmed. This period, called Years of Lead, ended with the murder of Aldo Moro by the Red Brigades. In the following decade, it was Mafia to destabilize the country. The tension culminated in the ’90s, when the judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, were murdered. THE SECOND REPUBLIC The following period was called “Second Republic”. The policy, from the ’90s to today, has seen the birth of parties such as “Popolo Della Libertà” ( now divided into “Forza Italia” e “Nuovo Centrodestra”), “Partito Democratico”, “Partito Socialista Italiano”, “Partito Radicale”, “Unione Di Centro” “Movimento Cinque Stelle”, “Scelta Civica”, “Sinistra Ecologia e Libertà”; and some politicians such as Romano Prodi, Silvio Berlusconi, Angelino Alfano, Enrico Letta, Matteo Renzi and Beppe Grillo.