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.
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
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.
These are the
protagonists of the
Italian Risorgimento:
above, Vittorio
Emanuele II and
Camillo Benso Conte
di Cavour, below
Giuseppe Garibaldi
and Giuseppe
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.
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 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.

Diapositiva 1