Italian culture has had a great impact
throughout the world - from ancient Rome to our days.
Here artists like Botticelli, Michelangelo and Leonardo
da Vinci appeared during the Renaissance, and Italian
music, especially opera, has been style-forming for
hundreds of years.
Many of the posterior Roman writers known as Catullus,
Cicero, Vergilius and Horatius lived during the
centuries around the birth of Christ.
With the Renaissance the ancient art and literature
were reborn. Poets Dante Alighieri, Francesco Petrarca
and Torquato Tasso as well as author Giovanni Boccaccio
are among the foremost names in classical Italian
Latest population statistics of Italy, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
The most beautiful altar paintings and frescoes of
the Renaissance have been created by artists such as Fra
Angelico, Botticelli, Rafael, Tizian and, not least, the
versatile Leonardo da Vinci. Like da Vinci, Michelangelo
Buonarroti - brilliant as both sculptor and painter -
appeared in Florence.
Italian music, especially opera, has been
style-forming for hundreds of years. With composers such
as Gioacchino Rossini, Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano
Donizetti and Giuseppe Verdi, Italian opera art reached
its peak during the 19th century. The traditions were
continued by composers such as Giacomo Puccini and
Songaah: List and lyrics of songs related to the country name of Italy. Artists and albums are also included.
Famous early 1900s writers are Giosuč Carducci (Nobel
Laureate 1906), Gabriele d'Annunzio and Luigi Pirandello
(Nobel Laureate 1934). Later in the century, the poets
Salvatore Quasimodo (Nobel Laureate 1959), Eugenio
Montale (Nobel Laureate 1975) and Giuseppe Ungaretti
stood in the foreground as did the writers Alberto
Moravia, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, Italo Calvino,
Natalia Ginzburg and Elsa Morante. The Sicilian writer
Leonardo Sciascia became well known for his novels about
southern Italy and for his harsh criticism of the mafia.
In the latter part of the 1990s, Umberto Eco reached
a large international readership and Susanna Tamaro's
books were on the bestseller lists throughout the
western world. The playwright and Nobel laureate (1997)
Dario Fo is well known through his fathers.
In the younger generation of writers, journalist
Roberto Saviano (born 1979) became world famous through
the book "Gomorra" (which also became a movie) about the
Neapolitan mafia Camorran. Savianio lives under the
death threat with bodyguard protection.
After the Second World War, Italian film art was
characterized by nude social depictions of a new kind,
the so-called neorealism. Best known examples are
Roberto Rossellini (Rome - Open City) and Vittorio de
Sica (Bicycle Thief).
In the 1960s, Michelangelo Antonioni's depictions of
the urban man came, followed by Bernardo Bertolucci's
political message. Others who have contributed to giving
Italian film a leading position in the world are
Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti, Franco Zeffirelli,
Liliana Cavani, Paolo Pasolini, Francesco Rosi and the
brothers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani.
Parliament dissolved before elections
President Mattarella dissolves Parliament, thus paving the way for elections.
As expected, the government decides that the election will be held on March 4,
2018. The ruling Democratic Party is expected to face a tough challenge,
primarily from the Five Star Movement leading in polls, but also from Heja
Soldiers to Niger
Italy will send 470 troops to Niger to help the West African country stop the
flow of migrants. According to Prime Minister Gentiloni, at the request of the
Niger government, it is reported to be the main transit country for migrants
from Africa to Europe. The first just under 200 soldiers will be sent in early
Prime Minister Gentiloni proud of the treatment of migrants
13th of December
Criticism in a new report by Amnesty International against European countries
and in particular Italy for contributing to the abuses of refugees in Libya, is
dismissed by Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. He believes that Italy is an
example for Europe "in terms of receiving people and saving lives at sea" and
also in the fight against human traffickers. He says that the agreements
concluded with Libya not only limit the flow of refugees but also open to UN
organizations to act in the country to help refugees. According to Gentiloni,
the number of migrants coming to Italy has decreased by 30 percent in 2017.
Thousands are demonstrating against fascism in Como
An alliance of left-wing groups and parties is organizing a demonstration in
protest of the right-wing extremist organizations implementing recent
anti-immigration actions. Among other things, a group of skinheads tried to stop
a charity meeting in Como and while another far-right group stormed the
newspapers La Repubblica's and L'Espresso's premises in Rome.
Pizza classified as a World Heritage Site in Naples
The UN trade union body UNESCO decides the art of making pizza as it is made
in Naples should be granted world heritage status. For example, the pizza must
be cooked in a wood-burning oven that has reached a certain high temperature.
According to the Ministry of Culture, the first pizza, with tomato and
mozzarella, was baked in 1889 as a tribute to the then Italian queen Margherita.
Success for Berlusconi's Heja Italy
Center-right candidate Nello Musumeci's coalition wins close to 40 percent of
the vote in the regional elections in Sicily. The coalition includes, among
others, Silvio Berlusconi's Heja Italy and the Confederation North. The
five-star motion candidate comes in second place with about 34 percent of the
vote. The PD candidate who gets only about 18 percent of the vote is
significantly worse off.
Parliament adopts new electoral law
According to the new law, about one third of the MPs are to be elected by
majority and two thirds proportionally. The electoral law shall apply to both
parliament's chambers. In order for the government to pass the bill in
Parliament, several votes of confidence have been required in both the Senate
and the House of Commons. The law favors parties that form an alliance for the
election. The barrier to entering Parliament will be 3 percent for one party and
10 percent for party alliances. The five-star movement, which does not want to
cooperate with any of the traditional parties and whose chances are thus reduced
despite being able to receive strong support from the voters, protests against
the law and considers it contrary to the constitution.
Lombardy and Veneto want greater independence
In non-binding polls in the rich regions of Lombardy and Veneto, a majority
of participants voted in favor of striving for greater autonomy. More than 90
percent should have voted yes, in both regions, according to preliminary
figures. However, the presidents of the regions both state that the regions have
no plans to try to break free, such as Catalonia in Spain. On the other hand,
the result of the vote may be support for the political leaders of the region in
upcoming negotiations with the central government in Rome on tax revenue and the
distribution of power.
The five-star movement chooses a new leader
The party appoints 31-year-old Luigi Di Maio as new party leader and
candidate for the Prime Minister's post at a conference in Rimini. Di Maio
stands for a more conservative focus than the party previously had and has, for
example, said that the M5S is no longer a populist movement and that there are
no immediate plans for a referendum to leave the euro.
Union North is threatened by bankruptcy
A court in Genoa decides to freeze the right-wing extremist Federation Nord's
assets. The reason is to make sure that the € 58 million that the party has
received as state aid can be repaid to the state, according to a previous ruling
from last summer. Former leader of the party should have embezzled the state
money. The freezing of the assets makes it harder for the party to fund its
campaign to get voters to vote yes in a referendum on October 22 on increased
independence for the Lombardy and Veneto regions.
Aid organizations reject the Code of Conduct on the Mediterranean
Several NGOs, including Doctors Without Borders, working with migrants in the
Mediterranean declare to sign the "Code of Conduct" that Italy has developed
with EU support. They oppose the requirement that Italian police should be on
board, and that migrants could be moved from one ship to another. Italy wants to
try to tighten the rules on rescue efforts to prevent the use of human
trafficking organizations by human traffickers.
Torture becomes illegal in Italy
After years of parliamentary rallies, members vote for a law that makes
torture illegal and punishable by up to ten years in prison (twelve years for
security police). Italy already signed in 1984 under the UN Convention against
Torture, but has not until now made it prohibited by national law. 198
legislators voted for the new law, while 35 voted against and 104 abstained.
The refugee issue is creating tension for Austria
Diplomatic relations with Austria are strained when the Vienna government
announces that 750 Austrian soldiers are in readiness to control the refugee
flow from Italy across the Brenner Pass to Austria if necessary. Four armored
vehicles have been deployed near Innsbruck.
The EU promises support in the refugee crisis
The EU is presenting a plan for how the Union can help Italy with the refugee
reception, as the country is increasingly pressured by growing flows of boat
refugees from Libya across the Mediterranean to the Italian coast. Brussels
promises more money and better cooperation as well as help to draw up a code of
conduct for the charities' activities at sea, which critics say is most likely
to attract more refugees as well as refugee smugglers. According to the plan,
assistance will also be paid to the Libyan authorities and the Coast Guard
there. In the first six months of 2017, more than 85,000 refugees arrived across
the Mediterranean, which is 19 percent more than in the same period in 2016.
Election success for Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconis Heja Italy wins in 16 out of 22 cities in local elections.
The party is part of an alliance with Förbund Nord and another right-wing party.
The ruling party PD is going worse and the party is losing Genoa and La Spezia
to the right, among others.
The state saves banks
The government goes in with just over five billion euros to save the two
crisis-hit banks Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca. Their assets are
simultaneously transferred to another bank, Intesa Saopaolo. The rescue
operation has been supported by the European Commission and is part of an effort
to try to get the Italian banking sector, which is burdened by "bad" loans.
Hardship for the Five Star Movement
The five-star movement fails to move on to a second and decisive round in
several major cities during the ongoing local elections. The party fails to
advance even in Genoa, where Beppe Grillo, the founder of the populist protest
movement, has grown up. According to analysts, the chances of the movement
achieving success in the parliamentary elections next year appear to have
diminished and that this is reflected in the local elections.
Renzi again leader of PD
Former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi wins the primary election in the
Democratic Party over who will become the new party leader. He gets over 70
percent of the vote, easily defeating Justice Minister Andrea Orlando and
Renzi resigns as party leader
He submits his resignation application in connection with a DP conference,
but does not rule out that he can return to the party leader post in the near
The Constitutional Court approves election law
The law passed in 2015 has been appealed to the court. In its decision, the
court gives a clear sign that a party that receives more than 40 percent of the
votes should automatically be allocated a majority of the mandate in the lower
house (see Political system). However, the court is scrapping the rule that a
second round of elections should be held if no party gets enough votes in the
first round. The ruling makes the election systems of the parliament's chambers
more uniform, which has been seen as a prerequisite for holding a new election.