The Dolomites are a mountain range located in northeastern Italy. They form a part of the Southern Limestone Alps and extend from the River Adige in the west to the Piave Valley in the east; the northern and southern borders are defined by the Sugana Valley. The Dolomites are nearly shared between the provinces of Belluno, South Tyrol and Trentino. Other mountain groups of similar geological structure spread along the River Piave to the east – Dolomiti d'Oltrepiave. A smaller group is called Piccole Dolomiti, located between the provinces of Trentino and Vicenza; the Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park and many other regional parks are located in the Dolomites. In August 2009, the Dolomites were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the Dolomites known as the "Pale Mountains", take their name from the carbonate rock dolomite. This was named for 18th-century French mineralogist Déodat Gratet de Dolomieu, the first to describe the mineral; the Dolomites were formed during the Permian period over 280 million years ago, when parts of Europe and Africa were merged in a supercontinent known as Pangaea.
During that time, there was a great oceanic gulf called the Tethys. The mountains have since weathered. During the First World War, the front line between the Italian and Austro-Hungarian forces ran through the Dolomites, where both sides used mines extensively. Open-air war museums are located at Mount Lagazuoi. Many people visit the Dolomites to climb the vie ferrate, protected paths through the minefields that were created during the war. A number of long-distance footpaths traverse the Dolomites, they are called alte vie, are numbered from 1 to 8. The trails take on the order of a week to walk, are served by numerous rifugi; the first and most renowned is the Alta Via 1. Radiocarbon dating has been used in the Alta Badia region to demonstrate a connection between landslide activity and climate change; the region is divided into the Western and Eastern Dolomites, separated by a line following the Val Badia – Campolongo Pass – Cordevole Valley axis. The Dolomites may be divided into the following ranges: The Dolomites are renowned for skiing in the winter months and mountain climbing, cycling, BASE jumping, as well as paragliding and hang gliding in summer and late spring/early autumn.
Free climbing has been a tradition in the Dolomites since 1887, when 17-year-old Georg Winkler soloed the first ascent of the pinnacle Die Vajolettürme. The main centres include: Rocca Pietore alongside the Marmolada Glacier, which lies on the border of Trentino and Veneto, the small towns of Alleghe, Auronzo, Cortina d'Ampezzo and the villages of Arabba, Urtijëi and San Martino di Castrozza, as well as the whole of the Fassa and Badia valleys; the Maratona dles Dolomites, an annual single-day road bicycle racing race covering seven mountain passes of the Dolomites, occurs in the first week of July. Other characteristic places are: Mount Pasubio and Strada delle 52 Gallerie Altopiano di Asiago and Calà del Sasso, with 4444 steps, the world's longest staircase open to the public. Alta Via 1 Belluno Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park Strada delle 52 Gallerie Via Ferrata White Friday This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Dolomites, The".
Encyclopædia Britannica. 8. Cambridge University Press. P. 394. Provincia di Belluno, Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano-Alto Adige Autonome Provinz Bozen-Südtirol, Provincia di Pordenone, Provincia Autonoma di Trento, Provincia di Udine, Regione Autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia, 2008. Nomination of the Dolomites for inscription on the World Natural Heritage List UNESCO. Nomination Document. 363 pp. https://web.archive.org/web/20131225070444/http://fondazionedolomitiunesco.org/documentazione-2/01_DOLOMITES_nomination_document_jan2008_1236608233_1294933181.pdf "HD Pictures of the main areas of the Dolomites". Bruno Mandolesi. "360 degree panorama Dolomites". SiMedia Srl. Retrieved 14 April 2010. Roger. "Walks and Via Ferrata in the Dolomites". CommunityWalk.com. Retrieved 14 April 2010. "Strada delle 52 Gallerie". Eclectica. "Monte Piana in the Dolomites". Eclectica. August 21, 2006. "Via Ferrata Lagazuoi Tunnels". Eclectica. August 9, 2006. "Up to the Turquoise Lake". Eclectica. August 1, 2006. Media related to Dolomites at Wikimedia Commons Franco Grisa Timelapse Italian official cartography.
Switzerland the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated in western and southern Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities; the sovereign state is a federal republic bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2. While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of 8.5 million people is concentrated on the plateau, where the largest cities are to be found: among them are the two global cities and economic centres Zürich and Geneva. The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the late medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648; the country has a history of armed neutrality going back to the Reformation.
It pursues an active foreign policy and is involved in peace-building processes around the world. In addition to being the birthplace of the Red Cross, Switzerland is home to numerous international organisations, including the second largest UN office. On the European level, it is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, but notably not part of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Eurozone. However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties. Spanning the intersection of Germanic and Romance Europe, Switzerland comprises four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French and Romansh. Although the majority of the population are German-speaking, Swiss national identity is rooted in a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy, Alpine symbolism. Due to its linguistic diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names: Schweiz. On coins and stamps, the Latin name – shortened to "Helvetia" – is used instead of the four national languages.
Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product according to the IMF. Switzerland ranks at or near the top globally in several metrics of national performance, including government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic competitiveness and human development. Zürich and Basel have all three been ranked among the top ten cities in the world in terms of quality of life, with the first ranked second globally, according to Mercer in 2018; the English name Switzerland is a compound containing Switzer, an obsolete term for the Swiss, in use during the 16th to 19th centuries. The English adjective Swiss is a loan from French Suisse in use since the 16th century; the name Switzer is from the Alemannic Schwiizer, in origin an inhabitant of Schwyz and its associated territory, one of the Waldstätten cantons which formed the nucleus of the Old Swiss Confederacy. The Swiss began to adopt the name for themselves after the Swabian War of 1499, used alongside the term for "Confederates", used since the 14th century.
The data code for Switzerland, CH, is derived from Latin Confoederatio Helvetica. The toponym Schwyz itself was first attested in 972, as Old High German Suittes perhaps related to swedan ‘to burn’, referring to the area of forest, burned and cleared to build; the name was extended to the area dominated by the canton, after the Swabian War of 1499 came to be used for the entire Confederation. The Swiss German name of the country, Schwiiz, is homophonous to that of the canton and the settlement, but distinguished by the use of the definite article; the Latin name Confoederatio Helvetica was neologized and introduced after the formation of the federal state in 1848, harking back to the Napoleonic Helvetic Republic, appearing on coins from 1879, inscribed on the Federal Palace in 1902 and after 1948 used in the official seal.. Helvetica is derived from the Helvetii, a Gaulish tribe living on the Swiss plateau before the Roman era. Helvetia appears as a national personification of the Swiss confederacy in the 17th century with a 1672 play by Johann Caspar Weissenbach.
Switzerland has existed as a state in its present form since the adoption of the Swiss Federal Constitution in 1848. The precursors of Switzerland established a protective alliance at the end of the 13th century, forming a loose confederation of states which persisted for centuries; the oldest traces of hominid existence in Switzerland date back about 150,000 years. The oldest known farming settlements in Switzerland, which were found at Gächlingen, have been dated to around 5300 BC; the earliest known cultural tribes of the area were members of the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures, named after the archaeological site of La Tène on the north side of Lake Neuchâtel. La Tène culture developed and flourished during the late Iron Age from around 450 BC under some influence from the Gree
Valencian referred to as Southern Catalan, is a dialect of the Catalan language spoken in the Valencian Community, where it is an official language, in the El Carche comarca in Murcia, where it has no official recognition. Besides, it is spoken in the south of the Terres de l'Ebre and in the south of La Franja in Aragon, in its transitional variety; the denominations "Valencian" or "Valencian language" are used traditionally and as a glottonym exclusively in the Valencian Community, to refer not only to the dialect spoken in the region, but to refer to the totality of the Catalan language. However, outside this territory the use of this denomination is null, it is considered the Valencian Community's own language according to the region's 1982 Statute of Autonomy and the Spanish Constitution. According to philological studies, the varieties of this language spoken in the Valencian Community and El Carxe cannot be considered a dialect restricted to these borders: the several dialects of Valencian belong to the Western group of Catalan dialects.
Valencian, as a variety of the Catalan language, displays transitional features between Ibero-Romance languages and Gallo-Romance languages. Its similarity with Occitan has led many authors to group it under the Occitano-Romance languages. There is some controversy within the Valencian Community regarding its status as a glottonym or as a language on its own among certain political sectors such as blaverism and Spanish nationalism. According to a study carried out by the Generalitat Valenciana in 2014, scarcely more than a half people in the Valencian Community consider it as a separate language, different from Catalan. However, according to the same study, most of Valencians with higher studies say that it is the same language. According to the 2006 Statute of Autonomy Valencian is regulated by the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua, by means of the Normes de Castelló. Due to not having been recognized for a long time and the considerable immigration coming from Andalusia but from other areas of Spain where Spanish is spoken, the number of speakers has decreased, the influence of Spanish has led to the adoption of a huge amount of loanwords.
Some of the most important works of Catalan literature in Valencia experienced a golden age during the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Important works include Joanot Martorell's chivalric romance Tirant lo Blanch, Ausiàs March's poetry; the first book produced with movable type in the Iberian Peninsula was printed in the Valencian variety. The earliest recorded chess game with modern rules for moves of the queen and bishop was in the Valencian poem Scachs d'amor; the official status of Valencian is regulated by the Spanish Constitution and the Valencian Statute of Autonomy, together with the Law of Use and Education of Valencian. Article 6 of the Valencian Statute of Autonomy sets the legal status of Valencian, providing that: The official language of the Valencian Community is Valencian. Valencian is official within the Valencian Community, along with Spanish, the official language nationwide. Everyone shall have the right to know it and use it, receive education in Valencian. No one can be discriminated against by reason of their language.
Special protection and respect shall be given to the recuperation of Valencian. The Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua shall be the normative institution of the Valencian language; the Law of Use and Education of Valencian develops this framework, providing for implementation of a bilingual educational system, regulating the use of Valencian in the public administration and judiciary system, where citizens can use it when acting before both. Valencian is recognized under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages as "Valencian". Valencian is not spoken all over the Valencian Community. A quarter of its territory, equivalent to 10% of the population, is traditionally Castilian-speaking only, whereas Valencian is spoken to varying degrees elsewhere. Additionally, it is spoken by a reduced number of people in Carche, a rural area in the Region of Murcia adjoining the Valencian Community. Although the Valencian language was an important part of the history of this zone, nowadays only about 600 people are able to speak Valencian in the area of Carche.
In 2010 the Generalitat Valenciana published a study and Social use of Valencian, which included a survey sampling more than 6,600 people in the provinces of Castellón, Alicante. The survey collected the answers of respondents and did not include any testing or verification; the results were: Valencian was the language "always or most used": at home: 31.6% with friends: 28.0% in internal business relations: 24.7%For ability: 48.5% answered they speak Valencian "perfectly" or "quite well" 26.2% answered they write Valencian "perfectly" or "quite well" The survey shows that, although Valencian is still the common language in many areas in the Valencian Community, where more than half of the Valencian population are able to speak it, most Valencians do not speak in Valencian in their
Spain the Kingdom of Spain, is a country located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula, its territory includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country. Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are part of Spanish territory; the country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar. With an area of 505,990 km2, Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, the fourth largest country in the European continent. By population, Spain is the fifth in the European Union. Spain's capital and largest city is Madrid. Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 35,000 years ago. Iberian cultures along with ancient Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian settlements developed on the peninsula until it came under Roman rule around 200 BCE, after which the region was named Hispania, based on the earlier Phoenician name Spn or Spania.
At the end of the Western Roman Empire the Germanic tribal confederations migrated from Central Europe, invaded the Iberian peninsula and established independent realms in its western provinces, including the Suebi and Vandals. The Visigoths would forcibly integrate all remaining independent territories in the peninsula, including Byzantine provinces, into the Kingdom of Toledo, which more or less unified politically and all the former Roman provinces or successor kingdoms of what was documented as Hispania. In the early eighth century the Visigothic Kingdom fell to the Moors of the Umayyad Islamic Caliphate, who arrived to rule most of the peninsula in the year 726, leaving only a handful of small Christian realms in the north and lasting up to seven centuries in the Kingdom of Granada; this led to many wars during a long reconquering period across the Iberian Peninsula, which led to the creation of the Kingdom of Leon, Kingdom of Castile, Kingdom of Aragon and Kingdom of Navarre as the main Christian kingdoms to face the invasion.
Following the Moorish conquest, Europeans began a gradual process of retaking the region known as the Reconquista, which by the late 15th century culminated in the emergence of Spain as a unified country under the Catholic Monarchs. Until Aragon had been an independent kingdom, which had expanded toward the eastern Mediterranean, incorporating Sicily and Naples, had competed with Genoa and Venice. In the early modern period, Spain became the world's first global empire and the most powerful country in the world, leaving a large cultural and linguistic legacy that includes more than 570 million Hispanophones, making Spanish the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese. During the Golden Age there were many advancements in the arts, with world-famous painters such as Diego Velázquez; the most famous Spanish literary work, Don Quixote, was published during the Golden Age. Spain hosts the world's third-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Spain is a secular parliamentary democracy and a parliamentary monarchy, with King Felipe VI as head of state.
It is a major developed country and a high income country, with the world's fourteenth largest economy by nominal GDP and sixteenth largest by purchasing power parity. It is a member of the United Nations, the European Union, the Eurozone, the Council of Europe, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the Union for the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Schengen Area, the World Trade Organization and many other international organisations. While not an official member, Spain has a "Permanent Invitation" to the G20 summits, participating in every summit, which makes Spain a de facto member of the group; the origins of the Roman name Hispania, from which the modern name España was derived, are uncertain due to inadequate evidence, although it is documented that the Phoenicians and Carthaginians referred to the region as Spania, therefore the most accepted etymology is a Semitic-Phoenician one.
Down the centuries there have been a number of accounts and hypotheses: The Renaissance scholar Antonio de Nebrija proposed that the word Hispania evolved from the Iberian word Hispalis, meaning "city of the western world". Jesús Luis Cunchillos argues that the root of the term span is the Phoenician word spy, meaning "to forge metals". Therefore, i-spn-ya would mean "the land where metals are forged", it may be a derivation of the Phoenician I-Shpania, meaning "island of rabbits", "land of rabbits" or "edge", a reference to Spain's location at the end of the Mediterranean. The word in question means "Hyrax" due to Phoenicians confusing the two animals. Hispania may derive from the poetic use of the term Hesperia, reflecting the Greek perception of Italy as a "western land" or "land of the setting sun" (Hesperia
The Channel Islands are an archipelago in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two Crown dependencies: the Bailiwick of Jersey, the largest of the islands, they are considered the remnants of the Duchy of Normandy and, although they are not part of the United Kingdom, the UK is responsible for the defence and international relations of the islands. The Crown dependencies are not members of the European Union, they have a total population of about 164,541, the bailiwicks' capitals, Saint Helier and Saint Peter Port, have populations of 33,500 and 18,207, respectively. The total area of the islands is 198 km2. "Channel Islands" is a geographical term, not a political unit. The two bailiwicks have been administered separately since the late 13th century; each has its own independent laws and representative bodies. Any institution common to both is the exception rather than the rule; the Bailiwick of Guernsey is divided into three jurisdictions – Guernsey and Sark – each with its own legislature.
Although there are a few pan-island institutions, these tend to be established structurally as equal projects between Guernsey and Jersey. Otherwise, entities proclaiming membership of both Guernsey and Jersey might in fact be from one bailiwick only, for instance the Channel Islands Securities Exchange is in Saint Peter Port; the term "Channel Islands" began to be used around 1830 first by the Royal Navy as a collective name for the islands. The term refers only the archipelago to the west of the Cotentin Peninsula; the Isle of Wight, for example, is not a "Channel Island". The two major islands are Guernsey, they make up 92 % of the area. The permanently inhabited islands of the Channel Islands and their population and area are: Jersey 100,080 Guernsey 63,026 Alderney 2,000 Sark 600 Herm 60 Jethou 3 Brecqhou There are several uninhabited islets. Four are part of the Bailiwick of Jersey: The Minquiers Écréhous Les Dirouilles Les Pierres de Lecq These lie off Alderney: Burhou Casquets Ortac RenonquetThese lie off Guernsey: Caquorobert Crevichon Grande Amfroque Les Houmets Lihou The names of the larger islands in the archipelago in general have the -ey suffix, whilst those of the smaller ones have the -hou suffix.
These are believed to be from holmr. The Chausey Islands south of Jersey are not included in the geographical definition of the Channel Islands but are described in English as'French Channel Islands' in view of their French jurisdiction, they were linked to the Duchy of Normandy, but they are part of the French territory along with continental Normandy, not part of the British Isles or of the Channel Islands in a political sense. They are an incorporated part of the commune of Granville. While they are popular with visitors from France, Channel Islanders visit them as there are no direct transport links from the other islands. In official Jersey French, the islands are called'Îles de la Manche', while in France, the term'Îles Anglo-normandes' is used to refer to the British'Channel Islands' in contrast to other islands in the Channel. Chausey is referred to as an'Île normande'.'Îles Normandes' and'Archipel Normand' have historically, been used in Channel Island French to refer to the islands as a whole.
The large tidal variation provides an environmentally rich inter-tidal zone around the islands, some islands such as Burhou, the Écréhous, the Minquiers have been designated Ramsar sites. The waters around the islands include the following: The Swinge The Little Swinge La Déroute Le Raz Blanchard, or Race of Alderney The Great Russel The Little Russel Souachehouais Le Gouliot La Percée The highest point in the islands is Les Platons in Jersey at 143 metres above sea level; the lowest point is the English Channel. The earliest evidence of human occupation of the Channel Islands has been dated to 250,000 years ago when they were attached to the landmass of continental Europe; the islands became detached by rising sea levels in the Neolithic period. The numerous dolmens and other archaeological sites extant and recorded in history demonstrate the existence of a population large enough and organised enough to undertake constructions of considerable size and sophistication, such as the burial mound at La Hougue Bie in Jersey or the statue menhirs of Guernsey.
Hoards of Armorican coins have been excavated, providing evidence of trade and contact in the Iron Age period. Evidence for Roman settlement is sparse, although evidently the islands were visited by Roman officials and traders; the Roman name for the Channel Islands was I. Lenuri and is included in the Peutinger Table The traditional Latin na
Friuli is an area of Northeast Italy with its own particular cultural and historical identity containing 600,000 Friulians. It comprises the major part of the autonomous region Friuli-Venezia Giulia, i.e. the administrative provinces of Udine and Gorizia, excluding Trieste. The multiethnic and subsequent multilingual tradition of Friuli means that the name of the region varies according to locality. Besides Friuli from Italian, other local Romance forms include Venetian Friul; the name Friuli originates from the ancient Roman town of Forum Iulii. Friuli is bordered on the west by the Veneto region with the border running along the Livenza river, on the north by the crest of the Carnic Alps between Carnia and Austrian Carinthia, on the east by the Julian Alps, the border with Slovenia and the Timavo river, on the south by the Adriatic Sea; the adjacent Slovene parts of the Soča/Isonzo valley from Gorizia/Nova Gorica up to Mt. Triglav and the Vipava Valley, forming the Goriška region, may be considered part of historic Friuli.
The mountainous northern part of the region belongs to the Southern Limestone Alps. From west to east, the region's highest peaks are, in the Carnic Prealps — the Cima dei Preti, 2,703 metres, Duranno 2,652 metres, Cridola 2,581 metres. Rivers flowing southwards from the mountains are numerous; the Friulian mountains surround the course of the Tagliamento river, which, at the latitude of Gemona del Friuli first crosses the hills that occupy the center of the Friuli flows into a large flood plain. This plain is divided into the High Friulian plain and the Low Friulian plain, whose boundary is the Napoleonic road that connects the cities of Codroipo and Palmanova. To the south of this road is the risorgive zone, where water resurfaces from underground waterways in spring-fed pools throughout the area. South of the plains lie the lagoons of Grado, which are nature reserves. Other important rivers include the Torre, Stella, Isonzo/Soča, Ausa. Friuli covers an area of 8,240 square kilometres, subdivided among the provinces of Udine 4,905 square kilometres, Pordenone 2,178 square kilometres and Gorizia 466 square kilometres.
The historical capital and most important city of is Udine, it was the capital of the medieval Patria del Friuli. Other important towns are Pordenone, Gorizia/Nova Gorica, Codroipo, Cervignano del Friuli, Cividale del Friuli, Gemona del Friuli and Tolmezzo; the climate of the Friulian plain is humid sub-Mediterranean. The climate in this area is suitable for growing white wine grapes, 2.5% of wine produced in Italy comes from this part of the region. The hills, have a continental climate, the mountainous regions have an alpine climate. On the coast the mean annual temperature is 14 °C, while in the inner plains, the average is lowered to 13 to 13.5 °C. Further north, in Tolmezzo, the average temperature is 10.6 °C. The lowest values are recorded in the Alps: 4 °C at Passo di Monte Croce Carnico and between 5.5 and 7 °C in Val Canale, situated 850 metres above sea level. In the coldest month, temperatures vary between 4.5 °C in Monfalcone and nearly −5 °C in Passo di Monte Croce Carnico, with intermediate temperatures of 3 °C in Udine and −2 or −3 °C in Valcanale.
Gorizia, a short distance from Udine, enjoys a milder micro-climate with its approximate annual average of 4 °C. In the warmest month, the temperatures range between 22.5 and 24 °C along the coast and plains and between 14 and 16 °C in Val Canale. Precipitation in Friuli is abundant. Minimum values in the southern part fall between 1,200 and 1,500 mm, whereas the alpine area's maximum annual rainfall is 3,000 mm; the Julian Prealps is one of Italy's rainiest regions: Musi receives about 3,300 mm of annual precipitation, sometimes 5000 mm, can receive 400 mm in a single month. In some areas of Friuli, excessive rainfall has caused the flooding of many rivers. Snow is sparse in the southern plains but falls more further to the north. Friuli has a little under one million people, it must be considered that Mandament of Portogruaro and comune of Sappada belong to Friuli. With these lands, the total population reaches 1,060,000 people. One of the most important demographic phenomena in Friuli was emigration.
It ended in the 1970s. It is estimated that more than a million Friulian people emigrated away over a period of one hundred years. According to the most recent census by AIRE
Italy the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Austria and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 and has a temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe. Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has been home to a myriad of peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout modern-day Italy, the most famous of which being the Indo-European Italics who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era and Carthaginians founded colonies in insular Italy and Genoa, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively; the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People.
The Roman Republic conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the peninsula, in some cases through the establishment of federations, the Republic expanded and conquered parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became the leading cultural and religious centre of Western civilisation, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's technology, economy and literature flourished. Italy remained the metropole of the Roman Empire; the legacy of the Roman Empire endured its fall and can be observed in the global distribution of culture, governments and the Latin script. During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured sociopolitical collapse and barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival city-states and maritime republics in the northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity through shipping and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism.
These independent statelets served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars and polymaths such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Machiavelli. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Italy's commercial and political power waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left the region fragmented, it was subsequently conquered and further divided by European powers such as France and Austria.
By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was entirely unified in 1871, establishing the Kingdom of Italy as a great power. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy industrialised, namely in the north, acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora. Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and the Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoil became a developed country.
Today, Italy is considered to be one of the world's most culturally and economically advanced countries, with the sixth-largest worldwide national wealth. Its advanced economy ranks eighth-largest in the world and third in the Eurozone by nominal GDP. Italy owns the third-largest central bank gold reserve, it has a high level of human development, it stands among the top countries for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military and diplomatic affairs. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area and many more; as a reflection