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Italy (Italian: Italia [iˈtaːlja] (About this soundlisten)), officially the Italian Republic (Italian: Repubblica Italiana [reˈpubblika itaˈljaːna]), is a country in Europe. Located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, San Marino, and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and has a largely 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 Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has historically been home to a myriad of peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient Italian tribes and Italic peoples dispersed throughout the Italian Peninsula and insular Italy, beginning from the classical era, Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Greeks established settlements in the south of Italy, with Etruscans and Celts inhabiting the centre and the north of Italy respectively. The Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which eventually became a republic that conquered and assimilated its neighbours. In the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became the leading cultural, political and religious centre of Western civilisation. The legacy of the Roman Empire is widespread and can be observed in the global distribution of civilian law, republican governments, Christianity and the Latin script.

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Early, tinted 20th-century photograph of the Palazzo Pitti, then still known as La Residenza Reale following the residency of King Emmanuel II between 1865–71, when Florence was the capital of Italy.

The Palazzo Pitti (sometimes called the Pitti Palace) is a vast mainly Renaissance palace in Florence, Italy. It is situated on the south side of the River Arno, a short distance from the Ponte Vecchio. The core of the present palazzo dates from 1458 and was originally the town residence of Luca Pitti, an ambitious Florentine banker. It was bought by the Medici family in 1539 as the official residence of the ruling families of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

Early in the 19th century, the palazzo, by then a great treasure house, was used as a power base by Napoleon, and much later served for a brief period as the principal royal palace of the newly united Italy. In the early 20th century, the palazzo together with its contents was given to the Italian people by King Victor Emmanuel III; subsequently its doors were opened to the public as one of Florence's largest art galleries. Today, housing several minor additions in addition to those of the Medici family, it is fully open to the public.

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First Italian balloon flight medal
First Italian balloon flight medal
  • ...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?

  • ...that the Monte Viso Tunnel is the most ancient tunnel dug through a mountain in Italy?


Camillo Benso, Conte di Cavour portrait by Francesco Hayez

Camillo Benso, conte di Cavour (or Camillo di Cavour; August 10, 1810 – June 6, 1861) was an Italian statesman and a leading figure in the movement toward Italian unification. He became the first Prime Minister of the new Kingdom of Italy.

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The XX Olympic Winter Games were held in Turin, Italy from February 10 to 26 in 2006. This was the second time that Italy hosted the Olympic Winter Games, as it had hosted the VII Olympic Winter Games in Cortina d'Ampezzo in 1956, and the third time overall that Italy hosted an Olympic Games, as it had also staged the Games of the XVII Olympiad in Rome in 1960.

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Invisible Cities (Italian: Le città invisibili) is a novel by Italian writer Italo Calvino. It was published in Italy in 1972 by Giulio Einaudi Editore.

The book explores imagination and the imaginable through the descriptions of cities by the narrator, Marco Polo. The book is framed as a conversation between the aging and busy emperor Kublai Khan, who constantly has merchants coming to describe the state of his empire, and Polo. The majority of the book consists of Polo's descriptions (1-3 pages each) of the 55 cities. Short dialogues between the two characters are interspersed every five to ten cities and are used to discuss various ideas presented by the cities on a wide range of topics including linguistics and human nature.

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Portrait of Moise Kiesling
Amedeo Modigliani
(1915), Oil on canvas
Brera Gallery, Milan


1900 (also called Novecento) is a 1976 epic film starring Robert de Niro, Gérard Depardieu, Dominique Sanda, Donald Sutherland, Alida Valli and Burt Lancaster, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. Set in Bertolucci's ancestral region of Emilia, the film chronicles the lives of two men during the political turmoils that took place in Italy in the first half on the 20th century.

Alfredo Berlinghieri (de Niro) and Olmo Dalco (Depardieu) are born on the same day in 1900, but belong to opposite ends of the social spectrum. Alfredo is the son of a rich landowner, while Olmo is a misbegotten peasant son. As Alfredo is somewhat rebellious and despises the falseness of his family, in particular his father, he befriends Olmo, who is brought up as a socialist.

After World War I, their friendship continues, but slowly the rise of the fascists as embodied by the sadistic Attila (Donald Sutherland) separates them. Alfredo chooses the side of Fascism, while Olmo fights for the communists.

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