Terroir is the set of all environmental factors that affect a crop's phenotype, including unique environment contexts, farming practices and a crop's specific growth habitat. Collectively, these contextual characteristics are said to have a character; some artisanal crops for which terroir is studied include wine, tobacco, chili peppers, agave, heritage wheat, maple syrup and cannabis. Terroir is the basis of the French wine appellation d'origine contrôlée system, a model for wine appellation and regulation in France and around the world; the AOC system presumes that the land from which the grapes are grown imparts a unique quality, specific to that growing site. The extent of terroir's significance is debated in the wine industry. Over the centuries, French winemakers developed the concept of terroir by observing the differences in wines from different regions, vineyards, or different sections of the same vineyard; the French began to crystallize the concept of terroir as a way of describing the unique aspects of a place that influence and shape the wine made from it.
Long before the French, the wine-making regions of the ancient world had developed a concept of different regions having the potential to produce different and distinct wines from the same grapes. The Ancient Greeks would stamp amphorae with the seal of the region they came from, soon different regions established reputations based on the quality of their wines. For centuries and disciplined members of the Benedictine and Cistercian orders cultivated grapes in much of Burgundy. With vast landholdings, the monks could conduct large-scale observation of the influences that various parcels of land had on the wine it produced; some legends have the monks going as far as "tasting" the soil. Over time the monks compiled their observations and began to establish the boundaries of different terroirs - many of which still exist today as the Grand Cru vineyards of Burgundy. While wine experts disagree about the exact definition, particular consideration is given to the natural elements that are beyond the control of humans.
Components described as aspects of terroir include: Climate Soil type Geomorphology Other organisms growing in, on, around the vine plotsThe interaction of climate and terroir is broken down from the macroclimate of a larger area, down to the mesoclimate of a smaller subsection of that region and to the individual microclimate of a particular vineyard or row of grapevines. The element of soil relates both to the composition and the intrinsic nature of the vineyard soils, such as fertility and ability to retain heat. Geomorphology refers to natural landscape features like mountains and bodies of water, which affect how the climate interacts with the region, includes the elements of aspect and elevation of the vineyard location. Other organisms growing in, on, around the vine plots refers to the region specific fauna and microflora present in the vineyards; the microbial populations in vineyards have been described as being a quantifiable aspect of the overall terroir. The definition of terroir can be expanded to include elements that are controlled or influenced by humans.
This can include the decision of which grape variety to plant, though whether or not that grape variety will produce quality wine is an innate element of terroir that may be beyond human influence. Some grape varieties thrive better in certain areas than in others; the winemaking decision of using wild or ambient yeast in fermentation instead of cultured or laboratory produced yeast can be a reflection of terroir. The use of oak is a controversial element since some will advocate that its use is beneficial in bringing out the natural terroir characteristics while others will argue that its use can mask the influences of the terroir. Vineyard management can be seen as a human controlled aspect of terroir. Many decisions during the growing and winemaking process can either lessen or increase the expression of terroir in the wine; these include decisions about pruning and selecting time of harvest. At the winery, the use of oak, cultured or ambient yeast, length of maceration and time in contact with lees, temperature during fermentation, processes like micro-oxygenation, clarification with fining agents, reverse osmosis all have the potential to either reduce or emphasize some aspect derived from the terroir.
Winemakers can work between the extremes of producing wine, terroir-driven and focused on purely expressing the unique aspects of a region's terroir, or winemaking, done without any consideration given to terroir. Furthermore, aspects of terroir such as climate and soil type may be considered when deciding such things as which grape variety to plant if the goal is to make good wine rather than terroir-driven wine; the importance of these influences depends on the culture of a particular wine region. In France Burgundy, there is the belief that the role of a winemaker is to bring out the expression of a wine's terroir; the French word for "winemaker," vigneron, is more aptly translated as "wine-grower" rather than "winemaker". The belief that the terroir is the dominant influence in the wine is the basis behind French wine labels emphasizing the region, vineyard, or AOC more prominently than the varietal of grape, more prominently tha
Denominazione di origine controllata
Denominazione di origine controllata is a quality assurance label for Italian wines. The system is modeled on the French Appellation d'origine contrôlée designations; the Italian government introduced the system in 1963 and overhauled it in 1992 to comply with European Union law on protected geographical designations of origin, which came into effect that year. There are three levels of labels: DO — Denominazione di Origine, DOC — Denominazione di Origine Controllata, DOCG — Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita. All three require that a food product be produced within the specified region using defined methods and that it satisfy a defined quality standard; the need for a DOCG identification arose when the DOC designation was, in the view of many Italian food industries, given too liberally to different products. A new, more restrictive identification was created as similar as possible to the previous one so that buyers could still recognize it, but qualitatively different; the three original DOCGs were Brunello, Vino Nobile, Barolo, followed by Barbaresco.
A notable difference for wines is that DOCG labelled wines are analysed and tasted by government–licensed personnel before being bottled. To prevent manipulation, DOCG wine bottles are sealed with a numbered governmental seal across the cap or cork. Italian legislation additionally regulates the use of the following qualifying terms for wines: Classico: reserved for wines produced in the region where a particular type of wine has been produced "traditionally". For the Chianti Classico, this "traditional region" is defined by a decree from July 10, 1932, Riserva, which may be used only for wines that have been aged at least two years longer than normal for a particular type of wine. Wines labelled DOCG may only be sold in bottles holding 5 litres or less. For wines produced in Bolzano, where German is an official language, DOC may alternatively be written as Kontrollierte Ursprungsbezeichnung and DOCG may be written as Kontrollierte und garantierte Ursprungsbezeichnung. Geographical indications and traditional specialities in the European Union List of Italian DOCG wines List of Italian DOC wines List of Italian products with protected designation of origin Indicazione geografica tipica, for high-quality wines that do not fit DOC/DOCG regulations referred to as the Italian equivalent to the French vin de pays system.
Traditional food An excerpt from the relevant Italian law V. Q. P. R. D. Vini: Elenco e Riferimenti Normativi al 07.02.2006 published by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, which lists every DOC and DOCG wine as of February 2006, together with the dates of the decrees by which the appellation was instituted, the provinces in which the wine is permitted to be produced. Complete list of italian DOC wines
A sommelier, or wine steward, is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional working in fine restaurants, who specializes in all aspects of wine service as well as wine and food pairing. The role in fine dining today is informed than that of a wine waiter. Sommeliers Australia states. A sommelier may be responsible for the development of wine lists, books and for the delivery of wine service and training for the other restaurant staff. Working along with the culinary team, they pair and suggest wines that will best complement each particular food menu item; this entails the need for a deep knowledge of how food and wine, beer and other beverages work in harmony. A professional sommelier works on the floor of the restaurant and is in direct contact with restaurant patrons; the sommelier has a responsibility to work within the taste preference and budget parameters of the patron. In modern times, a sommelier's role may be considered broader than working only with wines, may encompass all aspects of the restaurant's service, with an enhanced focus on wines, spirits, soft-drinks, mineral waters, tobaccos.
The modern word is French, deriving from Middle French where it referred to a court official charged with transportation of supplies. This use of the term dates to a period; the Middle French finds its origin in Old Provençal where a saumalier was a pack animal driver. Sauma referred to the load of a pack animal. In Late Latin, sagma referred to a packsaddle. Though'sommelier' is a job title anyone may claim, becoming a professional certified sommelier requires some combination of experience, formal education and examinations, it is possible to become a sommelier by starting at the entry level in the hospitality or wine industry and working up, though many choose to become educated and professionally certified by one of the many certifying bodies. Various certifications are offered by a wide range of educators. A basic education in wine may be attained over the course of months at a cost in the hundreds of dollars, but advanced professional certification requires years of study and experience costing thousands of dollars.
It has been noted that a thorough education in wine is still less expensive than typical graduate school costs in the US. In France, the Union des Sommeliers was founded in 1907 to ensure social protection for its members, both sommeliers and cellar masters in Paris region; the approach and role of the association developed throughout the years as it lost its autonomy by merging with the Mutualité Hôtelière in 1959. Ten years sommeliers regained their independence as the Association des Sommeliers de Paris was founded in 1969. In the same year the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale was created and federated other organisations in the world, in 1970 the old UDS was renamed in Union de la Sommellerie Française, UDSF, which supervises today the 21 regional associations in France; the title of Mention Complémentaire Sommellerie and Brevet Professionnel de Sommelier can be achieved studying for many different approved providers, the final qualification of Maître Sommelier can be achieved after an accurate career assessment, requiring at least 10 years of professional experience.
In Italy, the Italian Sommelier Association,'AIS', founded on July 7, 1965, is one of the oldest sommelier associations of the world. It is recognised and acknowledged by the Italian government. Italian Sommelier Association is part and founding member of the Worldwide Sommelier Association, recognized throughout the world, it is the largest sommelier association featuring over 33,000 members only in Italy. AIS / WSA is famous worldwide for its technical tasting approach and methodology, patented food & wine pairing technique, service standards and three-levels course structure which leads to the Certified Sommelier qualification. A Professional Sommelier qualification and diploma is issued by AIS, after a candidate's career assessment, for those sommeliers working in a food and beverage establishment; the Wine & Spirit Education Trust referred to as'WSET', is a British organisation which arranges courses and exams in the field of wine and spirits. It was founded in 1969, is headquartered in London, is regarded as one of the world's leading providers of wine education.
WSET courses and qualifications are offered in compliance to the new UK Qualifications and Credit Framework, from level 1 to level 3. Although WSET does not market itself as a sommelier certification and education body, many sommeliers choose to earn these qualifications. In 2012 WSET launched a level 1 award as an introduction to the sommellerie; the Court of Master Sommeliers, established in 1977, is an independent examining body that offers the'Master Sommelier Diploma', the'Advanced Sommelier Certificate', the'Certified Sommelier Certificate', the'Introductory Sommelier Certificate'. It was created under the supervision of the Worshipful Company of Vintners, the Institute of Masters of Wine, the British Hotels & Restaurants Association, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association of Great Britain, the Wholesale Tobacco Trade Association. Since the Master Sommelier Diploma was introduced in 1969, a tot
The Italians are a Romance ethnic group and nation native to the Italian peninsula and its neighbouring insular territories. Most Italians share a common culture, ancestry or language. All Italian nationals are citizens of the Italian Republic, regardless of ancestry or nation of residence and may be distinguished from people of Italian descent without Italian citizenship and from ethnic Italians living in territories adjacent to the Italian Peninsula without Italian citizenship; the majority of Italian nationals are speakers of a regional variety thereof. However, many of them speak another regional or minority language native to Italy. In 2017, in addition to about 55 million Italians in Italy, Italian-speaking autonomous groups are found in neighbouring nations: a quarter million are in Switzerland, a large population is in France, the entire population of San Marino, there are smaller groups in Slovenia and Croatia in Istria and Dalmatia; because of the wide-ranging diaspora, about 5 million Italian citizens and nearly 80 million people of full or partial Italian ancestry live outside their own homeland, which include the 62.5% of Argentina's population, 1/3 of Uruguayans, 40% of Paraguayans, 15% of Brazilians, people in other parts of Europe bordering Italy, the Americas and the Middle East.
Italians have influenced and contributed to diverse fields, notably the arts and music and technology, cuisine, jurisprudence and business both abroad and worldwide. Furthermore, Italian people are known for their localism, both regionalist and municipalist; the Latin name Italia according to Strabo's Geographica was used by Greeks to indicate the southwestern tip of the Italian peninsula, corresponding to the current region of Calabria, from the strait of Messina to the line connecting the gulf of Salerno and gulf of Taranto. It most originates with Oscan Víteliú, meaning "land of young cattle"; the bull was a symbol of the southern Italic tribes and was depicted goring the Roman wolf as a defiant symbol of free Italy during the Social War. The name was extended to include all the Italian peninsula south of the Rubicon, still by the end of the 1st century BC, to all of the peninsula and beyond. Latin Italicus as a substantive meaning "a man of Italy" is first recorded in Pliny the Elder, Letters 9.23.
The adjective italianus, from which are derived the Italian name of the Italians is medieval. The Italian peninsula was divided into a multitude of tribal or ethnic territory prior to the Roman conquest of Italy in the 3rd century BC. After a series of wars between Greeks and Etruscans, the Latins, with Rome as their capital, gained the ascendancy by 272 BC, completed the conquest of the Italian peninsula by 218 BC; this period of unification was followed by one of conquest in the Mediterranean, beginning with the First Punic War against Carthage. In the course of the century-long struggle against Carthage, the Romans conquered Sicily and Corsica. In 146 BC, at the conclusion of the Third Punic War, with Carthage destroyed and its inhabitants enslaved, Rome became the dominant power in the Mediterranean; the process of Italian unification, the associated Romanization, culminated in 88 BC, when, in the aftermath of the Social War, Rome granted its Italian allies full rights in Roman society, extending Roman citizenship to all Italic peoples.
From its inception, Rome was a republican city-state, but four famous civil conflicts destroyed the republic: Lucius Cornelius Sulla against Gaius Marius and his son, Julius Caesar against Pompey, Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus against Mark Antony and Octavian, Mark Antony against Octavian. Octavian, the final victor, was accorded the title of Augustus by the Senate and thereby became the first Roman emperor. Augustus created for the first time an administrative region called Italia with inhabitants called "Italicus populus", stretching from the Alps to Sicily: for this reason historians like Emilio Gentile called him Father of Italians. In the 1st century BC, Italia was still a collection of territories with different political statuses; some cities, called municipia, had some independence from Rome, while others, the coloniae, were founded by the Romans themselves. Around 7 BC, Augustus divided Italy into eleven regiones. During the Crisis of the Third Century the Roman Empire nearly collapsed under the combined pressures of invasions, military anarchy and civil wars, hyperinflation.
In 284, emperor Diocletian restored political stability. The importance of Rome declined; the seats of the Caesars were Augusta Treverorum for Constantius Chlorus and Sirmium (on the Riv
Cork is an impermeable buoyant material, the phellem layer of bark tissue, harvested for commercial use from Quercus suber, endemic to southwest Europe and northwest Africa. Cork is composed of a hydrophobic substance; because of its impermeable, buoyant and fire retardant properties, it is used in a variety of products, the most common of, wine stoppers. The montado landscape of Portugal produces half of cork harvested annually worldwide, with Corticeira Amorim being the leading company in the industry. Cork was examined microscopically by Robert Hooke, which led to his discovery and naming of the cell. There are about 2,200,000 hectares of cork forest worldwide. Annual production is about 200,000 tons. Once the trees are about 25 years old the cork is traditionally stripped from the trunks every nine years, with the first two harvests producing lower quality cork; the trees live for about 300 years. The cork industry is regarded as environmentally friendly. Cork production is considered sustainable because the cork tree is not cut down to obtain cork.
The tree continues to grow. The sustainability of production and the easy recycling of cork products and by-products are two of its most distinctive aspects. Cork oak forests prevent desertification and are a particular habitat in the Iberian Peninsula and the refuge of various endangered species. Carbon footprint studies conducted by Corticeira Amorim, Oeneo Bouchage of France and the Cork Supply Group of Portugal concluded that cork is the most environmentally friendly wine stopper in comparison to other alternatives; the Corticeira Amorim’s study, in particular, was developed by PricewaterhouseCoopers, according to ISO 14040. Results concluded that, concerning the emission of greenhouse gases, each plastic stopper released 10 times more CO2, whilst an aluminium screw cap releases 26 times more CO2 than does a cork stopper; the cork oak is unrelated to the "cork trees", which have corky bark but are not used for cork production. Cork is extracted only from early May to late August, when the cork can be separated from the tree without causing permanent damage.
When the tree reaches 25–30 years of age and about 24 in in circumference, the cork can be removed for the first time. However, this first harvest always produces poor quality or "virgin" cork. Bark from initial harvests can be used to make flooring, shoes and other industrial products. Subsequent extractions occur at intervals of 9 years, though it can take up to 13 for the cork to reach an acceptable size. If the product is of high quality it is known as "gentle" cork, ideally, is used to make stoppers for wine and champagne bottles; the workers who specialize in removing the cork are known as extractors. An extractor uses a sharp axe to make two types of cuts on the tree: one horizontal cut around the plant, called a crown or necklace, at a height of about 2–3 times the circumference of the tree, several vertical cuts called rulers or openings; this is the most delicate phase of the work because though cutting the cork requires significant force, the extractor must not damage the underlying phellogen or the tree will be harmed.
To free the cork from the tree, the extractor pushes the handle of the axe into the rulers. A good extractor needs to use a firm but precise touch in order to free a large amount of cork without damaging the product or tree; these freed portions of the cork are called planks. The planks are carried off by hand since cork forests are accessible to vehicles; the cork is stacked in piles in the forest or in yards at a factory and traditionally left to dry, after which it can be loaded onto a truck and shipped to a processor. Cork's elasticity combined with its near-impermeability makes it suitable as a material for bottle stoppers for wine bottles. Cork stoppers represent about 60% of all cork based production. Cork has an zero Poisson's ratio, which means the radius of a cork does not change when squeezed or pulled. Cork is an excellent gasket material; some carburetor float bowl gaskets are made for example. Cork is an essential element in the production of badminton shuttlecocks. Cork's bubble-form structure and natural fire retardant make it suitable for acoustic and thermal insulation in house walls, floors and facades.
The by-product of more lucrative stopper production, corkboard is gaining popularity as a non-allergenic, easy-to-handle and safe alternative to petrochemical-based insulation products. Sheets of cork often the by-product of stopper production, are used to make bulletin boards as well as floor and wall tiles. Cork's low density makes it a suitable material for fishing floats and buoys, as well as handles for fishing rods. Granules of cork can be mixed into concrete; the composites made by mixing cork granules and cement have lower thermal conductivity, lower density and good energy absorption. Some of the property ranges of the composites are density, compressive strength and flexural strength; as late as the mid-17th century, French vintners did not use cork stoppers, using instead oil-soaked rag
Winemaking or vinification is the production of wine, starting with the selection of the fruit, its fermentation into alcohol, the bottling of the finished liquid. The history of wine-making stretches over millennia; the science of wine and winemaking is known as oenology. A winemaker may be called a vintner; the growing of grapes is viticulture and there are many varieties of grapes. Winemaking can be divided into two general categories: still wine production and sparkling wine production. Red wine, white wine, rosé are the other main categories. Although most wine is made from grapes, it may be made from other plants, see fruit wine. Other similar light alcoholic drinks include mead, made by fermenting honey and water, kumis, made of fermented mare's milk. There are five basic stages to the wine making process which begins with picking. After the harvest, the grapes are prepared for primary ferment. At this stage red wine making diverges from white wine making. Red wine is made from the must of red or black grapes and fermentation occurs together with the grape skins, which give the wine its color.
White wine is made by fermenting juice, made by pressing crushed grapes to extract a juice. White wine is made from red grapes. Rosé wines are either made from red grapes where the juice is allowed to stay in contact with the dark skins long enough to pick up a pinkish color or by blending red wine with white wine. White and rosé wines extract little of the tannins contained in the skins. To start primary fermentation yeast may be added to the must for red wine or may occur as ambient yeast on the grapes or in the air. Yeast may be added to the juice for white wine. During this fermentation, which takes between one and two weeks, the yeast converts most of the sugars in the grape juice into ethanol and carbon dioxide; the carbon dioxide is lost to the atmosphere. After the primary fermentation of red grapes the free run wine is pumped off into tanks and the skins are pressed to extract the remaining juice and wine; the press wine is blended with the free run wine at the winemaker's discretion. The wine is kept warm and the remaining sugars are converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
The next process in the making of red wine is malo-lactic conversion. This is a bacterial process which converts "crisp, green apple" malic acid to "soft, creamy" lactic acid softening the taste of the wine. Red wine is sometimes transferred to oak barrels to mature for a period of months; the wine must be settled or clarified and adjustments made prior to bottling. The time from harvest to drinking can vary from a few months for Beaujolais nouveau wines to over twenty years for wine of good structure with high levels of acid, tannin or sugar. However, only about 10% of all red and 5% of white wine will taste better after five years than it will after just one year. Depending on the quality of grape and the target wine style, some of these steps may be combined or omitted to achieve the particular goals of the winemaker. Many wines of comparable quality are produced using similar but distinctly different approaches to their production. Variations on the above procedure exist. With sparkling wines such as Champagne, an additional, "secondary" fermentation takes place inside the bottle, dissolving trapped carbon dioxide in the wine and creating the characteristic bubbles.
Sweet wines or off-dry wines are made by arresting fermentation before all sugar has been converted into ethanol and allowing some residual sugar to remain. This can be done by chilling the wine and adding sulphur and other allowable additives to inhibit yeast activity or sterile filtering the wine to remove all yeast and bacteria. In the case of sweet wines, initial sugar concentrations are increased by harvesting late, freezing the grapes to concentrate the sugar, allowing or encouraging botrytis cinerea fungus to dehydrate the grapes or allowing the grapes to raisin either on the vine or on racks or straw mats. In these high sugar wines, the fermentation stops as the high concentration of sugar and rising concentration of ethanol retard the yeast activity. In fortified wines, such as port wine, high proof neutral grape spirit is added to arrest the ferment and adjust the alcohol content when the desired sugar level has been reached. In other cases the winemaker may choose to hold back some of the sweet grape juice and add it to the wine after the fermentation is done, a technique known in Germany as süssreserve.
The process produces wastewater and lees that require collection and disposal or beneficial use. Synthetic wines, engineered wines or fake wines, are a product that do not use grapes at all and start with water and ethanol and adds acids, amino acids and organic compounds; the quality of the grapes determines the quality of the wine more than any other factor. Grape quality is affected by variety as well as weather during the growing season, soil minerals and acidity, time of harvest, pruning method; the combination of these effects is referred to as the grape's terroir. Grapes are harvested from the vineyard from early September until early November in the northern hemisphere, mid February until early March in the southern hemisphere. In some cool areas in the southe
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