Country Portrait: Italy

Country facts:

  • Full name: Italian Republic
  • Capital: Rome
  • 70th largest country in the world (301,230 km²)
  • Largest cities: Rome, Milan, Naples
  • Population: 59.6 Mio
  • Growth rate: 0.103%
  • Age expectancy: 80.2 years
  • Languages:Italian

Italy is the World Cup winner of 2006. They were not the best team during the Cup, but they certainly got the most luck.

The land known as Italy today has been the cradle of European cultures and peoples, such as the Etruscans and the Romans. Italy’s capital, Rome, was for centuries the political centre ofWestern civilisation, as the capital of the Roman Empire. After its decline, Italy would endure numerous invasions by foreign peoples, from Germanic tribes such as the Lombards andOstrogoths, to the Normans and later, the Byzantines, among others. Centuries later, Italy would become the birthplace of the Renaissance, an immensely fruitful intellectual movement that would prove to be integral in shaping the subsequent course of European thought.

Italy did not exist as a state until the country’s unification in 1861. Due to this comparatively late unification, and the historical autonomy of the regions that comprise the Italian Peninsula, many traditions and customs that are now recognized as distinctly Italian can be identified by their regions of origin. Despite the political and social distinction of these regions, Italy’s contributions to the cultural and historical heritage of Europe and the world remain immense. Italy is home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (44) to date, and has rich collections of world art,culture and literature from many different periods. Italy has had a broad cultural influence worldwide, also due to the fact that numerous Italians emigrated to other countries during the Italian diaspora. Italy has, overall, an estimated 100,000 monuments of any sort (museums, palaces, buildings, statues, churches, art galleries, villas, fountains, historic houses and archaeological remains)

File:Colosseum in Rome, Italy - April 2007.jpg

If you are culturally interested then Italy will be heaven to you.

Popular sports include football, basketball, volleyball and motor racing. The most popular sport in Italy is football, the Serie A being one of the most famous competitions in the world. Italy’s national football team is the second-most-successful team in the world, with four World Cup victories, the first one of which was in 1934. I don’t think that they will have any chances to win the Cup this year again. But we will see. Here’s their national team:

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