[[caption-width-right:328:Europe's boot]]

->''"Italy is a nation of craftsmen -- here, we won't take a shit unless the toilet seat is made of wood."''
-->-- '''Carlo Riva''', creator of the ''Riva Aquarama'' (a very Italian CoolBoat)

Italy ('''Italian:''' ''Italia''), officially known as the Italian Republic ('''Italian:''' ''Repubblica italiana''), is the country which gave us two popular foodstuffs (pizza and pasta), the Latin alphabet (used by Romance, Germanic, Celtic, and many other languages), opera, ballet, the Renaissance, the Republic (the form of government, not the book), musical notation, the university system (started in Bologna in 1088 A.D.), eyeglasses, Humanism, ''[[InsistentTerminology Roman]]'' [[ChristianityIsCatholic Catholicism]], [[BreadEggsMilkSquick and]] TheMafia. Despite importing its two major religious influences (the Greek gods influenced the pre-existing Roman religion in classical times and Christianity was imported from UsefulNotes/{{Israel}}), Italy has been a major center of theological thought. Member of UsefulNotes/TheEuropeanUnion and UsefulNotes/{{NATO}}. Now has the Euro, so RidiculousExchangeRates jokes no longer work. One of the top 8 largest economies in the world by GDP, and easily in the top 20 by any economic measurement, despite corruption, few natural resources, a backwards South, an archaic political structure and incompetent (at best) politicians.

The earliest known instance of the word Italy applied as a political entity was during the Socii War against UsefulNotes/TheRomanRepublic. The latter had started abusing and mistreating many of its client republics, including the ones who had loyally sided with the Republic against Hannibal during the UsefulNotes/PunicWars. Reformers who tried to bring their grievances and extend citizenship outside the city-state, such as the populare Gracchi and the optimate-moderate Marcus Livius Drussus were rebuffed and brutally murdered. The latter's mysterious death was the spark that led to the brutal war between an alliance of tribes from the south who called themselves Italia, and minted coins showing a bull (a heraldic symbol for the South) goring a wolf (a symbol of Rome). The war resulted in 300,000 deaths [[VictoriousLoser but by the end of it, even if the Romans won, citizenship was extended across Italy]] (though not universally to all classes and peoples). When UsefulNotes/TheRomanEmpire was erected, UsefulNotes/{{Augustus}} described the entire peninsula as Italia more or less under its current territorial and geographical extent, but when the empire fell, the geographical factors that hampered and prevented its unity reasserted itself [[ShaggyDogStory and the Peninsula returned to what it had been in the pre-Roman era]], a bunch of city-states, small towns and isolated countryside divided by geography, dialect, wealth, class and ideology. Unity under Rome was a hard won tragic struggle, for both the Romans and the non-Romans, but it was even harder after the Empire fell and the various regional powers asserted themselves, taking much advantage of the geographical isolation (the many mountains that divide the peninsula) which on the other hand did allow for an astonishing regional and linguistic diversity to develop and flourish, that was a major aspect of the glories of UsefulNotes/TheRenaissance.

Regionalism is [[CreatorProvincialism still quite strong]] in Italy, a reflection of a weaker and more fragmented national identity compared to people in other countries. This is directly tied to the fact that it has a much smaller history as a single unified state than other European powers. It had unity under the Roman Republic and Empire [[BrieferThanTheyThink for some 500-odd years]], but it spent the next 1300-odd years in UsefulNotes/TheCityStateEra. The modern unified Italy dates to the Risorgimento of 1861, making its history as a unified state younger than America, Russia, France, England and Spain. There were many attempts at unification until the 19th Century with individual city-states like the Florentine Republic, [[UsefulNotes/{{Venice}} The Venetian Republic]], and the Genoan Republic and several other Duchies becoming great powers and expanding their reach and territory. However because of their oligarchical and merchant origins clashed with national consciousness, and it led them to depend on mercenaries as well as alliance with neighboring kingdoms during the UsefulNotes/ItalianWars. The Catholic Church ''should'' have unified the Peninsula under UsefulNotes/ThePapalStates and they came close a few times. But the Church became a major institution and NGOSuperpower by legitimizing and recognizing the Kingdoms of neighboring powers, who naturally saw the advantage of one of their own countrymen or favored candidates becoming UsefulNotes/ThePope, or failing that, neuter the papacy from interfering in their secular power. Likewise, a unified Italy under the Church was not in the interests of most, leave alone all Italians, for that matter. This led to the Guelph-Ghibelline Wars, the Avignon Papacy, the Protestant Reformation and the Wars of Religion [[EverythingTryingToKillYou which naturally made Italy prey to neighboring powers]]. Parts of North, South and Central Italy were at various times governed by Arabs, Normans, Franks, UsefulNotes/HolyRomanEmpire, the French Kingdom, the Spanish Empire, [[UsefulNotes/TheFrenchRevolution Revolutionary]] and [[UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte Napoleonic]] France, the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The [[UsefulNotes/ByzantineEmpire Eastern Roman Empire]] also made an attempt of PuttingTheBandBackTogether but their conflict with the Ostragoths was devastating enough to the region to end nostalgia for the days of antiquity, and the Venetians and Normans later crippled the Byzantines during UsefulNotes/TheCrusades.

Such [[SarcasmMode charming experiences]] tends to make Italians quite cynical about nationalism to the extent of seeing the Risorgimento and the succeeding Italian Republic not as a truly national entity but merely another hegemonic entity out to exploit them. Economically, there is major imbalance and difference with the North being wealthier than the South, with Milan's GDP exceeding that of many countries, and this and the other experiences outlined above led to mass emigration of Italians to other countries, including South America (Argentina), England, Australia and of course America. It is also reflected in the culture of the Italians [[WorldOfSnark who tend to sarcastically mock anything and anyone if given a chance]] -- even [[SelfDeprecation themselves]] (an ancient tradition dating back to antiquity[[note]]The Romans, who, to stave off haughtiness, had the habit of having victorious generals ''getting mocked by their own troops during their triumphal parade'' and having a slave follow the general during said parade just to tell him "Remember you have to die")[[/note]]. Another national quirk is complaining: Italians definitely have a love-hate relationship with their own country, and will quickly [[CulturalCringe point out all its flaws and passionately complain about all the things that don't work]] (politics, infrastructures, the long list goes on), often joking that these things could only happen in Italy because we can't manage anything[[note]]A trait largely shared by [[UsefulNotes/{{France}} their Western neighbours]], incidentally[[/note]]. While there's definitely some TruthInTelevision--as [[UsefulNotes/{{Culture of Italy}} this page]] explains--to many people it's just a normal conversational topic, kinda like Brits talking about the weather. It's a land of snark indeed (which might be why the Brits and Italians have historically gotten on rather well--particularly as regards Italians moving to Britain).

The so-called "dialects" are not variations of standard Italian, but real languages with their own grammar and pronunciation: the differences between them can be so huge that, ironically, an Italian living in Calabria would have an easier time understanding, let's say, a Spaniard than another Italian living in Piedmont if both Italians spoke their respective dialect. However, all Italians learn Standard Italian (based on the Florence variety of the Tuscan dialect, as the Tuscans will proudly tell you) in school and since the rise of television and Creator/{{RAI}} and the private owned media companies that followed, the regional dialect has given way to greater standardization. All these languages reflect the different local cultures: in fact, every Italian region has its own unique traditions and foods, and it's not rare to notice a bit of rivalry between regions, each one of them claiming to have the best people, or the best dishes. [[OliveGarden Hollywood Italy]] erroneously tends to portray all Italians as dark haired, olive-skinned folks [[note]] which by the way falls under PhenotypeStereotype: dark hair is simply proportionally more common and olive skin is actually quite rare. To give you an idea, it's like portraying all Germans as light blondes [[/note]] either living in Rome, Naples, Tuscany or Sicily, but real Italy is actually a diverse country with radically different people everywhere you go. This has often led to stereotypes even ''[[SlobsVersusSnobs between Italians themselves]]'', especially during the 1950s and 1960s, when many southern Italians emigrated to northern Italy; northern Italians weren't pleased and (very) often [[RichBitch looked down on them]], labeling them [[LowerClassLout as lazy and poor]]; in turn, southern Italians considered their northern fellows [[UpperClassTwit stuck-up and boring]]. Luckily, it got better with time and nowadays these stereotypes are usually [[PlayedForLaughs played for laughs]], as no one really takes them seriously anymore (mostly). Italians identify both by region and by nationality, distinguishing between Northern, Central, Southern Italy and the islands, which is more or less how it worked even in the Roman era, where Roman citizenship sat side-by-side with their regional and provincial identity and label. Since it was the Kingdom of Piedmont (ruled by the House of Savoy) that ended up uniting the Italians, the colour of the House of Savoy being blue, is why Italian sports teams play in blue to this day.

It wasn't until the 1920s that the majority of Italians started speaking standard Italian -- the biggest contributions being the advent of mandatory schooling (1859), radio (1924) and television (1954). This means that only older generations can really speak their local dialect, which is used mostly at home or in informal contexts anyway; dialect usage among younger generations is very rare, although it's still extremely easy to figure out where anyone is from just by how they pronounce standard Italian, as the accents vary tremendously across the peninsula -- it often takes as little as ''few kilometers'' to hear a noticeable difference. Speaking any local dialect is nowadays considered a quite provincial and (at times) gross habit. Despite all of the SelfDeprecation, if there's one thing Italians are proud of, it's their cuisine, everything related to pasta, and messing with their traditional food is a huge BerserkButton (Like pasta with ketchup or pizza with pineapple[[note]] [[SelfDemonstratingArticle Seriously, do you want to add some strawberries and ice-cream on it too?]] [[/note]]). [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking They also drink coffee in tons of different ways.]]

Europeans and people in other countries are often jealous of the Italian lifestyle, and especially their climate, which the media presents as sunny, pleasant Mediterranean weather everywhere; while this is mostly true for the coastal regions of peninsular Italy, the landlocked central and northern regions tend to have duller and colder weather (for example the Po Valley, Italy's largest plain, is infamous for its thick fog banks, and while snow is a relatively rare sight in southern Italy, the central and northern part always gets snow in the winter).

Italy was a late-comer to the scramble for Africa, but it eventually managed to acquire some hard-scrabble colonies (Somalia, Eritrea, Libya) between 1882 and 1911; UsefulNotes/WorldWarI brought a chance for the new country to shine on the world stage, and Italy was persuaded to leave its previous alliance with Germany and Austria (it should be noted, however, that said alliance was purely defensive in nature and that the majority of Italians despised the Austrians, who had been their long-time enemies) and join the Allies (1915) in exchange for some territorial gains at Austria's expense. They got it, but still felt short-changed. The rise of UsefulNotes/RedOctober inspired a major revolutionary wave in Italy, further polarizing the regional and class divide and fracturing the pre-war constitutional monarchy. This paved the way for the rise of UsefulNotes/BenitoMussolini and UsefulNotes/FascistItaly. Mussolini during TheThirties at times seemed like he could tilt towards an anti-Nazi side (similar to the Greek Dictators who were friendly with England) despite fighting alongside Hitler during the fascist intervention of the UsefulNotes/SpanishCivilWar. During UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, Mussolini's main contribution was the disastrous invasion of Greece and sundry other blunders which led to the Allied Invasion of Italy. This eventually led to him being toppled first by his fellow fascists. King Victor Emmanuel III then appointed Marshal Pietro Badoglio as his replacement and in 1943 and under his rule, Italy signed on with the Allies, while the Nazis busted Mussolini out from prison, made him one of their puppets and invaded and occupied parts of Italy alongside collaborators and fascists. Eventually, the partigiano caught Mussolini and he became the only major European dictator of the pre-war era to be toppled by his own people and executed by them (complete with a proverbial [[DeadGuyOnDisplay ritualistic mocking of his corpse]]), a fact that quite a few Italians are proud of who note that Hitler stayed in power till the Red Army marched in Berlin (committing suicide in part because of what happened to Mussolini) while Stalin and Franco died in their sleep. The Constitutional Monarchy under Victor Emmanuel did not survive the war, and for the first time [[UsefulNotes/TheRomanRepublic since before 0 BCE]], Italy came to be governed under [[RepublicanItaly an unified Republican state]].

Modern Italy manages to be one of the world's leading economies, despite the country having all the political stability of a pyramid of cards [[UpToEleven in front of an active fan]] (seriously, since the birth of republican Italy, the government lasted less than a year in average!) and an (ex, for now) Prime Minister convicted ''and'' still under investigation for all manner of corruption, [[Main/WhiteCollarCrime white-collar crimes]] and rather more interesting crimes. The main Italian car company is Turin-based Fiat, which currently owns Chrysler (marking the second time a European car company owns Chrysler, the first being German Daimler corporation); ENI and ENEL are two major players in the oil industry and electricity, respectively, and Italy's Unicredit is one of Europe's largest banks. It is no surprise that just about every major Italian company is headquartered in or north of Rome.

%% Don't remove the Main/ bits from the links, or the indexing won't work anymore!

[[folder: History ]]

* UsefulNotes/TheRomanRepublic
** UsefulNotes/TheGloryThatWasRome
** UsefulNotes/PunicWars
* UsefulNotes/TheRomanEmpire
* UsefulNotes/TheCityStateEra
** UsefulNotes/ItalianWars
** UsefulNotes/ThePapalStates
** UsefulNotes/TheRenaissance
* UsefulNotes/WarsOfItalianIndependence
* UsefulNotes/FascistItaly
* UsefulNotes/RepublicanItaly: Italy after WW2.


[[folder: Locations ]]

* UsefulNotes/{{Rome}}
** UsefulNotes/VaticanCity
** Art/SistineChapel
* UsefulNotes/{{Sicily}}
* UsefulNotes/{{Venice}}


[[folder: Culture ]]

* UsefulNotes/{{Culture of Italy}}
* {{Giallo}}
* UsefulNotes/GiffoniHonorees
* ItalianFilms
* ItalianLiterature
* ItalianMedia
* ItalianSeries
* UsefulNotes/TheMafia
* SpaghettiWestern


[[folder: People ]]

* Creator/{{Cicero}}
* UsefulNotes/JuliusCaesar
* UsefulNotes/PompeyTheGreat
* UsefulNotes/{{Augustus}}
* UsefulNotes/{{Caligula}}
* UsefulNotes/{{Nero}}
* [[Literature/TheTravelsOfMarcoPolo Marco Polo]]
* [[Literature/TheDivineComedy Dante Alighieri]]
* Creator/GiovanniBoccaccio
* Creator/ItaloCalvino
* Creator/LeonardoDaVinci
* UsefulNotes/ChristopherColumbus
* Creator/NiccoloMachiavelli
* Music/GioachinoRossini
* Music/GiuseppeVerdi
* UsefulNotes/BenitoMussolini
* Creator/MichelangeloAntonioni
* Creator/RobertoRossellini
* Creator/LuchinoVisconti
* Creator/FedericoFellini
* Creator/GinaLollobrigida
* Creator/UmbertoEco
* Creator/SophiaLoren
* Creator/RaffaellaCarra
* Creator/DarioArgento
* Creator/LucioFulci
* Creator/BernardoBertolucci
* Creator/MonicaBellucci
* Creator/AsiaArgento
* Music/{{Caparezza}}
* Music/ElioELeStorieTese
* Creator/RobertoBenigni
* Music/{{Verdena}}
* Creator/BenitoJacovitti


[[folder: Other ]]

* UsefulNotes/NewRomanLegions (Italian Armed Forces)


[[folder: The Italian Flag ]]

->The flag's colours date back to the Napoleonic era, combining those of the flag of Milan (red cross on white field, similar to that used by England) and the green uniform of its civic guard; the flag itself dates back to 1796. Following the fall of Napoleon, the tricolour became the official banner of the Italian patriots, and was adopted by the newly-formed Kingdom of Italy in 1861. Until 1946, the flag was defaced with the coat of arms of the House of Savoy.