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Facts on Italy


History, Politics and Economy

Italy continues to be one of the world’s most influential powers. It is part of the G8, was a founding member of the European Union, the European Community, European Union and NATO. As of 2006, it had the seventh highest GDP in the world.

The country has come a long way since the first settlers built their crude homes in its rich soil as early as 200,000 years ago, during the Old Stone Age. The first Greek settlers arrived in 8th century BC, and called it “Land of the Bulls” — apt for the way that they would “charge” into the political arena and become one of the region’s most influential powers: as the Magna Graecia, the Etruscan civilization, and the Roman empire.

While Italy has had its share of tragedy — a third of its population died during the Plague — it has always swung back. Even political chaos, and periods of dictatorship under Mussolini and an ill-fated alliance with Germany during the Second World War (which later ended in occupation under the former ally), did not succeed in destroying the country. In fact, it enjoyed its strongest economic growth during the 50’s and 60’s, which made it one of the country’s most industrialised nations. However, Italy’s political situation continues to be unstable, and as recently as the 90’s its government was wreaked by a series of scandals.

The Heart of Italy

Nevertheless, the heart of Italy — which lies beyond the bickering of power — is as beautiful and as enchanting as ever. Millions of tourists have flocked to this country, marveling at its museums, its historical sites, and the sheer serenity of its landscapes. It is not difficult to imagine why the country has produced so many brilliant artists and scientists: the mind and spirit sours, when surrounded by such inspiring vistas, and inspired by such a proud tradition. Viva Italy!

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