FLAG AND HIMN
The legislative definition of the national and State flag models dates back to 1925 (the State flag
was to fly over the residences of sovereigns, parliamentary buildings, offices and diplomatic
representations, adding the royal crown to the family crest). Finally, after the birth of the Republic,
the presidential legislative decree of 19 June 1946 established a provisory design for the new flag,
which was approved by the Constituent Assembly in a session of 24 March 1947 and inserted into
Article 12 of our Constitutional Charter, which reads: "The flag of the Republic is the Italian Tri-
colour: green, white and red in vertical bands of equal size".
Brothers of Italy
The national anthem was written in the autumn of 1847 in Genova by Geoffredo Mameli and put to
music shortly afterwards in Turin by Genovese musician Michele Novaro. The "Song of the
Italians" (as it was originally called) was written on the eve of the war against Austria. The
immediacy of its verses and its compelling melody made it a favorite song for unification, not only
during the Risorgimento but for decades to come. It is no accident that Giuseppe Verdi, in his 1862
"National Anthems", chose the "Song of the Italians" - and not the Royal March - to symbolise our
homeland, placing it on an egual footing with "God Save the Queen" and the "Marseillaise". It was,
therefore, almost a natural consequence when, on 12 October 1946, Mameli's anthem became the
national anthem of the Italian Republic.
L'Italia s'è desta,
dell'elmo di Scipio
S'è cinta la testa.
Dov'è la Vittoria?
Le porga la chioma,
Ché schiava di Roma
Iddio la creò.
Stringiamci a coorte
Siam pronti alla morte
Noi siamo da secoli
Perché non siam popolo,
Perché siam divisi.
Bandiera, una speme:
Di fonderci insieme
Già l'ora suonò.
Stringiamci a coorte
Siam pronti alla morte
l'Unione, e l'amore
Rivelano ai Popoli
Le vie del Signore;
Giuriamo far libero
Il suolo natìo:
Uniti per Dio
Chi vincer ci può?
Stringiamci a coorte
Siam pronti alla morte
Dall'Alpi a Sicilia
Dovunque è Legnano,
Ogn'uom di Ferruccio
Ha il core, ha la mano,
I bimbi d'Italia
Si chiaman Balilla,
Il suon d'ogni squilla
I Vespri suonò.
Stringiamci a coorte
Siam pronti alla morte
Son giunchi che piegano
Le spade vendute:
Già l'Aquila d'Austria
Le penne ha perdute.
Il sangue d'Italia,
Il sangue Polacco,
Bevé, col cosacco,
Ma il cor le bruciò.
Stringiamci a coorte
Siam pronti alla morte
Geography and History
Geography and Territory
Italy's national territory covers a total of 301,333 square kilometres. Its only land border consists of
the Alpine arc that stretches from the Varo river (beginning in Nice) and the Vrata Pass (at Fiume)
and, along this arc Italy borders France to the west, Switzerland and Austria to the north, and
Slovenia to the east.
A peninsula extending into the Mediterranean, Italy is surrounded by the Ligurian, Tyrhennian Sea,
Ionian and Adriatic Seas and its national territory includes a series of islands: Sicily and Sardinia, as
well as numerous minor archipelagos.
The Italian peninsula has a great variety of climates, from the alpine climate of the North to sub-
continental climate of the Centre and South with hot summers and mild winters.
The country is divided into twenty administrative Regions, five of which have special autonomous
status (Valle d'Aosta, Trentino-Alto Adige, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Sicily and Sardinia).
Italy is commonly considered as being made up of three segments: Northern Italy (Piedmont, Valle
d'Aosta, Lombardy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Liguria and Emilia
Romagna); Central Italy (Tuscany, Umbria, Latium, the Marches, The Abruzzi, Molise and
Sardinia); and Southern Italy (Campania, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria and Sicily).
The two great pre-Roman Italic civilisations were the Etruscan and the Greek. Both settled around
the 8th century B.C. in, respectively, Etruria in Central Italy and Magna Graecia in the South. The
former were politically organised into City-States along the Tuscany-Umbria-Latium axis,
constituting the first germ of a State system. The latter arrived from ancient Greece and colonised
The city of Rome rose up over a settlement of shepherds and farmers living on the Palatine hills
between the late 9th and early 7th centuries B.C. Legend and history have set the date at 753 B.C.
and, also according to tradition, the first of the seven Kings of Rome was its mythical founder
It was in the subsequent Republican period that Rome made its grand entrance on the world stage,
thanks to its headlong Mediterranean expansion and to its political/institutional consolidation,
which culminated with the taking of Carthage in 201 B.C. and the resulting absolute hegemony over
the Mediterranean region (Mare Nostrum).
Julius Cesar continued this expansion over land, giving the Republic "imperial" connotations and
borders. Thus when the actual imperial regime came about with Octavian in 27 B.C., Rome could
rightly call itself "Caput Mundi". At the apex of its strength, approximately two centuries later, its
legions had conquered from the Valley of Hadrian near the border with Scotland all the way to
Persia and vast areas of sub-Saharan Africa, stretching to the ancient Columns of Hercules near
Gibraltar to the west.
Thus began the Roman empire’s period of maximum splendour known as the “Pax Romana”, which
lasted up until the death of Marcus Aurelius (180 AD) and the beginning of a long slow decline
that lasted until 476 A.D., when it was crushed by the Barbarian invasions.
The Middle Ages
In the Middle Ages Italy was a land of conquest for many “barbarian” peoples but, at the same time,
saw the appearance on the historical stage of Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire.
Cultural and artistic activity re-flowered in the Renaissance, a phenomenon that swept across the
whole of Europe but whose indisputable roots are to be traced to Florentine Humanism, and that
took place from the late 14th century through the second half of the 16th. The arts, sciences and
philosophy return to life, and figures such as Botticelli, Michelangelo and Leonardo need no
The Modern Age
From 1500 to 1800 Italy found itself a land contested by between foreign powers (France and Spain
in the first place, and to a lesser degree Austria and England) and the scene of violent internal
conflict between city-states. Southern Italy was first under the dominion of the King of Spain, and
later of the Bourbons; the Centre of the country continued under the power of the Papacy; in the
North the Lombard/Veneto region was continuously contested by France, Span and Austria. After
the brief but intense revolutionary era that gave Italy a flag and its first prefect-run administration,
the country went to the Vienna Congress still divided into states and city-states.
The Risorgimento and the Birth of the Italian Nation
A series of attempts at revolution were made up until 1848, mainly by secret societies such as that
of the Carbonari, against the arrangement of Peninsula by the Vienna Congress. The indisputable
protagonists were Giuseppe Mazzini Garibaldi and Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, whose efforts
led to unification under the Savoy sceptre. On 17 March 1861 the new Turin Parliament decreed the
birth of the Kingdom of Italy.
From Italian Unification to the First World War
The two large parliamentary blocs, although divided over the actions of government, shared a single
aspiration: achievement of national unity with Rome, still under the Pope's rule, and the Veneto
region, controlled by Austria. This latter would become part of the Kingdom of Italy after the Third
War of Independence, fought in 1866 and, four years later in the “breach of Porta Pia” (20
September 1870), Italian troops entered the Eternal City marking the end of the Church's ancient
The outbreak of the First World War in 1914, shortly after the war fought by Italy against the
Ottoman Empire for Libya, was an opportunity to complete the national unification process. Having
verified the impossibility of peacefully reuniting the unredeemed lands via negotiation with
Austria-Hungary, Italy was forced to denounce the Triple Alliance and, in 1915, join the Allies
against the Central Powers.
From Fascism to the Republic
The war, which lasted more than three years and cost more than 600,000 lives, led the country to
victory and to the achievement of unity, but also to a serious crisis that affected all aspects of
national life. The period between 1919 and 1922 was one of severe political, economic and social
instability, which facilitated the rise to power of the Fascist party of Benito Mussolini, who became
head of government after his March on Rome in October 1922.
From that moment on, the democratic life of the State progressively diminished as the dictatorial
regime of Mussolini settled in. Relations were established with the National Socialist Germany,
which, from the Rome-Berlin Axis, was to culminate in a military alliance, the Steel Pact of 1939,
and participation in the Second World War alongside Hitler the following year.
The military defeats sustained at the hands of the Allies led to Mussolini's removal from
government. After failing to reach a majority during a session of the Fascist Council, on 24-25 July
1943 he was arrested by order of King Victor Emmanuel III. The government was then entrusted to
General Pietro Badoglio, who signed an unconditional surrender to the Allies the following
This was the beginning of a tormented period for Italy, marked by the double occupation by the
Allies south of Rome and the Germans in the north, by the installation of a puppet Italian Social
Republic by Mussolini after his rescue by German paratroopers, the formation of a resistance
movement against the Germans and the sad events of the civil war between partisans and the
combatants of the Social Republic.
The allied troops entered Rome in June 1944 and continued their march northward, achieving,
together with the partisan forces, the liberation of Italy on 25 April 1945. In the constitutional
referendum of 2 June 1946, the Italian people voted for abolition of the monarchy and the
introduction of the Republic.
The work of the constituent assembly, elected at the same time, led to the formulation of the current
Constitution, which came into force on 1 January 1948. Elections for the first republican legislature
of the new Italy took place on 18 April 1948, with the majority of seats going to the Christian
Democrats and the Catholic party that would dominate Italian politics until the end of the cold war.
From the Post-War Era to the Present Day
Hand in hand with the restoration of democracy, after putting the past behind it by signing the Paris
Peace Treaty on 10 February 1947, Italy re-entered the international scene, overshadowed by the
confrontation between the two superpowers of the time, the United States and the Soviet Union.
The country went on to make important strides as seen in its firm choice for the Western camp, such
as adhering to the Marshall Plan in 1947, the Council of Europe and, above all, to NATO in 1949.
Italy was also one of the founding members of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951.
Becoming part of the United Nations in 1955, Italy was again among the most advanced countries
on the way to European integration, which saw Italy at the centre of some of its major steps
forward: from the Messina Conference in 1955 to the Venice Conference in 1956 and the historic
signing of the Treaties of Rome on 25 March 1957, which instituted the European Economic
Community and the European Atomic Energy Community.
From 1968 to the Present-Day
The year 1968 was one of profound political and social change in Italy that impacted substantially
on the customs and mentality of the people. The 1970s brought major institutional and social
reforms such as the Charter of Workers’ Rights, regional administrative laws, the laws on divorce
and allowing use of the referendum, as well as the rise of those political movements that
degenerated in later years into extreme left and right wing terrorism.. The Christian Democrat party,
which united moderate and conservative centralists, were part of the government from 1946 to
1993, usually in coalition with other centrist parties, and over this period of time—except for rare
occasions—the position of Prime Minister was held by a member of that party. In 1992 the
“Tangentopoli” scandal and resulting “Clean Hands” inquest shook the political world and, from the
disintegration of the previous order was born a pre party known as “Forza Italia” (Go Italy) wh ich
was highly successful in 1994, bringing the centre-right coalition to the government.
This phase, known as the Second Republic, was marked by bi-polarism and an alternation of the
two coalitions at the helm of the government: from 1996 to 2001 the centre-left governed; from
2001 to 2006 the centre-right took over; from 2006 to 2008 the government went back into the
hands of the centre-left coalition while, after the elections of 2008, the current centre-right
government was installed.
According to the 14th national census, Italy has a population of 56.9 million, of whom 27.5 million
are men and 29.4 million women. 26.2% of the population counted by ISTAT reside in northern
Italy, 18.8% in northeast Italy, 19% in the centre and 24.5% in the south, and the remaining 11.5%
on the islands.
Italy's birth rate is among the lowest in the European Union. While the average birth rate among the
15 Member States levels off at 10.6 per 1000 inhabitants, in Italy it drops to 9.6. The number of
people over the age of 65 is increasing: today 18.9% of the population is over 65, but this figure is
likely to go up to 34.4% by 2050. The average age of Italians is currently 41.8 and in 2050 is
predicted to be at around 50.5; 4.3% of the population is over 80 and by 2050 that figure will
probably reach 14.2%. For every 100 children between the ages of 0 and 14, there are 127 elderly
people. This percentage is the highest in Liguria (239.1) and the lowest in Campania (72.5); in these
regions the elderly population represents respectively 25.3% and 14% of the population. At top of
the list are Umbria (22.6% of the population; 183.7 elderly for every 100 children) and Emilia
Romagna (22.3%; 194.4); last on the list Apuglia are (15.7%; 90.5) and Sardinia (16%; 100.2) The
education level of adults in Italy between the ages of 25 and 64 is among the lowest in the European
Union: 25% of the population has no more than an elementary school diploma, 30% of teenagers
between 15 and 19 have already left school, as compared with a European average of 20%, and only
42% have earned a diploma, as compared with a European average of 59%. Since1991 the number
of foreign residents has tripled from 356,159 to 987,363, while non-residents are estimated at
252,185. For every thousand Italian residents there are 17.5 foreigners, with peaks of 27 in the
northeast and 25 in the northwest. A total of 37% of foreigners live in the northwest, and 29% in the
northeast. Less significant in number are the linguistic minorities present and recognised in Italy,
which include speakers of German, Albanian, Slovenian, Ladino and Catalan, Provençal and
Rome takes the prize for the most inhabitants (approx. 2.7 million), and the town with the smallest
population is Morterone in the province of Lecco with only 33 residents.
Tourism and Culture
According to UNESCO, more than half of world historic and artistic heritage lies in the hundreds of
archaeological sites and over 3000 museums scattered across Italy.
Southern Italy is rich in vestiges of ancient Greece, from the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento to
the city of Selinunte - both in Sicily - and on to Paestum and the Homeric charm of the Campi
Flegrei in the region of Campania. Important too are the remains of the most mysterious of
populations, the Etruscans, who left numerous necropolises scattered throughout Latium and
Tuscany such as Cerveteri, Tarquinia and Volterra). But archaeological Italy is most importantly of
all Roman: traces of the Roman Republic abound, but it is the Imperial Age that left its imprint in
treasures such as the Forums, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, as well as the sites of Pompei and
Herculanaeum - those cities that have been passed down to us through the ages just as they were left
after the terrible eruptions of Vesuvius in 79 AD. At the same time the decadence of this great
historical period gave rise to another, as witnessed at Ravenna in the mosaics by Teodorico and
Galla Placidia, and at Acquileia and Grado, by the great Paleo-Christian basilicas erected in rupture
as well as in continuity with the Imperial symbols. As the Saracens sacked the coastal areas they
also contributed new architecture (the tiled domes and decorated towers of Campania and
sumptuous palaces of Sicily) as a prologue, some say, to the imposing Romanesque and Gothic
structures of the central-northern cities and the Norman-Swabian castles once again in the south.
Religious-monastic fervour would be central to the Middle Ages, leaving its immortal mark in the
many convents and hermitages along the roads leading to Rome (the "Via Fracigena" is surely the
In Tuscany Giotto was to "create" his modern sense of painting, exporting it later to almost every
corner of the peninsula (good examples are the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi or the Chapel of the
Scrovegni in Padua). Also in Tuscany, men like Lorenzo de' Medici, Michelangelo Buonarotti,
Leonardo da Vinci, Filippo Brunelleschi, Sandro Botticelli and many others, would give life to the
Renaissance, one of the most exciting cultural movements in the history of humanity which, before
going on to influence the entire world, would fill Florence and Italy with its splendid masterpieces,
among which the dome of St. Peter's and the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel.
Another great contributor to this artistic "rebirth" was Palladio, and the numerous villas he designed
in the Veneto Region, a dry-land appendix to the splendour and richness of Venice with its canals,
churches and palaces. Italy would break free of the Renaissance in the 17th century, winning a place
of honour in the world of modern art whose absolute paradigm was Caravaggio, who revolutionised
the concept of painting with a use of light that today we would call "cinematic" and with a realism
such as had never been seen before.
The Baroque was a great era in Rome, which, after the Renaissance masterpieces of Michelangelo
and Raphael, would host the creative fantasy of Bernini and Borromini, eternal rivals and creators
of two of great schools of Italian Baroque the evidence of which is scattered throughout the
peninsula. The 18th century saw the peak and the start of the decline of Naples, at that time the
European city second only to Paris, and the initial embryo of national unity under Napoleon. Unity
finally arrived in the century that followed when Italy was able to begin to dedicate itself to a
widespread conservation of the immense patrimony accumulated over the centuries, giving rise to
the various schools of restoration (mosaic, sculpture, painting) that, thanks to a felicitous marriage
of artistic sensibility and sophisticated technologies, have been able to preserve these masterpieces
so damaged by time.
Studying and Working in Italy
There are many opportunities for study, apprenticeship and even work in Italy, thanks to the many
national, European and international projects and programmes. These opportunities are available
both for young Italians desiring to follow a diplomatic career path or who aspire to working in EU
organisations and other international organisations, as well as to young people from all over the
world wishing to study in italy or perfect their knowledge of the Italian language.
This section offers an illustration, therefore, of all the ways to access the various grants, divided
between those for Italians only and those for foreigners. Listed also are all the agreements stipulated
between Italy and other countries that allow for youth exchanges.
There are also various areas with detailed information on study, apprenticeship and employment
opportunities offerrd by the European Union and by the various international organisations. Finally,
all the information necessary for anyone interested in working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or
in development cooperation.
MADE IN ITALY
It is not only a choice of quality but a status symbol that sublimates the “100% Made in Italy”
The activity of “madeinitaly.org” is concentrated on the value of the entirely Made in Italy
The “100% Made in Italy” trademark applicable to any line of industrial activity is the value that
makes the company endorsed with it unique and highly desiderable. The “100% Made in Italy”
trademark is released only after a careful checking of quality, style, material, and productive phases
– all certified “Made in Italy” by the trademark protection.
SOFIA LOREN:Italian fashion in the 50ies
The companies that have obtained the “100% Made in Italy certificate” are submitted
to several and careful controls. This is the one way to guarantee the quality for long.
Furthermore the control guarantees that the entire manufacturing cycle has been
realized in Italy.
The Made in Italy Certification is the only one that guarantees the products
authenticity. Each kind of certificated product may express several advantages such
THE ITALIAN SHOES
Certificate that your production has been entirely made in Italy. You will be
universally recognized for the high quality that is guaranteed by the “100% Made in
Italy” safeguard mark, representative of the quality, the originality and the famous
style that is appreciated and desired for its elegance and beauty all over the would.
Italian cuisine as a national cuisine known today has evolved through centuries of social and
political changes, with its roots traced back to 4th century BC. Significant change occurred with
discovery of the New World which helped shape much of what is known as Italian cuisine today
with the introduction of items such as potatoes, tomatoes, bell pepper and maize, which are all
central parts of the cuisine but not introduced in scale until the 18th century.
Ingredients and dishes vary by region. There are many significant regional dishes that have become
both national and regional. Many dishes that were once regional, however, have proliferated in
different variations across the country in the present day. Cheese and wine are also a major part of
the cuisine, playing different roles both regionally and nationally with their many variations and
Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) (regulated appellation) laws. Coffee, and more
specifically espresso, has become highly important to the cultural cuisine of Italy.
Each area has its own specialties, primarily at regional level, but also even at provincial level. These
regional variances can come from the influence of a bordering country (such as France or Austria),
vicinity to the sea or mountains as well as economic progress. Italian cuisine is not only highly
regional, but is also distinguished by being very seasonal with high priority placed on the use of
fresh, seasonal produce.
The most important italian food products:
• Polenta is a staple and it finds its way into many variations including stirred dishes, baked
dishes and can be seen served with sausage, cheese, fish, or meat.
• Bacon, Montasio cheese and Robiola cheese.
• Rice is a popular ingredient in Lombardy often found in soups as well as risotto.
• Wines from the Nebbiolo grape such as Barolo and Barbaresco are produced as well as
wines from the Barbera grape, fine sparkling wines, and the sweet, lightly sparkling,
• Italy is also famous for many pasta dishes like gnocchi, tortellini, lasagne verdi, gramigna,
tagliatelle Cappelletti, Garganelli and Strozzapreti.
• Raw ham and cooked pork products like Bologna's mortadella and salame rosa, Modena's
zampone and cotechino.
• White and black truffles are a very expensive product.
• A centuries old product, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is produced in Reggio Emilia, Parma,
Modena and Bologna and is much used in the cuisine.
• Saffron is a favorite spice of the Abruzzo region.
• Campanian mozzarella is highly prized since it is made from the milk of the water buffalo.
• Most forms of pizza eaten around the world derive ultimately from the Neapolitan style,
though greatly modified over the course of the 20th century.
• Olive oil, produced in the south of Italy and along the lakes of the north.
• During the 10th and 11th centuries the Arabs brought to Sicily region oranges, apricots,
sugar, citrus, sweet melons, raisins, nutmeg, clove, black pepper, and cinnamon.