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Population : 61 million people live in Italy (2011) Capital : Roma (Rome), which is often called "Eternal City", with 3.57 million inhabitants and Italy’s biggest city. Name : Repubblica Italiana (Italian Republic), Nickname: "Bel Paese" which means beautiful country. Government : Democracy, Republic Language : Italian as well as German, French and Ladin in some regions in Northern Italy. Religion : mainly Christians (Roman Catholics 90%) Flag : The colors represent these virtues: hope (green), faith (white), and charity (red).
The first advanced civilization to settle in the land of Italy was the Greeks in the 8th century BC. They set up colonies along the coast of southern Italy and on the island of Sicily. About the same time in the 8th century BC, a small agricultural community was forming on the west coast of Italy. Rome, together with Greek culture, would become influential in forming much of today's western civilization including philosophy, art, and law. In 345 AD, the Roman Empire was divided into the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire. Italy was part of the Western Empire which collapsed around
500 AD. In the 1400s Italy became the home of the Italian Renaissance. During this period the arts flourished with artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. In the 1800s much of Italy wanted to unify into a single country. In 1870 Italy became a constitutional monarchy and an independent unified country. In 1922 Benito Mussolini came to power in Italy. He turned Italy into a fascist state where he was dictator. He sided with the Axis Powers of Germany and Japan in World War II. When they lost the war, Mussolini was removed from power. In 1946 Italy became a republic. ROME : The Romans believed that their city was founded in the year 753 BC. Early Rome was governed by kings, but after only seven of them had ruled, the Romans took power over their own city and ruled themselves. They then instead had a council known as the 'senate' which ruled over them. From this point on one speaks of the 'Roman Republic'. The word 'Republic' itself comes from the Latin (the language of the Romans) words 'res publica' which mean 'public matters' or 'matters of state'. The Roman Republic was a very successful government. It lasted from 510 BC until 23 BC almost 500 years. After the Roman Republic, Rome was ruled by emperors and they called it “The Roman Empire”. In 410 AD, Rome was sacked by tribes from the north. However, the last Roman emperor ruled until 476 AD. At that time, the Roman Empire came to an end.
Rome knew four classes of people. This division was very important to the Romans. Slaves - They were owned by other people. They had no rights at all. Plebeians - They were free people. Equestrians - Their name means “The Riders”. Patricians - All the real power in Rome lay with them.