From the 1st century BC (antiquity) until at least the 16th century, Italy was the central place of Western culture, fulcrum or origin of universal phenomena such as the Roman Empire, the Roman Catholic Church, Humanism and the Renaissance. During this time, Italy produced some of the greatest painters, sculptors, poets, musicians, mathematicians and architects in history. Italian painters, sculptors, composers, and architects also dominated the Baroque art movement that began near the end of the Renaissance and ended in the 18th century. Both the internal and external facets of Western Civilization were born on the Italian peninsula, whether one looks at the history of the Christian faith, civil institutions (such as the Senate), philosophy, law, art, science, or social customs and culture.

Italy's public education is free and compulsory from 6 14 years of age,[13] and has a five-year primary stage and an eight-year secondary stage, divided into first-grade secondary school (middle school) and second-grade secondary school (or high school). Italy has a high public education standard, beating that of the United Kingdom and Germany.[14] Italy has both public and private education systems. Primary school lasts five years. Until middle school, the normal educational curriculum is uniform for all: although one can attend a private or state-funded school, the subjects studied are the same, except in special schools for pupils with different care requirements. Secondary education (Scuole medie) is further divided in two stages: Medie Inferiori, which correspond to the Middle School grades, and Medie Superiori, which correspond to the High School level. The lower tier of Scuole Medie corresponds to Middle School, lasts three years, and involves an exam at the end of the third year; Scuole Superiori usually last five years (even though Istituti Professionali might offer a diploma after only three years). Every tier involves an exam at the end of the final year required to access the following tier. The secondary school situation varies, since there are several types of schools differentiated by subjects and activities. The main types are the Liceo, the Istituto Tecnico and the Istituto Professionale. Any kind of secondary school that lasts 5 years grants access to the final exam, called Esame di Stato conclusivo del corso di studio di Istruzione Secondaria Superiore or Esame di Maturità. This exam takes place every year in June and July and grants access to any faculty at any University.

and historians. 5 in Europe and no.A. poets. 15 in the world. sometimes using obscene language to give them an exciting effect. There is no shortage of celebrated 2 . The basis of the modern Italian language was established by the Florentine poet Dante Alighieri. Horace. Pliny the Younger. a prestigious group of twenty research-intensive European Universities.1 worldwide in the specific category Value for Money. was and still is highly influential in the world. Literature Italian literature began after the founding of Rome in 753 BCE. in a research conducted on behalf of Times Higher Education. It also been awarded ranking positions as such: -1st in Italy and 7th in Europe (The Leiden Ranking . This was a 6positions growth from the 63rd position in 2008. Most of the Roman epigrams were inscriptions or graffiti. Virgil. especially thanks to its M. Milan's Bocconi University. the La Sapienza (which in 2005 was Europe's 33rd best university. the Divine Comedy. Propertius. Bocconi overtook several traditionally top global business schools in the Financial Times Executive education ranking. drama and epigrams. philosophers. Ovid and Livy. is considered amongst the foremost literary statements produced in Europe during the Middle Ages. One such notable character is "Giufà" of the southern Italian and Sicilian oral tradition. Italy also has a rich oral tradition. colleges and academies. and currently ranks amongst Europe's 50 and the world's 150 best colleges) and the University of Milan whose research and teaching activities have developed over the years and have received important international recognitions. with numerous writers. The University is the only Italian member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU). The University of Padua is also one of Europe's oldest. or Latin literature. which in 2007 placed it no. In May 2008. program. 17 in the world in terms of graduate recruitment preference by major multinational companies. Other top universities and polytechnics include the Polytechnic University of Turin. Roman epigrams were usually far more satyrical. poetry. The Romans were also famous for their oral tradition.B. whose greatest work. Roman. the Politecnico di Milano (which in 2009 was ranked as the 57th technical university in the world by Top Universities. attraction of foreign students. reaching no.Italy hosts a broad variety of universities. Even though most of these were inspired or even copied from the Ancient Greeks. has been ranked among the top 20 best business schools in the world by The Wall Street Journal international rankings. Characters of Italian folklore purvey cultural expectations as well as give credence to widespread beliefs. In 2009 an Italian research ranked it as the best in Italy over indicators such as scientific production.Universiteit Leiden). Forbes has ranked Bocconi no.Also. and others ). Italy and the Western world's oldest college is the University of Bologna. such as Pliny the Elder.

literary figures in Italy: Giovanni Boccaccio. Travelling troupes of players would set up an outdoor stage and provide amusement in the form of juggling. and many of the comedies of Plautus were direct translations of works by Menander. aqueducts. Art Nouveau to Modern. Ludovico Ariosto. fora. modern theatre author Luigi Pirandello in 1936. Alessandro Manzoni. Thomas Aquinas. in the 15th and 16th centuries. Gothic. Torquato Tasso. Commedia dell'arte was a form of improvisational theatre. 3 . was invented in Italy. Italy then became a main European centre for the baroque. Niccolò Machiavelli. such as Renzo Piano. Renaissance. the sonnet. Leon Battista Alberti. in the 18th and 19th centuries neo-classical style buildings began to appear in Rome. realist writer Grazia Deledda in 1926. Currently. more typically. whose best-known vehicle of expression. Numerous modern Italian architects. Seneca's Phaedra was based on that of Euripides. called canovaccio. and. basilicae. Prominent philosophers include Anselm of Canterbury. Milan. For example. Later. Modern literary figures and Nobel laureates are nationalist poet Giosuè Carducci in 1906. Architecture Italy boasts a long period of different architectural styles. Giambattista Vico and Giacomo Leopardi. Siena. Roman dramatists tended to adapt and translate from the Greek. as with many other literary genres. Turin and all around Italy. Assisi and Pisa were mainly affected by the Gothic and Romanesque architectural periods. Giacomo Leopardi. and it is still performed today. with diverse baroque architectural styles emerging. Florence. it can be traced back to the Roman tradition which was heavily influenced by the Greek. walls and public baths. During the 16th century and on into the 18th century. especially towards the 12th century. poets Salvatore Quasimodo in 1959 and Eugenio Montale in 1975. Neo-Classical. satirist and theatre author Dario Fo in 1997. especially in Sicily (see Sicilian baroque). Giordano Bruno. the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace. Italy became the birthplace of the Renaissance. from Classical Roman and Greek. acrobatics. columns. Italian architecture began with Ancient Greece. Then. Regarding Italian theatre. Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. modern Italian architecture and design is considered world-class and is very renowned. with Milan as the country's capital. Marsilio Ficino. are famous worldwide. Examples of renowned Renaissance buildings include St Peter's Basilica. After these classical civilizations. palaces. Vicenza. with Florence and Rome as its main centres. Ancient Rome and Etruscans. Baroque. Italian developed a renowned Gothic architecture. and Petrarch. when both civilizations built temples. Cities such as Venice. humorous plays based on a repertoire of established characters with a rough storyline.

mathematician. with its roots traced back to 4th century BC. Cuisine. Cheese and wine are also a major part of the cuisine.Science Through the centuries. animal reproduction. Basil. made fundamental advances to the field. tomatoes. focaccia. and drinks Italian cuisine as a national cuisine known today has evolved through centuries of social and political changes. and astronomer who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. however. including the co-development of quantum mechanics. Many dishes that were once regional. the biologist Lazzaro Spallanzani. and cellular theory. Leonardo da Vinci made several contributions to a variety of fields including art. which are all central parts of the cuisine but not introduced in scale until the 18th century. a Nobel prize laureate. the mathematicians Lagrange. mozzarella. have proliferated in different variations across the country in the present day. a doctor and founder of microscopic anatomy. The physicist Enrico Fermi. and Gerolamo Cardano. polenta. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations. risotto. gnocchi. and support for Copernicanism. bell pepper and maize. whose many achievements include the discovery of the Golgi complex. arancini. and Guglielmo Marconi. and perhaps the most famous polymath in history. and technology. Italy's cuisine is widely regarded as amongst the most popular in the world.[69] Ingredients and dishes vary by region. and his role in paving the way to the acceptance of the Neuron doctrine. granita. the physician. olive oil and tomatoes are examples of ingredients which are used frequently in Italian cuisine. Marcello Malpighi. Fibonacci. There are many significant regional dishes that have become both national and regional. to name a few. garlic. and zampone. bruschette. who conducted important research in bodily functions. and Nobel laureate Camillo Golgi. who made many important discoveries about the Solar System. Amongst them. who received the Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention of radio. 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. pathologist. meals and deserts. whose Ars Magna is generally recognized as the first modern treatment on mathematics. A brief overview of some other notable figures includes the astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini. Galileo Galilei was a physicist. pizza.[70] and is mainly made up of traditional dishes. such as pasta. inventor of the electric battery. 4 . Italy has given birth to some notable scientific minds. scientist. was the leader of the team that built the first nuclear reactor and is also noted for his many other contributions to physics. biology. playing different roles both regionally and nationally with their many variations and Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) (regulated appellation) laws. the physicist Alessandro Volta. lasagna.

and it is a very popular dessert or snack. Etruscans and Greek settlers produced wine in the country long before the Romans started developing their own vineyards in the 2nd century BC. especially during the summer. Corvina. commonly found in Rome or Milan is slightly different to the traditional granita Siciliana). which is usually sweeter and less dark than espresso. fruit-shaped marzipans and the panna cotta. on addition. has become highly important to the cultural cuisine of Italy. Cappucino is also a famous Italian coffee drink. and can be served with foam or cream on top. the gratta checca. they have also become popular desserts in other parts of Italy and abroad. Some parts of the country are home to some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. Nero d'Avola. Brunello di Montalcino.793 tonnes. to name a few. or caffes. and a strong. but all over Italy (even though the Northern and Central Italian equivalent. and more specifically espresso. not only common in Italian cafes. almost black appearance. Barbaresco. however. Famous and traditional Italian wines include Barolo. Espresso is served in small cups and has a dark. whilst panettone is Milanese). only has a small addition of coffee or espresso to give it a slight coffee-like taste). Cappucino is.A chocolate gelato ice cream dessert. and is usually drunk at breakfast time. pioneering large-scale production and storage techniques like barrel-making and bottling. which is often drunk by children as well. a very popular and symbolic Italian dessert from Veneto which has become famous worldwide. and is a more traditional option to chocolate Easter eggs. or a frozen dessert of flavored crushed ice. but also in restaurants and bars abroad. The Christmas cakes pandoro and panettone are popular in the North (pandoro is from Verona. which instead. Italy also boasts an assortion of several different desserts. Pinot Grigio and Moscato. Dolcetto. in which chocolate powder and sugar is usually sprinkled. Other Italian cakes and sweets include cannoli. Espresso is a highly drunk coffee-drink in Italy. The Colomba Pasquale. Barbera. which has an equal amount of coffee and milk. exporting over 1. There are gelaterias or ice-cream vendors and shops all around Italian cities. unlike caffelatte. The Bicerin is 5 . Italy currently is responsible for producing approximately one-fifth of world wine production in 2005. sour taste. and a good number of Italians drink it in the morning before going to work. which. Caffelatte coffee is a mixture of coffee and milk . or starting the day in general. or the Italian Easter cake is eaten all over the country on Easter day. today. are popular desserts not only in Sicily or their native town of Catania. Sicilian granitas. Italy is also famous for its gelato. or traditional ice-cream often known as Italian ice cream abroad. Tiramisu is. Also. Coffee. Roman grape-growing and winemaking was prolific and well-organized. more or less similar to a sorbet or a snow cone. only contains a tiny portion of milk or whipped cream (latte macchiato is the lighter version of caffè macchiato. Caffè macchiato is a stronger form of caffelatte. Italy exports and produces the highest level of wine. the cassata Siciliana.

though historically present in Sicily during the Arab occupation in the Middle Ages. was almost entirely absent in Italy from the time of that country's unification in 1861. although there was great religious tolerance. Middle Eastern Arabs. There has been a sudden increment in the number of people entering the territory of Italy annually. coffee and a slight addition of milk and creamy foam. the bishop of Rome. As Edward Gibbon said in his The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. These North Africans. Albanians and to a lesser extent. Migration Italy Migration comes as a distinct and an important challenge to the republic of Italy in the recent years. in Rome but not a part of Rome. mostly of Berber or Arab origin. and is made with equal amounts of drinking chocolate. when the first North African immigrants began to arrive. in the 4th century. 16% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force". by the philosopher as equally false. Libyans. In 1980s. The head of the Roman Catholic Church. 6% answered that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit. the latter made up primarily of new immigrants. All religious faiths are provided equal freedom by the constitution. many Italians found means to immigrate to many parts 6 . and Kurds. or life force". came mainly from heavily Islamic Morocco. God." The adoption of Christianity by Constantine in the 4th century led to its becoming the majority religion of the Roman Empire and Italy. in the last few years. There are mature Protestant and Jewish communities and a growing Muslim community. until the 1970s. resides in Vatican City. though they have been followed in more recent years by Tunisians. "The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true. Religion Roman Catholicism is the major religion of Italy.Turin's own coffee. known as the pope. Egyptians. It is a mix between cappucino and normal hot chocolate. Pakistanis. and by the magistrate as equally useful. the country was officially pagan and worshipped the Roman gods. Before the adoption of Christianity as the official religion of the state. Most Italians believe in God. Islam. According to the most recent Eurobarometer Poll 2005: 74% of Italian citizens responded that "they believe there is a God".

Tunisia. However. With an objective of seeking job opportunities or asylum in Italy. and the Philippines. Italy Migration has reached an unbelievable level. Moroccan and Albanian accounted more than 20 percent of this stock. In 2000.of the United States. Poland.700 immigrants in Italy for employment reasons only. The asylum and refugee incursions have also grown an absurd point. Romania. the nontraditional countries has been sending people to Italy further diversifying Italy's immigrant population. Turkey. on the Mediterranean border. with some 850. the number of naturalizations increased due to marriage with Italian citizens. Staying and becoming an Italian has become a fashion among citizens of many foreign nations.388. the Italy Migration reached the peak with 24.200. Afghanistan and others have underlined the country's geographical vulnerability transforming into an economical threat. The southern border of the country has developed into an easy opening for undocumented immigrants from several nonEuropean countries. Overloaded ships from the Middle Eastern regions like Albania. and Brazil. Immigrants from these countries accounts to 38 percent of the total residence permits granted. However. Romania.500 applications for asylum with majority of the requests coming from Turkish and Iraqi Kurds. There have also been South Americans and Chinses immigrants to Italy recently. According to the recent flow. Italy Migration can be classified as legal as well as undocumented. Albania. China. Statistics show that there have been 272.000 legal admissions from countries like Albania. 7 . Iran. after some stringent regulations put in the Italian Government. Italy Migration has been acutely affected by divergence between the Balkans. the foreign population had been nearly 1. Undocumented immigrants primarily come from countries of Morocco. the net effect strongly affected the rise in the population level of foreigners in the Italian land. Morocco. Italy has thus turned to be a final destination and also a bridge to other EU countries. According to the records.