Italy is a peninsula, mostly surrounded by the Adriatic, Ligurian, and Tyrrhenian seas. Italy is bordering modern day France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia to the south. Italy also includes several islands, most notably Sardinia and Sicily. Italy has some of the most beautiful varying landscape, with glacier carved valleys, tectonically unstable areas, to the south the wide oceanic planes, and to the north the most rugged mountainous terrain in the world: the alpines. Italy’s culture is shaped by a few key time periods: the renaissance, the dark ages, and the period of classical antiquity, which was a time of power for the Roman civilization.
Since the period of classical antiquity, Italy has been inhabited by Ancient Phoenicians, Greeks, Etruscans, Illyrians, and Celts. They lived among Greek, Carthaginian and Phoenician colonies, and Italy today has a strong influence of their cultures, though they evolved over time. The first kingdom in Italy was established in the year 753 BCE in Rome, which evolved into the Roman Republic in 509 BCE when the monarchy was replaced by the elected officials.
The 2nd century BCE marked the transition from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire. The Roman Republic saw its fall when dictator Julius Caesar was assassinated. The assassination was followed by years of political turmoil, a stressful time in Roman history. The Roman Republic officially became an empire in 27 BCE.
This time was a time of great prosperity in Roman history. The Roman Empire at its peak had conquered Egypt to the south and most of England to the north, as well as all the land around the Mediterranean, including the Greeks. The Roman Empire fell in 476 AD and Italy was fragmented into many city states.
These small city states experienced centuries of great prosperity due to their great location as shipping ports, and these city states also grew and prospered greatly even more during the renaissance. All of the city states were unified in 1861 into the Italian Kingdom (with the exception of San Marino and Vatican City) which by 1870 had evolved into a republic. After World War 1 Mussolini made Italy a fascist dictatorship, which ended after losing World War 2 to the Allies. The end of World War 2 was followed by the Italian civil war, which resulted in the reinstatement of democracy.
Today, Italy is a popular tourist destination due to its rich history and the cultural influence of the renaissance. Italy is full of majestic monuments such as the colosseum, the roman forum, the pantheon and more that represent the glory of its past.
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