History

Monday, June 1st, 2015
italy world war one
One Hundred Years of Remembrance   An Italian Trench on the Eastern Front (Corriere della Sera, November 1915)   On May 24 2015, Italy celebrated the 100th anniversary of its entry into World War One. Many, even if aware of its bloodiness and of the tragedy it brought to the entire world, fail to understand its true magnitude: we are, often, more aware of how horrific, how unconceivably violent World War Two was, yet we seem not to perceive World War One's
Tuesday, February 17th, 2015
  The performance of the Italian armed forces during the Second World War has been the butt of jokes for over 70 years. However,  the notion that the Italian military fought poorly and surrendered readily is not exactly true as there are examples of Italian forces fighting quite successfully and bravely. But the widespread belief seemed to be that the Italians were cowards, with disasters such as the failed takeover of a much weaker Greece and ineffective fighting in North
Friday, February 6th, 2015
 The Western Roman Empire was in deep disarray by the 5th century AD. The last centuries of the Western Empire encompass what is known as Late Antiquity, but the later centuries after the fall of Rome are often known as the Dark Ages. The ways of the Roman Empire would continue in the East, but Italy would now be occupied by barbarian tribes like the Goths and the Lombards.   Theodoric's Mausoleum, in Ravenna (by Sebastià Girait at www.flickr.com)  
Friday, February 6th, 2015
  In the time following the end of the Western Roman Empire known popularly as the Dark Ages, Italy faced great hardship due to the political and military struggles among the Byzantines, the Lombards and the Franks, along with a visible collapse of the Mediterranean trade.  Towns of  early medieval Italy consisted of basic houses, in the gardens of which town dwellers would grow their own food. However, as the Dark Ages wore on, Italy emerged
Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015
italy renaissance
     Panoramic view of Florence and Ponte Vecchio, the cradle of the Renaissance in Italy   The Renaissance or rebirth began in Italy at the end of the fourteenth century and became an era of many cultural and architectural achievements in Europe. The Renaissance first began in Tuscany and was centered on the republics of Siena and Florence after the decimation left in the wake of the Black Death. The end of the Renaissance period marked the transition of the
Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015
Though the history of Rome is quite complex and sometimes bewildering, the Medieval period was a time of transition for the great city. Two major institutions called the papacy and the commune of Rome are the key players in its history and much can they say about the way the city is today.     Wars for Power and Control Continue   During the 5th century, Rome was ruled under Roman law by  Odoacer and Theodoric the Great, with Roman officials still in power. The
Saturday, January 17th, 2015
Benito Mussolini (left) and Adolf Hitler (right)   Please look at the excellent article Italians in WWII, by Justin Demetri   The years from 1940 to 1945 in Italy, as well as in many other countries of the world, were those of the Second World War. The Italian military effort in those years has been often criticized: while the army of Italy was thought to have poorly performed during the war, this was mainly because of the circumstances at the time
Thursday, November 6th, 2014
italian lira
  In 2002, all EU member states abandoned their national currencies to embrace the euro. It has been 12 years, yet, in Italy the lira is still dearly missed: if we count the nostalgic, one may believe the change happened only a few months back.  Truth is the lira had been our own currency since 1862, a symbol of the long desired and painfully achieved unity of the country that had only taken place a few months earlier, in 1861. Up to then, each state in the peninsula had its own currency, the
Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
places torture italy
  An article on chambers of torture in Italy... Well, you may have noticed that we at lifeinitaly have been digging Halloween this year. Actually, is more than that: we are really enjoying the atmosphere of the months of October and November, when mystery and spooks go hand in hand not only because of Halloween, but also because of feasts such as All Saints and All Souls, truly rooted in Italian tradition, and themselves prone to create a certain feeling of pleasurable dread, especially in
Friday, October 17th, 2014
cult dead and burial methods italy
  The months of October and November are peculiar: Summer is, in most of the country, a distant memory, yet, the light and brightness brought by winter snow still have to come. These are weeks characterized by the first, true cold of the season, the early setting of darkness, the scents – if you live in the countryside, that is – of damp earth and fallen leaves.  Nature, in October and November, puts on her rich autumnal cloak, heavy with red, orange and golden embroideries. Sometimes, when
Thursday, October 9th, 2014
  Memorial at the Vajont and dam in the background Ph. depositphoto/massimocampa   The Vajont is a stream that flows in the valley of Erto and Casso before it Merges with the Piave River in Langarone and Castellavazzo, in the Belluno province (Veneto). On October 9th, 1963, at 10.39 pm, a terrible disaster happened. A big piece of the Toc mountain fell into the artificial lake created by a dam on the Vajont river, creating a huge wave that covered the towns beneath the dam and killed probably
Thursday, July 24th, 2014
Catania Castello di Aci Castello The castle of  Aci Castello was built in dark volcanic stone and it is situated on a cliff on the sea, not far from the town. Due to its strategic position, this place was used as a fortress and it was conquered by Normans. The castle was destroyed several times and it was partly damaged by the eruption of the Etna volcano in 1169. It also witnessed the clash between Aragon family of Sicily and Anjou of Naples but later in the time it became a prison in 1787
Thursday, July 24th, 2014
castles Italy
The central section of Sicily includes a number of beautiful castles that can be visited among the provinces of Enna and Caltanissetta. In this article you will find a list of some of the best castles that you can find here, with some useful information about the past of the area and its legends:   Enna  Castello di Lombardia   This is considered the most ancient and majestic castles all over Sicily. Even if the castle of Lombardia recalls the northern region of the country and its name is
Thursday, July 24th, 2014
Sicily is the region with the highest number of castles in the country. It would be impossible to visit all the castles present on the island but here is some of the must-to-visit reduced in a short selection in the Western side of the territory:  Agrigento Castle of Racalmuto  Most of the castles in the region have Swabian origins and the Castle of Racalmuto is one of these. The monument is an example of military architecture founded under the king Ruggero d'Altavilla but later inhabited by
Wednesday, July 9th, 2014
Frederick II with Eagle Frederick of Hohenstaufen (known in Italian as Federico VII Hohenstaufen di Svevia, Federico I di Sicilia, and Federico II del Sacro Romano Impero), was the larger-than-life King of Sicily, Holy Roman Emperor and (briefly) King of Jerusalem - a true legend in his own time. Better known as Frederick II (Federico II) , he was unlike any other Medieval ruler, possessing the mind of a scientist, the soul of a poet and the iron will of an autocrat.
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Grotta Guattari - Photo courtesy of Egnoka/Wikimedia The Italy of today is vastly different from the land our early ancestors discovered, back in the early Paleolithic Age. The ice ages had left exposed vast tracts of land now submerged under the sea. The very first people to settle in what is now known as Italy arrived nearly half a million years ago and were the Neaderthals, followed later by our modern human ancestors. With the arrival of the Neolithic Age, Italy became host to several
Friday, June 1st, 2012
In recent years secret societies have gained cachet with the general public. From Yale's Skull and Bones to the Freemasons and the Knights Templar, movies and literature have been rife with these groups. Taking into account Italy's rich and varied history it is not a surprise that the country has been home to many secret societies, some of which are still in activity. Carboneria: Rome, In memory or Carbonari killed by the pope in 1825 In the course of centuries political, military, religious
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Italian History History of Italy In many ways, the history of Italy is the history of the modern world. So many pivotal moments in our collective past have taken place in Italy that it can be considered Europe’s historical keystone. In this section, learn about the great and not so great moments in Italian history, from the grandeur of Rome to the Renaissance, the Risorgimento to the battlefields of World War II. Brief History of Italy By 500 BC, a number of groups shared Italy. Small Greek
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Members of the first Italian Government in Torino The 19th century was a time of great change for Italy as the modern world emerged. The most prominent events of this time however, revolve around the rise of the Italian unification movement. Known as the Risorgimento, it was the social and political process that eventually succeeded in the unification of many different states into the modern nation of Italy. The exact dates of the beginning and end of the Risorgimento are unclear, but
Friday, June 1st, 2012
    Historic Connection Between North East England And Monte Amiata, Tuscany A most intriguing fact has been brought to my attention, and one that I feel slightly ashamed, maybe, for not having known before.  Can you name the important historic connection between Anglo-Saxon North East England and Monte Amiata in Tuscany?  It's known as The Codex Amiatinus and actually happens to be one of the most treasured pieces of historic work in existence. It is the oldest manuscript copy of
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Please look at the excellent article Italy WWII myth and reality by Justin I found the two comments below while browsing news groups - They have quite an interesting point of view and I share their opinion. Mussolini at his peak still did not reach the support of half the population and he knew that entering world war 2 could threaten his grip on power. He entered the conflict after a year, only when he thought Hitler had already won it. I think all the Italians wanted to
Friday, June 1st, 2012
The 1990s in Italy were very different from life in the previous decade. Like in many other parts of the world the 80s were a time of fun, excess and luxury in Italy. The latter part of the 1980s topped the seemingly unlimited economical growth of the country and marked the apparent transformation of Italy from an agricultural country to one based on modern industry and service. In those years Milan affirmed itself as the social and economical capital of Italy with designers, artists and
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Virtruvian Man - Leonardo Italy is known to be a country which has produced delectable wines, enthralling operas, and beautiful people. What is less commonly known is that the Italian people have also been great inventors. Quite a few of the essential items used around the world today in science, music, and in every day life were discovered and invented in Italy. Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most famous Italians of the Renaissance. He is known for his research, his art, and his intriguing
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Milan - Triumphal Arch in Napoleon's Honor As the Italian Renaissance spread throughout Europe, the next wave of innovation in art, culture and science was emerging. The 17th and the 18th centuries in the history of Italy are considered part of the early modern period. However this period, at least the first half, is often closely associated with the dominant artistic and architectural movement known as Baroque. This time also was marked the beginning of long foreign domination of Italy
Friday, June 1st, 2012
  Enrico Mattei     The figure of Enrico Mattei is one of the most intriguing in modern Italian history, and perhaps in the world in general, as he changed the economic balance in the Middle East, as well as relations between America, Russia and Europe. Mattei worked in a very sensitive business: oil. He created a new world of demand and supply, affecting an established system in ways that would change it forever, but which would prove to be deadly for him. Oil is a crucial element in the
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Pagan history is everywhere and is easily found by researching the history of our modern customs and practices. Some of the days of the week and even some months of the year are named after Pagan gods. This week we are going to take a look at the month of January and find out what part Paganism plays in the first month of our current calendar year. The birth of the month of January is credited to Numa Pompilius. Numa was the second of seven kings that ruled Rome before it became a republic.
Friday, June 1st, 2012
The 1970s in Italy were years of social and political commitment throughout the country. The decade opened with the proclamation on the law on divorce, in 1970, and ended with the law on abortion, in 1978. Both laws where hot topics of debate, followed by referendum votes that split the population of Italy. Worker’s strikes and terrorist activities dotted the 70s and everybody had a political point of view on almost any subject.   Italian feminist protests in 1976     Music of
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Abbey of Monte Cassino It is really a delight to visit the Abbey of Monte Cassino  to admire its beautiful architectural splendor and remember its history. The Abbey was founded by St. Benedict and built over the site of the pagan temple of Apollo, where the sculpture of Apollo was destroyed along with the altar. Due to its significant location, this place has always been a target of military attacks throughout history, the most gruesome of all certainly being the Battle of Monte
Friday, June 1st, 2012
  Rome - The Pantheon, commissioned by the great Marcus Agrippa    The great, ancient civilization of Rome is without a doubt one of the mightiest and most influential of all the cultures that came before and after. There were few things the Romans did not master. Today we look back and marvel at how, in fields ranging from engineering to warfare, the mighty Romans were before their time. Roma sprang up as a small, agricultural civilization in the 10th century BC, supposedly founded by the
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Many women played key roles in the Italian Risorgimento: some  fought with the soldiers, others held secret meetings or helped important men raise funds.  Some became nurses, or took charge of hospitals.  These fiery women were mostly well-educated and somewhat liberated.  Some were even rebellious members of the aristocracy. Two women who played important roles in the unification of Italy are Margaret Fuller and Princess Cristina Belgiojoso. Margaret Fuller Margaret Fuller, an
Friday, June 1st, 2012
The history of Rome is closely tied to its military history. As a fledgling nation, Rome's military was disorganized and sporadic, only being brought together as it became necessary. With time, however, the military would become a professional war machine, with its members fighting for the glory of the state, rather than for personal acclaim. The expansion and fall of the Roman Republic and the rise of Imperial Rome can all be attributed in part to shifts in military structure, loyalty, and
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Milan April 29 1945: Mussolini e Claretta Petracci hanging After the Second World War and the defeat of Musssolini's fascist government, Italy's history was in the hands of the Christian Democratic system for almost 40 years with the Italian Communist Party acting as the main opposition. This condition continued until the crisis of the Soviet Union, theTangentopoli scandal and mission Mani pulite. This helped improve electoral system with major reformation in the Italian political system,
Friday, June 1st, 2012
castles italy
  Castel del Monte, Puglia Ph. depositphotos/stefyblue   Majestic towers, crenellated battlements, stone fortresses perched upon rocky crags, romantic ruins, sumptuous palazzos and much more: these are the images that come to mind when picturing the Castles of Italy.   The political instability of Italy during the middle ages has left its countryside and cities full of testaments to this turbulent time period. Castle formations are found throughout Italy, and they
Friday, June 1st, 2012
  Archeological site of tombs near Populonia, in Tuscany Sprung from the Tuscany region of Italy, the Etruscans were one of the most important civilizations in ancient Italy. The name Etrusci was given to the civilization by the Romans, and it was from this name that Tuscany's name was eventually derived. The Etruscans existed in Italy before the founding of Rome and, although the exact date of their origin is unclear, it is known that they were a people with their own unique language.
Friday, June 1st, 2012
2011 Marks Italy's 150th Birthday (Photo from www.libertiamo.it) The land of Italy has an ancient history that stretches back nearly 3,000 years, and that has been home to civilizations that have shaped the Western World as we now know it. It is surprising for some, especially considering that Italy is widely recognized a jewel of history and art, that Italy as a unified republic is still quite a new idea. Modern Italy is one of the youngest nations in the world, having become unified in 1861
Friday, June 1st, 2012
The year 753 BC marked the beginning of Rome, which would soon come to dominate the western world for centuries until its collapse in 476 AD. The traditional story states that Rome was founded by the brothers Romulus and Remus, who were the sons of Rhea Silvia and Mars, the god of war. The two children were sentenced to death, but were instead snuck away by a servant whereupon after being nursed by a wolf, they were taken in by a shepherd. Eventually they found a city on the Palatine Hill, a
Friday, June 1st, 2012
March on Rome in 1922   The newly unified nation of Italy faced several serious problems. It had a very large debt, few natural resources, and almost no transportation or industries. This combined along with a high ratio of poverty, illiteracy, and an uneven tax structure, weighed heavily on the people of the country. Regionalism was still strong at the time, only a small fraction of Italians had voting rights. The Pope was also angry because of the loss of the city of Rome and the
Friday, June 1st, 2012
The Italian island of Giglio: witness of an almost second Titanic.   Italians are quite superstitious, but is it only by sheer coincidence that such a huge disaster happened on Friday the 13th? In fact, that date is considered by Italians a day of misfortune and in this case the accident happened right on the day. Italy and America have a lot in common when it comes to their sailing history and I am not only thinking of the shipping of Italian emigrants to American shores in the early