Italy

By: Devin King

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Language in Italy

Italian is the official language, although dialects differ from city to city. The Florentine and Roman dialects had a major influence on modern Italian. Most youths also speak English, the most common second language; older generations are more likely to speak French. Significant French-, German-, and Slovene-speaking minorities exist. An ethnic minority in Tyrol speaks Ladin, a Romance language native to northern Italy. (culturegram)

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History

Evidence of civilization has been found on the Italian peninsula dating far into pre-history. Thousands of rock drawings discovered in the Alpine regions of Lombardy date from around 8,000 BC. There were sizable settlements throughout the Copper Age (37th to 15th century BC), the Bronze Age (15th to 8th century BC) and the Iron Age (8th to 5th century BC). In the north of Italy, the Etruscan culture took hold around 800BC, while Greeks settled in southern Italy from 700 to 600BC, namely in Apulia, Calabria and Sicily. (culturegram)

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Economy

In 2008, Italy's economy fell into recession as a result of the global financial crisis. The government enacted a series of austerity measures in late 2011 that included tax increases, pension reforms, and cuts to public administration. Though the economy grew slightly in 2010, by 2012 the economy shrank again. In 2013, unemployment rose to 12 percent, with about 40 percent youth unemployment. (culturegram)

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The Arts

Italy has been center of the arts for centuries, shaping art movements throughout Europe and the world. The Romans played a key role in the development of Western architecture, using techniques such as the arch, dome, and vault to build larger, more structurally sound buildings. The country was also the birthplace of artistic movements such as the Renaissance. (culturegram)

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Map of Italy

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