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The Culture, Traditions, and Heritage of Italy

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This little boot-shaped nation has enough historical and cultural delights to please the rest of the world. No wonder then that the concept of la dolce vita originates here! Renaissance art; magnificent opera; edgy cinema; the architectural wonders of Rome, Florence and Venice; Milan fashion houses; pasta and pizza—Italy’s contributions resemble a rich and multi-hued tapestry that only grows in splendor from year to year.

Italy has played a seminal role in many important artistic and intellectual movements that spread throughout Europe and beyond, including the Renaissance and Baroque and its culture reflects the influences of many different peoples. Most significant is Italy’s contributions to art and sculpture. Legendary painters and sculptors such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, Botticelli, Fra Angelico, Tintoretto, Caravaggio, Bernini, Titian and Raphael explored the depths of creativity in this country. Italy is also home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (41) to date.

Modern Italian language was established by eminent Florentine poet, Dante Alighieri, who’s Divina Commedia is considered the foremost literary work of the Middle Ages. Other famous writers and poets include Boccaccio, Giacomo Leopardi, Alessandro Manzoni, Tasso, Ludovico Ariosto, and Petrarch, who invented the sonnet form of verse, Luigi Pirandello and Dario Fo. In music, Italy invented both the piano and our system of musical notation, as well as producing Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Scarlatti, Verdi, Puccini, Bellini and Rossini.

Italians are also known for their love of sports, something that can be traced back to the ancient Gladiatorial games. Sport is an important part of many Italian festivities like Palio and the Gondola race in Venice. Popular sports include football, cycling, and auto racing (Ferrari and Lamborghini both originated in Italy).

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