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(ĭt`əlē), Ital. Italia, officially Italian Republic, republic (2015 est. pop. 59,504,000), 116,303 sq mi (301,225 sq km), S Europe. It borders on France in the northwest, the Ligurian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea in the west, the Ionian Sea in the south, the Adriatic Sea in the east, Slovenia in the northeast, and Austria and Switzerland in the north. The country includes the large Mediterranean islands of SicilySicily
, Ital. Sicilia, region (1991 pop. 4,966,386), 9,925 sq mi (25,706 sq km), S Italy, mainly situated on the island of Sicily, which is bounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the west and south, by the Ionian Sea on the east, and by the Tyrrhenian Sea on the north, and
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 and SardiniaSardinia
, Ital. Sardegna, region (1991 pop. 1,648,248), 9,302 sq mi (24,092 sq km), W Italy, mostly on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, which is separated in the north from Corsica by the Strait of Bonifacio.
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 and several small islands, notably ElbaElba
, island, 86 sq mi (223 sq km), Tuscany, central Italy, in the Tyrrhenian Sea, 6 mi (9.7 km) from the Italian mainland, part of the Tuscan Archipelago. Iron ore has been mined there since Etruscan and Roman times, and there are ironworks at Portoferraio, the island's main
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, CapriCapri
, Lat. Capreae, island (1987 est. pop. 7,750), 4 sq mi (10.4 sq km), Campania, S Italy, in the Bay of Naples off the tip of the Sorrento Peninsula. It is an international tourist center, celebrated for its striking scenery, delightful climate, and luxurious
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, IschiaIschia
, volcanic island (1991 pop. 16,013), 18 sq mi (47 sq km), Campania, S Italy, in the Tyrrhenian Sea between the Gulf of Gaeta and the Bay of Naples. Known as the Emerald Isle, it is a health resort and a tourist center, celebrated for its warm mineral springs and for its
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, and the Lipari IslandsLipari Islands
, formerly Aeolian Islands
, Ital. Isole Eolie, volcanic island group (1991 pop. 10,382), 44 sq mi (114 sq km), Messina prov., NE Sicily, Italy, in the Tyrrhenian Sea. The group includes Lipari (14.5 sq mi/37.
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. Vatican CityVatican City
or Holy See,
officially Holy See (State of the Vatican City), independent state (2015 est. pop. 1,000), 108.7 acres (44 hectares), within the city of Rome, Italy, and the residence of the pope, who is its absolute ruler.
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 and San MarinoSan Marino
, officially Republic of San Marino, republic (2015 est. pop. 33,000), 24 sq mi (62 sq km), in the Apennines near the Adriatic Sea, SW of Rimini, N central Italy. It is the world's smallest republic and claims to be Europe's oldest existing state.
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 are two independent enclaves on the Italian mainland. RomeRome,
Ital. Roma, city (1991 pop. 2,775,250), capital of Italy and see of the pope, whose residence, Vatican City, is a sovereign state within the city of Rome. Rome is also the capital of Latium, a region of central Italy, and of Rome prov.
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 is Italy's capital and largest city.

Land and People

About 75% of Italy is mountainous or hilly, and roughly 20% of the country is forested. There are narrow strips of low-lying land along the Adriatic coast and parts of the Tyrrhenian coast. In addition to Rome, other important cities include MilanMilan
, Ital. Milano, Lat. Mediolanum, city (1991 pop. 1,369,231), capital of Lombardy and of Milan prov., N Italy, at the heart of the Po basin. Because of its strategic position in the Lombard plain, at the intersection of several major transportation routes, it
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, NaplesNaples,
Ital. Napoli, city (1991 pop. 1,067,365), capital of Campania and of Naples prov., S central Italy, on the Bay of Naples, an arm of the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is a major seaport, with shipyards, and a commercial, industrial, and tourist center.
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, TurinTurin
, Ital. Torino, city (1991 pop. 962,507), capital of Piedmont and of Turin prov., NW Italy, at the confluence of the Po and Dora Riparia rivers. It is a major transportation hub and Italy's most important industrial center.
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, GenoaGenoa
, Ital. Genova, city (1991 pop. 678,771), capital of Genoa prov. and of Liguria, NW Italy, on the Ligurian Sea. Beautifully situated on the Italian Riviera, it is the chief seaport of Italy and rivals Marseilles, France, as the leading Mediterranean port.
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, PalermoPalermo
, Lat. Panormus, city (1991 pop. 698,556), capital of Palermo prov. and of Sicily, NW Sicily, Italy, on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Situated on the edge of the Conca d'Oro (Golden Conch Shell), a beautiful and fertile plain, it is Sicily's largest city and chief seaport.
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, BolognaBologna
, city (1991 pop. 404,378), capital of Emilia-Romagna and of Bologna prov., N central Italy, at the foot of the Apennines and on the Aemilian Way. It is a prosperous commercial and industrial center and an important transportation link between S and N Italy.
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, FlorenceFlorence
, Ital. Firenze, city (1991 pop. 403,294), capital of Tuscany and of Firenze prov., central Italy, on the Arno River, at the foot of the Apennines. Florence, the jewel of the Italian Renaissance, is one of the world's great historic cities.
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, CataniaCatania
, city (1991 pop. 333,075), capital of Catania prov., E Sicily, Italy, on the Gulf of Catania, an arm of the Ionian Sea, and at the foot of Mt. Etna. It is a busy port and a major commercial, agricultural, and industrial center.
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, VeniceVenice
, Ital. Venezia, city (1991 pop. 309,422), capital of Venetia and of Venice prov., NE Italy, built on 118 alluvial islets within a lagoon in the Gulf of Venice (an arm of the Adriatic Sea). The city is connected with the mainland, 2.
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, BariBari
, city (1991 pop. 342,309), capital of Bari prov. and of Apulia, S Italy, on the Adriatic Sea. It is a major seaport and an industrial and commercial center. It is connected by road, rail, and ship to other Adriatic ports and is now connected by road to Naples.
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, TriesteTrieste
, Serbo-Croatian Trst, city (1991 pop. 231,100), capital of Friuli–Venezia Giulia and of Trieste prov., extreme NE Italy, on the Gulf of Trieste (at the head of the Adriatic Sea).
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, MessinaMessina
, city (1991 pop. 231,693), capital of Messina prov., NE Sicily, Italy, on the Strait of Messina, opposite the Italian mainland. It is a busy seaport and a commercial and light industrial center.
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, VeronaVerona
, city (1991 pop. 255,824), capital of Verona prov., Venetia, NE Italy, on the Adige River. It is a transportation junction and a major industrial and agricultural center, with noted annual agricultural fairs.
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, PaduaPadua
, Ital. Padova, city (1991 pop. 215,137), capital of Padova prov., in Venetia, NE Italy, connected by canal with the Brenta, Adige, and Po rivers. It is an agricultural, commercial, and major industrial center and a transportation junction.
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, CagliariCagliari
, city (1991 pop. 204,237), capital of Sardinia and of Cagliari prov., S Sardinia, Italy, on the Gulf of Cagliari (an arm of the Mediterranean Sea) and at the mouth of the Mannu River. It is the largest city in Sardinia and is a modern port and an industrial center.
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, TarantoTaranto
, Lat. Tarentum, city (1991 pop. 232,334), capital of Taranto prov., Apulia, S Italy, on the Gulf of Taranto, an arm of the Ionian Sea. Taranto is, after La Spezia, the chief military port of Italy, and it is also an agricultural, industrial, and fishing center.
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, BresciaBrescia
, city (1991 pop. 194,502), capital of Brescia prov., Lombardy, N Italy. It is a commercial and highly diversified industrial center and a railroad junction. Manufactures include machinery, firearms, metalware, textiles, and processed food.
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, and LivornoLivorno
, Brit. Leghorn, city (1991 pop. 167,512), capital of Livorno prov., Tuscany, central Italy, on the Ligurian Sea and on the Aurelian Way. It is a busy commercial, industrial, and tourist center and is one of the most important ports of Italy.
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Northern Italy, made up largely of a vast plain that is contained by the Alps in the north and drained by the Po River and its tributaries, comprises the regions of LiguriaLiguria
, region (1991 pop. 1,676,282), 2,098 sq mi (5,434 sq km), NW Italy, extending along the Ligurian Sea and bordering France on the west. The generally mountainous region has a steep, narrow coastal strip that includes the beautiful Italian Riviera.
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, PiedmontPiedmont
, Ital. Piemonte, region (1991 pop. 4,302,565), 9,807 sq mi (25,400 sq km), NW Italy, bordering on France in the west and on Switzerland in the north. Turin is the capital of the region, which is one of the richest in Italy.
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, Valle d'Aosta (see Aosta, Valle d'Aosta, Valle d'
, region (1991 pop. 115,938), 1,260 sq mi (3,263 sq km), NW Italy, bordering on France in the west and on Switzerland in the north. Aosta is the capital of the region and of its only province.
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), LombardyLombardy
, Ital. Lombardia, region (1991 pop. 8,856,069), c.9,200 sq mi (23,830 sq km), N Italy, bordering on Switzerland in the north. Milan is the capital of the region, which is divided into the provinces of Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Mantua, Milan, Pavia,
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, Trentino–Alto AdigeTrentino–Alto Adige
, region (1991 est. pop. 890,360), 5,256 sq mi (13,613 sq km), N Italy, bordering on Switzerland in the northwest and on Austria in the north. From 1919 to 1947 it was called Venezia Tridentina. Trent (Ital. Trento) is the capital of the region.
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, VenetiaVenetia
, Ital. Veneto or Venezia Euganea, region (1991 pop. 4,380,797), 7,095 sq mi (18,376 sq km), NE Italy, bordering on the Gulf of Venice (an arm of the Adriatic Sea) in the east and on Austria in the north.
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, Friuli–Venezia GiuliaFriuli–Venezia Giulia
, region (1991 pop. 1,197,666), 3,031 sq mi (7,850 sq km), NE Italy, bordering on Austria in the north and on Slovenia in the east. Trieste is the capital of the region, which is divided into Gorizia, Pordenone, Trieste, and Udine provs.
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, and part of Emilia-RomagnaEmilia-Romagna
, region (1991 pop. 3,909,512), 8,542 sq mi (22,124 sq km), N central Italy, bordering on the Adriatic Sea in the east. Bologna is the capital of the region, which is divided into eight provinces named for their capitals.
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 (which extends into central Italy). It is the richest part of the country, with the best farmland, the chief port (Genoa), and the largest industrial centers. Northern Italy also has a flourishing tourist trade on the Italian Riviera, in the Alps (including the Dolomites), on the shores of its beautiful lakes (Lago Maggiore, Lake Como, and Lake Garda), and in Venice. Gran Paradiso (13,323 ft/4,061 m), the highest peak wholly situated within Italy, rises in Valle d'Aosta.

The Italian peninsula, bootlike in shape and traversed in its entire length by the Apennines (which continue on into Sicily), comprises central Italy (MarcheMarche
or the Marches,
region (1991 pop. 1,429,205), 3,742 sq mi (9,692 sq km), E central Italy, extending from the eastern slopes of the Apennines to the Adriatic Sea.
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, TuscanyTuscany
, Ital. Toscana, region (1991 pop. 3,538,619), 8,876 sq mi (22,989 sq km), N central Italy, bordering on the Tyrrhenian Sea in the west and including the Tuscan Archipelago.
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, UmbriaUmbria
, region (1991 pop. 811,831), 3,265 sq mi (8,456 sq km), central Italy. Perugia is the capital of the landlocked region, which is divided into the provinces of Perugia and Terni (named for their capitals).
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, and LatiumLatium
, Ital. Lazio, region (1990 pop. 5,170,672), 6,642 sq mi (17,203 sq km), central Italy, extending from the Apennines westward to the Tyrrhenian Sea. Rome is the capital of the region, which is divided into Frosinone, Latina, Rieti, Rome, and Viterbo provs.
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 regions) and southern Italy (CampaniaCampania
, region (1991 pop. 5,191,468), 5,249 sq mi (13,595 sq km), central Italy, extending from the Apennines W to the Tyrrhenian Sea and from the Garigliano River S to the Gulf of Policastro. It includes the islands of Capri, Ischia, and Procida.
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, BasilicataBasilicata
, region (1991 pop. 610,528), 3,856 sq mi (9,987 sq km), S Italy, bordering on the Tyrrhenian Sea in the southwest and on the Gulf of Taranto in the southeast. It forms the instep of the Italian "boot.
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, AbruzziAbruzzi
, region (1991 pop. 1,249,054), 4,167 sq mi (10,793 sq km), central Italy, bordering on the Adriatic Sea in the east. L'Aquila is the capital of the region, which is divided into Chieti, L'Aquila, Pescara, and Teramo provs. (named for their capitals).
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, MoliseMolise
, region (1991 pop. 330,900), 1,714 sq mi (4,439 sq km), S central Italy, bordering on the Adriatic Sea in the east. Campobasso is the capital of the region, which is divided into the provinces of Campobasso and Isérnia.
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, CalabriaCalabria
, region (1991 pop. 2,070,203), 5,822 sq mi (15,079 sq km), S Italy, a peninsula projecting between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Ionian Sea, separated from Sicily by the narrow Strait of Messina. It forms the toe of the Italian "boot.
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, and ApuliaApulia
, Ital. Puglia, region (1991 pop. 4,031,885), 7,469 sq mi (19,345 sq km), S Italy, bordering on the Adriatic Sea in the east and the Strait of Otranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south. Its southern portion, a peninsula, forms the heel of the Italian "boot.
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 regions). Central Italy contains great historic and cultural centers such as Rome, Florence, PisaPisa
, city (1991 pop. 98,928), capital of Pisa prov., Tuscany, N central Italy, on the Arno River. It is now c.6 mi (9.7 km) from the Tyrrhenian Sea, which once reached the city.
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, SienaSiena
, city (1991 pop. 56,956), capital of Siena prov., Tuscany, central Italy. Rich in art treasures and historic architecture, it is one of the most popular tourist centers in Italy.
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, PerugiaPerugia
, city (1991 pop. 144,732), capital of Umbria and of Perugia prov., central Italy, situated on a hill overlooking the valley of the Tiber River. It is a commercial, industrial, and tourist center. Manufactures include chocolate, textiles, pharmaceuticals, and machinery.
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, AssisiAssisi
, town (1991 pop. 24,626), Umbria, central Italy. A religious and tourist center, it stands on a hill in the Apennines with an expansive view of the plains below. Although well known in Roman times and throughout the Middle Ages, it owes its modern fame chiefly to St.
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, UrbinoUrbino
, town (1991 pop. 15,114), in the Marche, central Italy. It is an agricultural and tourist center, located on the site of a former Roman community. The town flourished under the Montefeltro family (12th–16th cent.
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, Bologna, RavennaRavenna
, city (1991 pop. 135,844), capital of Ravenna prov., in Emilia-Romagna, N central Italy, near the Adriatic Sea (with which it is connected by a canal). It is an agricultural market, canal port, and an important industrial center.
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, RiminiRimini
, anc. Ariminum, city (1991 pop. 127,960), in Emilia-Romagna, N central Italy, on the Adriatic Sea. It is a highly diversified industrial, commercial, and railroad center and a fashionable beach resort. Tourism is extremely important.
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, FerraraFerrara
, city (1991 pop. 138,015), capital of Ferrara prov., in Emilia-Romagna, N Italy. It is a rich industrial and agricultural center, located on a low-lying, marshy plain that has much reclaimed land.
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, and ParmaParma
, city (1991 pop. 170,520), capital of Parma prov., in Emilia-Romagna, N Italy, on the Parma River and on the Aemilian Way. It is a rich agricultural market, a transportation junction, and a major industrial center.
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. The major cities of S Italy, generally the poorest and least developed part of the country, include Naples, Bari, BrindisiBrindisi
, Latin Brundisium, city (1991 pop. 95,383), capital of Brindisi prov., in Apulia, S Italy. A modern port on the Adriatic Sea, it has been noted since ancient times for its traffic with Greece and the E Mediterranean.
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, FoggiaFoggia
, city (1991 pop. 156,268), capital of Foggia prov., in Apulia, S Italy. It is a transportation and industrial center and the main wheat market of S Italy. It is a highly diversified secondary industrial center.
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, and Taranto.

Except for the Po and Adige, Italy has only short rivers, among which the Arno and the Tiber are the best known. Most of Italy enjoys a Mediterranean climate; however, that of Sicily is subtropical, and in the Alps there are long and severe winters. The country has great scenic beauty—the majestic Alps in the north, the soft and undulating hills of Umbria and Tuscany, and the romantically rugged landscape of the S Apennines. The Bay of Naples, dominated by Mt. Vesuvius, is one of the world's most famous sights.

The great majority of the population speaks Italian (including several dialects). There are small German-, French-, and Slavic-speaking minorities. Nearly all Italians are nominally Roman Catholic, although there are small Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim communities.


Italy began to industrialize late in comparison to other European nations, and until World War II was largely an agricultural country. However, after 1950 industry was developed rapidly so that by 2006 industry contributed about 30% of the annual gross domestic product and agriculture only 2%. The principal farm products are fruits, vegetables, grapes, potatoes, sugar beets, soybeans, grain, olives and olive oil, and livestock (especially cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats). In addition, much wine is produced from grapes grown throughout the country, and there is fishing.

Tourism is one of Italy's most important industries and a major source of foreign exchange. Manufacturing is centered in the north, particularly in the "golden triangle" of Milan-Turin-Genoa. Italy's economy has been gradually diversifying, shifting from food and textiles to engineering, steel, and chemical products. The chief manufactures include machinery; iron, steel, and other metal products; chemicals; motor vehicles; clothing and footwear; and ceramics. Although many of Italy's important industries are state-owned, the trend in recent years has been toward privatization. The service sector has growing importance in Italy and employs well over half of the labor force.

Italy has only limited mineral resources and has consistently increased its mineral imports; the chief minerals produced are petroleum (especially in Sicily), lignite, mercury, zinc, potash, marble, barite, asbestos, and pumice. There are also large deposits of natural gas (methane), and much hydroelectricity is generated. Italy, however, is still greatly dependent on oil to meet its energy requirements, and most of it must be imported.

Italy has a large foreign trade, facilitated by its sizable commercial shipping fleet. The leading exports are engineering products, textiles and clothing, machinery, motor vehicles, transportation equipment, chemicals, food and beverages, tobacco, minerals, and nonferrous metals. The main imports are raw materials, chemicals, transportation equipment, metals, textiles and clothing, foodstuffs, and petroleum. The chief trade partners are Germany, France, Spain, and Great Britain.

Italy's economy has deceptive strength because it is supported by a substantial "underground" economy that functions outside government controls. Despite significant government progress in its war against organized crime, criminal organizations such as the MafiaMafia
, name given to a number of organized groups of Sicilian brigands in the 19th and 20th cent. Unlike the Camorra in Naples, the Mafia had no hierarchic organization; each group operated on its own.
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 and Camorra continue to exert a strong influence in S Italy, at times hindering governmental programs aimed at integrating the region more fully economically and politically into the national scene.


Italy is governed under the constitution of 1948 as amended. The president, who is the head of state, is elected by both houses of Parliament and 58 regional representatives for a seven-year term; there are no term limits. The premier, who is the head of government, is appointed by the president and approved by Parliament. The Council of Ministers, head by the premier, serves as the country's executive; it must have the confidence of parliament. The bicameral parliament consists of the 630-seat Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, with 315 popularly elected members plus a few life or ex officio members. All legislators, who are chosen through a mix of constituency and proportional voting, serve five-year terms. Administratively the country is divided into 15 regions and five autonomous regions, which also have parliaments and governments.


The following generalized outline of the highly complex history of Italy can be supplemented by the articles on individual cities and regions and by such general articles as Etruscan civilizationEtruscan civilization,
highest civilization in Italy before the rise of Rome. The core of the territory of the Etruscans, known as Etruria to the Latins, was northwest of the Tiber River, now in modern Tuscany and part of Umbria.
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; papacypapacy
, office of the pope, head of the Roman Catholic Church. He is pope by reason of being bishop of Rome and thus, according to Roman Catholic belief, successor in the see of Rome (the Holy See) to its first bishop, St. Peter.
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; Italian artItalian art,
works of art produced in the geographic region that now constitutes the nation of Italy. Italian art has engendered great public interest and involvement, resulting in the consistent production of monumental and spectacular works.
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; Italian literatureItalian literature,
writings in the Italian language, as distinct from earlier works in Latin and French. The Thirteenth Century

The first Italian vernacular literature began to take shape in the 13th cent.
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; and RenaissanceRenaissance
[Fr.,=rebirth], term used to describe the development of Western civilization that marked the transition from medieval to modern times. This article is concerned mainly with general developments and their impact in the fields of science, rhetoric, literature, and
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Ancient Italy

Little is known of Italian history before the 5th cent. B.C., except for the regions (S Italy and Sicily) where the Greeks had established colonies (see Magna GraeciaMagna Graecia
[Lat.,=great Greece], Greek colonies of S Italy. The Greek overseas expansion of the 8th cent. B.C. founded a number of towns that became the centers of a new, thriving Greek territory.
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). The earliest known inhabitants seem to have been of Ligurian stock. The Etruscans, coming probably from Asia Minor, established themselves in central Italy before 800 B.C. They reduced the indigenous population to servile status and established a prosperous empire with a complex culture. In the 4th cent. B.C., the Celts (called Gauls by Roman historians) invaded Italy and drove the Etruscans from the Po valley. In the south, the Etruscan advance was checked about the same time by the Samnites (see SamniumSamnium
, ancient country of central and S Italy, mostly in the S Apennines. It was E of Campania and Latium and NE of Apulia.
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), who had adapted the civilization of their Greek neighbors and who in the 4th cent. B.C. drove the Etruscans out of Campania.

The Latins, living along the coast of Latium, had not been fully subjected to the Etruscans; they and their neighbors, the SabinesSabines
, ancient people of central Italy, centered principally in the Sabine Hills, NE of Rome. Not much dependable information on them can be gathered. They were probably Oscan-speaking and therefore may be classed among the Sabelli.
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, were the ancestors of the Romans. The history of Italy from the 5th cent. B.C. to the 5th cent. A.D. is largely that of the growth of RomeRome,
Ital. Roma, city (1991 pop. 2,775,250), capital of Italy and see of the pope, whose residence, Vatican City, is a sovereign state within the city of Rome. Rome is also the capital of Latium, a region of central Italy, and of Rome prov.
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 and of the Roman Empire, of which Italy was the core. AugustusAugustus
, 63 B.C.–A.D. 14, first Roman emperor, a grandson of the sister of Julius Caesar. Named at first Caius Octavius, he became on adoption by the Julian gens (44 B.C.) Caius Julius Caesar Octavianus (Octavian); Augustus was a title of honor granted (27 B.C.
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 divided Italy into 11 administrative regions (Latium and Campania, Apulia and Calabria, Lucania and Bruttium, Samnium, Picenum, Umbria, Etruria, Cispadane Gaul, Liguria, Venetia and Istria, Transpadane Gaul). By that time, at the beginning of the Christian era, all of Italy had been thoroughly latinized, Roman citizenship was extended to all free Italians, an excellent system of roads had been built, and Italy, made tax exempt, shared fully in the wealth of Rome. Never since has Italy known an equal degree of prosperity or as long a period of peace. Christianity spread rapidly.

The Barbarian Invasions

Like the rest of the Roman Empire, Italy in the early 5th cent. A.D. began to be invaded by successive waves of barbarian tribes—the Germanic VisigothsVisigoths
(West Goths), division of the Goths, one of the most important groups of Germans. Having settled in the region W of the Black Sea in the 3d cent. A.D., the Goths soon split into two divisions, the Ostrogoths and the Visigoths.
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, the HunsHuns,
nomadic and pastoral people of unknown ethnological affinities who appeared in Europe in the 4th cent. A.D., and built up an empire there. They were organized in a predominantly military manner.
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, and the Germanic Heruli and OstrogothsOstrogoths
(East Goths), division of the Goths, one of the most important groups of the Germans. According to their own unproved tradition, the ancestors of the Goths were the Gotar of S Sweden. By the 3d cent. A.D., the Goths settled in the region N of the Black Sea.
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. The deposition (476) of Romulus Augustulus, the last Roman emperor of the West, and the assumption by OdoacerOdoacer
or Odovacar
, c.435–493, chieftain of the Heruli, the Sciri, and the Rugii (see Germans). He and his troops were mercenaries in the service of Rome, but in 476 the Heruli revolted and proclaimed Odoacer their king.
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 of the rule over Italy is commonly regarded as the end of the Roman Empire. However, the Eastern emperors, residing at Constantinople (see Byzantine EmpireByzantine Empire,
successor state to the Roman Empire (see under Rome), also called Eastern Empire and East Roman Empire. It was named after Byzantium, which Emperor Constantine I rebuilt (A.D. 330) as Constantinople and made the capital of the entire Roman Empire.
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), never renounced their claim to Italy and to succession to the West.

On the urging of Zeno, the Eastern emperor, the Ostrogoth Theodoric the GreatTheodoric the Great,
c.454–526, king of the Ostrogoths and conqueror of Italy, b. Pannonia. He spent part of his youth as a hostage in Constantinople. Elected king in 471 after his father's death, he became involved in intrigues in which he was by turns the ally and the
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 invaded Italy, took (493) RavennaRavenna
, city (1991 pop. 135,844), capital of Ravenna prov., in Emilia-Romagna, N central Italy, near the Adriatic Sea (with which it is connected by a canal). It is an agricultural market, canal port, and an important industrial center.
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 (which had replaced Rome as capital), killed Odoacer, and began a long and beneficent rule over Italy. Roman institutions were maintained with the help of scholars and administrators such as Boethius and Cassiodorus. After Theodoric's death (526), the murder (535) of the Gothic queen, AmalasunthaAmalasuntha
, d. 535, Ostrogothic queen in Italy (534–35), daughter of Theodoric the Great. After her father's death (526) she was regent for her son Athalaric. He died in 534, and she and her husband, Theodahad, became joint rulers of Italy.
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, was followed by the reconquest of Italy by Emperor Justinian IJustinian I
, 483–565, Byzantine emperor (527–65), nephew and successor of Justin I. He was responsible for much imperial policy during his uncle's reign. Soon after becoming emperor, Justinian instituted major administrative changes and tried to increase state
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 of the East and his generals, BelisariusBelisarius
, c.505–565, Byzantine general under Justinian I. After helping to suppress (532) the dangerous Nika riot (see Blues and Greens), he defeated (533–34) the Vandals of Africa, and captured their king.
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 and NarsesNarses
, c.478–c.573, Byzantine official and general, one of the eunuchs of the palace. He assisted in the suppression of the Nika riot (532) by bribing the Blues of the Circus (see Blues and Greens) to return their allegiance to Justinian I.
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. Except, however, in the exarchate of Ravenna, the Pentapolis (Rimini, Ancona, Fano, Pesaro, and Senigallia) on the central Adriatic coast, and the coast of S Italy, Byzantine rule was soon displaced by that of the LombardsLombards
, ancient Germanic people. By the 1st cent. A.D. the Lombards were settled along the lower Elbe. After obscure migrations they were allowed (547) by Byzantine Emperor Justinian I to settle in Pannonia and Noricum (modern Hungary and E Austria).
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, who under AlboinAlboin
, d. 572?, first Lombard king in Italy (569–572?). With the Avars he defeated the Gepidae (see Germans). He then led (568) an army across the Alps into Italy, took (569) Milan, and after a three-year siege conquered Pavia, which became his capital.
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 established (569) a new kingdom.

The papacy emerged as the chief bulwark of Latin civilization. Gregory IGregory I, Saint
(Saint Gregory the Great), c.540–604, pope (590–604), a Roman; successor of Pelagius II. A Doctor of the Church, he was distinguished for his spiritual and temporal leadership. His feast is celebrated on Mar. 12.
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 (reigned 590–604), without assistance from Byzantium, succeeded in saving Rome and the Patrimony of St. Peter from the Lombard conquest, thus laying the basis for the creation of the Papal StatesPapal States,
Ital. Lo Stato della Chiesa, from 754 to 1870 an independent territory under the temporal rule of the popes, also called the States of the Church and the Pontifical States. The territory varied in size at different times; in 1859 it included c.
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. At the same time, he effectively freed Rome from allegiance to the Byzantine conquerors.

The Lombards warded off Byzantine efforts at reconquest and in 751 took Ravenna; their advance on Rome resulted in the appeal of Pope Stephen II to Pepin the ShortPepin the Short
(Pepin III), c.714–768, first Carolingian king of the Franks (751–68), son of Charles Martel and father of Charlemagne. Succeeding his father as mayor of the palace (741), he ruled Neustria, Burgundy, and Provence, while his brother Carloman (d.
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, ruler of the Franks, who expelled the Lombards from the exarchate of Ravenna and from the Pentapolis, which he donated (754) to the pope. Pepin's intervention was followed by that of his son CharlemagneCharlemagne
(Charles the Great or Charles I) [O.Fr.,=Charles the great], 742?–814, emperor of the West (800–814), Carolingian king of the Franks (768–814).
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, who defeated the Lombard king, Desiderius, was crowned king of the Lombards, confirmed his father's donation to the papacy, and in 800 was crowned emperor of the West at Rome. These events shaped much of the later history of Italy and of the papacy. Among the direct results were the claim of later emperors to Italy and the temporal power of the popes.

Medieval Italy

In the divisions (9th cent.) of the Carolingian empire (see Verdun, Treaty ofVerdun, Treaty of,
the partition of Charlemagne's empire among three sons of Louis I, emperor of the West. It was concluded in 843 at Verdun on the Meuse or, possibly, Verdun-sur-le-Doubs, Soâne-et-Loire dept., E France.
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; Mersen, Treaty ofMersen, Treaty of,
870, redivision of the Carolingian empire by the sons of Louis I, Charles the Bald (later Charles II) of the West Franks (France) and Louis the German of the East Franks (Germany), signed at Mersen (Dutch Meersen), now in the Netherlands.
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), Italy passed to the successive emperors Lothair ILothair I
, 795–855, emperor of the West (840–55), son and successor of Louis I. In 817 his father crowned him coemperor. He was recrowned (823) at Rome by the pope and issued (824) a constitution, proclaiming his right to confirm papal elections.
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, Louis IILouis II,
d. 875, emperor of the West (855–75), king of Italy (844–75), son of Emperor of the West Lothair I. In 844, Lothair I designated him king of Italy and in 850 he was crowned emperor of the West in Rome.
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, and Charles IICharles II
or Charles the Bald,
823–77, emperor of the West (875–77) and king of the West Franks (843–77); son of Emperor Louis I by a second marriage.
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; however, their control was largely nominal. Under CarlomanCarloman
, d. 880, king of Bavaria, Carinthia, Pannonia, and Moravia (876–80) and of Italy (877–80), son of Louis the German and father of Arnulf, emperor of the West.
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 (d. 880) and Emperor Charles IIICharles III
or Charles the Fat,
839–88, emperor of the West (881–87), king of the East Franks (882–87), and king of the West Franks (884–87); son of Louis the German, at whose death he inherited Swabia (876).
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 (reigned 881–87), local power became increasingly strong in Italy. Emperor ArnulfArnulf
, c.850–899, Carolingian emperor (896–99), king of the East Franks (887–99), illegitimate son of Carloman of Bavaria. In 887 he led the rebellion of the kingdom of the East Franks (Germany) against his uncle, Carolingian Emperor Charles III, and was
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 (reigned 896–99) failed to reassert authority.

From 888 to 962 Italy was nominally ruled by a series of weak kings and emperors including Guy of Spoleto, Berengar I of Friuli, Louis III of Burgundy, and Berengar IIBerengar II
, d. 966, marquis of Ivrea. In 950 he made himself and his son joint kings of Italy, but his great unpopularity and his attempt to force Adelaide, his predecessor's widow, to marry his son, brought the intervention (951) of Otto I of Germany.
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 of Ivrea. The petty nobles were constantly feuding, and by the end of the period the papacy had sunk to its lowest point of degradation. The Magyars plundered N Italy, and in the south the Arabs seized (917) Sicily and raided the mainland. In 961, heeding an appeal by the pope for protection against Berengar II, the German king Otto IOtto I
or Otto the Great,
912–73, Holy Roman emperor (962–73) and German king (936–73), son and successor of Henry I of Germany. He is often regarded as the founder of the Holy Roman Empire.
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 invaded Italy. In 962 he was crowned emperor by the pope. This union of Italy and Germany marked the beginning of the Holy Roman EmpireHoly Roman Empire,
designation for the political entity that originated at the coronation as emperor (962) of the German king Otto I and endured until the renunciation (1806) of the imperial title by Francis II.
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Although the Alps had never prevented invaders from entering Italy, they did prevent the emperors from exercising effective control there. Again and again the emperors and German kings crossed the Alps to assert their authority; each time their authority virtually vanished when they left Italy. At best, their power was limited to the territories north of the Papal States. The popes, by exerting their influence and by arranging alliances with other powers, were important in frustrating imperial control.

Apulia and Calabria, after being briefly held again by the Byzantines, were conquered (11th cent.) by the Normans under Robert GuiscardRobert Guiscard
, c.1015–1085, Norman conqueror of S Italy, a son of Tancred de Hauteville (see Normans). Robert joined (c.1046) his brothers in S Italy and fought with them to expel the Byzantines.
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 and his successors, who also wrested Sicily from the Arabs and established the Norman kingdom of Sicily. In central and N Italy, the prevailing chaos was increased by the conflict between the emperors and the popes over investitureinvestiture,
in feudalism, ceremony by which an overlord transferred a fief to a vassal or by which, in ecclesiastical law, an elected cleric received the pastoral ring and staff (the symbols of spiritual office) signifying the transfer of the office.
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 and by the contested succession to Tuscany after the death (1115) of Countess MatildaMatilda,
1046–1115, countess of Tuscany, called the Great Countess; supporter of Pope Gregory VII in the papal conflict with the Holy Roman emperors. Ruling over Tuscany and parts of Emilia-Romagna and Umbria, she controlled the most powerful feudal state in central Italy.
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. Because the many petty lords were independent of imperial authority and because the cities gradually gained control over these lords, feudalismfeudalism
, form of political and social organization typical of Western Europe from the dissolution of Charlemagne's empire to the rise of the absolute monarchies. The term feudalism is derived from the Latin feodum,
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 did not gain a firm foothold in central and N Italy. However, in the south the Norman kings and their successors, the HohenstaufenHohenstaufen
, German princely family, whose name is derived from the castle of Staufen built in 1077 by a Swabian count, Frederick. In 1079, Frederick married Agnes, daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV, and was created duke of Swabia.
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 and AngevinAngevin
[Fr.,=of Anjou], name of two medieval dynasties originating in France. The first ruled over parts of France and over Jerusalem and England; the second ruled over parts of France and over Naples, Hungary, and Poland, with a claim to Jerusalem.
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 dynasties, firmly entrenched the feudal system, the worst features of which were later perpetuated by the Spanish rulers of Naples and Sicily. Thus, the great difference in social and economic structure between N and S Italy, which continued well into the 20th cent., can be traced back to the 11th cent.

The Rise of Cities

The characteristic development in central and N Italy was the rise of the city (see communecommune
, in medieval history, collective institution that developed in continental Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. Because of the importance of the commune in municipal government, the term is also used to denote a town itself to which a charter of liberties was
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 and city-statecity-state,
in ancient Greece, Italy, and Medieval Europe, an independent political unit consisting of a city and surrounding countryside. The first city-states were in Sumer, but they reached their peak in Greece.
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), beginning in the 10th cent. The rise was partly political in origin—the burghers were drawing together to protect themselves from the nobles—and partly economic—contact with the Muslim world was making the Italian merchants the middlemen and the Italian cities the entrepôts of Western Europe. The survival of Roman institutions and the example of the commune of Rome facilitated the process.

To protect their commerce and their industries (particularly the wool industry) cities grouped together in leagues, which often were at war with each other. The leagues were particularly strong in Lombardy. The attempt by Emperor Frederick IFrederick I
or Frederick Barbarossa
[Ital.,=red beard], c.1125–90, Holy Roman emperor (1155–90) and German king (1152–90), son of Frederick of Hohenstaufen, duke of Swabia, nephew and successor of Holy Roman Emperor Conrad III.
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 to impose imperial authority on some cities led to the formation of the Lombard LeagueLombard League,
an alliance formed in 1167 among the communes of Lombardy to resist Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I when he attempted to assert his imperial authority in Lombardy. Previously the communes had been divided, some favoring the emperor and others favoring the pope.
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, which defeated the emperor in 1176. Rivalry among the cities, however, prevented the formation of any union strong enough to consolidate even a part of Italy. In the 13th cent. the struggle between Emperor Frederick IIFrederick II,
1194–1250, Holy Roman emperor (1220–50) and German king (1212–20), king of Sicily (1197–1250), and king of Jerusalem (1229–50), son of Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI and of Constance, heiress of Sicily.
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 and the papacy divided the cities and nobles into two strong parties, the Guelphs and GhibellinesGuelphs and Ghibellines
, opposing political factions in Germany and in Italy during the later Middle Ages. The names were used to designate the papal (Guelph) party and the imperial (Ghibelline) party during the long struggle between popes and emperors, and they were also used
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. Their fratricidal warfare continued long after the death (1250) of Frederick, which marked the virtual demise of imperial rule in Italy and the ascendancy of the papacy. In 1268, Frederick's grandson, Conradin, was executed at Naples, thus ending Hohenstaufen aspirations.

The factional strife led to the rise of despots in some cities. These despots, who were of noble or bourgeois origin, were generally factional leaders, who, having obtained the magistracy, made it hereditary. Some of them managed to restore order in the cities. In many cities, however, the republican institutions were upheld with little interruption. In other cities, dynasties were established and invested (14th and 15th cent.) with titles by the emperors, who still claimed suzerainty over N Italy. The most powerful princes (e.g., the ViscontiVisconti
, Italian family that ruled Milan from the 13th cent. until 1447. In the 12th cent. members of the family received the title of viscount, from which the name is derived.
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 and SforzaSforza
, Italian family that ruled the duchy of Milan from 1450 to 1535. Rising from peasant origins, the Sforzas became condottieri and used this military position to become rulers in Milan. The family governed by force, ruse, and power politics.
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 of Milan, the GonzagaGonzaga
, Italian princely house that ruled Mantua (1328–1708), Montferrat (1536–1708), and Guastalla (1539–1746). The family name is derived from the castle of Gonzaga, a village near Mantua.
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 of Mantua, the EsteEste
, Italian noble family, rulers of Ferrara (1240–1597) and of Modena (1288–1796) and celebrated patrons of the arts during the Renaissance. Probably of Lombard origin, they took their name from the castle of Este, near Padua.
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 of Ferrara, and the dukes of SavoySavoy, house of,
dynasty of Western Europe that ruled Savoy and Piedmont from the 11th cent., the kingdom of Sicily from 1714 to 1718, the kingdom of Sardinia from 1720 to 1861, and the kingdom of Italy from 1861 to 1946.
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) and the most powerful republics (e.g., Florence, Venice, and Genoa) tended to increase their territories at the expense of weaker neighbors. The cities in the Papal States passed under local tyrants during the Babylonian captivity of the popes at Avignon (1309–78) and during the Great Schism (1378–1417).

By the end of the 15th cent. Italy had fallen into the following chief component parts: in the south, the kingdoms of Sicily and Naples, torn by the rival claims of the French Angevin dynasty and the Spanish house of Aragón; in central Italy, the Papal States, the republics of Siena, Florence, and Lucca, and the cities of Bologna, Forlì, Rimini, and Faenza (only nominally subject to the pope); in the north, the duchies of Ferrara and Modena, Mantua, Milan, and Savoy. The two great merchant republics, Venice and Genoa, with their far-flung possessions, colonies, and outposts, were distinct in character and outlook from the rest of Italy.

Constant warfare among these many states resulted in political turmoil, but did little to diminish their wealth or to hinder their cultural output. The wars were generally fought in a desultory manner by hired bands led by professional commanders (see condottierecondottiere
[Ital.,=leader], leader of mercenary soldiers in Italy in the 14th and 15th cent., when wars were almost incessant there. The condottieri hired and paid the bands who fought under them.
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). Compared to the Black Death, the plague that ravaged Italy in 1348, the local wars did little harm. Material prosperity had been furthered considerably by the Crusades; by the expanding trade with the Middle East; and by the rise of great banking firms, notably in Genoa, in Lucca, and in Florence (where the MediciMedici
, Italian family that directed the destinies of Florence from the 15th cent. until 1737. Of obscure origin, they rose to immense wealth as merchants and bankers, became affiliated through marriage with the major houses of Europe, and, besides acquiring (1569) the title
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 rose from bankers to dukes). The prosperity facilitated the great cultural flowering of the Italian Renaissance, which permanently changed the civilization of Western Europe.

Political Disintegration and Rebirth

The Renaissance reached its peak in the late 15th cent. Meanwhile, Italy's political independence was threatened by the growing nations of France, Spain, and Austria. Quarrels among Italian states invited foreign intervention. The invasion (1494) of Italy by Charles VIIICharles VIII,
1470–98, king of France (1483–98), son and successor of Louis XI. He first reigned under the regency of his sister Anne de Beaujeu. After his marriage (1491) to Anne of Brittany, he freed himself from the influence of the regency and prepared to conquer
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 of France marked the beginning of the Italian WarsItalian Wars,
1494–1559, series of regional wars brought on by the efforts of the great European powers to control the small independent states of Italy. Renaissance Italy was split into numerous rival states, most of which sought foreign alliances to increase their
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, which ended in 1559 with most of Italy subjected to Spanish rule or influence. Early in the wars, in which France and Spain were the main contenders for supremacy in Italy, several Italian statesmen, notably MachiavelliMachiavelli, Niccolò
, 1469–1527, Italian author and statesman, one of the outstanding figures of the Renaissance, b. Florence. Life

A member of the impoverished branch of a distinguished family, he entered (1498) the political service of the
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, came to the belief that only unity could save Italy from foreign domination. Pope Julius IIJulius II,
1443–1513, pope (1503–13), an Italian named Giuliano della Rovere, b. Savona; successor of Pius III. His uncle Sixtus IV gave him many offices and created him cardinal.
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 consolidated the Papal States, but his Holy LeagueHoly League,
in Italian history, alliance formed (1510–11) by Pope Julius II during the Italian Wars for the purpose of expelling Louis XII of France from Italy, thereby consolidating papal power.
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, devised (1510) to drive out the French, failed to create a wider Italian unity.

After 1519 the Italian Wars became part of the European struggle between Francis IFrancis I,
1494–1547, king of France (1515–47), known as Francis of Angoulême before he succeeded his cousin and father-in-law, King Louis XII. Wars with the Holy Roman Emperor
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 of France and Emperor Charles VCharles V,
1500–1558, Holy Roman emperor (1519–58) and, as Charles I, king of Spain (1516–56); son of Philip I and Joanna of Castile, grandson of Ferdinand II of Aragón, Isabella of Castile, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, and Mary of Burgundy.
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. By the Treaty of Cateau-CambrésisCateau-Cambrésis, Treaty of
, 1559, concluded at Le Cateau, France, by representatives of Henry II of France, Philip II of Spain, and Elizabeth I of England. It put an end to the 60-year conflict between France and Spain, begun with the Italian Wars, in which Henry VIII
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 (1559), Spain gained the kingdoms of Sicily and Naples and the duchy of Milan. Foreign domination continued with the War of the Spanish SuccessionSpanish Succession, War of the,
1701–14, last of the general European wars caused by the efforts of King Louis XIV to extend French power. The conflict in America corresponding to the period of the War of the Spanish Succession was known as Queen Anne's War (see French and
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 (1701–14; see also Utrecht, Peace ofUtrecht, Peace of,
series of treaties that concluded the War of the Spanish Succession. It put an end to French expansion and signaled the rise of the British Empire. By the treaty between England and France (Apr.
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) and the War of the Polish SuccessionPolish Succession, War of the,
1733–35. On the death (1733) of Augustus II of Poland, Stanislaus I sought to reascend the Polish throne. He was supported by his son-in-law, Louis XV of France.
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 (1733–35). By 1748, Naples, Sicily, and the duchies of Parma and Piacenza had passed to branches of the Spanish Bourbons, and the duchies of Milan, Mantua, Tuscany, and Modena to Austria. Remaining independent were the Papal States, the declining republics of Venice, Genoa, and Lucca, and the kingdom of Sardinia (see Sardinia, kingdom ofSardinia, kingdom of,
name given to the possessions of the house of Savoy (see Savoy, house of) in 1720, when the island of Sardinia was awarded (by the Treaty of London) to Duke Victor Amadeus II of Savoy to compensate him for the loss of Sicily to Austria.
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), created in 1720 by the union of Piedmont, Savoy, and Sardinia under the house of Savoy.

These centuries of political weakness were also a period of economic decline. The center of European trade shifted away from the Mediterranean, and commerce and industry suffered from the mercantilist policies of the European states. Taxes rose under Spanish rule, the amount of land under cultivation declined, the population decreased, and brigandage increased. Nevertheless, Italy continued to have considerable influence on European culture, especially in architecture and music. Yet to subsequent generations in Italy (especially in the 19th cent.), preoccupied with the concepts of national independence and political power, the political condition of 18th-century Italy represented national degradation. The French Revolution rekindled Italian national aspirations, and the French Revolutionary WarsFrench Revolutionary Wars,
wars occurring in the era of the French Revolution and the beginning of the Napoleonic era, the decade of 1792–1802. The wars began as an effort to defend the Revolution and developed into wars of conquest under the empire.
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 swept away the political institutions of 18th-century Italy.

Napoleonic Triumph and the Rebirth of Italy

General Bonaparte (later Napoleon INapoleon I
, 1769–1821, emperor of the French, b. Ajaccio, Corsica, known as "the Little Corporal." Early Life

The son of Carlo and Letizia Bonaparte (or Buonaparte; see under Bonaparte, family), young Napoleon was sent (1779) to French military schools at
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), who defeated Sardinian and Austrian armies in his Italian campaign of 1796–97, was at first acclaimed by most Italians. Napoleon redrew the Italian map several times. Extensive land reforms were carried out, especially in N Italy. The Cispadane and Transpadane republics, established in 1796, were united (1797) as the Cisalpine RepublicCisalpine Republic
, Italian state created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1797 by uniting the Transpadane and Cispadane republics, which he had established (1796) N and S of the Po River.
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, recognized in the Treaty of Campo FormioCampo Formio, Treaty of
, Oct., 1797, peace treaty between France and Austria, signed near Campo Formio, a village near Udine, NE Italy, then in Venetia. It marked the end of the early phases of the French Revolutionary Wars.
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 (1797). In 1802 the Cisalpine Republic, comprising Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna, was renamed the Italian Republic; in 1805 it became the kingdom of Italy (enlarged by the addition of Venetia), with Napoleon as king and Eugène de BeauharnaisBeauharnais, Eugène de
, 1781–1824, French general; son of Alexandre and Josephine de Beauharnais (Empress Josephine). He served ably in the campaigns of his stepfather, Napoleon I, distinguishing himself at Marengo and Lützen, where he rallied the outnumbered
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 as viceroy.

From 1795 to 1812, Savoy, Piedmont, Liguria, Tuscany, Parma, and the Papal States were annexed by France. In 1806, Joseph BonaparteBonaparte
, Ital. Buonaparte , family name of Napoleon I, emperor of the French. Parentage

Napoleon's father, Carlo Buonaparte, 1746–85, a petty Corsican nobleman, was a lawyer in Ajaccio.
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 was made king of Naples; he was replaced in 1808 by Joachim MuratMurat, Joachim
, 1767–1815, marshal of France, king of Naples (1808–15). He left his theological studies to enter the army and fought in Egypt under Napoleon, whom he helped (1799) in the coup of 18 Brumaire.
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, Napoleon's brother-in-law. Sardinia remained under the house of Savoy and Sicily under the Bourbons. Napoleon's failure to unite Italy and to give it self-government disappointed Italian patriots, some of whom formed secret revolutionary societies such as the CarbonariCarbonari
[Ital.,=charcoal burners], members of a secret society that flourished in Italy, Spain, and France early in the 19th cent. Possibly derived from Freemasonry, the society originated in the kingdom of Naples in the reign of Murat (1808–15) and drew its members from
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, which later played a vital role in Italian unification.

The Congress of Vienna (1814–15) generally restored the pre-Napoleonic status quo and the old ruling families. However, Venetia was united with Lombardy as the Lombardo-Venetian kingdom under the Austrian crown, and Liguria passed to Sardinia. Naples and Sicily were united (1816) as the kingdom of the Two SiciliesTwo Sicilies, kingdom of the.
The name Two Sicilies was used in the Middle Ages to mean the kingdoms of Sicily and of Naples (see Sicily and Naples, kingdom of). Alfonso V of Aragón, who in 1442 reunited the two kingdoms under his rule, styled himself king of the Two
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. Austrian influence became paramount in Italy. Nevertheless, the efforts of Metternich and of the Holy Alliance (e.g., in quelling insurrections in Naples and in Palermo) could not suppress the nationalist movement. The RisorgimentoRisorgimento
[Ital.,=resurgence], in 19th-century Italian history, period of cultural nationalism and of political activism, leading to unification of Italy. Roots of the Risorgimento
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, as the movement for unification was called, included three groups: the radicals, led by MazziniMazzini, Giuseppe
, 1805–72, Italian patriot and revolutionist, an outstanding figure of the Risorgimento. His youth was spent in literary and philosophical studies. He early joined the Carbonari, was imprisoned briefly, and went into exile.
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, who sought to create a republic; the moderate liberals, who regarded the house of Savoy as the agency for unification; and the Roman Catholic conservatives, who desired a confederation under the presidency of the pope. In 1848–49, there were several short-lived revolutionary outbreaks, notably in Naples, Venice, Tuscany, Rome, and the kingdom of Sardinia (whose new liberal constitution survived).

Unification was ultimately achieved under the house of Savoy, largely through the efforts of CavourCavour, Camillo Benso, conte di
, 1810–61, Italian statesman, premier (1852–59, 1860–61) of the Kingdom of Sardinia. The active force behind King Victor Emmanuel II, he was responsible more than any other man for the unification of Italy under the house of
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, GaribaldiGaribaldi, Giuseppe
, 1807–82, Italian patriot and soldier, a leading figure in the Risorgimento. He remains perhaps the most popular of all Italian heroes of the Risorgimento, and a great revolutionary hero in the Western world.
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, and Victor Emmanuel IIVictor Emmanuel II,
1820–78, king of Sardinia (1849–61) and first king of united Italy (1861–78). He fought in the war of 1848–49 against Austrian rule in Lombardy-Venetia and ascended the throne when his father, Charles Albert, abdicated after the defeat
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, who became king of Italy in 1861. At that time, the kingdom of Italy did not include Venetia, Rome, and part of the Papal States. By siding against Austria in the Austro-Prussian WarAustro-Prussian War
or Seven Weeks War,
June 15–Aug. 23, 1866, between Prussia, allied with Italy, and Austria, seconded by Bavaria, Württemberg, Saxony, Hanover, Baden, and several smaller German states.
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 of 1866, Italy obtained Venetia. To Napoleon IIINapoleon III
(Louis Napoleon Bonaparte), 1808–73, emperor of the French (1852–70), son of Louis Bonaparte (see under Bonaparte, family), king of Holland. Early Life
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 of France, who had helped Sardinia defeat Austria in 1859, Sardinia had ceded Nice and Savoy. The protectorate of Napoleon III over the Papal States delayed the Italian annexation of the city of Rome until 1870. Relations between the Italian government and the papacy, which refused to concede the loss of its temporal power, remained a major problem until 1929, when the Lateran TreatyLateran Treaty,
concordat between the Holy See and the kingdom of Italy signed in 1929 in the Lateran Palace, Rome, by Cardinal Gasparri for Pius XI and by Benito Mussolini for Victor Emmanuel III. One of the important negotiators was Cardinal Pacelli, later Pope Pius XII.
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 made the pope sovereign within Vatican City. After 1870, Austria still retained areas with largely Italian populations (e.g., S Tyrol and Trieste); Italian agitation for their annexation (see irredentismirredentism
, originally, the Italian nationalist movement for the annexation to Italy of territories—Italia irredenta [unredeemed Italy]—inhabited by an Italian majority but retained by Austria after 1866.
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) went unfulfilled until World War I.

1861 to the Rise of Fascism

From 1861 until the Fascist dictatorship (1922–43) of Benito Mussolini, Italy was governed under the liberal constitution adopted by Sardinia in 1848. The reigns of Victor Emmanuel II (1861–78) and Humbert IHumbert I,
1844–1900, king of Italy (1878–1900), son and successor of Victor Emmanuel II. A soldier by training, Humbert showed interest primarily in military affairs and foreign policy, and early expectations of his tolerance and liberalism were largely unfulfilled.
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 (1878–1900), and the first half of the reign of Victor Emmanuel IIIVictor Emmanuel III,
1869–1947, king of Italy (1900–1946), emperor of Ethiopia (1936–43), king of Albania (1939–43), son and successor of Humbert I. In 1896 he married Princess Helena of Montenegro.
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 (1900–1946) were marked by moderate social and political reforms and by some industrial expansion in N Italy (mainly in the 20th cent.). Periodic social unrest was caused by the dislocations attending industrialization and by occasional economic depression. In the underdeveloped south, rapid population growth led to mass emigration, both to the industrial centers of N Italy and to the Americas.

The outstanding statesmen of the pre-Fascist period were Agostino DepretisDepretis, Agostino
, 1813–87, Italian premier. An early supporter of the revolutionary Giuseppe Mazzini, he entered the Sardinian parliament after 1848 and was a leader of the opposition to Camillo Benso di Cavour.
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, Francesco CrispiCrispi, Francesco
, 1819–1901, Italian premier (1887–91, 1893–96), b. Sicily. After participation in the Sicilian revolt of 1848 against the repressive rule of Ferdinand II of Sicily, he went into exile to Piedmont, then to Malta and England, where he met
..... Click the link for more information.
, and Giovanni GiolittiGiolitti, Giovanni
, 1842–1928, Italian public official, five times premier (1892–93, 1903–5, 1906–9, 1911–14, 1920–21). He entered parliament in 1882 and served (1889–90) as minister of finance before becoming premier.
..... Click the link for more information.
. Colonial expansion was emphasized under Crispi, but was otherwise sporadic. A severe setback to Italian colonial aspirations was the establishment (1881) of a French protectorate over TunisiaTunisia
, Fr. Tunisie, officially Republic of Tunisia, republic (2015 est. pop. 11,274,000), 63,378 sq mi (164,150 sq km), NW Africa. Occupying the eastern portion of the great bulge of North Africa, Tunisia is bounded on the west by Algeria, on the north and east by the
..... Click the link for more information.
; it was an important motive for the conclusion (1882) of Italy's alliance with Germany and Austria (see Triple Alliance and Triple EntenteTriple Alliance and Triple Entente
, two international combinations of states that dominated the diplomatic history of Western Europe from 1882 until they came into armed conflict in World War I.
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). Later, Italy acquired part of Somaliland in 1889 and Eritrea in 1890, but further advances in NE Africa were checked by the Ethiopian victory (1896) at AdwaAdwa
, Aduwa,
or Adowa
, Ital. Adua, town (1994 pop. 24,519), Tigray region, N Ethiopia. Lying on the highway between Aksum and Adigrat, Adwa is an agricultural trade center. Adwa was the most important commercial center of Tigray in the 19th cent.
..... Click the link for more information.
. Libya and the Dodecanese were conquered in the Italo-Turkish War (1911–12).

In World War I, Italy at first remained neutral. After the Allies offered substantial territorial rewards, Italy denounced the Triple Alliance and entered (1915) the war on the Allied side. Although the Italians initially suffered serious reverses, they won (1918) a great victory at Vittorio VenetoVittorio Veneto
, town (1991 pop. 29,231), Venetia, NE Italy, in the Alpine foothills. It is a secondary industrial and commercial center and a spa. There, in Oct.–Nov.
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, which was followed by the surrender of Austria-Hungary. At the Paris Peace Conference, Italy obtained S Tyrol, Trieste, Istria, part of Carniola, and several of the Dalmatian islands. Italian possession of the Dodecanese was confirmed. However, these terms granted far less than the Allies had secretly promised in 1915. Italian discontent was evident in the seizure (1919) of Fiume (see RijekaRijeka
or Fiume
, city (2011 pop. 128,624), W Croatia, on the Adriatic Sea and the Gulf of Quarnero. Croatia's largest seaport, the city's industries include shipbuilding, oil refining, paper milling, and engine building. The city's air port is on nearby Krk island.
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) by a nationalist band led by Gabriele D'AnnunzioD'Annunzio, Gabriele
1863–1938, Italian poet, novelist, dramatist, and soldier, b. Pescara. He went to Rome in 1881 and there began his literary career. Considered by some to be the greatest Italian poet since Dante, he expressed in many of his works the desire to live in
..... Click the link for more information.

Within Italy, political and social unrest increased, furthering the growth of Fascism. The Fascist leader (Ital. Il Duce) MussoliniMussolini, Benito
, 1883–1945, Italian dictator and leader of the Fascist movement. Early Career

His father, an ardent Socialist, was a blacksmith; his mother was a teacher.
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, promising the restoration of social order and of political greatness, directed (Oct. 27, 1922) a successful march on Rome and was made premier by the king. Granted dictatorial powers, Mussolini quashed opposition to the state (especially that of socialists and Communists), regimented the press and the schools, imposed controls on industry and labor, and created a corporative statecorporative state,
economic system inaugurated by the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini in Italy. It was adapted in modified form under other European dictatorships, among them Adolf Hitler's National Socialist regime in Germany and the Spanish regime of Francisco Franco.
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 controlled by the Fascist party and the militia. The Fascist economic program as a whole was a failure, but some programs of lasting value (e.g., the draining of the Pontine marshes and the construction of a network of superhighways) were undertaken. The problems caused by an increasing population were aggravated by drastic immigration restrictions in the United States and by the economic depression of the 1930s.

World War II

Mussolini followed an aggressive foreign policy, and after 1935 he turned increasingly to militarist and imperialist solutions to Italy's problems. Italy conquered EthiopiaEthiopia
, officially Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, republic (2015 est. pop. 99,873,000), 471,776 sq mi (1,221,900 sq km), NE Africa. It borders on Eritrea in the north, on Djibouti in the northeast, on Somalia in the east and southeast, on Kenya in the south, and on
..... Click the link for more information.
 in 1935–36, easily overcoming the ineffective sanctions imposed by the League of Nations (from which Italy withdrew in 1937). At the same time, Italy drew closer to Nazi Germany and to Japan; in 1936, Italy formed an entente with Germany (see AxisAxis,
coalition of countries headed by Germany, Italy, and Japan, 1936–45 (see World War II). The expression "Rome-Berlin axis" originated in Oct., 1936, with an accord reached by Hitler and Mussolini. The Axis was solidified by an Italo-German alliance in May, 1939.
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). Italy intervened on the Insurgent side in the Spanish civil war (1936–39), and in 1939 it seized AlbaniaAlbania
, Albanian Shqipëria or Shqipnija, officially Republic of Albania, republic (2015 est. pop. 2,923,000), 11,101 sq mi (28,752 sq km), SE Europe.
..... Click the link for more information.

At the outbreak of World War II, Italy assumed a neutral stance friendly to Germany, but in June, 1940, it declared war on collapsing France and on Great Britain. In 1940, Italian forces were active in North Africa (see North Africa, campaigns inNorth Africa, campaigns in,
series of military contests for control of North Africa during World War II. The desert war started in 1940 and for more than two years thereafter seesawed between NE Libya and NW Egypt.
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) and attacked Greece; however, they were unsuccessful until German troops came to their aid in early 1941. Later in 1941, Italy declared war on the Soviet Union and on the United States. Soon Italy suffered major reverses, and by July, 1943, it had lost its African possessions, its army was shattered, Sicily was falling to U.S. troops, and Italian cities (especially ports) were being bombed by the Allies.

In July, 1943, discontent among Italians culminated in the rebellion of the Fascist grand council against Mussolini, Mussolini's dismissal by Victor Emmanuel III, the appointment of BadoglioBadoglio, Pietro
, 1871–1956, Italian soldier and public official. After serving in World War I, he was governor of Libya (1929–33) and succeeded Gen. Emilio de Bono as commander in chief in the Ethiopian conquest, which he brought (1936) to a victorious end.
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 as premier, and the dissolution of the Fascist party. In Sept., 1943, Italy surrendered unconditionally to the Allies, while German forces quickly occupied N and central Italy. Aided by the Germans, Mussolini escaped from prison and established a puppet republic in N Italy. Meanwhile, the Badoglio government declared war on Germany, and Italy was recognized by the Allies as a cobelligerent. The Allied Italian campaign was a slow, grueling, and costly struggle (see CassinoCassino
, town (1991 pop. 32,787), in Latium, central Italy, in the Apennines, on the Rapido River. It is a commercial and agricultural center, and the site of a Fiat auto assembly plant. The peace between Emperor Frederick II and Pope Gregory IX was signed there in 1230.
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; AnzioAnzio
, Lat. Antium, town (1991 pop. 33,497), in Latium, central Italy, on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is a seaside resort with a fishing industry. A Volscian town, it was captured by Rome in 341 B.C. and became a favorite resort of the Romans.
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). The fall of Rome (July, 1944) was followed by a stalemate. In Apr., 1945, partisans captured and summarily executed Mussolini. In May, 1945, the Germans surrendered.

After the war, Italy's borders were established by the peace treaty of 1947, which assigned several small Alpine districts (see Brigue and TendeBrigue and Tende
, Ital. Briga and Tenda, two small districts, Alpes-Maritimes dept., SE France, on the French-Italian border. The districts are on the "Route Royal," opened in 1780, which links Nice with Turin.
..... Click the link for more information.
) to France; the Dodecanese to Greece; and Trieste, Istria, part of Venezia Giulia, and several Adriatic islands to Yugoslavia (now in Slovenia and Croatia) and to the Free Territory of Trieste. In 1954, Trieste and its environs were returned to Italy. As a result of the war, Italy also lost its colonies of Libya, Eritrea, and Italian Somaliland.

Postwar Italy

In 1944 the unpopular Badoglio cabinet had resigned, and thereafter various coalition cabinets followed each other until Dec., 1945, when Alcide De GasperiDe Gasperi, Alcide
, 1881–1954, Italian premier and a founder of the Christian Democratic party. Born in the Trentino—then under Austria—he represented Italian irredentists in the Austrian parliament and after the transfer of the Trentino to Italy at the end of
..... Click the link for more information.
, a Christian Democrat, became premier. De Gasperi remained an important influence on Italian politics until his death in 1954. In May, 1946, Victor Emmanuel abdicated, having previously transferred his powers to his son, Humbert IIHumbert II,
1904–83, last king of Italy (1946), son and successor of Victor Emmanuel III. On the abdication (May, 1946) of his father, who was tainted by his long acquiescence (1922–43) to Fascist rule, Humbert succeeded to the throne, pending a referendum on the
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. After a month's rule, Humbert was exiled when the Italians in a plebiscite voted by a small majority to make the country a republic. A new republican constitution went into effect on Jan. 1, 1948.

Following the war, Italy became firmly tied to the West, joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949 and the European Economic Community (now the European Union) in 1958. It was admitted to the United Nations in 1955. In internal politics, Italy's Christian Democrats, Communists, and Socialists emerged from the war as the chief parties. The split of the Socialists into the majority Socialists (the left wing) and the minority Social Democrats (the right wing) enabled the Christian Democrats to maintain power at the head of successive coalition governments with the Social Democrats (until 1959) and other center parties and to exclude the Communists from the government. However, in the postwar years the Communists dominated the local politics of Tuscany, Umbria, and Emilia-Romagna.

In 1962, Premier Amintore FanfaniFanfani, Amintore
, 1908–99, Italian political leader, a Christian Democrat. A noted scholar, he held several cabinet posts after World War II and was secretary of the Christian Democratic party from 1954 to 1959.
..... Click the link for more information.
, a Christian Democrat, formed a center-left coalition with a cabinet that again included the Social Democrats, as well as the parliamentary support of the Socialist party, led by Pietro NenniNenni, Pietro
, 1891–1980, Italian journalist and political leader. He was imprisoned in 1911 for his participation in the protest movement against the Italo-Turkish war in Libya.
..... Click the link for more information.
. However, Fanfani's government fell after general elections in 1963 and there was considerable uncertainty before Aldo MoroMoro, Aldo
, 1916–78, Italian political leader. A lawyer, he entered national politics in 1946, when he was elected to the constituent assembly as a member of the Christian Democratic party.
..... Click the link for more information.
, also a Christian Democrat, was able to form a center-left coalition in late 1963. The Moro government fell in 1964 and in 1966, but on each occasion was re-formed after a brief hiatus. In late 1966, N and central Italy suffered severe flooding, with resulting damage to art treasures and libraries, especially in Florence.

The Continuing Political Seesaw

Beginning in the late 1960s, there was considerable industrial unrest in the country as workers demanded higher wages and better social services. Following the general elections of May, 1968, the Moro government fell again and a government crisis began that was only ended in Dec., 1968, when Mariano RumorRumor, Mariano,
1915–90, Italian politician. A Christian Democrat, he was premier (1968–69, 1969–70, 1973–74) and foreign minister (1974–76). He was mentioned (1976) in the Lockheed Corp. bribery scandal and narrowly avoided indictment.
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, a Christian Democrat, formed a coalition government with Socialist support. After Rumor's coalition fell for a third time in July, 1970, he was replaced as premier by Emilio ColomboColombo, Emilio
, 1920–2013, Italian political leader. He was elected a member of the constituent assembly in 1946 and a parliamentary deputy for the Christian Democratic party in 1948.
..... Click the link for more information.
, also a Christian Democrat.

Colombo resigned in Jan., 1972. After a long period of crisis, Giulio AndreottiAndreotti, Giulio
, 1919–2013, Italian political leader. A leading member of the Christian Democratic party, Andreotti held a variety of ministerial posts throughout the 1950s and 60s and first served as premier in 1972–73.
..... Click the link for more information.
, also a Christian Democrat, formed a new coalition government in June, 1972; for the first time in 10 years, the government had a center-right, rather than a center-left, character. But this combination also did not last long and was replaced (July, 1973) by a slightly left-of-center coalition headed by Rumor. In Mar., 1974, Rumor resigned, but he soon formed another center-left cabinet, the 36th government since the fall of Mussolini in 1943. In mid-1974, Italy faced an economic crisis; an austerity program was initiated in an attempt to reduce the soaring inflation rate and the overwhelming foreign trade deficit. Rumor's administration resigned again in October and was replaced by Moro.

Many other governments followed but had little success dealing with economic decline, corruption, and lawlessness. Growing popular dissatisfaction with Italy's chaotic political situation helped the Communists achieve a measure of participation in the government coalition in 1977. The extreme left and right, excluded by the coalition between Christian Democrats and Communists, accounted for a steady increase in political violence that terrorized politicians, businessmen, intellectuals, and members of the judiciary. In 1978 former premier Moro was kidnapped and murdered by the Red Brigade, a left-wing terrorist group.

Center-left coalitions dominated by the Christian Democrats continued to hold power until 1983, when the republic's first Socialist-led coalition took power under Premier Bettino CraxiCraxi, Bettino
, 1934–99, Italian political leader. Craxi joined the Italian Socialist party in 1957, eventually becoming deputy secretary (1970) and general secretary (1976).
..... Click the link for more information.
. The continuing sluggishness of the economy caused Craxi to institute another austerity budget, which included tax increases, service cuts, and wage adjustments. Craxi led the government for four years, until he resigned in 1987 and was replaced by Christian Democrat Giovanni GoriaGoria, Giovanni,
1943–94, Italian political leader, premier of Italy (1987–88). A Christian Democrat, he was first elected to parliament in 1976. Goria served as treasury minister (1982–87), budget minister (1987), agriculture minister (1991–92), and
..... Click the link for more information.
. Ciriaco De MitaDe Mita, Ciriaco Luigi,
1928–, Italian political leader, premier of Italy (1988–89). A Christian Democrat for most of his political career, he was a member of parliament (1963–94, 1996–2008) and served as industry minister (1973–74), foreign trade
..... Click the link for more information.
 succeeded Goria in 1988, and was himself succeeded in 1989 by Giulio Andreotti, who at the age of 70 became premier for the sixth time. In 1991 the Italian Communist party changed its name to the Democratic Party of the Left. In the 1992 elections the Christian Democrats barely maintained their coalition with the Socialists, the Liberals, and the Social Democrats. Socialist Giuliano AmatoAmato, Giuliano,
1938–, Italian lawyer and political leader, premier of Italy (1992–93, 2000–2001), b. Turin. He has taught at several universities, including Sapienza Univ. of Rome (1975–97).
..... Click the link for more information.
 was named premier.

Corruption probes, begun in 1992 and headed by Amato, led to the arrest of hundreds of business and political figures and the investigation of many others, including several party leaders and former premiers. In 1993 Premier Amato resigned and Carlo Azeglio CiampiCiampi, Carlo Azeglio,
1920–2016, Italian banker and political leader, b. Livorno, grad. Scuola Normale Superiore de Pisa (1941), Univ. of Pisa (1946). He joined the Bank of Italy (1946) and worked in its central administration beginning in 1960, eventually becoming its
..... Click the link for more information.
, head of Italy's central bank, succeeded him. In addition, legislation largely ending proportional representation in parliament was passed. The Christian Democratic party changed its name to the Italian Popular party in 1994, but after a split in 1995, the center-right faction became the United Christian Democratic party.

In new elections in Mar., 1994, a coalition of conservatives and neofascists won a majority in parliament. Billionaire industrialist Silvio BerlusconiBerlusconi, Silvio
, 1936–, Italian business executive and politician, premier (1994; 2001–6, 2008–11) of Italy, b. Milan. His first fortune was made in real estate during the 1960s.
..... Click the link for more information.
 of the fledgling conservative party Forza Italia became premier, but his coalition government disintegrated in Dec. It was succeeded by a "nonpolitical" center-left government under Lamberto Dini, and then, after elections in Apr., 1996, by a center-left government under Romano ProdiProdi, Romano
, 1939–, Italian politician, premier of Italy (1996–98, 2006–8), b. Scandiano. Educated at the Catholic Univ. of Milan (grad. 1961), he is a trained economist and served (1978–79) as Italy's minister for industry; he also was a professor of
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 that included the Democratic Party of the Left. Following a series of upheavals over austerity measures put in place to prepare for European economic union, Prodi's government collapsed in Oct., 1998.

Massimo D'AlemaD'Alema, Massimo
, 1949–, Italian politician, premier (1998–2000) of Italy. A member of the Italian Communist party (PCI) since 1968, he worked as a journalist and was active in the party and its youth arm.
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, of the Democrats of the Left (the former Democratic Party of the Left), became premier (1998) as head of a new coalition government that included several political parties. Parliament named former premier Ciampi as president in May, 1999, replacing Oscar Luigi ScalfaroScalfaro, Oscar Luigi
, 1918–2012, Italian political leader, president of Italy (1992–99). A lawyer, Scalfaro aided jailed antifascists during World War II. In 1946 he was elected to the postwar assembly that established the Italian Republic, and in 1948, in the
..... Click the link for more information.
, who had held the office since 1992. In Apr., 2000, D'Alema resigned after his coalition suffered loses in regional elections. Socialist and former premier Giuliano Amato, D'Alema's finance minister, formed a new center-left government that was substantially similar to D'Alema's.

Parliamentary elections in 2001 gave Berlusconi's conservative coalition a solid victory, and he became premier of a center-right government for a second time, ending six years of liberal rule. In 2003 parliament passed a law making the premier and other top Italian officials immune from prosecution while in office. The law was seen as a heavy-handed move to end Berlusconi's trial for bribery, and provoked an outcry from many in Italy. The constitutional court overturned the law, however, allowing the trial to proceed, and he was acquitted (2004) of bribery; other charges were dismissed.

Losses by the governing coalition in local elections forced Berlusconi to resign in Apr., 2005, and re-form his government. Later in the year Berlusconi secured passage of electoral changes that reestablished proportional representation as a basis for electing national legislators; the changes were designed to minimize his coalition's losses in the 2006 elections. In the Apr., 2006, elections Berlusoni's coalition narrowly lost to a center-left coalition led by Romano Prodi. Berlusconi challenged the results, alleging irregularities, but Italy' supreme court confirmed them later in the month. In May, Giorgio NapolitanoNapolitano, Giorgio,
1925–, Italian political leader, b. Naples. He studied law at the Univ. of Naples, and was a member of the Communist party from 1945 until its dissolution in 1991, when he joined the Democratic party of the Left, later the Democrats of the Left.
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, of the Democrats of the Left, was elected to succeed Ciampi as Italy's president, and Prodi subsequently formed a government. A government reorganization plan that would have increased the premier's powers and the autonomy of Italy's regions was defeated in a referendum in June, 2006; the plan had been proposed by Berlusconi's coalition.

In Feb., 2007, Prodi's government lost a foreign policy vote in Italy's senate and resigned, but the following week he re-formed his government and won a confidence vote. Later in the year the Democratic party was formed through the merger of the Democrats of the Left and center-left former Christian Democrats. Prodi's coalition unraveled in Jan., 2008, and he resigned after losing a confidence vote. Parliamentary elections were held in April, and resulted in a solid victory for Berlusconi's coalition; Berlusconi again became premier. In Sept., 2008, years of negotiation with Libya over compensation for three decades of Italian colonial rule ended with Italy agreeing to pay for 20-year, $5 billion compensation package.

In 2010, Italy, like many eurozone nations, was forced to adopt austerity measures to reduce government deficits that had increased as a result of the 2008–9 global downturn, but the proposed legislation provoked strong oppostion. A number of financial scandals involving government ministers as well as personal scandals involving Berlusconi also led to a loss of popularity for his government. There were increasing tensions and ultimately splits within the governing coalition during 2010; the government narrowly survived a no-confidence vote in December, and again in Oct., 2011.

In 2011 the government suffered losses in local elections (May) and in referendums on several pieces of legislation (June). As concerns over the country's financial situation increased in mid-2011, the government adopted an austerity budget in July, which was subsequently revised as Italy's difficulties with the bond markets continued and the European Central Bank made aid contingent on increased austerities. Berlusconi struggled to hold his splintering coalition together, and was finally forced from office (Nov., 2011) by the erosion of market and EU confidence in his economic and financial policies.

Mario MontiMonti, Mario,
1943–, Italian economist and political leader. After studying at Bocconi Univ., Milan, and at Yale, he taught economics at the Univ. of Turin (1970–85) and then at Bocconi Univ., where he later was rector (1989–94) and president (1994–).
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, an economist and former member of the European Commission, became premier of a nonpartisan government consisting of technocrats, and subsequently won passage of austerities and economic reforms. Italy continued to face recurring pressures in the bond markets during 2012, which led to the adoption of additional measures. In Dec., 2012, Monti's government lost the support of Berlusconi's party, and he submitted his resignation; the president dissolved parliament and called new elections for Feb., 2013.

The Democratic party–led center-left coalition won a lower house majority, but only a plurality in the senate. The popular vote was closer, however, with Berlusconi's coalition narrowly behind, followed by comedian Beppe Grillo's Five Star Movement (the largest party in terms of votes); Monti's coalition was fourth. A new government proved difficult to form, with the Democratic leader, Luigi Bersani, resisting a coalition with Berlusconi, and the Five Star Movement refusing to take a secondary role in a coalition. The election of a new president also proved contentious. Napolitano was reelected (April) after party leaders appealed to him to become a candidate for a second term; he became the first Italian president to be reelected. Party disagreements led Bersani to step down as Democratic leader, and Napolitano appointed the deputy leader, Enrico LettaLetta, Enrico,
1966–, Italian political leader, b. Pisa. He actively entered politics in 1994, joining the center-left Italian People's party. He held a post in the finance ministry as Italy prepared for the euro and shortly after was appointed (1998) minister of European
..... Click the link for more information.
, as premier. Letta quickly formed a broad coalition that included the Democrats and Berlusconi's and Monti's parties. In the subsequent local elections (May–June) the center-left coalition did well while the Berlusconi's party and the Five Star Movement did poorly. In September Berlusconi withdrew support for the government over an impending vote that removed (November) him from the senate (because of his criminal convictions), but a revolt in his party forced him to support the government in a confidence vote in October. Berlsuconi's party subsequently withdrew (November) from the government, but his party split and the government survived a confidence vote.

In early 2014 the new leader of the Democrats, Matteo RenziRenzi, Matteo,
1975–, Italian political leader. Renzi was a member of the Italian People's party, which merged (2002) with other parties to form Democracy Is Freedom—The Daisy, which then merged (2007) with the Democrats of the Left to become the Democratic party
..... Click the link for more information.
, became increasingly critical of the Letta government, which he accused of proceeding too slowly with reforms and failing to improve the economy. In February Letta resigned, and Renzi, who had been mayor of Florence and had never served in the parliament, became premier. Renzi subsequently sought a series of government reforms, and won passage of cuts in local government in April; labor reforms were passed later in the year.

In Jan., 2015, Napolitano resigned as president for health reasons; Sergio MattarellaMattarella, Sergio,
1941–, Italian political leader. Born into a prominent Sicilian family, he studied law at the Sapienza Univ. of Rome and taught constitutional law at the Univ. of Palermo.
..... Click the link for more information.
, a former government minister and justice of the constitutional court, was elected to succeed him. The following May, Renzi pushed through a revision of the electoral law for the Chamber of Deputies that retained the proportional system (overturned in part by the constitutional court in Jan., 2017), and in Apr., 2016, he succeeded in securing legislative approval of significant constitutional changes to weaken the Senate and reduce the power of the regions. In the June, 2016, local elections, the Five Star Movement made gains against the Democrats. After a referendum in Dec., 2016, in which voters resoundingly rejected Renzi's proposed constitutional changes, he resigned as premier and was succeeded by Foreign Minister Paolo GentiloniGentiloni Silveri, Paolo,
1954–, Italian politician. From a aristocratic Roman family, Gentiloni became a journalist and was originally aligned with the Greens. First elected to parliament in 2001, he helped found (2002) the Democracy Is Freedom party, which later became
..... Click the link for more information.

Local elections in June, 2017, were marked by center-right gains. In Oct., 2017, a new mixed constituency and proportional voting system that encouraged the formation of electoral coalitions was enacted by the parliament; the Five Star Movement, which had said it would not form such alliances, denounced the voting system. Parliamentary elections in Mar., 2018, resulted in a potentially deadlocked legislature. The center-right coalition won the largest bloc of seats, with the right-wing League becoming its leading party, displacing Forza Italia; the Five Star Movement (placed second but was the largest single party; and the Democrats center-left coalition was third. Ultimately the Five Star Movement and the League agreed to form a coalition. In June, Giuseppe ConteConte, Giuseppe,
1964–, Italian political leader, grad. Sapienza Univ. of Rome law school, 1988. A law professor at the Univ. of Florence and a political independent, he was a political novice who was not widely known when he was named premier in June, 2018, by the
..... Click the link for more information.
, a law professor who was a member of neither party, became premier of a populist government, but Matteo SalviniSalvini, Matteo,
1973–, Italian politician, b. Milan. A member of the right-wing League (formerly the Northern League) from 1990, he served as a Milan city councilor (1993–2012), in Italy's Chamber of Deputies (2008–9), and in the European Parliament (EP)
..... Click the link for more information.
, leader of the League, was generally regarded as the most powerful politician in the government.

The new government's proposed budget for 2019 was criticized for violating European Union rules on debt and other issues. The European Commission called for revisions, and the government ultimately reduced its proposed budget deficit. Tensions in the government, sparked by Salvini's strident anti-immigrant policies and then his desire for new elections, led to Conte's resignation in Aug., 2019.

The Five Star Movement and the Democrats then formed a new government, with Conte as premier; the coalition also included Free and Equal and Viva Italia, a party found by Renzi in Sept., 2019, when he left the Democrats. The country was extremely hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, especially in the north. In Sept., 2020, a referendum to amend the constitution to reduce the size of the parliament by one third overwhelmingly passed. Renzi, calling for bolder economic action in response to the pandemic, pulled his party out of the government in Jan., 2021, which cost Conte his senate majority, but he subsequently won a confidence vote in the senate.


A bibliography of the early period and the barbarian invasions is listed under RomeRome,
Ital. Roma, city (1991 pop. 2,775,250), capital of Italy and see of the pope, whose residence, Vatican City, is a sovereign state within the city of Rome. Rome is also the capital of Latium, a region of central Italy, and of Rome prov.
..... Click the link for more information.
. For the medieval period, see D. P. Waley, The Italian City-Republics (1969); J. K. Hyde, Society and Politics in Medieval Italy (1973); C. Wickham, Early Medieval Italy: Central Power and Local Society, 400–1000 (1981). For the Renaissance, see bibliography under RenaissanceRenaissance
[Fr.,=rebirth], term used to describe the development of Western civilization that marked the transition from medieval to modern times. This article is concerned mainly with general developments and their impact in the fields of science, rhetoric, literature, and
..... Click the link for more information.
. For the modern period, see B. King, A History of Italian Unity (2 vol., 1924, repr. 1967); C. Seton-Watson, Italy from Liberalism to Fascism, 1870–1925 (1967); S. J. Woolf, A History of Italy, 1700–1860 (1979); R. J. B. Bosworth, Italy: The Least of the Great Powers (1980) and Mussolini's Italy (2006); M. Clark, Modern Italy, 1871–1982 (1984); V. S. Pisano, The Dynamics of Subversion and Violence in Contemporary Italy (1987); P. Ginsborg, A History of Contemporary Italy: Society and Politics, 1943–88 (1988) and Italy and Its Discontents: Family, Civil Society, State, 1980–2000 (2003); R. S. Cunsolo, Modern Italian Nationalism (1989); S. Tarrow, Democracy and Disorder: Protest and Politics in Italy, 1965–75 (1989); A. Stille, Excellent Cadavers: The Mafia and the Death of the First Italian Republic (1995); D. M. Smith, Modern Italy (1997); C. Duggan, The Force of Destiny: A History of Italy since 1796 (2008); D. Gilmour, The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, Its Regions, and Their Peoples (2011).

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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle felt that Italy showed itself superior to all other European states in its treatment of Spiritualism, “in spite of the constant opposition of the Roman Catholic Church, which has illogically stigmatized as diabolism in others that which it has claimed as a special mark of sanctity in itself.”

The Italian publication Civitta Catholica presented an article on Spiritualism at the turn of the last century, summing up with the three notes, “i: Some of the phenomena [of Spiritualism] may be attributed to imposture, hallucinations, and exaggerations in the reports of those who describe it, but there is a foundation of reality in the general sum of the reports which cannot have originated in pure invention or be wholly discredited without ignoring the value of universal testimony. ii: The bulk of the theories offered in explanation of the proven facts, only cover a certain percentage of those facts, but utterly fail to account for the balance. iii: Allowing for all that can be filtered away on mere human hypotheses, there is still a large class of phenomena appealing to every sense which cannot be accounted for by any known natural laws, and which seem to manifest the action of intelligent beings.”

This report may have been due to the visits of Daniel Dunglas Home, who toured the major cities of Italy, ending in Florence in 1855. Such was the success of his demonstrations that numerous Spiritualist development circles were formed, though numerous disputes arose, with controversies in many journals throughout the country. By 1863, articles lauding Spiritualism began to appear in the respected journal Annalidello Spiritismo (“Annals of Spiritualism”), published by Niceforo Filalete of Turin. In Florence, about this time “The Magnetic Society of Florence” was formed with members of literary and scientific skills together with those of Italian high society. Seymour Kirkup, of Florence, began to send records of Italy’s Spiritualistic development to the London Spiritual Magazine.

In the fall of 1864, lectures on Spiritualistic subjects began to be presented. They started in Messina and Leghorn. In 1868, the renowned physical medium Mrs. Agnes Nichol Guppy visited Italy with her husband. They took up residence in Naples and stayed for nearly three years. By 1870, more than a hundred different societies had been formed across the country. In 1872, the psychical researcher Signor Damiani discovered the medium Eusapia Paladino. Paladino was also investigated by Professors Morselli and Porro, together with “the dean of Italian psychical researchers and Spiritualists” Ernesto Bozzano. Bozzano (1862–1943) had been incensed by Frank podmore’s slighting references to William Stainton Moses and published the notable A Defence of William Stainton Moses.


Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan: The History of Spiritualism. New York: Doran, 1926
Fodor, Nandor: Encyclopedia of Psychic Science. London: Arthurs Press, 1933
The Spirit Book © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Italia; the Italian Republic [La Repubblica Italiana]).

Italy is a state in southern Europe and the central Mediterranean region. The country is bordered on the west by the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian seas, on the south by the Ionian Sea, and on the east by the Adriatic. About 20 percent of the border is a land boundary, most of which passes through various parts of the Alps. Italy is bounded on the north by France, Switzerland, and Austria and on the northeast by Yugoslavia. Italy’s territory covers the southern slopes of the Alps, the Po Basin, the Apennine Peninsula, the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, and numerous tiny islands.

The area of Italy is 301, 200 sq km. In 1971 the population was 54.7 million. The capital is Rome. Administratively, Italy consists of 20 regions (including two islands), which are divided into provinces that are, in turn, divided into communes. (See Table 1.)

Italy is a republic, the present-day constitution of which came into force on Jan. 1, 1948. The head of state is the president, who is elected to a seven-year term by secret ballot at a joint session of both chambers of Parliament. Three delegates from each region, elected by the regional councils, also take part in presidential elections. (The Valle d’Aosta region elects only one delegate.) The president has broad powers, including the right to promulgate laws, issue executive orders with the force of law, dissolve Parliament, and appoint the premier and the ministers nominated by him. As commander in chief of the armed forces, the president of the republic presides over the Supreme Council of Defense.

The supreme legislative body is Parliament, which consists of two chambers: the Chamber of Deputies (630 members as of Aug. 1, 1972) and the Senate of the Republic (315 members as of Aug. 1, 1972). The Chamber of Deputies is elected in direct, general elections under a proportional system of representation, with voting for party lists. The Senate of the Republic is also elected in direct, general elections. Five senators are appointed

Table 1. Administrative divisions
  (sq km)(1970) 
Piedmont..........Alessandria, Asti, Cuneo, Novara, Turin, Vercelli25, 4004, 433, 600Turin
Valle d’Aosta.......Valle d’Aosta3300110, 000Aosta
Lombardy..........Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Mantua, Milan, Pavia, Sondrio, Varese23, 8008, 442, 700Milan
Trentino-Alto Adige....Bolzano, Trento13, 600844, 900Trento
Veneto...........Belluno, Padua, Rovigo, Treviso, Venice, Verona, Vicenza18, 4004, 122, 200Venice
Friuli-Venezia Giulia...Gorizia, Pordenone, Trieste, Udine7, 8001, 232, 400Trieste
Liguria............Genoa, Imperia, La Spezia, Savona5, 4001, 882, 000Genoa
Emilia-Romagna......Bologna, Ferrara, Forlì, Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Ravenna, Reggio nell’Emilia22, 1003, 858, 800Bologna
Tuscany..........Arezzo, Florence, Grosseto, Livorno, Lucca, Massa-Carrara, Pisa, Pistoia, Siena23, 0003, 479, 600Florence
Umbria............Perugia, Terni8, 500782, 600Perugia
Marchés..........Ancona, Ascoli Piceno, Macerata, Pesaro e Urbino97001, 36, 800Ancona
Latium............Frosinone, Latina, Rieti, Rome, Viterbo17, 2004, 705, 100Rome
Abruzzi............Chieti, L’Aquila, Pescara, Teramo10, 8001, 201, 501Pescara
Molise..............Campobasso, Isernia4, 400331, 200Campobasso
Campania.........Avellino, Benevento, Caserta, Naples, Salerno13, 6005, 191, 400Naples
Apulia..............Bari, Brindisi, Foggia, Lecce, Taranto19, 3003, 642, 500Bari
Basilicata............Matera, Potenza10, 000620, 900Potenza
Calabria............Catanzaro, Cosenza, Reggio di Calabria151002, 048, 600Catanzaro
Sicily..............Agrigento, Caltanisetta, Catania, Enna,
Messina, Palermo, Ragusa, Siracusa,
25, 7004, 882, 700Palermo
Sardinia..............Cagliari, Nuoro, Sassari24, 1001, 501, 700Cagilari

for life by the president of the republic, usually in recognition of special services. In addition, former presidents of the republic become life members of the Senate. In the 1972 elections to the Chamber of Deputies the Christian Democratic Party won 267 seats; the Italian Communist Party, 179; the Italian Socialist Party, 61; the Italian Social Movement (together with the monarchists), 56; the Liberal Party, 20; the Italian Social Democrats, 29; the Republican Party, 15; and all other parties, three. In the Senate, the Christian Democratic Party won 136 seats; the Italian Communist Party, 92; the Italian Socialist Party, 34; the Italian Social Democrats, 11; the Republican Party, five; the Italian Social Movement (together with the monarchists), 26; the Liberal Party, eight; and all other parties, three. The term of office of both chambers does not exceed five years. Suffrage is granted to all citizens who have reached 21 years of age.

Executive power is exercised by the government—the Council of Ministers, which is made up of the premier and ministers (including ministers without portfolio). The government is responsible to Parliament.

Under the constitution (art. 116), five regions (Sicily, Sardinia, Valle d’Aosta, Trentino–Alto Adige, and Friuli–Venezia Giulia) have special statutes granting them their own parliaments—regional councils—and governments (giuntas), which have limited legislative powers in matters of local government. Commissioners appointed by the central government coordinate the activities of these bodies. In the 15 remaining regions, which are governed under ordinary statutes, councils were elected only in 1970.

There are also elected bodies in the provinces and communes—the provincial and communal councils. In addition, the provinces have administrative bodies appointed by the president: prefects and councils of the prefecture.

The judicial system consists of the Court of Cassation (the highest court), civil courts (justices of the peace, pretori [career judges with jurisdiction in minor cases], and tribunali [courts with original and appellate jurisdiction]), criminal courts [pretori, tribunali, and courts of assizes), and appeals courts. Judges may not be removed from office. They are appointed and transferred by the Superior Council of the Judiciary, the chairman of which is the president of the republic. A special place in the judicial system is held by the Constitutional Court, which is made up of 15 judges appointed (one-third at a time) by the president, a joint session of Parliament, and the supreme general and administrative judicial bodies, which consist of the highest officials of the judiciary.

Northern Italy is located in a forest region in the temperate zone, and southern Italy lies in the subtropical zone. The country’s natural features are greatly influenced by the Mediterranean Sea, in whose basin Italy is situated. The coast is highly indented, and there are few good harbors. The southern coast of the Apennine Peninsula is the most heavily dissected. On the western coast there are several shallow, arcuate bays. The shores of the Ligurian Sea are, for the most part, eroded, abounding in small harbors. On the Tyrrhenian coast elevated sections alternate with accumulation plains. In the southeast, steep shores with signs of recent uplift prevail. Most of the eastern shore is flat. In the northeast there are many lagoons, and the shoreline is sinking (for example, near Venice). Italy’s shoreline is about 7, 500 km long.

Terrain. In Italy mountains and uplands prevail, making up about four-fifths of the territory. Northern Italy is occupied by the Alps, the highest of which are the Western Alps. (Mont Blanc, with an elevation of 4, 807 m, is the highest point in Italy.) The steep slopes of the Western Alps are dissected by narrow, deep transverse ravines, and there are as many as 15 large valley glaciers. The Eastern Alps, with altitudes as high as 3, 899 m (Mount Ortles), are also glaciated (primarily in the Bernina, Adamello, and Ortles massifs), and they are dissected by glacial troughs, some of which are occupied by lakes. There is a wide piedmont zone. In the northeast the Eastern Alps consist primarily of precipitous calcareous and karst massifs and ranges that run into the Karst Plateau in the east.

South of the Alps is the Po Basin, whose gently rolling or flat surface gradually descends eastward to the Adriatic Sea. High plains (200–500 m) composed primarily of friable, porous rock, are found at the foot of the Alps and the Apennines. Along the Po River there are clayey, swampy low plains (50–100 m high) that sink as much as 3 mm per year. South of the Po Basin, the medium-elevation Apennines extend almost 1, 200 km along the Apennine Peninsula. In the north they consist of a series of parallel or echelon-like ranges and massifs, the highest of which are the Central Apennines (Mount Corno, 2, 914 m). In the western part of the Apennine Peninsula medium-elevation mountains alternate with hills and small lowlands. There are a number of extinct and active volcanoes (Amiata, 1, 734 m, and Vesuvius, 1, 277 m) and lava fields. In the southeast, the Gargano and Murgian karst limestone plateaus run along the shores of the Adriatic Sea. The Calabrian Apennines (up to 1, 956 m high) occupy the southern part of the Apennine Peninsula. The islands of Italy have mostly mountainous terrain. There are several well-known volcanoes on the islands: Etna (3, 340 m), Stromboli, and Vulcano. Frequent, strong earthquakes are characteristic of central and southern Italy (Messina, 1908; Sicily, 1968).

Geological structure and mineral resources. Italy’s territory belongs to the Alpine Geosynclinal (Folded) Region. A large part of its territory is made up of the Cenozoic folded mountain structures of the Alps and the Apennines, which are divided by the piedmont downwarp of the Po Basin. Parts of Hercynian and Precambrian gneiss-granite massifs emerge on Sardinia, the Calabrian Peninsula, and northeastern Sicily. A similar massif makes up the base of the Adriatic coast of Italy, where it is covered with a mantle of Mesozoic-Cenozoic limestones (the Murgian and Gargano plateaus).

The Italian Alps are located in the central crystalline, southern limestone, and graywacke (sandy-clayey) zones of the Alps. In the west the structure of the Alps includes autochthonous crystalline massifs such as Mercantour and Mont Blanc and the Pennine covers, which consist of crystalline schists and gneisses. In the Eastern Alps limestone rocks form a system of eastern-alpine sheets that override toward the north. The Northern Apennines also have a sheet structure. There are three systems of sheets, all of which override toward the northeast: the Lower Tuscan System (Paleozoic shales and Carrara marble), the Upper Tuscan System (Eocene sandstones), and the Ligurian System (flaky clays and shales with inclusions of ophiolite rocks). The Central and Southern Apennines are autochthonous mountains composed of Mesozoic Paleocene and Neocene limestones and Cretaceous flysch. In addition to sedimentary and meta-morphic rocks, the structure of the western foothills of the Apennines near Rome includes thick volcanic strata of lava and tuff (trachyte and liparite), which make up a number of extinct volcanoes with enormous calderas that have become lakes (Bracciano, Bolsena, and Vico). Near Naples, volcanic tuff and lava make up the Phlegraean Fields, the site of various volcanic phenomena, including extinct volcanoes and fumaroles that expel vapors and gases. Situated in southern Italy are some of the world’s largest active volcanoes (Etna and Vesuvius), whose location is related to deep fractures in the earth’s crust. The Po downwarp is filled by a thick stratum (up to 8, 000 m) of marine and continental sand and clay deposits of the Neocene and Anthropogenic eras.

Among the known deposits of combustible minerals in Italy are anthracite coal in southwestern Sardinia and the Alps (Aosta) and brown coal, lignites, and bituminous shales, which are confined to the Paleocene-Neocene deposits of the Central Apennines. Oil and fuel gases are extracted from the Neocene deposits of the Po downwarp and the foothills of the Apennines, Emilia, and the Mesozoic and Cenozoic deposits of Sicily (Ragusa). The main ore deposits—lead, zinc, and iron-ore complexes in Sardinia (Iglesiente) and iron-ore complexes on Elba and in the Colline Metallifere—are related to ancient meta-morphic complexes. The karst depressions of Abruzzi, Apulia, and the Gargano Peninsula contain bauxites. Italy is second in the world (after Spain) in reserves of cinnabar (mercury ore). In addition to gypsum, the Neocene limestone-clay stratum of Sicily contains large deposits of sulfur. In the Northern Apennines there is a famous deposit of beautiful facing and sculptural Carrara marbles (Tuscany). From the Miocene deposits in Sicily and Calabria, rock salt is mined. There are numerous mineral and hot springs. In Tuscany natural hot springs (100°–120°C) and steam emanating from underground are used to produce electric power. They are also a source of boric acid.


Climate. To a considerable extent, the climate of Italy is subject to the influence of the warm Mediterranean Sea, whose effect is reinforced by the Alps, which act as a barrier, protecting Italy from cold winds from the north. Over most of Italy the climate is subtropical Mediterranean, but in the Po Basin the climate is transitional from subtropical to temperate. In the mountains, altitudinal zonality is an important phenomenon. The summer is hot and dry, with July temperatures at the foot of the Alps averaging 20°–22°C, in the Po Basin, 22°–24°C, and on the Apen-nine Peninsula and the islands, 23°–28°C. During the passage of the sirocco the temperature rises to 40°–45°C. In the Alps at altitudes of more than 3, 500 m the July temperature drops to 0°C. The average January temperature at the foot of the Alps and in the Po Basin is about 0°C and on the Apennine Peninsula and the islands, 1°–12°C. In the Alps, frosts of −15°C and −20°C occur frequently. In some valleys of the Alps (Aosta and Susa) sharp temperature rises in the winter and spring cause foehns. The climate of the Tyrrhenian coast is 1°–2°C warmer than that of the Adriatic coast. The coast of the Ligurian Sea, which is protected from the intrusion of cold air masses by the mountains in the north, also has warm winters. In the winter (in the autumn and spring in the central and northern regions) cyclones cause torrential precipitation and frequent weather changes.

The wettest regions are the Eastern Alps and the Northern Apennines (more than 3, 000 mm a year), as well as all of the western mountain slopes. On the eastern slopes and in the interior regions of Italy the annual precipitation is 600–800 mm, and in the interior regions of Sicily and Sardinia it is less than 500 mm. In the Alps the greatest precipitation occurs in the summer. Spring and autumn are the seasons of greatest precipitation in the Po Basin and the northern Apennine Peninsula, whereas in the south, winter brings the heaviest precipitation. The snow line in the mountains is at an altitude of 2, 800–3, 200 m. Of the more than 800 glaciers in the Italian Alps, the largest is Miagge (10 km long), which is located in the Mont Blanc massif.

Rivers and lakes. The densest river network is in the north, where Italy’s largest river, the Po (652 km long), forms a large navigable system that includes tributaries and canals. In the eastern part of the Po Basin are a number of rivers, including the Adige, Brenta, Piave, Tagliamento, and Reno. Sedimentation often raises the riverbeds above the surface of the plain in their lower course. They are held back by levees, ruptures of which cause great floods. (The most recent occurred in 1951, 1953, and 1966.) The rivers of the north are fed not only by rain but also by snow and glacial melt. The high-water periods occur in spring, summer, and autumn. The northern rivers are used for irrigation and in the Alps as sources of hydroelectric power.

There are fewer rivers on the Apennine Peninsula and the islands. Replenished by rain, they have autumnal or winter high-water periods, but in the summer they often dry up. The longest rivers of the Apennine Peninsula are the Arno and the Tiber.

Many of Italy’s large lakes are situated in the foothills of the Lombard Alps in tectonic basins that were further deepened by ancient glaciers (for example, Lakes Garda, Como, and Maggiore). The lakes are navigable, and there are many resorts on their shores. On the Apennine Peninsula large lakes occupy the craters of extinct volcanoes (for example, Bolsena and Bracciano).

Soils and flora. Mountain broad-leaved forests made up primarily of oaks, with some chestnut, ash, and maple, are well developed in the Alps at altitudes of up to 800 m. At 800–1, 800 m there are beech and coniferous forests on brown forest mountain soils, humus mountain soils, and rendzinas. Shrubs and subalpine and alpine meadows are found on mountain-meadow soils at higher altitudes. In the ridge section of the mountains, outcropped rocks and talus prevail.

Oak forests, flood-plain meadows, and shrubs on alluvial and brown forest soils were once common in the Po Basin, but today cultivated vegetation prevails. In the Apennines and on the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, at altitudes of up to 500–600 m, natural vegetation includes groves of evergreen holm and cork oaks, stone pine, Aleppo pine, and shrub formations on cinnamonic, volcanic, and some dark soils (smolnitz). At altitudes as high as 1,000–1, 500 m broad-leaved mountain forests of oak, beech, and chestnut on cinnamonic and brown mountain soils and rendzinas prevail. Above 2, 000 m, coniferous broad-leaved mountain forests of beech, spruce, fir, and pine are widespread. With the felling of forests, soil erosion has become a major problem. The upper sections of the highest massifs are occupied by subalpine meadows on mountain-meadow soils.

Fauna. Animals are found primarily in the mountains. The chamois, wildcat, stone and wood martens, and polecat inhabit the Alps and Apennines. The brown bear may be found in the Central Apennines. Hares, squirrels, and about 400 species of birds are common. There are many reptiles and fish. Tuna, mackerel, sardines, and flounder are commercially important

National parks and preserves. A number of national parks have been established in Italy, including Gran Paradiso and Stelvio in the Alps and Abruzzo in the Apennines (for the preservation of mountainous landscapes, glaciers, unique geological sites, and alpine flora and fauna). Circeo on the Tyrrhenian coast was founded to preserve the natural oak and pine forests, dunes, and areas where dwarf palms grow. In 1969 the total area of national parks was about 200, 000 hectares (ha).

Natural regions. The Alps are characterized by a high-mountain relief with recent glaciation and traces of ancient glaciation and by a pronounced altitudinal zonality of landscapes. The Po Basin, with landscapes that are transitional from Central European to Mediterranean, has become a densely populated industrial and agricultural region. In the Apennine Peninsula, Sicily, and Sardinia, mid-mountain relief prevails, the climate is subtropical, and the vegetation is evergreen.


Birot, P., and J. Dresch. Sredizemnomor’e, vol. 1. Moscow, 1960. (Translated from French.)
Gratsianskii, A. N. Priroda Sredizemnomor’ia. Moscow, 1971.
Galkina, T., and N. Sysoeva. Italiia. Moscow, 1972.
Almagia, R. L’Italia, vols. 1–2. Turin, 1959.

Italians make up more than 98 percent of the population. Living in the northern border regions of the country are 350, 000 Rhaeto-Romanic speakers (mostly Friulians), 210, 000 southern Tiroleans (Austrians), about 70, 000 Frenchmen, and about 50, 000 Slovenians and Croats. The population of southern Italy and Sicily includes approximately 80, 000 Albanians and 30, 000 Greeks, and there are 10, 000 Catalonians in Sardinia. Approximately 50, 000 Jews live in Italy. The official language is Italian. The dominant religion is Catholicism. The official calendar is the Gregorian.

In population, Italy ranks third in Western Europe (after the Federal Republic of Germany [FRG] and Great Britain). Between 1963 and 1970 the average annual population increase was 0.8 percent. Characteristic of the population of Italy has been a long, uninterrupted process of “aging”—that is, the proportion of persons older than 65 increased from 6.5 percent in 1911 to 10.4 percent in 1969, and the proportion of children under 15 declined during the same period from 33.9 percent to 24.4 percent. Between 1967 and 1969 the average number of emigrants per year was about 270, 000—72, 000 more than the average annual immigration. The emigrants go to European countries, especially the FRG, and to North America and Australia. Seasonal migration (agricultural workers in northern border regions) and internal migration have been increasing. (Every year, 1.5 million Italians change their place of residence within Italy, most of them moving from south to north.)

Of the entire work force (19.4 million people in 1970), 42 percent is employed in industry, 19 percent in agriculture, fishing, and forestry, and 30 percent in the service industries, including 13 percent in trade, 5 percent in transportation and communications, and about 2.5 percent in the hotel business. More than two-thirds of the work force is made up of wage workers. The dominant position in the economy is held by a relatively small stratum of big landowners, industrial and commercial bourgeoisie, and high officials.

Italy is one of the most densely populated European countries, with an average of 180 inhabitants per sq km. The population density of northern Italy (300–380 per sq km) exceeds the average. About 60 percent of the inhabitants of Italy are concentrated in cities with populations of more than 10, 000. There are 45 cities with populations of more than 100, 000. In 1970 the largest of them were Rome (2, 779, 000), Milan (1, 714, 000), Naples (1, 278, 000), Turin (1, 191,000), Genoa (842, 000), and Palermo (664, 000). In recent years an intensified growth of large cities has been characteristic of Italy. Some of the cities, such as Milan, Genoa, Naples, and Palermo, are the nuclei of large urban agglomerations.

Primitive communal and slaveholding systems (to the second half of the fifth century A.D.). The territory of Italy was settled in the Paleolithic age. (This assertion is based on a number of archaeological finds, such as those in the Romanelli grotto near the town of Castro in Apulia, in the Barma Grande cave near the village of Grimaldi in Liguria, and at the Savignano dig in Emilia-Romagna.) The Bronze Age (second millennium B.c.) was widely represented in northern Italy by the archaeological culture known as terramara and in central Italy, by a number of cultures related to it and often referred to collectively as the Apennine culture. A number of cultures that arose on the territory of Italy during the Iron Age (from the beginning of the first millennium B.c.) left substantial archaeological traces. Of these cultures the leading one was the Villanovan.

The oldest tribes to populate the territory of Italy were the Ligurians, the Etruscans, and the Sicani (in Sicily). In the second and first millennia B.C. the Indo-European Italic tribes spread gradually over the greater part of the Apennine Peninsula. Among the Italic tribes the Latins achieved the highest degree of development. (In the sixth century B.C. they were at the stage of early class states.) According to tradition, in 754–753 B.C. the Latins and the Sabines (another Italic tribe) founded Rome. Between the fifth and third centuries B.C. the Apennine Peninsula was conquered by Rome. Until the fifth century A.D., the territory of Italy belonged to the Roman state, and a slaveholding system developed there.

In the third century A.D. the Roman Empire, the largest part of which was Italy, underwent a crisis of the slaveholding system. The elements of feudalism were conceived within the slave-holding society: a combination of large-scale ownership of land with small-scale farming, a predominantly natural economy (although urban life in Italy had not completely died out since the earlier Roman period), the binding of the peasants to the land, and the growth of the landowners’ political power. German and other barbarian tribes that invaded Italy in the fourth and fifth centuries dealt heavy blows to the Roman Empire. In the early fifth century the Visigoths came to Italy, capturing Rome in 410. Rome was defeated by the Vandals in 455.

Period of feudalism (second half of the fifth century to the first half of the 18th century). In 476 the Western Roman Empire ceased to exist. The last Roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was overthrown by Odoacer, who established a barbarian kingdom (476–93) in Italy. His soldiers received one-third of the land of the Roman property owners; thus, the old order, in substance, remained almost unchanged. In 488 the Ostrogoths invaded Italy, founding their own kingdom (493–554). Their leader, Theodoric, was proclaimed king of the Goths and the Italic peoples. Under the Ostrogoths no fundamental changes took place in the socioeconomic system in Italy, but the proportion of land owned by free peasants increased somewhat. At the same time, the Ostrogothic aristocracy, which had acquired large landed properties, began to draw closer to the Roman-Italic aristocracy. In 535, Italy’s territory was invaded by Byzantium’s troops. The Ostrogothic king Totila succeeded in uniting all of the forces hostile to the Byzantines by taking advantage of discontent throughout the country with Byzantine policy, which aimed at restoring and strengthening slaveholding relations. However, Byzantium conquered most of Italy in 554. The Byzantine emperor Justinian I issued the Pragmatic Sanction of 554, which was designed to restore the socioeconomic relations of the Roman Empire.

In 568 the Lombards came to northern Italy. Their conquest dealt the final blow to the slaveholding order. The Lombards expelled and killed a substantial number of the slaveholders. Confiscated lands were divided among the conquering farmers, and for a while the free peasants were the main producers. However, some of the large-scale Roman landowners, who controlled both slaves and coloni, had not been eliminated. Under the influence of Roman private ownership, the breakdown of the Lombard community and the formation of a class of dependent peasants and a class of feudal lords were accelerated. An early feudal state was being born. Part of Italy remained under Byzantine rule (the Exarchate of Ravenna, the Pentapolis, the Duchy of Rome, and the lands of southern Italy). In 751 the Exarchate of Ravenna was captured by the Lombards; subsequently, it was wrested from them by the Franks. In 756 a papal theocracy—the Papal States—was formed when the Frankish king Pepin the Short gave the territories of the Exarchate of Ravenna, the Duchy of Rome, and the Pentapolis to the pope. The Lombard state was conquered by Charlemagne in 774.

The subjugation of Italy by the Franks accelerated the development of feudal relations. In 781 the Kingdom of Italy was formed, with Charlemagne’s son Pepin as king. The Carolingians held the Italian throne until the deposition of Charles the Fat in 887. To a large degree the king’s power was nominal. Italy was fragmented into feudal possessions. Taking advantage of the weakness of royal power, secular and ecclesiastical feudal lords increased their prerogatives. The bishops became the real masters of the cities.

In the late ninth century a bitter struggle for the throne of Italy broke out among the feudal lords of Italy, Provence, and Burgundy. (From 900 to 905 the king of Provence, Ludwig III, the last member of the Italian branch of the Carolingians, was king of Italy.) As a result of the expansionist campaigns of the German king Otto I (951 and 961–62), Italy was incorporated into the Holy Roman Empire, which was formed by Otto in 962. Internecine feudal conflicts and forays by the Arabs beginning in the mid-ninth century (primarily in southern and central Italy) and by the Hungarians in the late ninth century (in northern Italy) contributed to the ruin of the free landowners and to their transformation into dependent peasant landholders: libellarii (long-term or hereditary tenants), those who held precaria, and those who held land on terms of emphyteusis (a perpetual hereditary lease that granted the tenant considerable freedom of control over a plot of land). Although the enserfment of the peasants began in the ninth century, the process had not yet been completed in the 11th century, and a large number of peasants remained free.

A distinctive feature of feudalism in Italy was the preservation of commodity and money relations and the existence of numerous cities that traced their origin to the Roman era. Even in the early Middle Ages domestic production and trade had not died out in some of the cities (Amalfi, Naples, Lucca, Ravenna, and Milan). To a certain extent, villages were also drawn into commodity and money relations. In Italy, handicrafts became separate from agriculture in the ninth and tenth centuries, earlier than in the other European countries. As a result, feudal towns —centers of handicrafts and trade—developed, chiefly on the basis of the surviving centers of Roman urban civilization.

In the tenth century the townspeople began a struggle against the seignior-bishops. In the 11th century Asti, Lucca, Pisa, Milan, and a number of other cities were freed from the power of the seigniors and formed communes. Corporations, or guilds, of craftsmen and merchants developed in the Italian cities in the 11th and 12th centuries. With the triumph of the communes, power passed from the seignior to a collegium of consuls, which included representatives of the urban aristocracy and wealthy merchants. Craftsmen and small-scale merchants were not given any power, nor did the popular assembly play an important role in governing the cities. The transition to a commune with political and economic rights undermined the power of the feudal lords and gave impetus to the development of Italy’s economy and to the formation of republican city-states by the subjugation of neighboring small towns and rural territories. The republic, a new form of state, was the most progressive of that era.

The city-communes became powerful centers for the development of commodity and money relations. The Italian port cities (Venice, Genoa, Pisa, and Ancona) also flourished because of the Crusades, which transformed them into the chief commercial intermediaries between Europe and the East. The economic dominance of the cities of northern and central Italy led to changes in the agrarian system in that area of Italy. In the late 11th and 12th centuries, large-scale feudal lords reduced the manorial demesne and began to lease land to peasants, knights, merchants, and frequently even to members of the urban elite (the popolo grasso, or “fat people”). With the support of the cities, rural communes (outgrowths of the early feudal communes) were established in Italy in the 12th and 13th centuries and began to seek the right to self-government. This development contributed to the preservation of small-scale peasant farming. The rural communes, having been freed from the power of the feudal lords, generally fell under the authority of nearby cities.

The political history of the Italian cities in the 12th and 13th centuries was characterized by an exacerbation of the class struggle: in such cities as Pavia and Milan craftsmen, merchants, and low-ranking knights waged a struggle against the high nobility, and in late 13th-century Florence clashes began to occur between the popolo minuto, or “gaunt people” (the urban poor), and the popolo grasso. In foreign policy, the history of the cities during the same period was dominated by their heroic struggle against the German feudal lords, who invaded Italy under the leadership of Frederick I Barbarossa (five campaigns, 1154–76). In 1158 the emperor issued the decrees of Roncaglia, under which the Italian communes lost their political autonomy. During the struggle against the German feudal lords, the Guelph and Ghibelline parties emerged in the cities of Italy. Milan, the main center of resistance to the German invaders, was destroyed in 1162. Hoping to repulse the Holy Roman emperor, the cities of northern Italy united in the Lombard League in 1167. The struggle against the German feudal lords contributed to the appearance of elements of a sense of national identity among the Italian people. Under the Peace of Constance of 1183, the Italian cities regained de facto independence from the emperor.

In southern Italy and Sicily, both of which had been captured in the 11th century by the Normans, who founded the Kingdom of Sicily in the 12th century, the development of feudal relations proceeded more slowly than in northern and central Italy. As late as the 13th century there was still a large stratum of semifree peasantry. Frederick II Hohenstaufen, the king of Sicily and the Holy Roman emperor, turned the Kingdom of Sicily into a centralized bureaucratic monarchy and tried in vain to extend his rule over all of Italy. In the 1260’s the house of Anjou subjugated southern Italy. The popular revolt of 1282 (the Sicilian Vespers) led to the disintegration of the Kingdom of Sicily. The house of Aragon took over in Sicily in the late 13th century and the early 14th and in southern Italy in the mid-15th century. Thus, southern Italy fell under Spanish rule.

Because of the early development of cities, the preconditions for early capitalist relations were created in the advanced city-states of northern and central Italy: banking was conducted on a large scale (Siena and Florence), as were overseas commerce (Venice, Genoa, and Pisa) and cloth-finishing (Perugia, Bologna, Siena, Florence, and Milan). Banking and commercial capital were used to develop industry. The expansion of handicraft production contributed to the decisions of a number of city-states (Bologna in 1256 and Florence in 1289) to free from servitude (serfdom) the peasants living on territories that were under the authority of the city-states. The elimination of servitude led to the separation of the direct producer from the means of production. The former servitors lost their plots of land and became sharecroppers (mezzadri) —semicapitalist tenants. A sizable segment of the peasantry moved to the cities, swelling the ranks of wage laborers in the workshops of wool-makers and cloth finishers. The abolition of serfdom undermined the economic and political influence of the class of feudal lords. As a result of a bitter struggle in the cities of northern and central Italy between the merchant-craftsmen strata (popolo) and the feudal lords, the lords were stripped legislatively of their political rights (for example, in Florence in 1293). By the end of the 13th century, feudalism in Italy, in contrast to feudalism in the other countries of Europe, had been substantially undermined and to some degree “broken up by the exceptional development of the cities, which politically dominated the countryside” (K. Marx in K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch, 2nd ed., vol. 25, part 2, p. 365).

The great upsurge of productive forces in the cities and countryside of northern and central Italy led in the 14th to 16th centuries to the birth and development of early capitalist relations, which engendered a preproletariat: “In Italy, where capitalist production developed earliest of all, the relations of serfdom broke up earliest of all as well. The serf there was emancipated before he was able to ensure himself of any prescriptive right to land. Hence, emancipation immediately turned him into a proletarian placed outside the law, who, in addition, at once found new lords in the cities” (K. Marx, ibid., vol. 23, p. 728, footnote).

In certain large cities of northern and central Italy, the number of hired workers receiving weekly wages reached tens of thousands. In the 14th century, capitalist factories emerged (mainly in cloth finishing), which were a combination of the centralized and dispersed forms of manufacturing. At the same time, ordinary medieval artisan workshops continued their production operations. The incipient breakdown of the guilds was manifested by their division into “senior” and “junior” guilds, by the deepening of social inequality within them, and by the intensified exploitation of pupils and apprentices, who were increasingly deprived of the opportunity to become independent craftsmen and who were, in fact, being transformed into permanent wage laborers. The guild system impeded the development of capitalist manufacturing, which, however, continued to exist until the end of the 16th century and contributed to Italy’s economic prosperity.

Greater exploitation in the workshops caused many revolts by the preproletariat, including a strike in 1345 in Florence, revolts in 1371 in Perugia and Siena, and the revolt of the ciompi in 1378 in Florence. In the 14th century the increasing oppression of peasants in regions with poorly developed cities provoked major antifeudal revolts—for example, Dolcino’s revolt in Piedmont, 1304–07, and the revolt of the tuchini in Savoy, 1382–87—and this led to some easing of exploitation. As a result of the exacerbation of the class struggle in the 14th and 15th centuries and of the popolo grasso’s fear of popular revolts, the republican form of rule in the city-states was replaced by tyranny, or seigniory. By the 15th century tyrannies had become firmly established in a number of city-states, including Florence, Milan, Bologna, Ferrara, and Urbino.

Early capitalist relations were the source of the new, basically antifeudal culture of the Renaissance, which was born in Italy, where it developed its most consummate features. (The Italian Renaissance is dated from the 14th to the 16th century.)

The economic achievements of the Italian cities in the 14th and 15th centuries did not lead to the country’s unification or to the creation of a single national market. Despite its political dominance in certain city-states, where an embryonic form of caitalist production appeared, the urban stratum of the disunited Italian states did not develop into a national bourgeoisie. The political disunity of Italy, the relatively narrow base for capitalist development, which had left agriculture virtually untouched, the primarily export-oriented character of production, the shift of trade routes from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean, and Turkish expansion, which interrupted Italy’s trade relations with the Middle East, brought about the decline in the 16th century of industry and trade and the rechanneling of monetary capital from industry into usury and the acquisition of real estate. Feudal reaction set in, feudal dependence became stronger in the countryside, and the peasant was, in effect, bound to the land.

France and Spain took advantage of Italy’s weakness by waging the Italian Wars of 1494–1559 on Italian territory. The papacy, maneuvering between France and Spain, facilitated their capture of Italian territories. In many cities the popular masses took action against the foreign invaders and the Italian nobility (for example, in Genoa in 1506–07 and in Palermo in 1516). The Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis reinforced Italy’s fragmentation. Spain took over the Duchy of Milan, Sicily, Sardinia, and southern Italy, and many other Italian states (except Venice, the Papal States, and the Duchy of Savoy) became its dependencies. Spain’s restriction of the export of goods from Italy, as well as its imposition of numerous requisitions, contributed to a further decline of Italian industry and trade. In the 17th century the Italian economy began to decline sharply. The country’s economy became primarily agricultural. Once an exporter of finished industrial products, Italy was transformed into an exporter of raw materials. Basically, industrial production in workshops survived only in the major centers of northern Italy.

The Catholic reaction began as early as the 16th century: for example, the Jesuit Order was established in 1534, and the Inquisition was reorganized. (In 1542 the Congregation of the Inquisition, a supreme tribunal for heresy cases, was established in Rome.) The desperate condition of the popular masses, foreign oppression, and the Catholic reaction promoted the growth of heretical movements, radical forms of Protestantism, and popular revolts. (In 1599 a conspiracy headed by Campanella was uncovered in southern Italy; revolts broke out in Palermo in 1647, in Salerno in 1647–48, and in Naples in 1647, led by Masaniello and Gennaro Annese.) The papal Curia and the Inquisition persecuted and condemned to death popular leaders and progressive thinkers such as G. Bruno and G. C. Vanini.

The economic and political decline of Italy grew still deeper in the first half of the 18th century. Cloth production in Florence and silk output in Venice dropped sharply. Foreign and domestic trade declined. As the amount of uncultivated land increased, crop yields decreased. The rural and urban masses became impoverished. The economic decline was exacerbated by wars fought in Italy: between 1701 and 1714, the War of the Spanish Succession; from 1733 to 1735, the War of the Polish Succession; and from 1740 to 1748, the War of the Austrian Succession. Under the Treaty of Rastatt (1714), Spanish lands were ceded to Austria, which was later forced to give up Sicily and the Kingdom of Naples to members of the Spanish branch of the Bourbons (1735). Venice, exhausted by wars with Turkey, lost its possessions in the eastern Mediterranean in 1718. Savoy pursued a maneuvering policy: in 1720 it received Sardinia from Austria, after which the Kingdom of Sardinia (1720–1861) was formed.

Period of the development and establishment of capitalism.RISORGIMENTO—THE STRUGGLE FOR LIBERATION AND UNIFICATION (SECOND HALF OF THE 18TH CENTURY TO 1870). The cessation of continual wars on Italian territory for several decades in the second half of the 18th century promoted the revival of the Italian economy. The rise and strengthening of capitalist relations, whose development had been interrupted in the 16th century, resumed. The crisis of feudal relations and the development of capitalist relations created the preconditions for the appearance in the second half of the 18th century of the Italian Enlightenment, represented by Beccaria, Filangieri, and Verri. In addition, in some Italian lands (for example, Lombardy, Tuscany, and Piedmont) reforms in the spirit of enlightened absolutism were carried out in the 1770’s and 1780’s.

The end of the 18th century saw the development of a movement called the Risorgimento (Italian for “revival”), which was aimed at liberating the country from foreign oppression and at transforming the fragmented Italian states into a single, unified state or a federation. Objectively, the Risorgimento was a struggle against the feudal-absolutist order and for the establishment of a bourgeois system. In the 1790’s news of the bourgeois revolution in France stimulated the growth of revolutionary and opposition elements in Italy. Among the petite and middle bourgeoisie and the liberal (bourgeoisified) gentry an antifeudal, anti-Austrian, republican movement developed—Italian Jacobinism, which was an outgrowth of the ideas of the Italian and French Enlightenment. Seeking to unify Italy into a federation of republics or even into a single republic, Italian patriots pinned their hopes on assistance from revolutionary France. After Bonaparte’s Italian campaign in 1796–97, republics were established in Italy. Until the collapse of the Napoleonic empire in 1814 a large part of Italy was in fact united under French rule. After 1804 the republics became kingdoms, and part of Italian territory was incorporated into the French Empire. Under French rule, bourgeois reforms were carried out in Italy (repeal of internal customs duties, abolition of feudal privileges, introduction of progressive Napoleonic codes, and secularization and sale of church lands). At the same time, the Napoleonic administration sent food and money, as well as works of art, out of Italy. The development of Italian industry was retarded by competition from French goods, which were imported duty-free, and after 1806, by the Continental Blockade.

Discontent and a yearning for national independence grew steadily in the country. After 1815 a network of secret anti-French societies of Carbonari sprang up throughout Italy. Peasants had initially welcomed the French as liberators from feudal oppression. However, disillusioned in their hopes of receiving land and crushed by the intolerable taxes and conscription introduced by the French authorities, most of the peasants soon became a reserve for reactionary forces. As early as 1799, when Napoleon’s army in Italy was retreating under the onslaught of A. V. Suvorov’s troops, a wave of anti-French and antirepublican peasant revolts swept over Italy. In 1813–14 anti-French revolts flared up in southern Italy and in Milan.

The Congress of Vienna of 1814–15 restored the feudal-absolutist monarchies in Italy. The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, the Papal States, the duchies of Modena, Parma, Lucca, and Tuscany, and the Kingdom of Sardinia (Piedmont) were restored. Lombardy and Venice were reincorporated into the Austrian Empire. Piedmont retained a certain degree of autonomy. In the remaining Italian states Austria held almost complete dominion. Internal duties and certain feudal laws were restored, but the lands that had been confiscated from feudal nobles and the Catholic Church and sold to the bourgeoisie and to bourgeoisified noblemen remained under their new owners. Between 1815 and 1831 the Carbonari continued to guide the struggle against foreign (Austrian) oppression, feudal reaction, and political fragmentation.

The defeat of the bourgeois revolutions led by the Carbonari in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1820–21 and in Piedmont in 1821 and of the Revolution of 1831 in central Italy (Modena, Parma, and the Papal States) prompted Italian democrats to seek a new solution to the problems of the national liberation movement in Italy. A new concept of Italian revolution formulated between 1831 and 1833 by G. Mazzini proposed the unification of Italy into a single, independent democratic republic “from below”—that is, by means of a popular revolution. Afraid to encroach on the interests of the liberal gentry and the landed interests of the bourgeoisie, Mazzini did not raise the slogan of turning over manorial land to the peasants. As a result, Young Italy, the underground organization founded by him in 1831, was aloof from the masses, which at that time consisted mainly of peasants. The conspiracies and attempts at revolts prepared by Young Italy in the 1830’s and 1840’s invariably failed.

The ideology of the liberal wing of the Italian national liberation camp, which expressed the interests of the big bourgeoisie and the big bourgeoisified gentry, took shape during the 1840’s. Italian liberals such as Gioberti entrusted the mission of unifying Italy to the papacy, while d’Azeglio and Balbo rested their hopes on the Kingdom of Sardinia. The liberals wanted to see Italy liberated “from above” as a confederation of several Italian monarchies.

The industrial revolution began in northern Italy in the 1840’s, but it was hampered by the country’s feudal fragmentation. It became increasingly clear that political unity was an indispensable precondition for the development of capitalism in Italy. The bourgeois Revolution of 1848–49 in Italy was basically a struggle for the country’s liberation from Austrian oppression and from the absolutist regimes that were ruling the Italian states. During the revolution the Italian bourgeoisie was closely allied with the liberal gentry. Fear of the peasant masses prodded the liberals into a compromise with the feudal classes. Although they called on the peasants for a national liberation struggle, revolutionary democrats such as Mazzini were afraid to unleash and lead the revolutionary actitivity of the peasants. All of these factors, as well as the counterrevolutionary intervention of European powers such as France and Austria, led to the defeat of the Revolution of 1848–49.

In the 1850’s the prerevolutionary order was restored in the Italian states. The constitutions introduced in 1848 remained in force only in Piedmont, where liberal cabinets led by d’Azeglio and Cavour held power. With government assistance, industry developed and railroads were built in Piedmont. Hoping that the Piedmont monarchy under King Victor Emmanuel II and Premier Cavour would unify Italy, liberal circles in the Italian states oriented themselves toward Piedmont, which endeavored to expand its possessions and pursued an anti-Austrian policy. Italian democrats were unable to work out a united program. The democrats who adopted the farthest left position demanded the limitation of manorial lands, a measure that would have helped to rally the peasants to the struggle, and C. Pisacane even demanded the transfer of manorial land to the peasants. Most republicans, seeing the weakness of the Italian democrats, who were out of touch with the masses, were inclined to drop the demand for a republic as the form of state for a future unified Italy, so that they might join with the liberals in the struggle for the unification of the country.

The Revolution of 1859–60 was the decisive stage of the Risorgimento. During the Austro-Italo-French War of 1859, which promoted the development of a revolutionary situation in central Italy, Lombardy was liberated from Austrian oppression. In the incipient revolution popular revolts triumphed in the duchies of Modena, Parma, and Tuscany, whose monarchs were expelled, and Romagna was liberated from papal authority. A revolutionary expedition organized in May 1860 by the democrats under G. Garibaldi in the southern part of Italy, where a peasant revolt had broken out in April, played a determining role in the unification of Italy. In July 1860, Sicily was liberated; and in September, Garibaldi’s revolutionary army entered Naples, the capital of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The liberation of southern Italy from Bourbon rule predetermined the triumph of the Revolution of 1859–60. The territories that had been liberated from Austrian oppression and from the oppression of semifeudal Italian sovereigns were incorporated into the Kingdom of Sardinia (Piedmont) in 1860. In 1861 the Kingdom of Sardinia became the unified Kingdom of Italy. As a result of the Austro-Italian War of 1866, Venice was liberated from Austrian oppression and incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy. The unification of Italy was completed in 1870 with the incorporation into Italy of Rome and the elimination of the secular power of the pope. Refusing to accept his loss of power, Pope Pius IX withdrew into the Vatican and declared himself a “moral prisoner.” Relations between the Italian state and the Catholic Church were fully normalized only in 1929.

The Risorgimento, which occurred chiefly as a result of the struggle of the popular masses, was led by the liberal bourgeoisie and the gentry, the bloc that assumed the leadership of the Kingdom of Italy. Unified Italy became a constitutional monarchy whose constitution was based on Piedmont’s Constitution of 1848. The peasant revolution that had broken out in the southern part of the country in 1860–61 was suppressed, and feudal vestiges in agriculture, which were especially numerous in southern Italy, were preserved.

The unified state from 1870 to 1900. In the last third of the 19th century the industrial revolution in Italy was completed. Industry became distinct from farming. The poverty of the countryside, where progress was hampered by feudal vestiges, deprived Italian industry of a sizable domestic market. The state intervened in economic life, generously subsidizing railroad construction and assisting the development of the most important national industries, especially metallurgy. A few large-scale enterprises established in Italy at the end of the 19th century were shielded by a protective tariff and relied heavily on orders and subsidies from the state and often on foreign capital as well. Italy’s largest banks (the Commercial Bank and the Bank of Credit) were founded with foreign capital but given Italian names.

However, the pace of Italy’s industrial development was still much slower than that of advanced capitalist countries such as the USA and Great Britain. The semifeudal agrarian south, which suffered from intolerable taxes and lagged behind the advanced areas of nothern Italy, where even the organization of agriculture was increasingly capitalist, became a domestic colony of the northern Italian bourgeoisie. An antidemocratic regime was established in the country. Strikes were virtually prohibited, and freedom of the press and of assembly and the right to organize unions were given only nominal recognition. Even after the electoral reform of 1882, which expanded the number of eligible voters from 600, 000 to 2 million, only 6.9 percent of the population participated in the parliamentary elections. Enormous expenditures for the creation of an army and a unified state apparatus and for the financing of industry imposed a heavy tax burden on the popular masses. Every year hundreds of thousands of peasants (mostly southerners) emigrated from Italy. The wages of the urban proletariat were much lower than the subsistence minimum, and the workday was 12 and even 16 hours.

The consequences of the incomplete bourgeois revolutions and of the onerous yoke of the machinery of state gave the Italian people’s struggle against poverty and oppression an antigovern-mental, political character and attracted to it broad strata of workers, peasants, and the petite bourgeoisie. There were turbulent and “explosive” popular demonstrations. The economic and political immaturity of the Italian proletariat, most of whom worked at home or in small or tiny enterprises, hindered the development of the workers’ movement, which also experienced difficulty in overcoming the influence of the petit bourgeois theories of Mazzini and Bakunin in the 1860’s and 1870’s. The ideology of the socialist groups, leagues, and circles that sprang up in the late 1870’s and 1880’s showed the influence of Utopian socialism, economism, and anarchism.

Nonetheless, the penetration of Marxist ideas into Italy increased in the 1880’s and 1890’s. The most prominent Marxist propagandist was Antonio Labriola. With the formation in 1892 of the Italian Socialist Party (ISP) the workers’ movement embarked on the path of an independent political struggle. Reformist ideas held by some of its members and its initial organizational weakness prevented the ISP from leading the popular uprisings of the 1890’s (for example, the uprising in Sicily in 1893–94 and the popular discontent with high prices that swept over Italy in 1898).

The Italian state had hardly been formed when it launched colonial wars. In the 1880’s and 1890’s, Italian expansionism was directed at northeast Africa. The Depretis government concluded the Triple Alliance of 1882 with Germany and Austria-Hungary. Under the Crispi government Italy captured Somalia in 1889 and Eritrea in 1890. In 1895, Italian troops invaded Ethiopia, but they were routed.

Initial period of imperialism (from the early 20th century to the end of World War I). Between 1900 and 1914 the Italian economy developed rapidly, for the most part. Modern, large-scale industry was established, and Italian capitalism began to evolve into imperialism—a process that was essentially completed by 1914. An imperialist “pool” of interests took shape (major banks, metallurgy, shipbuilding, and shipping), and monopoly-like associations emerged in automobile production (Fiat), the food-processing industry (a sugar trust), and a number of other industries. Italy adopted a policy of imperialist aggression, capturing Libya in 1912 as a result of a war with Turkey. However, even in 1914, Italy was still primarily an agrarian country. Feudal vestiges in agriculture, the extreme poverty of the peasants, and a narrow domestic market (which industrialists tried in vain to offset through increased exploitation of the workers) accounted for Italian imperialism’s economic and political weakness and for the extremely sharp class contradictions in Italian society. The ruling elite failed in its attempts to alleviate these contradictions by means of liberal reforms implemented by the Giolitti government (legalization of workers’ organizations and strikes, labor protection laws, and substantital expansion of the suffrage—the number of eligible voters was increased to 8.7 million).

With the appearance of the first detachments of an industrial proletariat, the Italian workers’ movement became more organized and more mature. In the early 20th century the ISP was dominated by a reformist wing whose leaders included F. Turati. However, a sharp struggle between various currents in the party was already under way. In 1908 the anarchosyndicalists were expelled from the ISP. The banishment from the ISP in 1912 of overt social chauvinists led by Bissolati, who had exposed themselves by supporting the colonial war against Turkey, made the ISP an “exception” among the Western European parties of the Second International. Leadership of the ISP passed to the party’s left wing, signifying the failure of Giolitti’s attempts to split and corrupt the Italian workers’ movement by pursuing a policy of partial reforms. After Giolitti’s resignation in the spring of 1914, the failure of his policy was again demonstrated by the revolutionary explosion of Red Week in June 1914 (a nationwide general strike and barricade fighting in a number of cities, including Ancona, Ravenna, Rome, Milan, and Florence).

World War I, which began on Aug. 1, 1914, caught Italy at a moment when the nation’s internal social contradictions were very acute. Italy was not ready to take part in the war. Imperialist contradictions with Germany and Austria-Hungary over Italian markets, the Balkans, the Adriatic, and Asia Minor prevented Italy from coming out on the side of its official allies. On Aug. 2, 1914, the government of A. Salandra declared Italy’s neutrality but busied itself with feverish preparations for war and with diplomatic bargaining with both belligerent groupings. The ISP, which demanded the preservation of neutrality, emerged as the organizer of the antiwar movement of the popular masses. Giolitti led the bourgeois neutralist movement. However, the expansionist aspirations of the monopolists took the upper hand over the demands of the poorly organized and internally divided neutralist camp. On May 23, 1915, having managed to obtain a promise of sizable territorial compensations from the Entente governments under the Treaty of London of 1915, Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary, and on Aug. 27, 1916, on Germany.

The economic, political, and military weakness of Italian im-peralism caused an extremely acute economic and political crisis to envelop the country during the war years and led to the rapid development of a revolutionary situation. By the spring of 1917 the damage done to the nation’s economy had reached a catastrophic level. Because it aroused enthusiasm among the Italian workers, the news of the overthrow of the autocracy in Russia in February 1917 made the situation in Italy even more tense. Within the ISP, the only Western European party of the Second International to adopt an antiwar position between 1914 and 1918, the struggle between various currents grew more intense. The party’s right wing, headed by Turati and Treves, favored a “civil peace.” The party leadership crept steadily toward centrism, while the ISP’s new left wing, which had crystallized during the war and was headed by Serrati, agreed with the party as a whole that the task of struggling for peace was not linked with the proletariat’s struggle for power. In the summer of 1917, Italy was swept by food riots, antiwar demonstrations, and political strikes. In August the antiwar, armed Uprising of Turin broke out. The acuteness of class contradictions and the paralysis of the government apparatus in the first days after the rout of the Italian Army in October 1917 at Caporetto created an objective opportunity for the Italian proletariat’s struggle for power. However, the proletariat made no move in this direction. The Italian working people and their party were not ready for revolution.

The period of the general crisis of capitalism. 1918–22: REVOLUTIONARY UPSURGE AND THE ADVENT OF FASCISM. In the war almost 700, 000 Italian soldiers were killed, and more than 1 million were crippled. The northeastern part of the country was devastated. The merchant fleet lost 60 percent of its vessels.

The development during the war of machine building, metallurgy, and a chemicals industry transformed Italy from an agrarian country into an agrarian-industrial country. However, the industries that had developed during the war years could not find markets, and a decline in production led to an economic crisis in 1920. Despite Italy’s participation in World War I, Italian imperialism failed to realize its territorial claims completely. Under the Treaty of St. Germain of 1919 and the Treaty of Rapallo of 1920, Italy received Trentino and the southern Tirol, almost all of Istria, and a number of other lands, but Italian imperialism considered itself cheated by its war allies and claimed Dalmatia, Albania, and a number of other territories.

In 1919 and 1920 a violent revolutionary upsurge occurred in Italy. The revolutionizing of the Italian popular masses was greatly influenced by the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia. Strikes in Italy took on a political character. The membership of the ISP grew, reaching more than 216, 000 in 1920. The General Confederation of Labor (GCL), which had been founded in 1906, became a major force. In the first postwar parliamentary elections (November 1919) the Socialists received three times as many votes as in 1913, becoming the strongest faction in Parliament. The Popular Party, a Catholic group founded in January 1919 under the leadership of the clergyman L. Sturzo, was very successful. The ruling Liberal Party lost its absolute majority in Parliament. Between 1919 and 1922, Italy had five premiers (the Liberals V. Orlando, F. Nitti, G. Giolitti, I. Bonomi, and L. Facta).

In 1920 the class struggle became even more acute—the number of strikes exceeded 2, 000, as compared with 1, 800 in 1919. On the initiative of Ordine Nuovo, a group of left-wing Socialists led by A. Gramsci, the workers of Turin organized factory and plant councils as early as 1919. In August and September 1920 workers in the industrial cities of the north, reacting to a lockout declared by the entrepreneurs, began to occupy the closed enterprises. Virtually every metalworking, machine-building, and metallurgical plant and factory fell into the hands of 600, 000 metalworkers. At a number of enterprises (chiefly in Turin and Milan) the workers began to organize production and create a Red Guard. The movement, which had initially been on the defensive, went over to the offensive. However, it did not grow into a struggle for power. The ISP turned over the leadership of the struggle to the GCL, whose leader, the reformist D’Aragona, was satisfied by a promise of concessions (a wage increase and worker control at enterprises) and therefore signed an agreement with the government to end the occupation of the enterprises. Subsequently, the workers’ movement entered a period of decline.

In January 1921 there was a split in the ISP. In response to the refusal of the “maximalist” majority (led by Serrati and C. Lazzari) to break with the reformists (led by Turati), the left wing quit the party and on Jan. 21, 1921, formed the Italian Communist Party (ICP).

The big bourgeoisie launched a counteroffensive against the workers’ movement. Industrialists and owners of farms supported the fascist movement, which was led in 1919 by B. Mussolini. The fascists formed armed detachments which adopted a tactic of raiding workers’ and democratic organizations. By engaging in social demagoguery, using chauvinistic slogans, and making demands for “strong authority,” the fascists, who essentially represented the interests of the most reactionary circles of finance capital and large-scale landowners, attracted relatively broad strata of the bourgeoisie, including small-scale property owners who were frightened by the scope of the revolutionary movement. The ruling circles of the bourgeoisie were ready to repudiate the Liberals, who had compromised themselves, and to move toward dictatorship. On Oct. 24, 1922, Mussolini demanded the inclusion of the Fascists in the government, and on October 30 columns of fascist Blackshirts entered Rome (the march on Rome). On October 31, Mussolini was made premier. In Parliament a majority of the deputies of the bourgeois parties gave a vote of confidence to the new government.

THE PERIOD OF THE FASCIST DICTATORSHIP (TO THE BEGINNING OF WORLD WAR II. From 1922 to 1924, Mussolini’S government carried out a number of measures in the interests of the big bourgeoisie, including the dissolution of a commission investigating war profits, the reduction of direct taxes and raising of indirect taxes, and the reduction of the working people’s wages. Increasingly, terrorism was used against opposition forces. In early 1923 many active members of the Communist Party were arrested. After the Fascists assassinated the Socialist G. Matteotti (June 10, 1924), the deputies of the opposition parties (the ISP, the Popular and Republican parties, some of the Liberals, and several other parties) withdrew from Parliament and formed the Aventine Bloc. The Communists, who had been led since late 1923 by Gramsci, also joined the bloc, proposing that the masses be called to a general political strike. However, the other parties did not accept this proposal, and the Fascists managed to stabilize the situation. The Fascists’ foreign policy during this period was, by necessity, moderate, for the party’s domestic position was unstable. In January 1924 a friendship treaty was concluded with Yugoslavia. on Feb. 7, 1924, Italy officially recognized the USSR, and diplomatic relations were established with the Soviet Union.

In 1925, Mussolini formed a one-party Fascist government. The final touches were put on the totalitarian Fascist dictatorship in November 1926 after the issuance of so-called emergency laws, under which all political parties and organizations except the Fascist Party were outlawed, a secret police was created, the death penalty was introduced, and the Special Tribunal was instituted to deal with anti-Fascists. The Grand Council of the Fascist Party, which controlled Parliament, began to pay a prominent role in the country’s life. The shock force of the Fascist Party was the National Security Volunteer Milita. The Fascists dealt brutally with the opposition: the arrested leaders of the Communist Party, including Gramsci, and leaders of anti-Fascist organizations were sentenced by the Special Tribunal to long terms in prison. With the exception of the Communists, all the opposition parties essentially stopped fighting against fascism within the country. In 1927 the GCL’s reformist leaders announced the organization’s dissolution.

In 1929 the Fascist government and the Vatican signed the Lateran Agreements, which did away with the Italian state’s long-standing conflict with the Catholic Church and assured Mussolini of the papacy’s support.

The Fascists formed a centralized system of state-monopoly capitalism. In 1927 they began to organize a corporate state, which supposedly had as its objective the establishment of “cooperation between classes.” The National Council of Corporations, which was founded in 1930, included representatives of wage laborers’ trade unions, unions of entrepreneurs, and the Fascist Party. The council had authority over 22 corporations (formed in 1934), which corresponded to the basic branches of production. Each of the corporations was made up of entrepreneurs and working people. The corporations were supposed to establish working conditions. The deciding vote in them belonged to the capitalist representatives. Under the parliamentary reform of 1939, the Chamber of Fasces and Corporations, whose members were appointed by the Fascist Party and by the corporations, replaced the Chamber of Deputies. Thus, having eliminated the opposition parties, class trade unions, and Parliament, the Fascist Party established totalitarian forms of rule by monopoly capital.

While it actively prepared for aggressive wars, the Fascist government of Italy energetically implemented autarkic measures to reduce the Italian economy’s dependence on imported raw materials and foodstuffs. The measures aimed at self-sufficiency included the battaglia del grano (“battle” to increase the production of wheat), the production of substitutes, the restriction of the consumption of scarce raw materials, and the accelerated construction of hydroelectric power plants. A highly important role was played in the implementation of these measures by state-monopoly associations headed by the Industrial Reconstruction Institute (IRI; founded in 1933). The campaigns for self-sufficiency required huge expenditures but failed to promote an overall growth of industry. From 1929 to 1939 production increased by only 15 percent, even though Italian industry had developed quite rapidly between 1921 and the world economic crisis of 1929–33.

Fascist imperialist plans were aimed at establishing Italian dominance in the Mediterranean region and at expansion in Africa. On Oct. 3, 1935, Italy attacked Ethiopia, which was occupied by Italian troops during eight months of military operations. On May 9, 1936, Mussolini declared Italy an empire. After the outbreak of the fascist revolt in Spain in July 1936, Mussolini sent an expeditionary corps to help the insurgents. The joint intervention of Italy and fascist Germany in Spain (1936–39) hastened Italy’s rapprochement with Germany. In October 1936 the two countries signed an agreement on political cooperation—the Rome-Berlin Axis. Under the accord, the Mediterranean Sea was defined as Italy’s sphere of influence, and Italy recognized Germany’s right to establish a “new order” in Central Europe. In 1937, Italy joined the Anti-Comintern Pact. Italy participated in the 1938 Munich Agreement and on May 22, 1939, signed with Germany the Pact of Steel, which formalized the aggressive Italo-German military alliance. In April 1939, Italy occupied Albania.

Popular resistance to fascism began to grow more intense in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, when strikes and demonstrations broke out in a number of places. In 1934 the Communist Party and the Socialist Party concluded an agreement on unity of action. The alliance of the two parties promoted the consolidation of all the anti-Fascist forces in Italy. Several thousand Italian volunteers fought in the International Brigades during the Spanish people’s war against the German and Italian fascist intervention (1936–39). The anti-Fascist movement in Italy became substantial in the second half of the 1930’s.

WORLD WAR II: THE COLLAPSE OF FASCISM, THE NATIONAL LIBERATION WAR OF 1943–45. At the beginning of World War II, which was unleashed by fascist Germany, fascist Italy declared itself a nonbelligerent (Sept. 1, 1939). The country was not yet ready for a major war. Italy entered the world war on June 10, 1940, at the time of the fall of France, when a German victory seemed imminent. Italian hostilities against France lasted for only a few days. On June 24 the two countries signed an armistice. Hoping to steal a march on Germany in the Balkans, Italy attacked Greece on Oct. 28, 1940. However, Italian troops suffered a number of defeats, and Greece did not surrender until after it was invaded by fascist German troops in April 1941. An Italian army corps also participated in the occupation of Yugoslavia (1941–44). In June 1941 fascist Italy and fascist Germany launched a war against the Soviet Union. Italy sent a corps and later, an army to the Soviet front. In the winter of 1942–43 the Italian Eighth Army was routed by Soviet troops in the middle reaches of the Don.

The Italian Army also suffered a series of defeats in Africa. Between January and May 1941, British troops drove Italian troops out of British Somaliland, Kenya, the Sudan, Ethiopia, Italian Somaliland, and Eritrea. By May 1943, Italian troops and the German troops that had been sent to their aid in the spring of 1941 had been defeated once and for all in Africa. In July 1943, Anglo-American troops landed in Sicily.

Continual military defeats and the deterioration of living conditions caused anti-Fascist sentiment to grow in Italy. The first to come out openly against fascism was Italy’s working class. On the initiative of the Communists a general strike was held in northern Italy in March 1943. The impending military collapse and the threat of an anti-Fascist revolution forced the Italian ruling class to move rapidly to abandon the war. On July 25, 1943, Mussolini was ousted as premier and arrested. Monarchical circles, generals, and the elite of the Fascist Party took part in the plot against him. The king appointed Marshal Badoglio premier. On September 3 the Badoglio government secretly signed an armistice agreement with the Anglo-American command on terms of unconditional surrender. When the armistice was disclosed on September 8, fascist German troops occupied most of Italy. Defended by German bayonets, the fascist puppet Salo Republic was established on occupied territory. (It was headed by Mussolini, who had escaped from custody. He was executed by partisans in April 1945.)

On Sept. 3 and 9, 1943, Anglo-American troops landed in southern Italy. A new stage of the anti-Fascist liberation struggle—the Resistance Movement—began in the autumn of 1943. Shortly thereafter, the Resistance attained the scale of a national liberation war and became an anti-Fascist democratic revolution. It was headed by the Committees of National Liberation, which consisted of representatives of the anti-Fascist parties: the Communist and Socialist parties, the petit bourgeois Action Party, the Christian Democratic Party (CDP; a Catholic group founded in 1943), and the Liberal Party. The leading force in the Committees of National Liberation was the Communists, who had been led by P. Togliatti since 1926. In March 1944 the USSR became the first country in the anti-Hitler coalition to establish direct relations with the Badoglio government. (Full diplomatic relations were established between the USSR and Italy in October 1944.) In April 1944, Badoglio formed a new government made up of representatives of all the anti-Fascist parties, including the Communists. In June 1944, after Anglo-American troops entered Rome, Bonomi became the head of the government. In April 1945, under the leadership of the Committees of National Liberation, a liberation uprising began in northern Italy, and most of the cities were liberated by forces of Italian patriots (the April Uprising of 1945). The uprising was the final stage in the national liberation war.

AFTER WORLD WAR II. The armed struggle of the italian people against fascism led to an enormous strengthening of democratic forces in the country. Under the leadership of the Communist Party, the most progressive segment of the alliance of anti-Fascist forces fought for as profound a democratization as possible of Italy’s social system and struggled to undermine the power of the monopolies. Until 1956 the Communist Party was linked with the Socialist Party by a pact that called for unity of action. Even before the end of the war, mass democratic organizations were re-created and underwent considerable development. Among them were the Italian General Confederation of Labor, a youth organization, women’s unions, and a cooperative movement. All the mass organizations united such diverse groups as the Communists, Socialists, Catholics, and supporters of the Action Party. After Italy’s liberation the CDP, which became the center of attraction for conservative forces, achieved prominence in Italian politics. Relying on the support of the Vatican and the ruling classes, the CDP gradually became the party of monopoly capital and the main stronghold of bourgeois rule in Italy.

By the time the war had ended, Italy’s economy was in total disarray: enterprises had stopped production, communications between the cities and the countryside had broken down, inflation was rampant, speculation flourished, and there were more than 2 million unemployed. The anti-Fascist unity governments led by F. Parri (1945) and A. De Gasperi (1945–47) included Communists and Socialists and implemented a number of measures designed to rebuild the economy. A sliding wage scale was introduced, and the rights of trade unions were expanded. “Management councils,” which had originated during the war, continued to operate at a number of enterprises, where they became agencies of workers’ control. (Subsequently, the bourgeoisie succeeded in gradually curtailing the activities of the councils, which were ultimately abolished.)

In the referendum of June 2, 1946, which offered a choice between the republican and monarchical forms of government, about 55 percent of the voters favored the elimination of the monarchy. On Dec. 22, 1947, a constitution for the Italian Republic was adopted. Leftist parties took part in drawing it up, managing to win the inclusion of a number of democratic provisions in it (for example, recognition of the need for the nationalization of a number of branches of the economy, for democratic control over the activity of monopolies, and for introduction of regional self-government, as well as recognition of the right to work, the right to social security, and the right to an education).

The countries of the antifascist coalition signed a peace treaty with Italy on Feb. 10, 1947, under which Italy renounced its colonies and recognized the independence of Albania and Ethiopia. The region of Trieste was set apart as the Free Territory of Trieste. (Under the ítalo-Yugoslav treaty of 1954, a large part of the free territory, including the city of Trieste, reverted to Italy.)

By early 1947 the issue of the direction of the country’s further development had arisen. The ICP and ISP insisted that new, profound democratic reforms be carried out and that restoration of the power of monopoly capital be prohibited. Subsequently, Italian bourgeois reactionaries, supported by the USA, attempted to deal a direct blow to the democratic forces. In May 1947, De Gasperi provoked a government crisis and ousted the Communists and Socialists from the government. In January 1947 the right wing of the ISP, led by Saragat, had left the ISP and created a new party that had adopted an anti-Communist platform. (Shortly thereafter, the Italian Social Democratic Party, an outgrowth of Saragat’s party, was formed.) The CDP and the right-wing Socialists broke with all the mass organizations (for example, the trade unions, youth groups, and women’s organizations) and created separate organizations. The government coalition parties (the CDP, the Italian Social Democratic Party, the Liberal Party, and the Republican Party) campaigned for election to the first postwar Parliament (1948), using anti-Communist slogans. The CDP won an absolute majority of seats in Parliament. On July 14, 1948, an attempt was made on Togliatti’s life. Italy’s working people responded with a general strike that was joined by more than 7 million people. The strike was evidence of the failure of the reactionaries’ offensive and of the determination of the masses of the working people to continue the struggle for democratic ideals. The new De Gasperi governments (1947–53) enjoyed the support of the USA. In 1948, Italy accepted US assistance under the Marshall Plan, and in 1949, Italy joined NATO. NATO and US military bases were established in Italy.

In 1948, Italy regained its prewar level in industrial production and in 1950, in agriculture. The leading Italian monopolies (for example, Fiat and Falck) used funds received under the Marshall Plan to modernize their equipment completely. State industrial associations such as the IRI and later the National Hydrocarbons Board (founded in 1953) were very active. Substantial domestic and foreign demand for industrial and agricultural output, as well as cheap manpower and a continuous increase in the intensiveness of labor, promoted the rapid growth of the economy. (Even during the postwar upswing in the economy, Italy maintained the lowest wages of any Western European country.)

Mass actions by the working people—above all, a movement to occupy fallow private land—compelled the government to pass laws in 1950 concerning a partial land reform and to create a fund for the development of the South (the Southern Fund). At the same time, the government called out the police against strikers and demonstrators, trying to intimidate the democratic forces. In 1949 a conference of bishops adopted a resolution calling for the excommunication of anyone who voted for or supported the Communists or Socialists. The CDP leadership attempted a legal coup in 1953, proposing a new electoral law under which a party that received more than 50 percent of the vote would have a two-thirds majority in Parliament (that is, enough seats to change the constitution). However, in the 1953 elections the CDP lost its absolute majority of seats in Parliament, and the number of votes cast for the Communists and Socialists increased. The bourgeoisie’s five-year concerted drive against the country’s democratic forces had failed.

In the 1950’s, Italy was transformed from an agrarian-industrial country into an industrial-agrarian one. There was a sharp increase in state intervention in the economy in the interests of the monopolies (state-monopoly capitalism). In 1951, Italy signed the European Coal and Steel Association agreement and in 1957, the European Economic Community (Common Market) treaty. At the same time, Italy began to strengthen its trade relations with the USSR and other socialist countries in the second half of the 1950’s, and in the 1960’s economic, cultural, and political contacts between Italy and the USSR increased.

The monopolies, which were making tremendous excess profits, pursued a policy of paternalism aimed at destroying the unity of the working class—that is, they bought off certain working class groups with various sops and social measures. This policy was pursued most intensively in northern Italy at plants owned by companies such as Fiat and Olivetti. The working class repulsed the reactionaries’ attempt to govern the country through a rightist government supported by neo-Fascists in Parliament (the Tambroni government, March-July 1960) and thwarted a stunt pulled by the neo-Fascists, who in July 1960 tried with government permission to hold their congress in Genoa, one of the centers of the Resistance Movement.

After a long internal struggle in the CDP, in 1962 the party congress came out for a switch to a left-center policy, which presupposed cooperation with the ISP, the Social Democrats, and the Republicans on the basis of a program of reforms. The first left-center government, which was headed by A. Fanfani (1962–63) and which was supported but not joined by the Socialists, carried out a number of important reforms: the electric power industry was nationalized, pensions were increased, and the condition of the peasantry was somewhat improved. However, this effort to weaken the mass movement of the working people and isolate the Communist Party failed because the Communists applied the tactics of “constructive opposition” and supported all the positive aspects of the government program, while at the same time organizing a struggle against inconsistency and delays in the implementation of the reforms. The reactionaries tried unsuccessfully to change the situation in the country by force. (In the summer of 1964 the military intelligence agency SIFAR attempted to prepare a coup d’etat.) Subsequently, governments headed by A. Moro (1963–64, 1964–69) pursued a more moderate policy, even though they included Socialists. In January 1964 the left wing of the ISP formed an independent party (the Italian Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity). The ISP merged with the Social Democrats in 1966, forming the Unified Socialist Party. The results of the parliamentary elections of 1968 showed a new increase in the number of votes cast for the Communist Party and other leftist forces. The failure of the left-center course became obvious, since its main goal—the creation in the country of political stability based on a sharp weakening of the influence of democratic forces—had not been achieved.

By the end of the 1960’s, the tendency to review some aspects of Italian foreign policy had grown noticeably stronger. For instance, although Italy remained an active participant in NATO, it argued that its Atlantic-bloc obligations did not extend to Southeast Asia (1966) and the Middle East (1970). Relations between Italy and the USSR—particularly economic ties—continued to become stronger. During a visit to Moscow by the Italian head of state G. Andreotti in October 1972, a Soviet-Italian protocol on consultations was signed.

By the 1970’s the problem of relations between the government majority and the Communist Party had become the main issue in domestic politics. Leftist currents in the CDP, as well as the majority of the leadership of the ISP, were inclined to support tactics of cooperation with the Communist Party. In view of this, in 1969 rightists in the Socialist Party, influenced by US ruling circles, organized a split in the ISP and formed the Socialist Unity Party (since 1971, the Social Democratic Party). This party attempted to lead a new anti-Communist campaign and create an atmosphere of tension and unrest in the country. At the same time, a broad strike movement unfolded, led jointly by three trade-union centers (the Italian General Confederation of Labor, the Italian Confederation of Working People’s Trade Unions, and the Italian Union of Labor). The events of the “hot autumn” of 1969, during which up to 20 million workers participated in several strikes, forced the government to satisfy many of the working people’s demands (for example, by improving material conditions and expanding workers’ rights at industrial enterprises). The reactionaries tried a new maneuver in early 1970, causing a protracted government crisis in order to have Parliament dissolved before its five-year term was up, thereby thwarting the adoption of a number of democratic bills. However, the threat of reactionary adventurism was repulsed by the democratic forces. Municipal elections and elections to 15 of the 20 regional councils (June 7–8, 1970) confirmed the increase in the influence of leftist forces. In three regions—Emilia—Romagna, Tuscany, and Umbria—representatives of leftist parties won a majority in local government bodies. In many city and provincial government bodies representatives of the ICP, the Italian Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity, and the ISP won a majority of seats. Unity of action by the major trade-union centers created concrete prospects for eliminating the split in the trade-union movement, and in 1972 a federation of the three trade-union centers was founded.

The upsurge in the workers’ and democratic movement encountered a fierce counteroffensive by reactionary forces, including a move to the right in the policy of the CDP leadership and fascist provocations in a number of regions, including Calabria and Abruzzi. Because the policy of the “left center”—the government coalition of the CDP, the ISP, the Social Democratic Party and the Republican Party—had come to a dead end in early 1971, Parliament was dissolved before the completion of its five-year term. In extraordinary parliamentary elections in May 1972 rightist forces failed to improve their position, and the leftist parties received 40 percent of the vote (the ICP won 27.2 percent of the vote). Nevertheless, Andreotti’s government, which was formed in the summer of 1972, included only representatives of the CDP, the Social Democratic Party, and the Liberal Party. The formation of this right-center government signified an attempt by Italy’s ruling circles to alter the balance of forces in the country. In view of the obvious political failure of this attempt, a new left-center government was formed in 1973 under M. Rumor. Although it somewhat accelerated the drive against fascism, it proved unable to cope with the incipient inflation. In May 1974 the right wing of the CDP pushed through a national referendum on a divorce law, hoping to strengthen the conservatives’ position. However, contrary to their expectations, about 60 percent of the voters supported a divorce law. In the fall of 1974 a two-party government (the CDP and the Republicans) was formed under A. Moro. A number of important government positions were given to right-wing members of the CDP.

In the struggle against reaction and neo-Fascism the unity of Italy’s leftists and democratic forces is being strengthened for the implementation of social reforms and democratic transformations.


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Spriano, P. Storia del Partito comunista italiano, vols. 1–4. Rome-Turin, 1967–74.

V. I. RUTENBURG (to the mid-18th century), K. E. KIROVA (mid-18th century to 1918), G. S. FILATOV (1918–45), and S. I. DOROFEEV (from 1945)

Political parties The Christian Democratic Party (Partito della Democrazia Cristiana), which was founded in 1943, had 1.83 million members in 1974. It represents primarily the interests of monopoly capital, although it is also supported by a substantial number of Catholic working people. The CDP is associated with the Vatican, whose support it enjoys. Founded on Jan. 21, 1921, the Italian Communist Party (Partito Comunista Italiano) had 1, 658, 000 members in 1974. It has a prevailing influence in the Italian General Confederation of Labor, the Union of Italian Women, and the National League of Cooperatives. In 1972 the membership of the ICP increased, owing to the admission of former members of the Italian Socialist Party of Proletarian Unity, which had disbanded itself and asked its members to join the Communist Party. The Italian Socialist Party (Partito Socialista Italiano) was founded in 1892. It had 640, 000 members in 1974. In 1947 the Social Democrats left the ISP. The rightist leadership of the ISP, headed by P. Nenni, merged with the Social Democrats in 1966, forming the Unified Socialist Party. In 1968 the previous name of the party—the ISP—was restored. However, in 1969 a new split occurred: a rightist, social-reformist grouping quit the party and created the Socialist Unity Party, which in 1971 renamed itself the Social Democratic Party (Partito Social-Democratico Italiano). The latter has about 250, 000 members.

Founded in 1832, the Republican party (Partito Repubblicano) had 60, 000 members in 1974. The Liberal Party (Partito Liberale), which was organized in the early 20th century, represents the interests of the middle bourgeoisie and landlords. The party had about 150, 000 members in 1974. The Italian Social Movement (Movimento Sociale Italiano), a neo-fascist party and an outgrowth of the Fascist Party and fascist organizations, was founded in 1947. In 1972 it merged with the Democratic Monarchist Unity Party (founded in 1959). It had 300, 000 members in 1974.

Trade unions and other social organizations The Italian General Confederation of Labor (IGCL), which was founded in 1944, had 4 million members in 1974. It belongs to the World Federation of Trade Unions. Founded in 1950, the Italian Confederation of Workers’ Trade Unions (ICWT), which is under the influence of the CDP, had 200, 000 members in 1974. It belongs to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. The Italian Union of Labor (IUL), founded in 1950, had about 800, 000 members in 1974. It belongs to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. In 1972 the IGCL, ICWT, and IUL formed a federation.

The Italian Communist Youth Federation, which was founded in 1921, had about 120,000 members in 1974. The Union of Italian Women, founded in 1945, had about 1 million members in 1972. Founded in 1886, the National League of Cooperatives incorporates 7,920 cooperatives and about 2 million members (1972). It belongs to the International Cooperative Alliance. The National Association of Italian Partisans, whose members took part in the Resistance Movement, was founded in 1947 and had about 300,000 members in 1972. The Italy-USSR Society, founded in 1945, has about 80,000 members (1972). The Italian Catholic Action, a secular organization of Catholics that is subordinate to the church, was founded in 1874 and had about 3 million members in 1972. The organization supports the CDP. The Christian Association of Italian Workers, a Catholic quasi-trade-union organization created by the Vatican in 1945, has about 700,000 members (1972).


General state of the economy. Italy is an industrial-agrarian country. As of 1970, 42 percent of the national income was provided by industry, 10.2 percent by agriculture, 38.42 percent by service industries (including 12 percent by commerce), 6.5 percent by transportation and communications, and 2 percent by the hotel business. The value of Italy’s industrial output is almost four times as high as that of its agricultural output (1970). Each year 2.5 times as much capital is invested in industry as in agriculture. Most of Italy’s exports—that is, about 95 percent in 1970—are produced by its manufacturing industries. In 1970, Italy was sixth in the capitalist world (behind the USA, the Federal Republic of Germany [FRG], Japan, Great Britain, and France) in the volume of industrial output (3.7 percent) and the extent of foreign trade. (Italy accounted for 4.8 percent of the exports of the capitalist countries in 1970.)

Since World War II the country’s economy has been developing at a relatively rapid rate. Capitalist centralization and concentration have accelerated. Large-scale monopoly capital dominates most spheres of the economy. More than half of the chemicals industry belongs to the monopolistic Montedison group (Montecatini Edison), more than five-sixths of automobile manufacturing is connected with the Fiat concern, and a considerable portion of the rubber industry is monopolized by the Pirelli trust.

The state owns a large number of enterprises. There are state associations in the oil and gas industry (the National Hydrocarbons Board) and in metallurgy and machine building (the Industrial Reconstruction Institute, a state group that also controls the air and maritime fleets and the telephone network). The most widespread form of state intervention in the economy is the participation of specialized state bodies in joint-stock companies as holders of controlling shares. Various economic programs provide for the establishment of enterprises whose operation is ultimately subordinate to the interests of the monopolies. The state finances an average of 35–37 percent of the total investments in the economy. In addition to the large private and state monopoly associations, there are many small and tiny firms and enterprises, more than half of which are engaged in the distribution and service industries, as well as in the fishing, garment, woodworking, publishing, and food-processing industries.

Foreign capital has a prominent place in the economy. Between 1956 and 1970 the total volume of foreign investments was 652 billion lire, of which 86 percent came from the USA, Great Britain, Switzerland, and the FRG. Foreign investment is attracted chiefly by the oil-extracting, oil-refining, chemicals, machine-building (especially electrical and electronics equipment), and metallurgical industries. Participating in the operation of these industries are such American companies as Gulf Oil Corporation, Standard Oil of New Jersey, Westinghouse, General Electric, and the Ford Motor Company, the West German concerns AEG and Siemens, the British Petroleum Company, the Shell Oil Company (an Anglo-Dutch company), and Phillips Petroleum, a Dutch concern. A number of Italy’s industrial companies have agreements with foreign monopolies (for example, Fiat and Citroen, the French firm).

Monopoly capital has also penetrated into branches of agriculture. However, particularly in southern Italy and on the islands, feudal vestiges retard the development of agriculture and limit the domestic market for industry. The age-old problem of the uneven development of the North and South has not been solved: the South is still a market and agrarian and raw-materials appendage of the industrial North. The Italian government has taken measures to stimulate the economic development of the South, including the Southern Italy Development Program and its financing, as well as a favorable tax policy calculated to attract investments in the industry of the southern regions of the country. Despite the creation of a few important industrial centers, fundamental changes have not occurred in the structure of the economy of southern Italy. Meanwhile, the share of the northern regions in the country’s economy continues to grow. Italy’s per capita gross national product (an average of US $1, 710 in 1970) is very unevenly distributed: in the northern regions it is close to that of the most developed European countries, whereas in the southern regions it approaches that of the most underdeveloped European countries, such as Greece. Italy as a whole has one of the lowest per capita gross national products in the Common Market. (Specifically, it is one-third lower than that of France.)

Although its rate of growth has been relatively higher than that of other capitalist countries, Italy’s economy has developed spasmodically. (For example, industrial output expanded by 11.5 percent between 1965 and 1966 but by only 2.9 percent between 1968 and 1969.) Periods of heightened activity and economic boom alternate with crises of overproduction. The crisis of 1970–71 was especially clear-cut—in 1970 the growth rate slowed, and between 1970 and 1971 total industrial output dropped by 3 percent. In the period of the general crisis of capitalism the Italian economy has underutilized the machinery of production and suffered continuously from high unemployment. For example, in 1970 the machinery of production in industry was used to only 81.5 percent of its capacity, and in 1971 the figure fell to 77 percent (according to data for the second quarter). The average number of officially registered unemployed was 961,000 in 1970 and exceeded 1 million in 1971.

Unemployment is one of the country’s most serious problems. Between 1960 and 1969 the number of people employed in agriculture decreased by 2.2 million, whereas the number of people employed in other branches of the economy increased by only 1 million. Italy is a source of cheap manpower for the other industrially developed countries of Western Europe. The cost of living is rising rapidly: for instance, between 1959 and 1970 it rose by 48 percent, with prices for food rising by 47 percent; clothing prices, 39 percent; apartment rent, 94 percent; and service costs, 62 percent.

Italy is a country of low wages. Only a very limited category of workers is paid more than 100, 000 lire a month. Most workers are paid 60, 000–70, 000 lire, and especially in the south, a rather substantial group of working people receive a maximum of 40, 000–60, 000 lire a month (1972). Among the social hardships borne by the Italian working class are high apartment rent, which sometimes absorbs up to 40 percent of a worker’s earnings, considerable expenses for transportation, expensive medical services, an inadequate number of health and children’s institutions, and low pensions.

Industry In Italy heavy industry prevails, and machine building plays the leading role among the branches of industry. After World War II the metallurgical, electric-power, chemicals, and petrochemicals industries underwent considerable development. There have been sharp increases in the volume of production of machine tools and motor vehicles and tractors (more than one-third of which go to the foreign market), as well as in the production of precision tools, plastics, and artificial fibers, two-thirds of the output of which is exported. Italian industry has become competitive in the international market. (See Table 2 on the structure of industry.)

Table 2. Structure of industry by number of employed persons
 19381961 (census)1970
Mining.................137, 4003.2104, 2001.9116, 7001.4
Manufacturing industries.............3, 517, 80082.74, 495, 60080.15, 957, 30072.7
  metallurgical.................103, 6002.4191, 8003.4233, 5002.8
  machine building.................823, 00019.31, 377, 50024.51, 927, 00023.4
  chemicals and petrochemicals.........127, 9003.0290, 6005.2473, 6005.7
  food and condiments574, 50013.5423, 5007.5517, 0006.3
  textiles.................628, 60014.8598, 60010.7565, 8006.9
  leather.................215, 5005.149, 9000.956, 4000.7
  clothing and footwear.................308, 7007.2513, 4009.1969, 30012.5
  woodworking and furniture.................283, 6006.7381, 2006.8509, 6006.2
  processing of nonmetallic minerals...206, 8004.9318, 7005.7348, 0004.2
  paper and publishing.........126, 2003.0194, 4003.5232, 0002.8
  other branches.............119, 4002.8156, 0002.8105, 1001.3
Building.................558, 50013.1894, 40015.91, 976, 00024.0
Production and distribution of electric
  power and water.............
42, 2001.0116, 1002.1159, 0001.9

MINING. Italy has an unevenly distributed and very small supply of raw materials and energy resources. Coal mining satisfies about 10 percent of the country’s demand for solid fuel. Coal is mined in sardinia and lignites (brown coal), in tuscany and Umbria. In the postwar years the extraction of oil and natural gas was begun, primarily in sicily and in the Po Basin. The domestic mining of iron ore does not meet the country’s needs. In addition, it is beginning to decline—a trend that is also observable in the mining of complex-metal ores, about two-thirds of which are extracted in Sardinia. Italy is second to Spain in the production of mercury, providing about one-fourth of the world’s output, and third in the capitalist world behind Japan and Spain in the large-scale mining of pyrites. Bauxites are mined on the Gargano Peninsula and in northwestern Sardinia, and manganese ore is mined in Liguria and Tuscany. Sulfur mining—a traditional branch of the Italian mining industry which is concentrated in Sicily—has declined sharply. Potassic salts are mined. Italy is famous for its natural building and finishing materials—marble and granite. (See Table 3.)

Table 3. Mining
Coal (tons)................1, 348, 000680, 200295, 500
Lignites (tons)..............873, 000830, 9001, 393, 300
Petroleum (tons extracted)...13, 2001, 545, 7001, 408, 100
Natural gas (cubic meters)...17, 100, 0005, 175, 200, 00013, 171,000, 000
Bauxites (tons)..............360, 800299, 000224, 700
Iron ore (tons)..............990, 0001, 292, 500756, 700
Cinnabar (tons)..............195, 500294, 100305, 900
Lead (tons)................39, 50056, 00055, 300
Zinc (tons)................84, 000117, 000179, 300
Manganese ore (tons).......48, 30044, 10050, 100
Pyrites (tons)................930, 3001, 514, 3001, 518, 400
Sulfur (tons)................2, 363, 9001, 497, 500354, 200

ENERGY. The intensive industrialization of the postwar period has included a reorganization of the country’s energy base. The proportion of solid fuel consumed has plummeted. In 1969 petroleum and gas accounted for 78.4 percent of italy’s energy balance, electric power, 11.9 percent, and solid fuel, 9.7 percent. The petroleum-refining industry has become the basis of the energy branch of the economy. (In 1970 there were 38 refineries with a total capacity of 154 million tons. They rely on imported petroleum. Locally extracted raw materials provide only 1.2 percent of the petroleum consumed in Italy.)

The electric-power industry is being developed primarily through the construction of new thermoelectric power plants and through the improvement of the capacities of already existing plants. The importance of hydroelectric power is declining: hydroelectric power plants, most of which are located in the Alps, produce about 40 percent of the total output of electric power. Several electric plants in the region of Larderello in Tuscany operate on hot springs. In the 1960’s atomic power plants began to be established, including Foce Verde (210 megawatts; located near Latina), Garigliano (160 megawatts; in Punta Fiume in the province of Caserta), and Enrico Fermi (272 megawatts; located in Trino-Vercellise). They produce more than 3 billion kilowatt-hours of electric power. In 1972 the Caorso Atomic Power Plant in Lombardy went into operation. There are also experimental nuclear reactors located in Ispra, Frascati, Bracciano, Pisa, Saluggia, and Vallegrande.

The power plants are linked by electrical transmission lines (about 40, 000 km), and 20 high-voltage lines connect Italy with France, Switzerland, and Yugoslavia. Since the nationalization of the power plants (1962–66), ENEL, a state association, has accounted for about 70 percent of Italy’s output of electric power.

MANUFACTURING INDUSTRIES. The metallurgical industry depends on imported raw materials and fuel: 90 percent of the iron ore consumed in Italy, more than 75 percent of the scrap metal, about 70 percent of the manganese ore, and all of the coking coal are imported. Characteristic of Italian metallurgy are the sharp predominance of steel over pig-iron production and a high proportion of electrometallurgy. Most of the metallurgical plants are small and do not have a full cycle. Many of them are narrowly specialized. However, the foundation of the metallurgical industry is made up of four large metallurgical combines in the cities of Cornigliano (greater geona), Bagnoli (greater naples), Piombino, and taranto. much of the iron and steel industry, including the most important combines, is controlled by finsider, a state company which accounts for 94 percent of italy’s production of pig iron and 60 percent of its steel and rolled steel output.

Important centers of electrometallurgy (the cities of Domodossola, Bolzano, and Brescia) are located in the foothills of the Alps and in Alpine valleys near hydroelectric power plants.

The production of aluminum, lead, zinc, and mercury are the most highly developed branches of nonferrous metallurgy. Most aluminum plants (specifically, all those producing primary aluminum) and alumina plants are located in the northeast (Venice, Bolzano, and Mori), and the main center for the production of secondary aluminum is Milan. The most important lead-smelting plants are located near the Sardinian deposits of complex-metal ores (the cities of San Gavino Monreale, Sant’Antioco, and Monteponi). Zinc-smelting plants are located in northern Italy near Alpine hydroelectric power plants (Brescia, Domodossola, and Ponte Nossa). Lead and zinc are also produced in large industrial centers, such as Milan, Turin, and Venice. Mercury is produced in Tuscany (for example, in Grosseto and Siena). Compared to that of other capitalist countries, Italy’s output of magnesium is large (6, 400 tons in 1969; plant in Bolzano).

MACHINE BUILDING. The leading role in the country’s industry is played by machine building. Transportation machine building, especially the manufacture of motor vehicles, is an outstanding branch of this industry. Almost all the output is produced by five major enterprises. The largest motor vehicle plant operated by the Fiat concern is located in Turin. In addition, there are motor vehicle plants in Milan (the Alfa Romeo Company), near naples (the town of Pomigliano D’Arco), and in Modena. A large number of motor scooters, motorcycles, motorcycle vans, and bicycles are produced. Shipbuilding is well developed. The largest shipyards are located near Genoa, as well as at the ports of Livorno, Naples, Venice, Trieste, Monfalcone, and Taranto.

The electrical equipment industry produces power equipment, electrical equipment, radio electronics equipment, household electrical appliances, medical equipment, and lighting devices. A few large enterprises produce two-thirds of the industry’s total output. Most of them are located in Milan and the cities surrounding it. Smaller electrical equipment firms are located in Varese, Bergamo, Como, Turin, and Genoa. Industries that developed in the 1960’s (specifically, electronics) are located both in the old industrial centers of the north (chiefly near Milan) and in the south (the regions of Latium and Campania).

Instrument-making and the production of precision machines and optical instruments have attained a high level, primarily in the industrial centers of the north. Italy is one of the leading countries in the world in the production of typewriters and calculators. In this industry, 80 percent of the output is supplied by enterprises of the Olivetti Company (linked to American capital), which are located in Ivrea.

Machine-tool building is an old industry. In the 1960’s, Italy sharply increased both the output and the variety of machine-tool production, which is concentrated chiefly in Lombardy and Piedmont (Milan, Brescia, and Turin), as well as in Genoa, Bologna, and Naples. The production of ball bearings, which is monopolized by the Fiat subsidiary Riv, is well developed. In farm-machine building, tractor manufacturing is outstanding for the large scale of its operations.

CHEMICALS. The chemicals industry has a ramified structure. Locally extracted pyrites, natural gas, sulfur, and potassic salts are among the chemical raw materials used by the industry, as are imported petroleum, coal, phosphorites, and cellulose. The output of the chemicals industry is diversified, and the level of technology is high. The industry specializes in the production of nitrogen, sulfuric acid, chemical fibers, plastics, lacquers, organic dyes, soda ash, caustic soda, pharmaceuticals, and fertilizers (nitrate fertilizers, 805, 000 tons by nitrogen content; complex fertilizers, 1, 762, 000 tons in 1970). The structure of the industry is becoming more complicated, and the output of products created by delicate organic syntheses is acquiring greater importance. (Inorganic chemicals constitute about one-fifth of the output of the industry.) An old and highly developed industry—the production of sulfuric acid—is monopolized by the Montedison concern.

Plastics and artificial fibers enterprises are located near centers of the textile industry in Lombardy and Piedmont. The highly developed lacquer and dye industry is concentrated primarily around Milan. The petroleum-refining industry is located mainly on the coast (for example, in Genoa, Naples, Venice, La Spezia, Augusta, Milazzo, and Priolo), where imported petroleum is unloaded, and in areas where the consumption of petroleum products is highest (Lombardy), to which oil is brought in pipelines. A comparatively new, developing industry is petrochemicals. Some of its combines operate on locally extracted natural gas (Porto Marghera and Ferrandina), and others use the products of petroleum refineries (Priolo, Porto Torres, Gela, Cagliari, and Brindisi). Petrochemicals combines in Ravenna, Ferrara, and Mantua use both natural gas and refined petroleum products. The rubber and synthetic rubber industries are well developed.

TEXTILES. Textiles is one of the oldest industries. The highest output is produced by the cotton industry, which is centered primarily in Lombardy and Piedmont. The principal areas for the wool industry are Piedmont (Biella), Veneto, and Tuscany. Most of the fabrics made from artificial and synthetic fibers are exported. The production of natural silk has begun to decline as a result of the popularization of fabrics made from artificial fibers. (The chief center of the silk industry is Como.)

FOODS. The most highly developed food-processing industries are milling, the production of macaroni, and sugar refining. Traditional products are canned fruits, vegetables, meats and fish, juices, olive oil (first in output in the world), cheese, and grape wines. With France, Italy has outdistanced all other countries in wine-making. (See Table 4.)

Table 4. Output of main industrial products
11956 21968 31969
Electric power (billion kW-hr)...............15.545.5117.4
Coke (thousand tons)...............1, 739.44, 188.17, 171.2
Pig iron (thousand tons)...............862.82, 059.88, 331.6
Steel (thousand tons)...............2, 322.86, 271.117, 277.4
Ferroalloys (thousand tons)...............65.8107.3197.0
Rolled metal (thousand tons)...............1, 734.64, 635.213, 928.8
Aluminum, primary (thousand tons).......25.864.1146.5
Lead, primary (thousand tons)...............
Zinc (thousand tons)...............33.671.4142.1
Mercury (thousand tons)...............
Passenger cars (thousands)...............59.0369.41, 719.7
Other motor vehicles (thousands)...............11.834.4134.5
Tractors (thousands)...............25.683.8
Bicycles (thousands)...............352.9370.2
Motorcycles, motor scooters, motor
  bikes (thousands)...............
Maritime vessels launched (gross reg.
Typewriters (thousands)...............396.9521.2
Calculators (thousands)...............230.7972.5
Sewing machines (thousands)...............441.81, 004.9
Machine tools (thousand tons)...............18.023.51134.02
Antifriction bearings (millions)...............47.8132.1
Cement (million tons)...............4.622.033.1
Sulfuric acid (thousand tons)...............1, 721.22, 031.33, 324.2
Synthetic ammonia (thousand tons)........113.2609.21, 548.3
Plastics (thousand tons)...............7.7174.01, 629.7
Artificial fibers (thousand tons)...............141.3182.7
Synthetic fibers (thousand tons)...............19.0241.2
Cotton fabrics (thousand tons)...............157.2175.4
Silk fabrics (thousand tons)...............17.12
Woolen fabrics (thousand tons)...............34.02
Sugar (thousand tons)...............369.81, 026.81, 273.7
Wine (million hectoliters)...............38.267.468.9
Tobacco products (billion cigarettes)....31.954.464.73
Olive oil (thousand tons)...............175.3260.3424.4

Agriculture Agriculture is characterized by large-scale capitalist landowning and small-scale land use. There are still large latifundia in the south. About a third of all landed wealth is concentrated in the hands of 20, 000 major landowners (0.5 percent of the total number of landowners), whereas 2.7 million peasants (63.2 percent of the country’s landowners), whose plots do not exceed 3 hectares (ha), own only 12 percent of the agricultural lands. Sharecropping is widespread. Many peasant farm laborers have no land. One of the acute contradictions in agriculture is the growing contrast between the levels of the social and productive development of the north and south.

In the 1960’s and early 1970’s a powerful upsurge was observed in the peasant movement, which is developing in close alliance with the working-class movement. Farm laborers have expressed their anger very forcefully: often, hundreds of thousands of them have gone on strike simultaneously throughout the country, seeking wage increases, equal pay for women, and the establishment of a guaranteed minimum wage. The center of the peasant movement was once the Po Valley, particularly the region of Emilia-Romagna. However, in the early 1970’s the peasantry of southern Italy, who in the past had been politically the most passive part of the population, began to participate in the peasant movement.

Capitalist farms in the north produce most of the commodity output. With the increase in investments in agriculture after World War II, there was some improvement in the degree of mechanization. More fertilizers were used, crop and livestock yields rose, and new areas were developed. However, in terms of efficiency, agricultural production in Italy lags behind that of the other developed capitalist countries. (Wheat yield, for instance, is much lower in Italy than in France—23.3 and 34.4 centners per ha, respectively.) About 70 percent of Italy’s territory is used for agriculture; of this area, plowed land occupies more than 40.5 percent, orchards and vineyards, 9.3 percent, meadows and pastures, 17.3 percent, and forests and shrubbery, 20.6 percent. The predominantly mountainous, hilly terrain hinders the cultivation of land by the usual method. Slopes are terraced and reinforced to protect the soil from erosion. In 1970, 631,000 tractors, 12, 000 threshers, and 18, 000 grain combines were in use, and about 3 million tons of various fertilizers were used.

The diversity of the natural environment affects specialization in agriculture. Italy raises a larger proportion of cereal crops—especially wheat, corn, and rice—than any other European country. (See Table 5.)

Table 5. Cultivated area and harvest of basic crops
 (thousand hectares)(thousand tons)
Grains................7, 4487, 0035, 86410, 31013, 64416, 070
   wheat................5, 1164, 8774, 1388, 1848, 6849, 630
   corn................1, 4581, 2541, 0262, 9403, 4104, 729
Legumes................1, 4471, 2777601, 1258471, 269
Potatoes................4023872862, 9423, 4143, 668
Garden crops................1742795762, 4444, 1001 1, 565
   tomatoes................571011309401, 7173, 618
   cabbage (heads
      cabbage and
5883817811, 2721, 571
   muskmelons and
2426423984271, 039
   onions and garlic................122333145312577
Sugar beets................1352262823, 2807, 0349, 557
Cotton fiber   581.1

The country’s chief granary is the Po Valley, which produces almost half of the total wheat harvest. Hard wheat, which is especially suited to manufacturing macaroni, is raised chiefly in Sicily, Apulia, and Basilicata. Corn is grown primarily in Veneto, Lombardy, and Piedmont. The chief rice-growing areas are the provinces of Vercelli and Novara in Piedmont. Orchards, viticulture, and olive cultivation are widespread. The region of Emilia-Romagna leads in the production of fruit, followed by the regions of Veneto, Campania, and Trentino-Alto Adige. In 1970 about 2 million tons of apples, about 2 million tons of pears, and 1 million tons of peaches were picked, as well as considerable quantities of almonds, cherries, plums, and walnuts. Vineyards occupy 1.1 million ha, not counting the areas where grapes are grown together with other crops. (In 1970, 10.7 million tons of grapes were harvested.) Viticulture is carried on primarily in the region of Apulia, which produces more than 18 percent of the country’s total output of grapes, and there are large yields of grapes in Sicily and the regions of Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, and Latium.

Italy is one of the world’s leaders in the cultivated area and yield of olives (1 million ha, excluding lands with mixed crops; a yield of 2.1 million tons of olives in 1970, mainly from Apulia, Calabria, and Sicily). Like the USA and Spain, Italy is a major producer of citrus fruits (1, 362, 000 tons of oranges, 279, 000 tons of mandarin oranges, and 770, 000 tons of lemons in 1970). Sicily produces three-fourths of the total yield of citrus fruits. Among the other crops grown in Italy, potatoes, melons, tomatoes, and cabbage are important. The country’s mild climate makes it possible for Italy to deliver early vegetables to the European market. Among the regions of Italy, Campania is notable for its harvests of potatoes and tomatoes. Sugar beets (Emilia-Romagna and Veneto), tobacco (Apulia and Campania), and hemp (Campania) are widely cultivated.

Animal husbandry is a secondary branch of agriculture in Italy, mainly because of the inadequacy of the feed supply. (See Tables 6 and 7.) The chief cattle-raising areas are the regions of Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, and Veneto. Sheep raising is most highly developed in Sardinia and Apulia and swine raising, in Emilia-Romagna, where the animals are fed the by-products of sugar refining. Animal husbandry is intensive only in the country’s northern areas. Silkworm breeding is still important in a number of areas.

Table 6. Livestock
Cattle.........................7, 667, 0009, 563, 000
   cows.........................3, 828, 0004, 472, 000
Sheep.........................9, 467, 0008, 138, 000
Goats.........................1, 828, 0001, 031,000
Pigs.........................2, 940, 0009, 224, 000
Horses.........................791,000296, 000
Donkeys.........................796, 000293, 000
Mules.........................431,000188, 000

Fishing is done primarily in the Adriatic Sea. In 1970, 186, 000 tons of fish were caught, including herring, sardines, mackerel, and tuna, as well as 44, 800 tons of shellfish and 10, 700 tons of crustaceans. Oysters are bred in some man-made bodies of water in the south.

Transportation Trucks carry most of the land freight shipments in Italy. There are 285, 000 km of roads, including 3, 900 km of superhighways. As of 1970, there were more than 11 million motor vehicles, including 10 million passenger cars. Italy has 20, 200 km of railroad tracks, of which 9, 300 km are electrified. (In electrified railroads Italy is third in the capitalist world, after Switzerland and Sweden.) Maritime transportation plays an important role in the Italian economy. In 1970 the total tonnage of the merchant marine fleet was 7, 450, 000 gross registered tons. (This figure includes only vessels weighing more than 100 gross registered tons.) The most important ports are Genoa (cargo turnover, 52.6 million tons), Venice, and Naples, and Augusta, Taranto, and La Spezia, which handle only freight. The length of inland waterways, including canals, rivers, and lakes, is 2, 400 km. The maximum length of the network of gas pipelines was 8, 000 km in early 1970. There were 1, 900 km of oil pipelines in 1969. Most of the pipelines are in the north. The largest airport of international importance is Fiumicino (Rome).

Table 7. Output of animal husbandry, poultry breeding, and silkworm breeding (tons)
Meat.........................679, 0001, 240, 000
Milk.........................1, 639, 00010, 397, 000
Butter.........................58, 00067, 000
Cheese.........................257, 000466, 000
Eggs.........................308, 000584, 000
Wool (unwashed).........................12, 000
Silk cocoons.........................20, 0002, 000

Foreign trade Italy’s economy depends heavily on foreign trade. The country imports oil, coal, raw materials for the metallurgical and textile industries, tools and machinery, lumber, paper, and foodstuffs (for example, grain, meat, fish and coffee). The major exports are machines (transportation vehicles, various equipment, typewriters, and calculators), agricultural goods and foodstuffs (fruits, vegetables, canned tomatoes, and cheeses), textiles, the products of the garment, footwear, and chemicals industries, and petroleum products. The Common Market countries (especially the FRG, France, and Great Britain) and the USA play the leading role in Italy’s foreign trade.

Foreign capital is invested in Italy’s economy, and some Italian capital is invested abroad. (The amount of capital exported rose from US $81 million in 1959 to to US $498 million in 1968.) Capital is exported in the form of state and private credits and investments. The shipment of goods, fulfillment of work contracted for by other countries on credit terms, and technical assistance also involve the export of capital. Italy provides subsidies to a number of developing countries. The largest shipments of goods on credit go to Latin American countries and the next largest, to the developing countries of Asia and Africa. Italy provides technical assistance primarily to African countries such as Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Ghana, and Tanzania for the exploration of oil fields and hydroelectric resources and the construction of petroleum refineries, hydroelectric power plants, highways, and railroads. In Latin America, Italian capital is attracted by the most developed countries—Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, and Venezuela—where private Italian monopolies transmit technical experience and investors put capital directly into the construction of industrial enterprises. The activities of the Italian monopolies in developing Asian countries (India, Iran, and Pakistan) are aimed chiefly at developing the infrastructure (electric power, transportation, and communications). Italian capital is also becoming more active in the developed states of Western Europe.

Italy has substantial foreign-trade and economic relations with the socialist countries. The share of socialist countries in Italy’s imports (1970) is 8.0 percent; in its exports, 8.8 percent. The Soviet Union supplies about 2.0 percent of all Italy’s imports and buys 2.3 percent of its exports. Since 1957 trade between the USSR and Italy has been conducted through long-term agreements. In 1969 the USSR and the National Hydrocarbons Board (a state company) signed an agreement for the delivery to Italy of more than 100 billion cu m of gas and for the construction of a gas pipeline. An accord was concluded between the USSR and the Fiat firm in 1966 on cooperation in the construction of the Volga Automobile Plant in the city of Tol’iatti. Imports from socialist countries include corn, cotton, oilseeds, cattle, meat, lumber, coal, petroleum and refined petroleum products, pig iron, steel, and rolled metal. Italy supplies the socialist countries with citrus fruits, artificial and synthetic yarn and fabrics, clothing, paper, rolled metal, machinery for the textile and clothing industries, and chemical products.

The balance-of-payments deficit that is characteristic of Italy’s foreign trade is covered by remittances from Italians living abroad (307 billion lire in 1970) and by revenues from foreign tourism (1, 024 billion lire). In some years as many as 20 million foreign tourists visit Italy, and serving them has become a specialized branch of the economy. The chief centers of foreign tourism (in terms of the number of visitors) are Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence, Naples, Genoa, and Palermo.

The monetary unit is the lira. According to the Gosbank (State Bank) exchange rate in July 1972, 1,000 lire = 1 ruble, 42 kopeks.

Internal differences The North (the regions of Piedmont, Valle d’Aosta, Lombardy, Trentino–Alto Adige, Veneto, Friuli–Venezia Giulia, Liguria, and Emilia-Romagna) occupies about 40 percent of the country and contains 45 percent of its population, including 69 percent of the population employed in industry. The North is the most industrially developed region of Italy. Its advantageous geographic location on the routes from Western and Central Europe to the east, its dense network of roads and convenient water routes, its favorable natural conditions, and its dense population have contributed to the region’s rapid economic and cultural development. A preponderant proportion of Italy’s industry is concentrated in the North, where labor- and energy-consuming industries and branches of industry that require skilled manpower prevail. The machine-building, power, metallurgical, and chemicals industries are especially well developed. The power plants of the North, most of which are located on Alpine mountain rivers, produce two-thirds of the country’s electric power. (Three-fourths of Italy’s total hydroelectric resources are concentrated in the North.) There are considerable deposits of natural gas in the region.

The agriculture of the North (particularly its eastern region), in which large capitalist farms predominate, produces half of the country’s agricultural output, including about 80 percent of the corn yield, the entire rice harvest, a large portion of the sugar beet yield, and about 40 percent of the country’s wheat yield. Animal husbandry is well developed. Viticulture, orchards, and truck farming are very important. On the Ligurian coast floriculture is well developed. Of the country’s total fleet of tractors and combines, two-thirds are used in the fields of the North. The main industrial area of the North and of all Italy is the western region—Lombardy, Piedmont, and Liguria, which include such major industrial centers as Milan, Turin, and Genoa.

The Center (the regions of Tuscany. Umbria, the Marches, and Latium) occupies 19 percent of the country and contains more than 18 percent of its population. Capitalist industrial development of the region began later than in the North and was not as intensive, although the mining industry has long been established in the region. The economically most developed region is Tuscany, which is second to Sardinia in the scale of its mining industry. It also has a machine-building industry (Florence), a substantial metallurgical industry (Piombino), a chemicals industry (Rosignano Solvay), petroleum refining (Livorno), and glass and wool industries (Prato and Lucca). There are many branches of agriculture in the region. The chief agricultural crops are wheat, corn, potatoes, vegetables, grapes, and olives. Sharecropping is characteristic of agrarian relations in central Italy.

The region of Umbria (center at Terni), where metallurgy, machine building, and the chemicals and military industries are well developed, is the industrial base of central Italy. There is a hydroelectric power plant on the Velino River. Large-scale industry (for example, machine building and chemicals) was not established until the postwar years in Latium, where Rome is located. The Marches, where the only important industrial center is the port of Ancona (shipbuilding and petroleum refining), is a backward agricultural region.

The South (the regions of Campania, Abruzzi, Molise, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, and a number of small islands) occupies 41 percent of Italy and contains 36 percent of its population. The South is economically the least developed part of the country. For many decades it has served as an agrarian and raw-materials appendage for the industrial North. After World War II the situation changed somewhat when, as a result of government economic policies aimed at developing the region, new industries were established (for example, metallurgy and petrochemicals). However, the appearance of “nuclei” of industrialization has not yet brought about fundamental advances in the structure of the economy of the South. The development of the mining industry in the South laid the foundation for the industrialization of that region of Italy. The economically most developed region of the South is Campania, whose basic industrial nucleus took shape around Naples. Apulia’s industrial development is concentrated in the port cities of Taranto (metallurgy and shipbuilding), Bari, and Brindisi (petroleum refining and petrochemicals). Because of the proximity of natural gas deposits, the petrochemicals industry has developed in one of the poorest regions, Basilicata (Ferrandina and Pisticci), and in Sicily. In addition to the mining industry and nonferrous metallurgy, petroleum refining and the petrochemicals industry were established in the 1960’s on the island of Sardinia.

Agriculture, which is primarily extensive in the South, is the basis of the region’s economy. Campania, where agriculture is more intensive than in other parts of the South, supplies the market with vegetables and fruits, a considerable portion of which is exported after processing. About a fourth of the country’s total potato harvest and more than a fourth of its tomato harvest come from Campania. Apulia is outstanding among the regions of the South and of all of Italy for its vineyards, tobacco plantations, and olive and almond groves. Sicily surpasses all other regions in harvests of hard wheat, citrus fruits, and beans.


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The armed forces consist of ground forces, an air force, and a navy. At the beginning of 1972 there were about 415, 000 persons in the armed forces. In addition, there are about 80, 000 carabinieri. The president is the commander in chief; the Supreme Council of Defense and the military cabinet (an agency under the president) exercise supreme military leadership. The immediate direction of the armed forces is the responsibility of the minister of defense, who has authority over the General Staff and the staffs of the ground forces, air force, and navy. The armed forces are manned in accordance with a law on universal military obligation and through the recruitment of volunteers. The period of active military service in the ground forces and the air force is 15 months and in the navy, 24 months.

The ground forces (about 295, 000 men) include one army directorate and four army corps. There are seven divisions (five infantry and two armored tank), 11 detached brigades (four infantry, five Alpine, one armored cavalry, and one paratroop), and several divisions of missile and antiaircraft missile artillery, as well as detached infantry, artillery, antiaircraft, and engineering regiments and service and support units. Many of the units of the ground forces (for example, four divisions, five Alpine brigades, and a tank brigade) have been turned over to the united armed forces of NATO.

The air force (about 75, 000 men) has been reduced organizationally to air wings and air brigades. There are about 300 combat planes, of which as many as 50 percent are up-to-date models. Divided territorially into four naval districts and two detached naval commands, the navy (more than 45, 000 men) consists of a squadron of coastal forces (four divisions of ships and several submarine groups), landing forces, minesweeping forces, a marine battalion, and several groups of patrol planes and helicopters. There are more than 200 ships and cutters, including four light cruisers, 11 destroyers, and nine submarines. Naval bases, excluding deployment points, district headquarters, and commands, are Ancona, Brindisi, Livorno, and Augusta.

Medicine and public health In 1971 the birthrate was 16.8 per 1,000 inhabitants, the death rate 9.6, and infant mortality 29.0 per 1,000 live births. Between 1964 and 1967 the average life expectancy was 71. Noninfectious diseases such as cardiovascular disorders and malignant neoplasms prevail in the pathology of the population. The highest mortality from diseases of the circulatory organs has been recorded in the regions of Piedmont, Valle d’Aosta (342 per 100, 000 inhabitants between 1950 and 1952), and Fruili-Venezia Giulia (299.7). The lowest mortality from circulatory diseases has been recorded on Sardinia (146.8) and in the region of Calabria (169.1). Among malignant neoplasms, cancer of the respiratory organs is widespread, especially among men. (In 1959 the mortality rate was 16.5 per 100, 000 inhabitants—27.9 among men and 5.5 among women). A sharp increase in the mortality rate from lung cancer and a high level of incidence of the disease have been noted in Liguria, Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, and Latium. In industrial centers (Milan, Turin, and Genoa) the death rate from cancer is higher than in agricultural areas. In Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, and Tuscany, a high mortality rate from cancer of the digestive organs has been noted. The incidence of and mortality rate from diabetes mellitus are increasing continuously: in 1900 the death rate from the disease was 3.6 per 100, 000 inhabitants, whereas in 1964 it was 17.2. The incidence of viral hepatitis is increasing (0.30 per 100, 000 in 1955, as compared with 7.14 in 1966).

Between 1946 and 1970 the incidence of typhoid fever and paratyphoids declined from 113.8 to 24.1 per 100, 000 inhabitants. (This trend was particularly noticeable in northern Italy.) In the country as a whole the incidence of tuberculosis is declining (between 1956 and 1958, 142.3–145.3 per 100, 000 inhabitants, in 1964, 90.5, and in 1965, 83.0). The incidence of tuberculosis and the mortality rate from it are highest in Piedmont, Liguria, and Lombardy and lowest in Calabria, the Marches, Abruzzi, and Molise. A decline has been noted in the incidence of children’s infectious diseases (diphtheria, poliomyelitis, scarlet fever, and whooping cough). In 1970 the incidence of brucellosis was 6.2 per 100, 000. The chief sources of the infection for man are sheep and goats. The regions most affected by brucellosis are Valle d’Aosta, Tuscany, Basilicata, the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, and Emilia-Romagna, Abruzzi, and Molise. Cases of Q fever, leptospirosis, and tetanus have been recorded.

Italy has a private capitalist system of public health with a well-developed system of health insurance. Support of the aged and disabled is one of the sharpest socioeconomic issues of the class struggle of Italy’s working people. As a result of nationwide strikes in 1968–69, in which the workers demanded pension reforms, the government was forced to make several concessions. For example, pensions were increased, but only for those who applied for them after 1968. Despite the reform, two-thirds of Italian pensioners continue to receive the minimum or a little more than the minimum pension. Although the government introduced some reform measures, it also restricted the rights of pensioners. Specifically, the law deprived citizens of the right to receive a pension if they continued to work after reaching retirement age and abolished pensions granted for long and meritorious service. A law passed in 1969 established very high insurance premiums to be paid by working people (6.35 percent of their wages) and a long period of employment (40 years) during which workers and office employees must pay the premiums in order to receive pensions. The age of eligibility for pensions is 60 for men and 55 for women. Allowances for illness and temporary disability resulting from a job-related accident equal only about half of the worker’s wages. Unemployment allowances are paid out for only six months. They are very small and do not even provide the officially recognized subsistence income. According to official data, the number of industrial accidents increased by 15 percent between 1965 and 1968. In 1969, 1.3 million occupational injuries and illnesses were recorded and in 1970, 1.4 million. At 85 percent of the enterprises and projects under construction in Italy the level of accident-prevention technology is extremely low.

In 1969 there were 2, 200 hospital institutions with 511,000 beds (9.6 beds per 1,000 inhabitants). A total of 160 departments to combat cardiovascular and rheumatic diseases and 80 specialized centers to combat diabetes have been created. The chief centers in the fight against cancer are located in Milan, Rome, and Naples.

In 1969 there were 95, 200 physicians (one per 559 inhabitants). There were 34, 200 pharmacists and 69, 100 nurses and mid wives in 1965. Members of the medical profession are trained at 21 medical institutes, the medical-surgical faculty of the university in Rome, 11 dental schools, 22 pharmaceutical schools, 31 schools of obstetrics, and 68 nursing schools.

Located on the Ligurian coast, which has an especially favorable climate, is the Italian Riviera, the site of many climatic resorts (for example, Viareggio, Nervi, Lido, and San Remo). The mountain climatic resorts of Bolzano and Merano (northern Italy) and the balneological springs of Ciangano, Roncegno, and Salsomaggiore are also popular.

Expenditures on public health in 1966 totaled 360 million lire, or 3 percent of the state’s entire budget.


Veterinary services Cases of foot-and-mouth disease, tuberculosis of cattle and poultry, leptospirosis, and salmonellosis are recorded most often in northern and northwestern Italy, especially in Lombardy and Emilia, where the density of the animal population is higher than in other regions of Italy. Classic swine fever, Newcastle disease, pox and leukosis of fowl, colibacillosis of calves, enzootic mastitis of cattle, and diseases of fowl and swine associated with a shortage of trace elements, minerals, and vitamins are widespread. Southern Italy and the islands of the Mediterranean suffer continuously from outbreaks of brucellosis in sheep and goats and helminthiases of sheep. (In Sardinia and Sicily, cases of echinococcosis in cattle have been recorded.) Contagious agalactia and pleuropneumonia of sheep and goats have not been eliminated. Since 1945 viral diarrhea has been diagnosed among cattle. Many areas (chiefly the mountainous ones) have trouble with piroplasmoses (anaplasmosis of cattle and babesiasis). Outbreaks of anthrax (74 in 1973) and rabies in animals (including wild ones) have been recorded.

The veterinary services belong to the Ministry of Health system and conform structurally to the administrative division of Italy. Since 1957 a specialized veterinary police agency has been in operation. Italy has 7,000 veterinarians (1973), who are trained by the veterinary faculties often universities. The centers of scientific research are the Higher Institute of Health (Rome) and zonal institutes of zooprophylactic medicine in Brescia, Turin, Padua, Perugia, Rome, Teramo, Naples, Palermo, Foggia, and Sassari.


In Italy, the system of public education began to take shape in the second half of the 19th century. The first law on compulsory education, which required two years of primary education for children six to nine years old, was issued in 1859. Subsequently, the period of compulsory education was gradually increased to eight years (1923). The Constitution of 1947 established eight-year compulsory education for children age six to 14. However, in the academic year 1966–67 more than the 40 percent of the children in that age group were not receiving a full eight-year education. In addition to state schools, there are a large number of schools belonging to religious organizations. The teaching of religion is compulsory in all schools. The present-day system of public education in Italy includes preschool institutions (for example, maternal schools, kindergartens, and nursery schools for children age three to five). Most of them are private. In 1970 more than 1.6 million children (more than 50 percent of all children of that age) were being trained in preschool institutions, including about 1.5 million children enrolled in private preschool institutions.

Compulsory eight-year education consists of five years of primary school and three years of lower secondary school. In the academic year 1969–70 more than 4.4 million pupils were studying in 35, 382 state primary schools, and about 345, 000 pupils were enrolled in 2, 610 private primary schools. About 2 million pupils were enrolled in 7, 771 state lower secondary schools, and there were about 103, 000 pupils in 1,000 private ones. Many children, especially in southern Italy, on the islands, and in rural areas, study in ill-equipped schools. Lower secondary schools are established only in communities with at least 3, 000 inhabitants.

Various types of secondary general-education and vocational-technical institutions are open to those who have completed the compulsory eight-year curriculum. Complete secondary general-education schools are the classical lycée (Gymnasium-lycée) and the technical lycée, which have a five-year curriculum. To graduate from a classical lycée, a student must pass an examination for a matriculation certificate, which gives him the right to enter any university faculty, whereas the technical lycée certificate gives the student the right to enroll in any university faculty except philology and philosophy. In the academic year 1969–70, 174, 000 pupils were studying in 454 state classical lycées, and more than 30, 000 pupils were enrolled in 269 private ones. More than 203, 000 pupils were studying in 490 state technical lycées, and 15, 400 in 106 private ones.

Vocational-technical education is conducted in three- to five-year vocational institutes that train skilled workers and in two-year technical schools, most of which are private. In the academic year 1968–69, 208, 500 pupils were studying in 1, 746 state vocational institutes, and 6, 400 pupils were enrolled in 108 private vocational institutes and technical schools.

Technical institutes with five-year curricula provide a specialized secondary education. In the academic year 1969–70 there were 65 state agricultural technical institutes (14, 400 pupils) and five private ones (about 1,000 pupils), 407 state industrial technical institutes (223, 400 pupils) and 60 private ones (18, 000 pupils), and 522 state commercial technical institutes (207, 700 pupils) and 160 private ones (20, 700 pupils). In addition, there were 38 state maritime technical institutes (12, 800 pupils) and two private ones (110 pupils) and 547 state and private technical institutes training guides and service personnel for hotels (about 130, 000 pupils). Certification that he has graduated from a technical institute gives the student the right to enter some faculties of the universities and other higher educational institutions.

In the academic year 1968–69, 43, 000 pupils were studying in 176 state secondary arts and music schools and lycées, and 514 pupils in 33 private ones. Secondary pedagogical educational institutions include four-year teachers institutes that train teachers for the primary schools. (In the academic year 1969–70 more than 160, 000 pupils were studying in 281 state teachers institutes, and about 49, 000 pupils in 357 private ones. There are also three-year pedagogical schools that train educators for preschool institutions. (In the academic year 1969–70, 3, 100 pupils were studying in 11 state pedagogical schools, and 22, 500 pupils in 141 private ones.) Secondary-school teachers are trained at universities and higher normal schools.

Most of Italy’s higher educational institutions are universities, both state and private. There are also higher arts schools, academies, and conservatories. The period of study in various faculties of the university ranges from four to six years. The oldest universities in Europe are the University of Bologna and the university in Parma (founded in the 11th century). Among Italy’s major universities are the University of Rome, the University of Naples, and the universities in Bari, Florence, Genoa, Milan, Padua, Palermo, and Turin. The polytechnic institutes in Turin and Milan, the Institute of Oriental Studies in Naples, and the university-type pedagogical institute in Pisa are also significant state higher educational institutions. In the academic year 1969–70 more than 486, 500 students were attending Italy’s higher educational institutions.

Italy has many important libraries. Among those located in Rome are the National Central Library (founded in 1876; 2.2 million volumes, 1, 893 incunabula), the university library (founded in 1661; 886, 000 volumes, 659 incunabula), the Angelica Library (founded in 1605; about 169, 000 volumes, 1, 086 incunabula), and the library of the National Academy of Lincei (founded in 1730; 412, 000 volumes, 2, 293 incunabula). Major libraries in Naples are the National Library (founded in 1804; more than 1.5 million volumes, 4, 546 incunabula) and the university library (founded in 1615; 750, 000 volumes). Located in Turin is the National Library (founded in 1720; 750, 000 volumes, 1, 600 incunabula) and in Milan, the National Library (founded in 1763; more than 807, 000 volumes, 2, 349 incunabula) and the Ambrosiana Library (founded in 1609; 850, 000 volumes, 2, 100 incunabula). There are national and university libraries in a number of other cities, including Bologna, Bari, Modena, Palermo, and Pisa.

Italy has more than 150 museums, of which many of the largest are located in Rome: the National Museum (founded in 1889), the Museum of Villa Giulia (founded in 1889), the Borghese Gallery (founded in 1616), the National Gallery of Ancient Art (founded in 1895), and the National Gallery of Modern Art (founded in 1883). There are national museums and art galleries in Florence, Messina, Naples, Palermo, Perugia, Ravenna, and Taranto. Other major museums include the Palace of the Doges in Venice and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.


Natural and technical sciencesTHE MIDDLE AGES AND THE RENAISSANCE (TO THE END OF THE 16TH CENTURY). Among the scholars who emerged at the juncture of ancient science in Italy and medieval science in Europe in the fifth and sixth centuries were A. Boethius, whose works in mathematics and music theory laid the groundwork for medieval monastic education, and Cassiodorus, the author of an encyclopedic compilation of the knowledge of his time in the natural sciences. In the middle Ages monasteries were the centers of scholarship. With the development of urban communes, the role of the monasteries in the preservation and dissemination of knowledge diminished considerably. A secular medical school was founded at salerno in the ninth century. In addition to applied work, scholars at Salerno worked on theoretical principles to link prescriptions (the Antidotary) with diagnostic methods (the Passionarius). Arabic works in medicine were also translated there by Constantine the African. In the 12th and 13th centuries a great deal of translating was done in southern Italy and Sicily: Gerard of Cremona and J. Campanus translated the Elements of Euclid, and works by Ptolemy and Aristotle were also translated into Latin. The sources for the translations were not the Greek originals but their Arabic interpretations, which were associated to a greater extent with the natural sciences. Arab treatises on zoology, pharmacy, and other subjects were also translated. In the 11th to 13th centuries the first universities were founded (for example, in the 11th century in Parma and Bologna, in 1222 in Padua, and in 1224 in Naples). Established by the rulers of states, the Italian universities were less dependent on the clergy than the universities of other European states.

The universities were centers for the accumulation of practical knowledge as well as for the study of scientific theory. Construction mechanics, navigation, commerce, and handicrafts confronted science with new problems. In 1202 the monk Leonardo Fibonacci of Pisa wrote the Book of the Abacus, an unusual encyclopedia of practical computation supplemented with an original contribution to arithmetic and algebra. In the 13th century eyeglasses were invented in Italy. The needs of commercial navigation led to the dissemination in the 13th to 16th centuries of navigational charts called portolanos. Between 1271 and 1295, Marco Polo traveled in China. In the first half of the 14th century botanical gardens were founded in Salerno and Venice.

The great geographic discoveries of the Renaissance stimulated the development of all the sciences. P. Toscanelli, a cos-mographer, was the first to voice the idea that it was possible to reach India without going around Africa, by traveling west across the Atlantic Ocean. This idea, which was put into practice by C. Columbus, a Genoan, led to the discovery of America. In the mid-16th century G. Ramusio generalized the results of various voyages and discoveries in the three-volume work Collected Travels.

From the 15th century men in the applied arts and sciences played a greater role in the development of science. The artists P. Uccello and Masaccio elaborated a theory of perspective, and the architect and engineer F. Brunelleschi wrote treatises on applied optics, mechanics, and mathematics. Characteristic of science in Italy during this epoch was its association with art. The unity of science and art was strikingly embodied in the work of Leonardo da Vinci—scientist, engineer, artist, and author of a great deal of research in mechanics, optics, anatomy, botany, and other branches of science.

The needs of construction, military affairs, hydraulic engineering, and various production lines, including textiles (Florence), glass (Venice), and metalworking (Milan), promoted the development of the applied sciences in the latter half of the 15th century and in the 16th. In 1540, V. Biringuccio’s Concerning Pyrotechnics, one of the first works on applied chemistry, appeared. C. Piccolpasso’s Three Books About the Potter’s Art was published in 1548 and G. della Porta’s Natural Magic, an unusual encyclopedia of the knowledge of that time in chemistry, optics, and magnetism, in 1558. Applied mathematics and mechanics began to flourish. The author of a treatise on architecture and fortification. F. di Giorgio Martini, as well as the painter and mathematician P. della Francesca and the mathematician L. Pacioli, the author of The Foundations of Arithmetic (1494), worked in the city of Urbino, which was also the home of F. Commandino, who translated Archimedes, Pappus, and other Greek authors and did research on the centers of gravity of bodies. His pupil Guidubaldo dal Monte and the mathematician B. Baldi also lived in Urbino. S. del Ferro, who was a professor at the University of Bologna from 1496, surpassed the achievements of his predecessors in algebra, investigating particular cases of cubic equations. However, he did not publish his results, and some time later, N. Tartaglia and G. Cardano arrived at the same conclusions. In the work Algebra (1572), R. Bombelli provided the first basis for the simplest operations with complex numbers.

Translations done by the bridge builder and hydraulic engineer G. Giocondo, who published works by Vitruvius and Fron-tinus, and by the engineer, cosmographer, and optician F. Maurolico, who translated such authors as Archimedes, Apollonius, and Theodosius, played an important role in the development of science during this period in Italy. J. Scaliger published the works of Aristotle on zoology and Theophrastus’ works on botany.

In many ways the birth of the science of geology is associated with the Italian Renaissance. Leonardo da Vinci, whose work included the designing and construction of canals, established the organic origin of mineral remnants that had been deposited when the seas receded from the land. In the 16th century similar conclusions were reached by G. Fracastoro, Cardano, and A. Cesalpino. Geology as the science of the earth figured in the works of U. Aldrovandi in the late 16th century. Subsequently, geology was dominated for two centuries by diluvianist views, according to which fossils had originated as a result of a universal flood. Fracastoro was virtually the first to oppose these views.

Anatomy, physiology, and medicine underwent substantial development. Not confining themselves to disseminating the works of the classical authors, researchers introduced into practice precise experimentation, in particular, the dissection of cadavers. The founder of this school of experimentation was Mundinus of Bologna (early 14th century), whose Anatomy long remained the only guide for students sanctioned by the church. Leonardo da Vinci played a great role in the development of biology. In his study of the human body detailed anatomical and physiological observations were inextricably intertwined, and he applied many of the principles of mechanics to them. The versatile scientist Fracastoro became famous as the author of On Contagion (1546), which rejected the view that “infections” caused contagious diseases and proposed instead that they were transmitted by invisible particles.

The founder of scientific anatomy, the Fleming A. Vesalius, compiled during his years in Italy (1537–43) the famous work On the Structure of the Human Body. Vesalius laid the foundation for the revision of Galen’s ideas. He also introduced a new method of instruction that used anatomical specimens. J. Berengario da Carpi, G. Fallopius, B. Eustachio (Rome), and G. Aselli (Pavia) contributed a great deal to the development of the science of anatomy. M. Severinus (Naples) was among the founders of the science of the comparative anatomy of animals. A pupil of Fallopius, H. Fabricius of Aquapendente, began to work on anatomical problems and went on to do research on the functions of organs. He also worked in embryology.

The geographic discoveries of the late 15th and early 16th centuries played an enormous role in the development of biology. In addition to descriptions of plants, the first scientific classifications appeared. Cesalpino, who was a direct predecessor of Linnaeus, based his system of classification on an objective criterion —the structure and character of a plant’s reproductive organs. Aldrovandi founded a botanical garden and established the largest archaeological and natural history museum of his time.

THE PERIOD OF THE CREATION OF THE FOUNDATIONS OF MODERN SCIENCE (LATE 16TH CENTURY TO THE LATE 18TH). Beginning in the late 16th century, Italian science was the most advanced in Europe. The philosopher and scientist G. Bruno, who developed Copernicus’ heliocentric theory, fought against Scholasticism. The works of the Italian scientist Galileo were of enormous importance for all the natural sciences and especially for the affirmation of the heliocentric theory. The telescope designed by Galileo opened a new era in astronomy, and his work promoted the development of a trend toward experimentation in the natural sciences. Academies (created in Italy in the 16th and 17th centuries), which operated independently of the universities, promoted the development of new views in the natural sciences. The Telesian Academy (Naples), which was named for the philosopher and scientist B. Telesio, contributed a great deal to the struggle against scholastic Aristotelianism. Founded in 1603 in Rome, the Academy of Lincei (today the National Academy of Lincei) brought together outstanding experimenters, including Galileo, who participated in its work. The traditions established by Galileo were also supported by Florence’s Academy del Cimento, which was founded in 1657. Its members included F. Redi, who proved the untenability of the idea of the spontaneous generation of life, the Dane N. Steno, one of the founders of crystallography and geology, the astronomer G. Cassini, and Galileo’s pupil Viviani. Other pupils of Galileo who rendered considerable services to the development of science include B. Castelli, who did work in hydraulic engineering, F. B. Cavalieri, who developed Archimedes’ methods of integration, and E. Torricelli, who discovered atmospheric pressure, invented a mercury barometer and an improved microscope, and elaborated an infinitesimal calculus.

In the 17th century iatrophysics (or iatromechanics), a current in biology, took shape in Italy. S. Sanctorius, a native of the Balkan Peninsula who worked in Italy as a physician, attempted to bring into medicine physical methods of studying metabolism and respiration (for example, weighing). G. Borelli published the two-volume work On the Movement of Animals (1680–81) and worked out problems in anatomy and physiology from the standpoint of mechanics and mathematics. His pupil L. Bellini discovered the role of the diaphragm in breathing and attempted to explain the function of the kidneys in terms of mechanics. M. Malpighi, an anatomist, used new methods, including microscopy, to study the structure of the organs of plants and animals. He was the first to describe the capillaries as the components of the circulatory system that link the veins and arteries.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, with the political fragmentation and economic decline of the Italian states and later, with the imposition of Austrian rule, Italian science lost its leading position in Europe. After the trials of Galileo, Catholic reactionaries encouraged attempts to interpret new discoveries from the standpoint of traditional Aristotelianism. Thus, for example, F.Grimaldi’s discovery of the diffraction of light did not receive an adequate interpretation. The results of an experimental verification of Galileo’s laws of falling bodies, which was conducted by G. Riccioli, were not correctly evaluated. The developing biological sciences were basically descriptive. The works of

G.Morgagni, the founder of pathological anatomy, G. Baglivi, who established the difference between smooth and striated muscles, A. Cocchi, the founder of the Florentine Botanical Society, and F. Fontana, a well-known pneumochemist, were of out-standing importance. Following up on Redi’s work, L. Spallanzani conducted a series of experiments involving the heating of sealed containers and refuted the theory of the spontaneous generation of even microscopic organisms. The first to succeed in artificially fertilizing mammals, Spallanzani also investigated fertilization among amphibians, experimentally proving the role of sperm in this process.

In the early 18th century, A. Vallisneri advanced a criticism of the theological interpretations of the history of the earth (specifically, the diluvianist notions of English authors), compiling a general survey of sedimentary stratifications in Italy. A. L. Moro, a follower of Vallisneri, studied volcanic activity and earthquakes. His Theory of the Earth was commented on by C. Generelli, who developed the concept of continual mountain formation. Marine geology originated in the 18th century with the work of Marsigli and V. Donati. River erosion as the cause of the origin of valleys was investigated by Targioni. In 1759, G. Arduino subdivided all of Italy’s geologic formations into Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, and Quaternary, thus laying the basis for a stratigraphic scale for the whole world. The first attempts to make use of paleontological remains to establish the relative age of the strata containing them date to the late 18th century (the work of Soldani).

In the first half of the 18th century the mathematician J. Riccati worked on the theory of differential equations. G. Gugliemini, who was trying to prove that the earth rotated, continued to do experiments on free-falling bodies in the late 18th century. From the 1740’s to the 1760’s, R. Boskovic, a Croat, did scientific work in Italy, measuring the force of gravity and explaining gravitational anomalies. The classic works on electricity by L. Galvani and A. Volta date to the end of the 18th century. However, during this period Italian science failed to develop applied research sufficiently.

19TH CENTURY. In the first half of the 19th century a trend toward the unification of scientific forces emerged in Italy. The first congress of Italian naturalists, which was held in Pisa in 1839, was interpreted as a call for the unification of the country. In the same year the Italian Society to Promote Progress in the Sciences was founded in Rome. Between 1839 and 1847 congresses of naturalists were convened annually. After 1847 the congresses were not resumed until 1862, and until 1907, when the National Academic Association for Progress in Science was founded, they were not held regularly.

After Italy was unified, regular meteorological observations were undertaken for the first time. Many institutions of nationwide importance were organized. An observatory on Vesuvius that had been founded in 1841 was already operating at the time of Italy’s unification. (It was headed by the physicist M. Melloni and later, by L. Palmieri.) In 1872 the Topographic Military Institute (later, the Geographic Military Institute) was established, in 1867, the Italian Geographical Society, and in 1876 in Rome, the Medical Academy. The Geological Society was founded in 1881 and in 1893, the Italian Anthropological Institute.

In the first half of the 19th century the works of only a few Italian scientists were outstanding. A. Avogadro, who in 1811 established the law that is named after him, made contributions that were extremely important for the elaboration of the theoretical foundations of chemistry as well as physics. Important research on fermentation was done by G. Fabroni. L. Brugnatelli, the publisher of the first Italian chemistry journals, was a versatile chemist. Giovanni Battista Amici perfected the microscope, and P. Ruffini, a mathematician, advanced new ideas that influenced the development of algebra. Earlier, G. Saccheri had published works in which he tried to substantiate Euclid’s postulate on parallel lines. S. Breislak, a prominent Italian geologist of the first quarter of the 19th century, conducted regional research, primarily on Italy’s volcanic areas. The works of the geologist and paleontologist G. Brocchi, who, in opposition to the theory of catastrophism, put forth the idea that species and genera of organisms of the past had “aged” and “died” naturally, were of great significance.

In the second half of the 19th century, Italian scientists made major achievements in chemistry and electrical engineering. A number of them won international fame. The chemist S. Cannizzaro introduced a clear concept of the molecule and revised the system of atomic weights. The research of the astronomers Schiaparelli and A. Secchi was substantial. Outstanding among Italian organic chemists were R. Nasini, L. L. Chiozza, C. Bertagnini, R. Piria, A. Sobrero, and I. Guareschi. A pupil of Wohler, M. Schiff—the author of numerous chemical syntheses —worked in Florence. G. Pellizzari, a pupil of Schiff, discovered urazole. Among Italy’s major physicists and electrical engineers during the period were R. Felici, A. Pacinotti, one of the inventors of the dynamo, and G. Ferraris, who discovered the revolving magnetic field. Palmieri built an “earth-electrical circle”—a prototype of an alternating-current generator (1845). A. Meucci obtained a patent for the invention of the telephone, and A. Righi created a generator for centimetric waves. In 1896, G. Marconi started work on radiotelegraphy, for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1909. The spread of Darwinism promoted the development in the late 19th century of research on the taxonomy and phylogeny of all known groups of animals. Outstanding work was done by the zoologists O. and A. Costa, G. B. Grassi, D. Rosa, P. Panceri, A. Delia Valle, and A. Andres. In 1873 the Naples Hydrobiological (Zoological) Station, which attracted scientists from other countries, was founded. The science of anatomy continued to develop. A. Corti investigated the structure and function of the hearing apparatus of mammals, discovering the organ that was named for him. F.Pacini studied the retina of the eye and exteroceptors.

20TH CENTURY. In the period of imperialism, particularly under fascism, Italian science was influenced by the militarization of the country. Mathematical research has become more important in the 20th century. G. Veronese contributed a great deal to the development of geometry, and V. Volterra elaborated a theory of integral equations and laid the foundation for functional analysis. Curbastro G. Ricci and his pupils, especially T. Levi-Civita, elaborated tensor calculus. The works of L. Bianchi, F. Brioschi, E. Beltrami, and F. Casorati are well known. Also among Italy’s distinguished mathematicians of the 20th century are L. Cremona, who published works in algebraic geometry, graphostatics, and descriptive geometry, and G.Peano, who worked on differential equations, the logical foundations of mathematics, and the axiomatic method, which is important in modern mathematics. The works of G. Fubini (1907) supplemented the first results on multiple integrals achieved by H. Lebesgue.

One of the modern schools of the theory of differential equations was inspired by a monograph by C. Caratheodory (1918) on the theory of the functions of a real variable. (Among the members of this school were R. Cacciopoli, Levi-Civita, G. San-sone, G. Scorza-Dragoni, and F. Tricomi.) Characteristic of this school is an interest in nonlinear problems. Algebraic geometry developed from other modern currents. Systematic research on the geometric properties of algebraic manifolds was done by a number of Italian mathematicians, including B. Segre, C. Severi, and A. Andreotti. In the 1960’s new works oriented toward applied mathematics appeared, especially in the solution of problems of aerodynamics (L. Napolitano, 1966) and the theory of optimum management (L. Cesari). In the 1920’s, U. Nobile built the airships Norge (1923) and Italia (1927).

In physics the most significant achievements have been in research on cosmic radiation and on quantum and nuclear physics. D. Pacini discovered the extraterrestrial origin of cosmic rays, and in 1933, B. Rossi established the complex character of cosmic radiation. E. Fermi made a major contribution to quantum theory. In 1934 he elaborated a quantitative theory of beta decay, and between 1934 and 1938 he and his pupils E. Amaldi, O. d’Agostino, B. Pontecorvo, and F. Rasetti made major experimental and theoretical discoveries in neutron physics, for which Fermi received the Nobel Prize in 1938. Fermi emigrated to the USA in 1938, and in 1942 he achieved the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. After World War II, Amaldi and his colleagues did a variety of research projects in high-energy physics. G. Natta, who discovered stereoregular polymers, shared the Nobel Prize in 1963 with the German chemist K. Ziegler.

In the early 20th century the study of the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system developed a great deal. Progress in neurohistology is associated with C. Golgi, who laid the foundation of neuron theory (Nobel Prize, 1906) and discovered the intracellular organoid named for him (the Golgi complex). D. Bovet synthesized curare (Nobel Prize, 1957). Great contributions to the development of medicine were made by the pathologic anatomists E. Bizzozero and G. Banti, the microbiologists and epidemiologists D. Grassi and A. Ascoli, the surgeons G. C. Dogliotti and P. Valdoni, and the medical historians A. Castiglioni and Pacini.

In regional geology, Italian scientists attach great importance to the problem of the structure of the Alps and the Apennines. Volcanology is developing along traditional lines. In the study of minerals, works on the geology of mercury deposits have been outstanding. Geographic research aims at the integrated study of the Mediterranean. Italy’s meteorology and geophysics hold a notable place in world science.

I. V. KRUT’ (earth sciences), V. I. NAZAROV (biology), VASCO RONCHI ([Italy;] physics; science of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance), N. I. SIMONOV (mathematics), and A. N. SHAMIN (chemistry)

Social sciencesPHILOSOPHY. Until the late middle ages, Italian philosophy developed within the general framework of European medieval thought. Such major representatives of medieval philosophy as Peter Damian, Lanfranc, Anselm of Canterbury, Peter Lombard, and Thomas Aquinas were born in Italy, but they did most of their work outside their native land. The mystical doctrines of Arnold of Brescia and Joachim of Fiore reveal how strongly these thinkers were tied to italy. Essentially, Italian philosophy began to take shape in the 13th and 14th centuries. An important role in its development was played by the universities of Bologna and Padua. The latter became the center of Averroist Aristotelianism (represented by Peter of Abano, for example), which is associated with the development of the doctrine of dual truth—philosophical and religious (marsiglio of padua).

During the Renaissance, Italian philosophy played a leading role in the development of European philosophy. Renaissance thought as a whole was imbued with ideas of humanism (in the broad sense of the word), which was initially pitted against late Scholasticism by such writers as Petrarch and Boccaccio. The philosophy of the Renaissance was still poorly defined within the culture of the period, and it lacked a clear-cut awareness of its specific subject matter and methods. In most instances, philosophy failed to set itself apart from theology, magic, the new experimental sciences, and the theory of art. The overall humanist fascination with the wisdom of the classics embraced tendencies to revive doctrines that were incompatible with the Christian world view, in particular, Epicureanism. Although materialistic and atheistic ideas had a powerful effect on the Renaissance (for example, in the works of G. C. Vanini), they were, on the whole, merely tendencies and aspects of various idealistic concepts. In the shaping of new moral and political principles a special place is held by Machiavelli, who affirmed the autonomous significance of “reasons of state” and their independence from any moral and religious foundation, and who put forth the ideal of the strong man who is called upon to triumph over blind “fate” by means of his “virtue.” Machiavelli’s ideas had a great deal of influence not only on the thinkers of his age but also on the sociological concepts of modern times.

In their philosophical constructions the humanists were somewhat influenced by Augustine and Eastern patrology, but they relied on the traditions of Platonism, attempting to synthesize them with Christian dogma (M. Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, and the work of the Platonic Academy in Florence). A turn toward Neoplatonism and esoteric doctrines such as the Cabala led to the propagation of occult sciences, including astrology and alchemy. This fascination with “magical sciences” gave birth to Italian natural philosophy (philosophy of nature) of the Renaissance, which reached its high point in G. Bruno. (Among its other representatives were G. Cardano, B. Telesio, F. Patrizi, and T. Campanella.) Imbued with pantheistic attitudes and hylozoism, the natural philosophy of the Renaissance affirmed the unity and hierarchical order of the world, where everything —from the sphere of the spirit to the sphere of the lowest creatures and matter itself—is permeated with “sympathetic” ties of substantive affinity. The ideal of the human magus who discovers the lawlike regularity of hidden forces and therefore controls the elements grew out of the idea of the unity of man (the microcosm) and nature (the macrocosm). The natural philosophers’ aspirations to magical powers promoted the development of experimental knowledge and experimental natural science. Materialistic tendencies in the Italian philosophy of the Renaissance reached their highest development with P. Pomponazzi, who was, on the whole, an Aristotelian.

During the second half of the 17th century and the 18th, Italian philosophical thought declined—there were neither schools of philosophy nor influential philosophical currents. G. Vico, one of the founders of historicism in modern European philosophy and a precursor of Herder and Hegel, was an exception. He set forth a theory of a historical cycle—a cyclical development of nations—and provided philosophy with an example of the integral interpretation of various forms of spiritual culture and social life as a definite historical unity.

Various currents in Catholic thought—particularly, the doctrines of A. Rosmini-Serbati and V. Gioberti—prevailed in early 19th-century Italian philosophy. Influenced to a certain extent by Kant, Rosmini-Serbati and Gioberti argued against the Hegelian dialectic. Many of the progressive thinkers who emerged between the 1830’s and the 1860’s, including C. Pisacane, C. Cattaneo, and G. Ferrari, belonged to the democratic wing of the national liberation movement. Between the 1850’s and the 1870’s the most significant philosophical current was Neapolitan Hegelianism. A. Vera belonged to its right wing and B. Spaventa and F. De Sanctis, to its left wing. Characteristic of the left-wing Neapolitan Hegelians were an enlightened, humanistic, anticlerical orientation and a striving to overcome a dogmatic interpretation of Hegel. Because of its ambiguous quality, Neapolitan Hegelianism became one of the ideological sources of both Italian Marxism and Italian neo-Hegelianism. In the last decades of the 19th century Italian thought was dominated by positivism, a motley, basically unoriginal phenomenon whose most famous spokesman was R. Ardigo. Highly influential in the subsequent development of bourgeois sociological thought were a number of V. Pareto’s concepts, such as the functionalist doctrine of “social equilibrium” and the theory of the circulation of elites.

In the early 20th century the subjective-idealist and objective-idealist forms of neo-Hegelian idealism, whose most important representatives were G. Gentile and B. Croce, respectively, achieved the dominant positions in Italian thought. The Italian neo-Hegelians developed the conservative aspects of Neapolitan Hegelianism. Considering Hegel’s idealism insufficiently consistent, they saw as their task the liberation of Hegel’s theory from “an erroneous idea of nature” and its transformation into “a pure philosophy of the spirit.” Italian neo-Hegelianism, which took shape through a continuous struggle with Marxism, developed in the direction of Catholic spiritualism. From the mid-1920’s Italy’s official state ideology was fascism. However, fascism failed to create a philosophical system, although it borrowed from numerous sources, including religious-mystical, irrationalist, positivist, neo-Hegelian, and syndicalist thought. Neo-Hegelianism ceased to be the leading current in Italian philosophy in the 1940’s. Croce did not establish a philosophical school. The influence of Gentile, who had supported fascism, continued to be highly significant. His followers split into two groups: the left-wing Gentilians (Ugo Spirito and G. Calogero), who put forth the principle of the “problematic” quality of the relativity of any philosophical solution, and the right-wing Gentilians, a more numerous and influential group whose members included, in particular, representatives of Christian spiritualism (for example, M. F. Sciacca and A. Carlini), which linked elements of Gentile’s system with the ideas of Plato, Augustine, and Rosmini. In contrast to Thomism—the official philosophy of the Catholic Church—Christian spiritualism focuses on self-consciousness and its discovery on the path to god. Thomism is a very widely held philosophy in Italy. (Among the country’s most distinguished Thomists are F. Olgiati, C. Giacon, U. Padovani, and G. Bontadini.) Representatives of the basic currents of Italian religious philosophy are united in the Gallarate Movement, which was founded in 1945. Congresses of its members are held annually.

After World War II existentialism developed considerably in Italy. E. Castelli is the chief representative of Christian existentialism. The founder of positive existentialism, N. Abbagnano, tried to overcome the pessimism and negativism of classic existentialism by connecting it with neopositivism and ethical formalism. A number of thinkers have been seeking paths from abstract humanism to Marxism. In this context the concepts of E. Paci and especially E. Garin, a prominent historian of philosophy, are of interest.

In the last third of the 19th century the ideas of Marx and Engels spread through Italy. Beginning with A. Labriola, an original Marxist thinker of the late 19th century, Italian Marxist philosophical thought was oriented chiefly toward elaborating the problems of historical materialism and the theory of scientific socialism. The ideological legacy of A. Gramsci, the founder of the Italian Communist Party, who consistently upheld and developed Marxist-Leninist theory, had a great influence on all of Italian culture and philosophical thought in the postwar period. Gramsci’s followers—P. Togliatti and many modern Marxist researchers—have paid special attention to problems associated with the concept of “the Italian path to socialism.” The works of A. Banfi, G. Delia Volpe, and L. Lombardo-Radice focus on dialectical materialism, the theory of knowledge, logic, and the philosophy of natural science. Italian Marxists have done research on aesthetics, including criticism of bourgeois aesthetics, problems of the artistic method, and the history of aesthetic ideas. The Gramsci Institute (founded in 1949) is the center of Marxist thought.

The main centers of philosophical inquiry are the Institute of Philosophy at the University of Rome (founded in 1939), the Italian Society of Philosophical and Religious Research, and the Italian Society of Sociology (founded in 1937). Among the journals of philosophy published in Italy are Archivio di filosofia (since 1931), De Homine (since 1961), Critica (1903–44; called Quaderni della critica since 1945), Filosofia (since 1950), and Giornale di metafisica (since 1946). Other Italian philosophy journals are Giornale critico della filosofia italiano (since 1920), II Pensiero (since 1956), Rivista critica di storia della filosofia (since 1946), Rivista di filosofia (since 1909), Rivista di filosofia neo-scolastica (since 1909), Sophia (since 1933), and Sapienza (since 1948). Published since 1963, the journal Critica Marxista focuses on questions of Marxist philosophy.

N. V. KOTRELEV (to the 19th century) and S. A. EFIROV (from the 19th century)

HISTORY. The principal historical works of the early Middle Ages in Italy were the Historia Gothica by Cassiodorus (sixth century), which survived in a retelling by Jordanes, the History of the Lombards by Paul the Deacon (eighth century), and the historical works of Liutprand. With the growth of cities, medieval historical scholarship began to flourish in Italy. From the 11th to the 13th century numerous city chronicles were written: in Milan, by Arnulf and Landulph, in Genoa, by Caflfaro, and in Modena, Parma, and other cities, by Salimbene. Among the many monastery chronicles of the period was the chronicle of Monte Cassino, which was written by many scholars, including Leo Marsicanus. Historical works by such scholars as Godfrey of Viterbo, Hugo Falcandus, and Landulph also date to this period. Chronicles on all of Italy were written by the Florentines Dino Compagni and Giovanni Villani in the 14th century.

Italian historical scholarship of the Renaissance abandoned theological historical concepts, began to criticize historical sources scientifically, and adopted a realistic approach to the analysis of historical events. Prominent representatives of the humanistic historiography of 15th-century Italy were Leonardo Bruni, G. F. Poggio Bracciolini, and Flavio Biondo. Lorenzo Valla, who exposed the spurious Donation of Constantine, is considered the founder of the critical method. The principles of humanist historiography were most fully developed in the works of the major historians of the 16th century—Machiavelli, who was the first to emphasize the connection between the history of a state’s foreign and domestic policies, and Guicciardini, who described the economic and political crisis in Italy around the beginning of the 16th century.

In the 17th century, Italian historiography entered a period of decline associated with the feudal and Catholic reaction. The main trend in 18th-century historiography was the collection, criticism, and publication of sources. L. A. Muratori’s publications were the most significant of the period.

The shaping of bourgeois historical scholarship in Italy was associated with the ideas of the Enlightenment as well as with the ideological needs of the developing national movement. In the first decades of the 19th century a number of encyclopedic works were written by historians such as C. Troya, G. Capponi, and C. Cantu. The neo-Guelphs, a liberal Catholic school, prevailed. Their main spokesmen—Troya, Capponi, and Cesare Balbo—investigated primarily the problems of Italian medieval history. In the struggle of the communes and the papacy against foreign emperors they saw the prototype of the modern national movement. The neo-Guelphs were opposed by the Ghibelline school (G. B. Niccolini, A. Ranieri, A. Vannucci, and G. La Farina), which based its thought on Machiavelli’s political and anticlerical ideas. Both schools disappeared after the Revolution of 1848.

The mid-19th century was characterized by a growing interest in socioeconomic history (works by L. Cibrario, L. Bianchini, and E. Poggi). In 1842 the first issue of the first Italian historical journal, Archivio storico italiano, was published in Florence. (In 1844 it was also issued in Naples.)

The unification of Italy opened a new stage in the development of historical scholarship. In the 1860’s and 1870’s numerous societies for the study of domestic history and many general and specialized historical journals were founded. In 1883 the Italian Historical Institute was organized. A great deal of documentary material was published for the first time, and the level of historical research improved. In the late 19th century the leading role was played by the philological school (for example, P. Villari), which had adopted the principles of positivism. Many Italian historians achieved world fame in the late 19th century and the 20th: E. E. Pais, a historian of classical culture, G. Ferrero, a specialist in the history of ancient Rome, and L. Caetani, a specialist in the history of Arabic peoples.

In the early 20th century the legal-economic school (for example, L. Salvemini and G. Volpe), which tried to synthesize historical, legal, and economic scholarship, achieved wide popularity in historiography. Its representatives made a substantial contribution to the study of the history of the Middle Ages. In the same period the ethical-political school, which was founded by B. Croce, began to take shape. It strongly influenced the development of world bourgeois as well as Italian historiography. In opposition to the false claims for the historian’s impartiality and the metaphysical and sociological quality of the philological school, Croce presented the thesis of the historical character of everything in existence. However, his historicism was idealistic. Allotting a secondary role to socioeconomic history, Croce contended that the historian’s main task was to study the spiritual and religious life of mankind—that is, to elaborate an ethical-political history.

Italy’s entry into the epoch of imperialism and the development of an imperialist ideology engendered extremely reactionary tendencies in bourgeois historiography. For example, works by such historians as A. Oriani and E. Corradini were written in the spirit of nationalism and chauvinism. In the early 20th century a certain degree of progress was made by scholars such as G. Prato, L. Einaudi, A. Anzilotti, N. Rodolico, and G. Salvemini in the study of the political, economic, and ideological preconditions for the unification of Italy—the Risorgimento. Under fascist rule (1922–3) a segment of the Italian intelligentsia chose to give their support to fascism. Gentile and Volpe became the official ideologists of the Fascist regime. Because of its interest in developing an ideological justification for its expansionist program, the regime encouraged research in international politics. A number of specialized institutes were established: the Institute of the Middle and Far East, the Institute of Eastern Europe, and the Institute of International Politics.

The history of the Risorgimento and the liberal state to which it gave birth remained one of the main objects of historical study. Fascist historiography was represented by the works of scholars such as Volpe; antifascist historiography, by the works of historians of various political and historiographic backgrounds, including Salvemini and P. Gobetti; and liberal historiography, by Croce, A. Omodeo, and F. Chabod. Historians of an antifascist frame of mind rallied around Croce’s journal Critica (Naples).

The groundwork for Marxist historiography in Italy was laid by the works of Gramsci and Togliatti. After the defeat of fascism and the end of World War II a strong Marxist current developed in Italian historiography and made a substantial contribution to elaborating, above all, the problems of modern and recent history. As the problems of research became broader and more numerous, many new historical institutes were founded.

After Italy’s liberation from the fascist yoke, the reinterpretation of both its recent and its more remote past in the light of new historical experience became a pressing social need. Socioeconomic history and the history of the masses of the working people are well-covered themes in Italy’s modern and recent history (for example, works by G. Luzzatto, E. Sereni, L. Dal Pane, L. Bulferetti, R. Villari, and P. Villari). The history of the workers’ and socialist movement became an important separate field of scholarly research in the postwar years (for example, the works of Togliatti, A. Colombo, G. Berti, G. Trevisani, G. Manacorda, P. Spriano, G. Procacci, and A. Romano). In the 1950’s Catholic historiography became more important in Italy through the work of such scholars as G. Spadolini, G. De Rosa, and A. Jemolo.

The publication of a number of synthesizing works on the history of the country is evidence of the achievements of present-day Italian historiography (for example, The History of Italy, vols. 1–5, 1959–60, edited by N. Valeri, and The History of Modern Italy, by G. Candeloro, vols. 1–6, 1956–70; Russian translation, vols. 1–5, 1958–71). In the postwar period the most thoroughly studied historical problems have been in the economic history of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Risorgimento, the history of the workers’ and socialist movement, and fascism and the antifascist movement. Italy’s economy in the epoch of feudalism has been the subject of extensive research by A. Sapori, F. Melis, G. Luzzatto, R. Lopez and C. Cipolla. Questions on the ideology of the Renaissance were thoroughly elaborated in works by E. Garin, P. Rossi, N. Badaloni, and L. Firpo. In the postwar period the most significant works on the history of the Risorgimento were written by F. Della Peruta, G. Quazza, D. De Marco, and R. Romeo. Research on Italian fascism was presented in the works of Marxist historians such as P. Alatri and E. Santarelli, as well as in works by historians of other political and historiographic backgrounds, such as L. Salvatorelli, G. Mira, and R. De Felice. Problems of the Resistance were elaborated by the Marxist scholars and political figures L. Longo and R. Battaglia, the socialist historians F. Catalano, L. Basso, and R. Carli-Ballola, Catholic historians, and historians of other backgrounds.

The most important centers for the study of history are the Italian Institute of Medieval History (founded in 1883), the Institute of the History of the Risorgimento (founded in 1906), the Italian Institute of Classical History (founded in 1930), the Italian Institute of Modern and Recent History (founded in 1934), the Gramsci Institute (founded in 1949), and the G. Feltrinelli Institute (founded in 1949). In addition, the universities and numerous historical societies are important centers for the study of history. The chief history periodicals include Archivio storico italiano (since 1842), Nuova antologia (since 1866), Archivio storico lombardo (since 1874), Archivio storico per le provincie napoletane (since 1876), and Rivista storica italiana (since 1884). Among the other Italian journals of history are Rassegna storica del Risorgimento (since 1914), Nuova rivista storica (since 1917), Civiltà moderna (since 1929), Studi storici (since 1959), and Critica Marxista (since 1963).


ECONOMICS. In Italy the shaping of economics as an independent branch of knowledge dates to the mid-18th century. The mercantilists, the most prominent of whom were A. Serra and G. Montanari, attached special importance to the development of the circulation of goods and money, which, in their opinion, had made the greatest contribution to the growth of productive forces under the conditions peculiar to Italy. In their works Enlightenment figures of the late 18th century and the early 19th, including G. Vico, A. Genovesi, L. A. Muratori, and G. R. Carli, developed the ideas of the French encyclopedists, making them applicable to the needs of italy’s socioeconomic and sociopolitical development. An important role in the shaping of italian economics was played by the founding of Europe’s first faculty of political economy at the University of Naples in 1754. Established by Genovesi, it united scholars who made profound contributions to research in economics. The Genovesi school included F. Galiani, an outstanding Italian economist of the second half of the 18th century, who, among other Physiocrats, as Marx noted, approached in more or less apt statements “a correct analysis of commodity” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch, 2nd ed., vol. 13, p. 44).

In the second half of the 19th century the development of Italian economics continued to be considerably influenced by the ideas and theories of foreign economists, most of whom were British or French. The doctrines and concepts of economic liberalism and positivism, which agreed most closely with the interests of the growing industrial bourgeoisie, were the prevailing trend. Among its representatives, C. Cattaneo, F. Ferrara, and A. Messedaglia were very successful in elaborating concrete economic problems in statistics, monetary circulation, and demography.

In the 1870’s and 1880’s the economic theory of Marx became known in Italy. Labriola’s works marked the beginning of the development of the Marxist line in Italian economics, and capitalist relations were criticized by a number of writers, including G. Romagnosi, G. Mazzini, and C. Pisacane, who laid the foundation for theories of petit bourgeois socialism in Italy. The works of V. Pareto, who was one of the first to begin devising mathematical methods of analyzing economic processes and phenomena, were an important contribution to the development of economics in the late 19th century. Economic theories that prepared the way for state intervention in economic life (dirigisme) became popular in Italy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. With the establishment of a fascist dictatorship in the country, this trend, whose representatives included C. Ferri and U. Spirito, reached its apogee in corporatist theories that became the official socioeconomic doctrine of the fascist state.

After World War II the development of economics in Italy took on a number of new features. Marxist economic thought, which became one of the most important currents, made an important contribution to the study of the structure and trends of development of the Italian economy and state-monopoly capitalism. (Among the most important representatives of Marxist economic thought are P. Togliatti, L. Longo, R. Grieco, G. Amendola, E. Sereni, and A. Pesenti.) National and international theoretical conferences of Marxist economists held by the Italian Communist Party were particularly important (a national conference on the trends of development of Italian capitalism, Rome, 1965, and a conference on the Italian and world economies, Rome, 1969). The economic thought of the postwar period has also been characterized by the continued influence of dirigisme, or the statolist school (from the Italian stato, “state”). Its most distinguished representatives include P. Sylos-Labini, N. Andreatta, and S. Lombardini. In addition, bourgeois economics has been using theoretical concepts and methods elaborated by the economic schools of other developed capitalist countries, endeavoring to adapt them to concrete conditions in Italy. The problems of finding means of overcoming interindustrial and regional imbalances in the national economy and of improving efficiency hold an important place in the works of Italian economists of various backgrounds.

Research in economics is done by state institutions, including the National Research Center (founded in the early 1960’s), which coordinates research throughout the country, the Central Institute of Statistics (founded in 1926), the Institute for the Study of Market Conditions (founded in 1957), and the National Institute of Agrarian Economics (founded in 1946). In addition, research is conducted by private institutions such as the Bureau for Study and Research (founded in 1946), which is associated with the Confederation of Italian Industry, and the Association for the Development of Industry in the South (founded in 1946). The university faculties of economics and research centers of the Bank of Italy, the Italian Commercial Bank, and some other state institutions also engage in scientific research.

Economic journals published in Italy are the weekly Mondo economico (since 1946), the monthly Rivista di politica economica (since 1911), Moneta e credito (since 1947), and Rassegna economica (since 1946). Articles on economics are also published in the theoretical journals of the Italian Communist Party—Critica Marxista (since 1963) and Politica ed economia (since 1970).


JURISPRUDENCE. In the sixth century justinian’s code became the principal object of study for Italian jurists. The most significant work on international law was a collection of diplomatic documents compiled by Cassiodorus (sixth century), which commented on certain legal norms. some attention was paid to law in the scholastic system of education. in the tenth century a school for the teaching of Lombard law was founded in Pavia. (its most prominent members were Bonifilius, Lanfranc, Valcauso, Wilhelm, and Ugo.) Around the 11th century the Ravenna school of jurists, which studied Roman law, took shape. On the basis of commentaries on such legal documents as Justinian’s Code and Institutes, a new school of law developed in Bologna in the late 11th century—the Bolognese school, or the school of glossators, of which Irnerius is considered the founder. His pupils Bulgarus, Martinus, Jacobus and Hugo became well known. The glossators played an important role in the revival of interest in Roman law and the development of juridical knowledge in Europe. Their successors—the commentators, or post-glossators—wrote commentaries on the glosses and on Roman law. The most famous of the postglossators were Odofredus, Bartolus, and Baldus. The legists wrote subsequent commentaries on Roman law.

In the Middle Ages the study of ecclesiastical (canon) law underwent considerable development. A collection of canon law was compiled by the Bolognese monk Gratian in 1151 (Gratian’s Decree, or Code). The most famous of his followers (the canonists or decretists) was Duranti, a teacher of law in Bologna and Modena who compiled an encyclopedia of law in 1275 (Speculum iudiciale). Thomas Aquinas had a substantial influence on the development of legal thought in Italy. (One of the most important parts of his system of thought was the doctrine of the state and society.) The earliest surviving Italian work on criminal law is a 13th-century book by Albertus Gandinus, which was printed in 1491. Works by Giulio Claro and Prosper Farinaccius were also devoted to criminal law. These scholars tried to justify the cruelty of medieval criminal law.

The turn toward antiquity and toward classical models in law and legal thought, which was characteristic of the Renaissance, developed into a revival of Roman law and Roman legal culture. In the 15th and 16th centuries the philological school of jurists, or “the elegant school of jurisprudence” (for example, Budaeus, A. Alciatus, and Cujas) took shape. Its adherents sought to turn from the writing of commentaries on glosses to a direct study of Roman law and Roman history and culture. As a result, Roman law became a substantial component of the overall culture of the Renaissance. Not only legal scholars but also prominent spokesmen for Italian humanism, such as L. Valla and A. Politian, studied Roman law. The first history of Roman law— On Roman Magistrates, Priests, Legal Scholars, and Law —was written by Valla’s pupil Letus Pomponius.

Machiavelli and Guicciardini left a profound mark on Italian scholarship on the state and law. The Utopian socialist Campanella stated a number of progressive ideas on questions of the state and law. In the second half of the 18th century the Italian Enlighteners sharply criticized feudal customs. The jurist G. Filangieri published the book The Science of Legislation, which gained fame throughout Europe and exerted some influence on the views of the Russian Decembrists. C. Beccaria, an Italian Enlightenment figure, set forth progressive principles of criminal law.

Among the jurists of the 19th century, P. S. Mancini, the founder of an Italian school of international law, holds a prominent place. His doctrine, which evolved at the time of the movement to unify Italy, influenced the science of international private law.

In the 1870’s the anthropological school of criminal law, which is sometimes called Lombrosianism after its founder, the Italian scholar C. Lombroso, emerged. Lombroso’s closest followers were R. Garofalo and E. Ferri.

In 19th- and 20th-century Italy, as in other countries, there has been a noticeable effort in all branches of bourgeois jurisprudence to escape from the framework of formal dogmatic methodology, which was characteristic of legal science in the 18th century and the early 19th. The trend away from formal dogmatic methodology emerged first and most clearly in Italy. In state law the juridical school was revamped and modernized with the aid of the institutionalist ideas of such jurists as S. Romano and S. Lessora. (The chief spokesman of the juridical school was V. Orlando, whose major work was The Principles of Constitutional Law. It was translated into Russian in 1907.) In the philosophy of law, neo-Kantianism, which had prevailed in the early 20th century, gave way to neo-Hegelianism, whose representatives included G. Del Vecchio. Under fascism, neo-Hegelian jurisprudence appeared in a great variety of forms, such as the politicallegal doctrine of G. Gentile, one of the theorists of the fascist regime. The ideas of corporatism spread. After World War II a revived theory of natural law became popular among Italian jurists (for example, A. Passerin d’Entréves, C. Passarelli, and G. Balladore Pallieri), in both neo-Thomist and secular variations (for example, A. Baratta and S. Cotta). Positivist (N. Bobbio) and neopositivist (U. Scarnelli) currents in law, as well as the sociological school (R. Treves), developed.

In 1945 a center for the study of social defense was founded in Italy on the initative of F. Gramatica. The theory of a “new social defense,” which was taught both in Italy and abroad, attracted adherents among jurists of different political orientations. Within the framework of the theory Gramática led a group of extremists whose members contended that the character of public-safety measures applied by a court should depend not on the character of a criminal act but on the degree to which the behavior of the suspect was antisocial. (In essence, this point of view signifies a total renunciation of the principle of legality in criminal law.)

Some Italian jurists view questions of state science and legal science from a Marxist position. Many important legal problems have been solved in the works of Gramsci, Togliatti, Longo, and other leaders of the Communist Party of Italy, as well as in the party’s programmatic documents.

Centers for scientific research in law include the Institute of the History of Italian Law, the Institute of Roman Law, the Institute of Public Law and Political Doctrine (all in Rome), the Juridical Institute (Turin), and the Institute of the History of Law and Roman Law (Milan), as well as the universities, including those in Rome, Turin, and Milan. The most important law journals are Bollettino dell’Istituto di Diritto Romano (since 1888), Giurisprudenza Costituzionale (since 1956), Giurisprudenza Italiana (since 1848), Rassegna di Diritto Romano (since 1955), and Rivista di Scienza Giuridiche (since 1950).


LINGUISTICS. In Italy, linguistic problems such as the classification of languages, the causes of changes within languages, and the relationship between the general literary language and dialects were first touched on in dante’s treatise “of the vernacular“(1305). until the mid-19th century, works about language had a general philological character: dictionaries, grammars, and commentaries on latin and italian texts were compiled. In 1582 the Academy of Crusca was established in Florence, and work was begun there on a standard dictionary of the Italian language (1612; 5th ed., 1863-1923). Linguistics took shape as a separate scientific discipline in the late 19th century in connection with the development of the comparative historical description of languages in general and Italian dialects in particular.

The founder of Italian linguistics was G. I. Ascoli, whose works on the classical languages and on Italian dialectology, including “Romansh Dialects” (1873), developed the methods of the Young Grammarians, a German school. Ascoli’s followers were the Italian dialectologists C. Salvioni, P. G. Goidanich, and C. Merlo.

Linguistic geography, represented by G. Bertoni’s The Dialects of Italy (1916) and M. Bartoli’s An Introduction to the New Linguistics (1925) and Essays on Areal Linguistics (1945), was initally influenced by Croce’s aesthetic concept of language as an act of individual creativity and was known as neolinguistics. G. Nencioni’s book Idealism and Realism in the Science of Language (1946) includes criticism of Crocean linguistics from the standpoint of precise methods of research.

Until the mid-20th century, Italian linguistics avoided structural (precise) methods of language study and emphasized instead the description of language as a social phenomenon. In connection with this trend, dialectology, onomasiology, and linguistic geography developed through the work of B. Terracini, Merlo, G. Vidossi, and C. Battisti. Linguistic atlases (G. Bottiglioni and Vidossi) and etymological dictionaries (C. Battisti and G. Alessio) were compiled, general manuals of Indo-European and Romance linguistics were written (V. Pisani, G. Devoto, and C. Tagliavini), and problems of the substratum, lingual shifts, and ethnolinguistics were studied. Works devoted to the language and style of individual writers are also important in contemporary Italian linguistics (G. Folena, F. Mazzoni, and G. Contini). The study of Dante’s language, which was begun in the 16th century, is conducted at the Italian Dante Society in Florence. Italian linguists and philologists are focusing attention on problems associated with the standardization of the Italian language, the relationship between the literary language and dialects, and the interaction of functional styles (B. Migliorini, Devoto, T. De Mauro, A. Schiaffini, and Terracini). Migliorini’s The History of the Italian Language (1960) is a research work that makes generalizations on the history of the Italian language. The Academy of Crusca, which consists of three sectors—Italian philology, grammer, and lexicography—is the research center for the study of the Italian language. The journals of linguistics published in Italy are Archivio glottologico italiano (since 1873), L’Italia dialettale (since 1924), Archivium romanicum (1917—41), Cultura neolatina (since 1941), Studi di filologia italiana (since 1927), Lingua nostra (since 1939), and Linguae stile (since1966).


Scientific institutions The principal state institution that is responsible for the organization and supervision of research work in all the natural and technical sciences (except problems in atomic energy research) is the National Research Council. Established in 1923, the council has authority over 70 institutes and laboratories (of which 36 conduct fundamental research and 34, applied research) and 108 research centers (of which 78 conduct fundamental research and the rest, applied research). The council also organizes information services and supervises Italy’s international scientific ties.

The conduct of research in atomic energy is supervised by the National Committee for Nuclear Energy, which was founded in 1960. It has authority over the National Laboratory at Frascati (a synchrotron and an ionized-gas laboratory), which was founded in 1953, and the Center for Nuclear Studies in Casaccia. The committee is directed by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Artisan Enterprise, which also has authority over the State Electric Power Association, the mining industry’s Geological Service and Chemical Service, and nine experimental stations for research on materials such as fuel and cellulose. The universities have many small research institutes with staffs of up to 20, which conduct primarily fundamental research.

The largest center for fundamental research is the National Institute of Nuclear Physics, which integrates the work of all of Italy’s research institutions in this field.

Research in the agricultural sciences (for example, agricultural chemistry and bacteriology, soil science, genetics, and plant pathology) is conducted in 22 institutes, which are under the Ministry of Agriculture and Timber. The latter is also in charge of the Central Meteorological Administration, oceanographic institutes, and observatories. The Ministry of Health supervises the work of laboratories in a number of fields, including biochemistry, pharmacology, biology, microbiology and parasitology, and hygiene and directs the activity of the Higher Institute of Health.

Italian firms have about 700 research institutions that do primarily applied work in metallurgy, chemistry, electronics, aircraft and automobile making, nuclear energy, and aerospace. In 1963 Italy’s largest firms (the state association IRI) established the Experimental Metallurgical Center in Rome. With the aid of the IRI group, a research center and laboratory in telecommunications and a center for the study of marine engineering were founded. In 1969 more than 4, 000 people were working in centers operating under IRI firms. Fundamental and applied research on petroleum and gas is conducted in the state petroleum and gas association, ENI, whose main centers are unified laboratories near Milan and one near Rome.

Scientific work in organic synthesis based on petrochemistry is also done in the research centers of the Montecatini Edison Company. Substantial work is done in the scientific institutions of the Fiat and SNIA Viscosa companies. However, many firms in Italy do not conduct scientific research, preferring to acquire patents and licenses abroad.

Italy’s academies of sciences, scientific societies, and associations do not engage directly in scientific research. Of the science academies, the most significant is the National Academy of Lincei (1603). There are also a number of international research centers in Italy—the Institute of Genetics and Biophysics in Naples, the Center of Theoretical Physics in Trieste, the Center for Mechanics in Udine, and the Center for Nuclear Research in Ispra. Between 1960 and 1969 expenditures for research work in Italy increased from 55 billion to 422, 470, 000, 000 lire—that is, an increase of more than eightfold. Nevertheless, in terms of expenditures for scientific research Italy holds one of the lowest ranks among the European countries.



Italy. Edited by M. Millet. [Rome, 1970.]
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Storia delle scienze, vols. 1–3. Turin, 1965.
Istoriia filosofii, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1940–41.
Istoriia filosofii, vols. 1, 3, 5. Moscow, 1957–61.
Garin, E. Khronika Ital’ianskoi filosofii 20 v. (1900–1943). Moscow, 1965. (Translated from Italian.)
Efirov, S. A. Ital’ianskaia burzhuaznaia filosofila 20 v. Moscow, 1968.
Gentile, G. Le origini della filosofia contemporanea in Italia, vols. 1–4. Messina, 1917–23.
Sciacca, M. F. La philosophie italienne contemporaine. Paris [1953].
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La filosofia contemporanea in Italia, vols. 1–2. Rome, 1958.
Garin, E. L’umanesimo italiano, 2nd ed. Bari, 1965.
Garin, E. La cultura filosofica del Rinascimento italiano. Florence, 1961.
Garin, E. Storia della filosofia italiana [2nd ed.], vols. 1–3. Turin, 1966.
Garin, E. Cronache di filosofia italiana. 1900–1943. [Bari] 1966. (Quindici anni dopo 1945–1960, vols. 1–2.)
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Istoriografiia novogo vremeni stran Evropy i Ameriki. Moscow, 1967.
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Maturi, W. Interpretazioni del Risorgimento. Turin, 1962.
La storiografia italiana negli ultimi vent’anni, vols. 1–2. Milan, 1970.
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As of 1974, the most influential bourgeois newspapers included Corriere della Sera, the newspaper of Lombard industrialists (published in Milan since 1876; circulation, 600, 000), La Stampa, which is owned by the Fiat concern (published since 1866 in Turin; circulation, 404, 000), and Il Messaggero (published in Rome since 1878; circulation, 350, 000 on weekdays and up to 1 million on holidays or in connection with major political events). Other major bourgeois newspapers are Il Giorno, which is connected with the ENI (published since 1956 in Milan; circulation, 230, 000), and La Nazione (published in Florence since 1859; circulation, 250, 000).

Since 1924 the Communist Party has published both Rome and Milan editions of L’Unità (circulation, about 600, 000), as well as the journals Rinascita (since 1944) and Critica Marxista. Local federations of the Communist Party publish weekly or biweekly newspapers.

The organ of the Italian Socialist Party is L’Avanti, which has been published in Rome and Milan since 1896 (circulation, about 190, 000). The newspaper Il Popolo (circulation, 106, 000), which has been published in Rome since 1944, is the organ of the Christian Democratic Party. Paese Sera, a progressive evening newspaper, enjoys wide popularity in Rome. Published since 1949, it has a circulation of about 180, 500.

Radio broadcasts have been transmitted in Italy since Oct. 6, 1924, when a radio station went into operation in Rome. Television broadcasting began on a national channel in 1954 and on a second channel in 1961. Broadcasts are in Italian. There are four radio and television centers in Italy, located in Rome, Milan, Naples, and Turin.

Most domestic broadcasts are in Italian. (There are three main channels and numerous local ones.) In addition, there are broadcasts in German for the minority living in the Trentino-Alto Adige region (the Southern Tirol) and in Slovenian (for the regions adjoining Trieste). Broadcasts are beamed abroad in 22 languages. Radio and television are under the authority of the joint-stock company Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI-TV), which is controlled by the state.


Examples of early Italian folklore have not been preserved. Italian medieval literature developed after the fall of the Roman Empire. Between the sixth and 12th centuries it consisted chiefly of religious hymns, legends, and chronicles, all of them written in Latin. The rapid growth of cities promoted the appearance of literary works in national dialects in the late 12th century and the early 13th (narrative religious poetry and secular and religious lyric poetry). In the first half of the 13th century a Sicilian school of poetry took shape, which imitated the Provençal troubadours (Jacopo da Lentini, died 1233). Associated with a struggle among the cities of Tuscany was the rise of lyric political poetry (for example, Guittone d’Arezzo, c. 1230–c. 1294) and allegorical-didactic poetry (Brunetto Latini, c. 1220–c. 1294). The best example of 13th-century prose is an anonymous collection of short stories in the Tuscan dialect, Il Novellino.

At the end of the 13th century a new type of philosophical poetry developed—the dolce stil nuovo (sweet new style), which sang the praises of courtly love and illuminated the psychology of the lover—for example, in the works of the Bolognese poet G. Guinizelli (born 1230–40; died 1276) and the Florentine poets G. Cavalcanti (born 1255 or 1259; died 1300) and the young Dante. With its questioning of the estate system and glorification of human emotion, dolce stil nuovo poetry belongs to the pre-Renaissance.

The creator of a unified literary language in Italy was Dante Alighieri (1265–1321)—“the last poet of the Middle Ages and … the first poet of modern times” (F. Engels, in K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch, 2nd ed., vol. 22, p. 382). His principal works were the novella “The New Life” (1292), which extolled his love for Beatrice, and the poem The Comedy (completed in 1321; called The Divine Comedy by the end of the 14th century), one of the greatest works of world literature, which posed problems of the author’s time—moral, theological, and political—and portrayed human feelings and sufferings with enormous artistic power.

In Italy, the cradle of the Renaissance (14th–16th centuries), the ground for the literature of the period was prepared by the economic development of cities, by lively commercial ties with other countries, and by the overall growth of secular culture. Characteristic of the literature of the Renaissance were a humanist world view, questioning of the estate system, buoyant free-thinking, a lofty notion of the potential of the human personality, and a fascination with antiquity. F. Petrarch (1304–74), the first lyric poet of the Renaissance, wrote the collection of verses Canzoniere (1470), which sang of his earthly love for Laura and delicately brought out the nuances of the emotion of love. In his poetry and prose—particularly the Decameron (published in 1471), a collection of short stories pervaded by anticlericalism, and the novella Fiammetta (published in 1472)—Boccaccio affirmed a new humanistic morality, praised the free active person, and rejected asceticism.

In the 15th century Renaissance ideas were developed in the works of the humanist scholars—philologists and philosopher-writers who studied antiquity and wrote in Latin, including G. F. P. Bracciolini (1380–1459), who wrote facetiae, L. B. Alberti (1404–72), and L. Valla (1407–57). An attempt to bring “scholarly humanism” closer to folk poetry was made by Florentine poets of the Medici circle: Lorenzo de’ Medici (1449–92), the ruler of Florence; A. Poliziano (1454–94), who created the lyric drama The Story of Orpheus (staged in 1480); and especially L. Pulci (1432–84), author of the comic poem Morgante Maggiore (1480). A humanist world view permeates Orlando in Love (published in 1495), an unfinished chivalrous poem by M. Boiardo (1441–94), and the pastoral novel Arcadia (1504) by the Neapolitan J. Sannazaro (1455–1530), who influenced the development of the European pastoral of the 16th and 17th centuries.

In the first half of the 16th century the Italian Renaissance flowered. A unified literary language was established. At the end of the 16th century the incipient economic and political decline and the general feudal and Catholic reaction led to a crisis in humanism that affected the content of literature.

A number of genres developed. L. Ariosto (1474–1533), a native of Ferrara, wrote the poem Orlando Enraged (1516), a continuation of Boiardo’s Orlando in Love. Imbued with love for earthly life, it ridiculed medieval notions and intertwined fantastic motifs with irony. In such works as The Case, Ariosto created the Italian comedy of manners. The development of comedy took a satiric turn in works by Machiavelli (1469–1521; La Mandragola), P. Aretino (1492–1556), and the philosopher G. Bruno (1548–1600; The Candlestick, 1582). The pastoral drama, a new genre that idealized reality, was originated by T. Tasso (1544–95; the Aminta, 1573) and G. B. Guarini (1538–1612; The Faithful Shepherd, staged in 1590).

Among the works of 16th-century prose fiction, which was gradually losing its anti-estate and anticlerical character, were The Courtier (1528) by B. Castiglione (1478–1529), the memoirs of Benvenuto Cellini (1500–71), and short stories by such writers as A. Firenzuola (1493–1543) and M. Bandello (c. 1485–1561). Lyric poetry was dominated by the epigones of Petrarch, who were led by the philologist and poet P. Bembo (1470–1547). The traditions of epic poetry were continued by Tasso, who had a sense of the tragic contradictions between the humanist ideals he cherished and religious ascetic ideology. The humanist principles that pervade a number of episodes in his poem Jerusalem Delivered (1575) clash with the preaching of asceticism, and the concept of public duty takes on a religious tone.

In the 17th century the Counter-Reformation, feudal reaction, and Spanish rule over a substantial area of Italian territory led to stagnation in the country’s spiritual life and a crisis in its literature. Characteristic of the baroque poetry of G. B. Marini (1569–1625; the poem Adonis, 1623) and his followers were a bizarre quality and a striving to achieve formal novelty. The poet and dramatist G. Chiabrera (1552–1638) and the poet A. Tassoni (1565–1635), the author of the mock-epic The Rape of the Bucket (1622), fought against Marinismo. Noteworthy among 17th-century prose works is A Fairy Tale About Fairy Tales, or the Pentameron (1634–36), a collection of Italian fairy tales in the Neapolitan dialect, interpreted by G. Basile (1575–1632). Founded in the late 17th century, the Academy of Arcadia, which proclaimed a struggle against Marinismo, contributed to the development in the 18th century of classicism (tragedies by P. J. Martello, 1665–1727, and S. Maffei, 1675–1755) and rococo gallant poetry (for example, P. Rolli, 1687–1765). Both styles were interwoven in the work of the lyric poet and dramatist P. Metastasio (1698–1782), the creator of numerous melodramas, including Dido Abandoned (1724) and Cato in Utica (1728).

The Enlightenment began in the mid-18th century in Italy, where it promoted the development of a sense of national identity. Milan journals such as La Frusta letteraria (1763–65) and Il Caffè (1764–66) played an important role in spreading Enlightenment ideas. Abandoning the improvised commedia dell’arte, the playwright C. Goldoni (1707–93) created the realistic comedy of personalities (for example, The Tavern Maid, 1753, and The Tyrants, 1760), which expressed the democratic ideas of the third estate. In his dramatic fairy tales Goldoni’s ideological opponent C. Gozzi (1720–1806) revived elements of the commedia dell’arte (for example, Princess Turandot, 1762) and ridiculed Enlightenment rationalism. Civic inspiration pervades tragedies by V. Alfieri (1749–1803; for example, Saul), which are directed against tyranny and in which revolutionary classicism gives way to preromanticism. The satiric poem The Day (parts 1–4, 1763–1804) by G. Parini (1729–99) is imbued with Enlightenment ideas.

Characteristic of the literature of the Risorgimento (late 18th century through 1870) are civic-mindedness and patriotism, which are encountered even in the work of V. Monti (1754–1828), despite its many ideological inconsistencies. The works of U. Foscolo (1778–1827), which interweave classicism with sentimentalism, reflect the growth of a sense of national identity as well as anger against the oppressed condition of the homeland (the novel Last Letters of Jacopo Ortis, 1798, and the poem “The Graves,” 1807). C. Porta (1775–1821) wrote realistic verses in the Milanese dialect.

Around 1815–25 romanticism became the prevailing trend in Italian literature, establishing its own aesthetic principles (for example, articles, pamphlets, and messages by G. Berchet, 1783–1851, L. di Breme, 1780–1820, and A. Manzoni, 1785–1873). Berchet’s lyric poetry, as well as My Prisons (1832), the memoirs of S. Pellico (1789–1854), were among the works reflecting the ideas of the national liberation movement. The lyric poetry of G. Leopardi (1798–1837) expresses a patriot’s grief at the sight of his humiliated homeland, romantic despair, and a lack of faith in progress. Also originating in this period was the genre of the historical novel, whose creator, A. Manzoni, wrote The Betrothed (1827), in which the heroes are Italian peasants who oppose high-handed feudal rule. In this work a realistic portrayal of life is combined with romantic motifs, and Catholic religiosity comes into conflict with a genuinely historical approach. Among the works published in the 1830’s and 1840’s were historical novels by F. D. Guerrazzi (1804–73), tragedies by G. Niccolini (1782–1861), and lyric poetry by G. Mameli (1827-^9) and A. Poerio (1802–48), which were permeated by the revolutionary ideas of Mazzini (1805–72). Historical novels of everyday life by M. d’Azeglio (1798–1866) and other followers of Manzoni snowed the influence of liberalism and Catholicism. At the same time, satiric poetry written in the various dialects flourished, including pieces by the Florentine G. Giusti (1809–50) and the Roman G. Belli (1791–1863).

Among the noteworthy works written after the Revolution of 1848–49 was the poetry of A. Aleardi (1812–78) and L. Mercan-tini (1821–72), followers of Garibaldi. The transition from romanticism to realism is evident in The Confessions of an Italian (1858), a historical novel by I. Nievo (1831–61) that describes the development of the national liberation movement up to the Revolution of 1848–9. The same transition may be observed in Spartacus (1874), a novel by R. Giovagnoli (1838–1915). The political poetry of G. Carducci (1835–1907) is pervaded by the ideas of the Risorgimento and by a protest against the ease with which they were forgotten in unified Italy, In addition to developing both romantic and realistic motifs, his lyric poetry, which affirmed the joy of living, revived classicism (for example, the collections New Rhymes, 1861–87, and Iambs and Epodes, 1867–79).

After 1870, verismo, which depicted contemporary social reality and the everyday life of “ordinary people,” became the leading trend in Italian prose. In his short stories (for example, the collection The Life of the Fields, 1880, and Rustic Short Stories, 1883), novels (for example, The House by the Medlar Tree, 1881), and plays G. Verga (1840–1922) sympathetically portrayed fishermen and peasants and ridiculed the clergy and the rural rich. Other outstanding proponents of verismo were the critic and novelist L. Capuana (1839–1915) and Grazia Deledda (1871–1936), an author of psychological novels. Similarly, Verga, Capuana, G. Giacosa (1847–1906), and M. Praga (1862–1929) created slice-of-life dramas. Verismo influenced the social poetry of G. Cena (1870–1917) and the populist poetry of Ada Negri (1870–1945). In the novel The Heart of a Boy (1886) the socialist writer E. De Amicis (1846–1908), who was close to the proponents of verismo, affirmed democratic and humanistic ideals, which also pervade the fairy tale The Adventures of Pinocchio (1880) by Collodi (pseudonym of C. Lorenzini, 1826— 90).

At the end of the 19th century neoromantic and symbolist tendencies emerged in Italian literature. The chief representative of neoromanticism, which had a religous tone, was A. Fogaz-zaro (1842–1911), author of the novel The Patriot (1895). The poet G. Pascoli (1855–1912), who celebrated nature, rural life, and simple human emotions in collections such as Tamarisks (1891), gravitated toward symbolism. The most characteristic manifestations of decadence and Nietzscheanism were the aesthetic and hedonistic verses, plays, and novels of G. D’Annunzio (1863–1938), who in his later career wrote in praise of Italian imperialism and turned to fascism. At the end of the first decade of the 20th century crepuluscolarismo —twilight poetry, a trend that depicted ordinary life in melancholy tones—took shape in reaction to D’Annunzio’s rhetoric. (Among the most outstanding representatives of twilight poetry was G. Gozzano, 1883–1916.) In 1909 the futurist school emerged under the leadership of F. T. Marinetti (1876–1944), whose creative work, permeated with hysterical antihumanism and militarism, laid the ideological foundation for fascism. The crisis of traditional morality and the tragedy of “little people” in the bourgeois world were most sharply described by L. Pirandello (1867–1936). Despite their paradoxical plots, his best short stories, novels (The Late Mattia Pascal, 1904), and plays (Six Characters in Search of an Author, 1921, and Henry IV, 1922) were humanistic and concerned with social problems.

Italy’s participation in World War I (1915–18) and the upsurge in the workers’ movement and growth of the fascist menace in the postwar years caused a sharp demarcation of literary forces. The journal La Ronda (1919–22) preached that the artist should be locked within “individual freedom of thought.” In The Confessions ofZeno (1923), a novel by I. Svevo (1861–1928), self-analysis is substituted for a picture of the real world. Under the leadership of Gramsci (1891–1937) and the antifascist publicist P. Gobetti (1901–26), the left wing of the Italian intelligentsia fought for a democratic culture and literature under the difficult conditions created by fascism, which did away with all freedom of the press in Italy in 1926.

Twenty years of fascist dictatorship led some Italian writers to depart from social themes and realistic traditions. The “magical realism” of M. Bontempelli (1878–1960) and the Catholic fatalism of the historical novels of R. Bacchelli (born 1891; the trilogy The Mill on the Po, 1938–40) were an illusory escape from reality. In the poetry of the 1920’s and 1930’s, hermeticism prevailed, with its motifs of loneliness and its tragic sensations of the world expressed in a refined poetic form (G. Ungaretti, 1888–1970, E. Montale, born 1896, and U. Saba, 1883–1957). During the same decades a striving to depict reality critically was embodied in the work of C. Alvaro (1895–1956), who described the life of the peasantry of the south (People from Aspromonte, 1930), and A. Moravia (born 1907), who exposed the desolate spiritual world of the bourgeois intelligentsia (for example, the novel The Indifferent Ones, 1929). The realistic tradition survived in the work of antifascist writers who emigrated, such as G. Germanetto (1885–1959), author of Memoirs of a Barber (1930), and A. Ugolini (1896–1954), author of the collection The Lantern (1934). The intensification of antifascist sentiments in Italy in the late 1930’s was reflected in short stories and novels written between 1936 and 1940 by C. Pavese (1908–1950) and in Moravia’s satirical novel Masquerade (1941). Conversations in Sicily, published in 1941 by E. Vittorini (1908–66), expressed allegorically a protest against the military adventures of fascism.

The nationwide Resistance Movement against fascism and the fascist German invaders (1943–45) genuinely revived Italy’s literature. In the mid-1940’s, neorealism, which was imbued with an antifascist spirit, faith in the man of the people, and a desire to give a truthful picture of national life, became the leading realistic trend of the first postwar decade. Themes of the antifascist partisan struggle hold a significant place in the prose and poetry of the period—Vittorini’s novel Men and Nonmen (1945); the novel Agnese Goes to Die (1949), by R. Viganò; Old Comrades (1953), a novel by C. Cassola (born 1917); and a number of poetry collections by S. Quasimodo (1901–68), including A Foreigner’s Heel on the Heart (1946) and Life Is Not a Dream (1949). The memoir and documentary literature of the Resistance Movement is diverse. Among the members of the neorealistic movement in Italy was V. Pratolini (born 1913), who portrayed the fate and struggle of the Italian people from a historical perspective (the novels A Tale of Poor Lovers, 1947, and Mete Ho, 1955). Characteristic of neorealistic literature is the interweaving of a lyrical theme with exposure of social injustice, as in The Lands of Sacramento (1950), a novel by F. Jovine; Christ Stopped at Eboli (1945) and Words Are Stones, two books by C. Levi (1902–75); The Lie With Long Legs (1948) and My Family (1956), comedies by E. De Filippo; and Gramscis Remains (1957), a cycle of poems by P. P. Pasolini (1922–75). Neorealistic film drama flourished during the postwar years (for example, the work of C. Zavattini, born 1902, Pasolini, and G. Bassani, born 1916). The poet and story writer G. Rodari (born 1920) created progressive literature for children based on folk traditions, including The Adventures of Cipollino (1951) and children’s verses written in the 1950’s. Nonetheless, in the late 1950’s neorealism began to show certain limitations—ideological obscurity, empiricism, and an inability to portray the complexity of man’s spiritual world. Confused by the increasingly complex social conflicts in Italy, a number of neorealist writers yielded to modernist influences.

Applying the lessons of neorealism, Italian literature of the 1960’s took on new ideological and artistic features. It deepened its portrayal of contemporary man, expanded the depiction of man’s social environment and psychology, and sought new means of expression. In particular, the social-psychological novel was developed further. After Roman Tales (1953) and the novel Two Women (1957), in which the influence of neorealism is felt, Moravia turned to the problem of alienation, castigating timeserving and the loss of ideals by heroes from the bourgeois milieu (the novel The Empty Canvas, 1960, and the collection The Automaton, 1963). The novel The Cloud of Smog (1958) by I. Calvino (born 1923) and the grotesque satirical novel by G. Parise (born 1929), The Boss (1965), reveal the hostility of “neocapitalism” to man’s spiritual world. In the philosophical allegorical novels The Nonexistent Knight (1959) and Cosmicomics (1965), Calvino poses contemporary problems of morals and ethics. The themes of war and the Resistance Movement interpreted as a problem of moral responsibility were dealt with more profoundly during the 1960’s (Cassola’s Bubos Girl, 1960, and The White Flag Over Cephalonia 1963, a novel by M. Venturi [born 1925]). A number of works raised the theme of the working class and the formation of the human personality in labor and in sociopolitical activity (Pratolini, The Permanence of Reason, 1963).

In the same period an avant garde trend developed—Group 63, which combined an anarchic, antibourgeois orientation and leftism with a rejection of the realistic tradition and with purely formal experimentation that did not produce any serious artistic results. (A major representative of the group is E. Sanguineti [born 1930], who created theatrical “quartets” in the form of a conversation among four persons—Traumdeutung [its German title], or The Interpretation of Dreams [1965]. He is also the author of Protocols [1969].)

With the upsurge of the workers’ and youth movement in Italy as the 1970’s opened, the struggle of progressive Italian literature against bourgeois “mass culture” grew sharper. Taking advantage of the media, bourgeois society propagandizes philistine, consumerist ideals and a cult of sex and psychopathology. This campaign by reactionary ideology evoked a sharp rebuff from progressive Italian culture, which exposed moral and psychological injuries to the personality and the degeneration of spiritual values as a social calamity of modern Italian capitalism (M. Soldati’s novel The Actor, 1970, and L. Orsini’s collection of short stories Anesthesia, 1971).

The Marxist intelligentsia of Italy and the Italian Communist Party devote a great deal of attention to elaborating the principles of realism as an artistic method and to struggling against mass culture. The main trends in contemporary Italian literature are a sharply critical attitude toward bourgeois reality and an understanding of the writer’s moral responsibility to society. Contemporary Italian literature occupies a prominent place in world culture.

Literary criticism In the Middle Ages literary criticism was confined to Latin rhetoric and poetics, including the second part of Dante’s treatise “Of the Vernacular” (early 14th century). Based on Neoplatonic and Aristotelian aesthetics, the literary criticism of the Renaissance (16th century) is represented by treatises by Bembo, L. Castelvetro (1505–71), G. Giraldi Cinzio (1504–73), and Tasso. In the 18th century G. Vico (1668–1744) laid the foundation for a new science of literature, permeated by elements of the historical approach, in the essay “Principles of a New Science of the General Nature of Nations” (1726). Literary criticism of the Enlightenment was represented by G. Tiraboschi (1731–94), the author of a history of Italian literature, S. Bettinelli (1718–1808), and G. Baretti (1719–89).

Romantic criticism rested on the aesthetic principles of Berchet’s “Half Serious Letter of Chrysostom” (1816) and on Manzoni’s theoretical works—“Letter to Signor Sc.” (written in 1820 and published in 1823) and “On Romanticism: A Letter to Marquis C. D’Azeglio” (written in 1823 and published in 1846). The outstanding literary critic of the 19th century was F. De Sanctis (1817–83), who expressed the ideas of the Risorgimento in his major works—Critical Essays (1866), The History of Italian Literature (1870), and the lecture series “Italian Literature in the 19th Century” (published in 1897). In De Sanctis’ works the development of literature is linked with the ideas of the age and with the historical development of the people, and in his aesthetics, materialist and realistic tendencies are prominent. The philosopher-critic Croce (1866–1952) held an idealistic, neo-Hegelian point of view. Proclaiming that art as a creative process was an end in itself, he viewed literature as a form of timeless beauty. This aesthetic principle espoused by Croce leads to the detachment of literature from national history. Nonetheless, a historical approach is characteristic of some of Croce’s works of literary criticism. Between 1918 and 1939 most Italian bourgeois literary criticism (including the work of F. Flora, 1891–1962) was influenced by Croce’s ideas.

L. Russo (1892–1961), who consistently adhered to anticlerical positions, was a notable progressive critic and literary historian. The works of Gramsci, the founder of Italian Marxist aesthetics and literary criticism, subjected Croce’s ideas to thorough criticism. In articles published in the Communist press in the 1920’s and in later works written while he was in prison in the 1930’s (Literature and National Life, a volume from the Prison Notebooks), Gramsci examined national culture and literature from the standpoint of the Marxist view of history. He developed the concept of a national people’s literature that would express the deep-seated aspirations of the masses at a given moment in national history. Gramsci’s works were extremely important to the development of contemporary progressive Italian literary criticism. Today, the school of literary criticism that writes from the standpoint of Marxist aesthetics occupies a prominent place in Italian culture (for example, works by C. Salinari, N. Sapegno, and G. Ferrata). The recently founded Gramsci Institute is doing productive work on problems in aesthetics, artistic methodology, literary history, and criticism.


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N. G. ELINA (literary criticism up to 1918) and Z. M. POTAPOVA (literary criticism after 1918)

The oldest artistic monuments in Italy date from the Paleolithic and Aeneolithic periods. These include Apulian cave paintings, Ligurian and Emilian stone statuettes of females with exaggerated forms, and ceramic ware with incised or painted designs (similar to the meander design in southern European ceramics). During the Bronze Age (second half of the second millennium B.C.), richly ornamented ceramic articles and geo-metricized bronze figurines were created depicting deities and warriors. These artistic works reflect the influence of Minoan-Mycenaean civilization. In Sardinia a distinctive megalithic structure evolved, the nuraghe, which was a truncated conical stone structure. At the same time, a terramara culture was developing in northern Italy. From the ninth to the fifth century B.C., Villanovan settlements were established. The monuments of the Etruscans, whose culture was related to that of the Villanovans, date from the period of the eighth to the second century B.C. Sculpture, craftwork, and ruins of temples have been preserved on the sites of Greek trading settlements that sprang up on the Italian coast (Syracuse, Selinus, and Paestum) in the eighth, seventh, and sixth centuries B.C. Ancient Greek, Etruscan, and local artistic traditions were the foundations of the art of ancient Rome, which thrived from the fifth century B.C. to the fifth century A.D.

The fall of Rome and the establishment of Christianity in Italy led to the development of medieval art. Based on late classical traditions, Italian medieval art was also influenced by Byzantine art and by the art of the various barbarian people who invaded Italy, such as the Goths, Lombards, and Franks. In the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries, basilican churches that were as splendid as the palaces of the Roman emperors were built in Rome and several other cities (for example, San Giovanni in Laterano and San Paola Fuori le Mura, both in Rome). Centrally-planned houses of worship were also built, for example, San Vitale in Ravenna. Initially, classical buoyancy and three-dimensionality of images were retained in the multicolored mosaics that decorated the interiors of the temples (for example, the mosaics in Santa Costanza, Rome, fourth century). However, the mosaics gradually became more stylized and ascetic. Chiaroscuro modeling was abandoned and replaced by linear, two-dimensional treatment of forms. Refined coloristic combinations gave way to solemn, abstracted color schemes, as seen in the mosaics of San Vitale (sixth century) and the frescoes of Santa Maria Antiqua (Rome, eighth century). Late classical traditions were preserved for a long time in carved fretwork (column capitals and altar rails).

From the eighth to the tenth century, the architecture of Lombardy flourished. The basilicas, in which crypts were placed under the altar, were characterized by exterior walls that were divided by lesenes, blind arcades, and arched friezes. In Lombardy the free-standing bell tower, the campanile, evolved (for example, the southern tower of the Basilica of Sant’ Ambrogio, Milan, ninth century). During the eighth, ninth, and tenth centuries, artistic influences of barbarian peoples increased in sculpture and in the decorative and applied arts. Ornamental bas-relief carving and jewelry-making, primarily inlaid work, developed.

During the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries, the Romanesque style, which was developing throughout Europe, became prevalent in Italy. As a result of the country’s feudal fragmentation, the style acquired manifold local characteristics. The general features of Italian Romanesque architecture were determined by the continued link with classical architectural principles. These features included a striving for clarity, balanced proportions, and festive decoration. In Northern and Central Italy, basilicas with three aisles were built; frequently they had an atrium (for example, the Basilica of Sant’ Ambrogio, Milan, 11th and 12th centuries). The western facades of the churches were divided by arcades and dwarf galleries or were decorated by marble portals with canopies on columns, supported by stylized figures of lions (San Zeno Maggiore, Verona, 12th century). In Tuscany, structures built in the incrustation style, with patterned polychromatic marble facing on the interior walls, were widespread (San Miniato al Monte, Florence, begun in 1014). The cathedral complex in Pisa (baptistery, begun in 1153; cathedral, 1063–1160; campanile, 1174–1372) is characterized by its harmonious proportions and elegant decor. In Sicily elements of Byzantine, Arabic, and Norman architecture were uniquely combined. Examples of Sicilian architecture of this period include Cefalü Cathedral, with two towers flanking its western facade, and the Cathedral of Monreale, with interior ogive arches and magnificent and bizarre apsidal decoration. The massive, five-domed St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice (ninth century, rebuilt from the 11th to the 15th century), which is notable for its splendorous interior (mosaics and marble inlay), is a distinctive variation of the Byzantine cross-of-domes plan.

The prosperity of cities of Italy during the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries generated extensive urban construction. Italian cities took on their characteristic appearance at this time. Urban fortifications corresponding to the local terrain were built, resembling the fortified stone turreted dwellings in Bologna and San Gimignano. Town halls and cathedrals with well-proportioned campaniles were built in several cities, including Bergamo and Brescia. Most Italian cities were densely built up. In Florence, Bologna, and Verona the buildings were grouped around a central, usually cathedral, square according to a regular plan inherited from classical times. In Siena and Venice, structures were arranged irregularly. The cities had closely adjoining stone or brick buildings with three or four stories, austere blind facades interrupted by narrow window openings, and overhanging tiled gable roofs.

The traditions of ornamental barbarian carving were replaced by a striving for greater clarity and distinct rhythms of representation. This trend is evident in the Romanesque sculpture that covered the walls, porches, pillars, columns, and altar rails of cathedrals. Romanesque sculpture was highly developed in Emilia and Lombardy (the reliefs by the master sculptor Wiligelmo on the cathedral in Modena, circa 1106; the reliefs on the bronze doors of San Zeno Maggiore, Verona, 12th century; and the reliefs by the master sculptor Antelami on the cathedral and baptistery in Parma, 1178 and late 12th-early 13th centuries, respectively). In Tuscany, the pictorial and nonrepresentational carving on the facades and interior walls of cathedrals is organically combined with the polychromatic marble incrustation. In Rome during the 12th and 13th centuries the marble work of the Cosmati family was particularly outstanding. The Cosmati work in Roman churches included the intricate patterns on the columns and floors, as well as the episcopal thrones and altars.

In the 11th and 12th centuries, frescoes and mosaics were frequently characterized by the combination of Byzantine compositional schemes with naïve and somewhat crudely expressed narrative representations (the frescoes in the lower church of San Clemente, Rome, c. 1100; the frescoes in Sant’ Angelo in Formis, near Capua, second half of the 11th century; the mosaics in Cefalu Cathedral, second half of the 12th century; and the mosaics in St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice, 12th-14th centuries). In the 13th century, icon painting developed in Central Italy. The traditions of developed Byzantine art, characterized by a finished quality, emotionally expressive linear rhythm, and refined color combinations, enabled Italian painters to overcome the simplicity of Romanesque artistic language. However, in 13th-century Italian icon painting, the laws of Byzantine iconography conflicted with an elemental striving for greater animation, clarity, and humanization (for example, the altar figures by Cimabue).

In the middle of the 13th century, pre-Renaissance tendencies began to take shape in Italian art, particularly in Tuscany. Representatives included the sculptor Nicola Pisano and his followers Arnolfo di Cambio and Giovanni Pisano. Nicola Pisano achieved effective three-dimensional modeling and imparted corporeal strength to his figures in the reliefs on the pulpit of the Pisan baptistery (1260). The major representatives of pre-Renaissance painting were P. Cavallini (Rome), who used chiaroscuro modeling based on a study of late classical painting for the first time, and Giotto (Florence), the great reformer of Italian art. Breaking with the canons of Byzantine iconography, Giotto endowed traditional evangelical scenes with greater fidelity to the real world and achieved effective compositional solutions and dramatic expressiveness of images. In the 13th- and 14th-century Sienese altar paintings of Duccio, the Lorenzetti brothers, and Simone Martini, several pre-Renaissance elements appeared within the framework of the traditions of Italian Byzantine art and French Gothic miniatures. In Sienese frescoes the use of certain archaic artistic devices was combined with a desire to represent the environment and with the introduction of landscape painting and portraiture (for example, Simone Martini’s and A. Lorenzetti’s frescoes in the Palazzo Pubblico). The paintings of the Bolognese masters were characterized by Gothic images and by the bold introduction of concrete details from life (for example, the frescoes in Campo Santo in Pisa and the frescoes by Altichiero and Avanzo in Padua).

In the late 13th and early 14th centuries, elements of the Gothic style became prevalent in Italian architecture. This style, however, did not become established as a strict architectural system in Italy. Specific Gothic motifs, such as ornate lancet windows, machicolations in the upper part of the towers, and crenellated summits, gave a distinctive decorative elegance and dynamic intensity to urban structures that were still Romanesque in spirit—for example, the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena (1297–1310) and the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence (begun in 1298). The verticality of the architectural elements and the sculptural decoration of the churches was balanced by the horizontality of the western facades (Siena Cathedral, 1284—1376; Orvieto Cathedral, 1290–1569). The interiors of Gothic churches, such as San Petronio in Bologna (begun in 1390) and Santa Maria Novella in Florence (c. 1278–c. 1360), were characterized by the clarity and symmetry of their spatial solution. In Venetian palaces the traceried lancet galleries and the richly decorated windows combined with the polychromatic marble facing of the facades to suggest a feeling of secular festiveness.

The Renaissance (15th and 16th centuries) was a pivotal stage in Europe’s cultural development. Renaissance art blossomed most fully in Italy. Italian Renaissance artists combined their sensual apprehension of the vigor and poetry of earthly existence with a search for a clear, scientifically based means of representing the world around them. The creation of a well-structured system of artistic devices in Renaissance art was principally the result of the study and creative reinterpretation of the traditions of classical art. In Early Renaissance architecture (15th century) the classical system of orders was perceived in a new manner and became one of the primary elements of a rhythmical and structural organization of buildings based on the visual balance of their supported and supporting parts, as well as on their commensurate scale with man (for example, the urban patriciate’s palazzi and country villas with gardens and parks; buildings of guilds and religious fraternities; and the basilican-planned churches and centrally-planned chapels built in Florence, Rimini, Rome, and Urbino by the architects Filippo Brunelleschi, Michelozzo, Leon Battista Alberti, Bernardo Rossellino, and Luciano Laurana). The articulation of the different orders on the facades and the various arrangements of the porticoes, loggias, and inner courtyards with arcade galleries created a sense of spatial freedom and lightness, as well as a feeling of joyful existence. Fifteenth-century buildings, which were sometimes majestic and sometimes graceful, often retained the graphically subtle treatment of architectural details characteristic of the Gothic style. The first experiments of city planning of the Renaissance belong to the 15th century. In 1459 the construction of a group of buildings was undertaken in the city of Pienza, according to a plan by the architect B. Rossellino. The buildings were arranged symmetrically around a central square.

Early Renaissance sculptors included Lorenzo Ghiberti, Donatello, Jacopo dell Quercia, Desiderio da Settignano, Andrea del Verrocchio, and the della Robbia family. They perfected the three-dimensional modeling of forms and understood the laws governing the structure of the human body. Their statues, equestrian monuments, and monumental decorative sculptures embodied the Renaissance heroic ideal of the perfect, harmoniously developed human form. During this period tombs decorated in the classical style, endowed with sublime tranquillity, were created. A knowledge of perspective was demonstrated in Early Renaissance reliefs, depicting crowded scenes with articulately modeled, three-dimensional figures. Busts dating from the 15th century are extremely descriptive portraits.

Early Renaissance painting, which is distinguished by its poetic, integral perception of the world, developed within the framework of numerous artistic schools (for example, the Florentine, Venetian, and Umbrian). The figures in the works of Masaccio, Andrea del Castagno, Andrea Mantegna, and An-tonello da Messina were characterized by austerity and monumentally. At the same time, the works of Paolo Uccello and Benozzo Gozzoli had a poetic fairy-tale quality and colorful decorativeness. The images in the paintings of Fra Angelico, Filippo Lippi, and Sandro Botticelli were characterized by a subtle, lyrical meditativeness. Fifteenth-century Italian painters were attracted to detailed narratives. They enthusiastically included everyday details and elements from urban life in their representations of holy, evangelical scenes (Ghirlandaio, Gentile Bellini, and Vittore Carpaccio).

Florentine painters paid primary attention to the sculptural modeling of forms and the mathematically-based construction of perspective. Painters of the Umbrian school were concerned principally with the re-creation of space and of the ambience of light and air (Piero della Francesca). Venetian painters explored the expressive possibilities of color (Giovanni Bellini). Painters of the Ferrarese school (Cossa and Tura) expressed a love for the colorful diversity of the real world; at the same time, their paintings were characterized by the intensely expressive linear rhythms of the Gothic style. During the Renaissance, engraving, the medallic arts, and stage design flourished. Various types of decorative and applied art also developed (furniture, majolica, and glass).

During the High Renaissance (late 15th and the first quarter of the 16th century), the struggle for the affirmation of humanist ideals became intense. This struggle occurred at a time when the feudalization of the bourgeoisie had begun and foreign invasions had intensified. Art, having become an expression of national patriotic ideas, was distinguished by its exceptional power as a social agent. Architects sought consummate forms of central-domed construction, which best represented the harmonious structure of the world. The architecture of the High Renaissance was characterized by an exceptional diversity of spatial solutions, striking proportionality, and intricate modeling of architectural details (for example, the palaces and churches in Florence, Rome, and Venice that were built by Bramante, Raphael, Antonio da Sangallo the Elder, and J. Sansovino). Michelangelo’s buildings are noted for their internal tension. The High Renaissance marked the first attempts to relate buildings to their surroundings.

The humanist concept of man as the center of the world found expression in High Renaissance art, which was characterized by the attempt to create lofty, ideal, classical images. The realistic achievements of the preceding period evolved into a distinctive artistic system. The great number of eminent artists during the High Renaissance resulted in extraordinary artistic diversity. Raphael’s work was distinguished by lofty emotional harmony, clear classical drawing, and ordered composition. Giorgione and Titian, who were contemporaries of Raphael, painted sensual, lush images filled with vital dynamism. Leonardo da Vinci, through the extremely subtle play of aerial chiaroscuro, imparted a psychological atmosphere and gentle spirituality to his paintings. His images contrasted with those of Michelangelo, which were characterized by a dramatic power derived from the torsion of forms.

As a result of the advent of feudal reaction in the second third of the 16th century, Renaissance humanist ideals were abandoned. A subjective and exquisite mannerist style developed, permeated by dramatic alienation. Mannerist artists included the painters Pontormo, Parmigianino, and Bronzino, as well as the sculptors B. Cellini and Giovanni da Bologna. During the Late Renaissance (second half of the 16th century), the latent dramatic conflicts of the epoch were interpreted humanistically by Titian, Michelangelo, Veronese, and Tintoretto. The late works of Michelangelo and Titian were marked by profoundly dramatic images and more intensely expressive artistic language. The Late Renaissance works of the Venetian masters expressed an infatuation with the colorful vibrant world and with the consummate rhythmic plasticity of the human body. In addition, Venetians attempted to uncover man’s complex relationship with his social and daily environment (Veronese and J. Bassano) and to express a sense of the dynamics and vastness of nature, filled with cosmic forces hostile to man (J. Tintoretto).

In the second half of the 16th century, the classical structures of Andrea Palladio reflected humanist Renaissance ideals. Mannerist tendencies, such as the use of sharply contrasting illogical forms and a bizarre manner of execution, were evident in the architecture of Giulio Romano, G. Vasari, and B. Ammanati. The interest of Late Renaissance architects, such as G. Alessi, in the spatial development of composition, the diversity of unusual elements, and the dynamic relationship with the environment developed further in architecture of the baroque period. The type of church created by Giacomo da Vignola was the prototype for many baroque churches in Western and Central Europe.

At the turn of the 17th century the baroque style took shape in Italian art. This style flourished in the second third of the century. Baroque art reflected the evolving concepts of the dynamic unity and changeability of the world, as well as of the dramatic paradoxes of man’s relationship to his environment. During the period of Catholic feudal reaction, the new expressive possibilities of baroque art were used to celebrate the might of the church and secular magnates and to arouse religious passion in believers.

In the baroque period there arose a new synthesis of the arts; elements from various forms of the plastic arts were combined. Italian baroque architecture was characterized by magnificent theatrical devices, extremely large structures, and dynamic organization of internal space. The churches in Rome, Venice, and Turin built by G. L. Bernini, F. Borromini, G. della Porta, C. Maderno, Pietro da Cortona, and B. Longhena were noted for their complex geometric construction (including the domes). These structures were optically enlarged through the use of picturesque illusionistic effects, including undulating curvilinear facades and colonnades, as well as broken entablatures and cornices that suggested dynamic forms. An aristocratic type of villa evolved, with a spectacular, expressively modeled facade; the vestibules were flanked by curving staircases leading to suites of rooms of various shapes and layouts (G. L. Bernini and C. Maderno in Rome; G. Guarini and F. Juvarra in Turin).

In the 17th and 18th centuries, baroque principles influenced Italian city planning. In Rome interconnected streets and squares were constructed with spectacular vistas to accentuate a multipicity of aspects in compositional terms (for example, the three streets that diverge from the Piazza del Popolo). Monumental sculptures—for example, fountains and obelisks—were integral elements of urban planning. In the mid-18th century, classicist tendencies began to appear in Italian architecture, for example, in the work of L. Vanvitelli, A. Galilei, and G. Piermarini. In the Italian art of the baroque period (17th and 18th centuries), baroque, realist, and classicist tendencies, which initially opposed one another, were joined together to form a single artistic phenomenon.

The 16th century marked the inception of academic art, whose formal and abstract principles were formulated by the Carracci brothers. In the early 17th century, academicism was renounced by Caravaggio, who preferred down-to-earth subjects and imparted tangibility and heroism to his simple folk figures and genre scenes. Caravaggio greatly influenced Italian painters and contributed to the development of realism in many 17th-century artistic schools in Europe. His influence was also reflected in the works of many baroque artists.

Italian baroque sculpture reached the peak of its development in the work of G. L. Bernini. In his monumental decorative works he organically combined sculpture and architecture. Bernini’s works are distinguished by impetuous movement and fluidity of form.

The masters of baroque monumental painting were Pietro da Cortona, A. Pozzo, and L. Giordano. Their paintings were marked by virtuoso illusionistic effects, including bold dizzying foreshortenings and perspective constructions. Baroque art developed most fully in Central and Southern Italy. In Northern Italy, where Flemish and Dutch influences were felt, baroque art was more restrained and intimate; at times it was characterized by idyllic meditation. (Genoese paintings by B. Castiglione and V. Castello). In addition to baroque decorative monumental painting, genre painting held a notable place in 17th- and 18th-century Italian painting. The genre paintings by D. Fetti, B. Strozzi, and G. Crespi are characterized by poetic exhilaration and dramatic intensity. In Naples a distinctive type of seascape developed, pervaded by a sense of the richness and dynamics of nature.

In the 17th and early 18th centuries, Italian landscape painting was often imbued with a spirit of romantic rebellion. S. Rosa painted thieves, soldiers, and hermits in dusky landscapes. A. Magnasco’s landscapes are distinguished by the subjectiveness and dramatic expressiveness of the painting technique.

During the 18th century, Venetian painting held a special place. It retained a festive life-affirming character. G. B. Piazzetta’s genre compositions are characterized by a poetic, fresh outlook. G. B. Tiepolo combined the plasticity of figures with a sunny palette and a virtuosity of baroque spatial construction. P. Longhi’s playfully grotesque genre scenes resemble rococo paintings. The topographically accurate urban landscapes, or vedute, predominated in 18th-century Venetian painting (G. A. Canaletto and B. Bellotto). F. Guardi’s landscapes, which are distinguished by intimate motifs and the re-creation of the movements of light and air, foreshadowed the plein air experiments of 19th-century painters.

Beginning in the mid-18th century, late baroque architectural landscape painting and engraving in Italy revealed stronger classicist tendencies. This increase is evident in G. P. Pannini’s paintings and G. B. Piranesi’s etchings. Napoleon’s Italian campaign of 1796–97 resulted in the spread of antifeudal sentiments in Italy and the establishment of classicist principles in art during the early 19th century. In several cities, such as Milan, Turin, Rome, and Florence, a number of streets and squares were rebuilt in a classicist spirit (Piazza del Popolo, Rome). In connection with the development of capitalism in the second half of the 19th century, extensive construction was undertaken in industrial and port cities, including Turin, Milan, and Naples. After Italy’s reunification, city-planning projects were expanded in Rome, where a radial-ring system was introduced that permitted the preservation of historical structures. The city was built up predominantly with apartment houses of four or five stories, civic buildings, and monuments that were eclectic in spirit and frequently marked by pompousness of form. The grandiosity of the monument of Victor Emmanuel II (1885–1911, architect G. Sacconi) almost seems to overwhelm the structural groups of the Capitoline and the Roman Forum. Innovative materials and designs were used in a number of Italian buildings; for example, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan (1865, architect G. Mengoni) has a reinforced glass roof.

In the early 19th century the main current in the Italian pictorial arts was classicism. Italian art no longer played a leading role in the European artistic world. In backward feudal Italy, classicism lacked civic enthusiasm and acquired an academic character. Canova’s marble statues, which are notable for the virtuosity of the sculpting technique, are cold and impersonal.

As a result of the upsurge in the national liberation movement, a romantic school in painting evolved. The portraits and historical paintings by F. Hayez reflect a romantic spirit. The Induno brothers’ genre compositions are characterized by free brush-work. Various aspects of the plein air technique became prevalent in the works of the Neapolitan masters of the Posillipan school. By the 1860’s a realist school developed in Tuscan painting. The painters of the macchiaioli group, such as T. Signorini and G. Fattori, created portraits, landscapes, and scenes of the national liberation struggle, which were distinguished by a bright palette and keen observation. S. Leghi depicted idyllic and meditative genre scenes. The works of the painter G. de Nittis and the sculptor M. Rosso displayed the influence of impressionism.

At the end of the 19th century, the verismo style in art reflected disappointment in the results of the national liberation movement and discontentment with the capitalist social system. Artists of verismo combined social criticism (which had been expressed in the works of the sculptor V. Vela) with naturalistic tendencies. In the 1890’s several Italian painters adopted the technique of divisionism; G. Segantini used this technique in his genre landscape compositions.

In the 20th century, progressive tendencies appeared in Italian art, struggling against the dominant official and formalistic currents. At the outset of the century, characteristics of modernism, such as unusual compositions and whimsical bizarre decor, were reflected in architecture (structures by E. Basile and R. D’Aronco). In 1914, A. Sant’Elia formulated the principles of futurist architecture, which were, on the whole, Utopian; however, they did include some practical ideas for city planning.

During the fascist dictatorship (1922–43), elements of historical stylization and unimaginative showiness, which had largely determined the characteristics of Italian neoclassicism, became more prevalent in architecture (structures of M. Piacentini). In the 1920’s and 1930’s, there were conflicts with the officially supported trends in architecture. The concept of rationalism in architecture appeared, with the aims of expressing humanist ideas and using innovative materials and designs that were functionally justified (the apartment houses and civic buildings by the architects G. Michelucci and G. Terragni).

During the democratization of society after the overthrow of fascism, Italian architecture experienced creative resurgence (particularly in the 1950’s and 1960’s). Modern building materials, such as reinforced concrete, reinforced cement, glass blocks, and plastics, were introduced. Italian architecture from this period is distinguished by bold constructional and spatial solutions, as well as by a keen sense of the functional expediency, engineering logic, and aesthetic expressiveness of modern architectural forms. These qualities are expressed in the Termini Station (Rome, 1950, principal architect E. Mantuori); the Little Sports Palace, or Palazzetto (Rome, 1957); and the Pirelli Building (Milan, 1956–60, architect G. Ponti, engineer P. L. Nervi, with assistants). The architects of the firm of Belgiojoso, Peres-sutti, and Rogers strive to combine modern architectural forms with national traditions (Torre Velasca, Milan). Construction in Italian cities, as a rule, is carried out in conformance with the distinctive, historical features of the already-existing buildings. New residential developments are built on the cities’ outskirts. Traditional national architectural elements (inner courtyards, loggias, open stairwells, and awnings) are used in contemporary Italian housing (multistory clustered, low-rise galleried, and low-rise modular apartments).

Housing construction in Italy is not meeting the needs of the population. Different types of housing are available for the bourgeoisie and the poor. Insufficient attention is paid to the provision of modern conveniences and to the landscaping of new areas. In the 1960’s private villas were built according to the principles of organic architecture; volumes flow into one another, and there is free play in the juxtaposition of masses.

The Italian pictorial arts of the 20th century have reflected the crises that are characteristic of a bourgeois culture during its imperialistic stage. At the beginning of the century, Italian painters of the Parisian school, such as A. Modigliani, executed portraits, including nude portraits, that lack three-dimensional modeling. These works are distinguished by expressive, flexible, curved lines; elongated proportions; and subdued yet emotionally charged color combinations. They express a subjective and melancholy view of the world.

Shortly after 1910 the representatives of futurism, a movement which had been founded in Italy, sought the abstract representation in art of the dynamics of the industrial age (the painters C. Carra and G. Severini; the painter and sculptor U. Boccioni). Neoclassical tendencies began to appear around 1910 in the works of the metaphysical painters, such as G. Morandi, G. de Chirico, and the portraitist F. Casorati. G. Morandi’s still lifes are clear and logically ordered. The landscapes of G. de Chirico are imbued with a sense of the tragic spiritual bankruptcy and starkness of the world. A number of artists returned to the traditions of Etruscan and archaic Greek art; their work was characterized by decorative stylization (M. Campigli’s paintings and M. Marini’s sculptures).

Fascist ideology was expressed in the monumental paintings of the artists of the Novecento group, such as M. Sironi, who combined academic tendencies and certain elements from the latest artistic trends with bombastic allegorical rhetoric. In the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, the official line in art was opposed by artists belonging to a number of groups (the Roman school and the Corrente group). These artists called for artistic freedom and expressed their social protests in dramatically expressive forms (the painters Scipione and R. Guttuso). During World War II (1939–45), a progressive realist trend evolved. Having grown in strength during its struggle against fascism, it reached the height of its development in the late 1940’s. The realist painters and graphic artists included R. Guttuso, G. Mucchi, A. Pizzinato, C. Levi, G. Meloni, R. Vespignani, and G. Zigaina. In their work the realists strove for a broad depiction of reality with its acute paradoxes. Their works are characterized by the life-affirming democratic quality and heroic elation of the figures, as well as by the vivid emotional expressiveness of the artistic language. G. Manzù’s realist sculptures are noted for the intensely dramatic and picturesque modeling of forms. The sculptures of E. Greco are distinguished by plastic unity and expressively sharp silhouettes.

In Italy, modernist trends, including the numerous variations of abstract art (paintings by R. Birolli, E. Morlotti, M. Reggiani, and A. Burri; sculptures by A. Viani and P. Consagra) and pop art (since the mid-1960’s), have received official support. Despite realism’s struggle against these officially backed modernist trends, it has continued to develop in Italy.


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The music of Italy played a substantial role in the development of world music. Characteristic of Italian folk music are melodiousness, liveliness, and fiery rhythms. Folk dancing is characterized by 6/8 and 12/8 measures and a fast—often very fast—tempo. Among the traditional Italian dances are the tarantella, a southern Italian dance that became a national dance, the saltarella, about which written observations from the 13th and 14th centuries have been preserved, and dances related to the saltarella—the lombarda (a dance of Lombardy) and the forlana or furlana (a Venetian-Friulian dance). In addition to the tarantella, the siciliano is popular. Related to it are the barcarole (a Venetian gondoliers’ song) and the Tuscan rispetto (a song of praise and a declaration of love). Plaintive songs called laments (a type of elegy) are well known. A flowing, singing melody, lyricism, and frequently, an emphasis on feeling are typical of Neapolitan songs, which are popular in Italy. Italian folk melodies nurtured opera and ballet music and penetrated the religious tradition of the Mass. Many Italian composers, as well as composers from other countries, including M. I. Glinka, A. S. Dargomyzhskii, and P. I. Tchaikovsky, turned to folk music in their creative work.

The music of ancient Rome had a substantial influence on the development of Italian music. As a result of the collection and reworking by the Roman Church of many local Christian hymns, in the sixth and seventh centuries church melodies were systematized and canonized, and the creation of a canonical Gregorian chant, which became the basis of the liturgical music of Western Europe, was completed. In eradicating from church music the lively folk melodies that had filtered into it, the Catholic Church encountered resistance from the urban communities, which endeavored to preserve the local characteristics of the melodies. For example, Milan defended its own, less ascetic melodies—the Ambrosian chant, which had evolved as early as the fourth century.

In the late tenth century Tuscany became a major center of Italian music. The theoretician Guido d’Arezzo, a reformer of musical notation whose work laid the foundation for modern notation, did some of his work in Tuscany. In Florence in the 14th century, ars nova (new art) developed—a progressive trend in early Renaissance musical creativity and theory that prepared the way for the flowering of secular two- and three-voice lyric songs (the madrigal and the ballad), genre songs (caccia), and instrumental music. Among the outstanding musicians of the period were the Florentine composer and organist F. Landini and the musical theorist Marchetto of Padua. A widely used form in the 13th and 14th centuries was the laud—a spiritually edifying monophonic or polyphonic song of praise with melodies modeled after the folk song. Lauds were sung at meetings of urban fraternities in many parts of Italy, including Tuscany and Venice.

During the Renaissance secular art developed, the influence of folk music became stronger, and theoreticians achieved significant successes. (For example, the Venetian composer and theorist G. Zarlino devised a theory of harmony.) In addition, new centers were founded where musicians could gather—the conservatories (educational institutions for professional musicians) and music academies. (An academy of music was organized in 1470 at the Medici court in Florence. In 1566 the St. Cecilia Academy was founded in Rome, and in 1666 a philharmonic academy was established in Bologna. O. dei Petrucci invented a new method of printing notes (patented in 1498). Secular vocal genres flourished—frottolas and villanellas, which, in contrast to the complex polyphony of Italian liturgical music, established a new type of polyphony in which chords prevailed (homophony) and a simple, easily remembered melody was isolated in the highest voice. These genres of songs, which were similar to folk songs, were popular among democratic strata of the urban population. In the 16th and 17th centuries the central place in secular music was held by the madrigal, which had achieved popularity during the early Renaissance and which had become a four- or five-voiced vocal poem, usually on amatory and lyric themes. The new type of madrigal was created by A. Willaert, L. Marenzio, Don Carlo Gesualdo, prince of Venosa, and C. Monteverdi.

In the 15th and 16th centuries Italian music assimilated the achievements of European polyphonists and at the same time influenced the masters of the Dutch school. Major schools of polyphonic music—the Roman, which emerged during the Counter-Reformation, and the Venetian—took shape in the 16th century. Centered in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Roman school was headed by Palestrina, who created the classic models of Catholic a cappella choral polyphony. He clarified polyphony, and in some of his works he came close to the chord structure that was later established in the secular music of the Renaissance. (Palestrina also composed secular music—madrigals.) In contrast to the rigid, transparently chordal, a cappella style of the Roman school, the Venetian school, whose center was St. Mark’s Basilica, created a spectacular, monumental-decorative style of vocal and instrumental polyphony in liturgical and secular music, using two or more choirs supported by the organ and instrumental ensembles. The major Venetian masters were Willaert (founder of the school), A. Gabrieli, and G. Gabrieli.

At the turn of the 17th century the transition from polyphony to homophony was completed in new types of vocal and instrumental music that developed in Italy—the opera, oratorio, cantata, and canzona (a solo with instrumental accompaniment). G. Carissimi and A. Stradella created highly artistic models of oratorios and cantatas. The foundation for the emergence of opera at the end of the 16th century was laid by the development of all genres of Italian music: secular music and dramatic musical presentations, including May presentations in villages, religious presentations, madrigal comedies, interludes, and pastoral ballets. In the evolution of opera a substantial role was played by music and poetry associations whose members endeavored to revive the classical tragedies and advocated a synthesis of poetry and music. The first opera composers—J. Peri and G. Caccini—belonged to a Florentine circle, the Camerata, which was founded in 1580. In 1597 the first opera—Dafne (music by J. Peri, words by O. Rinuccini)—was staged in Florence. In the 17th century the opera form spread throughout Italy. At the same time, the new musical stage genre that was developing in several cities took on various features. An academic aloofness on the part of the aristocratic artistic circle affected Florentine opera. In Mantua, opera assumed the character of a court spectacle, whereas in Rome it was influenced by clerical circles, and the opera of manners, a religious didactic form, appeared for the first time. During its development the opera found audiences outside the aristocratic milieu, although at first, private performances were staged for the elite. Public opera theaters charging admission began to open in Venice in 1637. (The first of them was San Cassiano.) The founder of the operatic school was Monteverdi —a classic opera composer and the author of musical tragedies, who created a new, “agitated” musical dramatic style (concitato). Among the major composers of the 17th-century Venetian opera school were F. Cavalli and M. A. Cesti.

At the turn of the 18th century the center of the art of opera shifted from Venice to Naples. The Neapolitan operatic school, which was headed by A. Scarlatti, cultivated the genre of the opera seria (the serious opera, which took its final shape in the early 18th century). Operas of this genre were written on standard heroic subjects drawn primarily from classical mythology. The most outstanding librettists were A. Zeno and P. Metastasis Opera seria was characterized by a prevalence of solos (typically, the three-part da capo aria), without chorus or ballet. In it the art of solo singing— bel canto —approached perfection. However, in time the superficial virtuosic quality of the performance, which had advanced to the foreground, obscured the dramatic and musical content of the presentation. Opera became “a concert in costumes.” Later representatives of the Neapolitan operatic school, especially N. Jommelli and T. Traetta, endeavored to avoid clichés by following the principles of Gluck’s operatic reform.

In the mid-18th century in Naples and almost concurrently in Venice a new genre took shape—the opera buffa (comic opera, which initially tended toward buffoonery and later, toward senti-mentalism). The forerunners of opera buffa were pieces of music played during comedies and comic musical intermezzos performed during the opera seria. The intermezzo was popular in the early 18th century (Pergolesi’s opera buffa La serva padrona was staged in 1733 as an intermezzo between the acts of his own opera seria IIprigionier superbo.) A realistic genre grounded in folklore, imbued with social content, and close in its subject matter to urban and rural everyday life, the opera buffa introduced into opera vivid characterization and a fresh stream of social satire (abundant comic situations and parodies) and promoted the dissemination of democratic ideas. The most outstanding masters of the opera buffa were N. Piccinni, G. Paisiello, D. Cimarosa (Neapolitan school), and B. Galuppi (Venetian school). C. Goldoni, the author of many librettos, most of them for Galuppi’s operas, played a significant role in the development of opera buffa.

The best Italian singers of the 18th century were trained by N. Porpora in Naples, by F. Pistocchi in Bologna, and by A. Lotti and M. Gasparini in Venice. Among the well-known performers of the 18th century were the castrati A. Bernacchi, G. Carestini, Caffarelli, and Farinelli. (In the late 18th century and the early 19th the castrati were gradually replaced by tenors.) Outstanding 18th-century female singers were L. Aguiari, A. de Amicis, F. Bordoni, C. Gabrielli, F. Cuzzoni, V. Tesi, and A. Tonelli. Among the most distinguished Italian male singers of the period were M. Allegranti, M. Babbini, F. Bussani, and G. David. In the 18th century new opera theaters opened, including the San Carlo in Naples (1737), La Scala in Milan (1778), and La Fenice in Venice (1792).

Instrumental music also flourished. Beginning in the 16th century and especially in the 17th and 18th centuries, the art of the lute (Francesco da Milano and V. Galilei) and music for the organ (G. Frescobaldi) and the harpsichord (D. Scarlatti) attained a high level of development. Music for bow instruments, especially the violin, became very important. Composer-performers, among whom the most outstanding were A. Corelli, A. Vivaldi, and G. Tartini, laid the foundation for new cyclicalforms: the concerto for orchestral ensemble (the concertogrosso) and for solo instrument and the sonata for ensemble (thetrio sonata) and for solo instrument. One of the early outstanding models of the program symphony (the concerto “The Four Seasons” for violin, string quintet, organ, and harpsichord) was composed by Vivaldi. G. Sammartini was among the creators of the symphony. The cellist and composer L. Boccherini was amaster of 18th-century symphonic and chamber music.

The development of first-class musical instruments promoted the growth of instrumental music. The art of making string instruments had developed as early as the 15th century in Brescia and later in Cremona. In the 16th through the 18th centuries prominent masters—the Amati and Guarneri families and A. Stradivari—worked in Italy. Between 1709 and 1711, B.Cristofori invented the piano (a hammer-action clavier).

In the 18th century and the early 19th many Italian musicians worked in other European countries, including the composers A. Sacchini, L. Cherubini, and G. Spontini. F. Araja, B. Galuppi, G. Paisiello, G. Sarti, and D. Cimarosa worked in Russia. At the same time, Italy attracted many foreign composers, musicians, and singers, who completed their musical education there. Among the country’s outstanding academic music centers was the Philharmonic Academy of Bologna, where the theorist G. Martini played the leading role in the 18th century. The academy’s members included Mozart, the Czech composer J. Myslivecek, and the Russian musicians M. S. Berezovskii and E. I. Fomin.

At the turn of the 19th century, N. Paganini, a composer and violinist and one of the first romantic musicians, achieved prominence, as did M. Clementi, one of the creators of the classical piano sonata and the founder of the London school of pianists.

The operatic art of the 19th century developed under the direct influence of sociopolitical conditions. During the Risorgimento many composers responded sensitively to their compatriots’ freedom-loving aspirations. In a number of G. Rossini’s operas—particularly the heroic historical opera William Tell (1829, Paris)—a passionate call to struggle for freedom was sounded. The realistic opera buffa reached its summit in the work of Rossini (The Barber of Seville, 1816). The romantic trend in 19th-century Italian opera was represented by the work of V. Bellini and G. Donizetti. In his music the romantic, lyric composer Bellini expressed the anguish and aspirations of the Italian people and the dream of the liberation of the homeland. (The choruses from his opera Norma evoked outbursts of patriotic feelings from the public during the performance.) A high point of realism in 19th-century operatic art was the work of G. Verdi. Like such revolutionary patriotic songs as “Hymn to Garibaldi” (music by A. Olivieri, words by L. Mercantini, 1858) and “The Red Banner,” the choruses and arias of Verdi’s historical patriotic operas, including Nabucco, ILombardi, Emani, and La battaglia di Legnano, inspired the Italian people in their struggle with their enslavers. Performances of these operas were often accompanied by political demonstrations. A protest against social inequality is sounded in Verdi’s operas Luisa Miller, Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, and La Traviata. The operas Aïda and Otello are masterpieces of operatic realism.

Other 19th-century Italian opera composers included S. Mercadante, G. Pacini, and A. Ponchielli. In the 19th century many Italian singers—representatives of the art of bel canto —won fame, including M. Alboni, A. Bosio, Giulia Grisi, Giuditta Grisi, A. Catalani, B. Marchisio, C. Marchisio, G. Pasta, A. Patti, G. Strepponi, E. Frezzolini, M. Battistini, A. Cotogni, L. Lablache, G. Mario, G. Ronconi, G. Rubini, F. Tamagno, E. Tamberlik, and A. Tamburini. A number of Italian musicians of the late 19th century and the 20th (A. Boito, F. Faccio, A. Catalani, and A. Franchetti) endeavored to transfer the principles of Wagner’s music drama to opera.

At the end of the 19th century a new trend— verismo —developed in Italian opera. Among its representatives were R. Leoncavallo, P. Mascagni, U. Giordano, and G. Puccini. Permeated with deep psychological content, Puccini’s work transcended the framework of verismo. The verists’ operas were distinguished by true-to-life subjects and an accurate portrayal of the spiritual world of simple people and were characterized by accentuated emotionalism, sharply dramatic situations, and theatrical effects. Among the most outstanding Italian performers of tfie 20th century have been the female singers A. Barbi, G. Bellincioni, A. Galli-Curci, T. Dal Monte, E. Tetrazzini, and L. Tetrazzini and the male singers G. Anselmi, G. De Luca, B. Gigli, E. Caruso, A. Masini, T. Schipa, Titta Ruffo, and F. P. Tosti.

A revival of Italian instrumental music took place in the early 20th century, promoted by the composer and conductor G. Martucci and the composer and pianist G. Sgambati. The conductor A. Toscanini and the pianist and composer F. Busoni played an important role in world musical culture. Features of impressionism and neoclassicism emerged in the work of a number of Italian composers, including O. Respighi and A. Casella. G. F. Malipiero and I. Pizzetti tried to revive the traditions of old Italian music, and the work of F. Alfano, E. Wolf-Ferrari, and L. Rocchi also developed along more traditional lines. (Roc-chi’s work reflected the influence of the Russian school.) In the 1950’s the influence of avant-garde music grew stronger in Italy. The works of a number of contemporary composers are characterized by an internal contradiction: a turn to themes of grand social scale and lofty ideological resonance is combined with more complicated and farfetched means of expression (for example, L. Nono’s Interrupted Song [1956], which is based on letters from fighters in the Resistance Movement who were condemned to death, and a number of works by L. Dallapiccola and L. Berio). Among Italy’s other contemporary composers are R. Vlad, G. F. Ghedini, I. Montemezzi, and G. Petrassi. The names of many musicians and singers have won recognition outside Italy, including the conductors P. Argento, V. De Sàbata, G. Cantelli, F. Previtali, T. Serafín, R. Fasano, V. Ferrerò, and C. Zecchi. Also well known abroad are the pianist A. Benedetti Michelangeli, the violinist G. De Vito, the cellist E. Mainardi, the female singers G. Simionato, R. Scotto, A. Stella, R. Tebaldi, and M. Freni, and the male singers G. Bechi, T. Gobbi, M. del Monaco, and F. Corelli. A contribution to the development of musical culture has been made by the Italian music critics L. Torchi, A. Bonaventura, A. Della Corte, G. Pannain, F. Torrefranca, and G. Barblan (president of the Society of Music Critics) and by the critic and composer M. Zafred.

Vocal art has attained a high level in Italy. Permanent opera troupes perform in many cities, and the leading companies—La Scala (Milan), San Carlo (Naples), La Fenice (Venice), and the Rome Opera—enjoy world renown. At the same time, many theaters experience constant financial difficulties, despite a law passed by the parliament in 1967 to provide partial subsidies to the major music groups. Most opera presentations and concerts are inaccessible to the broad public because of high ticket prices.

Numerous annual music festivals and competitions are held in Italy, including the International Contemporary Music Festival (since 1930), the Musical May (held in Florence since 1933), the Festival of the Two Worlds in Spoleto (since 1958; founded by the Italian composer G. C. Menotti, who lives in the USA), and the New Music Week in Palermo (since 1960). The Busoni pianists’ competition is held in Bolzano (since 1949, annually), the G. B. Viotti music and dance competition, in Vercelli (since 1950, annually), the Casella competition, in Naples (since 1952, every two years; pianists participated until 1960, but since 1962 composers have also participated), and the Paganini violinists’ competition in Genoa (since 1954, annually). An orchestra conductors’ competition instituted by the St. Cecilia National Academy has been held every three years in Rome since 1956, the E. Pozzoli pianists’ competition has been held in Seregno every two years since 1959, and the G. Cantelli young conductors’ competition has been held every two years in Novara since 1961. The Verdian Voices vocalists’ competition is held every year in Busseto. Founded in 1952 as a national competition and reorganized as an international one in 1953, the Guido d’Arezzo competition for choral groups (also known as the Polifonico) is held annually. Commercial popular music, which is promoted by large music publishing and record firms as well as by television, enjoys a wide following, and there are a number of popular-song festivals, including San Remo and Canzonissima.

Music societies include the Corporation of New Music (since 1923), the Association of Music Libraries, and the Society of Music Critics. Italy has many music education institutions (14 conservatories, as well as music lycées and schools) and scholarly institutes, including the Institute of Verdi Studies. The music publisher and commercial firm Ricordi and Company, which has branches in many countries, has been in business since 1808.

Among the music journals published in Italy are La rassegna musicale (since 1928) and Il convegno musicale (since 1964), both of which are issued in Turin, and Musica e dischi (since 1945), Musica jazz (since 1945), and Scala (since 1949), all of which are issued in Milan.


Rolland, R. Opera v XVII veke v Italii, Germanii, Anglii. Moscow, 1931. (Translated from French.)
Rolland, R. Opera do opery: Sobr. muzykal’no-istoricheskikh soch., vol. 4. Moscow, 1938. (Translated from French.)
Ivanov-Boretskii, M. V. Muzykal’no-istoricheskaia khrestomatiia, 2nd ed., vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1933–36.
Kuznetsov, K. A. Muzykal’no-istoricheskie portrety. Moscow, 1937.
Livanova, T. N. Istoriia zapadnoevropeiskoi muzyki do 1789 goda. Moscow-Leningrad, 1940.
Levik, B. Istoriia zarubezhnoi muzyki, issue 2, Moscow, 1961.
Rozenshil’d, K. Istoriia zarubezhnoi muzyki do serediny XVIII veka, fasc. 1. Moscow, 1963.
Martynov, I. I. Istoriia zarubezhnoi muzyki pervoi poloviny XX veka. Moscow, 1963.
Konen, V. D. Istoriia zarubezhnoi muzyki, fasc. 3, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1965.
Istoriia evropeiskogo iskusstvoznaniia ot antichnosti do kontsa 18 veka. Moscow, 1965.
Istoriia evropeiskogo iskusstvoznaniia: Vtoraia polovina 19 veka. Moscow, 1965.
Druskin, M. S. Istoriia zarubezhnoi muzyki, fasc. 4, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1967.
Della Corte, A. Uopera comica italiana nel’ 700, vols. 1–2. Bari, 1923.
Bonaventura, A. L’opera italiana. Florence, 1929.
Convaglios, C. Il folklore musicale in Italia. Naples, 1936.
Abbiati, F. Storia della musica, vols. 1–5. Milan, 1939–46.
Sartori, C. Bibliografia della musica strumentale italiana stampato in Italia fino al 1700. Florence, 1952.
De Paoli, D. L’opera italiana dalle origini all’opera verista. Rome [1954].
Confalonieri, G. Storia della musica, vols. 1–2. Milan, 1958.
(Based on materials from the article by K. A. KUZNETSOV in the second edition of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia)

The European ballet was born in Italy, which offered traditions of the classical and medieval art of dancing as well as a rich folk dance culture. Theatrical dance evolved from ballroom dancing and dance processionals in court presentations (14th century) into allegorical and mythological pantomimes (15th and 16th centuries). Dance was also important in the commedia dell’arte. In the late 16th century the work of Italian masters such as the ballet master B. Baltazarini contributed to the shaping of ballet as a theater genre in France, and in the second half of the 17th century ballet became established in Italy as well, in court performances. During the 18th century almost all of Italy’s music theaters staged ballets. The leading Italian ballet masters and dancers (for example, G. Angiolini and V. Galeotti) worked in France, Denmark, Russia, and other countries.

A new phase in the development of Italian ballet was associated with the beginning of the Italian people’s struggle for the country’s independence and unity in the late 18th century. This phase was reflected in the work of the ballet master S. Vigano, who staged heroic choreodramas (Beethoven’s The Creatures of Prometheus, 1801, 1813; and Othello, set to collected music, 1818), and in productions by G. Gioia. Pupils of C. Blasis, who taught at the ballet school founded in 1813 at La Scala, appeared in the theaters of many countries. In the 1880’s the works of the ballet master L. Manzotti, which were based on fairy tales, enjoyed success. Italian ballet masters devised a special virtuosic style of performance, which was adopted in the late 19th century by the dancing schools of other countries. Dancers mastered toe technique, executed more complicated turns and leaps, and achieved greater elevation. The Italian ballet artists E. Cecchetti, C. Brianza, P. Legnani, and V. Zucchi appeared on the Russian stage.

In the early 20th century Italian ballet entered a period of decline, undergoing only a small degree of revival in the 1920’s and 1930’s thanks to the work of B. G. Romanov and A. Milloss. In the mid-1940’s the work of the La Scala ballet troupe and school increased substantially. Its repertoire included ballets by Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev and productions by G. Balanchine and J. Cranko. On the initiative of the director B. Menzotti, experimental productions were done by the La Scala troupe in the late 1960’s for the female dancer C. Fracci (R. Vlad’s The Seagull, based on A. P. Chekhov’s play, and Egyptian Nights, set to music by Prokofiev). Ballet troupes at opera houses in Rome, Florence, Naples, Venice, and Palermo periodically give performances, including productions by Balanchine, L. F. Miasin, and B. F. Nijinska, and new works by Milloss. In the late 1960’s the ballet The Macbeths, which castigated fascism, was performed to the music of R. Strauss in the San Carlo opera house in Naples. Between 1930 and 1960, Italy’s leading ballet artists and ballet masters were A. Radice, O. Amati, V. Colombo, M. Pistoni, and U. Dell’Ara. In the early 1970’s the dancers A. Aragno, E. Terabust, and L. Cosi became well known. Ballets are regularly staged for the Florentine Musical May, an international festival held annually since 1933, and for the festival in Spoleto (since 1958).


Khudekov, S. N. Istoriia tantsev, vols. 1–4. St. Petersburg, 1913–17. Klassiki khoreografii. Leningrad-Moscow, 1937.
Reyna, F. Des Origines du ballet. Paris, 1955.
Tani, G. “II balletto in Italia.” In Cinquanta anni di opera e balletto in Italia. Rome, 1954.


The Italian theater originated in folk agricultural rites and games. By persecuting the vestiges of pagan spectacles, the Catholic Church destroyed the remnants of the classical theater in Italy by the fifth or sixth century. The beginnings of the professional art of theater appeared in the cities by the ninth or tenth century in performances by mimes. Elements of the theater were also found in Shrovetide carnival games. (Venetian carnivals became especially famous later, in the 13th to 15th centuries, when they became city-wide holidays.) Although it fought against folk theater, the church used theatrical devices to create spectacles with religious content (liturgical drama and mystery plays). Lauds on themes drawn primarily from the Gospels were a popular form of religious presentation in the 14th century. However, the influence of folk theater penetrated even into these ceremonial acts, injecting them with secular and occasionally comic satiric motifs. The mystery play remained the principal type of theatrical presentation until the 15th century, when its Christian content gave way to a mythological content, and it became essentially secular. Poliziano’s play in verse, Fable of Orpheus, the first example of Renaissance secular drama in Italian, was written in the mystery-play form.

The development of a new theater culture began in Italy during the Renaissance. At the turn of the 16th century the comedy of learning (commedia erudita)was created by such writers as Ariosto, Machiavelli, Aretino, Bruno, and Bibbiena and performed by amateur students or courtiers. The founders of the genre of tragedy, G. Trissino and G. Rucellai, imitated Greek models in their works. A genre characteristic of 16th-century Italian theater was the “tragedy of horrors” (for example, works by G. Giraldi Cinzio, S. Speroni, and L. Dolce), which was similar to the works of Seneca. A stylized pastoral held an important place in the repertoire of court theaters. Typical works in this genre were created by Tasso and Guarini. The most significant stage in the development of the semiprofessional theater in the first half of the 16th century was associated with the work of the dramatist and actor A. Beolco, the author of folklore-saturated comedies in the Paduan dialect and the creator of the character of Ruzzante, a merry peasant from Padua.

The most striking phenomenon of the Renaissance was the commedia dell’arte (comedy of masks), which originated in the 16th century under the influence of folk theater forms and which was closely connected with farcical theatrical spectacles held in public squares. The chief distinguishing feature of the commedia dell’arte was improvisation on the stage. Endowed with conventional traits, the masked characters created by the actors passed from one scenario to another, changing only in details. With the exception of the lyric characters of the lovers, the characters spoke in folk dialects, and the actors played in masks. In addition to promoting the development of stage art as a special type of professional activity, the improvisational presentations of the commedia dell’arte became a school of virtuoso acting skills and stage techniques that were adopted by the major dramatists and theater people of modern times. Well-known actors of the commedia dell’arte included A. Ganassa, the brothers T. Martinelli and D. Martinelli, I. Andreini (16th century), T. Fiorillo, D. Biancolleli (17th century), and A. Sacchi (18th century).

The Italian humanists’ turn toward antiquity gave impetus to the development of the theory of drama. Italian theorists of drama such as Trissino and Castelvetro elaborated a dramaturgical canon that required a sharp separation of tragedy and comedy, strict observance of the unities of place, time, and action, and the use of lofty poetic speech in tragedy. The norms established by Italian theorists influenced the shaping of the aesthetics of classicism in France in the 16th and 17th centuries.

A new stage in the development of the national theater was associated with a reform by the dramatist Goldoni, who created the comedy of manners, which presented individualized characters and eschewed the traditional masks and improvisation. Working in Venice in the San Samuele, Sant’Angelo (with troupes under the direction of G. Imer and G. Medebac), and San Luca theaters, he devoted a great deal of attention to educating actors, instilling in them an understanding of the theater’s tasks of enlightenment. Goldoni’s closest followers among his pupils were the actor A. Matteucci, called “il Collalto,” and the actress C. Bresciani. An opponent of Goldoni’s comedy of manners, the dramatist Gozzi sought to revive fairy-tale themes combined with the improvisation and masked buffoonery of the commedia dell’arte. He created the genre of theatrical fairy tales—fiabe—which were first staged in the San Samuele theater between 1761 and 1765.

In the 18th century the Italian theater was marked by great diversity. Venice and Rome were major centers for the theater. Numerous dramatic troupes performed in special buildings, built, as a rule, for opera performances, in Milan, Naples, Florence, Genoa, and other cities, as well as in the homes of aristocrats and wealthy merchants. In addition to the literary theater, genres such as the puppet theater, performances by street acrobats and tightrope walkers, and all kinds of presentations at fairs and carnivals enjoyed great popularity.

The revolutionary events of the late 18th century stirred interest in the genre of heroic tragedy, whose most prominent representative was the dramatist V. Alfieri, whose works were initially staged in amateurs’ circles. The theater went through a period that was characterized by the staging of freedom-proclaiming tragedies by Voltaire and M. J. Chenier, as well as by I. Pindemonte, V. Monti, and U. Foscolo. The national-liberation movement—the Risorgimento—laid the foundation for the appearance and establishment of the romantic trend in theater and dramaturgy (A. Manzoni, S. Pellico, G. Niccolini, and C. Marenco). In the early 19th century Alfieri’s works were brilliantly performed by such actors as A. Morrochesi, P. Blanes (Florence), and C. Marchionni (Milan).

Revolutionary romantic drama created the prerequisites for the development of a new Italian school of acting, which was founded by the actor G. Modena, a participant in the revolutionary events of the 1830’s and 1840’s. Modena’s artistic and social ideals were embodied most fully in the work of his pupils A. Ristori, E. Rossi, and T. Salvini. Characteristic of Modena’s school were ideological purposefulness and political ardor in the portrayal of strong, resolute characters and the abandonment of elements of routine, everyday life, which diminished the heroic orientation of the art. The work of Rossi and especially Salvini displayed realistic tendencies and an effort to combine a heroic foundation with sincere feeling. The acting of that time—the summit of Italian theater—enriched European culture with its achievements.

After the unification of Italy (1870) and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy, Italian society and culture went through a period of disillusionment over the results of the Risorgimento. Heroic tragedy degenerated into historical drama with elements of melodrama. The bourgeois-philistine drama of A. Dumas fils, V. Sardou, and their Italian imitators became established in the actors’ repertoires. There were no permanent dramatic theaters in Italy, and the government failed to concern itself with developing a national theater art. Financial difficulties forced the best representatives of the Italian theater to tour other countries. The leaders of troupes created for the duration of tours, and even outstanding actors, failed to set themselves the goal of creating a stage ensemble. The high level of art of individual actors did not have a positive effect on the general condition of Italian theater.

The increasing influence of verismo, which developed primarily naturalist tendencies in the theater, deprived the art of the stage of its heroic orientation. The most striking representative of Italian naturalism in acting was E. Zacconi. The dramatic actor E. Novelli enjoyed great popularity, and E. Duse, an actress of high dramatic quality and deep humanity, continued the traditions of Salvini. Other outstanding theater people of the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th included L. Belloti-Bon, F. Ando, E. Grammatica, I. Gram-matica, T. di Lorenzo, A. Magi, C. Rossi, and R. Ruggieri. The work of such actors as A. Petito, G. Grasso, and E. Scarpetta took shape in the dialect theater (performances in local dialects). In the early 20th century the theater repertoire consisted to a large degree of dramas by D’Annunzio and other representatives of decadent playwriting. Somewhat later, the comedies of manners and especially the philosophical-psychological dramas of Pirandello, who was highly esteemed by Gramsci, became very important.

Under the fascist dictatorship (1922–13), Italian theater and playwriting went through a profound crisis. The repertoire included escapist plays and cheap dramas, and modernist tendencies became widespread. Only the work of a number of theaters in Rome—the Art Theater under Pirandello, the Theater of Independents, and the Theater of Art under the actor and playwright A. G. Bragaglia—was of artistic interest. Through the pedagogical work of T. Pavlova and P. Sharov the Italian theater became familiar with the theater aesthetics of Stanislavsky. This led to the organization of the Academy of Dramatic Art in 1935 in Rome by the prominent man of the theater and historian S. D’Amico.

The heroic struggle of the Resistance Movement, the defeat of fascism, and the upsurge of democratic forces created the preconditions for the development of a progressive realistic theater. Under the influence of neorealist cinema, stage figures endeavored to present socially sharp, true-to-life productions and tried to renew the repertoire and artistic devices of the theater.

The progressive development of the theater was promoted by the work of the director L. Visconti, who, working chiefly with a troupe headed by the prominent actors R. Morelli and P. Stoppa, created productions that were notable for their humanism. The dialect theater of Naples, which was organized by the dramatist, director, and actor E. De Filippo, has occupied a special place in the postwar development of Italian theater. It has two troupes: a city troupe, which performs in the San Ferdinando theater, and a touring one, which travels around the country. The group stages primarily plays by De Filippo. Many of the productions, which are devoted to contemporary themes, are distinguished by a democratic and humanist orientation. The artistic practice of the Naples dialect theater is characterized by a synthesis of the traditions of the “improvised comedy” of the commedia dell’arte and a truthful depiction of everyday life of the times and by the fusion of tragic and sharply comic principles. Characteristic of the postwar development of the Italian theater was the appearance in the second half of the 1940’s of teatri stabili —that is, permanent theaters. In 1947 the permanent Piccolo Teatro of Milan, under G. Strehler and P. Grassi, opened with a production of Gorky’s Lower Depths. Subsequently, the Piccolo Teatro in Rome was organized under the director O. Costa and the Teatro Stabiie in Turin, under G. De Bosio, as well as theaters in Genoa, Trieste, Padua, Venice, and Florence. Among the theaters of the early 1950’s, the Theater of Italian Art (1952–54), which was organized by the director and dramatist L. Squarzina and the outstanding actor V. Gassman, became well known. Interest in Russian drama increased in the 1940’s and 1950’s, and plays by Gogol, Chekhov, and Gorky and adaptations of novels by Dostoevsky were incorporated into the repertoire.

By the mid-1960’s the teatri stabili, which were subsidized by the state and the municipalities, had consolidated their position. As noncommercial enterprises, these theaters distribute discount subscriptions among workers, students, and office employees and organize debates. However, in the second half of the 1960’s some teatri stabili entered a period of crisis. Pursuing only narrow educational objectives, they occasionally became conservative in their ideology and aesthetics. The best Italian private theater groups include a troupe headed by the director G. De Lullo and the actors R. Falk, A. Valli, and R. Albani. The repertoire of theaters consists chiefly of plays with progressive content and dramas and satirical comedies aimed against the reactionary policies of the ruling circles, the social vices of contemporary bourgeois society, and neofascism. In addition to the national and world classics (for example, Machiavelli, Alfieri, Goldoni, Shakespeare, Molière, and Chekhov), Italian theaters stage plays by Italian playwrights such as Pirandello, R. Viviani, U. Betti, De Filippo, P. Griffi, B. Griffi, B. Rondi, Squarzina, C. G. Viola, S. Cappelli, V. Faggi, M. Dursi, G. Sbragia, P. Levi, and A. Nicolai, as well as works by foreign authors, including Brecht, Williams, and Anouilh. In the Italian theater today, progressive tendencies coexist with reactionary ones. Based on biblical themes and shrouded in mysticism, many productions of Catholic plays by such playwrights as D. Fabbri instill in the audience ideas of nonresistance to evil and submissiveness to the existing law and order. The experimentation of some directors and dramatists who gravitate toward the theater of the absurd is highly formalistic. In the late 1960’s political theaters began to put on productions, coming out against religious hypocrisy, bourgeois bureaucracy, and neofascism, but some of them occasionally lapse into anarchism, and leftist pseudorevolutionary slogans are sounded from their stages. Well-known Italian actors include G. Albertazzi, M. Benassi, A. M. Guarnieri, L. Brignóne, A. Proclemer, and P. Stoppa.

Plays presented on the sites of ancient theaters in Syracuse and Ostia are important in the Italian theater.

In 1962 the Cultural Center was organized in Milan under the dramatist and critic C. Terron with the purpose of bringing the art of the theater closer to the mass audience.

Numerous theatrical journals are published, including Il dramma (since 1925) and Sipario (since 1946).


Miklashevskii, K. La Commedia dell’arte, Hi Teatr ital’ianskikh comediantov XVI, XVII, XVIII stoletii, part 1. St. Petersburg, 1914—[1917].
Ovett, A. Ital’ianskaia literatura. Moscow, 1922.
Ignatov, S. Istoriia zapadnoevropeiskogo teatra novogo vremeni. Moscow-Leningrad, 1940.
Dzhivelegov, A., and G. Boiadzhiev. Istoriia zapadnoevropeiskogo teatra: Ot vozniknoveniia do 1789 g. Moscow-Leningrad, 1941.
Istoriia zapadnoevropeiskogo teatra. vols. 1–3. Moscow, 1956–63.
Dzhivelegov, A. K. Ital’ianskaia narodnaia komediia: Commedia dell’arte. Moscow, 1962.
Sanesi, I. La commedia, vols. 1–2. Milan, 1911–35.
Ruberti, G. Storia del teatro contemporaneo, 3rd ed. Bologna, 1931.
Apollonio, M. Storia del teatro italiano, vols. 1–2. Florence, 1954–58.
Pandolfi, V. Teatro italiano contemporaneo. Milan, 1959.
La commedia dell’arte, a cura V. Pandolfi, vols. 1–6. Florence, 1957–61.



Circus families who gave performances at city fairs have been known in Italy since time immemorial. The oldest Italian circus family, the Chiarinis, began its work in the 1580’s. (Its most prominent members were Francesco, Angelica, Adelaida, and Giuseppe.) Among the well-known circus families of the 18th and 19th centuries were the Franconis, Tournaires, Guerras, Chiesis, Cinisellis, Sidolis, and Truzzis. Some Italian family troupes were also popular in other countries, where they frequently became the founders of circuses. The biggest Italian circus enterprises in the 20th century are those owned by D.Togni and O. Orfei.

The first Italian film was made in 1896. Small motion-picture firms that specialized in feature films were organized in 1905–06 in Turin, Rome, and Milan. The rise of the Italian cinema dates to 1912–13, when pseudohistorical films and pictures on literary subjects achieved success. They were outstanding for their magnificent scenery, mass scenes, and shots of Italy’s architectural monuments and landscapes. Among the “colossus” films issued in 1913 that gained wide renown were Quo vadis? (directed by E. Guazzoni), The Last Days of Pompeii (directed by L. Maggi), and especially Cabiria (directed by G. Pastrone). Comedies anddrawing-room melodramas were also made.

By organizing wide publicity for popular actors, the motion-picture firms promoted the phenomenon of the movie star—F. Bertini, L. Cavalieri, and Hesperia for example. Several films produced between 1914 and 1915 under the influence of verismo tried to show accurately the life of the Italian people, who were suffering great privations (Lost in the Darkness, directed by N. Martoglio, and Assunta Spina, directed by G. Serena).

World War I deprived Italy of foreign film markets, and competition with the German and American motion-picture industries grew more intense. With the establishment of a fascist regime (1922) a crisis began in the Italian motion-picture industry. The appearance in the early 1930’s of sound films somewhat revived the industry. At first, most of the sound films were musicals in which well-known singers played the principal roles. In the mid-1930’s the fascist government attempted to use motion pictures as a propaganda medium. Control was established over film production and distribution, and in 1937 a complex of film studios was built in Rome, and a film institute—the Experimental Film Center (Centro Sperimentale del Cinematografo)— was established. However, few overtly facist, militarist films were produced. For the most part, costume spectaculars and drawing-room melodramas continued to come out. The works of many film-makers reflected a passive opposition to official fascist art. Among the motion pictures of this period, the lyric comedies of M. Camerini and some of A. Blasetti’s films are outstanding for their humanity.

In the history of Italian motion pictures, the refined filmings of 18th- and 19th-century literary works were a unique phenomenon. They were produced by the “calligraphers,” directors who were close to the literary trend of prosa d’arte —M. Soldati, R. Castellani, A. Lattuada, and F. Poggioli. The documentary —a film shot from real life without professional performers— was born (R. Rossellini, F. De Robertis). In spite of official propaganda, which demanded glorification of the “grandeur of the empire,” a number of films of the 1940’s did not entirely conform with official specifications, including L. Visconti’s Obsession (1942), Blasetti’s A Walk in the Clouds (1942; distributed in the Soviet Union under the title Four Steps in the Clouds), and V. de Sica’s The Children Are Watching Us (1943). Profoundly human, these motion pictures showed the disintegration of Italian society, the instability of its foundations, and the cruelty and injustice that held sway in it. The activity of young, antifascist-minded film critics, who grouped around the Experimental Film Center and the journals Cinema and Bianco e nero during World War II, was very important in preparing the way for a new democratic cinema. Among the critics were G. De Santis, C. Lizzani, G. Puccini, A. Pietrangeli, M. Antonioni, Visconti, M. Alicata, G. Aristarco, and U. Casiraghi, who subsequently became prominent directors and film scholars, and the heads of the Experimental Film Center, L. Chiarini and U. Barbaro. After Italy was liberated from fascism and the Hitlerian occupation, a progressive trend emerged in the Italian motion-picture industry—neorealism. Its birth was influenced in particular by the theoretical works of V. I. Pudovkin and S. M. Eisenstein and by Soviet films of the 1920’s and 1930’s. The most significant representatives of Italian neorealism were the directors Rossellini, Visconti, De Sica, De Santis, P. Germi, Lizzani, L. Zampa, and Lattuada. Rossellini’s film Open City (1945), which portrayed the Italian people’s unity in the struggle against fascism, became the manifesto of neorealism. In 1945–46 the Resistance Movement became one of the main themes of the new Italian motion pictures (Rossellini’s Paisan, A. Vergano’s The Sun Is Still Rising, and Lizzani’s Danger, Bandits!). The best neorealist films were devoted to themes drawn from postwar Italy—unemployment, homeless children, the growth of banditry, and the struggle against the Mafia. Among these outstanding films were De Sica’s Shoe Shine (1946), Bicycle Thief (1948), and Umberto D (1951), Visconti’s La Terra Trema (The Earth Trembles) (1948), De Santis’ Tragic Hunt (1947), Bitter Rice (1949), No Peace Among the Olives (1950), and Rome, Eleven O’Clock (1952), and Lattuada’s Without Pity (1948). Other distinguished neorealist films on postwar themes were Germi’s In the Name of the Law (distributed in the Soviet Union as Under the Sky of Sicily, 1949) and Road of Hope (1950), E. De Filippo’s Naples, City of Millionaires (1950), and Steno and M. Monicel-li’s comedy Cops and Robbers. However, progressive tendencies and social protest in motion pictures and a historical and critical approach to reality encountered serious obstacles—in particular, financial difficulties and oppressive censorship by the Christian Democratic government and the Vatican. Neorealist films were declared harmful and antinational. At the same time a great deal of American capital was filtering into Italian cinematography, and Hollywood monopolies gradually subjugated Italian motion-picture companies and studios. The rebuilding of the devastated Italian motion-picture industry was impeded- As a result, toward the mid-1950’s neorealism, which had shown itself to be, for the most part, ideologically inconsistent, entered a period of crisis, and the advances that had been made in Italy’s society and in the organized struggle of the working people were not sufficiently reflected in neorealist films. By this time a number of films were using only purely external attributes of neorealism (Bread, Love, and Dreams, 1953, directed by L. Comencini), and some directors strayed away from progressive cinema. The film La Strada (1954; distributed in the Soviet Union under the title They Wandered Along the Roads), directed by F. Fellini, sounded the themes of loneliness, disunity, and religious-mystical motifs for the first time.

The growth of the democratic movement in the country in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s promoted for a short time the return of some Italian film-makers to antifascist and social themes. Among the films produced were Rossellini’s General Della Rovere (1959) and It Was Night in Rome (1960), Monicelli’s The Great War (1959), De Sica’s Two Women (1960) and The Condemned of Altona (1962), Comencini’s Everybody Go Home! (1961), and N. Loy’s Four Days of Naples (1962). A number of films depicted from various ideological positions the present condition of Italian bourgeois society: a period of temporary stabilization, the semblance of prosperity, and the so-called economic miracle. Among them were Visconti’s multilevel social film-novel Rocco and His Brothers (1960), Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1959) and (1962), and Antonioni’s L’Avventura (1959), La Notte (1960), Eclipse (1962), and Red Desert (1964). Despite the contrasts in their work, Fellini and Antonioni, directors who have gained worldwide fame, showed in their films the profound isolation of people, the rupture of internal ties and the lack of spiritual content in bourgeois society, and the tragic fate of the artist in the capitalist world.

In the 1960’s the writer P. P. Pasolini began to work as a director. At first, his contradictory work was permeated by furious social protest—The Beggar (1961), Mamma Roma (1962), and The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964). However, in the 1970’s it has become increasingly clear that openly erotic and crudely naturalistic motifs have gained the upper hand in Pasolini’s work (The Decameron and The Pigsty, for example). Social commentary is extremely important in the work of the director F. Rosi (the harshly satirical films Salvatore Giuliano, 1961, and Hands Over the City, 1963). Monicelli directed the film The Organizer (1963), which is about the first Italian strike. Significant works of modern Italian literature have been made into films, including Family Chronicle, after V. Pratolini (1961, directed by V. Zurlini), Bubo’s Girl, after C. Cassola (1963, directed by Comencini), and The Indifferent Ones, after A. Moravia (1965, directed by F. Maselli).

In the mid-1960’s a considerable decline in the art of film in Italy could be readily discerned. The proportion of commercial films (Westerns, sentimental-erotic pictures, and detective comedies) increased sharply, and militarist pictures modeled on American films appeared. The most viable genre in the progressive cinema proved to be the social satirical comedy, which preserved some of the best traditions of postwar Italian films. Among those working in this genre were De Sica (Boom, 1963, and Marriage Italian Style, 1964), Germi, who created a series of satirical tragicomedies, including Divorce Italian Style (1961) and Seduced and Abandoned (1963), and E. Petri, Zampa, and the actor A. Sordi, who turned to directing.

Among Italian motion pictures of the second half of the 1960’s, a rather important place is held by films made by young directors (for example, Fists in His Pocket, by M. Bellocchio, 1965, and motion pictures made by S. Samperi and F. Frezza), which reflected the anarchic protest of youth. However, these directors subsequently turned to making commercial motion pictures. At the beginning of the 1970’s a progressive trend evolved in the Italian motion-picture industry—the “new” or “leftist political” cinema, which pitted its works, imbued with an antifascist, anticolonialist, democratic spirit, against the commercial output of the bourgeois cinema. The most prominent representatives of Italian “political cinema” include the directors Petri (Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, 1969, and The Working Class Goes to Heaven, 1971), Rosi (People Opposed, 1970, and The Mattel Affair, 1972), and G. Montaldo (God Is With Us, 1969, and Sacco and Vanzetti, 1971). Other outstanding adherents of this trend are G. Pontecorvo (Battle of Algiers, 1966, and Burn!, 1971), B. Bertolucci (The Conformist and The Spider’s Strategem, both in 1969), Zurlini (The One Sitting on the Right, 1969), Puccini (The Seven Cervi Brothers, 1967), and D. Damiani, whose film The Police Commissioner’s Confession to the Prosecutor of the Republic (1970) received one of the main prizes at the Seventh International Film Festival in Moscow in 1971.

M. Bolognini directed a significant film about the working class based on Pratolini’s novel Metello (1970). The “leftist political cinema” has the support of members of the older generation (for example, Visconti’s Götterdämmerung [in English, The Damned, 1968] and De Sica’s The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, 1971). While Fellini produced the film Satyricon (1969; based on Petronius’ novel), which was pervaded by a sense of the collapse of civilization and world catastrophe, Antonioni managed to move away from his main theme of human isolation. Working in the USA, he made the film Zabriskie Point (1970), which angrily castigated the brutal reality of American society and reflected the attitudes of rebellious American youth. This picture rightfully holds a prominent place both in Italian political cinema and in progressive American cinema.

Progressive documentary motion pictures, almost all of which are produced by amateur film-makers, have developed successfully in the postwar years. A democratic movement of amateur film-makers emerged and was formally organized on the initiative of the prominent film theorist C. Zavattini. Issued in 1970–71 were full-length documentary films about the strike struggle of the working class (The Contract and Apollo, directed by U. Gregoretti) and a film about the living conditions of Italian working people (The Poor Die Sooner, directed by Bertolucci). The film The Tent on the Square, which was shot by the actor G. M. Volente in 1972, dealt with the struggle of strikers in Rome.

The most famous actors of the postwar Italian cinema include A. Magnani, G. Masina, S. Loren, G. Lollobrigida, C. Cardinale, M. Mastroianni, G. M. Volente, A. Sordi, Toto, and U. Tognazzi. Soviet and Italian film-makers are beginning to collaborate in creative work, making a number of films together: They Were Moving East (in the US, Attack and Retreat), directed by G. De Santis (1964); The Red Tent, directed by M. K. Kalatozov (1970); Sunflower, directed by De Sica (1971); and Waterloo, directed by S. F. Bondarchuk (1971). Among the film festivals held in Italy are the International Film Festival in Venice (in 1932 and 1934–38 and since 1946) and festivals of documentary, scientific, and popular-education films in Padua, of travelogues in Trento, of comic films in Bordighera, of science-fiction films in Trieste, and of children’s films in Palermo.

There are more than 40 film companies in Italy, and all of the largest film studios are located in Rome (including C. Ponti’s and D. De Laurentis’ firms). The Italian motion-picture industry produces more than 200 films a year. There are about 20, 000 film projectors, of which about one-third belong to parishes. The Vatican and the Catholic Church influence the cinema through the Catholic press and the Catholic Film Center, as well as the parishes. The Communist Party and Italy’s leftist forces give broad support to progressive figures in the motion-picture industry and struggle to preserve the national and democratic character of the Italian art of film. Among the specialized film journals are Cinema nuovo, Bianco e nero, Filmcritica, and Cinema e film. Many television movies are produced.


Lizzani, C. Ital’ianskoe kino. Moscow, 1956. (Translated from Italian.)
Chiarini, L. Sila kino.Moscow, 1955. (Translated from Italian.)
Sadoul, G. Vseobshchaia istoriia kino, vols. 2, 3, 6. Moscow, 1958–63. (Translated from French.)
Solov’eva, I. Kino Italii (1945–60): Ocherki.Moscow, 1961.
Bogemskii, G. Vittorio De Sica. Moscow, 1963.
Shitova, V. Lukino Visconti. [Moscow, 1965.]
Katsev, I. Dzhuzeppe De Santis.[Moscow, 1965.]
Muratov, L. G. ItaTianskii ekran. Leningrad, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Official name: Italian Republic

Capital city: Rome

Internet country code: .it

Flag description: Three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and red; inspired by the French flag brought to Italy by Napoleon in 1797

National anthem: “Fratelli d’Italia” (Brothers of Italy), lyrics by Geoffredo Mameli, music by Michele Novaro

Geographical description: Southern Europe, a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, northeast of Tunisia

Total area: 116,303 sq. mi. (301,225 sq. km.)

Climate: Predominantly Mediterranean; Alpine in far north; hot, dry in south

Nationality: noun: Italian(s); adjective: Italian

Population: 58,147,733 (July 2007 CIA est.)

Ethnic groups: Italian (includes small clusters of German-, French-, and Slovene-Italians in the north and Albanian-Italians and Greek-Italians in the south)

Languages spoken: Italian (official), German (parts of Trentino-Alto Adige region are predominantly German speaking), French (small French-speaking minority in Valle d’Aosta region), Slovene (Slovene-speaking minori­ty in the Trieste-Gorizia area)

Religions: Roman Catholic about 90% (about one-third reg­ularly attend services), other 10% (includes longstanding Protestant and Jewish communities and a growing Mus­lim immigrant community)

Legal Holidays:

All Saints' DayNov 1
Assumption DayAug 15
Christmas DayDec 25
EasterApr 24, 2011; Apr 8, 2012; Mar 31, 2013; Apr 20, 2014; Apr 5, 2015; Mar 27, 2016; Apr 16, 2017; Apr 1, 2018; Apr 21, 2019; Apr 12, 2020; Apr 4, 2021; Apr 17, 2022; Apr 9, 2023
Easter MondayApr 25, 2011; Apr 9, 2012; Apr 1, 2013; Apr 21, 2014; Apr 6, 2015; Mar 28, 2016; Apr 17, 2017; Apr 2, 2018; Apr 22, 2019; Apr 13, 2020; Apr 5, 2021; Apr 18, 2022; Apr 10, 2023
EpiphanyJan 6
Immaculate Conception DayDec 8
Labor DayMay 1
Liberation DayApr 25
New Year's DayJan 1
St. Stephen's DayDec 26
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.


a republic in S Europe, occupying a peninsula in the Mediterranean between the Tyrrhenian and the Adriatic Seas, with the islands of Sardinia and Sicily to the west: first united under the Romans but became fragmented into numerous political units in the Middle Ages; united kingdom proclaimed in 1861; under the dictatorship of Mussolini (1922--43); became a republic in 1946; a member of the European Union. It is generally mountainous, with the Alps in the north and the Apennines running the length of the peninsula. Official language: Italian. Religion: Roman Catholic majority. Currency: euro. Capital: Rome. Pop.: 57 346 000 (2004 est.) Area: 301 247 sq. km (116 312 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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