The Beautiful Peninsula of Southern Europe, Italy, has been the ultimate manifestation of beauty, art, civilization, republic, society and together with Greece the founder of Western Culture and Ethics. A country whose landscape is as diverse as the number of rulers at have ruled its lands, whose history is perhaps one of the most decorated and widely written about in the world, whose cuisines tantalize taste buds all over the world, whose fashion and automobile industry are the benchmark of luxury and whose artists have given the world perhaps the greatest specimens of human intelligence and creativity Italy has been the grail from which Western Civilization has drunk much of its ideological inspiration.
Humans from the Paleolithic ages have inhabited the mountains and plains of this great peninsular region, first recorded foot prints of mankind were found to be some 200,000 years old making it one of the first regions where our forefathers from Africa settled in along with the Neanderthals of Western Europe. The very first Neolithic civilizations sprang their roots in the region through the many indigenous tribes of the area such as the Etruscans, the Elymians and the Sicani in Sicily, there settlements were largely uprooted and their people assimilated by the constant invasion of the Indo-Europeans who came to be known as the real Italics some of them were the Latins, the Umbrians, the Volsci and the Samnites. Etruscans were the first to establish a full-fledged civilization in the region during the 6th century B.C with their culture highly influenced by the Greeks who had already established colonies in southern Italy.
The agricultural fields of Rome which were largely an independent area became an informal city by 753 B.C, the people of this greatest city of all came to dominate much of the western civilization for centuries to come with the Roman Empire coming to occupy one of the largest land empires ever in the history of mankind. The Roman Empire at its Golden zenith contributed to much of the glory of this great country that tourist from all parts of the world come to witness. Post the decline and eventual division of the Roman Empire into the Byzantium and Western Roman Empire, Italy slumped into a period of cultural and intellectual decline known as the Dark Ages. Post the fall of the Byzantium Empire in the 14th century, Rome and much of Italy was flooded by artists of great repute who changed the course of Italian culture, literature and arts bringing out of its paralyses and giving us the beautiful heritage as a result of it this period became famous as the Renaissance of Western Civilization.
A country as diverse in its geography as it is in its history, Italy’s geography is full of mountains, plains, coastal regions and the lakes of course. The country is largely dominated by the Apennine Mountains and The Alps in its Northern territory with its highest points coming at Mont Blanc at around 4,810 m which also the highest point in European continent. The Italian Alps and the Apennine regions make for beautiful sightseeing as well as skiing destination during the winters. The snow covered land is one of the reasons why its nicknamed Bel Paese. The country by virtue of being a peninsula has a long coastline which runs some 7,600 kilometers which provide for some of the most stunning beaches and coastal towns in all of Europe. The Mediterranean part of the coast is suppose to be a ‘thing of beauty’, a place that has for centuries inspired artists be it painters or poets through its ravishing beauty.
Culture and Italy are synonyms for each other; the country as a result of being divided into various regions throughout its history up until its unification in 1861 has been able to develop a very unique mix of cultural elements from each region so as to give us a ravishing canvas of everything Italian. Italian culture and art has been the inspiration for Western Civilization for ages. Its contribution to architecture, theatre, painting and music as well as food is perhaps unmatched by any other country in the western hemisphere. The fact that it is home to the largest numbers of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 49 to be exact, is a testament to the heritage that centuries of talent has left us. Monuments such as the Coliseum, the Florence Cathedral, the Milan Cathedral, the Sistine Chapel and many more are inspiration for artists even in this age.
Among the cities of Italy Rome comes first on any list due to its shire cultural and historical presence in Italian history and politics, the city is blessed with some of the greatest architectural marvels of Europe. Next up is the demolished ancient city of Pompeii which is one of the most visited sites in all of Europe with some 2 million visitors every year, the well preserved city is a great peek into the great history of the people of this peninsula. Another famous city, a dream for all the romantics out there is the breathtaking city of Venice which is a must visit for anyone traveling to Italy. Other famous cities include Milan – the fashion capital of the world, Genoa – the gastronomic capital, Florence – the cradle of Renaissance, Naples and Sicily. Besides all the attractive landscape and the historical sites, Ital is also heaven for food lovers with Italian food tickling the taste buds of millions all over the world the country which gave us pizza is a brilliant place to eat and eat. One can find some great Italian food in the many famous street side cafes and stalls which together make for the romance of being in Italy.