Italy,a country home to and known for its eye-catching architecture, exquisite cuisine,and amazing artwork. But, those few things aren’t the only characteristics thatmake Italy stand out above all else. Having 21 regions stretched throughout thecountry, “there is a rich diversity of culture and landscapes” according toauthor Sally Garrington (8). Not only is Italy represented by its artwork inthe country, it happens to look like art itself as a whole. Shaped like ahigh-heeled boot jutting out into the Mediterranean Sea, Italy catches most ofits attention just from a glimpse. Italy is filled with captivating history,fascinating current events, and compelling literature that can grasp ahold ofones’ attention in an instant.
Italy is filled with history quitedifferent from any other country. Although “young as a united country, the landof Italy has a history stretching back more than 3,000 years” (9). Located in Europe,surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, “Italy is approximately 116,400 squaremiles, which to put into perspective is slightly larger than the state ofArizona”, as stated by the online article “62 Interesting Facts about Italy”. Accordingto the book Countries Around the World: Italy,Italy has a population of about 57,844,000 people while, Rome, Italy’s capital,home to around 2,869,461 people. A legend passed down many generations tells atale of two brothers, Romulus and Remus. As told in the tale, on April 21st,753 B.C.
, the two brothers “found Rome on the site where they were suckled by ashe-wolf as orphaned infants”, according to the online article “Rome Founded 753 B.C.” Bouncing off thatsame site, the myth continues by saying,The twins then decided to found a town onthe site where they had been saved as infants.
They soon became involved in apetty quarrel, however, and Remus was slain by his brother. Romulus then becameruler of the settlement, which was named “Rome” after him.Romulushad a very successful rule as king, yet his way of “claiming his fame” was notall that fair. As stated in the same online article, “To populate his town,Romulus offered asylum to fugitives and exiles. Rome lacked women, however, soRomulus invited the neighboring Sabines to a festival and abducted their women.
“Although a war between the Romans and the Sabines was ensued, the Sabine womanintervened to prevent the Sabine men from seizing Rome. As a result of this, apeace treaty was made and the communities merged under the rule of both Romulusand the Sabine king, Titus Tatius. Despite the fact that their rule togetherwas known as successful throughout Rome, the downfall of the Roman Empire wassoon to come.
Many people believed that the collapse of the Roman Empire had alot to do with the “invasion of other troops, economic troubles, and politicalinstability”, according to the online article “8 Reasons Why Rome Fell” by EvanAndrews. For an example, at that time in history, Rome’s economy depended onslaves to work on their fields as well as do other jobs. But as stated in theonline article “8 Reasons Why Rome Fell”, When expansion ground to a halt in thesecond century, Rome’s supply of slaves and other treasures began to dry up. A further blow came in the fifth century,when the Vandals claimed North Africa and began disrupting the empire’s tradeby prowling the Mediterranean as pirates.
With its economy faltering and itscommercial and agricultural production in decline, the Empire began to lose itsgrip on Europe.Afterthe fall of the Roman Empire in A.D. 476, many groups tried to invade Italy, “amongthem Germans and Muslim Arabs” (9). During the twelfth century, the city statesof Italy like Florence and Venice became very powerful and independent. As timewent on, “Italy was controlled by the Spanish, the Austrians and finally theFrench under the command of Napoleon”, as stated in the book Countries of the World: Italy (9). Althoughbeing controlled by that many different countries seems quite hectic, they allleft their mark on Italy which ultimately shaped the country into what it istoday.
Around the moment of the fifteenthcentury, Italy faced a number wars known as the Great Italian Wars. Manycountries wanted full control over Italy, two countries in specific, which wasthe reason why these wars broke out. According to the online article “Italian Wars”written by the editors of Encyclopedia Britannica, these wars were, “foughtlargely by France and Spain”. This feud resulted in the Spanish Habsburgsdominating Italy which shifted power from Italy to northwestern Europe.
Finally, after sixty-five years of many more battles, the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis was formed on April 3rd,1559. The Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis was “an agreement marking the end ofthe struggle between France and Spain for the control of Italy, leaving HabsburgSpain the dominate power there for the next 150 years”, as stated in the onlinearticle “Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis”. Although things were starting to turnaround for Italy, another ruler was about to strike. In 1796, NapoléonBonaparte and his French Army invaded the country of Italy.
After Napoléon wonthe battle against the Austro-Hungarians, he declared Milan the capital of anew country, the Cisalpine Republic. Napoléon’s increasing success involvingtaking control over Italy ignited fear in the indigenous people of thatcountry, so the Pope, at the time, decided to take measures into his own handsto prevent Napoléon from marching on Rome. According to the book The Land and People of Italy by DavidTravis, the Pope…surrendered the northern Papal Statesof Bologna and Ferrara to the French. Then the people of Parma and Modenarevolted against their Austro-Hungarian dukes and asked for Napoléon’sprotection.
Parma and Modena joined Cisalpine Republic. Napoléon lent hissupport to a revolt in Genoa and then annexed that republic to his newCisalpine nation. The French also seized Lucca. All this took place in lessthan two years (96).Napoléonended up returning back to the peninsula in 1800, to finish what he started. Hefirst made the Cisalpine Republic a new Italian Republic, appointed himselfpresident, and changed its title to the Kingdom of Italy.
As more and morecities were annexed, Napoléon gained an abundance of power. He appointed hisbrother as the new king of Naples and, after conquering the city of Rome, hedeclared the end of the pope’s rule and took over the remaining Papal States. The newunity brought to Italy only lasted as long as Napoléon did.
According to The Land and People of Italy,In 1815, at the Congress of Vienna, theydecided to erase all signs of the French Revolution. Old rules were put back ontheir thrones and Europe returned to its past. The restoration of the kings anddukes in Italy meant a return to the division of the peninsula into manydifferent countries. Eight nations were created in 1815 (97-98).