• Norway!

    Norway: Sunnylvsfjord. Go Now!

    Known for its natural beauty, Norway is home to isolated villages, fjords, and mountains that create a culture and landscape without compare. Begin Your Journey!

  • Vatican City!

    Vatican City: Vatican Museums. Go Now!

    Vatican City
    The smallest country in the world offers the heart of Catholicism and among the world's finest art collections, including the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms (ceiling pictured). Go to Vatican City!

  • Macedonia!

    Macedonia: Traditional architecture. Go Now!

    Macedonia is a country still finding its unique identity, but its architecture is already one of a kind. Explore Macedonia!

  • Austria!

    Austria: Belvedere Palace. Go Now!

    Belvedere Palace (pictured) is just one of many palaces found in Vienna. The capital is a good start to Austria, which also features the Alps, the Lakes District, and incredible history & food. Go Now!

  • Spain!

    Spain: Guell Park and Gaudi architecture. Go Now!

    Fusion foods, lively music, historic ruins, and cultural events like the Running of the Bulls and La Tomatina make Spain and Barcelona (pictured) a favorite tourist destination. Explore Spain!

  • Ukraine!

    Ukraine: Traditional Village. Go Now!

    Ukrainian culture is based on village life, particularly that found in the Carpathian Mountains (pictured). Begin Your Journey!

ItalyNo one knows with absolute certainty what the origin of the name Italy is. Most people believe the name Italia, as the country is called in Italian, comes from the Latin word, which is identical. This word may have been borrowed from the Greek phrase oscan viteliu, which means "land of young cattle." Another theory states that the peninsula is named after Italus, who was the mythical king of the Oenotrians, a pre-historic group of people living in the region.



Italy today is rooted in a number of great civilizations, including the Roman Empire as well as being a focal point of the Renaissance. However, some aspects of their culture date to much earlier times, such as foods based in Etruscan society, while other aspects of their culture are much more recent, particularly due to technological advancements, making Italy a country with one foot in the past, but a more noticeable foot firmly planted in the present.

Prior to the Roman Empire, the people of Italy were divided ethnically, linguistically, and culturally. Each group of people seemed to have their own cultures and lifestyles, with some people living off the lands and others more dependent on the seas. Today few of these original attributes can be found other than in foods. Most of these past cultures were lost due to the emergence of the Roman Empire.

The Roman Empire introduced new ideas from far reaches, while extending their own ideas to other parts of Europe and the Mediterranean. This empire unified the people and culture in many ways as clothing, foods, religion, and language were all shared. While the tunic is no longer popular, the Latin language evolved into the modern Italian language and the empire's later adoption of Christianity changed the culture to a vast degree, a religion that is still popular today.

Despite the fall of the Roman Empire, the Italian Peninsula remained tied to and influenced by much of Europe. The culture of the region spread to Europe, particularly in the form of religion, while aspects of Europe made their way to the Italian Peninsula. However, sub-cultures emerged and the people grew apart in many ways as local cities trumped the region in importance to many people as family and community remained at the center of the culture.

Even with the Renaissance, little changed in the way of community leadership, however the country advanced quickly in terms of technology and communication, hence rapidly changing the culture. There was a relative excess of money, partially due to advanced technology that allowed less work to be done with the same or greater results. This turned people's attention to the arts, entertainment, and social life when and where it was possible. This ultimately changed culture and the lifestyle in a way that remains common today in Italy and throughout the world.

Despite the advancements, Italy didn't unify for a couple more centuries. With unification the culture and lifestyle continued to change, but the people also became more uniform in many ways. This has continued to change even today as communication and transportation have brought the people closer together. These things have also given Italy a modern society where a walk with cigarette in hand is a nightly ritual and the only gladiators to be found are on their cell phones hawking tourists to get their picture taken with them.

The flag of Italy is modeled after the French flag, which was brought to Italy after the French Revolution in the late 1700s. The colors of the Italian flag were inspired by Milan; red and white were the city colors and green was the color of the Milanese civil guard.

Name: Italian Republic
Independence: March 17, 1861 (unified in 1870)
Capital: Rome
Currency: Euro
Population: 61,482,297 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Italian
Language: Italian
Religion: Roman Catholic

Information for Italy was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks