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Italia: il bel paese. 1. A Brief History. Prehistory. Remains of Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Iron Age cultures Nomadic Tribes move south across the Alps: Celts, Veneti Hunters seeking game and fish Farmers seeking fertile land. Early History. Greeks: Sicily and Southern Italy (800 BC)

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  • Remains of Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Iron Age cultures
  • Nomadic Tribes move south across the Alps: Celts, Veneti
    • Hunters seeking game and fish
    • Farmers seeking fertile land
early history
Early History
  • Greeks: Sicily and Southern Italy (800 BC)
  • Etruscans: Tuscany, the Po River Valley and south to the Tiber River (800 BC)


Etruscan Tomb

the roman empire
The Roman Empire

Rise and expansion of the Empire

Roman world domination begins (172 BC)

Greatest extent of the Empire (117 AD)

decline and fall of rome
Decline and Fall of Rome
  • Invasions by the Goths & Vandals (400’sAD)
  • Conquest of Italy by the Lombards (568 AD)
the dark ages
The Dark Ages
  • The Holy Roman Empire
    • Pepin, King of the Franks, defeats the Lombards in northern Italy (754 AD) and gives land to the Pope (The Papal States of central Italy)
breakup of the holy roman empire
Breakup of the Holy Roman Empire
  • In 843 AD, after Charlemagne’s death, the Empire was partitioned among his sons.

MAP OF SICILY - MAPPA SICILIA ( torna alle mappe siciliane)

clicca qui per aprire la mappa in una finestra separata

GUIDA VERDE MICHELIN SULLA SICILIA. Acquistala on line:•in italiano •in inglese

  • Muslims invade Sicily and southern Italy

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Realizzazione: Studio Scivoletto

the middle ages
The Middle Ages
  • Rule by Germans or Austrians in north
  • Rule by Normans or Spanish in south
  • Rise of Feudalism
the middle ages rise of the roman catholic church
The Middle Ages: Rise of the Roman Catholic Church

Rome converted and absorbed the waves of northern barbarians who came over the Alps

Latin remained the common

language of educated people

in the West and of the Church

rise of the italian city states
Rise of the Italian City-States
  • Control by wealthy families:
    • Florence the Medici
    • Ferrara the Este
    • Mantua the Gonzaga
    • Milan the Sforza and the Visconti
    • Rimini the Malatesta
    • Venice: wealthy families elected Doges
firenze and the medici
Firenze and the Medici

Panorama of Firenze

the sforza family in milan
The Sforza family in Milan

Castello Sforzesco

the renaissance 1400 1600
The Renaissance: 1400-1600
  • Rebirth of all the arts and culture begins in the City-States of Italy
  • Wealthy bankers and merchants support artists, architects, intellectuals, etc.
  • Italian ideals set enduring standards for art in the Western world, influenced writers & architects, and encouraged intellectual pursuits
leonardo da vinci
Leonardo da Vinci

Mona Lisa

The Last Supper

the end of the renaissance
The end of the Renaissance
  • Political stress:
    • France and Spain’s rivalry over Italy
    • City-states passed among various European rulers through war, marriage, treaty, death
    • The Papacy held on to the Papal States
    • Spain the chief power in Italy: 1559-1713
    • House of Savoy rules Piedmont & Sardinia
italy 1494
Italy: 1494

Rivalry of Spain and France over territories in Italy

By 1544: Spain ruled Sicily, Naples & Milan

1600 1815
  • Italy remains split into a dozen separate states while European nations are forming
  • The feudal system lingers on in the south

Europe 1648

napoleon conquers italy in the 1790 s
Napoleon conquers Italy in the 1790’s
  • After his defeat in 1815, most Italian states go back to their former rulers:
      • Lombardy-Venetia to Austria
      • Naples and Sicily to Spain


Italy after Napoleon

the risorgimento
The Risorgimento

Hatred of foreign rule increases

Liberation movement begun by Giuseppe Mazzini in Piedmont with the support of Charles Albert, king of Sardinia-Piedmont (House of Savoy)

Scattered revolts in 1848 were unsuccessful

Giuseppe Mazzini

expansion begins
Expansion begins
  • Under King Victor Emanuel I, son of Charles Albert, Count Camillo Cavour, the prime minister, made a treaty with France against Austria.

Count Camillo Cavour

1859 austria defeated
1859: Austria defeated
  • Italy gained Lombardy, but Austria kept Venetia
expansion continues
Expansion continues
  • 1859: Plebiscites held in Tuscany, Modena, Parma and Emilia. They voted to join Sardinia-Piedmont.
  • Napoleon III consented, but only after Nice and Savoy voted to join France.
unification of italy
Unification of Italy
  • 1861: Victor Emanuel II crowned King of Italy
  • 1866: Venetia regained from Austria
1870 papal states captured
1870: Papal States captured
  • The French army was assigned to protect the Papal States, but was called to join the fighting in the Prussian War.
  • The Italian army took the opportunity to capture the Papal States, thus adding central Italy to the union.
constitutional monarchy 1870 1922
Constitutional Monarchy: 1870 - 1922
  • Birth of modern Italy
    • Heavy taxation to pay war debts
    • Parliamentary government new and strange to many Italians
    • Economic growth supported the changes
the house of savoy
The House of Savoy
  • King Umberto I, son of Victor Emanuel II, was assassinated
  • Victor Emanuel III becomes King
world war i
World War I
  • 1915: Italy rejected its standing alliances with Austria, Germany, and Hungary when Austria invaded Serbia. It joined the Allies (England, France, and Russia)
  • At the end of the war, the last two regions were joined to Italy: Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
  • 1922: Mussolini marched on Rome.
  • He came into power as Prime Minister appointed by the King, but the King had virtually no power.

Benito Mussolini

the dictatorship
The Dictatorship
  • Positive aspects:
    • economic recovery after the war
    • roads and railways built
    • public education compulsory.
    • Fascism seen as a safeguard against communism.
the dictatorship1
The Dictatorship
  • Negative aspects
    • Eliminated former political parties and opponents through murder, exile, and

prison camps

    • Took control of newspapers, police, businesses, and schools
    • Restricted many civil rights
path to world war ii
Path to World War II
  • 1935: Italy invades Ethiopia
  • 1936: Alliance with Germany versus France and England and in support of Franco’s Dictatorship in Spain
  • 1939: Italy invades Albania
  • 1940: Italy joins the Axis countries and Mussolini becomes a German puppet.
world war ii
World War II
  • Italy invaded by the Allies
  • Mussolini forced to resign: public unrest
  • Constitutional monarchy restored
  • Italy surrenders, declares war on Germany, and fights on the side of the Allies for the last 18 months of the war
italy becomes a republic
Italy becomes a Republic
  • 1946: Italians vote to replace the constitutional monarchy with a republic
  • Parliamentary form of government was created
1948: New Constitution adopted
  • Albania granted independence
  • Political parties formed: largest were the Christian Democrats & the Communists
2 physical features of italy
2. Physical Features of Italy
  • A peninsula shaped like a boot
  • Coastline 6,000 miles long
  • 2 large islands: Sicily and Sardinia; many smaller ones: Capri, Elba, Ischia, etc.
  • Mountains: Alps in the north, Apennines down the center
fertile river valleys
Fertile River Valleys
  • The Po River valley in a fertile farming area in Piemonte.
  • The Adige, Tiber, and Arno Rivers are also important.
largest lakes in the alps
Largest lakes in the Alps

Lake Como

Lake Maggiore

two largest volcanoes of italy
Two largest volcanoes of Italy

Mt. Etna in Sicily

Mt. Vesuvius in Naples

3 chief cities of italy
3. Chief Cities of Italy
  • Rome

The Coliseum


Duomo di Firenze

Palazzo della Signoria


Rio: a side street in Venice

Ponte Rialto on the Grand Canal


Duomo di Milano


Medieval gate

Leaning tower


Ancient Greek Temple

Ancient Greek Ruins


The Regions of Italy, by Roy Domenico

Greenwood Press, Westport, CT 2002

Italy, a Cultural Resource Guide

Milliken Publishing Co., St. Louis, MO 1995

Maps of Ancient Rome taken from: Latin for Americans, by B. Ullman et al.

Glenco, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY 1997

Historical Maps of Italy taken from: A Brief History of Western Civilization,

by M. Kishlansky et al.: Addison-Wesley, NY 2002

Pictures taken from Postcards and/or the Internet