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Italy has been considered by many people as the epicenter of human civilization. Located at the southern part of Europe, Italy has a rich history since ancient times.
Most of the western culture be it religion, science, education, philosophy or even art are attributed to Italy. It should be noted that unlike the ancient times, nowadays Italy has a mixture of people who have emigrated from various parts of the world. Besides music, arts and religion, Italy also boosts of a well performing economy and political structures which have far reaching effects to the rest of the world.
Customs and Traditions
Italians like associating themselves with one another especially those who are related to them. Family ties are highly regarded in the Italian community and both sides of the family are accorded equal treatment. Traditionally, marriage was an arranged affair in the Italian culture though nowadays it is a free exercise.
Until quite recently, divorce was forbidden because marriage was taken to be a life long engagement. It is important to note though most of the Italians marry, there is the custom of children remaining unmarried so that they can take care for the old members of the family (Nickles, 2001). As far as inheritance is concerned, both male and female members of the family are allowed to get equal inheritance.
Traditionally, society allocated roles according to gender though this has changed of late due to civilization. However, the family still remains the basic unit of society and in most cases husbands head their families. The physical appearance of a person including the dressing style highly matters (Parasecoli, 2004). Consequently, Italians are customarily fashion conscious and to them first impression is very important.
Italians are known for their love in arts and their tradition has been rich in arts. The support that works of art has received from both public and private sectors have propelled the tradition to date. Italy’s arts include literature, music, fashion and design sculpture and theatre arts among others.
From the ancient times sculpture has dominated Italians’ work. The aspect was highly prevalent in the middle ages and most productions were religious in nature. It should be noted that artistic works of Italy have played a crucial role in influencing modern art (White, 2007). On the other hand Italy is also known for its influential literature both audio and written.
Written literature was done in Latin until the 13th century when first Italian work was produced. Currently, Italy has a lot of writers in poetry, fiction and many other forms of literature (Nickles, 2001). It is important to note that music writing began in Italy, prompting Italian language to be used to date in explain how music should be played.
Italy is considered as the place where Roman Catholicism started as it spread all over the world. As a result, a majority of Italians are Roman Catholics. Therefore, the common religious beliefs in Italy are based on the teaching of Roman Catholic. As a matter of fact, the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church are situated in Vatican City in Italy.
However, there are people who still maintain traditional beliefs in the evil eye, charms and messages through dreams (Parasecoli, 2004). The Roman Catholic has somehow separated its affairs from the state though it still has a vital role to play. Besides Roman Catholic, other religions like Islam and other Christian churches are also present (White, 2007). It is a general belief in Italy that after death there is life where the good people will be rewarded.
The language spoken by most natives of Italy is Italian and it is the official language of the country. Majority of the Italians are native speakers. However, there are dialects in few regions which are sometimes considered as different languages. The dialects include Friulian and Ladin in the north and Albanian and Croatian in the south. In addition, there are other parts where people speak different languages including German and Greek as their first languages (Killinger, 2005).
The current constitution of Italy came into effect in 1st January 1948 after people voted to have a republic instead of a monarchy. As a result, Italy’s parliament consists of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. The government has three branches; the executive, judiciary, and legislature.
The president is elected for a seven year term and must be less than 50 years old. The president then appoints a prime minister who should form a government (white, 2007). There is no post of the vice president in Italy and in the event that the president dies, elections will have to be held.
Italy has joined various organizations including North Atlantic Treaty Organization, European Union which it was the founder as well as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. It should be noted that the president is the commander of armed forces and has powers to dissolve parliament and call for new elections (Nickles, 2001).
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Differences exist regarding the food that people eat in various regions and the mode of cooking. However, Pasta, soup, bread, and meat either white or red are common in all areas.
Spaghetti and pizza which are nowadays known world wide are traditional Italian foods. People of southern Italy are known to like heavy cooking compared to the northerners. It should be noted however that unlike the common argument that Italian food is more or less homogenous, there exists diversity in the types of foods eaten in Italy (Parasecoli, 2004).
Agriculture contributes a mere 4% to the gross national product. Agricultural products that are locally grown include wheat, vegetables, olives, grapes and fruits. However, the country imports dairy products as well as meat. Majorly, Italy is an industrial economy having shifted its focus from agriculture after the Second World War.
The main industries in the Italian economy include textile production, chemicals, cars, shipbuilding, iron and steel among others (White, 2007). Italians are known for their love of speed and they produce the world’s fastest cars though they have not ventured into mass production.
So far, Italy is among the richest economies in the world today both in terms of nominal gross domestic product and purchasing power parity. It is a member of the world’s eight most industrialized countries. It is also among the world’s largest importers and exporters either in goods or services.
It should also be noted that technologically Italy is advanced and invests a lot in science and technology as well as research and development (Killinger, 2005). Because of the high volumes of trade between Italy and the rest of the world, Italy is very influential in the global economy both as a producer and a consumer.
Killinger, C. L. (2005). Culture and Customers of Italy. Westport: Greenwood Publishing group.
Nickles, G. (2001). Italy: The Culture. New York: Crabtree Publishing Company.
Parasecoli, F (2004). Food Culture in Italy. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group.
White, J. C. (2007). Italian Culture Lineages. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.