A large part of Italy’s history is the Roman Empire. Even though Italy wasn’t officially recognized as a country until 1861, it was previously known as Rome.

Rome was founded in 753 BC. The Roman Empire in Rome started in 27 BC when Gaius Octavius(also known as Augustus, and the adopted son of Julius Caesar)was appointed by Roman Senate as the first emperor of Rome. The time where Rome began to prosper and expand during the time of Augustus’ reign was called the Pax Romana. When Constantine became emperor  , everything changed. In 285 CE, the whole empire was divided in half by Constantine because he thought it was too big and disorganized. The Western Roman Empire spoke Latin. Eastern Roman Empire spoke Greek. This move greatly weakened the western part of the empire because it separated the army and made the west very susceptible to foreign invasion.

That is exactly what happened in 476 CE. Germanic soldiers came and invaded the western Roman Empire. This marked the end of the Roman Empire and the start of the Dark Ages.The eastern empire(Byzantine Empire)ended when Ottoman turks came and defeated it. During the dark ages, places that helped defeat the Roman Empire formed separate nations and kingdoms. Another part of the Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire became started in 800 after Charlemagne became emperor. The Holy Roman Empire consisted of kingdoms, and papal states to try and become the past Roman empire and uphold Christian ideas.

The Holy Roman Empire continued in 962 AD when Otto I was crowned Holy Roman Emperor. It was located where Europe is today. The Holy Roman Empire lasted until 1806, even though it was never much of an Empire, only an empire with no real power or control.Literature was a large part of Italian arts.

During the Middle Ages and early Italian literature was written in Latin. The literature era of Italian arts ran from late 13th century through the renaissance period into the 17th century. Later on, Italian literature was written in Provencal and French. One of the significant writers of literature during this time was Petrarch. Even though Dante was the first person to start the Renaissance literature, Petrarch was a very important person included in kicking off the literature period of the Renaissance. Petrarch wanted classic Latin to become the main language of literature and scholarship.

Petrarch believed that Italy was the heir of Rome, and he worked to foster Italian nationalism and unity. In spite of his classical scholarship, Petrarch’s greatest contribution to literature was his work in Italian. His long lived infatuation to Laura bring a fiery passion to Italian sonnets and literature. Boccaccio’s Decameron was a piece of literature that used both Dante and Petrarch as influences. The literature era of Italy ended when the Renaissance started to become a big deal.Despite the fact that literature was a large part of Italian art, Italian arts are focused mainly on and around the Renaissance. The Renaissance actually means ‘Rebirth’.

This is pointing to the fact that during the Renaissance period, the arts and cultural parts of Greece and Rome we’re being brought alive again. The Renaissance period ran from about the late 14th century until about the mid 17 century. The peak of the Renaissance was during the late 15 century to the mid 16th century. The catholic church was a major influence for many artists and their choices of artwork. The patrons of the Renaissance art were the Popes and monasteries and mainly the Medici family. The Medici family was a very wealthy banking family that eventually became a royal family of Italy during the late Renaissance.

Renaissance art sought to capture the experience of the individual the and beauty and mystery of the natural world. This era had some of the most influential and greatest artists of all time such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello. These four artists have some of the most well known and most wondrous works of art.

Leonardo Da Vinci was an intellectual, self educated, ¨Renaissance Man¨. Da Vinci? most well known pieces are The Last Supper and Mona Lisa. The Last Supper is a tempera and oil mural on plaster that depicts the Passover dinner when Jesus says to the Apostles, “One of you shall betray me.

¨ This painting took about 3 years and was finished in Milan Italy. Food and drink are both ways of life in Italy.  Although the variety and differences of food greatly increased after the fall of the Roman Empire, Roman ships were sent around the world to try and ensure freshness and a bit of variety.There are a few foods that are an Italian staple. One of the most popular foods in Italy is pasta. Pasta is made from durum wheat and water or eggs. Pasta was discovered by Marco Polo in the 13th century when he was on a trip to China and he decided to bring it back with him to Italy. Olive oil is another staple within the Italian diet.

Greek immigrants brought olive oil to Italy in the 8th century. Italy is now the second largest producer of olive oil after Spain. Olive oil is commonly used to dip in bread, as a salad dressing, and more popularly with their pasta. Types of popular food and food preparation techniques can also vary depending on what region of Italy you are focused on.

Southern Italy is known for hard boiled spaghetti while the north is known for using soft egg noodles for their pasta, while Milan is famous for their risotto, and Naples is famous for their pizza.Wine is very popular throughout all of Italy. It is very often paired with cheeses, breads, and a few other carbohydrates. Italy is the largest wine producing country in the world. Italian wine pairs well with other foods because it is high in acidity. Red wine is usually more common within Italy because it is a lot heavier than white wine. A lot of Italy’s famous wines are red wine such as Chianti, Barolo, Brunello di Montalcino.

Many wines that are specific to Italy stay that way because their grapes are so unique that it is very hard to transport the grapes to other places. Considering Italy is not a very big country, the fact that it produces about 8 billion bottles of wine is quite remarkable. Not only does Italy have a variety of styles of wines, they have some wines styles that even date back about four thousand years ago. Italian wine has a very distinctive taste that tends to make it more unique than others. Throughout the history of Italy, food and wine have stayed a massive part of daily life.

Music was crucial to Italian culture and daily life weather it was singing and dancing in the kitchen after dinner or ballroom dances, singing and dance has always been quite popular within Italy. The main types of music overtime in Italy were Folk music, Opera music, religious music, and Classical music. The types of folk music were ballads in the north, and lyric songs in the south. Traditional folk music instruments usually consisted of the piano, the accordion, the flute, bagpipes and several other types of pipes. As soon as folk music started to die down in the early 17th century, opera music started to rise. Over the next few centuries, opera music was enhanced by Italian composers such as Claudio Monteverdi, Alessandro Scarlatti, Gioacchino Rossini, Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti and Giuseppe Verdi. A lot of these composers also made Classical music.

Giuseppe Martucci composed Second Symphony which was Instrumental classical music in 1904 which started a tendency of music that stayed away from operatic style music. Popular symphonic music that is performed in iTaly today is the work of 19th century composers. Although there are many dances worth notice in Italy, the most famous one is called the Tarantella. It is most common in the southern regions of Italy. Tarantella is a typical dance.It was originally associated to the phenomenon of tarantism, a behavior that caused spasms and seizures similar to those of a brain seizure. It was believed that the attack was caused by the bite of a tarantula. The dance was created to mimic the seizures and movements of the sufferers.

People thought that the sufferers used the dance to free themselves of the pain. Tarantella is commonly danced with the drum, bagpipes, the violin, the mandolin, and the trumpet.Tarantella was danced throughout lots of Italy, but it varied depending where you were. Most towns have their own music anced with it or their own variations of the dance. Some evolutions of the dance have become their own specific dance such as the pizzica.

Other variations are the tarantella but have the name of the ton added so people know that dance is specific to that area. Whether is be in the ballroom, in concert or in the house as recreation, music and dance was very meaningful in the lives of Italians.Throughout Italy? existence, the religion has primarily been Roman Catholic even though it has started to branch out a bit. Roman Catholicism accounts for about 91 percent of Italians.

With the other 9 percent being other Christianity, Muslim and Jewish. Italy finally decided to rule out mandatory religious education in 1985, and legalized abortion in 1978 and legalized divorce in 1970. The small independent country the Vatican resides in Italy within the area of Rome. The Vatican is the home of the Catholic church and it usually where the pope usually settles. There have been 266 popes ever. In the history of Papacy, only 70 popes have not been from Italy. The churches, religious sculptures and paintings are al alluring sites that are unique to Italy? religious history and beliefs. The Vatican and Rome alone has thousands of shrines, relics, and churches from religious background.

Most Italians believe in afterlife based on good souls or bad. The awful go to purgatory and sent to hell and the good souls who follow God and the laws of the church get sent up to heaven to be with God for eternity. There are many religious holidays and celebrations that happen within Italy The most well known of these holidays is Christmas. Other celebrated religious holidays include Epiphany(January 6), Easter Sunday (called Pasqua)Easter Monday (called Pasquetta) Christmas, Santo Stefano (December 26),(August 15), and the Roman Catholic specific holidays, All Saints’ Day (November 1), Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8), Assumption of the Virgin(August 15), according to reidsitaly.com.

Santo Stefano is a holiday celebrated for the unfair death of Saint Stephens, but is usually a winding down time after Christmas. On this day, most people have a relaxing day with their families. Easter Monday is just a continuation of Easter and is celebrated like everybody else. Epiphany is the Italian version of 3 Kings Day. All in all, Italy has a lot of devout, religious, and spiritual Roman Catholics that make their country very holy.Traditional Italian clothing was all a bit similar. Most of the differences were in the colors, design and material and whether or not you were rich or poor. Different attire was worn for different needs or occasions.

When folk dancing happened, the women usually wore vivid embroidered skirts and bodices while the men wore clothes that had buttons,  pins and just as much attention to detail with embroidery as the women. The peasant women wore normal outfits consisting of a blouse and skirt. The male peasants wore simple shirts and pants. These daily activity worn clothes were made out of wool, and the colors were limited to black and grey.

 Peasant women wore square hats or full head covering hats so they could carry baskets and other items on them. Soon after these hats started to be worn, upper class women wore these hats with artificial  fruit and flowers in them to imitate the peasants. Wealthy clothing was pretty much the same as the peasants except the materials were a lot more expensive like silk and velvet. More jewelry also tende to end up with the rich women’s outfits. The wealthier the person was, the more color they had on their clothes because they had much more access to multicolored dyes.

For special events like festivals and holidays, even the peasants had flashy dresses and bodices that have been passed down from generations.Italian clothing has definitely changed over the years, but Italians still respect traditional clothing and customs of fashion from hundreds of years prior. When going to church, men usually wear suits or other shoulder and leg covering clothing. Women usually don’t wear skirts to these places either.

The same goes with people visiting the Vatican. It is also expected to dress well in luxurious places, and restaurants along with formal meetings with friends and family. All of this well dressed affair is a show of respect for other people. Socks and sandals and flip flops are not accepted in the city unless it is fashionable. Also, most t-shirts dont have large pictures and logos on them unless they are fancy and not overdone.

Keep this in mind if traveling to Italy is an option or thought. Italy is a very stylish country that has had their clothing and fashion transform over the last few hundred years so when it comes to clothing, they are always prepared.

Written by

I'm Colleen!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out