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Italian

Italy

Geography & Topography

Capital: Rome

Population: 60,813,326 people

Area: 301,338 km2  (116,346 square miles)  

Language: Italian

Ethnic Groups: Italian (92.5%), Other (7.5%)

Religion: Christian (91.6%), No Religion (5.8%), Other (2.6%)

Currency: Euro

 

 History

Italy is located in Southern Europe and comprises the boot-shaped Italian Peninsula and a number of islands including the two largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea; Sicily and Sardinia. Italy has a population of about 60 million people. Italy’s official language is Italian and Roman Catholicism is the largest religion in the country. Italy is home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (45 to date) and has had a broad cultural influence worldwide.

Performing Arts

Music

Until more recently the main styles of music in Italy were jazz, opera and classical music, including symphony, concerto and sonata. Italy was at the forefront of the progressive rock movement of the 1970s and today Italian pop and folk music is given international attention.

The most recognisable instruments in traditional Italian music are:

The original piano was invented in Italy

Piano: The modern piano (pianoforte in Italian) was invented by Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655–1731). The piano is now one of the most popular instruments in the world and is widely used in classical music. The piano is played by means of a keyboard – pressing a key on the piano’s keyboard causes a felt-covered hammer to strike steel strings, the vibrations are then transmitted to a sounding board that couples the acoustic energy to the air more efficiently.

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The violin, a string instrument acquired most of its modern characteristics in 16th-century in Italy

Violin: The violin, while it has ancient origins, acquired most of its modern characteristics in 16th-Century Italy. The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments.

 

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Some interesting facts:

  • Food is very important in Italy, some famous dishes include pasta, pizza, lasagne, focaccia, and gelato.
  • One of the most famous paintings in the world, Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’, was stolen in 1911 from the Musée du Louvre in Paris by employee Vincenzo Peruggia, an Italian patriot who believed Leonardo’s painting should be returned to Italy for display in an Italian museum.
  • Italy is the birthplace of Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737) – a designer of musical instruments, most famous for his (now priceless) violins.

Italian community in Australia:

More information on the Italian community: