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Culture of Italy
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A collage of Italian culture showing: the original statue of "David", found in the Accademia di Belle Arti ("Academy of Fine Arts") in Florence in the centre, then the Venice Carnival on the top right, followed by the Trevi Fountain, a panorama of Naples, a dish of Spaghetti alla Carbonara, Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, a believed portrait of polymath and genius Leonardo da Vinci, and finally the Greek Theatre in Taormina.

From the 1st century BC (antiquity) until at least the 16th century, Italy was the central place of Western culture, fulcrum or origin of universal phenomena such as the Roman Empire, the Roman Catholic Church, Humanism and the Renaissance.[1][2] During this time, Italy produced some of the greatest painters, sculptors, poets, musicians, mathematicians and architects in history. Italian painters, sculptors, composers, and architects also dominated the Baroque art movement that began near the end of the Renaissance and ended in the 18th century. Both the internal and external facets of Western Civilization were born on the Italian peninsula, whether one looks at the history of the Christian faith, civil institutions (such as the Senate), philosophy, law,[3] art, science, or social customs and culture.

Italy did not exist as a political state until its unification in 1861.[4] Due to this comparatively late unification, and the historical autonomy of the regions that comprise the Italian peninsula, many traditions and customs that are now recognized as distinctly Italian can be identified by their regions of origin. Despite the political and social isolation of these regions, Italy's contributions to the cultural and historical heritage of Europe remain immense. Famous elements of Italian culture are its opera[5] and music, its iconic gastronomy and food,[6] which are commonly regarded as amongst the most popular in the world[7] (with famous dishes such as pasta, pizza, lasagna, focaccia, espresso and Italian gelato), its cinema (with classic films such as 8½, Bicycle Thieves, Cinema Paradiso, La Dolce Vita, Life is Beautiful, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly etc.), its collections of priceless works of art and its fashion (Milan is regarded as one of the fashion capitals of the world).[8]

Italy is home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (44) to date.[9] The precepts of the Roman Catholic Church, the spirit of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, are factors which greatly shaped Italy's architecture, culture and art. Contents

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* 1 Etymology of the name
* 2 Education
* 3 Demographics and immigration
* 4 Literature
* 5 Language
* 6 Architecture
o 6.1 Gothic architecture
o 6.2 Renaissance architecture
o 6.3 Palaces
o 6.4 Renaissance Gardens and Villas
* 7 Politics
* 8 Media and censorship
* 9 Society
o 9.1 Healthcare
o 9.2 Social class
o 9.3 Women
o 9.4 LGBT rights
o 9.5 Italian people
o 9.6 Daily life and leisure
* 10 Science
* 11 Cuisine, food and drink
* 12 Religion
o 12.1 Roman Catholicism
o 12.2 Other Christian denominations
o 12.3 Islam
o 12.4 Judaism
o 12.5 Sikhism
o 12.6 Hinduism
o 12.7 Buddhism
* 13 Visual art
* 14 Communications
* 15 Cinema and theatre
* 16 Music
* 17 Holidays and climate
* 18 Fashion
* 19 Design
* 20 See also
* 21 References
* 22 Bibliography
* 23 External links

Etymology of the name

The origin of the term Italia, from Latin: Italia,[10] is uncertain. According to one of the more common explanations, the term was borrowed through Greek from the Oscan Víteliú, meaning "land of young cattle" (cf. Lat vitulus "calf",...
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