Why is Naples and Sicily not a country


Italy is a country in southern Europe. Most of Italy is a long peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea that looks like a boot on the map. For a long time several kings and princes ruled there. Italy has been a united state since 1861 and initially had an Italian king. Later the dictator Benito Mussolini ruled the country. Italy has been a republic since 1946 and has a president as head of state.

Italian is the main language spoken in Italy. This language is related to French, Spanish, and other languages. In the far north, in South Tyrol, there are also German-speaking Italians. In the northern half, the people are a bit richer, while the south of Italy is known to be quite poor.

The capital of Italy is Rome. This is also the largest city. The Roman Empire, which ruled over half of Europe, came into being in ancient times. Many famous artists and inventors such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo lived in the Middle Ages and modern times. There are also many dishes from Italy that are now popular all over the world. This includes spaghetti and pizza.

What does the country look like?

This is what Italy looks like from space: Above, in the north, part of the Alps belongs to Italy. The Apennines, a mountain range, run through the country from north to south. The island in the very south, so at the front of the "boot tip", is Sicily. The larger of the two islands in the west, i.e. on the left on the map, is Sardinia.

Most of Italy lies on a long peninsula. It is almost 1200 kilometers long. For comparison: it's only 800 kilometers from Flensburg in northern Germany to Garmisch in the south. The peninsula is called the Appenin Peninsula, after the mountains on it.

The highest mountain in the Apennines is almost 3000 meters high. But the Mont Blanc in the Alps is even higher at 4800 meters. It is very cold in the Alps, while Italy otherwise has a very warm to subtropical climate. Especially in summer it is hot and humid.

There are many earthquakes in Italy. This is where the plates on which the continents of Europe and Africa lie collide. A bad earthquake took place in 2009 in central Italy. Over 300 people died. There are also active volcanoes in Italy. The best known is probably the Vesuvius near Naples.

There are over 450 islands in Italy. Because of this, and because it is a peninsula, Italy has a particularly large coastline: 7,600 kilometers. The largest islands are Sicily and Sardinia. The larger lakes are in the Alps, such as Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore.

What is the history of Italy?

Neanderthals lived in what is now Italy over 200,000 years ago. Later in antiquity many peoples lived there, some of which are still known today, like the Etruscans and the Celts. Greeks also settled in the south. Allegedly in 753 BC the city of Rome was founded. Over the centuries, this became the vast Roman Empire.

Around the year 400 AD, the empire fell apart. From the north came the Germanic peoples who also conquered Italy. In the Middle Ages, northern Italy in particular was part of the Holy Roman Empire. In the south, Muslims, but also Vikings, ruled areas such as the island of Sicily.

Even in modern times Italy was not a country, but consisted of many empires and cities. The center of Italy with the city of Rome, for example, belonged to the Papal States, the territory of the Pope. Other larger empires were the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Kingdom of Naples, which at that time ruled almost all of southern Italy. During this period, Renaissance culture flourished, especially in the cities of Florence and Venice. The artists from Italy had a lot of influence on the rest of Europe.

Finally, in 1861, Italy became a single kingdom. At that time, the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont conquered some areas, others joined it voluntarily. In the beginning, the Italian capital was therefore Turin, which is located in Piedmont. Only later did it become Rome. Italy took part in the First World War because it was promised to receive new territories for it. That killed 600,000 Italians.

In 1922 the kingdom became a dictatorship: Benito Mussolini, leader of the Fascist Party, became head of government. Mussolini fought many wars in the Italian colonies in Africa. From 1940 Italy fought with Nazi Germany in World War II.

After the war, the people voted that they no longer wanted a king. That is why Italy has been a republic since 1946. It was one of the first countries in Western Europe to want to work more closely with others: since 1957, Italy has been part of the community that is now the European Union.

Who are the inhabitants of Italy?

In terms of population, Italy ranks fourth behind Germany, Great Britain and France. Most of them speak Italian. This is a Romance language that comes from Latin. In the north of Italy there is an area called South Tyrol, where many residents speak German.

Many Italians emigrated for a long time, especially to the USA and Argentina. From 1955 onwards, half a million lived in Germany as guest workers, and many also came to Switzerland. Today immigrants come to Italy, such as a million people from Romania and half a million from Albania. In addition, there are also many immigrants living in Italy who are not registered with the state. That's why we don't know so much about them.

The vast majority of Italians are Catholics. The Pope has his seat in Rome, more precisely in the Vatican City. Until 1984 it was the official religion of the state. However, more than one in ten Italians says that they have no religion at all.

Who is in charge in Italy?

On the left of the picture you can see the man who was newly elected President of Italy. He promises that he will abide by the country's constitution.

The current constitution is from 1948. According to this, the Italians elect a parliament every five years. It consists of two parts, both of which have the same rights. Parliament elects the government and also the president, the head of state.

For a long time there were many small parties in Italy. That often made it difficult to work together in parliament. A government was usually only in office for a few months. However, the Christian Democratic Party was strong and almost always in government.

A lot has changed since 1992. It was then that it became known that many politicians were corrupt. So they took money from rich people to do them favors. That is why, for example, steps were taken to make it more difficult for a party to get into parliament. However, the governments still do not hold out for long.

What is Italy known for?

Carlo Collodi wrote a famous children's book: “The Adventures of Pinocchio”.

Hardly any other country in Europe is so well known for art and culture, and not just from the Renaissance period. In the Middle Ages, Dante Alighieri was one of the first great thinkers to write in a vernacular instead of Latin. Italy also had a lot of influence on the rest of the world through its Catholic religion.

Nowhere else in the world is there so much UNESCO World Heritage Site: over 50 buildings can be called that. This includes the cathedral of Florence as well as the botanical garden of Padua or the cathedral square of Pisa with its leaning tower. The Colosseum is a huge theater from Roman times and stands in the middle of Rome.

Opera in particular was born in Italy. Many important composers lived around 1850, such as Gioachino Rossini and Giuseppe Verdi. Enrico Caruso is considered the most famous singer in world history.

Some of the famous explorers from around 1500 were Italians: Christopher Columbus, John Cabot or Giovanni Caboto, or Amerigo Vespucci. The continent America takes its name from Vespucci. Galileo Galilei and Giordano Bruno were famous astronomers. We owe the radio to an Italian technician, Guglielmo Marconi, and the electric battery to the physicist Allesandro Volta.

How do Italians earn their money?

Ferrari is a brand for expensive, fancy cars. You come from Maranello in northern Italy.

Italy is a big, rich country. The economy is the eighth largest in the world. However, the country has quite a lot of debts. In addition, the north of Italy is much richer and more modern than the south: In the north-west of the country you earn an average of around 31,000 euros a year. In the south and on the islands it is only 17,000 euros.

No other country grows as much wine as Italy. It is also one of the most important countries for olive oil, grapes, oranges, and other fruits and vegetables like artichokes and tomatoes. The technical devices from the area of ​​Milan, Turin and Genoa are known from the industry.

In Italy there is a lot of production in medium and small businesses. Italy sells a particularly large number of goods to other countries in the European Union, such as Germany and France. Italy earns the most from crude oil that has been processed, for example into gasoline. Then there are medicines and then cars and parts for cars.