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Italy NEWS

NFE/5.0en-USnews-webmaster@google.com2019 Google Inc.Sat, 16 Feb 2019 02:53:24 GMTGoogle News
French ambassador returns to Italy following dramatic spat  Washington Post

France has sent its ambassador back to Italy on Friday following the biggest diplomatic dispute between the two countries since World War II.

Washington Post
Taking sides: Italian defense industry rep attacks Franco-German fighter deal  DefenseNews.com

There are murmurings that Italy will seek closer ties with the U.K. as a consequence of a Franco-German fighter deal.

Father, brother, uncle of woman living in Italy cleared in her suspected ‘honor killing’ in Pakistan  Fox News

Despite an alleged confession, the father, brother and uncle of a Pakistani woman living in Italy were acquitted Friday of her death in a suspected “honor killing,” ...

Fox News
UPDATE 1-Italian bond yields jump as lawmaker says Italy may have to exit EU  Reuters

Italian government bond yields jumped on Friday after League party lawmaker Claudio Borghi said the country could leave the European Union if there were no ...

Unholy row in Italy after education ministry offers teachers exorcism courses  The Telegraph

There can be few teachers in the world who have not privately cursed the kids in their classroom as little devils. Italy has now gone one step further - offering ...

The Telegraph
Venice's Bibione beach is the first in Italy to ban smoking  The Guardian

Ban to take effect at the end of May after years of trials and research into air pollution at the Veneto seaside resort. Antonia Wilson. Thu 14 Feb 2019 11.48 EST ...

The Guardian
Italy's 2018 Debt Load Likely Rose Less Than Government Forecast  Bloomberg

Italy's debt load, the euro region's second-biggest, rose last year but the increase was slightly smaller than the populist government had expected, Bloomberg ...

Family acquitted over Italy woman's Pakistan 'honour killing'  BBC News

A court in Pakistan has acquitted the father, brother and uncle of a woman who died in a suspected honour killing last year. Sana Cheema, 26, lived in Italy but ...

BBC News
High-speed tunnel project divides Italy's ruling populists  Minneapolis Star Tribune

A strategic European Union project to build a high-speed rail tunnel through the Alps, meant to speed journeys between France and Italy, could dead-end as ...

Minneapolis Star Tribune
Fitch cuts Italy GDP forecast to 0.3% - English  Agenzia ANSA

Fitch on Friday cut Italy's 2019 GDP growth forecast to 0.3%, from 1.1% previously. The ratings agency cut the eurozone growth forecast from 1.7% to 1%.

Agenzia ANSA
Eurozone crisis: Shrinking Italy GDP forecast sparks fears of emergency election  Express.co.uk

ITALY'S shrinking financial economy has sparked fears the troubled nation could face an early election, plunging Europe into further chaos.

Italy's fugitive 'Tarzan' caught while visiting his mamma  The Local Italy

Italian police have arrested a fugitive who used a rope to swing in and out of his forest hideout, earning him the nickname "Tarzan", local media reported on ...

The Local Italy
Italy rejects record number of asylum applications  The Guardian

Italy has rejected a record 24,800 asylum applications in the last four months, and aid groups say hardline policies introduced by the rightwing populist ...

The Guardian
French Envoy Returns to Italy as Friendship Rekindles  U.S. News & World Report

PARIS (Reuters) - France's ambassador to Italy returned to Rome on Friday, eight days after his recall by President Emmanuel Macron, as the European ...

U.S. News & World Report
Carrefour to lay off 4% Italy workforce - English  Agenzia ANSA

(ANSA) - Milan, February 15 - French supermarket giant Carrefour Italia is to lay off some 4% of its Italian workforce or up to 590 people, according to its ...

Agenzia ANSA
Ancient looted artworks returned to Italy by Christie's auction house  CNN

Eight works of looted art -- some thought to be more than 2000 years old -- have been returned to Italy by the world-famous Christie's auction house.

Asiago War Memorial – Asiago, Italy  Atlas Obscura

Discover Asiago War Memorial in Asiago, Italy: The remains of 50000 World War I soldiers rest under a towering arch overlooking the Alpine battlefields.

Atlas Obscura
Italian FA president Gabriele Gravina on racism in Italy, lifting 'depression' after World Cup woe  ESPN.co.uk

ESPN FC sat down with 65-year-old Gabriele Gravina in Rome to reflect on his first 100 days as president of the FIGC.

Johnny Sexton passed fit to face Italy  RTE.ie

Jonathan Sexton will be fit to play for Ireland against Italy in their forthcoming Guinness Six Nations game with Italy on Sunday, 24 February. There were fears ...

Guy Verhofstadt calls Italian PM 'puppet' in angry exchange  The Guardian

A fiery exchange broke out in the European parliament on Tuesday after MEP Guy Verhofstadt called the Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, “a puppet”.

The Guardian
Commissioner challenges Tajani to joint trip over Italy-Slovenia row  POLITICO.eu

Visit would include two memorial sites on Italy's Liberation Day.

Italy PM sends European elections warning to EU critics - ‘They WON’T be re-elected!  Express.co.uk

ITALIAN Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has hit back at criticism from the EU after europhiles rounded on him in a European Parliament speech, saying many ...

Ferrari SF90 unveiled in Italy  Racer

Ferrari has launched the 2019 car it hopes can deliver its first championships in more than a decade by unveiling the SF90 in Italy. While Ferrari's last drivers' ...

EUROZONE CRISIS: Britain grows FASTER than Germany and Italy - EU on red alert  Express

BRITAIN'S economy grew faster than Germany's and Italy's at the end of last year, highlighting the increasing crisis engulfing the eurozone.

Buying property in Italy: An illustrated tale  The Local Italy

Think buying a home in Italy sounds divine? For Adam Rugnetta, an American in Milan, the experience was more like Dante's Inferno.

The Local Italy
Italy split by Inspector Montalbano's pro-migrant message on TV  The Guardian

Italy's most famous fictional detective has delivered a pro-migrant message on TV, angering supporters of the far-right deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini.

The Guardian
Italy’s Far-Right Firebrand Takes Aim at Europe  The Wall Street Journal

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, head of Italy's ruling League party, has tapped into Italian anger at the country's ineffectual political establishment. But a look at ...

The Wall Street Journal
Bank of Italy's gold belongs to Italians - Salvini - English  Agenzia ANSA

(ANSA) - Rome, February 11 - Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said Monday that the Bank of Italy's gold reserves are "the property of the ...

Agenzia ANSA
Troubling Times at the Bank of Italy  Bloomberg

The populist government has made some worrying interventions in Consob and the central bank. It should take a leaf out of Donald Trump's book instead.

France and Italy's gilets jaunes feud sums up the EU's big problem  Quartz

France and Italy are in a diplomatic crisis, provoked by a recent meeting between Italy's deputy prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, and representatives of the French ...

Israel inks multi-million-dollar deal with Italy for training helicopters  The Times of Israel

Defense Ministry says reciprocal procurement agreement will see Rome buy equivalent value in Israeli military technology.

The Times of Israel
TIM, Olivetti launch new range of NB-IoT-based services in Italy  RCR Wireless News

Italian carrier TIM, along with compatriot company Olivetti, has unveiled a range of services for narrowband internet of things technology. The operator said that ...

RCR Wireless News
Britain dodged angry nativism; France and Italy did not  Washington Examiner

The last time France recalled its ambassador to Rome was in June 1940. Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini, observing the collapse of the French army ...

Washington Examiner
Climate Change Is Hurting Olive Oil, Italy Will Run out in 2019  Fodor's Travel

According to a recent report, Italy could be out of olive oil within four months. Experts are citing the harsh weather associated with climate change as one of the ...

Fodor's Travel
Italy could be about to challenge Trump over NATO spending  CNBC

There could be *fresh* tensions over NATO contributions with Italy's defense minister suggesting the rules should be changed on how countries contribute to the ...

No politics please, say Italian club reaping benefits of Austrian move  KFGO News

By Julien Pretot PARIS (Reuters) - The centenary of South Tyrol becoming part of Italy marks the sixth year since Bolzano's ice hockey club joined the Austrian ...

Bank stocks, Italy bonds rally as ECB's Coeure paves way for new cash boost for banks  Reuters UK

Euro zone banking shares jumped over three percent, the euro fell and Italy's bond yields tumbled on Friday after the European Central Bank's Benoit Coeure ...

Reuters UK
Italy's pirate hunter warship docks in Abu Dhabi for Idex  The National

The scourge of sea piracy at the start of this decade led to the pillage, theft and hijacking of vessels worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and the kidnapping and ...

The National
France Recalls Ambassador to Italy, Revealing Strains at Europe’s Core  The New York Times

Building tensions reached a breaking point after Italy's deputy prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, met this week in France with a Yellow Vest leader.

The New York Times
Small-cap spotlight: Global Petroleum latest to warn on new Italy legislation  Evening Standard

Welcome to Small-Cap Spotlight where the Evening Standard business team will bring investors rolling coverage and analysis on all the major small cap news ...

Evening Standard
Italy Eyes Box Office Turnaround  Variety

Box office returns in Italy suffered their worst result in a decade last year dropping about 5% to €555 million ($631 million), but the market is reacting and 2019 ...

Bell Tower of Caorle – Caorle, Italy  Atlas Obscura

Discover Bell Tower of Caorle in Caorle, Italy: Over 900 years old and slightly leaning, this is the only cylindrical bell tower with a conical top in the world.

Atlas Obscura
PwC Italy Partner Is Probably In a Lot of Trouble, You Guys  Going Concern

So, there was this accounting scandal in early 2017 at the Italian unit of British phone company BT, in which nearly two dozen people at BT Global Services, ...

Going Concern
How to swap your British driving licence for an Italian one  The Local Italy

Brits living in Europe have been warned to exchange their driving licences before the UK leaves the EU in March. Here's how to get started in Italy.

The Local Italy
Digitally Mapping Cultural Heritage Sites in Italy, Brazil, and Turkey  Hyperallergic

The Getty Foundation has awarded $1 million in grants to support virtual preservation of cultural locations worldwide. Sarah Rose Sharp2 days ago · Facebook ...

Italy Falls Back Into Recession – Raising Concerns for E.U.  TIME

(MILAN) — Italy has fallen back into recession, intensifying concerns about the 19-country eurozone economy and a possible flare-up in the debt market jitters ...

Italian-Egyptian singer's victory angers Matteo Salvini  The Guardian

An Italian-Egyptian singer has become the latest target of Italy's rightwing populist government after he won the Sanremo song festival, an annual competition ...

The Guardian
END OF EU? Italy issues STERN warning over populist surge in elections - 'You'll be gone!'  Express.co.uk

ITALY'S leadership has pledged to purge its central bank of officials who stick to European Union rules to the detriment of Italians as the populist government in ...

Italy 15-26 Wales: Six Nations 2019 — as it happened  The Guardian

Wales won their 11th straight match but made hard work of overcoming a spirited Italian side, only pulling clear when Warren Gatland turned to his key men on ...

The Guardian
How To Build A (Successful) Career In Wine: A Case Study From Italy  Forbes

Is it worth it, ultimately, to undertake a demanding and taxing wine education program? What could you do in your career that you wouldn't be able to do without ...

'Migrant menace': Salvini accused of targeting refugees and ignoring mafia  The Guardian

Organised crime increasingly being forgotten in favour of anti-migrant efforts, say observers.

The Guardian
Italy forces iPhone battery throttling notice posting on Apple's Italian homepage  AppleInsider

Apple's homepage in Italy has been required to display a report about iOS updates affecting performance if a battery is chemically depleted or not functioning ...

Robert Mapplethorpe at Madre, Naples, Italy  ARTnews

Pictures at an Exhibition presents images of one notable show every weekday. Today's show: “Robert Mapplethorpe: Choreography for an Exhibition ” is on view ...

Italy Looks Like an Endless Festival Because It Is One  The New York Times

In a time of confusion and fear across Europe and America, Italians' emotions also are at fever pitch. But that's not enough to break their real core: the joys of life ...

The New York Times
Italy warns it will ’SHAKE’ UP EU - Rome in SHOWDOWN talks with Brussels TODAY  Express.co.uk

The Italian populist government wants to “give the European Union a shake” and restart it before it plunges into an even deeper crisis, Mr Conte said. The head ...

Mancini: Italy can win Euro 2020  Football Italia

Roberto Mancini insists Italy can win Euro 2020 and 'no teams are clearly better than us'. “Argentina couldn't win with Messi and the others don't have Messi…”.

Football Italia
Massive Emperor Trump Float Presides Over Italian Carnival  TIME

A giant, godlike President Trump float made its debut on the first day of one of Italy's most famous carnival events this weekend. The Carnevale Di Viargeggio ...

Global Thirst for Bonds Has Investors Scooping Up Italian Debt  Bloomberg

Italy is just the latest major borrower to benefit from searing global demand for sovereign bonds, with investors casting aside concerns about the country's ...

PREVIEW: Macleod to captain Scarlets in Italy : Match Centre  Welsh Rugby Union

The 22-year-old loose forward will start at blindside flanker with former Springbok Uzair Cassiem returning to the No 8 jersey after a spell on the sidelines, while ...

Welsh Rugby Union
Davis Cup draw: U.S. with Canada, Italy; '18 champ Croatia with Spain  Tennis Magazine

The revamped format was developed in a partnership between the International Tennis Federation and Kosmos, an investment group founded by Spanish ...

Tennis Magazine
Right-wing parties win regional Italian election  POLITICO.eu

Ballot pit the 5Stars and League against one another.

Why Italy's Debts Are Europe's Big Problem  Bloomberg

Banks outside the country are holding almost $490 billion of Italian debts.

Italy tourism minister attacks plans for Venice day-trippers charge  The Guardian

Gian Marco Centinaio says plan to charge visitors up to €10 is 'useless and damaging'

The Guardian
Matteo Salvini talks up seizing control of Italy’s gold reserves  Financial Times

Matteo Salvini has raised the possibility of wresting control of Italy's sizeable gold reserves away from the country's central bank in the latest in a series of threats ...

Financial Times
It shouldn’t matter that Italy’s Eurovision rep is half Egyptian – but in Salvini’s far-right government, it means everything  The Independent

Mahmood is a talented artist with a promising future, who has been forced into a being symbol not by the left, but by the same people who accuse the opposition ...

The Independent
Italy seeks changes to NATO defense spending rules  POLITICO.eu

'Spending money to develop cybersecurity defenses should count the same as spending money to buy tanks,' defense minister says.

Netherlands Blasts Italy Budget Truce, Doubts Numbers Add Up  Bloomberg

Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra lashed out at the European Commission's truce with Italy over Rome's spending plans, in comments highlighting ...

Genevolution - Italian City Looks To Open It's Arms To The World After Recent Bridge Tragedy  Forbes

This last September during an unusually warm mid-morning, 43 names were read aloud echoing across the main Piazza De Ferrari Square in Genoa, Italy.

Italy government approves flagship welfare reforms  Reuters

ROME (Reuters) - The Italian government on Thursday approved flagship reforms of the welfare and pension system, election pledges of the anti-establishment ...

Italy's Silvio Berlusconi Is Back After Announcing His Candidacy for European Parliament  TIME

Silvio Berlusconi is running for the European Parliament in May elections after being banned from running due to a tax fraud conviction.

Four bodies found in search for skiers missing in Italy  The Guardian

Bodies found under two metres of snow after avalanche in resort of Courmayeur.

The Guardian
'EU leaders are no longer CREDIBLE!' Italy boasts Brussels bosses will be TOPPLED in May  Express.co.uk

ITALY has hit back at EU intervention, with one MEP claiming the leaders of the European Commission “had no credibility” before predicting a leadership ...

Italian town puts dozens of homes on market for as little as €1  The Guardian

British house prices may be falling, but you would still be hard-pressed to find a cheaper property than those on sale in one Sicilian town, where homes are ...

The Guardian
Italian soccer team trapped at practice facility by angry sheep’s milk farmers  The Washington Post

Dairy farmers and shepherds on the Italian island of Sardinia rallied at the training ground of Serie A soccer club Cagliari Calcio on Saturday morning, ...

The Washington Post
Row with France could lift divided Italian coalition  Reuters

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's ruling coalition has hit fierce turbulence for the first time since taking office last June, with diplomatic crises, ideological divisions and ...

Italy’s 5Stars launch new group in European Parliament  POLITICO.eu

Di Maio says group's aim is 'putting together a different Europe.'

Italy sets online casino record as sports betting slides  CalvinAyre.com

Italy's sports betting revenue slips in January as Serie A takes winter break while online casino soars to new revenue record.

Italy Ordered To Pay Damages To Amanda Knox  NPR

The European Court of Human Rights ordered the country to pay Knox nearly $21000 for failing to provide legal assistance and an interpreter when police ...

Aids:Italian vaccine eliminates 90% of virus reservoir - English  Agenzia ANSA

(ANSA) - Rome, February 13 - Administering the Italian Tat vaccination in chronically cART-treated HIV/Aids patients can drastically reduce the virus reservoir, ...

Agenzia ANSA
Nigerian man kills himself in Italy after residence permit denial  The Guardian

Prince Jerry, 25, 'fell into deep depression' after losing appeal to stay in country, say sources.

The Guardian
Will 'Real Housewives' Star Teresa Giudice's Kids Move to Italy If Their Father Gets Deported?  The Cheat Sheet

Teresa Giudice's life has been a whirlwind for the past couple of years. She spent time in jail, and now her husband is currently serving his sentence. However ...

The Cheat Sheet
Italy: Hundreds of thousands protest populist government  DW (English)

Hundreds of thousands of Italians marched through the streets of Rome on Saturday to protest the populist government's economic policies. Under the banner "A ...

DW (English)
Venezuela crisis: Italy is ‘LOSING FACE’ by not standing by Guaido says Salvini  Express.co.uk

ITALY'S interior minister Matteo Salvini said Rome is 'losing face' by not openly backing Juan Gauido's self-declared interim leadership in Venezuela.

New Bond film to start shooting in Italian city of Matera  The Local Italy

Part of James Bond's latest adventure will be filmed in one of Italy's most distinctive landscapes: the ancient southern city of Matera.

The Local Italy
Alpine Tunnel Splits Italy’s Populists  The Wall Street Journal

A fight over a proposed high-speed railroad that includes a 35-mile tunnel under the Alps threatens to rupture the young government because of an ...

The Wall Street Journal
5 fights between France and Italy  POLITICO.eu

The recalling of the French ambassador to Rome is the culmination of years of bad blood.


Italy Videos

10 Best Places To Visit In Italy | 2018
10 Best Places To Visit In Italy | 2018
Visit Italy - The DON'Ts of Visiting Italy
Visit Italy - The DON'Ts of Visiting Italy
Visit Italy: What You Should Know Before You Visit Italy
Visit Italy: What You Should Know Before You Visit Italy
Lisa Cimorelli - Italy (Official Audio + Lyrics in Description)
Lisa Cimorelli - Italy (Official Audio + Lyrics in Description)
Top 10 Best Tourist Destinations In Italy
Top 10 Best Tourist Destinations In Italy
What tourists shouldn't wear in Italy! - Italian dress code from a local
What tourists shouldn't wear in Italy! - Italian dress code from a local
Geography Now! Italy
Geography Now! Italy
Experience the Real Italy: Walking Through the Streets of Naples
Experience the Real Italy: Walking Through the Streets of Naples
Amazing Facts about Italy in urdu - Italy a mysterious country
Amazing Facts about Italy in urdu - Italy a mysterious country
Italian Pasta 'Orecchiette' with 'Burrata' Cheese. Italy Street Food
Italian Pasta 'Orecchiette' with 'Burrata' Cheese. Italy Street Food

Italy Images

VisitsItaly.com - Liguria Region - Pictues of Corniglia
VisitsItaly.com - Liguria Region - Pictues of Corniglia
Cortona, Tuscany (Italy) | Cortona, Tuscany (Italy) | Flickr
Cortona, Tuscany (Italy) | Cortona, Tuscany (Italy) | Flickr
VisitsItaly.com -The Friuli Region - Pictures of Udine
VisitsItaly.com -The Friuli Region - Pictures of Udine
Lake Como, Italy | See on Google Maps Lake Como, Italy ...
Lake Como, Italy | See on Google Maps Lake Como, Italy ...
Piccolo cimitero di campagna - Little country cemetery (Ma ...
Piccolo cimitero di campagna - Little country cemetery (Ma ...
Processional Cross from Venice Italy 14th century Brass ...
Processional Cross from Venice Italy 14th century Brass ...
Pompeii Artifacts | Pompeii, Italy | Curtis Perry | Flickr
Pompeii Artifacts | Pompeii, Italy | Curtis Perry | Flickr
Maastricht wallpaper – WeNeedFun
Maastricht wallpaper – WeNeedFun
Travel for Kids Naples Archeological Museum Photos
Travel for Kids Naples Archeological Museum Photos

Italy WebSites

Piazze d'Italia 180" A holiday "Made in Italy" is tailor-made for you. The richest artistic heritage in the world, the warmth of the Mediterranean, breath-taking...
Italy (Italian: Italia ()), officially the Italian Republic (Italian: Repubblica Italiana [reˈpubblika itaˈljaːna]), is a country in Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City.Italy covers an area of 301,340 km 2 (116,350 sq mi) and has a largely ...
Italy Tourism: TripAdvisor has 43,647,734 reviews of Italy Hotels, Attractions, and Restaurants making it your best Italy resource.
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Italy: Geographical and historical treatment of Italy, including maps and a survey of its people, economy, and government. Italy comprises some of the most varied and scenic landscapes on Earth, and its more than 3,000-year history has been marked by episodes of temporary unification and long separation.
Italy (Italian: Italia) is a country in Southern Europe.Together with Greece, it is acknowledged as the birthplace of Western culture.Not surprisingly, it is also home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. High art and monuments are to be found everywhere around the country.
Italy The mozzarella alone could justify the cost of airfare. Add in maze-like medieval hill towns, wine that's cheaper than water, and art more famous than the Pope…and, well, what are you still doing at home?
The latest Tweets from Italy (@azzurri). Official international Twitter of the Italian Football Team with news and updates from the #Azzurri's world. Hashtag: #vivoazzurro Twitter IT: @Vivo_Azzurro
Bell'Italia! Italy has Europe's richest, craziest culture. After all, this nation is the cradle of European civilization — established by the Roman Empire and carried on by the Roman Catholic Church.
Italy is a unitary parliamentary republic in Southern Europe, bordering several neighboring countries to the north and consisting of the entire Italian peninsula to the south.

Italy Wiki

Italy (Italian: Italia [iˈtaːlja] (listen)), officially the Italian Republic (Italian: Repubblica Italiana [reˈpubblika itaˈljaːna]), is a country in Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe.Due to its central geographic location in Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has historically been home to a myriad of peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient Italian tribes and Italic peoples dispersed throughout the Italian Peninsula and insular Italy, beginning from the classical era, Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Greeks established settlements in the south of Italy, with Etruscans and Celts inhabiting the centre and the north of Italy respectively. The Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which eventually became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People. The Roman Republic conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the peninsula, in some cases through the establishment of federations, and the Republic eventually expanded and conquered parts of Europe, North Africa and the Near East. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became the leading cultural, political and religious centre of Western civilisation, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's technology, economy, art and literature flourished. Italy remained the homeland of the Romans and the metropole of the Roman Empire. The legacy of the Roman Empire endured its fall and can be observed in the global distribution of culture, law, governments, Christianity and the Latin script.During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured sociopolitical collapse and barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival city-states and maritime republics, mainly in the northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity through shipping, commerce and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism. These mostly independent statelets served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East, often enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe; however, part of central Italy was under the control of the theocratic Papal States, while Southern Italy remained largely feudal until the 19th century, partially as a result of a succession of Byzantine, Arab, Norman, Angevin and Aragonese conquests of the region.The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science, exploration and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars, artists and polymaths such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Galileo and Machiavelli. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Nevertheless, Italy's commercial and political power significantly waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left the region fragmented, and it was subsequently conquered and further divided by European powers such as France, Spain and Austria.By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was almost entirely unified in 1871, establishing the Kingdom of Italy as a great power. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy rapidly industrialised, namely in the north, and acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained largely impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora. Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and the Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoil (e.g. the anni di piombo, the Maxi Trial, and mani pulite) became a major advanced country.Today, Italy is considered to be one of the world's most culturally and economically developed countries, with its economy ranking eighth largest in the world and third in the Eurozone. As an advanced economy, it has the sixth-largest worldwide national wealth, and is ranked third for its central bank gold reserve. Italy has a very high level of human development, and it stands among the top countries for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military, cultural and diplomatic affairs, and it is both a regional power and a great power. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area and many more.As a reflection of its cultural wealth, Italy is home to 54 World Heritage Sites, the most in the world, and is the fifth-most visited country.