Friday, February 28, 2014

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History and Government of Italy

Early History

The rise of the Roman Empire has been the subject of much fascination, intrigue and interest from scholars, artists, travellers and students around the world, and through the ages. Dominating the world for many centuries, the modern world can pay great respect to the fruits of this mighty civilisation, with many important scientific inventions, art movements, architectural triumphs and philosophical ideas being born during Roman civilisation - most notably during the Renaissance. 


Founded sometime around 750 BC, Rome endures as one of the most important cities in the world. Home to such famous citizens as Julius Caesar, Emperor Augustus, Claudius, Nero, Mark Antony and Marcus Aurelius, Rome has enjoyed the great highs of dominating the Mediterranean region and the artistic triumphs of the Renaissance, but also the lows of the Great Fire of Rome, which ended up destroying a large part of the city. Rome has survived natural disasters, political turmoil, feuding families, the plague, war and more, to be the great city that is it today. Still a cultural and political powerhouse, any visit to Italy needs to include Rome's major sites in order to understand the birth of this nation. The Colosseum, The Pantheon, Circus Maximus and Palatine Hill are all great places to start.

Lasting centuries, the amazing history of Ancient Rome is full of dramatic twists and turns, and we suggest you read up on it before visiting.

Recent History

After the Renaissance, Italy was unified with Sardinia in 1861, becoming the Kingdom of Italy. After World War I, Italy came under the fascist rule of Benito Mussolini, who ruled until 1943. Siding with Nazi Germany in World War II, the Italian Army suffered many losses and ultimately surrendered in 1945. After a referendum in 1946, Italy became a Republic and flourished well during the 1950s and 1960s. The post-war period marks a time of economic progress for Italy, also largely reflected by the rest of the world's increased economic stability during this period of relative peace.

From the 1970s, Italians have lived with political upheaval and uncertainty. Corruption, organised crime, terrorism and government debt have created times of turmoil and concern. In 1994, media mogul Silvio Berlusconi was elected into office as Prime Minister but was forced to step down later in the year after losing support from his political partners. Undeterred, Berlusconi regained power in 2008 and has continued to rule Italy amid much controversy and scandal.

  • 753 BC - Rome is founded
  • 509 BC - Rome is declared a republic
  • 100 BC - Julius Caesar is born
  • 44 BC - Julius Caesar assassinated
  • 30 BC - Antony and Cleopatra commit suicide, Egypt becomes a Roman province
  • 27 BC - End of the Roman Republic, Augustus becomes sole ruler of the Roman Empire
  • 14 AD - Augustus dies, Tiberius becomes Emperor
  • 37 AD - Caligula becomes Emperor
  • 41 AD - Caligula assassinated, Claudius becomes Emperor
  • 43 AD - Britain is invaded by the Romans
  • 54 AD - Claudius is poisoned, Nero becomes Emperor
  • 64 AD - The Great Fire of Rome destroys a large part of the city
  • 79 AD - Titus becomes Emperor, Mt Vesuvius destroys Pompeii and Herculaneum
  • 117 AD - Hadrian becomes Emperor
  • 161 AD - Marcus Aurelius becomes Emperor
  • 313 AD - Constantine issues the Edict of Milan proclaiming religious tolerance and ending persecution of Christians
  • 410 AD - Rome is sacked by the Visigoths
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