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Europe >> Italy >> Culture of Italy

Culture of Italy

Italy, with one of the oldest civilizations of the world, has contributed to art, architecture, music, philosophy, and literature immeasurably. It was at the forefront of the movement of cultural ‘rebirth’ that swept Europe in the 15th century, with those like the Medici family providing great encouragement to artistic talent.

The history of art in Italy dates all the way back to the Classical Period, the times of the Greeks and Etruscans. Whether the Gothic or the Renaissance, the Romanesque or the Byzantine, you’ll be exposed to most major art movements that the world ever witnessed. Italy bears the legacy of the greats of the Renaissance: Giotto, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian and Raphael and master composers like Verdi, Vivaldi, Puccini and Rossini. You can lose yourself in the priceless art of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, Uffizi Gallery and Medici Museum in Florence and other centres in Rome, Venice and Naples.

Adding to this richness are Italy’s regional folk dances, such as the ballu or the tunfu, called the "round dance", performed to the accompaniment of the Italian accordion or the Sardini.

Opera is more alive in Italy today than anywhere else, and you can treat yourself to the soulful sounds of the Italian sopranos. Choirs, art classes, symphony, ballet and opera are synonymous with Italy and Italian culture. World-class presentations take place at Venice and Milan, while open-air shows are on in summer at Rome, along with other year round concerts and national performances can be seen at Florence.

In literature too, the work of Italian masters like Horace, Seneca, Ovid and Virgil has been invaluable. Dante, Machiavelli, and the great chroniclers Petrarch and Boccachio were all Italian. In recent times the playwright Luigi Pirandello, novelist Italo Calvino and Umberto Eco have ensured that Italy continues to influence the world of literature.

Even the world of cinema has benefited from Italian creativity and passion. Bernardo Bertolucci and Federico Fellini being just two examples of this.

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