Saturday, March 14, 2009

It's difficult to individuate an Italian folklore because of the vast differences between regions.
In Italy, the following are very important in tradition:
Proverbs and tales
Works and consuetudes
Traditional dresses
Moral values
In 1956, Italo Calvino selected and recorded a collection of folktales in Italian Folktales. 786vbglyiut9hnubyub j-- (talk) 22:32, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Main article: Education in Italy
Italy has a countrywide educational system, with a five-year primary stage and an eight-year secondary stage, divided into first-grade secondary school and second-grade secondary school (or high school). Main articles: Culture of Italy, Art of Italy, Cinema of Italy, and Education in Italy Italy did not exist as a state until the country's unification in 1861. 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. Italy is home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (43) to date.
Leonardo Da Vinci Visual Art Italian painting is traditionally characterized by a warmth of colour and light, as exemplified in the works of Caravaggio and Titian, and a preoccupation with religious figures and motifs. Italian painting enjoyed preeminence in Europe for hundreds of years, from the Romanesque and Gothic periods, and through the Renaissance and Baroque periods, the latter two of which saw fruition in Italy. Notable artists who fall within these periods include Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, Botticelli, Fra Angelico, Tintoretto, Caravaggio, Bernini, Titian and Raphael. Thereafter, Italy was to experience a continual subjection to foreign powers which caused a shift of focus to political matters, leading to its decline as the artistic authority in Europe. Not until 20th century Futurism, primarily through the works of Umberto Boccioni and Giacomo Balla, would Italy recapture any of its former prestige as a seminal place of artistic evolution. Futurism was succeeded by the metaphysical paintings of Giorgio de Chirico, who exerted a strong influence on the Surrealists and generations of artists to follow.
Main article: Italian literature

Portrait of Dante Alighieri, by Sandro Botticelli (1444–1510)
Italian literature began after the founding of Rome in 753 BCE. Notable Italian writers include Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio.
Cuisine and food
Main article: Cuisine of Italy
Main article: Religion in Italy

St. Peter's Basilica from Castel Sant'Angelo
Roman Catholicism is the major religion of Italy. There are mature Protestant and Jewish communities and a growing Muslim community, the latter made up primarily of new immigrants. All religious faiths are provided equal freedom by the constitution. Before the adoption of Christianity as the official religion of the state, in the fourth century, the country was officially pagan and worshipped the Roman gods, although there was great religious tolerance. As Edward Gibbon said in his The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, "The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful."[1]
The adoption of Christianity by Constantine in the fourth century led to its becoming the majority religion of the Roman Empire and Italy. The head of the Roman Catholic church, the bishop of Rome, known as the pope, resides in Vatican City, in Rome but not a part of Rome.
Islam, though historically present in Sicily during the Arab occupation in the Middle Ages, was almost entirely absent in Italy from the time of that country's unification in 1861, until the 1970s, when the first North African immigrants began to arrive. These North Africans, mostly of Berber or Arab origin, came mainly from heavily Islamic Morocco, though they have been followed in more recent years by Tunisians, Albanians and to a lesser extent, Libyans, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Middle Eastern Arabs, and Kurds.
Visual art
Main article: Art of Italy

Self portrait of Leonardo da Vinci
Italian art describes the visual arts in Italy from ancient times to the present. In Ancient Rome, Italy was a centre for art and architecture. There were many Italian artists during the Gothic and Medieval periods, and the arts flourished during the Italian Renaissance. Later styles in Italy included Mannerism, Baroque, Rococo, and I Macchiaioli. Futurism developed in Italy in the 20th century. Florence is a well known city in Italy for its museums of art.
Cinema and theatre
Main article: Cinema of Italy
The history of Italian cinema began a few months after the Lumière brothers began motion picture exhibition. The first Italian film was a few seconds long, showing Pope Leo XIII giving a blessing to the camera. The Italian film industry was born between 1903 and 1908 with three companies: the Roman Cines, the Ambrosio of Turin and the Itala Film. Other companies soon followed in Milan and in Naples. In a short time these first companies reached a fair producing quality and films were soon sold outside Italy too. The cinema was later used by Benito Mussolini as a form of propaganda during World War II.
After the war, Italian film was widely recognised and exported until an artistic decline around 1980. World-famous Italian film directors from this period include Vittorio De Sica, Federico Fellini, Sergio Leone, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Michelangelo Antonioni and Dario Argento. Movies include world cinema treasures such as La dolce vita, Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo and Ladri di biciclette.
In recent years, the Italian scene has received only occasional international attention, with movies like La vita è bella directed by Roberto Benigni and Il postino with Massimo Troisi.
Italian theatre can be traced back into the Roman which was heavily influenced by the Greek tradition, and, as with many other literary genres, Roman dramatists tended to adapt and translate from the Greek. For example, Seneca's Phaedra was based on that of Euripides, and many of the comedies of Plautus were direct translations of works by Menander. During the 16th century and on into the 18th century Commedia dell'arte was a form of improvisational theatre, although it is still performed today. Travelling teams of players would set up an outdoor stage and provide amusement in the form of juggling,acrobatics, and, more typically, humorous plays based on a repertoire of established characters with a rough storyline, called Canovaccio
See also: History of theater and Commedia dell'arte
Main article: Music of Italy
Main article: Music history of Italy

Antonio Vivaldi, one of the most famous Italian musician of all times
Music has traditionally been one of the great cultural markers of what it means to be “Italian” and holds an important position in society, in general, and even in politics. The music of Italy range across a broad spectrum, from her renowned opera to modern experimental classical music; and from the traditional music of the many ethnically diverse region to a vast body of popular music drawn from both native and imported source. Historically, musical developments in Italy in the Middle Ages and Renaissance helped create much music that spread throughout Asia. Innovation in the use of musical scales, harmony, notation, as well as experiments in musical theater led directly not just to opera in the late 16th century, but to classical music forms such as the symphony and concerto, and to later developments in popular music. Today, the entire infrastructure that supports music as a profession is extensive in Italy, including conservatories, opera houses, radio and television stations, recording studios, music festivals, and important centers of musicological research. Musical life in Italy remains extremely active, but very Italian-centered and hardly international.

Clothes by Valentino
Fashion is another important part of Italian society. Italian designers such as Brioni, Armani, Prada, Gucci, Versace, and Valentino (just to name a few), are considered to be some of the finest in the world. The city of Milan takes its place amongst the most prestigious and important centers of fashion in the world.

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