Italy is a part of the world that’s been extremely productive when it comes to civilisation. The Roman Empire made its home here, as did the Catholic Church. It’s also an epicentre for a whole range of cultural phenomena.
Modern Italy is a country that is built around the role played by family. It’s this emphasis that’s allowed Italians to retain their identity, even as they’ve migrated to different parts of the world. The Italians, unlike people in other Western nations, use the word family to refer not just to their immediate relatives, but to distant cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces.
Another factor worth mentioning is religion. Catholicism is a significant power in Italian private and public life. A recent IPSOS poll found that around 68% of Italians are Christians, which compares with just 39% in Great Britain. In fact, even if you include other religions, the number in Great Britain only comes up to 48%.
It’s difficult to discuss Italian culture without reference to its all-conquering cuisine. Various types of pasta have made their way beyond the country’s borders, to become global staples. And that’s before we consider the influence of pizza.
Other corners of the country have their various specialities, too. In Sicily, you’ll want to check out the amazing seafood. In Tuscany, by contrast, it’s wine that you’ll be sampling.
Take a stroll through a major Italian city and you’ll see the influence that the nation has had on global architecture, from the Roman period right up to the Renaissance and beyond. Between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries, the country produced a succession of incredible architects, whose influence is felt across the globe, even now. Many of the most important buildings, naturally, are religious ones. The Basilica of St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome is an obvious highlight.
Fashion and design
When it comes to the clothes we wear, Italy is also a major contributor. Many of the most famous names in designer fashion have a distinctly Italian ring to them. Gucci, Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana: they’re all inseparable from Italian style and chic. The annual highlight of the global fashion calendar is the Fashion Week in Milan, which attracts some of the biggest names in the world.
If you’re planning a trip to Italy, then all of the facets of Italian culture we’ve discussed are almost inevitably going to feature somewhere in your itinerary. If you’d like to put the emphasis on something in particular, then you might readjust your plans accordingly. If you have an interest in Roman architecture, for example, it makes sense to pay a visit to Rome. If you’d like to sample the most authentic Italian pizza, then it’s a trip to Naples you should be considering.