rome-coliseumRome is the capital of Italy and one of the world’s greatest historic cities.
For hundreds of years, Rome was the supreme power of Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia. Rome lies on the banks of the Tiber river in central Italy.
Ancient Rome was built on seven hills. Today the Eternal City encompasses about 20.
The Coliseum, a huge half-ruined amphitheatre, is one of the chief landmarks.
The Vatican City, in the centre of Rome is home to St. Peter’s Church, the world’s largest Christian church and impressive example of Renaissance architecture.
The Trevi Fountain, completed in 1762, is very popular with tourists as it is said that visitors who throw coins into the fountain will someday return to the Eternal City. It also features in a famous scene from Italian director, Federico Fellini’s film La dolce vita.
Throughout Rome there are many beautiful squares, connected by busy streets. The heart of Rome and its commercial centre is around the Piazza Colonna.
People-watching is a popular occupation here as Romans and visitors alike sit in outdoor cafes or stroll through some of the open-air markets.

Italy PastaPasta. It is said that pasta was first brought to Italy by the ancient Greeks. The first form was called makaria, which is probably what we know as macaroni.

There are an estimated 400 known shapes in existence and a Spaghetti Historical Museum in Pontedassio shows the history of the food.

This all aside, however, pasta is not the staple diet of the Italians as its popularity portrayed. As in many other European countries each region has its own culinary specialty. The sausages of Bologna, the prosciutto (salted ham) of Parma and the minestrone of Milan are just few examples.

Most Italians would not order pasta when they go out to eat but take advantage of some of the finest fruits, vegetables or seafood in Europe has to offer, within their own country.

italy-mapShoes. Italian have a reputation for being stylish and well-dressed.
Indeed they spend more on clothes and shoes than any other 27members of the EU. In fact it amounts to 10% of their total expenditure . It is no surprise then perhaps, that these industries are so important to their economy. Italy is Europe’s largest producer of shoes, and the world’s second largest (behind China). Coupled to this, is the industry’s reputation for quality and design. Shoes from Italy have a cachet that cannot be matched by any other country. Perhaps this is in part a reflection on how the Italian shoe industry operates. Traditionally, most firms are small and family run. Until recently, the Gucci firm was a perfect example of this. Their company was set up by Maurizio Gucci in Florence at the turn of the century, and it has grown and diversified ever since. Its famous loafers were worn by the likes of Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly in the 1960s, and in 1980s the firm reiterated its old philosophy of craftsmanship and quality to a new generation, and is enjoying continued success today.

sistine-chapel_michelangelo_last-judgmentArt. Italy was the birthplace of some of the greatest names in art and sculptures.
Italian artists played important roles in early Christian art and in the style of the Middle Ages.
Giotto, an artist of the early Renaissance, was part of a revolutionary movement in painting which began showing the human body as three dimensional and did not limit the subject matter to merely religious themes. Renaissance painters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Botticelli also made their works more realistic and introduced changes in the use of colour. Many of Michelangelo’s greatest paintings decorate the ceiling and the front wall of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel. He is widely regarded as the most eminent artist of the Renaissance. Among the best-known modern Italian artists are the painters Giorgio de Chirico and Amedeo Modigliani, the sculptors Giacomo Manzù and Marino Marini and the architect Gino Coppedè.
Every year, countless visitors come to Italy to see some of the priceless art collections and magnificent architecture, Rome and Florence being the two most popular destinations.

Luciano PavarottiPavarotti has become one of the most famous international opera stars this century. He has also helped to revive its popularity.
Born in Modena, Italy in 1935, Luciano Pavarotti made his professional debut in Reggio Emilia in 1961.

He was widely admired for the warmth and flexibility if his voice, the security of his high notes and the intensity of emotions in his singing. Pavarotti has concentrated almost entirely on Italian operas and songs and his most popular song is a version of Nessum Dorma.

One of the best-selling classical music albums of all time is a recording of the 1994 concert in Los Angeles given by Pavarotti, Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo “The Three Tenors”.

Ciao from Rome!

Nancy Aiello

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