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Italy

Population, People, and Culture

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Population
 
Population: 57,634,327
 
Population growth rate: 0.09%
 
Age Structure: 0-14 years - 14%
                     15-64 years - 68%
                     65 and over - 18%
 
Birth Rate : 9.13 births/1.000 population
 
Death Rate: 99.99 deaths/1.000 population
 
Infant Martality Rate: 5.92 deaths/1.000 live births
 
Life Expectancy: male-75.85 yeats
                         female-82.41 yeats
 
Fertility Rate: 1.18 children born/woman
 
Language: The offical language is Italian. Other languages are German, French
                and Slovene
 
Religions: Predominately Roman Cathloic.
                

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People and Culture
 
 
Italians are warm welcoming people who have a very unique culture and lifestyle. They offer fine wines, exceptional cuisine, high art and great historical sites.
 
The Cuisine
A traditional Italian meal is usually eaten midday starting with a course of pasta, followed by the main course, usually meat or fish and sometimes an antipasto or appetizer served before the pasta. A desert usually consists of fresh fruit. Fresh bread is eaten throughout the entire meal. After the meal a cup of espresso is usually served. For breakfast Italians usually eat a hard roll, jam and a mixture of coffee and hot milk. Italian food differs from north to south. In the north the pasta is mainly flat ribbon shaped served with a cream sauce and in the south the pasta is mainly a macaroni served with a tomato based sauce. All Italian dishes are made with fresh produce and can be found in any sidewalk cafe found in almost any city in Italy. A popular first course meal is called risotto, rice with vegetables. Some popular meats are veal and pork. Italians also cherish their cheese, sometimes even serving it alone for a meal! Pizza is a popular snack food in Italy, usually eaten as a light meal. Wine is traditionally served at every sitting.
 
 

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Eating Pizza in Rome

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A course of cheese served to us for supper in Rome.

Way of Life
In Italy the northern part of the country is wealther and more industralized that the southern part of the country. In the north people are employed in the service, manufacturing and construction industries while in the south they are heavily involved with agriculture. 
 
In Italy most people live in unban areas.  The top three largest cities are Rome, Milan and Naples.  City life is much different then rural life in many ways.  Most people who live in the city live in concrete apartment buildings. Only wealthy people live in private houses.  Old sections of the city have low apartment buildings while the newer areas have higher buildings.  Most people that are unmarried live with their parents, and young women often work outside of the home.
 
In the past people living in rural areas usually lived in apartments if they were of the lower class and in homes if they were of the higher class.  Communities consisted of cramped settlements surrounded by a large area of farm land.  Today times are changing and more and more people are moving out of appartments and into single family homes.  These homes are often built in rural areas outside of an old community center.
 
 

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Traditional Italian houses

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Apartment buildings in Italy

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A Family home in Italy

The Art
Italy is world famous for the art it produced during the renaissance period.  This cultural movement began in the early 1300-1600.  During this time Italy produced some of the greatest painters, sculptors , composers and architects. During the end of the Renaissance period until the 1700's the baroque art movement dominated.
 
The first significant architecture was a christian basilica called old St.Peters Basilica. This stood on the sight of the present St. Peters Basilica in the Vatican City.  Filippo Brunelleschi also made a great contribution to architectural design in italy designing many statues and a world famous dome for the Cathedral of Florence.
 
Painting was also reborn in the renaissance period as Florence was the centre of the early art. The renaissance produced many great painters, the greatest said to be Leonardo Da Vinci in the 1400's. The end of the Renaissance period was dominated by the painter Michelanglo who helped design St.Peters Basilica and also painted the Sistine Chapel both of which are located in the Vatican City.

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The Trevi Fountain ,Rome.

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A girl painting on the cobble stone streets of Florence Italy

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Cathedral in Florence

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A painting in the Vatician City Museum, Vatican City

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Dome of St. Peters Basilica, Vatican City

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Ceiling in the Sistine Chapel, painted my Michelangelo

Religion
The Roman Catholic denominatin dominates the population of Italy.  About 95% of citizens are Roman Cathloic but only about 30% attend church on a regular basis. Roman Cathloic was made the offical religion of Italy under 1929 Lateran pacts with the Vatican.  This status ended in 1985 when revisions to pacts provided for separations of the church and the state. The Roman Catholic denomination has so much power in Italy that there is an agreement called the Concordat which governs the relationship between Italy and the Roman Catholic Church. It excludes priests and members of the religion from entering the military and gives tax exemptions to religious organizations. Located in Italy's capital, Rome,  is the Vatican City. It  is the spiritual and govermental center of the Roman Catholic church and the home of the pope. It is a country entirely by itself within the city of Rome and is completely independent from italy.
 
Other small religions groups in Italy include Protestants, Muslims and Jews.

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St. Peters Square, Vatican City

Vatican City
St. Peters Square, Vatican City

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A ticket to the Vatican City Museum

Appearance
As strange as it may sound, Italians appearance changes from North to South.  In the south Italians usually have olive complexions, dark hair and dark eyes.  They are generally shorter than northerners. In the North there is a more varied mixture of people and it is often hard to distinguish from French and Germans.  Most often northerners have fair complexions, and ocasionally blond hair.

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An Italian Lady

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Another Italian Lady in the Colessium

Recreation
Italians enjoy a wide variety of sports, soccer being the most popular. Every major city in the country has a professional soccer team. Basketball is also important and some cities have more then one professional team. Some other forms of recreation in Italy are fishing, hunting, cycling, rollerskating and basketball.  Sundays in Italy are usually spent with families who will often drive to the seashore or the mountains to spend a day or afternoon.
 
 

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Created by Christina Whelan