Friday, 23 March 2012

ITALY - Art Capital of the World

Italy has a great history, art and extreme climate.

Surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea it is a long Peninsular in the shape of a boot. It has the snow covered Alps in the north, then the industrial area and the hot landscape down south.

Most of Italy has a Mediterranean climate which is hot in the summer and the winter is mild. Only in the north where the Dolomites are the climate is cold in the winter with heavy snowfall and the summer are hot but not as hot as down south.  It borders on France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia..
Bears and wolves are still found in the mountains in central Italy with wild boars in the forests and deer on the hills. Lizards are widespread. You also find poisonous centipede, scorpion and tarantula spiders. The fishing industry is mainly of anchovies, sardines and tunny.
The flat valley of the river Po which is in the north has the best farmland. Apples and pears are grown between wheat and maize. On the lower wetland are sugar beet and rice grown. There are many large mechanized farms. In the north, in the valleys of the Alps are mainly dairy farms. Olives and vine are grown everywhere. Lemons, oranges, figs, almonds and tomatoes are grown in the south. Cattle are grazing on meadowland, sheep and goats are kept on rough hilly pastures mainly in the far south at Sardinia and Sicily.


The industrial area is around Milan, Turin and Genoa. Fiat cars are built in Turin and the famous Ferrari is produced at Monza near Milan. In this area are also fine textiles manufactured, machinery and computers built. Down south the main industrial area is around Naples and Taranto.
It is hard to find work in the south. The government builds motorways, dams and factories to increase the job market. However, apart from the new roads the countryside has hardly changed for centuries. Villages, built from the nearby stone, are on the steep hillsides. Farmers have to work very hard to make a living from the farms.
Italy is the art capital of the world. It has such an enormous concentration of works of art. There are churches, palaces, town halls and bridges beautifully built mostly in the Renaissance style but also fine baroque buildings. Especially in the south. Tourist from all over the world visit Italy because of these treasures and also the perfect climate. Tourism is a very important industry.
Sculptures can be seen everywhere. Especially in museums, churches and galleries. The father of Renaissance sculpture, Niccolo Pisano, was Italian, and so were Donatello and del Verrocchino. Leonardo da Vinci was a pupil of del Verrocchino. The greatest sculptor of all was Michelangelo. He sculptured the masterpieces of Pieta in St Peter in Rome and the statue of David in Florence.
Italy is also famous for its painters like Michaelangelo, da Vinci and Raphael. The art has not died out and the modern painters like Annigoni and Modigliani have worldwide reputations.
Not to forget literature which became famous in the Renaissance period. To start with Dante Aliphieri in the 13thcentury with 'Divine Comedy' this is still read as a model for the Italian language. Then followed writers like Petrarch, Boccaccio and Machiavelli. Their books are still read and studied.
Italy still plays an important part in the world of art. Film directors Federico Fellini and Bernardo Bertolucci are well known and famous. Milan is known as a city for design and fashion.
Excavation establishes that modern humans existed there over 200,000 years ago. In the 8th and 7th century the Greeks built colonies there around the coast of Sicily and at a part known as Magna Graeca. Rome was only an agricultural community around the 8th century BC but grew steadily into a tremendous Empire. Ancient Greek and Rome culture merged into a great civilization. This laid the fundament to the modern Law, Administration, philosophy and art.
At the time Julius Caesar, in 50 BC, Rome was at the height of its power and had the greatest Empire Europe had ever seen. For next 400 years the peace of Rome ensured Europe and the Mediterranean was a great centre of civilization with Italy dominant.
Those barbarian tribes started to invade in the 5th century and with that the Dark Ages began. Over a matter of time the Italian cities became small but powerful states. Florence, Pisa, Milan, Venice and many others became trading centres. They had their own armies and navies. In the 15th and 16th during the Renaissance period there was a great revival of art and learning.
When Napoleon invaded Italy in 1805, he controlled it for almost a decade and started to unite Italy. Great men like Mazzini, Cavour and Garibaldi fought for 60 years to unite Italy. Finally they succeeded in 1870 because Rome decided to join.
Italy fought alongside the Allies in the First World War. Disappointment and disorder followed which gave Mussolini the chance to get to power. He got involved with Hitler and fought in the Second World War on the side of Hitler. In 1945 Italy was defeated and Mussolini was executed.
After the war, Italy's government was corrupt and had a short live. However, the economy steadily expanded but for the south. It is still a deprived area. Nowadays, the government is trying to stop corruption and cut ties to official criminal organizations like the Mafia. They succeeded to cut and calm the Mafia down but now there is an even bigger and harder organization which has endless tunnels under their town and nobody dares go into that area. Even the sign of the town name is shot so much you can't read it
Regarding holiday you will be spoilt for choice. The towns like Florence - home of Michelangelo and his masterpieces of paintings and sculpture plus a wonderful old city with beautiful churches, palaces and museums. Milan - with the world famous opera house Scala, beautiful shopping parade with all the famous designers for which Milan is known, magnificent churches, museums and beautiful city to visit. Verona a beautiful city itself but made more famous with the balcony of Romeo and Juliet. The world famous Venice with its St Marcus square, St Marcus church and Doge Palace. A ride in the gondolas and a visit to one of the famous Venetian glass manufacturers will be unforgettable. Then further down south Rome with its endless and all famous buildings of churches, palaces, catacombs, coloseum and St Peter Square.
Italy has really a wealth of beautiful towns full of art in buildings, painting and sculptures. It would take a lifetime to visit them all and I mentioned only a few and the most famous towns.
Regarding swimming and sunbathing again you wouldn't know where to go first. There is the Adriatic coast all along on the east side of Italy and one town after the other with great hotels well decorated, mostly with marble flooring, and all the facilities. Mostly right on the beach or just a short walk away. The Mediterranean Sea along the Adriatic coast has a crystal clear water and only very gradually goes into the deep sea. Therefore it is safe for small children. As for fish you get the best, freshly caught and fried. Fresh fruit ripened in the hot sun and not in the boxes. The summers are hot and steady.
For the winter you couldn't a better snow than in the Dolomites. The Dolomites have a height up to 3,300m.  The most famous ski resort is Cortina d'Ampezzo and most properly the most expensive but there are many more other ski resorts with just the same facilities and perfect snow condition. At the end of February you will have the perfect combination of perfect snow condition and beautiful sunshine. The hot sunshine on the mountain will give you a beautiful tan.

In the summer the Dolomites are for climbing, hiking, watching the wildlife and walking. It is a magnificent world of its own.
It is impossible to put the facilities and variety for a holiday in Italy into one article but whichever you choose you will have a wonderful experience.

                                                            DOLOMITES -- 
                                           WINTER VIEW OF THE SELLA GROUP


  1. I had fun choosing this particular painting online that now hangs in my downtown office,
    from, who sells canvas prints of art masterpieces. While the original is treasured in some
    art museum in England, my print, of this painting by Edward
    Burne-Jones is very much appreciated by my staff and clients. The print quality is really excellent.

  2. Thank you for your visit and adding this interesting information to it. Wish you great success.