This article focuses on the years before and after the founding of a unified Italy. If you would like to learn about Italy during its time as the Roman Empire, we recommend reading our blog post, “Ancient Rome: The City Founded By Two Brothers.” This article is meant to briefly introduce modern Italy’s founding and history, including its landscape, culture, Renaissance Italy, Fascist Italy, modern Italy, and Italian Coinage.
Italy’s Founding & History
Italy as a unified nation is a relatively recent development, with the country being officially declared a nation-state in 1861. However, the history of Italy extends back thousands of years, with various empires and kingdoms governing the Italian peninsula throughout history. In the Middle Ages, the Italian city-states developed as centers of commerce and culture, with cities like Venice, Florence, and Genoa playing important roles in trade and politics. In the 19th century, Italy was still divided into various states and territories, and it was not until the mid-1800s that the movement for unification gained momentum. Led by figures such as Giuseppe Garibaldi and Camillo di Cavour, Italy was finally united into a single state under King Victor Emmanuel II in 1861 CE.
Political and economic challenges marked the early years of modern Italy as the new nation struggled to establish itself on the global stage. Tensions between the north and south of the country persisted, with the south experiencing poverty and underdevelopment. Italy also faced various conflicts, including World War I and World War II, which damaged the country.
Italy’s Land Scape
The Northern region of Italy is famously known for its picturesque landscape. The Alps dominate the region, providing an impressive backdrop to the cities nestled below. The rolling hills of the Piedmont region are also well-regarded, providing fertile land for agriculture, including wine production. In addition, the region is dotted with beautiful lakes, such as Lake Como and Lake Garda, which are popular tourist destinations. Lush greenery, snowy peaks, and colorful towns and cities characterize the Northern Italian landscape.
In contrast, the landscape of Southern Italy is characterized by its rugged beauty. The region is dominated by the Apennine Mountains, which run down the spine of the country. The coastline is dotted with stunning cliffs, beaches, and crystal-clear water, making it a popular destination for tourists. It is characterized by its dry, arid climate, with fields of wheat and sunflowers dominating the landscape.
The south is also home to several islands, including Sicily and Sardinia, which boast unique landscapes and geological formations. The Southern Italian landscape is a beautiful mix of rugged peaks, azure seas, and colorful towns and villages.
Italy, known for its scrumptious cuisine, glorious art, and picturesque sceneries, has been fascinating travelers for years. The culture of northern Italy is distinct from that of southern Italy. Northern Italy is recognized for its opulent lifestyle, modern art, and chic architecture. The region includes Venice, Milan, and Turin, each with a unique vibe. Northern Italy holds a significant cultural heritage and a plethora of museums, churches, and theaters that showcase its grandeur. It is also the land of wine and cheese, where rich flavors of Parmigiano-Reggiano, Gorgonzola, and Barolo wine reign supreme. Northern Italy’s lakeside retreats are another attraction, with Lake Como and Lake Maggiore being the most popular among tourists.
Southern Italy is a vibrant region filled with cultural diversity, steeped in ancient traditions, and well-known for its sunny beaches, exquisite cuisines, and rich history. The region is a treasure trove of historical sites and ancient ruins, with Pompeii, the Colosseum, and Herculaneum being key attractions. Southern Italy offers picturesque fishing villages, rugged coastlines, and sleepy hilltop towns oozing with charm.
The region is also famous for its mouth-watering dishes such as Pizza Margherita and Spaghetti alla Carbonara. Southern Italy is more laid-back compared to its northern counterpart, with plenty of sun-kissed evenings, warm hospitality, and family-oriented values. Whether you seek adventure or relaxation, Southern Italy has something for everyone.
Renaissance Italy was a period of great artistic and cultural rebirth that took place between the 14th and 16th centuries. Florence, central Italy, and Venice, northeast, were two of Italy’s most important centers of Renaissance art. Florence became a hub for artists, scientists, and writers, with figures like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Dante Alighieri.
In Venice, the city’s unique position as a major commercial hub allowed it to become a center for trade and wealth, developing impressive architecture and art. Together, Florence and Venice played a crucial role in the formation of the Renaissance movement within Italy and continue to be celebrated for their lasting influence on art and culture.
Fascist Italy, under the rule of dictator Benito Mussolini, played a significant role in World War II. Prior to the war, Mussolini had implemented a series of radical policies to expand the country’s territory and strengthen its economy, known as the “Corporate State.” This policy was designed to promote class collaboration between workers and employers.
However, as the war began to take shape, Italy joined forces with Nazi Germany and formed the Axis powers. The country saw much action during the war, including the invasion of Greece and North Africa, and suffered massive damage and casualties. Ultimately, Italy’s alliance with Germany proved to be a fatal mistake, and the country was left in ruins by the end of the war.
In the post-World War II era, Italy experienced rapid economic growth, becoming known as the “Economic Miracle” with booming industry and increased global influence. Today, Italy is a prosperous member of the European Union and a leader in industries such as fashion, design, and culinary arts.
Italy’s future appears promising. The country has been making efforts towards fiscal stability and economic growth, with support from the European Union.
Italy’s tourism industry also continues to be a major contributor to the country’s economy. With a focus on innovation and sustainable development, Italy is well-positioned to thrive in the years to come.
Italy’s gold and silver coins minted from the 18th century and beyond are highly coveted by collectors around the world. These coins not only offer a glimpse into Italy’s rich history but also represent a unique blend of art, culture, and political power. Below is an example of an 1870 CE 5 Lire and a link to all of the Italian silver coins we currently have in stock.
Italian Silver Coins
These are all of the Italian silver Certified and Non-Certified coins we currently have for sale.
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