Italy, a rich diversity of culture and landscapes” according

Italy,
a country home to and known for its eye-catching architecture, exquisite cuisine,
and amazing artwork. But, those few things aren’t the only characteristics that
make Italy stand out above all else. Having 21 regions stretched throughout the
country, “there is a rich diversity of culture and landscapes” according to
author Sally Garrington (8). Not only is Italy represented by its artwork in
the country, it happens to look like art itself as a whole. Shaped like a
high-heeled boot jutting out into the Mediterranean Sea, Italy catches most of
its attention just from a glimpse. Italy is filled with captivating history,
fascinating current events, and compelling literature that can grasp ahold of
ones’ attention in an instant.

Italy is filled with history quite
different from any other country. Although “young as a united country, the land
of Italy has a history stretching back more than 3,000 years” (9). Located in Europe,
surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, “Italy is approximately 116,400 square
miles, which to put into perspective is slightly larger than the state of
Arizona”, as stated by the online article “62 Interesting Facts about Italy”. According
to the book Countries Around the World: Italy,
Italy has a population of about 57,844,000 people while, Rome, Italy’s capital,
home to around 2,869,461 people. A legend passed down many generations tells a
tale of two brothers, Romulus and Remus. As told in the tale, on April 21st,
753 B.C., the two brothers “found Rome on the site where they were suckled by a
she-wolf as orphaned infants”, according to the online article “Rome Founded 753 B.C.” Bouncing off that
same site, the myth continues by saying,

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The twins then decided to found a town on
the site where they had been saved as infants. They soon became involved in a
petty quarrel, however, and Remus was slain by his brother. Romulus then became
ruler of the settlement, which was named “Rome” after him.

Romulus
had a very successful rule as king, yet his way of “claiming his fame” was not
all that fair. As stated in the same online article, “To populate his town,
Romulus offered asylum to fugitives and exiles. Rome lacked women, however, so
Romulus invited the neighboring Sabines to a festival and abducted their women.”
Although a war between the Romans and the Sabines was ensued, the Sabine woman
intervened to prevent the Sabine men from seizing Rome. As a result of this, a
peace treaty was made and the communities merged under the rule of both Romulus
and the Sabine king, Titus Tatius. Despite the fact that their rule together
was known as successful throughout Rome, the downfall of the Roman Empire was
soon to come. Many people believed that the collapse of the Roman Empire had a
lot to do with the “invasion of other troops, economic troubles, and political
instability”, according to the online article “8 Reasons Why Rome Fell” by Evan
Andrews. For an example, at that time in history, Rome’s economy depended on
slaves to work on their fields as well as do other jobs. But as stated in the
online article “8 Reasons Why Rome Fell”,

When expansion ground to a halt in the
second century, Rome’s supply of slaves and other treasures began to dry up.  A further blow came in the fifth century,
when the Vandals claimed North Africa and began disrupting the empire’s trade
by prowling the Mediterranean as pirates. With its economy faltering and its
commercial and agricultural production in decline, the Empire began to lose its
grip on Europe.

After
the fall of the Roman Empire in A.D. 476, many groups tried to invade Italy, “among
them Germans and Muslim Arabs” (9). During the twelfth century, the city states
of Italy like Florence and Venice became very powerful and independent. As time
went on, “Italy was controlled by the Spanish, the Austrians and finally the
French under the command of Napoleon”, as stated in the book Countries of the World: Italy (9). Although
being controlled by that many different countries seems quite hectic, they all
left their mark on Italy which ultimately shaped the country into what it is
today.

            Around the moment of the fifteenth
century, Italy faced a number wars known as the Great Italian Wars. Many
countries wanted full control over Italy, two countries in specific, which was
the reason why these wars broke out. According to the online article “Italian Wars”
written by the editors of Encyclopedia Britannica, these wars were, “fought
largely by France and Spain”. This feud resulted in the Spanish Habsburgs
dominating Italy which shifted power from Italy to northwestern Europe.
Finally, after sixty-five years of many more battles, the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis was formed on April 3rd,
1559. The Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis was “an agreement marking the end of
the struggle between France and Spain for the control of Italy, leaving Habsburg
Spain the dominate power there for the next 150 years”, as stated in the online
article “Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis”.

            Although things were starting to turn
around for Italy, another ruler was about to strike. In 1796, Napoléon
Bonaparte and his French Army invaded the country of Italy. After Napoléon won
the battle against the Austro-Hungarians, he declared Milan the capital of a
new country, the Cisalpine Republic. Napoléon’s increasing success involving
taking control over Italy ignited fear in the indigenous people of that
country, so the Pope, at the time, decided to take measures into his own hands
to prevent Napoléon from marching on Rome. According to the book The Land and People of Italy by David
Travis, the Pope

…surrendered the northern Papal States
of Bologna and Ferrara to the French. Then the people of Parma and Modena
revolted against their Austro-Hungarian dukes and asked for Napoléon’s
protection. Parma and Modena joined Cisalpine Republic. Napoléon lent his
support to a revolt in Genoa and then annexed that republic to his new
Cisalpine nation. The French also seized Lucca. All this took place in less
than two years (96).

Napoléon
ended up returning back to the peninsula in 1800, to finish what he started. He
first made the Cisalpine Republic a new Italian Republic, appointed himself
president, and changed its title to the Kingdom of Italy. As more and more
cities were annexed, Napoléon gained an abundance of power. He appointed his
brother as the new king of Naples and, after conquering the city of Rome, he
declared the end of the pope’s rule and took over the remaining Papal States.

            The new
unity brought to Italy only lasted as long as Napoléon did. According to The Land and People of Italy,

In 1815, at the Congress of Vienna, they
decided to erase all signs of the French Revolution. Old rules were put back on
their thrones and Europe returned to its past. The restoration of the kings and
dukes in Italy meant a return to the division of the peninsula into many
different countries. Eight nations were created in 1815 (97-98).