MAP OF ITALY
FLAG OF ITALY
The flag of Italy (bandiera d'Italia, often referred to in Italian as Il Tricolore) is a tricolour featuring three equally sized vertical pales of green, white and red, with the green at the hoist side. In its current form it has been in use since 19 June 1946 and was formally adopted on 1 January 1948.
The first entity to use the Italian tricolour was the Repubblica Cispadana (Cispadane Republic) in 1797, after Napoleon's victorious army crossed Italy. During this time many small republics of Jacobin inspiration supplanted the ancient absolute states and almost all, with variants of colour, used flags characterised by three bands of equal size, clearly inspired by the French model of 1790. The colours chosen by the Republic were red and white, the colours of the flag of Milan and green, which was the colour of the uniform of the Milanese civic guard.
Some have attributed particular values to the colours and a common interpretation is that the green represents the country's plains and the hills, white, the snow-capped Alps and red, blood spilt in the Wars of Italian Independence. A more religious interpretation is that the green represents hope, the white represents faith and the red represents charity ; this references the three theological virtues.
Il Canto degli Italiani (The Chant of the Italians) is the Italian national anthem. It is best known among Italians as L'Inno di Mameli (Mameli's Hymn) and often referred to as Fratelli d'Italia (Brothers of Italy), from its opening line.
The words were written in the autumn of 1847 in Genoa, by the then 20-year-old student and patriot Goffredo Mameli, in a climate of popular struggle for unification and independence of Italy which foreshadowed the war against Austria.
Two months later, they were set to music in Turin by another Genoese, Michele Novaro. The hymn enjoyed widespread popularity throughout the period of the Risorgimento and in the following decades.
After unification (1861) the adopted national anthem was the Marcia Reale, the Royal March (or Fanfara Reale), official hymn of the royal house of Savoy composed in 1831 to order of Carlo Alberto di Savoia. The Marcia Reale remained the Italian national anthem until the birth of the republic.
Giuseppe Verdi, in his Inno delle Nazioni (Hymn of the Nations), composed for the London International Exhibition of 1862, chose Il Canto degli Italiani – and not the Marcia Reale – to represent Italy, putting it beside God Save the Queen and the Marseillaise.
In 1946 Italy became a republic, and on October 12, 1946, Il Canto degli Italiani was provisionally chosen as the country's new national anthem. This choice was made official in law only on November 17, 2005, almost 60 years later.
PROFILE OF ITALY
short form: Italia
int'l long form: Italian Republic
int'l short form: Italy
former: Kingdom of Italy
ISO Country Code: it
Capital City: Rome (pop. 2.8 million)
Type: Republic since 2 June 1946.
Constitution: 1 January 1948.
Location: Southern Europe, a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea.
Area: 301 225 sq. km. (116 303 sq. mi.);
Terrain: Mostly rugged and mountainous.
Climate: Generally mild mediterranean; cold winters in the north.
Population: 57.5 million.
Ethnic groups: Primarily Italian, but there are small groups of German-, French-, Slovene-, and Albanian-Italians.
Religion: Roman Catholic (majority).
Natural resources: Mercury, potash, marble, sulfur, natural gas and crude oil reserves, fish, coal, arable land.
Agriculture products: Fruits, vegetables, grapes, potatoes, sugar beets, soybeans, grain, olives; beef, dairy products; fish.
Industries: Tourism, machinery, iron and steel, chemicals, food processing, textiles, motor vehicles, clothing, footwear, ceramics.
Exports partners: Germany 13.8%, France 12.3%, USA 8.5%, Spain 7%, UK 6.9% (2003)
Imports partners: Germany 17.9%, France 11.2%, Netherlands 5.8%, Spain 4.8%, UK 4.7%, Belgium 4.3%, USA 4% (2003)
Currency: Euro (EUR) has replaced the formerly used Italian Lira.