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Featured Country: Italy


Italy and Italian culture exert a fascination much greater than the size of the country alone warrants. Foreigners travel to Italy to see the remnants of ancient Roman civilization, to visit museums, galleries, and churches displaying magnificent works of art dating from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, to discover the origins of modern European music and opera, and to savor the atmosphere of some of the most beautiful cities in the world, including Florence (Florence cathedral shown), Venice, and Rome.

Nevertheless, there are many aspects of modern Italy, not necessarily mentioned in the tourist brochures, which are of equal importance and interest: its late emergence as a unified nation in the mid-19th century; its development through the trauma of Fascism into a major industrial power, a democratic state, and a founding member of the European Community; and the leading role it has come to play in areas as diverse as philosophy and cuisine, literature and cinema.