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Italian Culture

History

Starting from the first century BC to sixteenth century, Italy was considered as the central place of western culture and the starting point of worldwide phenomena such as the Roman Empire, Roman Catholic Church, cultural and educational reform and new beginning. During this period, Italy gave birth to a number of famous painters, sculptors, poets, musicians, mathematical and architects those created a niche of their own in history.

Italy was not a political state until its unification in the year 1861. Due to this reason, the traditions and customs known as Italian now-a-days are identified by their areas of origin. Though these regions were politically and socially isolated, contribution of Italy to the cultural and historical legacy of Europe is remarkable. The famous elements of Italian culture are its opera, music and iconic food.
To its credit, Italy has eighth highest quality of life index in the world. Similarly, the country has second best healthcare system and nineteenth highest life expectancy. Let’s know more about Italian food, clothing traditions, events, which are the integral part of great Italian culture.

Food

In Italy, food is treated as a means to strengthen the relationship between family and friends. A traditional Italian breakfast includes a hard roll, butter, strong coffee, and fruit or juice. Italians usually have a large lunch. In all regions, pasta remains as a part of the meals along with bread, soup and meat or fish. The Italian dinner is prepared of leftovers.

During festive occasions items like ‘Saint Joseph's bread’, ‘Easter bread with hard–boiled eggs’, ‘Saint Lucy's "eyes", ‘Feast of the Seven Fishes’ have special significance on particular days. The meals are served with wine usually.

But with changing lifestyles and professions, the food customs of the country has witnessed some changes. In northern region of the country, meals are quite light as compared with southern region.

Clothing

Earlier, Italian men used to wear a cloak with trunk hose, or short breeches which are padded with horsehair. Women were wearing skirts, which later witnessed Spanish influence in devices to expand them. The most primitive series of these clothing was known as the Spanish farthingale, which had an underskirt hanging by means of hoops rising wider towards the hem.

Over the years Italian clothing has undergone a lot of changes and Milan is considered to be one of the important fashion centers. A few environmentally conscious companies have created recycled fabric by melting down plastic soft-drink bottles into unrefined polyester. The polyester is then formed into fibres and rolled into thread to manufacture clothes or heavy-duty material that are suitable for jackets, backpacks, hiking boots and shoes.

Traditions

Around 90% of Italian populace is Roman Catholic. A smaller portion of the population is comprised of Jews, Muslims and Orthodox and Eastern Rite Catholics. The supernatural beliefs are normally of the Catholic Church and are mixed with older beliefs of ancient times. Italians believe in the evil eye, spells, charms, messages in the course of dreams, and different omens. The people of Italy also believe that the witches have powers.

Events

The following are some of the events celebrated in Italy with lots of enthusiasm and joyfulness.

  • Italian carnival
  • Saint Agatha's Feast Day
  • Saint Biago Day
  • Saint Faustino's Day
  • Almond blossom fair
  • May Day
  • Festa della Repubblica
  • Feast Day of San Giovanni
  • Festa de la Madonna Bruna
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