How old is Italy?

Italy is famous throughout the world for its delicious food, rich culture, and a long history. But what was Italy’s actual birth? With thousands of years of highlights including the renaissance period and the Roman empire, learning about Italy’s birth is lower on the history high points.

The Etruscans

This ancient civilisation was spread throughout Italy, with its main city centre located north of Rome, now known as Tuscany. Historians believe these people were indigenous folk and were made up of skilled craftsmen and merchants. Existing from the 8th century BCE until the 3rd century BCE. Their language was unlike any of their neighbours although their culture was heavily influenced by their Greek traders. With their religion similar to the Greeks and Romans, worshipping many gods and goddesses. The influence they had on the future Romans was great, with the development of Rome, transforming the small farming lands with large buildings and drainage systems. As well as influencing the future culture and intelligence, such as passing on their alphabet to the Romans. Sadly, this civilisation slowly died out after numerous factors contributed to the loss of trade and decline in cities.

The Foundation of Rome

The famous legend of Rome states that the founding date was 753 BCE. Legend states that twins Romulus and Remus, sons of the Mars, the god of war, and a Vestal Virgin were abandoned on the Palatine Hill to be left for dead. They were found by a she-wolf who let them drink her milk. Eventually, the two boys grew up and aspired to start their own city. Boy brothers soon fought over their quarrels until Romulus murdered Remus and founded Rome alone.

The Roman Republic

The Roman republic ruled Italy for 500 years, beginning in 509 BCE and forming a government that allowed people to elect the officials. It was known for its very complicated government, with a number of different types of officials and leaders in charge. After being established, they colonised a large portion of Italy, invading many foreign areas to claim as their own. However, the republic soon grew weak, with its inability to adjust to the expanding empire. As well the internal conflicts with the republic created the foundation of the republic to waver. Julius Caesar, the famous dictator of Rome who dismantled the government, was assassinated in 44 BCE, which became the trigger to end the Roman Republic and officially making it the Roman Empire.

The Roman Empire

This ancient civilisation is one of history’s legendary realms. With advanced technology, engineering, and architecture, many of the ancient structures are still found today. It ruled for nearly a thousand years, with numerous emperors that ranged in wisdom, cruelty, and inspiration. There is not one defining the reason why the empire fell, but a series of triggers that influence the collapse in 476 AD.

The Papal States

After Christianity spread to Rome, the bishops of Rome, started calling themselves Popes and created the Papal States. This began in 754 CE and took control of a large portion of Italy. However, the Kingdom of Italy appeared in 1861 and slowly started to take control of all the papal territories, with the last remaining papal section being Rome. The pope withdrew into the Vatican city walls and hide from the approaching Kingdom of Italy. Refusing to acknowledge the Kingdom of Italy or as a rightful country, all while grumbling on how he was confined within the Vatican Walls for protection.

Kingdom of Italy

The Kingdom of Italy at this point had control over the entire country except for Vatican City where the pope still remained. Instead of forcing him out, they decided instead to simply wait until the Pope cracked. However, this lasted sixty long years, with a number of different Popes accepting this self-imposed captivity. In 1929, the Prime Minister of Italy proposed an agreement that made Vatican City its own country, where it would be controlled by the Pope but has no say in any politic arguments.

See Italy’s history first hand on our Private Pompeii Tour from Rome!