Italian Culture - Topics

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Beauty. Art. History. Literature. Music. Food. Wine. Fashion. This is Italy, which sits firmly at number 1 among the top countries for cultural influence and heritage.

For several centuries, Italy was the cultural heart of the Western world. Everything was happening here: art, literature, poetry, science, exploration. Dante, Petrarca, Marco Polo, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raffaello, Cristoforo Colombo, Galileo Galilei are just some of the extraordinary figures that led Europe out of the Middle Ages.

Follow us where Language & Culture intertwine and discover new fascinating reasons to learn or improve your Italian, or just enjoy this heritage with the help of our Essential Guides & cultural insight videos in English.

Art

From Roman architecture to Gothic churches, from medieval frescos to the masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance, Italy is bursting with mind-boggling beauty. Read our Guide to Italian art for a basic glossary and an introduction to this wonderful world.

History

From the foundation of Rome in 753 BCE to medieval city-states, to the unification of Italy in 1861 and the two World Wars: our essential guide provides an overview of the main events that shaped this country and its people through the centuries.

Literature

Modern Italian developed from Latin, the language of ancient Romans, and was used in a great number of literary works, especially poems, where the sweetness and musicality of the language are expressed at their highest level.

Our Essential Guide is a brief introduction to the history of the language and the major works of Italian literature, from Petrarch to 20th century authors.

A special place in our hearts, and on our channel, is devoted to the Father of the Italian language, Dante Alighieri. We talk about him in some of our videos, and we are planning a series that will take you through his Divine Comedy with selected readings. If you think that your Italian is not good enough to understand this work, think again! There's a lot that you can enjoy with just a few simple explanations.

Music

Allegro, fortissimo, dolce: Italian is the language of music, from the markings found in sheet music to the great operas of the 19th century, to contemporary ballades. Here we provide an overview of classical music in Italy, with an explanation of music-related key words used all over the world.

In our series Love Italian Opera! we analyse and explain beloved arias from the most popular works of the genre, to help opera enthusiasts to understand and better appreciate this amazing combination of language & music. Read our Essential Guide to Italian opera for additional information.

Italian for Musicians is a series of 3 videos, freely available on YouTube, where we provide a glossary of Italian music terminology, complete with English translation and examples, for the benefit of musicians and music lovers. We present it on this page.

Cinema

With many of the most prominent actors and directors in the world and the highest number of Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, Italy has secured a special place in the history of cinema. In our reference guide we present the most influential figures of Italian filmmaking, from Fellini to Mastroianni, to Sophia Loren, and many more.