Alinari History of Italy
Università IULM Fratelli Alinari Università degli studi di Milano with the contribution of
Fondazione Cariplo

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  • Dynamism of a human body, painting by Umberto Boccioni, housed in the Museo Civico di Arte Contemporanea, Palazzo Reale, Milan

    Dynamism of a human body, painting by Umberto Boccioni, housed in the Museo Civico di Arte Contemporanea, Palazzo Reale, Milan

  • Portrait of writer, Luigi Pirandello (winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, 1934)

    Portrait of writer, Luigi Pirandello (winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, 1934)

  • street of tombs in Pompeii

    street of tombs in Pompeii

  • Detail of the heads of the sculpture group of Apollo and Daphne, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, housed in the Borghese Gallery, Rome

    Detail of the heads of the sculpture group of Apollo and Daphne, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, housed in the Borghese Gallery, Rome

  • The kiss, painting by Francesco Hayez, Brera Picture Gallery, Milan

    The kiss, painting by Francesco Hayez, Brera Picture Gallery, Milan

  • Still life, canvas by Giorgio Morandi exhibited at the Brera Picture Gallery, Milan.

    Still life, canvas by Giorgio Morandi exhibited at the Brera Picture Gallery, Milan.

  • The luminous portrait studio of the Alinari Brothers' photographic establishment, in Florence. On the left the photograph Gaetano Puccini

    The luminous portrait studio of the Alinari Brothers' photographic establishment, in Florence. On the left the photograph Gaetano Puccini

  • March for Peace in Vietnam, Rome

    March for Peace in Vietnam, Rome

  • Portrait of a group of participants in the tenth Convention of the Italian Socialist Party. Included among those in the picture are Filippo Turati, Anna Kuliscioff, Gaetano Salvemini, Argentina Altobelli, Linda Malnati, Grazia Dei, Gatti, Angiolo Cabrini, Rema, Campanozzi and Bellonci

    Portrait of a group of participants in the tenth Convention of the Italian Socialist Party. Included among those in the picture are Filippo Turati, Anna Kuliscioff, Gaetano Salvemini, Argentina...

  • Scene from Act II of the opera 'Tosca' by Giacomo Puccini

    Scene from Act II of the opera 'Tosca' by Giacomo Puccini

  • Poster of the film "I soliti ignoti" (1958) by Mario Monicelli with Vittorio Gassman (1922-2000), Claudia Cardinale, Marcello Mastroianni (1924-1996), Renato Salvatori (1933-1988), Totò (1898-1967)

    Poster of the film "I soliti ignoti" (1958) by Mario Monicelli with Vittorio Gassman (1922-2000), Claudia Cardinale, Marcello Mastroianni (1924-1996), Renato Salvatori (1933-1988), Totò (...

  • Rita Levi-Montalcini, 2000

    Rita Levi-Montalcini, 2000

  • Room of an obstetrics departmnent. You can see the patient with her child. The doctor, sitting close to the bed, is also present.

    Room of an obstetrics departmnent. You can see the patient with her child. The doctor, sitting close to the bed, is also present.

  • A group of Futurists in Trieste with Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (in the center), Valeri, Quirino De Giorgio, Bruno G. Sanzin

    A group of Futurists in Trieste with Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (in the center), Valeri, Quirino De Giorgio, Bruno G. Sanzin

  • Giosuè Carducci (winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, 1906) in his study, in a Villani Studio reproduction from a photo preserved in Carducci's home

    Giosuè Carducci (winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, 1906) in his study, in a Villani Studio reproduction from a photo preserved in Carducci's home

  • Justinian followed by functionaries, soldiers and priests. Byzantine apse mosaic in the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna

    Justinian followed by functionaries, soldiers and priests. Byzantine apse mosaic in the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna

  • A mother and her child look at magazine covers, Livorno

    A mother and her child look at magazine covers, Livorno

  • Fiumana, oil on canvas by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, Milan, Brera Picture Gallery

    Fiumana, oil on canvas by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, Milan, Brera Picture Gallery

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Culture and science

The land of art and culture. This is the first definition that comes to the mind of any foreigner when thinking of Italy. And it is not a cliché: UNESCO has certified that Italy is the nation with the vastest cultural heritage in the world (sites, museums, monuments). But it is not just a matter of art. The cultural contribution that the "Italian region" has been able to offer in its long history lies at the basis of what we today call the western world. We have called it the "Italian region", because here we find a curious combination. On the one side a millennium of cultural tradition (at least from the times of the Roman Empire), with recognizably similar traits, albeit within the vast diversity of traditions, languages, dialects and customs; on the other side a relatively short history as a nation, only a century and a half, at least when compared to other European nations. Hence the arduous task of building a state that treasures its past but at the same time bears the weight of a formidable heritage (with easy criticism of a present that has not always been deemed abreast). In the first phase of the history of Italy, after its unification, attention was thus placed on the creation of a national identity, often drawing on the symbols of the past, through the romantic revival of places such as Pompeii, the exaltation of ancient art, the construction of great museums and monuments inspired by the Risorgimento. A feature that we find also in literature, in productions of patriotic flavour and amongst the historians of ideas. With the turn of the 20th century things change. New expressions are sought which better adapt to "modernity", like the futurist avant-garde for example, and the potential public broadens, also due to growing literacy. Hence a process of industrialization of the cultural product begins, at the forefront of which are publishing, newspapers (not just daily papers but also new magazines), theatre and music, and the emergence of new forms of expression like photography and cinematography. These are at the origin of transformations that gain ground in the Sixties, concurrent with Italy's economic growth, when the new mass media are fully affirmed: cinematography and radio (both beginning before the Second World War but that now reach a mass public), television (a communication medium that, in just a few decades, will reach almost the entire population), and an increasingly diversified press and book trade. This process reaches its maturity in the Eighties, when the advent of electronics opens new frontiers in the cultural market and, with internet, poses new challenges. But it is important to remember how the Italian contribution has also concerned other fundamental sectors, like the scientific sector in which, adding to great names of the past (like Galileo and Volta), Italy has generated institutions and personalities of international prestige that have – not by chance – been awarded various Nobel prizes. Likewise, important transformations have occurred in the medical and health care field (starting from hospital facilities and a medical culture) and in the juridical field, in which Italy can claim to have an important academic tradition – and that has also seen many important innovators. In spite of the many remaining unresolved issues, culture, in its broadest acceptation, was and continues to be one of Italy's most important assets.

Route

  • Italian literature and culture 1861-1945

    After 1861, and before the second post-world war years, literature and culture changed radically: after having pursued a partial realisation of the Risorgimento ideals, writers... >>

  • Italian literature and culture 1945-2011

    If, with neorealism, the novel gained ground as a leading literary genre also in Italy, from 1963, readers began to show a taste for the anti-narrative, experimental,... >>

  • Artistic life: art in Italy between past and present

    The most authentic and universally renowned identity of Italian culture, besides its cuisine, is represented by its artistic heritage: a treasure distributed throughout the... >>

  • Art life: avant-garde and tradition, linguistic experiments and industrialisation of art

    When we speak of art we usually make a distinction between avant-garde and tradition, especially in the fine arts (painting, sculpture and architecture) but also in the minor... >>

  • Art life: Museums, exhibitions and the public

    A great part of the vast Italian art heritage is preserved in national and local museums; institutions whose ‘modern' history goes back to the enlightenment age, although in man... >>

  • A history of ideas

    It is difficult to outline a history of ideas emerging in the 150 years following the unification of Italy because there have been a wide range of philosophical, political,... >>

  • Theatre and music

    It is difficult to encapsulate in brief considerations the various phases that have defined the history of Italian theatre in the course of the past two centuries : two... >>

  • Films

    Though successful, fascinating, innovative, entertaining, reflective, skilful and strongly constructive, Italian film-making has always suffered from an inferiority complex with... >>

  • Radio

    The parable of the radio in Italy has been brief but intense. After the first transoceanic transmission by Guglielmo Marconi in February 1920, the new ‘medium' gained popularity... >>

  • Television

    "Rai Radio televisione italiana today begins its regular broadcast of television programmes". With these words, announcer Fulvia Colombo informed the public of the... >>

  • Press and the internet

    In Italy, the press gained ground almost at the same time as the unification, if one considers that "La Nazione", published in 1859 by Bettino Ricasoli was the first... >>

  • Science and technology

    At the time of its foundation, the Italian State had behind it centuries of prestigious scientific tradition with outstanding figures such as, Galileo Galilei, Alessandro Volta,... >>

  • Medicine and healthcare

    The historical period beginning with the Unification of Italy, coincides, in the medical field, with a true revolution of knowledge, consequent to the accelerated development of... >>

  • Justice and crime

    The Kingdom of Italy found itself, from the start, having to face an emergency caused by the breakout of social-political conflicts and in particular of banditry in the south.... >>


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