ITALY
     
The Colosseum in Rome, built ca. 70 – 80 AD, is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering
Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia along the Alps. To the south it consists of the entirety of the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Sardinia–the two largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea–and many other smaller islands (e.g. Pontine islands). The independent states of San Marino and the Vatican City are enclaves within Italy, whilst Campione d'Italia is an Italian exclave in Switzerland.

Rome, the capital of Italy, was for centuries the political and religious centre of Western civilisation as the capital of the Roman Empire and site of the Holy See. Italy became the birthplace of Maritime republics, Renaissance and Baroque, immensely fruitful intellectual movements that would prove to be integral in shaping the subsequent course of European thought.

Italy plays a prominent role in European and global military, cultural and diplomatic affairs. The country's European political, social and economic influence make it a major regional power. The country has a high public education level and is a highly globalised nation
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ITALY and EUROPE

March (25), there is the Rome Conference, organized by the (Italian government, because of cCelebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, in the presence of Italian and European institutions' high representatives, with the participation and contribution of civil society members.
#EU60

Italy's attention for a new model Europe (Project Syndicate, 1 August 2013): Enrico Letta, present Prime Minister of Italy, outlined his vision for future EU reform: " We need a Europe that is more concrete, less rhetorical, and better suited to the current global economy. We need to focus not only on the European Union’s specific policies, but also on how to change its “politics” – a change that must place economic growth at the top of the agenda." Read the full text here.

Italy's attention to boost its economy (Decree 'Grow Italy'): After 8 hours meeting Italy cabinet approved 20 January 2012 legislation to deregulate some service sectors and professions in an effort to increase competition and boost economic growth. The measures will become immediately effective but must be approved by parliament withing 60 days or they will expire. Although some proposals were dropped and a new package to cut red tape was promised, they were strongly opposed by some of the categories affected, including taxi drivers, pharmacists and petrol station operators. Measures face also strikes.
Reuters reported on an effort to increase competition, cut costs to consumers and boost chronically weak growth in the euro zone's third largest economy.

"We have adopted a package of structural reforms to help growth," Prime Minister Mario Monti, author of the report A New Strategy for the Single Market, said after an 8-hour cabinet meeting. "More competition means more chance for young people and less for rents and privilege."

With Italy in the frontline of the euro zone debt crisis, Monti is keen to convince markets that a sluggish, hidebound economy can be reformed, even if some commentators question the growth-boosting potential of the raft of micro-measures. He said the reforms, affecting sectors ranging from pharmacies to banks, notaries and taxi drivers, were sure to meet with opposition because "many people prefer the status quo rather than facing new challenges".
Taxi drivers and lawyers have announced strikes against the measures, which are effective immediately but must be approved by parliament within 60 days or they will expire.

The package includes an abolition of minimum fees for all professional services, the issuance of 5,000 new pharmacy licences and the creation of an authority responsible for managing energy and infrastructure networks. In future it will be possible to do part of the apprenticeships needed to join professional guilds at university. However, ministers did not offer a full breakdown of the measures at a news conference. Industry Minister Corrado Passera said the government had decided to suspend the so-called "beauty contest" to award new digital television frequencies, a method intended to award frequencies without charging operators for acquiring licences. It has been heavily criticised for favouring big existing operators, including former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset group, Italy's biggest broadcaster.
Monti's efforts to open up the "closed shop" mentality that has grown up around the professions in Italy is being fiercely opposed by the insiders who benefit. Monti cited a study by the Bank of Italy estimating that increasing service competition could boost growth by 11 percent in the long run, with half of that coming during the first three years after reform.
The
government, which has been working on the deregulation measures for weeks, watered down some of its initial proposals, including easing firing rules, abolishing limits on discount sales by retailers and increasing the number of taxi licenses.
Taxi drivers, traditionally a particularly militant group, have held weeks of wildcat strikes, including surrounding the prime minister's residence in Rome with their cars. They announced further action to protest against the government's decision to assign the issuance of new licences to a transport authority rather than to mayors, on whom the taxi drivers feel they have more influence.

Monti said Italy's economy, which has lagged the euro zone average for every year since comparative records began to be compiled by Eurostat in 1996, was hampered by insufficient competition, poor infrastructures and excessive bureaucracy. He said the first two problems were addressed by the package of measures adopted on Friday, while next week the governement would present another package aimed at cutting red tape.

Already under pressure from vested interests affected by his reforms, Monti was also attacked on Monday by Berlusconi, whom he depends on for his parliamentary majority. Berlusconi told reporters that measures adopted so far by the new government had "produced no results" and that he was ready to return to power soon. Europe should see Europe as a stimulus for growth. Growth can only be built on sustainable public finances.

The 1957 Treaties of Rome signing ceremony. Italy is a founding member of the European Union.
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ART,
CULTURE
&

PHILOSOPHY

 

 


POWER of
MUSIC is able to give back what has been lost for so long: a sense of solidarity and idealism. Made possible by emotions and ideas that music expresses, the situations in which music is played and listened to.

In March 2011, Italy celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Italian unification. For that reason, Rome saw a series of performances of Verdi's opera Nabucco, with its famous Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves that became an anthem among those who fought for the unity of Italy. But in March 2011, Berlusconi is still in power, and he has announced draconic budget cuts in the cultural sector. World-renowned conductor Riccardo Muti leads this performance. At its premiere, after the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves, it is naturally received with loud applause and cheers; and then, unexpectedly and entirely spontaneously, Muti acts as follows: "Indeed, long live Italy, but......

I'm no longer 30 years old and I have lived my life, but, as an Italian who has travelled the world, I am deeply shaken by what is about to happen. So, if on your request I play 'Va pensiero' once more, I do so not only out of patriotism. Tonight, as the choir sang 'O my fatherland, so beautiful and lost' (Oh mia patria sì bella e perduta!), I thought of how, if we destroy the culture in which the history of Italy is rooted, our fatherland will indeed be beautiful and lost.

Since we are in Italian surroundings, and since for so many years Muti's words have fallen so often on deaf ears, I would like to make an exception. After all, we are at home here, in the theatre of the capital. Now that the choir has sung so beautifully and the orchestra has done such a great job accompanying them, if you will join in, let us all sing it together."

Two days later, Berlusconi himself attends a performance. He knows what has happened, for his minister of culture had been present at the premiere and had left in anger. During the break, Berlusconi looks up Muti and says: 'Maestro, I shall see what I can do.' And Maestro Muti answers: 'Stop seeing what you can do and do something, because you have destroyed enough already.' And the cultural budget cuts are withdrawn instantly.

Riccardo Muti: Indeed, long live Italy, but.....

THE BERNINI MYSTERY

The villa Borghese in Rome is a museum where you want to walk through just every day. One work of art is even more beautiful and inspiring than the other. What an art! Include a statue, made in 1624 by the twenty five years old Bernini, of the young David. Some say it's a self portrait. Concerning age and persistence it could be true. Bernini carved in one year a life-size marble statue next to all the other works he had. Something is definitely an achievement. But it possible Bernini wanted something else.

At
David's feet we see the armor he received from Saul. The harp is there too. The winch that David will soon dispel the depression which comes upon Saul when he realize that his kingdom failed. Bernini choosed the moment that David will swing that one stone to the forehead of Goliath. We see grimness around David's mouth, the determination with which he faced his giant opponent. Around his naked shoulder only a scrip, containing the five pebbles which he thinks he will need.

The special of this picture is that it is so lifelike.David is cut from the marble almost full size. He is to say one of us. The only thing he distinguishes is that one moment: the point where he stands his heroic deed. Both feet on the ground. Determined and ready to go for the fight. Convinced of the final victory.

Martin Luther King called the five pebbles in David's shepherd 'the pebbles of faith. "You need only a few pebbles faith to defeat the evil. Possibly, Bernini thought of that meaning to portray. The mystery that, if it comes, you do not need more than a handful of trust.


The Pantheon, m eaning "temple of every god", is a building in Rome on the site of an earlier building commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD). The present building was completed by the emperor Hadrian and probably dedicated about 126 AD. He retained Agrippa's original inscription, which has confused its date of construction.

The building is circular with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns (eight in the first rank and two groups of four behind) under a pediment. A rectangular vestibule links the porch to the rotunda, which is under a coffered concrete dome, with a central opening (oculus) to the sky. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon's dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. The height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same, 43.3 metres (142 ft).

It is one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings, in large part because it has been in continuous use throughout its history, and since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been used as a church dedicated to "St. Mary and the Martyrs" but informally known as "Santa Maria Rotonda". The square in front of the Pantheon is called Piazza della Rotonda. The Pantheon is a state property.

In the aftermath of the Battle of Actium (31 BC), Marcus Agrippa started an impressive building program: the Pantheon was a part of the complex created by him on his own property in the Campus Martius in 29–19 BC, which included three buildings aligned from south to north: the Baths of Agrippa, the Basilica of Neptune, and the Pantheon. It seems likely that the Pantheon and the Basilica of Neptune were Agrippa's sacra privata, not aedes publicae (public temples). This less solemn designation would help explain how the building could have so easily lost its original name and purpose in such a relatively short period of time.

It had long been thought that the current building was built by Agrippa, with later alterations undertaken, and this was in part because of the inscription on the front of the temple which reads: M·AGRIPPA·L·F·COS·TERTIVM·FECIT or in full, "M[arcus] Agrippa L[ucii] f[ilius] co[n]s[ul] tertium fecit," meaning "Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, made [this building] when consul for the third time." However, archaeological excavations have shown that the Pantheon of Agrippa had been completely destroyed except for the façade.

Since the Renaissance the Pantheon has been used as a tomb.

Piazza Navona is built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, built in 1st century AD, and follows the form of the open space of the stadium. The ancient Romans went there to watch the agones ("games"), and hence it was known as "Circus Agonalis" ("competition arena"). It is believed that over time the name changed to in avone to navone and eventually to navona.

Defined as a public space in the last years of 15th century, when the city market was transferred there from the Campidoglio, Piazza Navona was transformed into a highly significant example of Baroque Roman architecture and art during the pontificate of Innocent X, who reigned from 1644 until 1655, and whose family palace, the Palazzo Pamphili, faced the piazza. It features important sculptural and architectural creations: in the center stands the famous Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi or Fountain of the Four Rivers (1651) by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, topped by the Obelisk of Domitian, brought in pieces from the Circus of Maxentius; the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone by Francesco Borromini, Girolamo Rainaldi, Carlo Rainaldi and others; and the aforementioned Pamphili palace, also by Girolamo Rainaldi, that accommodates the long gallery designed by Borromini and frescoed by Pietro da Cortona


RENAISSANCE PHILOSOPHY

Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli; 3 May 1469 – 21 June 1527) was a Florentine historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist, and writer during the Renaissance. He was for many years an official in the Florentine Republic, with responsibilities in diplomatic and military affairs. He was a founder of modern political science, and more specifically political ethics. He also wrote comedies, carnival songs, and poetry. His personal correspondence is renowned in the Italian language. He was Secretary to the Second Chancery of the Republic of Florence from 1498 to 1512, when the Medici were out of power. He wrote his masterpiece, The Prince, after the Medici had recovered power and he no longer held a position of responsibility in Florence. His views on the importance of a strong ruler who was not afraid to be harsh with his subjects and enemies were most likely influenced by the Italian city-states, which due to a lack of unification were very vulnerable to other unified nation-states, such as France.