Italy’s history is perhaps the most important one for the cultural and social development of the Mediterranean area as a whole.
The country has been host to important human activities in prehistoric times, and thusly archaeological sites of note can be found in many regions: Latium and Tuscany, Umbria and Basilicata.
After Magna Graecia, the Etruscan civilisation and especially the Roman Empire that came to dominate this part of the world for many centuries, came the medieval Humanism and the Renaissance that further helped to shape European philosophy and art.
The city of Rome contains some of the most important examples of the Baroque.
Italy is subdivided into 20 regions (regioni, singular regione), of which five enjoy a special autonomous status by a:
Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia*, Latium (Lazio), Liguria, Lombardy (Lombardia), Marche, Molise, Piedmont (Piemonte), Apulia (Puglia), Sardinia (Sardegna)*, Sicily (Sicilia)*, Tuscany (Toscana), Trentino-South Tyrol (Trentino-Alto Adige)*, Umbria, Aosta Valley (Valle d’Aosta)*, Veneto.
A region can be further subdivided into provinces.