Italy is a country that exercises a hold on the imagination of people all over the world. Its long history has left an inexhaustible treasure chest of cultural achievement. The historic cities of Rome, Florence, and Venice are among the most sought-after destinations in the world for tourists and art lovers, and Italy's natural beauty and cuisine are rightly renowned. Italy's history and politics are also a source of endless fascination. Modern Italy has consistently been a political laboratory for the rest of Europe. In the 19th century, Italian patriotism was of crucial importance in the struggle against the absolute governments reintroduced after the Congress of Vienna, 1814-15. After the fall of Fascism during World War II, Italy became a model of rapid economic development, though its politics has never been less than contentious and its democracy has remained a troubled one.The A to Z of Modern Italy
is an attempt to introduce the key personalities, events, social developments, and cultural achievements of Italy since the beginning of the 19th century, when Italy first began to emerge as something more than a geographical entity and national feeling began to grow. This is done through a chronology, a list of acronyms and abbreviations, an introductory essay, a map, a bibliography, and some 400 cross-referenced dictionary entries on prominent individuals, basic institutions, crucial events, history, politics, economics, society, and culture.