The culture of Italy

The culture of Italy

Italian culture is steeped in the arts, family, architecture, music and food.

Home of the Roman Empire and a major center of the Renaissance, culture on the Italian peninsula has flourished for centuries. Here is a brief overview of Italian customs and traditions.

Importance of family in Italy

Family is an extremely important value within the Italian culture. Italians have frequent family gatherings and enjoy spending time with those in their family. Children are reared to remain close to the family upon adulthood and incorporate their future family into the larger network.


The culture of ItalyMajor religion in Italy is Roman Catholicism. This is not surprising, as Vatican City, located in the heart of Rome, is the hub of Roman Catholicism and where the Pope resides.  Roman Catholics make up 90 percent of the population, though only one-third of those are practicing Catholics, while the other 10 percent is composed of Protestant, Jewish and a growing Muslim immigrant community.


Italy has given rise to a number of architectural styles, including classical Roman, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical. Italy is home to some of the most famous structures in the world, including Colosseum and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The concept of a basilica — which was originally used to describe an open public court building and evolved to mean a Catholic pilgrimage site — was born in Italy.


The culture of ItalyItalian cuisine has influenced food culture around the world and is viewed as a form of art. Wine, cheese and pasta are important part of Italian meals. Pasta comes in a wide range of shapes, widths and lengths, including penne, spaghetti, linguine, fusilli and lasagna. For Italians, food isn’t just nourishment, it is life.


Italian literature rose to prominence with Dante Alighieri’s masterpiece, the Divine Comedy. Literary Petrarch created the sonnet, and among the most famous philosophers in the world were Italian – Niccolo Machiavelli and Giambattista Vico. The most celebrated children’s book in all of Italy is The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi in 1883, and stands as one of the most famous and beloved children’s stories in the world.

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