Galleria Umberto is a public shopping gallery in Naples. It is located directly across from the San Carlo opera house. It was built between 1887-1891 and was the cornerstone in the decades-long rebuilding of Naples — called the risanamento (lit. “making healthy again”) — that lasted until World War I.
The formation of the modern Italian state began in 1861 with the unification of most of the peninsula under the House of Savoy (Piedmont-Sardinia) into the Kingdom of Italy. Italy incorporated Venetia and the former Papal States (including Rome) by 1871 following the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71). Prior to Italian unification (also known as the Risorgimento), the United States had diplomatic relations with the main entities of the Italian peninsula: The Kingdom of Sardinia, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and the Papal States.
Italian unification came in the 19th century, when a revolution installed Victor Emmanuel II as king. In World War I, Italy fought on the side of the Allies, but, under the rule of the fascist leader Benito Mussolini, it waged war against the Allied powers in World War II. From the end of World War II to the early 1990s, Italy had a multiparty system dominated by two large parties: the Christian Democratic Party (Partito della Democrazia Cristiana; DC) and the Italian Communist Party (Partito Comunista Italiano; PCI). In the early 1990s, the Italian party system underwent a radical transformation and the political center collapsed, leaving a right-left polarization of the party spectrum that threw the north-south divide into sharper contrast and gave rise to such political leaders as media magnate Silvio Berlusconi.
The whole country is relatively prosperous, certainly as compared with the early years of the 20th century, when the economy was predominantly agricultural. Much of that prosperity is because of tourism, for in good years nearly as many visitors as citizens can be found in the country. Italy is part of the European Union and the Council of Europe, and, with its strategic geographic position on the southern flank of Europe, it has played a fairly important role in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
The capital is Rome, one of the oldest of the world’s great cities and a favorite of visitors, who go there to see its great monuments and works of art as well as to enjoy the city’s famed dolce vita, or “sweet life.” Other major cities include the industrial and fashion center of Milan; Genoa, a handsome port on the Ligurian Gulf; the sprawling southern metropolis of Naples; and Venice, one of the world’s oldest tourist destinations. Surrounded by Rome is an independent state, Vatican City, which is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church and the spiritual home of Italy’s overwhelmingly Catholic population. Each of those cities, and countless smaller cities and towns, has retained its differences against the leveling effect of the mass media and standardized education. Thus, many Italians, particularly older ones, are inclined to think of themselves as belonging to families, then neighborhoods, then towns or cities, then regions, and then, last, as members of a nation.
To learn more about modern Italy, please visit:
U.S. Dept. of State – U.S. Relations with Italy
Live Science – Italy
CIA World Factbook – Italy
Life in Italy