50 Vintage Photos Of Italy In The 1950s

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps and several islands surrounding it, whose territory largely coincides with the homonymous geographical region. Italy is located in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, in Southern Europe; it is also considered part of Western Europe. A unitary parliamentary republic with Rome as its capital and largest city, the country covers a total area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and shares land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, as well as the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. Italy has a territorial exclave in Switzerland (Campione) and a maritime exclave in Tunisian waters (Lampedusa). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the third-most populous member state of the European Union.

Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has historically been home to myriad peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout what is now modern-day Italy, the most predominant being the Indo-European Italic peoples who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era, Phoenicians and Carthaginians founded colonies mostly in insular Italy, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia of Southern Italy, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively. An Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which eventually became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People. The Roman Republic initially conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the Italian peninsula, eventually expanding and conquering parts of Europe, North Africa and Asia. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became a leading cultural, political and religious centre, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy’s law, technology, economy, art, and literature developed.

During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the Barbarian Invasions, but by the 11th century numerous rival city-states and maritime republics, mainly in the northern and central regions of Italy, became prosperous through trade, commerce, and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism. These mostly independent statelets served as Europe’s main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East, often enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe; however, part of central Italy was under the control of the theocratic Papal States, while Southern Italy remained largely feudal until the 19th century, partially as a result of a succession of Byzantine, Arab, Norman, Angevin, Aragonese, and other foreign conquests of the region. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science, exploration, and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars, artists, and polymaths. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Nevertheless, Italy’s commercial and political power significantly waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of foreign meddling and conquest, and the rivalry and infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left Italy politically fragmented, and it was further conquered and divided among multiple foreign European powers over the centuries.

By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was almost entirely unified in 1861 following a war of independence, establishing the Kingdom of Italy. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy rapidly industrialised, mainly in the north, and acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained largely impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora. Despite being one of the victorious allied powers in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of the Italian fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction, and civil war. Following the rise of the Italian Resistance and the liberation of Italy, the country abolished its monarchy, established a democratic Republic, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom, and became a highly developed country.

Italy has an advanced economy. The country is the eighth-largest by nominal GDP (third in the European Union), the sixth-largest by national wealth and the third-largest by central bank gold reserve. It ranks highly in life expectancy, quality of life, healthcare, and education. The country is a great power and it has a significant role in regional and global economic, military, cultural, and diplomatic affairs. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the United Nations, NATO, the OECD, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Trade Organization, the Group of Seven, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Latin Union, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area, and many more. The source of many inventions and discoveries, the country has long been a global centre of art, music, literature, philosophy, science and technology, and fashion, and has greatly influenced and contributed to diverse fields including cinema, cuisine, sports, jurisprudence, banking, and business. As a reflection of its cultural wealth, Italy has the world’s largest number of World Heritage Sites , and is the fifth-most visited country. (Wikipedia)

Two women hailing a Vespa Taxi-Scooter, in Milan. April 1952.
Holidaymakers on the beach at Positano.
Two musicians play instruments in Calabria, southern Italy. 1950.
The Reschen Lake in southern Tyrol, which covers the sunken village of Graun, on August 13, 1953.
A shoeshine boy from Calabria. 1950
A group of boys playing in a village band. 1950.
A man sells cherries from a market stall in Naples. 1952.
A Catholic nun in Rome. 1955.
Sophia Loren on location at Ostia Antica for the filming of ‘La Fortuna di Essere Donna’ with the French actor Charles Boyer.
British violonist Yehudi Menuhin and his wife Diana eating spaghetti before a concert the Maestro gave in Venice.
Wedding guests on the steps of the church in Piana dei Greci, Sicily. Circa 1950.
The son of a fisherman looks after his two sisters whilst his parents work in the seas off Calabria. 1950.
A stall holder selling live crabs at a market in an Italian fishing town. 1950.
Girls on the Venetian island of Burano learning the art of making lace. 1954.
Young Italian men having lunch in a cafe in Rome and reading the communist paper ‘Unita’ and the socialist ‘Avanti’. 1955.
A young barber at work on an elderly client in Italy. 1955.
The bustle of tourists, pigeons, and public servants in Venice. 1955.
Three priests during a visit to Vatican City. 1955.
A tour boat leaves harbor for the ‘Blue Grotto’ on the isle of Capri. 1955.
Italians celebrate a May Festival in the village of Bucchianico, near Chieti in Abruzzo. May 1957.
A small boy plays with the pigeons in the Piazza del Unita, Trieste. 1950.
A schoolboy walks through the rain in Saint Mark’s Square, Venice. March 1958.
A group of unemployed men playing cards on a street corner, Sicily. 1955.
Portrait of Italian actress Giovanna Ralli sitting on a stone step. May 1955.
Italian driver Alberto Ascari steers his Lancia at the finish line of the 1000 Miles race in Rome. May 1954.
A gondolier navigates his way through Venice. 1950.
Italians celebrate a May Festival in the village of Bucchianico, near Chieti in Abruzzo. May 1957.
Italy’s Fausto Coppi finishing the seventeenth lap of the bicycle race across Italy. June 1952.
A gondolier plies his trade. 1955.
Laundry is pinned across an entire building on wash day in Sicily. 1955.
Italian film stars Vittorio Gassman and Silvana Mangano wait for a take in Venice. February 1954.
Italian hotelier, Luigi Brandijlioni, in his hotel on the mountains above Lake Garda. 1955.
Sophia Loren on location at Ostia Antica for the filming of ‘La Fortuna di Essere Donna’. 1955.
Famous Italian film and stage actress Anna Magnani in Rome. January 1952.
One of 500 Catholic nuns in Rome at a conference to discuss the modernisation of Italy’s convents in 1955
An Italian man watches an American tourist walking her poodle down the Spanish Steps in Rome. 1955.
American girl in Italy, 1950s
The Lusetti Family, Luzzara, Italy, 1953
A pair of priests read ‘L’Osservatore’ outside St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City circa 1955
Italians celebrate a May Festival in the village of Bucchianico, near Chieti in Abruzzo in 1957
Time for enduring traditions: A group of boys playing in a village band in 1950
Milan, Italy, 1950s.
Milan, Italy, 1950s.
Naples, Italy, late 1950s
Little boy in Naples, Italy, 1950s
A little girl’s First Communion, Naples, Italy, 1950
An Italian woman holding a baby in the doorway of her home in Naples, 1950.
Friday is Wash Day for the people of Naples, Italy, July 1956.
Claudia Cardinale In Italy, 1950’s
Street scene in Bellagio, Italy 1950

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