55 Vintage Photos of Italy during the Mid-1950s

Italy, officially the Italian Republic or Republic of Italy, 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 middle 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 301,230 km2 (116,310 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. With over 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 conquest and meddling, 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. The participation of Fascist Italy in World War II on the Axis side and against the Allies ended in military defeat, economic destruction, and the occupation of Italy by Nazi Germany and the collaborationist Italian Social Republic. Following the rise of the Italian Resistance and the subsequent Italian Civil War and 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 ninth-largest by nominal GDP (third in the European Union), the eighth-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 (58), and is the fifth-most visited country. (Wikipedia)

Pantheon in Rome
Piazza De Ferrari, Genoa
Piazza Enrico De Nicola, Naples
Ponte Vecchio from Lungarno Acciaioli, Florence
Porta Capuana, Naples
Porta Maggiore from the eastern approach, Rome
Porta Soprana, Genoa
Rapallo, Italy
Road towards the Colosseum from the Forum, Rome
Rossano, Italy
San Marco, Venice
School children, Piazza Tasso, Sorrento, Italy
Shopping on Strada Statale, Portofino, Genoa
St Mark’s Square, Venice
St Peters Square, Rome
Street in Eboli, Italy
Street in Messina, Italy
Street in Naples, Italy
Street in Vibo Valentia
The Apse Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome
The Flag of Milan under the Arco della Pace – Porta Sempione, Milan
The Moses Fountain in Rome
Via Ponte Gregoriano & Sirena Hotel from the Sibilla Restaurant,Tivoli, Italy
View from Naples to Sorrento
Villa Adriana, Tivoli, Italy
Villa Adriana, Tivoli, Italy
Villa Adriana, Tivoli, Italy
Villa D’Este, Cernobbio, Lake Como
Walking up the Via Sacra towards the Arch Of Titus, Rome
Washing Day under the Ponte Alli, North of Catanzaro
Zi Teresa, Naples
An Artist at work, Passeggiata dei Monaci, Amalfi, Italy
An Artist at work, Passeggiata dei Monaci, Amalfi, Italy
At the Piazzale Michelangelo looking down to the River Arno (and bridges being rebuilt after WW2), Florence
Bay Of Naples from Sorrento Road
Castel Nuovo, Naples
Church of San Lorenzo, Genoa
Eboli, Italy
Fontana di Nettuno in the Piazza della Signoria, Florence
Fountain at Piazza De Ferrari, Genoa
Il Vittoriano, Rome, Italy
Italian guard in Rome
Looking down Via San Ceasario at Piazza Tasso, Sorrento, Italy
Mergellina District, Naples
Mergellina, Naples
Naples from road to Posillipo
On the Grand Canal heading towards the Rialto Bridge, Venice
On the Quayside at Portofino
On the road from Naples to Rome
On the road to Crotone from Catanzaro, Italy
On the road to Crotone from Catanzaro, Italy
On the road to Crotone from Catanzaro, Italy
On The Sele River, South Of Eboli
On the Sorento road to Amalfi
Palazzo di Venezia, Rome

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