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51

Italy's main issue was its enmity with Austria-Hungary, Germany's main ally. That made Italy the "odd man out" in the so-called Triple Alliance with the other two. Italy had joined (reluctantly) with Germany out of a fear of France. This occurred when France and Britain concluded an alliance that made Britain responsible for the mutual defense of the ...


30

"Islam influence"? "Italian Renaissance was caused by Islamic influence?" Of course these statements are incorrect. There was some influence of SCIENCE which was cultivated by scholars living in Islamic countries. Not the influence of Islam itself. More precisely, this influence was the following: During the Dark Age in Europe, most of the writing of ...


30

To begin with, when the air campaign ahead of Operation Husky (the campaign that culminated with the invasion of Sicily) began, the Allies already had a significant numerical superiority over the Axis air forces in the theatre: Operation HUSKY air planners had nearly 5,000 operational aircraft at their disposal compared to the 1,500–1,600 Axis aircraft ...


29

Many Italians emigrated to Argentina because many Italians emigrated. Argentina, like Brazil and the United States could offer economic opportunities not to be found in the old country, but equally importantly, had policies that were open to immigration. Italian Emigration 1876-1926 Many Italians left Italy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; it is ...


29

The invasion of Italy was a huge psychological success for the Allies. It caused the Italian government to overthrow Mussolini in a coup d'etat and join the Allies. One (admittedly the weakest) of the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis had fallen before the Allies lost one of their major powers (Britain, the Soviet Union or China) to the Axis. From this point of view, ...


21

The two claims are not incompatible. There was certainly a very large Islamic influence on the Italian Renaissance. Many classical texts are largely known to us through transmission via the Islamic world. For example, see Wikipedia's article on the Transmission of the Greek Classics. Interpretations of the classical texts, like those of Aristotle, were ...


18

The Norman kingdom in South Italy was certainly not a papal project. On the contrary, the popes tried to oppose the growing Norman power, by diplomatic and military means. Matters came to a particular head in 1053 in the battle of Civitate where the Normans defeated the Pope's army and took him prisoner. But eventually, when the papacy realized the Normans ...


16

The movie is loosely based on a real story of Rubino Romeo Salmoni, Italian Jew who was kept in Fossoli Camp and later moved from there to Auschwitz (as 700 other Jews). Luckily he managed to survive the war and passed away in 2011 at the age of 91. Italians, being on Axis side, could follow their own policy regarding Jews. There were concentration camps ...


16

Mussolini learnt about the German intentions first as did most other countries, by diplomatic reports from his ambassador in Berlin and similar sources; alarmed, in early August 1939, Mussolini sent Galeazzo Ciano for a meeting with Ribbentrop, who told him Germany intended to invade the whole of Poland, not just Danzig. Mussolini was clearly against it, ...


15

It is wrong to say that Italian Jews were not exterminated. They in fact were, but only after Italy was occupied by German forces. Regarding the stance of the Italian government and fascist party, it did not express much of anti-Semitic ideology. At the origins of the fascist party were many Jews, and also Jewish black-shirt brigades of Jabotinsky were ...


15

Italy was (and is) an industrial and financial powerhouse - Mussolini was an ineffective wartime leader, but the resources his nation lent Hitler were essential to continuing the war. Removing Italy from the Axis sphere of influence was high on the list of Allied strategic goals - remember, the Allies' game plan was to deny Germany the means to make war in ...


15

The core of the Triple Alliance was Germany and Austria-Hungary who promised to protect each other against attack by any third party. Italy was an "adjunct" member, who promised and was promised protection against attack only by France. But since Germany attacked France first, Italy used that as an excuse to "opt out" of the alliance. The Achilles heel of ...


14

It is easy to explain why Italy didn't join the war: they had little to gain from it, maybe they also didn't feel prepared. Alliances are always theory and a country can refuse to be dragged into a conflict with powers that are much stronger than it. The question why Italy later still decided to join is more difficult. This website gives the following ...


14

Wikipedia has a pretty decent write-up with references. Specifically to tomatoes, it says: Significant changes occurred with the discovery of the New World with the introduction of items such as potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers and maize, now central to the cuisine but not introduced in quantity until the 18th century. As far as not-in-quantity, the ...


14

According to the legend, San Marino has been de facto independent since very old times, viz. since its foundation the year 301. Then the founder San Marino famously 1 said to the mountain community: Relinquo vos liberos ab utroque homine (I free you from both men), thus freeing it from both the temporal power of the Emperor and the power of the Roman ...


14

The claim is true if we take "Italian" as meaning modern standard Italian. At the time of Italy's unification, what we know today as "Italian" was more of a literary language than a vernacular one. The 2.5% figure cited is a lower bound figure, but the higher end only goes up to 12% or so. Either way, only a small minority of Italy's inhabitants spoke it. ...


13

All things considered and with perfect hindsight, did the Allies benefit, by having Italy fight on Germany's side rather than remain neutral? No. While the popular impression is that Germany had to "bail out" Italy more often than not, this does not mean they were a net burden on the Axis. On the contrary, Italy opened up the Mediterranean and African ...


13

The masks of the Venetian carnival are based in the characters of the Commedia Dell'Arte, a sort of improvisational theatre born in Italy during the 15th century. The top photo is a volto (a generic mask) with an over-the-top chaperon, a kind of hoodie that evolved in a hat during the 15th century and it was in fashion all around Western Europe. The woman ...


12

Whether or not there are any surviving SPQR initials inscriptions from the time of the Roman Republic is unclear. For inscriptions, the earliest use of these initials seems to have been on coins from the reign of Augustus (27 BC to 14 AD). Given the limited space on a coin compared to, for example, a public building or a monument, it would not be surprising ...


11

There were many reasons for an invasion: punishing Naples for its support of the Knights of Rhodes, whom the king Ferdinand I of Naples sent two ships of reinforcements against the Turks, determining a burning defeat of the Ottomans creating a bridgehead for further operations in Italy, against Naples and possibly Rome (we have to keep in mind that the ...


11

First of all notice that although many Jews might have perished in Germany, by large the highest fraction was killed in the extermination camps of occupied Poland. Back to Italy now. Even though the Italian Government put emphasis on the purity of the "Italian Race", it was not until 1938 that a specific law against the "Jewish Race" was approved. Italian ...


11

According to Niall Ferguson in The Ascent of Money, they aren't balls, but coins. (I listened to the audiobook so I can't provide a page citation.) I'm somewhat suspicious because the blazon for the arms is "augmented coat of arms of the Medici, Or, five balls in orle gules, in chief a larger one of the arms of France (viz. Azure, three fleurs-de-lis or" ...


11

Florence, Milan, Venice, and Genoa were the most important city-states of Renaissance Italy. This distinction is the chief attribute shared by these four cities. Of course, that's a bit of an intrinsically subjective statement. There were several major players, and it is difficult to quantify something as nebulous as "importance". Nontheless this particular ...


11

SHORT ANSWER The story isn't true. It most likely stems from an inaccurate account by the English writer A. N. Wilson. It is also possible that Wilson's version has been 'blended' with a piece of fiction by a Dutch writer, Dick Raaymakers. There is also at least one other false 'version' of the 'Mussolini, Laurel & Hardy & bowler hat' story. ...


10

Cosimo di Medici inherited a thriving "banking" business from his father Giovanni, who was the "Fred Trump" of the family, with Cosimo being like the current President of the United States. Most people "get into" something by starting small; a smart or lucky few get "big" and become very successful. Giovanni had inherited a small time moneylending business ...


9

Haile Selassie Gugsa (second from right), a military commander and governor of Eastern Tigray, turned coat just a week into the invasion. After the war he was sentenced to death (commuted to life imprisonment and later house arrest.)


9

To take off on the climate answer, it is noteworthy that the area between Buenos Aires and the Brazilian border (to the north), approximates the southern latitudes of Italy's own northern latitudes. Thus, not only the temperature, but the rainfall and crop patterns of that part of Argentina resemble that of parts of Italy. Basically, Italians felt "at home" ...


9

The League of the Sublime and Perfect Masters (Sublime Perfect Masters / Society of Perfect Sublime Masters) was a conspiratorial and revolutionary society, one of the Carbonari groups. It was created in 1818 by Filippo Buonarroti and it operated as a Masonic Lodge. Its headquarters were in Turin and its immediate goal was independence from Austria. Its ...


9

What I think happened here is a case of gradual exaggeration. Benito Mussolini, who started the Italian Fascist party, was a socialist. But he got kicked out of the socialist party for supporting Italian involvement in WWI. Since he was no longer in the socialist party, he started his own organization, which eventually became the fascist party. Although ...


9

As T.E.D. already mentioned, titles were tied to the territory, and mostly didn't change unless a feudal lord higher up in the "foodchain" granted one of its vassals a higher title (it usually came with further land and possessions as well). Also, once you fulfilled certain requirements to create a title, you could do so (great example, the British Empire, ...


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