ITALY is a country of contrasts
Italy is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe. It has been traversed by many peoples, including Arabs, Byzantines, Greeks, Normans, and Phoenicians.
The country is rich in historical and artistic treasures. Ancient Greek and Roman ruins or Baroque and Renaissance architecture stand proudly in many of Italy’s towns and cities. Paintings, marble statues, and fountains are a credit to artists such as Bernini, Michelangelo, and Raphael.
Food plays a central role in daily life, and many customs revolve around local cuisine. Pasta is often served as a first course, followed by meat or fish with vegetables. Olive oil is used copiously, as it is produced there on a large scale. Pizza and risotto are well-known Italian dishes.
Italians are known for being warm, hospitable, and gregarious. Conversation is considered an art form, so it is common to see people chatting in public squares or enjoying animated conversation while strolling along a path.
Most of Italy’s population profess to be Roman Catholic, but few regularly attend church. The influence of the church is said to have weakened in recent decades, as public opinion has ignored long-held policies on abortion and divorce.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are thriving in Italy. They are well-known for teaching the Bible as part of their public ministry as well as for living by its standards. There are more than 3,000 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout the country, and many of these congregations are reaching out to people who speak languages other than Italian. The need for foreign-language Bible instruction is seen in the fact that during a recent ten-year period, the number of foreigners in Italy tripled.
DID YOU KNOW?
Although Vatican City is located in Rome, it has been an independent country since 1929 and is thus thought of as foreign soil by citizens of Italy.