August 29, 2017

3137 ITALY - The map and the flag of the country

Located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, San Marino and Vatican City (the last two are enclaves within Italy). Due to its shape, it is often referred as lo Stivale (the Boot). With 61 million inhabitants it is the fourth most populous EU member state. Its capital city is Rome, one of the birthplaces of Western civilisation and the first ever metropolis. Without The Eternal City, the world wouldn't have been the same.

To the north, Italy is roughly delimited by the Alpine watershed, enclosing the Po Valley and the Venetian Plain. To the south, it consists of the entirety of the Italian Peninsula and the two Mediterranean islands of Sicily and Sardinia, in addition to many smaller islands. Including islands, Italy has a coastline of 7,600 km on the Adriatic Sea, Ionian Sea, Tyrrhenian Sea, Ligurian Sea, Sea of Sardinia and Strait of Sicily. The Apennine Mountains form the peninsula's backbone.

Since classical times, ancient Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Greeks established settlements in the south of Italy, with Etruscans and Celts inhabiting the centre and north, respectively and various different ancient Italian tribes and Italic peoples dispersed throughout the Italian Peninsula and insular Italy. The Latins formed the Roman Kingdom, which eventually became a republic that conquered and assimilated other nearby civilisations.

Ultimately the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean basin, conquering much of the ancient world and becoming the leading cultural, political and religious centre of Western civilisation. The legacy of the Roman Empire is widespread and can be observed in the global distribution of civilian law, republican governments, Christianity and the Latin script. During the Early Middle Ages Italy suffered sociopolitical collapse amid barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival city-states and maritime republics rose to great prosperity through shipping, commerce and banking.

These mostly independent statelets often enjoyed a greater degree of democracy and wealth in comparison to the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe at the time, though much of central Italy remained 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, Spanish and Bourbon conquests of the region.

The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe. Italian culture flourished at this time, producing famous scholars, artists and polymaths such as Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Michelangelo and Machiavelli. Italian explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci and Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World. Furthermore, the Italian city-states constantly engaged one another in bloody warfare, culminating in the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries that left them exhausted and at the conquerors' reach.

By the mid-19th century occurred the Risorgimento. After various unsuccessful attempts, the Italian Wars of Independence and the Expedition of the Thousand resulted in the eventual unification of the country in 1861. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, the new Kingdom of Italy rapidly industrialised, although mainly in the north, and acquired a colonial empire. Despite being one of the main victors in WWI, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading the way to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922.

The subsequent participation in WWII on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and an Italian civil war. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoil, became a major advanced economy.

The flag of Italy is a tricolour featuring three equally sized vertical pales of green, white and red, with the green at the hoist side. Its current form has been in use since 1946 and was formally adopted in 1948. The first entity to use il Tricolore was the Cisalpine Republic in 1797, which supplanted Milan after Napoleon's victorious army crossed Italy in 1796. Red and white were the colours of the recently conquered flag of Milan, and green was the colour of the uniform of the Milanese civic guard.

About the stamps 
The stamp is part of the series Italian Squares, about which I wrote here.

Italy - Wikipedia
Flag of Italy - Wikipedia

Sender: Beatrice Christiana Johnson (lottery)
Sent from Montaione (Tuscany / Italy), on 18.07.2017
Concept by Postcardsmarket - Flags of the World series

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