Italy is home to 61 million people who inhabit an area about the size of Arizona. Strategically located on the Mediterranean Sea, this NATO-member generates the world's 10th biggest economy.
When we consider the Mussolini-Hitler alliance in World War II, the earlier reach of the Roman Empire, the pervasive influence of the Latin language, and the Roman Catholic Church’s central role in spreading Christianity, Italy’s global importance becomes inescapable.
Italy has produced a disproportionate share of the world’s most notable people. A list of the “Top Ten Italians of the last Millennium” might include Galileo, Dante, Columbus, Michelangelo, Marco Polo, Machiavelli, Marconi, Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, and that universal genius, Leonardo da Vinci. Few nations can match such a power-packed lineup!
Dr. Allen H. Merriam, retired MSSU Professor of Communication, provides even more reasons Americans should learn more about Italy - including its extensive musical heritage, the many Italian immigrants to the U.S. and the strong Italian flavor infused into the American cuisine.