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The subsequent participation in World War II 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 (e.g.

C., Rome grew over the course of centuries into a massive empire stretching from Britain to the borders of Persia, and engulfing the whole Mediterranean basin, in which Greek and Roman and many other cultures merged into a unique civilisation.

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Italian singles dating service

But by his time Oenotria and Italy had become synonymous, and the name also applied to most of Lucania as well.

The Greeks gradually came to apply the name "Italia" to a larger region, but it was during the reign of Emperor Augustus (end of the 1st century BC) that the term was expanded to cover the entire peninsula until the Alps.

As an advanced economy the country also has the sixth worldwide national wealth and it is ranked third for its central bank gold reserve.

Italy has a very high level of human development and it is sixth in the world for life expectancy.

After various unsuccessful attempts, the Italian Wars of Independence, the Expedition of the Thousand and the Capture of Rome resulted in the eventual unification of the country, now a great power after centuries of foreign domination and political division.

Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading the way to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922.

With around 61 million inhabitants it is the fourth most populous EU member state.

Since classical times, ancient Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Greeks established settlements in the south of Italy, with Etruscans and Celts inhabiting the centre and the north of Italy respectively and various ancient Italian tribes and Italic peoples dispersed throughout the Italian Peninsula and insular Italy.

The bull was a symbol of the southern Italic tribes and was often depicted goring the Roman wolf as a defiant symbol of free Italy during the Social War.

Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus states this account together with the legend that Italy was named after Italus, The name Italia originally applied only to a part of what is now Southern Italy – according to Antiochus of Syracuse, the southern portion of the Bruttium peninsula (modern Calabria: province of Reggio, and part of the provinces of Catanzaro and Vibo Valentia).

The Roman Empire was among the most powerful economic, cultural, political and military forces in the world of its time.

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