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Italy - Culture
By Ekaterina Zhdanova-Redman

1     The 20th century has seen the transformation of Italy from a highly traditional, agricultural society to a progressive, industrialized state. There are many differences in people's daily lives in different places of Italy--Rome, Milan, Venice, Sicily, and others. All of them combined make a unique picture of the Italian lifestyle.
2     The majority of the population of Italy lives in cities and villages; only a fraction live in hamlets or in isolated houses. From antiquity, Mediterranean peoples have had highly developed urban centers. Today, there are four cities in Italy with a population of more then 1,000,000 (Rome, Milan, Turin, and Naples); but there are many other large cities in Italy, and almost half of them are on or near the sea.
3     A number of cities have merged into enormous metropolitan complexes, sometimes characterized as mega-cities, such as those surrounding Milan. Severe congestion and pollution are the result of a growing population and high level of automobile ownership in Italy.
4     The capital of Italy--the city of Rome--today is a bustling place, full of traffic and crowds. It is amazing how sites of ancient culture and modern urban life coexist together in the modern country. People live alongside the temples, marketplaces and public buildings of the past.
5     There are layers of history in Rome--Etruscan tombs, Senate meeting rooms, Imperial temples, early-Christian churches, medieval bell towers, and Renaissance palaces. One of the most famous ancient constructions of Italy is the Coliseum in Rome. It is a huge arena, called an amphitheater. It was used for staging games and gladiator fights, and was first opened to the public in 80 AD.

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