Italy was, of course, the seat of the Roman Empire. One of history’s most influential and successful empires, it existed for an incredible five centuries. It spanned the globe from North Africa and the Middle East to Britain and at its height, 21 percent of the world’s population lived under its rule.
Encompassing famous leaders such as Julius Caesar, Nero and Caligula, the Roman Empire spread its rule of law across all of its domains. Indeed, its forces came into contact with such historical figures as Ancient Egypt’s Cleopatra, queen Boudica of Britannia and Jesus Christ. The Romans gave us roads, sanitation and central heating. Indeed, so mighty was its influence that Rome dominates much of our knowledge of the world during that period.
But post-empire, Italy didn’t rest on its ancient laurels. And the country once again emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the 14th century. Rather than force, though, this time it was through art and science. Indeed, the Italian Renaissance period brought about a cultural shift that spread beyond its borders and still resonates today.