The home of popes and the Catholic Church, a place where celebrated artists and influential political thinkers have congregated, and a land of great beauty with a long and fascinating history, Italy is one of Europe's most distinguished countries. Exploring more than 500 years of the country's history, Italy provides readers interested in modern Italy or European history with a greater understanding of Italy's past, from the Renaissance to the present. Concise and comprehensive, this guide presents the milestones in Italy's history in an interesting and readable way. Containing information in a variety of useful formats - including a concise narrative history, a chronology of important events, and an A-to-Z dictionary of key people, events, ideas, and places - Italy is a key reference to a country that is often studied in school and is of high interest to general readers as well. Major areas of coverage include Italy's special relationship with America, Italy's troubled political history, and the contributions made by Italian culture to the world.