Because of its
geographical position, Italy has direct contacts with the main ethnic and
cultural areas of old Europe such as neo-Latin, Germanic, and Slav-Balkan areas
as well as, through North-African countries, with the world of Arab-Islamic
civilisation. Consequently while still anchored in the European and Western
civilisation, Italy can be considered a natural link to those African and Asian
countries which bordering as they do on the same Mediterranean Sea, have shared
historical events and cultural influences over many centuries.
Italian culture is
deeply rooted in the ancient Greek and Roman civilisations which florished on
the penisula for over a milllenium and left their imprint everywhere in the
country in so many works of art, her legal system, her traditions.
After the decay of the
Roman empire, through the Middle Ages and the Rennaissance up to the Modern
Age, Italy developed her own civilisation, an interesting combination of
traditions and innovations stimulated by the influence of the Christian faith.
She became the cradle of visual arts, music, poetry, literature. At the same
time, Italy promoted the development of the modern philosphical thought, of
science and research and started establishing her universities the first of
which are among the most ancient in the world.
Soon after the second
world war (1950-1960), Italy made a tremendous effort to recover its moral
energies and financial resources, rebuild its infrastructures, promote literacy
as well as education at all levels, grant equal political and educational
opportunities to all layers of society, foster scientific progress and
technological innovation, establish fruitful relations of political, cultural
and conomic cooperation with all countries within and outside Europe.
In more recent years,
Italy has played an important role in European higher education: it is one of
the four countries that first engaged to create the so-called "European
Area of Higher Education" (Sorbonne Declaration, May 1998), thus starting
that type of higher education reform which, known as "Bologna
Process" (Bologna Declaration, June 1999) is being implemented all over