Italy. A serious crack occurred during the year in Silvio
Berlusconi's government, and its future was uncertain.
Italy has a population of 60.36 million (2019). The
controversial leader's popularity continued to decline,
partly as a result of new revelations about contacts with
very young women. Close employees began to criticize
Berlusconi's inability to solve the country's problems.
The year began with a couple of serious clashes with
immigrants involved. In the city of Rosarno, Calabria, armed
Italian youths attacked African farmers on January 7,
injuring two of them. Enraged Africans later drove through
the city, burning cars and smashed windows. They are
attacked by city dwellers armed with iron bars and skiers.
About fifty people were injured during three days of riots.
Over 1,000 immigrants were then evacuated from the city and
placed in refugee camps.
In mid-February, a young Egyptian died after a knife
attack in Milan, according to police conducted by South
American immigrants. It was followed by violent riots in an
immigrant-dense area, and four Egyptians were arrested by
In Italy, too, the debate about comprehensive veils was
ongoing. At local level, bans can be introduced, and in
April, for the first time, a Muslim woman was fined in Italy
for her dress. This took place in the city of Novara, where
a local regulation had been adopted on the initiative of the
mayor, who belongs to the immigrant-critical party
Nordförbundet (Lega Nord, LN).
With Parliament in support, Berlusconi continued to be
successful in his many years of "struggle" with the
country's courts. At the beginning of the year, a law was
passed that shortens the time before a crime is prescribed.
The intention was stated to be to rectify the long-drawn out
legal processes, but according to the opposition, the aim
was to protect Berlusconi from future processes. And in
February, the Supreme Court upheld a verdict against
attorney David Mills. He was convicted in 2009 for falsely
testifying in 1997 after bribes to protect Berlusconi in two
cases of corruption and fraud. The judgment against Mills
was dismissed on the grounds of a 10-year limitation period.
Another new team directly benefited Berlusconi. In
February, Parliament had approved that government members
could request that legal proceedings be postponed for up to
18 months because they were too preoccupied with government
work. The two planned corruption processes against
Berlusconi were therefore postponed in the future.
Berlusconi's Coalition of the People's Freedom (PdL) and
LN achieved success in the elections held in March in 13 of
the country's 20 regions. They already ruled in two regions,
which was now expanded by four taken from the left
opposition, the Democratic Party (PD). In total, the left
got 26 percent and PdL close to 27 percent of the votes,
while support for LN doubled to 12.3 percent compared to
A battle over the political media coverage flared up
before the election. The government-dominated body that
oversees the state broadcaster RAI decided that the most
popular debate programs were allowed to discuss politics the
month before the election only if the program time was moved
to late evening or early morning, when viewership is low.
Despite the new rules, Berlusconi appeared in all major TV
channels with a speech to the voters just a few days before
New corruption havens were revealed during the year, and
in May, Industry Minister Claudio Scajola resigned because
of a bribery deal with a construction company. Many of the
scandals have come out since eavesdropping phone calls
leaked to media. The leaks have often been embarrassing for
the government, which in June presented a bill that severely
limits the police's right to interception in criminal
investigations and the press's ability to publish the news.
The Senate approved the law, but it faced harsh criticism
from prosecutors investigating serious crimes.
A long-standing political dispute between Berlusconi and
his PdL colleague Gianfranco Fini became acute in July, when
Fini was forced to leave the party after a series of harsh,
mutual accusations. Berlusconi then tried to remove Fini
from the post of Speaker of the House of Commons. Fini, who
approached social liberalism politically, had long opposed
the PdL, including on the issue of the new interception law.
The background to the conflict was assumed to be Fini's
ambitions to take over after the increasingly popular prime
Fini formed his own parliamentary group, and Berlusconi
no longer had a majority. But in a vote of confidence in
August, Fini's supporters cast their votes, which saved the
government. After the summer break, the government requested
a vote of confidence in September on a five-point reform
program. This time, Fini's faction was persuaded to vote for
the reforms, as did Umberto Bossis LN. In November, however,
Fini had tired of Berlusconi and withdrew his ministers from
the government. In December, however, Berlusconi was able to
win a decisive vote by a three-vote margin. The reason was
considered that many politicians did not want to risk a new
During the international economic crisis, Italy has
performed relatively well, despite Europe's highest
indebtedness (around 116 per cent of GDP), extensive tax
evasion and low productivity. As a reason, it has been
stated that the country has had a weak economy for almost 20
years and has already made major cuts in welfare. The banks
are heavily regulated, and no mortgage crisis exists. The
Italians save heavily and have lent large sums to cover the
government's debt. However, the government adopted a savings
package during the year with the aim of reducing the budget
deficit to below three percent in 2012.
Room - infrastructure
Rome's metro with only two lines is not a real alternative to other
traffic. Several lines are planned and under construction, but the work is
hampered by archaeological considerations. In an attempt to solve some of the
violent traffic problems in the city center, the relocation of a large number of
institutions began in the 1970's: Ministries were moved to EUR, the radio and
television company RAI's headquarters to Saxa Rubra, and Rome's two new
universities established in the suburbs. However, the relocation has not been
followed up by the necessary infrastructure improvements, and the result has
been that traffic problems etc. have spread to new parts of the city.
Rome - the ancient city
Knowledge of ancient Rome is conditioned by later periods of recycling and
superstructure of ancient buildings, which usually makes actual excavations of
entire sites and monuments impossible. It is therefore characteristic of the
archaeological picture of Rome that these are most often random finds and
emergency excavations. The excavations are complemented by forma urbis,
a rather fragmented marble city plan over Rome from approx. 200 AD, as well as
of regional descriptions from 300 AD.
The first known traces of settlement are Iron Age huts and burial sites on
the Esquiliner and Palatine mounds from 900 BC. The first buildings on the Roman
Forum as regia and the Western Temple date from the Roman
Empire. Between the Capitol and the Tiber was also an area inhabited from
ancient times. Here it was in 500-tkKr. built a shrine for Fortuna and Mater
Matuta. From this period probably also dates Rome's first city wall, which,
however, can only be detected on smaller stretches. By the end of the monarchy,
the great temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on Capitol Hill must have
begun. According to tradition, it was inaugurated in 509 BC. and marked,
according to traditional dating, the beginning of the republic.
The first centuries of the republic are only sparsely archaeologically
illuminated. 378-350 BC Rome got a new city wall, which on several stretches was
built directly over the archaic. In addition, at the Roman Forum, two large
temples were erected for resp. Saturn as well as Castor and Pollux. But in
100-tfKr. an explosive urban development took place. The introduction of Roman
concrete enabled new constructions, and victorious Roman generals paid for a
wealth of great porticuses, magazines, basilicas, and temples. Many were laid
out on the southern part of the Mars field, and here Pompey had Rome's first
theater built in stone, inaugurated in 55 BC.
Caesar's great ambitions were also expressed in a large-scale construction
program. He opened the Roman Forum to the north by laying out a new senate
building (curia) and a new forum (Forum Julium) with a
temple to Venus Genetrix, the ancestor of the Julian family.
Only with the emperor Augustus did Rome get in the basic features the design
known today. The city was divided into 14 regions, and great construction
activity can be found. Marble from the newly opened quarries at Luni (now Carrara) was
increasingly used. At this time, Rome was a large city with well-established
roads and bridges, and several aqueducts provided the city with water supply.
The Roman Forum was redesigned to be carefully tuned to support the political
program. In addition to a temple to the deified Caesar to the east, a pulpit was
erected (rostra) to the west, and the building works begun
by Caesar, such as the Basilica of Julia and the Senate building, were
completed. In the northern part of Marsmarken, a large-scale building program
was launched. The central element of this consisted of a monumental sundial, in
which the hand consisted of an obelisk, which Augustus had brought home from
Egypt. East of the sundial lay Ara Pacis Augustae, the altar of peace,
and NW of it Augustus' mausoleum. North of the Roman Forum and Caesar's Forum,
Augustus had a forum erected with a temple for Mars Ultor to commemorate the
revenge of the Caesar murders. From the Republican period, Palatin was home to
several fashionable houses and wealthy homes. One of these was bought by
Augustus, and since then the emperors, with few exceptions, had their residence
The last emperor of the Julian-Claudian dynasty, Nero, had Domus Aurea,
'The Golden House', built a bombastic, luxuriously furnished villa located
around an artificial lake. This project was not least made possible after the
great fire in 64 AD.
The Flavian emperors at the end of the 1st century became especially famous
for the construction of Rome's first amphitheater in stone, the Colosseum,
which was built over the lake in Domus Aurea. Emperor Domitian manifested
himself as the builder primarily with the construction of a new palace on the
Palatinate as well as the laying of the Forum Transitorium between the Templum
Pacis and the Augustus' Forum. He also built a stadium on Marsmarken; this is
identical to the current Piazza Navona. The conquest of Judea and the
subsequent triumph gave rise to several triumphal arches, such as the Arch
of Titus between the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.
With the adoptive emperors and later the Antonines in the 100-t. Rome again
experienced a large-scale construction activity. Under Emperor Trajan, the city
got another forum that, in terms of size, surpassed the previous ones. In
addition to a square surrounded by porticuses, it contained a huge basilica and
two libraries on each side of an approx. 30 m high pillar, which still stands at
its full height. Adjacent to this forum are Trajan's market halls. Under Trajan,
Rome also got the largest bathing facility ever built over and partially
incorporated Domus Aurea.
Like Augustus, Hadrian had numerous temples and buildings restored or
rebuilt. On the Martian field can be mentioned the Pantheon, a temple that in
its original form was built by Agrippa in 27 BC. Like Augustus, Hadrian had a
large mausoleum built immediately on the other side of the Tiber. This was later
transformed into a fortress, the present Castel Sant'Angelo (Engelsborg). Later
in the 100's, a temple for the deified Hadrian was erected as well as a
monumental pillar on Mars. The Pillar, erected under Marcus Aurelius, imitated
the Pillar of Trajan.
Also the Severian dynasty in the early 200-t. manifested itself as large
builders partly by numerous restorations of older buildings, partly by new
building works, eg Caracalla's terms. Construction activity in Rome in the later
200's, was marked by the unstable situation of the Roman Empire as a whole. The
city needed a replacement for the long-outdated Republican fortress wall, namely
a 19 km long wall, built in Roman concrete and brick under Emperor Aurelian
271-275; it still stands as a wreath around the inner core of the city. Among
the most striking buildings under the tea sheets around 300 is the huge bathing
facility built under Diokletian on Viminalhøjen. Part of this facility today
houses the Museo Nazionale Romano.
With Emperor Constantine the Great and the legalization of Christianity in
the early 300-t. the construction activities were mainly located on the
outskirts of Rome, ie outside the older, pagan city center.