Italy. A serious crack occurred during the year in Silvio Berlusconi’s government, and its future was uncertain. According to COUNTRYAAH, 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 the police.
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 2005.
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 the election.
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 minister.
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 election.
During the international economic crisis, Italy has performed relatively well, despite Europe’s highest indebtedness (around 116 percent 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 here.
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.