Italy Culture

Italy Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Italy

According to CHEEROUTDOOR.COM, Italy is a country located in Europe. Freedom of the press and freedom of expression are guaranteed in the constitution, but Italy nevertheless often falls far short of the index of freedom of the press that is made annually by various organizations, such as Reports without Borders (57th place in 2013). The reason is mainly the strict law against slander, which has thrown several reporters in prison, but also the media concentration, government involvement in public service and threats and murder attempts against reporters who investigate organized crime are usually highlighted.

In addition to the media concentration, the media landscape is characterized by strong regionalization in terms of daily press and radio. The leading news agency is ANSA (Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata), founded in 1945 and jointly owned by 34 newspapers.

Internet and mobile telephony

To be the EU’s fourth largest economy, Italy is far behind its neighboring countries when it comes to the Internet. The speeds are extremely low, averaging 5 MB in the cities, while the subscription fees are among the highest in Europe. As a result, only half of the population uses the Internet at least once a week. This has not only hampered the digital efforts of Italian media but is also a problem for the entire Italian economy. At the same time, the use of smart mobiles is increasing as the 3G network is expanded.

The most popular sites are the global ones, with Google, Facebook and YouTube at the top. No actor from the traditional media is among the ten most visited. In May 2013, Facebook penetration was 38%, compared with Sweden’s 52%.

Four mobile operators compete for the market: Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM), Vodafone, Wind and 3. The largest is TIM, a subsidiary of the former state telecom Italia, which has one third of the subscribers. The 3G network is well developed and reaches about 90% of the population.

Radio and TV

The TV market is dominated by two companies, State RAI (Radiotelevisione Italiana) and Mediaset, controlled by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Other players in the market are Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Italia with around 15 satellite channels and Telecom Italia with a couple of channels.

RAI, which is the largest, has about 15 TV channels, about 10 radio channels and is financed with advertising revenue and license fees. The company started with radio broadcasts in 1924, television broadcasts in 1954 and got its current name in 1945. During Berlusconi’s time in power, mainly 2001–06 and 2008–11, he used his position to re-furnish in the leadership of RAI, and he also saw to several journalists who were critical of him were dismissed.

The media set, founded in 1978 under the name TeleMilano, is the country’s largest private broadcasting company and expanded greatly during the 1980s when the radio and television monopoly was wound up. In 2013, the media set has seven free channels and a number of pay channels. sports and film. Initially, the company’s free channels were entirely focused on entertainment and advertising, but when Berlusconi ran for office in the 1994 elections, the channels became increasingly linguistic for Berlusconi’s policy, which they continued to be, especially in the news broadcasts.

There are about 2,500 commercial radio stations, most of them regional and focused on music. The most popular station is RTL, which is nationwide.

Daily press and magazine

Italy has a long tradition of daily press publishing and two of the world’s oldest yet existing newspapers are published here, the northern Italian local newspapers Gazzetta di Mantova and Gazzetta di Parma, founded in 1664 and 1735, respectively. Publishing and circulation are concentrated in northern Italy.

Ownership is fragmented, and many newspapers are still party-owned, but two groups are dominant in the national and major regional newspapers – RCS MediaGroup and Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso.

RCS is controlled by the Agnelli family, the main owner of the Fiat Group. RCS publishes Italy’s largest daily newspaper, independent Corriere della Sera with an edition of about 400,000 copies. (2013). The Group also publishes the country’s largest daily sports magazine, La Gazzetta dello Sport (approx. 230,000 copies) and around 15 magazines and weekly magazines. RCS also has operations in Spain, Portugal, USA and China. In Spain they publish, among other things. El Mundo, one of the country’s leading newspapers. The Agnelli family also owns Italy’s third largest morning newspaper, liberal La Stampa (about 230,000 copies), which is part of the Fiat Group.

The L’Espresso Group, which is controlled by the holding company CIR, publishes the country’s second largest newspaper, the leftist la Repubblica, which has an edition of about 360,000 copies. L’Espresso also publishes some 15 regional newspapers, including The Gazzetta di Mantova, as well as seven weekly magazines and magazines, among them L’espresso, the leading left-liberal weekly magazine.

Largest in the weekly press and magazine is the country’s largest publisher, Mondadori, controlled by Berlusconi. In addition to nine book publishers and four bookstore chains, Mondadori owns about 40 weekly magazines and magazines. The flagship is the right-wing news magazine Panorma, which is also L’espresso’s biggest competitor.

Book and publishing system

The first printed book in Italy was Cicero’s “De oratore” (“About the Speaker”), published in Subiaco 1465; it was a work of German typographers who introduced and long dominated the printing press in Italy. Towards the end of the 15th century, the Republic of Venice was Europe’s leading printing press center, where the first printing presses were issued (with a later term copyright provisions). Italian typography, with champions like Aldus Manutius, reached its peak during this century.

Throughout Europe, Latin, Greek and Italian texts produced in Italy were distributed. The 17th century was a stationary century; in typography, patterns and types from the last century were repeated. The 18th century, however, brought about renewal signals in the works of Giambattista Bodoni in particular.

The 19th century brought further changes in line with international trends. In 1829, the cylinder press was used for the first time, and after the 1830s new technology was continuously introduced. The typographic style was simplified to better suit a wider market. In 1827 Manzoni’s “I Promessi Sposi” (“The Faithful”) was printed, later reprinted countless times and one of the most read novels in Italian literature. Freedom of the press and printing was introduced in Sardinia in 1848 and after the Italian unification throughout Italy. The fascist regime of 1922–43 abolished press freedom, while the new constitution of the Italian Republic (1948) declared the inviolable right of citizens to express thought in any form.

Book production was limited until the 1960s. This was partly due to the backward economy, partly to the absence of an Italian national language that could seriously unite the various provinces and population stocks into a literary public. Thus, in 1964, only 3,880 new titles were printed in Italy. Towards the end of the 1960s, however, major changes occurred: incomes increased generally and general cultural consumption increased to the same extent. The number of people reading at least one book per year increased from 7.5 million in 1965 to 24 million in 1984. Television is considered to have contributed to the stimulus to read, not least through the homogenization of the language.

According to estimates from the Italian publisher association Associazione Italiana Editori, in 2008 there were approximately 2,600 active Italian book publishers. In the same year, the number of new titles was close to 35,000 and sales were EUR 3.5 billion. The publisher association’s approximately 420 members account for about 90% of the market. The publishers are mainly found in the north.

The largest publishing group belongs to the media group Mondadori in Milan; the group includes the literary publisher Einaudi in Turin. Major publishing companies include Laterza (Rome and Bari), Il Mulino (Bologna), Garzanti (Milan) and Kimerik (Patti in Sicily), and Feltrinelli (Milan), a publisher that, although not one of the biggest yet, has played a crucial role for the development of contemporary Italian literature.


According to APARENTINGBLOG, Italian culture has had a great impact throughout the world – from ancient Rome to our days. Here artists like Botticelli, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci appeared during the Renaissance, and Italian music, especially opera, has been style-forming for hundreds of years.

Many of the posterior Roman writers known as Catullus, Cicero, Vergilius and Horatius lived during the centuries around the birth of Christ.

With the Renaissance the ancient art and literature were reborn. Poets Dante Alighieri, Francesco Petrarca and Torquato Tasso as well as author Giovanni Boccaccio are among the foremost names in classical Italian literature.

The most beautiful altar paintings and frescoes of the Renaissance have been created by artists such as Fra Angelico, Botticelli, Rafael, Tizian and, not least, the versatile Leonardo da Vinci. Like da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti – brilliant as both sculptor and painter – appeared in Florence.

Italian music, especially opera, has been style-forming for hundreds of years. With composers such as Gioacchino Rossini, Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti and Giuseppe Verdi, Italian opera art reached its peak during the 19th century. The traditions were continued by composers such as Giacomo Puccini and Pietro Mascagni.

Famous early 1900s writers are Giosuè Carducci (Nobel Laureate 1906), Gabriele d’Annunzio and Luigi Pirandello (Nobel Laureate 1934). Later in the century, the poets Salvatore Quasimodo (Nobel Laureate 1959), Eugenio Montale (Nobel Laureate 1975) and Giuseppe Ungaretti stood in the foreground as did the writers Alberto Moravia, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, Italo Calvino, Natalia Ginzburg and Elsa Morante. The Sicilian writer Leonardo Sciascia became well known for his novels about southern Italy and for his harsh criticism of the mafia.

In the latter part of the 1990s, Umberto Eco reached a large international readership and Susanna Tamaro’s books were on the bestseller lists throughout the western world. The playwright and Nobel laureate (1997) Dario Fo is well known through his fathers.

In the younger generation of writers, journalist Roberto Saviano (born 1979) became world famous through the book “Gomorra” (which also became a movie) about the Neapolitan mafia Camorran. Savianio lives under the death threat with bodyguard protection.

After the Second World War, Italian film art was characterized by nude social depictions of a new kind, the so-called neorealism. Best known examples are Roberto Rossellini (Rome – Open City) and Vittorio de Sica (Bicycle Thief).

In the 1960s, Michelangelo Antonioni’s depictions of the urban man came, followed by Bernardo Bertolucci’s political message. Others who have contributed to giving Italian film a leading position in the world are Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti, Franco Zeffirelli, Liliana Cavani, Paolo Pasolini, Francesco Rosi and the brothers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani.



Parliament dissolved before elections

December 28

President Mattarella dissolves Parliament, thus paving the way for elections. As expected, the government decides that the election will be held on March 4, 2018. The ruling Democratic Party is expected to face a tough challenge, primarily from the Five Star Movement leading in polls, but also from Heja Italy.

Soldiers to Niger

December 28

Italy will send 470 troops to Niger to help the West African country stop the flow of migrants. According to Prime Minister Gentiloni, at the request of the Niger government, it is reported to be the main transit country for migrants from Africa to Europe. The first just under 200 soldiers will be sent in early 2018.

Prime Minister Gentiloni proud of the treatment of migrants

13th of December

Criticism in a new report by Amnesty International against European countries and in particular Italy for contributing to the abuses of refugees in Libya, is dismissed by Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. He believes that Italy is an example for Europe “in terms of receiving people and saving lives at sea” and also in the fight against human traffickers. He says that the agreements concluded with Libya not only limit the flow of refugees but also open to UN organizations to act in the country to help refugees. According to Gentiloni, the number of migrants coming to Italy has decreased by 30 percent in 2017.

Thousands are demonstrating against fascism in Como

December 9

An alliance of left-wing groups and parties is organizing a demonstration in protest of the right-wing extremist organizations implementing recent anti-immigration actions. Among other things, a group of skinheads tried to stop a charity meeting in Como and while another far-right group stormed the newspapers La Repubblica’s and L’Espresso’s premises in Rome.

Pizza classified as a World Heritage Site in Naples

December 7

The UN trade union body UNESCO decides the art of making pizza as it is made in Naples should be granted world heritage status. For example, the pizza must be cooked in a wood-burning oven that has reached a certain high temperature. According to the Ministry of Culture, the first pizza, with tomato and mozzarella, was baked in 1889 as a tribute to the then Italian queen Margherita.


Success for Berlusconi’s Heja Italy

November 6

Center-right candidate Nello Musumeci’s coalition wins close to 40 percent of the vote in the regional elections in Sicily. The coalition includes, among others, Silvio Berlusconi’s Heja Italy and the Confederation North. The five-star motion candidate comes in second place with about 34 percent of the vote. The PD candidate who gets only about 18 percent of the vote is significantly worse off.


Parliament adopts new electoral law

October 26th

According to the new law, about one third of the MPs are to be elected by majority and two thirds proportionally. The electoral law shall apply to both parliament’s chambers. In order for the government to pass the bill in Parliament, several votes of confidence have been required in both the Senate and the House of Commons. The law favors parties that form an alliance for the election. The barrier to entering Parliament will be 3 percent for one party and 10 percent for party alliances. The five-star movement, which does not want to cooperate with any of the traditional parties and whose chances are thus reduced despite being able to receive strong support from the voters, protests against the law and considers it contrary to the constitution.

Lombardy and Veneto want greater independence

October 23

In non-binding polls in the rich regions of Lombardy and Veneto, a majority of participants voted in favor of striving for greater autonomy. More than 90 percent should have voted yes, in both regions, according to preliminary figures. However, the presidents of the regions both state that the regions have no plans to try to break free, such as Catalonia in Spain. On the other hand, the result of the vote may be support for the political leaders of the region in upcoming negotiations with the central government in Rome on tax revenue and the distribution of power.


The five-star movement chooses a new leader

September 23

The party appoints 31-year-old Luigi Di Maio as new party leader and candidate for the Prime Minister’s post at a conference in Rimini. Di Maio stands for a more conservative focus than the party previously had and has, for example, said that the M5S is no longer a populist movement and that there are no immediate plans for a referendum to leave the euro.

Union North is threatened by bankruptcy

September 15th

A court in Genoa decides to freeze the right-wing extremist Federation Nord’s assets. The reason is to make sure that the € 58 million that the party has received as state aid can be repaid to the state, according to a previous ruling from last summer. Former leader of the party should have embezzled the state money. The freezing of the assets makes it harder for the party to fund its campaign to get voters to vote yes in a referendum on October 22 on increased independence for the Lombardy and Veneto regions.


Aid organizations reject the Code of Conduct on the Mediterranean

31 July

Several NGOs, including Doctors Without Borders, working with migrants in the Mediterranean declare to sign the “Code of Conduct” that Italy has developed with EU support. They oppose the requirement that Italian police should be on board, and that migrants could be moved from one ship to another. Italy wants to try to tighten the rules on rescue efforts to prevent the use of human trafficking organizations by human traffickers.

Torture becomes illegal in Italy

July 5

After years of parliamentary rallies, members vote for a law that makes torture illegal and punishable by up to ten years in prison (twelve years for security police). Italy already signed in 1984 under the UN Convention against Torture, but has not until now made it prohibited by national law. 198 legislators voted for the new law, while 35 voted against and 104 abstained.

The refugee issue is creating tension for Austria

July 4th

Diplomatic relations with Austria are strained when the Vienna government announces that 750 Austrian soldiers are in readiness to control the refugee flow from Italy across the Brenner Pass to Austria if necessary. Four armored vehicles have been deployed near Innsbruck.

The EU promises support in the refugee crisis

July 4th

The EU is presenting a plan for how the Union can help Italy with the refugee reception, as the country is increasingly pressured by growing flows of boat refugees from Libya across the Mediterranean to the Italian coast. Brussels promises more money and better cooperation as well as help to draw up a code of conduct for the charities’ activities at sea, which critics say is most likely to attract more refugees as well as refugee smugglers. According to the plan, assistance will also be paid to the Libyan authorities and the Coast Guard there. In the first six months of 2017, more than 85,000 refugees arrived across the Mediterranean, which is 19 percent more than in the same period in 2016.


Election success for Berlusconi

June 26

Silvio Berlusconis Heja Italy wins in 16 out of 22 cities in local elections. The party is part of an alliance with Förbund Nord and another right-wing party. The ruling party PD is going worse and the party is losing Genoa and La Spezia to the right, among others.

The state saves banks

June 26

The government goes in with just over five billion euros to save the two crisis-hit banks Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca. Their assets are simultaneously transferred to another bank, Intesa Saopaolo. The rescue operation has been supported by the European Commission and is part of an effort to try to get the Italian banking sector, which is burdened by “bad” loans.

Hardship for the Five Star Movement

June 12

The five-star movement fails to move on to a second and decisive round in several major cities during the ongoing local elections. The party fails to advance even in Genoa, where Beppe Grillo, the founder of the populist protest movement, has grown up. According to analysts, the chances of the movement achieving success in the parliamentary elections next year appear to have diminished and that this is reflected in the local elections.


Renzi again leader of PD

April 30th

Former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi wins the primary election in the Democratic Party over who will become the new party leader. He gets over 70 percent of the vote, easily defeating Justice Minister Andrea Orlando and Michele Emiliano.


Renzi resigns as party leader

February 2

He submits his resignation application in connection with a DP conference, but does not rule out that he can return to the party leader post in the near future.


The Constitutional Court approves election law

January 25

The law passed in 2015 has been appealed to the court. In its decision, the court gives a clear sign that a party that receives more than 40 percent of the votes should automatically be allocated a majority of the mandate in the lower house (see Political system). However, the court is scrapping the rule that a second round of elections should be held if no party gets enough votes in the first round. The ruling makes the election systems of the parliament’s chambers more uniform, which has been seen as a prerequisite for holding a new election.

Italy Culture

About the author