Italy is a unitary parliamentary republic in Southern Europe. To the north, Italy borders France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia, and is approximately delimited by the Alpine watershed, enclosing the Po Valley and the Venetian Plain. To the south, it consists of the entirety of the Italian Peninsula and the two biggest Mediterranean islands of Sicily and Sardinia.
- Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author
A - F
- For wheresoe'er I turn my ravish'd eyes,
Gay gilded scenes and shining prospects rise,
Poetic fields encompass me around,
And still I seem to tread on classic ground.
- Joseph Addison, A Letter from Italy.
- Iuravit in mea verba tota Italia.
- Italy, my Italy!
Queen Mary's saying serves for me
(When fortune's malice Lost her Calais)
"Open my heart and you will see Graved inside of it, 'Italy.'"
- Robert Browning, De Gustibus. ii.
- Ungrateful Florence! Dante sleeps afar,
Like Scipio, buried by the upbraiding shore.
- Venice once was dear,
The pleasant place of all festivity,
The revel of the earth, the masque of Italy.
- Italy's youngsters complain, apparently, about having to live at home until they are 72 but that's because they spend all their money on suits and coffee and Alfa Romeos rather than mortgages.
- Jeremy Clarkson (2005), The World according to Clarkson, p. 259.
- Italia, Italia, O tu cui feo la sorte,
Dono infelice di bellezza, ond' hai
Funesta dote d'infiniti guai
Che in fronte scritti per gran dogha porte
- Beyond the Alps lies Italy.
- James William Foley, Graduation Time Expression found in Livy Ab Urbe Bk 21 30.
G - L
- Throughout all Italy beside,
What does one find, but Want and Pride?
Farces of Superstitious folly,
Decay, Distress and Melancholy:
The Havock of Despotick Power,
A Country rich, its owners poor;
Unpeopled towns, and Lands untilled,
Bodys uncloathed, and mouths unfilled.
The nobles miserably great,
In painted Domes and empty state,
Too proud to work, too poor to eat,
No arts the meaner sort employ,
They nought approve, nor ought enjoy.
Each blown from misery grows a Saint,
He prays from Idleness and fast from Want.
- John Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey (1729), quoted in Jeremy Black, The British and the Grand Tour, (1985), p. 174.
- L'Italia farà da sè.
- Italy will take care of itself.
- Italian proverb; a common expression when Italy was in the process of reunification.
- A man who has not been in Italy, is always conscious of an inferiority, from his not having seen what it is expected a man should see.
- Samuel Johnson, Boswell, Life of Johnson.
- [of the Sicilians] They never want to improve. They think themselves perfect. Their vanity is greater than their misery.
- Italy is, after France and perhaps in the same degree, the land in which love of country has the deepest roots in the hearts of its inhabitants. The fact is that perhaps nowhere else has nature been so prodigal with its enchantments and seductions. Therefore, although Italy has been, since the fall of the Caesars, the object of European covetousness, the eternal battlefield of powerful neighbors, and the theatre of the fiercest and most prolonged civil wars, her children have always refused to leave her. Save for some commercial colonies hastily thrown upon the shores of Asia by Genoa and Venice, history has not, in fact, recorded in Italy any important outward movement of population.
M - R
- In Italia, chi si fa valere all'estero non viene considerato.
- In Italy, those who make a name for themselves in other countries are ignored.
- Alessandra Martines, as quoted in Alessandra Martines: Parigi premia il mio talento ma l'Italia spesso mi ignora, Corriere della Sera, (8-26-2008).
- We who have seen Italia in the throes,
Half risen but to be hurled to ground, and now,
Like a ripe field of wheat where once drove plough,
All bounteous as she is fair, we think of those
Who blew the breath of life into her frame:
Cavour, Mazzini, Garibaldi: Three:
Her Brain, her Soul, her Sword; and set her free
ruinous discords, with one lustrous aim.
- George Meredith, "For the Centenary of Garibaldi", stanza 1, The Times (London, July 1, 1907), p. 9; reprinted in Phyllis B. Bartlett, ed., Poems of George Meredith (1978), p. 790.
- Gli Italiani tutti ladroni.
- All Italians are plunderers.
- Napoleon Bonaparte, when in Italy.
- On desperate seas long wont to roam,
Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
Thy naiad airs have brought me home
To the glory that was Greece
And the grandeur that was Rome.
- Edgar Allen Poe, Helen.
- Tutti no... buona parte sì.
- Not all but a good part (good part is buona parte, intending Buonaparte).
- Supposed response by a lady who overheard him.
- Reported in Samuel Taylor, Biographia Literaria, Satyrane's Letters No 2 (Ed 1870). Also reported as "I Francesci son tutti ladri", "Non tutti ma - buona parte" in Pasquin, when the French were in possession of Rome; see Catherine Taylor's Letters from Italy Vol I P 239 (Ed 1840) Quoted also by Charlotte Eaton, Rome in the Nineteenth Cent Vol II P 120 (Ed 1852).
- Haec est Italia diis sacra
- My soul to-day
Is far away
Sailing the Vesuvian Bay
- Thomas Buchanan Read, Drifting.
- Italy, and the spring and first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy.
- Bertrand Russell, The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell (1967), p. 185.
S - Z
- How beautiful is sunset when the glow
Of Heaven descends upon a land like thee,
Thou Paradise of exiles, Italy!
- Percy Bysshe Shelley, Julian and Maddalo, lines 55-57.
- Some jay of Italy,
Whose mother was her painting, hath betray'd him:
Poor I am stale, a garment out of fashion.
- Report of fashions in proud Italy, Whose manners still our apish nation Limps after in base imitation.
- Comme on craint peu de choquer la vanité, on arrive fort vite en Italie au ton de l'intimité, et à dire des choses personnelles.
- Enough, enough, enough! Say no more! Lump the whole thing! say the Creator made Italy from designs by Michael Angelo!
- You may have the universe if I may have Italy.
- Giuseppe Verdi, reported in Michael Angelo Musmanno, The Story of the Italians in America (1965), p. 255.
- Sit Romana potens Itala virtute propago
- Sum pius Aeneas, raptos qui ex hoste Penates
classe veho mecum, fama super aethera notus.
Italiam quaero patriam et genus ab Iove summo
- In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed - they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love and five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock!
- L'ltalie est un nom geographique.
- Italy is only a geographical expression.
- Klemens Wenzel, Prince von Metternich to Lord Palmerston (1847); reported in his Letter to Count Prokesch-Osten (November 19, 1849), Correspondence of Prokesch II 343; First used by Metternich in his Memorandum to the Great Powers (August 2, 1814).