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History and Government


Italy proclaimed its unification in 1861. Under Mussolini, Italy remain a fascist dictatorship between 1922 and 1945. In 1946, Italy became a republic, and in 1948, Italy’s government became a democracy with a president, a prime minister, and a parliament. Italy’s government is run by a coalition of its numerous political parties, and since World War II, Italy has been governed by more than 40 separate coalitions. The leader of each coalition government is selected to serve as prime minister.

Each new government in Italy is faced with numerous and frequent demands for change. These demands manifest in the form of strikes or demonstrations that are generally non-violent. As a U.S. and NATO representative, you should stay away from involvement in any political demonstration. The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) prohibits your involvement of any political demonstration or campaign. During a political campaign, banners and posters are displayed throughout the city, and it is a serious offense to tear down or deface any of this material.

According to legend, the Greek colony Neopolis was founded about 600 B.C. and sprang up around the tomb of the siren Parthenope. Although conquered by the Romans in 327 B.C., the city retained good relations with Athens. The city was considered to be a rich cultural center and many affluent Romans maintained a winter residence in the area of what is today known as Napoli or Naples.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the population of Naples was subject to numerous conquerors from throughout Europe. Gothic, Byzantine and Lombard influence was felt in Naples, and under the Dukes of Naples (763-1139), the city enjoyed a period of independence. In 1140, Naples fell under the rule of Swabian and Norman Kings that lasted until 1266, which marked the beginning of Angevin and Aragon rule. In 1504 Naples became a province of the Spanish Kingdom. With the exception of the two brief upheavals (the Partenopean Republic in 1799 and Giuseppe Bonaparte and Gioacchino Murat for 1806-1815) Naples remained the capital until the liberation of Italy by Garibaldi in 1860. After the subsequent unification of Italy, the people of Naples voted for annexation into the new kingdom of Italy.


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