From Encyc

Italy is a country in southern Europe and one of the original six members of what is now the European Union. It is mostly located on a peninsula that juts into the Mediterranean Sea. It also includes the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.




Italian food is known for pasta, tomato sauce, and garlic. A variety of other foods are also made, and they vary from region to region. For example the polenta is popular in the north (Lombardy) and the cassata is a dessert popular in the south (Sicily).


During the 19th century many Italians left their country due to poverty, to seek better conditions of life. At the time the northern regions were far poorer than the southern. Veneto was the poorest region. Starting in 1875, many people left Veneto to settle in South America, mostly in Brazil and Argentina.

In Brazil, they populated the southern regions together with German immigrants. Italians settled in the hills while Germans settled in the plains. People from other regions immigrated to Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay as well.

In later times, Italians also entered the United States.

The immigration was very strong, to the point that people of Italian origins constitute half of the population of Argentina, and are the third largest ethnic group in Brazil after the Portuguese Brazilians and the Black Africans. In the US, there is a strong presence of people of Italian descent on the Eastern Coast.