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Neurological letter from Italy
  1. Valentina Gnoni
  1. Correspondence to Dr Valentina Gnoni, Department of Neurology, Catholic University of Sacred Heart, Largo A. Gemelli 8, Rome 00168 Italy; gnoni.vale{at}

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Italy and its healthcare

Italy (figures 1–3) is a European country well known for good food, pasta, pizza, ice cream and warm weather. It is also well known for its hearty, friendly, sometimes excessively rowdy people who are, of course, direct descendants from the world's finest engineers, architects, artists, painters, sculptors and musicians.

Figure 1

Map of Italy.

Figure 2

The Italian flag.

Figure 3

Emblem of Italy.

Over the centuries, Italy (according to all historians, not only according to me) made a major contribution to the culture of the entire world, playing a role of great importance in the history of human knowledge. In particular, there are two distinct and recognisable historical periods during which Italian innovation was at the centre of the world. The Roman Empire influenced art, architecture, urbanisation and ingenuity in military technology. Advances in engineering provided sophisticated aqueducts, the most enduring bridges, efficient sewers and baths.

The other pivotal Italian period—portrayed by the poems of such greats as Francesco Petrarca—is the Renaissance period, with figures like Leonardo Da Vinci, perhaps the greatest genius of all time, and then Michelangelo, Raffaello, Brunelleschi, Donatello and Botticelli (to name but a few), all of whom have left immortal works to humanity.

Italy has also been a mainstay in the history of music, and the 19th century witnessed the compositions of the superb operas by composers such as Giuseppe Verdi, Gioachino Rossini and Giacomo Puccini, all of which are still played worldwide.

Italians have always been considered creative and original personalities. Not only from the artistic point of view, but also from historical persons who contributed to occidental medicine and neurology.

To name just a few figures, (after the Egyptian and Greek medical discoveries), in the 14th century, Mondino dei Liuzzi at the University of Bologna (the most ancient University in Europe) made his contribution to …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed. This paper was reviewed by Chris Derry, Edinburgh, UK.

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