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View over Torino, Italy
View over Torino, Italy
(Photo: Alan Copson/Age Fotostock, Inc. )
Italy is a nation in southern Europe that consists mainly of a long, narrow peninsula, shaped roughly like a boot. It extends from the high mountains of the Alps in the north to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea in the south. Italy occupies all of the peninsula, except for two tiny independent states—San Marino and Vatican City. San Marino, located in the Apennines mountain range, is one of the world's oldest and smallest republics. Vatican City, the seat of government of the Roman Catholic Church, lies within the city of Rome, Italy's capital. Italy's territory also includes numerous islands. The two largest are Sardinia, lying west of the peninsula, and Sicily, just off the "toe" of the boot.

The region that is now Italy has played a central role in the history of European civilization. For some 400 years it was the heart of the ancient Roman Empire. After the empire collapsed in the West in the AD 400s, the peninsula was broken up into many competing city-states. The Renaissance, the great rebirth of culture that took place in Europe, began in Italy in the early 1300s. During this era, which lasted until about 1600, art and learning flourished in Italy's northern cities more than anywhere else in Europe. Politically, however, Italy remained a fragmented land until 1861, when most of the present-day nation was united under one flag.


Before the empire of ancient Rome emerged, several peoples of different origins inhabited the Italian peninsula. Of these, the Etruscans in the west central region were culturally the most advanced. Various Italic peoples lived in other parts of the peninsula. The Greeks colonized southern Italy and Sicily during the 700s and 600s BC.

Eventually the new Roman state absorbed these peoples as well as others who were imported as slaves from throughout the growing empire. After the fall of Rome in AD 476, invasions from the north brought Germanic peoples, mainly Ostrogoths and Lombards, into the peninsula. Arabs invaded Sicily in the AD 700's, followed by Normans and the Spanish, who also established themselves in the south. In recent history, immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East have added to the ethnic variety.


Italian is one of the Romance languages, which are derived from Latin, the language of the Romans. It is spoken by almost all of the population, although in many parts of Italy the people take pride in preserving their distinct regional dialects. In the northwestern corner of Italy one finds French speakers. The northern region of the Alto Adige (South Tirol) has many German-speaking inhabitants.


Nearly all Italians are Roman Catholics, and Vatican City (an enclave within Rome) is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church. Roman Catholicism was made the official religion of Italy in 1929 under the Lateran pacts with the Vatican. This official status ended in 1985, when revisions to the pacts provided for the separation of church and state.

Small communities of Protestants, Jews, and Muslims together make up about 2 percent of Italy's population.

For many centuries, the ceremony and pageantry of the Roman Catholic Church has been a central element in the life of the Italian people. The church calendar is filled with holidays honoring the saints and noting the great festivals of the religious year. Each city and village has its patron saint, whose feast day is celebrated with a procession accompanied by music. The Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin, on August 15, marks the beginning of the two-week period called ferragosto, when nearly all shops and businesses shut down and millions of Italians flock to the beaches or the mountains.

Everywhere Italians are surrounded by great religious monuments, such as the magnificent cathedrals and other works of art that were inspired by devotion to the church throughout the centuries.


Schooling is free and required by law for all Italian children from the age of 6 to 15. Cities offer kindergartens and day care schools for younger children and for the children of working parents. Required schooling includes five years of elementary education followed by three years of junior high school. Once a student reaches the secondary-school level, he or she may choose to continue in an academic institution or attend a technical or vocational school.

Graduation from a secondary school qualifies a student for admission to a university. Of Italy's many universities, the oldest is the University of Bologna. Founded in 1088, it is considered the oldest university in Europe.

Libraries and Museums

Italy has two national libraries, one in Florence and the other in Rome. Both cities also feature hundreds of historic buildings and museums filled with some of the world's most renowned works of arts.

Food and Drink

In Italy breakfast is a simple meal, often consisting of a hard roll, jam, and a mixture of coffee and hot milk (caffelatte). The main meal, eaten in the early afternoon, usually begins with pasta, frequently served with a tomato-based sauce or a thick soup and bread. A second course may consist of either meat or fish with a cooked vegetable. Olive oil is used for salads and, in the south, also for cooking. Dessert usually includes whatever fruit is in season, but on special occasions pastry may be substituted. After the meal, a small cup of strong coffee (espresso) is often served.

The diet is somewhat more varied in the north than in the south. Meat (especially veal) and chicken is eaten more often in the north. Less garlic is used and butter is usually preferred to olive oil for cooking. All forms of pasta are now popular in the north, with egg noodles being a favorite in Bologna, which boasts some of the finest cooking in Italy. In Milan, risotto (a rice dish) is often preferred to pasta, while in rural areas of the region of Venetia, polenta (made from corn meal) is a favorite.

The evening supper is lighter than the midday meal and often begins with broth instead of pasta. Many Italians enjoy wine with their meals. On Sundays in summer many people go out for a dish of ice cream, called gelato.

Sports and Recreation

Italians are enthusiastic sports fans. Vast throngs crowd the stadiums on Sundays for professional football (soccer) matches. Basketball has gained increasing popularity. The game of boccie (lawn bowling) is another favorite. Horseback riding, fencing, swimming, tennis, and skiing are other sports at which Italians excel. Bicycle and automobile racing are also quite popular.


Italy is bordered by France on the northwest, Switzerland and Austria on the north, and Slovenia on the northeast.

Land Regions

Italy is a mountainous land, with only limited areas of plains. On the north, the great range of the Alps stands like a fortress wall. The Alps include the highest mountains in western Europe. Among them are Mont Blanc (called Monte Bianco in Italy), the Monte Rosa group, and the Matterhorn (Monte Cervino), which Italy shares with France and Switzerland. Monte Bianco de Courmayeur, a secondary peak of Mont Blanc, is the highest point entirely within Italy. It rises 15,577 feet (4,748 meters).

South of the Alps is the valley of the Po River, Italy's largest and most fertile plain. This northern heartland contains the cities of Milan, Turin, Genoa, and Bologna. Smaller areas of plains are found in central Italy, which includes such major cities as Florence and Rome.

In the region of Liguria in the northwest begins a mountain chain called the Apennines, which extends like a backbone down the length of the peninsula to the tip of the "boot." The Apennines bypass the "heel" of the boot, which makes up the generally level plains of the Apulia region in the southwest.

The southern Italian mainland is dominated by the great port city of Naples, from which the active volcano of Vesuvius can be seen. The nearby islands of Sardinia and Sicily are mountainous. Sicily has the highest active volcano in Europe—Mount Etna.

Rivers, Lakes, and Coastal Waters

The long coastline of the Italian peninsula is washed by several arms of the Mediterranean Sea—the Adriatic and Ionian seas in the east and the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian seas in the west.

The Po, Italy's longest and most important river, runs a length of 405 miles (652 kilometers). Rising in the western Alps in the region of Piedmont, it crosses the northern plain eastward, emptying into the Adriatic Sea. The Arno River, in central Italy, flows westward through the city of Florence, before emptying into the Ligurian Sea. The Tiber River flows in a southwesterly direction through Rome, before it empties into the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Northern Italy has a number of spectacularly beautiful lakes, such as Maggiore, Como, and Garda. These resort areas are popular tourist destinations.


Italy has a generally moderate climate. The Po River valley has damp, warm summers, fairly cold winters with occasional snowfall, and considerable rainfall. In the south and on the islands, winters are cool and rainy and summers hot and dry. The mountainous regions on the mainland have the severest winter weather. The south is subject to severe earthquakes.

Natural Resources

The rich soil of the Po Valley makes it the country's most important agricultural region, while the seas surrounding the Italian peninsula abound in a variety of fish. But Italy otherwise has limited resources. Coal is obtained from Sardinia, and modest amounts of petroleum are found in the Po Valley, Sicily, and other regions. Significant amounts of natural gas are also found. But Italy must import fuel to meet most of its industrial needs. Only about 20 percent of Italy's electricity is obtained from hydroelectric power plants, located mainly in the Alps and Apennines.


In 1951, Italy became one of the founding members of the European Community, an economic union of western European nations now known as the European Union (EU). Beginning in the late 1950's, an economic "miracle" transformed Italy, helped in part by aid from the United States.

By the 1970s, Italy had become one of the seven leading industrial powers of the non-Communist world. By the early 1990s its gross national product (the total value of its goods and services) rivaled that of the United Kingdom.


Italy's service industries employ nearly two thirds of its workforce, from bankers and real estate brokers to teachers and government officials. The largest segment is made up of businesses (such as hotels and restaurants) that support tourism, Italy's single most important industry.


The industrial sector of Italy's economy employs nearly one third of Italy's workforce. Principal industries involve the manufacture of machinery, steel, chemicals, processed foods, textiles, motor vehicles, clothing, footwear, and ceramics. Most manufacturing is concentrated in the north, especially around Turin, Milan, and Genoa.


Less than 30 percent of Italy's land is used for farming. Most farms are small and individually owned. The chief crops are fruits and vegetables, especially tomatoes, olives, and grapes. Italy is one of the world's leading wine producers, and vineyards cover many country hillsides. Potatoes, sugar beets, soybeans, and wheat and other grains are grown. Cattle are raised for meat and milk, mainly in the north.

Foreign Trade

Italy's leading trading partners are Germany, France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Imported goods include engineering products, chemicals, transportation equipment, fuels, and minerals. Major exports include textiles and clothing, machinery, motor vehicles, chemicals, and foods and beverages.


Italy has about 12,100 miles (19,500 kilometers) of railways, and a number of high-speed trains connect Rome and Milan with other major European cities. The country also maintains about 480,000 miles (773,000 kilometers) of highway. A network of superhighways called the autostrade runs the length of the country.

Italy supports more than a dozen major ports and harbors. Genoa, Trieste, and Augusta are among the largest. The country has seven international airports. The busiest is the Rome Leonardo da Vinci Airport in nearby Fiumicino. The national airline is Alitalia.


More than 350 television stations and 4,700 radio stations broadcast throughout Italy. Of the 80 million telephones that are registered, two thirds are cellular. Italy has 20 million Internet users. More than a dozen daily newspapers are circulated. Corriere della Sera, published in Milan, and La Repubblica, published in Rome, have the widest readerships.

Major Cities

Nearly three-quarters of Italy's population lives in cities or large towns, especially in the north. Southern Italy and the islands generally have a more rural atmosphere, although there are some major cities, such as Naples and Bari on the mainland and Palermo on the island of Sicily.

Rome, the capital and largest city of Italy, is situated on the Tiber River in central Italy, about 16 miles (26 kilometers) from the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. It has a population of about 2.5 million (not including Vatican City) and is the capital of the Lazio region. Once the center of Western civilization, Rome is still graced by many architectural treasures from the past.

Milan, Italy's second largest city, is the capital of the region of Lombardy and the commercial and financial heart of northern Italy. It has a population of about 1.2 million. A major industrial center, Milan produces textiles, chemicals, and motor vehicles. It is also a world center of style and high fashion. The city's most popular attractions include La Scala opera house and the Milan Cathedral, an elaborate example of Gothic architecture.

Naple, the country's third largest city, is the capital of the region of Campania. A major seaport, it is situated on the picturesque Bay of Naples in south-central Italy. Naples was founded in the 600s BC by Greek colonists, who called it Neapolis ("new city").

Florence, the capital of the region of Tuscany, lies on the Arno River in north central Italy. Many of its famous buildings, including the Palazzo della Signoria (the city hall), the Uffizi and Pitti art galleries, and the cathedral of Florence, date from the Renaissance Period.

Genoa, located on the Gulf of Genoa, is Italy's chief seaport and the capital of the region of Liguria. Genoa reached the height of its power and prosperity as an independent city-state in the 1200s, when it controlled a large empire stretching from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea.

Venice, known for its canals and grand old palaces, is one of the world's most beautiful and unusual cities. It is the capital of Italy's Veneto region. Built on a lagoon, it lies astride some 100 small islands that are linked by numerous bridges. From the Middle Ages until early modern times, Venice was a wealthy commercial city-state that dominated trade with the East.

Turin, the chief city of the Piedmont region, lies on the left bank of the Po River. An industrial city, it is the home of the giant Fiat automobile works. Turin was the capital of the former Kingdom of Sardinia, whose rulers, the House of Savoy, later served as kings of a unified Italy.

Cultural Heritage

Once the center of Western civilization, Italy has made many lasting cultural contributions to Western art forms, languages, and scientific knowledge.

The Arts

Italy's impact on architecture, painting, and sculpture are incomparable. Art of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance is dominated by the remarkable talents of Italian artists such as Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Titian, Botticelli, and Raphael. Italians have contributed to modern art as well. Exhibitions by contemporary artists are held regularly.


Italians have created great works of literature. During the early Renaissance, the modern Italian language was molded out of the local Tuscan dialect by three brilliant writers in Florence—Dante Alighieri, who wrote the Divine Comedy, one of the world's poetic masterpieces; Francesco Petrarch, a writer of sonnets; and Giovanni Boccaccio, author of the Decameron, a collection of witty tales. In modern times, the playwright Luigi Pirandello became the first Italian to win a Nobel Prize for literature, in 1934. Salvatore Quasimodo received the Nobel Prize in 1959 for his poems.


Italy has been called the birthplace of music. Some of the greatest music for the church was written there during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The first operas were composed in Italy in the 1600's. Today every large city has its own opera house, the most famous being Milan's La Scala and Naples' San Carlo. Most Italians know by heart the melodies and arias of favorite operas by such composers as Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini.


Italy has made significant contributions to the advancement of science. The most famous Italian scientist, Galileo Galilei, lived and worked during the late Renaissance. He discovered the laws governing the motion of a pendulum and the velocity of falling objects. The first to make effective use of the telescope, Galileo discovered the rings of the planet Saturn and the moons of Jupiter. He was among the first scientists to understand that the sun, not the Earth, was the central body around which the planets revolve.

In modern times, Italy has produced two great physicists. Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of radio, received the Nobel Prize for physics in 1909. Enrico Fermi received the Nobel Prize in 1938 for his work in nuclear physics, which began the Atomic Age.


Italy has been a republic since 1946, when the monarchy was abolished. Its present constitution went into effect in 1948. The country is divided into 20 political regions, which are further subdivided into provinces.

Italy's legislature is called the parliament (Parlamento). It is made up of two houses, the Senate (Senato della Repubblica) and Chamber of Deputies (Camera dei Deputati), and its members are all elected to five-year terms. Some half dozen major political parties and a number of smaller ones are represented in parliament. Whenever a government fails to command a majority or a coalition majority, it must resign and a new one must be formed.

The parliament elects the president of the republic, who serves as head of state for a term of seven years. (Former presidents then become senators for life.) But executive power is held by the Council of Ministers, or cabinet. It is headed by a prime minister (known as the president of the Council of Ministers). The prime minister is appointed by the president and confirmed by the parliament. Council members are nominated by the prime minister and approved by the president.


Many myths and legends surround the origins of civilization in Italy, particularly the founding of Rome. In his epic work the Aeneid, the Roman poet Vergil gave the honor to the descendants of Aeneas, a prince of Troy who led his people from that city after its capture by the Greeks. But the most familiar story concerns the twins Romulus and Remus. According to legend, the infant boys were placed in a basket and thrown into the Tiber River, where they were rescued and nurtured by a she-wolf. It is said that years later, Romulus ploughed a furrow around the Palatine Hill to mark the location where the walls of his new city of Rome were to be built.

Archaeological excavations show that agricultural settlements existed around Sicily as early as 5000 BC. By 700 BC, several distinct peoples—including the Ligurians, Sabines, and Etruscans—were well established on the Italian peninsula. The expulsion of Etruscan kings from Rome in 509 BC marked the establishment of the Republic of Rome.

Ancient Rome

Through alliances and conquest, Romans gradually acquired control over all of the Italian peninsula. Eventually they built an empire that included much of Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia. The Roman Empire in the West finally collapsed in the AD 400's, after repeated invasions of Germanic peoples from the north. Imperial power passed to the Eastern Roman (or Byzantine) Empire, centered in Constantinople (modern Istanbul). Italy remained chiefly the center of the Roman Catholic faith.

The Middle Ages

While the Byzantine Empire continued to rule southern Italy, central and northern Italy suffered continued invasions. In the AD 500's, the Lombards, a Germanic tribe, advanced from the north and took power in central Italy. Resistance to the Lombards came mainly from the Christian popes of the Roman Catholic Church, who would later establish political and military, as well as spiritual, control in the area.

By invitation of the popes, the Franks, another Germanic tribe, descended to end the rule of the Lombards in Italy. In 756, after twice defeating the Lombards, the Frankish king Pepin III (the Short) awarded land to Pope Stephen II, with which he established the Papal States. In 774, Pepin's son Charlemagne ended Lombard rule in Italy completely. In reward for his services, and to extend the authority of the church in Europe, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne emperor of the Romans on Christmas Day, 800.

Meanwhile in the 800's, Muslim Arabs from North Africa and the Middle East, called the Saracens, invaded Sicily. They maintained control until the Normans invaded in the 1000's. The Normans gradually expanded their power to the Italian coast, and in 1130 they united the southern half of the peninsula with Sicily. Thus the popes were caught between the Normans and the Byzantines in the south, and the Holy Roman emperors in the north.

The Holy Roman Empire.

 In the 900's, the German king Otto I (the Great) sought to re-create Charlemagne's empire. Like Charlemagne before him, Otto came to the aid of a pope, John XII, who then crowned him emperor in 962. But future emperors and popes quarreled for many years over religious and political issues.

The struggle for imperial rule was illustrated by a famous feud between two families—the Guelphs (or Welfs of Saxony), who were allied with the popes against the Ghibellines, who supported the rule of the Hohenstaufen dynasty of Swabia. But by the 1200's, the Holy Roman emperors had nevertheless lost control over most of their landholdings in northern Italy.

The City-States.

 By the 1000's, far-reaching changes had begun to take place in Italy, as cities in the north grew wealthy from a revival of commerce. Genoa and Venice became sea powers, controlling trade with Asia, while a new class of merchants and bankers emerged in the inland cities of Milan, Cremona, Pavia, Florence, and Siena. These cities became independent city-states with their own form of government, headed by elected councils. Some became large and powerful by conquering their neighbors. Florence eventually controlled all of Tuscany, Milan ruled much of Lombardy, and Venice all of Venetia. In the south, the Spanish king of Aragon took control over Sicily in 1282.

The Renaissance.

 By the early 1300's, people in the city-states had developed a renewed interest in the classical works of art and literature that had survived from the days of ancient Greece and Rome. Merchants, bankers, and other civic leaders formed governments based on economic interests. The most prosperous families—among them the Medici in Florence, the Visconti (followed by the Sforza) in Milan, and the Este in Ferrara—patronized local artists and scholars, which gave rise to a new birth of learning, called the Renaissance.

Eventually the elective form of city-state government in many of the northern and central cities was replaced by duchies, governed by dukes, while the popes continued to rule the Papal States. Rivalries among the duchies were constant and often violent. In 1513 the Florentine Niccolò Machiavelli wrote The Prince, which he intended as a guidebook for a powerful prince who might unify Italy. No such leader emerged, leaving the territories open to invasion by French and Spanish armies. By the mid-1500's, Philip II of Spain had gained control over most of Italy.

Italian Decline

In the early 1500's, Italy experienced a period of economic decline. After the voyages of Christopher Columbus opened up trade to the Americas, the Mediterranean Sea ceased to be the main avenue of commerce, and the Italian states lost much of their sea trade to other countries in Europe that bordered the Atlantic Ocean.

At the same time, more powerful European nations treated Italian territories as pawns in their struggle for supremacy. Spain remained the dominant power on the Italian peninsula until control shifted to Austria in the early 1700's.

When the French Revolution broke out in 1789, some Italians became aware of their own need for political change. But in 1796 the French general Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Italy as a first step in his attempt to conquer Europe. He brought much of the north under French control and gave other regions, including Naples and Tuscany, to members of his family to rule. Italians approved of some Napoleonic reforms, such as more efficient law codes and commercial practices. But at the same time they resented the draft of Italian men into the French Army and the transfer of priceless Italian art treasures to France.

Napoleon was finally defeated in 1815, and the nations of Europe met at the Congress of Vienna (1814-15) to restore the balance of power on the continent. Various parts of Italy were returned to rulers the French had displaced, but these divisions would not survive the century.

Unification: 1815-70

Over time, the feeling of nationalism unleashed by the French Revolution resulted in a movement for national unity, called the Risorgimento. This unification movement had three great leaders. The first was Giuseppe Mazzini, who organized a group called Young Italy in the 1830's. Mazzini's goal was to establish an Italian republic. A second leader, Giuseppe Garibaldi, was one of Mazzini's followers. He became a military hero of the republican movement. The third architect of unification was Camille Benso, Count di Cavour, who was prime minister of the Kingdom of Sardinia, ruled by the House of Savoy, that also contained Piedmont, Savoy, and Genoa. Cavour favored creating a constitutional monarchy.

Cavour skillfully won the assistance of the French emperor Napoleon III in a successful war against Austria in 1859. As a result, the Kingdom of Sardinia annexed Lombardy and parts of central Italy. Then in 1860, Garibaldi led a force of a thousand men—known as the Redshirts—in a daring and successful invasion of Sicily and Naples, then ruled by Spain. Collectively known as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, Sicily and Naples were also brought under the rule of the House of Savoy. At the same time, Cavour dispatched an army from Piedmont to seize the eastern half of the Papal States.

In 1861 the new Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed in Turin, with Victor Emmanuel II of the House of Savoy as its constitutional monarch. In 1866, in the wake of a new war with Austria, Italy annexed Venetia. Finally, in 1870, Italy took over papal Rome and moved the new Italian capital to that city.

Nation Building and World War I

Building an Italian nation proved a difficult task. Many Italians were unable to read or write, and differences caused friction between northerners and southerners. After 1900, however, the situation improved. Industry took hold in the northwest, while in the south, millions immigrated to the United States, relieving poverty and overcrowding.

This progress, however, was interrupted in 1915, when the Italians entered World War I on the side of the Allies against the Central Powers. Italy's leaders hoped to benefit by capturing the Italian-speaking cities of Trentino and Trieste from Austria-Hungary. Instead, the country was drawn into a long, costly, and unpopular war. Although Italy was awarded Trentino and Trieste at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, many Italians were angry to not also receive the Croatian city of Fiume, which became part of the new country of Yugoslavia.

Fascist Era and World War II

Postwar frustrations, combined with a new electoral system, changed the nature of Italian politics. The old liberal leaders could no longer control parliament. Moreover, many Italians feared that the strong new Socialist Party might seize power during the economic unrest of the postwar years. All these developments helped undermine Italy's fragile democracy. In 1922, King Victor Emmanuel III gave control of the government to Benito Mussolini, the leader of the new Fascist Party, whose violent squads of Blackshirts had gained public support.

By 1926, Mussolini had imposed a dictatorship on Italy. Some of his policies were popular. He outlawed labor strikes; negotiated the Lateran pacts with the Vatican in 1929, which ended years of confrontation between church and state; and conquered Ethiopia in 1935-36. But Mussolini's later alliance with Nazi Germany was not popular, and Italy's participation (1940-45) in World War II as an Axis Power left the country devastated.

A New Republic

Italy's defeat in the war brought an end not only to fascism in Italy but to the monarchy as well. In an election in 1946, in which women voted for the first time, Italians approved a republic, and a new constitution went into effect in 1948. Italy recovered economically with aid from the United States.

The moderately conservative Christian Democratic Party emerged as the strongest political party after the war. For some 45 years it dominated every government, usually in alliance with small parties of the political center.

Recent History.

 In the early 1990's, financial scandals led to the collapse of the old ruling parties, and voters demanded major political reforms. In 1994 a right-wing alliance, under the leadership of media mogul Silvio Berlusconi, came to power. But the coalition soon fell apart, and an interim government took office. Elections in 1996 were marked by a victory for the left, but budget quarrels in 1998 again brought down the government. In 2001, after two additional but brief changes in power, Berlusconi was returned as premier as head of a new coalition, the House of Liberties and Freedom Alliance (now the Center-Right Freedom House Coalition).

Charles F. Delzell
Author, Italy in the Twentieth Century

Reviewed by Jeremy Black
Author, Italy and the Grand Tour

Photos, left to right: © Rick Rickman/NewSport/NewSport/Corbis; © Joe Cavaretta/AP Wide World.