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Furthermore, the Italian city-states constantly fought one another, culminating in the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries that left them exhausted, with none emerging as a dominant power.

Since Middle Age, Italian explorers discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery.Nevertheless, Italy's commercial and political power significantly waned with the opening of trade routes which bypassed the Mediterranean.Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoil, became a major advanced economy.Today Italy has the third largest nominal GDP in the Eurozone and the eighth largest in the world.The Ancient peoples of pre-Roman Italy – such as the Umbrians, the Latins (from which the Romans emerged), Volsci, Oscans, Samnites, Sabines, the Celts, the Ligures, and many others – were Indo-European peoples; the main historic peoples of possible non-Indo-European heritage include the Etruscans, the Elymians and Sicani in Sicily and the prehistoric Sardinians, which includes the Nuragic civilisation.

Other ancient Italian peoples of undetermined language families but of possible non-Indo-European origins include the Rhaetian people and Cammuni, known for their rock carvings.The bull was a symbol of the southern Italic tribes and was often depicted goring the Roman wolf as a defiant symbol of free Italy during the Social War.Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus states this account together with the legend that Italy was named after Italus, The name Italia originally applied only to a part of what is now Southern Italy – according to Antiochus of Syracuse, the southern portion of the Bruttium peninsula (modern Calabria: province of Reggio, and part of the provinces of Catanzaro and Vibo Valentia).As an advanced economy the country also has the sixth worldwide national wealth and it is ranked third for its central bank gold reserve.Italy has a very high level of human development and it is sixth in the world for life expectancy.By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval.