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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.Rome, a settlement around a ford on the river Tiber conventionally founded in 753 BC, was ruled for a period of 244 years by a monarchical system, initially with sovereigns of Latin and Sabine origin, later by Etruscan kings.
Furthermore, the Italian city-states constantly engaged one another in bloody warfare, culminating in the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries that left them exhausted, with no one emerging as a dominant power.
These mostly independent statelets, acting as Europe's main spice trade hubs with Asia and the Near East, often enjoyed a greater degree of democracy and wealth in comparison to the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe at the time, though much of central Italy remained under the control of the theocratic Papal States, while Southern Italy remained largely feudal until the 19th century, partially as a result of a succession of Byzantine, Arab, Norman, Angevin, and Spanish conquests of the region.
The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science, exploration and art.
Between the 17th and the 11th centuries BC Mycenaean Greeks established contacts with Italy and in the 8th and 7th centuries BC Greek colonies were established all along the coast of Sicily and the southern part of the Italian Peninsula became known as Magna Graecia.
Also the Phoenicians established colonies on the coasts of Sardinia and Sicily.