As a nation state, Italy has emerged only in 1871. Until then the country was politically divided into a large number of independant cities, provinces and islands. The currently available evidences point out to a dominant Etruscan, Greek and Roman cultural influence on today's Italians.
I remember as a child my mom and grandmother going
around the house with a broom whispering a prayer
in Sicilian. As I remember, they were only sweeping
in the corners of each doorway. I knew it was to ward
off bad spirits, but I never thought to ask them what
were the words of this prayer they recited.