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.
Sorry- Here is the correct link.
My cousin sent me this link for those of us who are third generation Italian Americans and really don't know much of the languag or hand gestures. A fun way to learn some of the basics.