In just over a decade Italy had emerged from the material and moral ashes of the Second World War and a searing civil war that spelled the end of Fascism. A new democratic and republican State had been born, but the changes with respect to the past were not limited to institutions and politics. As elsewhere in Western Europe the Golden Age had also dawned in Italy, which experienced a genuine economic, social and cultural revolution. The primarily agricultural country was transformed into an industrial power, ranked seventh among the world’s greatest. A miracle – this was the exact term used to define those years of tumultuous growth in Italy, the years of Federico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita” which captured both the highs of the economic boom but also growing nostalgia for a world of tradition and certainty that was forever past.
Simona Colarizi teaches Contemporary History at the University of Rome La Sapienza.