I find an excellent description of italy, the country where my ancestors came, in the book "Vanished Kingdoms, the history of the half forgotten Eurpoe, by Norman Davies, Penguin Books, 2011
I think that is a good issue to promote opinions of this forum.
The excerpt that I choose is:
Historians increasingly believed that Italy’s malaise has deeper causes. Dysfunctional politics are perhaps the outward symptom of more fundamental flaws. The Unification of Italy, once held up as a glorious achievement, was proving at best as a partial success. The manner of its executions, as an instrument of the ambition of the Casa Savoia, never engendered a sense of solidarity between Italy’s diverse regions and even when the Savoia left, centrifugal forces remained strong.
Geography and he vicissitudes of History made certain countries… more important that the sum of their parts might have indicated. In Italy the opposite was true. The parts are so stupendous that (some of them) would rival every other country in the world in the quality of its art and the civilization of its past. But the parts had never added up to a coherent whole.
Untied Italy never became a nation its founders had hoped but because it’s making had been flawed both in conception as in execution…” a sin against history and geography” It was this predestined to be a disappointment…. The Italians have created much of the world´s greatest art, architecture and music… Yet the millennia of their past and the vulnerability of their placement have made it impossible for them to create a successful nation-state.