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Italy is a fascinating country for population geneticists and historians alike. As Metternich said in 1847 “Italy is only a geographical expression”. The peninsula was unified by Piedmont two decades later, but Metternich’s remark still largely holds true today. There isn’t one Italian people, but a multitude of ethnic and cultural groups, often with an independent history of their own going back to ancient times.
Countless people have settled in Italy since the Neolithic: Near Eastern farmers, Italic tribes, Ligurians, Etruscans, Phoenicians, Greeks, Celts, Goths, Lombards, Byzantines, Franks, Normans, Swabians, Arabs, Berbers, Albanians, Austrians and more. All have left their genetic print on the populations of the regions where they settled. This page attempts to identify their genetic markers through the use of Y-chromosomal haplogroups, which are passed on nearly unaltered from father to son.