ITALY. A modern nation in Europe in which is located its present capital, Rome, the Vatican, and the papacy (q.v.), during the early centuries of Christianity Italy was not entirely “Italian”-i.e., Latin-speaking. Large concentrations of Greeks inhabited its southern reaches as far north as Naples (ancient Neapolis), and were concentrated in Apulia, Calabria (the heel and toe of the boot), and Sicily. In the Byzantine era (q.v.), at least into the 12th c., these areas fell under the civil and ecclesiastical rule of Constantinople (q.v.). Greeks from those regions, such as Nilus of Grottaferrata, John Italos, and Barlaam of Calabria (q.v.), continued to play an important role in Byzantine theology, philosophy, and spirituality well into the Eastern Empire’s final years. The onetime Byzantine presence has doubtlessly also contributed to the division of modern Italy into two very different cultural regions, the developed north, part of “Europe” since the Empire of Charlemagne (q.v.), and the rugged, restive, and poverty stricken mezzogiorno in the south.