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The educated classes of the Italian peninsula developed an independent language from the thirteenth century, a scientific and technical language from about 1500, a single government and a national science policy after 1861, and took part in efforts to create a European science policy from the 1950s. Some long-term relationships among science, language, culture, and society will be employed in the present chapter to introduce the reader to some turning points of Italian history that are relevant to an understanding of the place and uses of modern science south of the Alps.