A Look At Italian History

With cities like Rome and Venice, Italy is one of the most romantic countries on the planet with a rich history of stunning architecture and culture. Archaeological excavations show that Italy had a Neanderthal presence that dates back more than 200,000 years. Human beings that we share the most characteristics may have first arrived in Italy over 40,000 years ago, these are known as the Ancient peoples of pre-Roman Italy.

753 BC saw the formation of the Roman Empire, initially from a settlement on the river Tiber, and stretched from Great Britain all the way to the borders of Persia. Most of the modern western world as we know it today has been shaped by the Roman legacy, particularly when it comes to long stretches of roads (such as motorways) that allow us to travel to different places far quicker than was possible before. The Roman Empire is also responsible for naming all of the planets, calendar months and our numerical units. The empire was initially split in 395 AD due to a number of barbarian invasions and was completely dissolved in 476 AD after the Germanic chief Odoacer disposed of the last Roman Emperor.

Italy is credited with the first ever gambling house, which paved the way for modern casinos. According to the Ladbrokes Top 10 Casino Facts, the first ever gambling house was opened in 1638, and was known as Il Ridotto (an Italian translation of ‘the private room'). The Il Ridotto wasn't even a building in its own right, in fact it was a wing of the Palazzo Dandol. Although Il Ridotto was open to the public, it had a strict dress code and high stakes that meant only nobles could really afford to spend any time there. By modern standards, the dress code for the venue would be highly discriminatory and players had to be wearing three-cornered hats and masks in order to gain entry and play. Less affluent residents would be refused entry and prohibited from placing wagers.

One of the most popular games at Il Ridotto was biribi, which was a lottery style game with 70 different possible outcomes. A casino employee would draw a number from a bag, the players would then bet on which number would win the pot. Basetta was another popular game within the Ridotto and was a cross between poker, blackjack and gin rummy with odds of 60/1 which meant a big return for winning bets. It was later replaced by a similar game known as faro that would go on to become very popular in the United States. It is widely believed that this then led to a number of today's most popular casino games. In 1774 it was proposed that the Ridotto be closed in order to preserve piety, discipline and moderate behaviour. The motion passed by an overwhelming majority and Ridotto closed its doors forever.

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