Of all the great peninsular civilizations and cultures that arose in world history until now, the Roman empire came to greatness in what is now known as the nation of Italy. The historic Roman Empire developed from within the Italian peninsula and was the civilization that launched western Christianity and western culture for the past 2000 years. Today Rome is still home to the historical Christian church and the modern Roman Catholic church.
The architecture, infrastructure technology, structure of governing apparatus, philosophy, and medical knowledge that began with the Greeks was carried on and implemented through the Roman way of life in a vast empire that covered most of the known world two thousand years ago.
It was at worldly Rome's apex that Jesus Christ was born and began his mission in Israel and Palestine. From Jesus' untimely death until 400 years later, his life and teachings were the bright lamp of spiritual truth for believers of the early Christian faith that enabled Christianity to survive extensive persecution and martyrdom at the hands of the hedonistic Roman emperors. Both of Jesus' disciples, Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome. In 313 C.E. with the Edict of Milan the ruler Constantine I determined that Christianity would become an officially accepted religion and the nation would be neutral to other religions. Christianity became the eventual official religion of his empire.
The Italian peninsula was the location where both the internal and external facets of Western Civilization were born, whether one looks at the history of the Christian faith, philosophy, art, science or social customs and culture.