When you think of Italy, many images spring immediately to mind. You'll picture lush hillsides festooned with vineyards, cheerful gondoliers traversing the canals of Venice, vibrant families gathering for lavish weddings resplendent with crosses and other Catholic symbols, some of the most renowned music, art and architecture ever produced, roaring spectators chanting songs in celebration of their home football team -- not to mention the rich and delicious food and wine that made the country famous.

All of these images are part of the Italian tradition, to be sure, but Italy is a large country with an incredibly long and storied history. Their traditions are more varied and fascinating than most non-Italians imagine. Italians from Sicily, Campania and Veneto have traditions that can vary widely from each other, and Italian families celebrate traditions that run much deeper than the clich├ęs you see in mobster movies and chain restaurants. This regional diversity makes it a little hard to make generalizations about Italian custom, but at the same time, the variations form a rich tapestry of cultural influences.

In this article, we'll celebrate Italian tradition in its many forms, from religion and cuisine, to music, clothing and much, much more. Viva Italiano!