|Official Name:||Italian Republic (Repubblica Italiana)|
|Area:||301,340 sq km|
|Population:||61.5 million (2013)|
|Climate:||Predominantly Mediterranean; Alpine in far north; hot, dry in south|
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Dio, Ronnie James
Born: July 10, 1942
Ronnie James Dio (born Ronald James Padavona on July 10, 1942 [date disputed; this is the most likely date] in Portsmouth, New Hampshire) is a heavy metal vocalist who has performed with Black Sabbath, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, and his own band Dio. Other musical projects include the collective fundraiser Hear 'n Aid and his band immediately before Rainbow, Elf. He is renowned for his consistently powerful voice and for popularizing the 'horns' hand gesture in heavy metal culture (formed by closing the thumb over the middle and ring fingers, while having the index and little-finger extended). Ronnie said that his grandmother used to make the hand gesture to ward off the evil eye.
Dio was born to a family of Italian heritage. The family moved to Cortland, New York early on in Ronnie's life. He initially played trumpet and even recorded several singles with various rockabilly bands during his youth, the first one as early as 1958.
Much of Ronnie's early life is not known for certain. Some say he earned a degree in pharmacology and graduated from the prestigious Julliard School of Music, but this has not been verified either by Dio or by other independent sources.
In the early 1970s, he formed the band Elf, who went on to be an opening act for Deep Purple. Ronnie's vocals caught the ear of Deep Purple guitar virtuoso Ritchie Blackmore and when Blackmore left the band, he recruited Ronnie and other members of Elf to form Rainbow. After a few albums with Rainbow, Ronnie left the band due to creative differences (Blackmore had wanted to take the band in a more commercial direction), and was recruited by Black Sabbath in 1979 to replace Ozzy Osbourne. Ronnie gave a new jumpstart to Black Sabbath's commercially sagging career with the hugely popular Heaven and Hell album. In 1982, during the mixing of the live album Live Evil, internal band problems and nasty (unfounded) accusations developed, which led to Dio and drummer Vinnie Appice quitting the band to form Dio. Ronnie James Dio currently lives in California and still records and tours worldwide with Dio. Ronnie James Dio has/had a five and a half octave vocal range.
Tenacious D have written a tribute song entitled Dio that appears on their self-titled album that calls for the singer to 'pass the torch' on to them. Reportedly, Ronnie approved of the song and he is also set to appear in the upcoming film Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny, playing himself.
Taken fro Wikipedia