Italian history is one of the longest, most documented national histories in the world. From the days of the Caesars and the Roman Empire, to the disappearance of Pompeii beneath Mt. Vesuvius' lava and ash, to Napoleon's reign and Mussolini's dictatorship, to finally conceding to the allies in WWII, and becoming a republic, there is almost nothing Italy hasn't seen. Italy is home to over 61 million inhabitants, is one of the top 5 most visited countries on Earth, and has an enclave reserved in the middle of capital city, Rome, for the world's smallest country, The Vatican City, which spans .25 sq mi.
Parliamentary Constitutional Republic
"We became so attached to Antonio, our host son. Our own children think of him as their very own Italian brother!"
— The Spencer family, Nebraska
Boil a pot of salted water; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup pasta cooking water.
Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, until toasted, about 1 minute.Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta water to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and remaining butter.
Reduce heat to low and add Grana Padano, stirring and tossing with tongs until melted.
Remove pan from heat; add Pecorino, stirring and tossing until cheese melts, sauce coats the pasta, and pasta is al dente. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.)
Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve.