Learn English – Comma after “In Italy” at the beginning of the sentence


Is it necessary to put a comma after "In Italy" in this sentence?

In Italy, there are many historical art pieces.

Could you explane the rule please?

Best Answer

Not to disagree with jboneca's answer, but here's another interpretation.

This is similar to the practice of, say, writing lists of names like this:

  • Einstein, Albert
  • Shakespeare, William

Or writing inventories like this:

  • Coat, brown
  • Shoes, leather, black

In each case, we mark the break from the natural order of English ("black leather shoes", "Albert Einstein") with a comma.

The natural order of an English sentence is to put modifiers like in Italy at the end:

There are many historical art pieces in Italy.

But English grammar permits us to move the modifier to the front when it suits our purposes. In speech, we mark this break from the natural order with a change in intonation and a pause. In writing, we mark it with a comma.