Italy (Italian: Italia [iˈtaːlja] (listen)), officially the Italian Republic or the Republic of Italy[12][13] (Italian: Repubblica Italiana [reˈpubblika itaˈljaːna]),[14][15] is a country that consists of a peninsula delimited by the Alps and several islands surrounding it;[note 1] its territory largely coincides with the homonymous geographical region.[16] Italy is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, in Southern Europe;[17][18][19] it is also considered part of Western Europe.[20][note 2] A unitary parliamentary republic with Rome as its capital and largest city, the country covers a total area of 301,230 km2 (116,310 sq mi) and shares land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. Italy has a territorial exclave in Switzerland, Campione. With over 60 million inhabitants,[21] Italy is the third-most populous member state of the European Union.

Italian Republic
Repubblica Italiana (Italian)
Anthem: "Il Canto degli Italiani"
"The Song of the Italians"
Location of Italy (dark green)

 in Europe (light green & dark grey)
 in the European Union (light green)   [Legend]

and largest city
41°54′N 12°29′E
Official languagesItaliana
Native languagesSee main article
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary republic
Sergio Mattarella
Mario Draghi
Elisabetta Casellati
Roberto Fico
Senate of the Republic
Chamber of Deputies
17 March 1861
2 June 1946
1 January 1948
 Founded the EEC (now EU)
1 January 1958
301,230 km2 (116,310 sq mi) (71st)
 Water (%)
1.24 (2015)[2]
 2022 estimate
58,983,000[3] (23rd)
 2011 census
201.3/km2 (521.4/sq mi) (74th)
GDP (PPP)2022 estimate
$2.972 trillion[5] (12th)
 Per capita
$50,216[5] (31st)
GDP (nominal)2022 estimate
$2.058 trillion[5] (9th)
 Per capita
$34,797[5] (33rd)
Gini (2020) 32.5[6]
HDI (2021) 0.895[7]
very high · 30th
CurrencyEuro ()b (EUR)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 Summer (DST)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy
yyyy-mm-dd (AD)[8]
Driving sideright
Calling code+39c
ISO 3166 codeIT
Internet TLD.itd
  1. German is co-official in South Tyrol and Friuli Venezia Giulia; French is co-official in the Aosta Valley; Slovene is co-official in the province of Trieste, the province of Gorizia, and Friuli Venezia Giulia; Ladin is co-official in South Tyrol, in Trentino and in other northern areas; Friulian is co-official in Friuli Venezia Giulia; Sardinian is co-official in Sardinia.[9][10]
  2. Before 2002, the Italian lira. The euro is accepted in Campione d'Italia but its official currency is the Swiss franc.[11]
  3. To call Campione d'Italia, it is necessary to use the Swiss code +41.
  4. The .eu domain is also used, as it is shared with other European Union member states.

Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has historically been home to myriad peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout what is now modern-day Italy, the most predominant being the Indo-European Italic peoples, (such as the Latins and the Samnites) who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era, the Etruscans inhabited most of central Italy, the Celts and the Ligures inhabited most of northern Italy, the Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia of coastal Southern Italy, while the Phoenicians and Carthaginians founded colonies mostly in Sardinia and Sicily.[22][23] The Italic tribe of the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which eventually became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People. The Roman Republic initially conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the Italian peninsula, eventually expanding and conquering parts of Europe, North Africa and Asia. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became a leading cultural, political and religious centre, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's law, technology, economy, art, and literature developed.[24][25]

During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the Barbarian Invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous city-states and maritime republics, mostly in the North, such as Florence, Milan, Venice and Genoa, became prosperous through trade, commerce, and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism.[26][27] These mostly independent states served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East, often enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe; however, at the same time, part of central Italy was under the control of the theocratic Papal States, while Southern Italy remained largely feudal until the 19th century, partially as a result of a succession of Byzantine, Arab, Norman and other foreign conquests of the region.[28] The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science, exploration, and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars, artists, and polymaths. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Nevertheless, Italy's commercial and political power significantly waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean.[29] Centuries of rivalry and infighting between the Italian city-states, and the invasions of other European powers during the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left Italy politically fragmented. From the 17th to the 19th century larger states such as the Grand Duchy of Tuscany (successor state to the Florentine Republic) and the Duchy of Savoy had already incorporated most of their smaller neighbors states in Tuscany and Piedmont respectively, becoming regional states.[30][31]

By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism added to social, economic and military events led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval.[32] After centuries of political and territorial divisions, Italy was almost entirely unified in 1861 following a war of independence, establishing the Kingdom of Italy.[33] From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy rapidly industrialised, mainly in the north, and acquired a colonial empire,[34] while the south remained largely impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora.[35] Despite being one of the victorious allied powers in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of the Italian fascist dictatorship in 1922. The participation of Fascist Italy in World War II on the Axis side and against the Allies ended in military defeat, economic destruction, and the occupation of Italy by Nazi Germany and the collaborationist Italian Social Republic. Following the rise of the Italian Resistance and the subsequent Italian Civil War and liberation of Italy, the country abolished its monarchy, established a democratic Republic, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom, and became a highly developed country.[36]

Italy has an advanced economy. The country is the ninth-largest by nominal GDP (third in the European Union), the eighth-largest by national wealth and the third-largest by central bank gold reserve. It ranks highly in life expectancy, quality of life,[37] healthcare,[38] and education. The country is a great power, and it has a significant role in regional[39][40] and global[41][42] economic, military, cultural, and diplomatic affairs. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the United Nations, NATO, the OECD, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Trade Organization, the Group of Seven, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Latin Union, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area, and many more. The source of many inventions and discoveries, the country has long been a global centre of art, music, literature, philosophy, science and technology, and fashion and has greatly influenced and contributed to diverse fields including cinema, cuisine, sports, jurisprudence, banking, and business.[43] As a reflection of its cultural wealth, Italy has the world's largest number of World Heritage Sites (58), and is the fifth-most visited country.

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