Italy (Italian: Italia [iˈtaːlja]) is a country in Southern Europe. It is a member of the European Union. Its official name is Repubblica Italiana. The Italian flag is green, white and red. Italy is a democratic republic.
Repubblica Italiana (Italian)
|Anthem: Il Canto degli Italiani (Italian)|
"The Song of the Italians"
and largest city
|Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati di Rovigo|
|Senate of the Republic|
|Chamber of Deputies|
|17 March 1861|
|2 June 1946|
|1 January 1958|
|301,338 km2 (116,347 sq mi) (71st)|
• Water (%)
• 31.12.2016 estimate
|201.3/km2 (521.4/sq mi) (63rd)|
|GDP (PPP)||2016 estimate|
|$2.234 trillion (12th)|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2016 estimate|
|$1.850 trillion (8th)|
• Per capita
|HDI (2015)|| 0.887|
very high · 26th
|Currency||Euro (€)b (EUR)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
• Summer (DST)
|Date format||dd/mm/yyyy (AD)|
|ISO 3166 code||IT|
Italy is a founding member of the European Union. Its president is Sergio Mattarella. Its prime minister is Mario Draghi. Italy is also a member of the G7, as it has the eighth largest gross domestic product in the world.
In the 8th and 7th centuries BC, Greeks began a large colonization drive, including southern Italy such as Magna Graecia. This was because of various reasons, including demographic crisis (famine, overcrowding, climate change, etc.), the search for new commercial outlets and ports, and expulsion from their homeland.
Before 1861, Italy was made up of smaller kingdoms and city-states.
The country's capital, Rome, is one of the most famous cities in the world. It was the capital of the Roman Empire. Other famous cities in Italy include, Venice, Naples, Turin, Genoa, Florence, Palermo, and Milan.
Italy is a peninsula. It is surrounded by the sea on all of its sides except its north side. Northern Italy is separated from France, Switzerland, and Austria by the Alps, a chain of mountains. Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco in Italian or white mountain in English), the highest mountain in Western Europe, is in this chain. The second important chain of mountains in Italy is the Apennines (Italian: Appennini), which are in central and southern Italy.
Northern Italy has some of the biggest lakes in the country, such as Lake Garda, Lake Como, Lake Maggiore and Lake Iseo. Because it is surrounded by the sea, Italy has many kilometers of coast, which brings tourists from all over the world. Tourists also come to see Italy's historical places.
People and cultureEdit
People from Italy are called Italians. Even if an Italian were to leave Italy, it is possible that their descendants could also claim Italian citizenship. This is because of Italian nationality law relying mostly on ius sanguinis or "right of blood" in Latin. Almost all Italians are Christians. Most of these are Roman Catholics. Roman Catholicism is based in the Vatican City, which is home to its leader, the Pope.
The population of Italy is a little over 60 million. About 2.7 million of them live in Rome, and 1.3 million in Milan. As of 31 December 2015, over 5 million foreigners were living in Italy, which is 8.3% of the total population.
The official language of Italy is Italian. German, Slovenian, French, and a few others are also recognized. People also speak dialects of Italian such as Sicilian and Sardinian. There are many different dialects spoken in Italy. They vary between regions and sometimes between provinces.
Italy is home to more World Heritage Sites than any other country in the world. These sites are culturally important and valued according to UNESCO. About 60% of the works of art of the world are in Italy. Italy is also a big wine producer. In 2005 it made over 5 million tonnes.
Famous Italian foods include pasta or pizza.
Many notable artists were from Italy. They include:
Italy has a modern social welfare system. The labor market is relatively strength. Many foreigners, especially from Romania, work in Italy where the wages are much higher. But there could have been much more workers on the labor market because men and women already retired in the age of 57 and the unemployment rate is relatively high at 8.2 percent.
Italy's modern society has been built up through loans. Now the country has a very high debt of 1.9 trillion euros or 120 percent of the country's total GDP. The government cannot pay back the loans during the time period the EU wants.
Most people in Italy are Roman Catholics, but the Catholic Church is no longer officially the state religion. 87.8% of the people said they were Roman Catholic. Only about a third said they were active members (36.8%). There are also other Christian groups in Italy, more than 700,000 Eastern Orthodox Christians. 180,000 of them belong to the Greek Orthodox Church.
550,000 are Pentecostals and Evangelicals (0.8%). 235,685 Jehovah's Witnesses (0.4%), 30,000 Waldensians, 25,000 Seventh-day Adventists, 22,000 Mormons, 20,000 Baptists, 7,000 Lutherans, 4,000 Methodists. The country's oldest religious minority is the Jewish community. It has roughly 45,000 people. It is no longer the largest non-Christian group.
About 825,000 Muslims live in Italy. Most of them immigrated. (1.4% of the total population) Only 50,000 are Italian citizens. In addition, there are 50,000 Buddhists 70,000 Sikh and 70,000 Hindus in Italy.
There are 20 regions. Five of them have a special status, called autonomous. This means that they can make certain local laws more easily. These regions are marked with an asterisk (*) below.
The head of government is Mario Draghi. He became Prime Minister on February 13, 2021. He succeeded Giuseppe Conte. Conte's cabinet, fell after a political crisis caused by Italia Viva, a liberal political party.
Italy was one of the first members of the European Union. In 2002 along with 11 other European countries, it changed to using the euro as its official currency. Before this, the Italian lira had been used since 1861.
Anyone who wants to be President of Italy must have Italian citizenship, be at least 50 years old, and must be able to hold political and civil rights.
Before 1861, Italy was not a state. The area included a group of separate states that were ruled by other countries (such as Austria, France, and Spain). In the 1850s, the Earl of Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour was the head of government of the "State of Sardinia". He talked to the Austrians in Lombardy and Veneto and said they should create a Northern Italian state. This happened, but other Central and Southern Italian states also joined Piedmont to create a bigger state.
In 1860, Giuseppe Garibaldi took control of Sicily, creating the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. Victor Emmanuel II was made the king. In 1861, Latium and Veneto were still not part of Italy, because they were ruled by the Pope and Austrian Empire.
Veneto was made part of Italy in 1866 after a war with Austria. Italian soldiers won Latium in 1870. That was when they took away the Pope's power. The Pope, who was angry, said that he was a prisoner to keep Catholic people from being active in politics. That was the year of Italian unification.
Italy participated in World War I. It was an ally of Great Britain, France, and Russia against the Central Powers. Almost all of Italy's fighting was on the Eastern border, near Austria. After the "Caporetto defeat", Italy thought they would lose the war. But, in 1918, the Central Powers surrendered. Italy gained the Trentino-South Tyrol, which once was owned by Austria.
In 1922, a new Italian government started. It was ruled by Benito Mussolini, the leader of Fascism in Italy. He became head of government and dictator, calling himself "Il Duce" (which means "leader" in Italian). He became friends with German dictator Adolf Hitler. Germany, Japan, and Italy became the Axis Powers. In 1940, they entered World War II together against France, Great Britain, and later the Soviet Union. During the war, Italy controlled most of the Mediterranean Sea.
On July 25, 1943, Mussolini was removed by the Great Council of Fascism. On September 8, 1943, Badoglio said that the war as an ally of Germany was ended. Italy started fighting as an ally of France and the UK, but Italian soldiers did not know whom to shoot. In Northern Italy, a movement called Resistenza started to fight against the German invaders.
Mussolini tried to make a small Northern Italian fascist state, the Republic of Salò, but it failed. On April 25, 1945, Italy became free. The state became a republic on June 2, 1946. For the first time, women were able to vote. Italian people ended the Savoia dynasty and adopted a republic government.
Since then Italy has joined NATO and the European Community (as a founding member). It is one of the seven biggest industrial economies in the world.
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