country in Southern Europe

Italy (Italian: Italia [iˈtaːlja]) is a country in Southern Europe with small island territories in North Africa. It is a member of the European Union. Its official name is the Italian Republic (Italian: Repubblica Italiana). The Italian flag is green, white and red. Italy is a democratic republic.

Italian Republic
Repubblica Italiana  (Italian)
Anthem: Il Canto degli Italiani  (Italian)
"The Song of the Italians"
Location of  Italy  (dark green) – on the European continent  (light green & dark grey) – in the European Union  (light green)  —  [Legend]
Location of  Italy  (dark green)

– on the European continent  (light green & dark grey)
– in the European Union  (light green)  —  [Legend]

and largest city
41°54′N 12°29′E / 41.900°N 12.483°E / 41.900; 12.483
Official languagesItalian
GovernmentUnitary constitutional
parliamentary republic
• President
Sergio Mattarella
Giorgia Meloni
Ignazio La Russa
Lorenzo Fontana
Senate of the Republic
Chamber of Deputies
17 March 1861
• Republic
2 June 1946
• Founded the EEC (now the European Union)
1 January 1958
• Total
301,338 km2 (116,347 sq mi) (71st)
• Water (%)
• 31.12.2016 estimate
Neutral increase 60,589,445[2] (23rd)
• Density
201.3/km2 (521.4/sq mi) (63rd)
GDP (PPP)2016 estimate
• Total
$2.234 trillion[3] (12th)
• Per capita
$36,833[3] (32nd)
GDP (nominal)2016 estimate
• Total
$1.850 trillion[3] (8th)
• Per capita
$30,507[3] (25th)
Gini (2015)32.4[4]
HDI (2015)Increase 0.887[5]
very high · 26th
CurrencyEuro ()b (EUR)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
• Summer (DST)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy (AD)
Driving sideright
Calling code+39c
ISO 3166 codeIT
Internet TLD.itd
  1. German is co-official in South Tyrol; French is co-official in the Aosta Valley; Slovene is co-official in the province of Trieste and the province of Gorizia; Ladin is co-official in South Tyrol, in Trentino and in other northern areas.
  2. Before 2002, the Italian lira. The euro is accepted in Campione d'Italia but its official currency is the Swiss franc.[6]
  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.

Italy is a founding member of the European Union.[7] In 2022, Italy's president is Sergio Mattarella. Its prime minister is Giorgia Meloni. Italy is also a member of the G7, as it has the eighth largest gross domestic product in the world.

Italy has become famous for its wine and food. Some foods are different between regions. Famous dishes include various types of pasta, pizza, and grapes. Olives are also often used.

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.


Satellite image of Italy

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,[8] a chain of mountains. Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco in Italian or white mountain in English), the highest mountain in Western Europe,[9] is in this chain. The second important chain of mountains in Italy is the Apennines (Italian: Appennini), which are in central and southern Italy.

View of Lierna-Varenna Lake Como on Bellagio

The Po River is the longest river in Italy. It flows through 5 cities: Turin, Piacenza, Cremona, and Ferrara.[10] The Tiber River runs through the city of Rome.

Northern Italy has some of the biggest lakes in the country, such as Lake Garda, Lake Como, Lake Maggiore and Lake Iseo.[11] Because it is surrounded by the sea, Italy has a very long coast, which brings tourists from all over the world.[12] Tourists also come to see Italy's historical places.[13]

The country has a number of islands, the biggest of which are Sicily and Sardinia,[14][15] which can be reached by ship or aircraft. Italy has a border at sea with Libya to the south.

Political geography


The capital of Italy is Rome. This is where the Roman Empire started. Other large cities in Italy include Milan, Naples, Turin, Florence, Palermo, and Venice.

Two enclaves (separate countries) are located within Italy. They are San Marino, which is surrounded by Northern Italy, and the Vatican City, which is surrounded by the city of Rome. Vatican City is also the only enclave in the world to also be surrounded by a city.



Italy has both an oceanic climate and continental climate.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Italy was 47.0 °C (116.6 °F) on 25 June 2007 in Foggia.

The lowest temperature ever recorded in Italy was −49.6 °C (−57.3 °F) on 10 February 2013 at Pale di San Martino

People and culture

Leonardo da Vinci

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.[16] 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.[17]

The population of Italy is about 60 million people.[18] Almost 3 million of them live in Rome,[19] and 1.5 million in Milan.[20] As of December 2015, over 5 million foreigners were living in Italy, which is 8.3% of the total population.[21]

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.

The people of Italy are mostly descendant from the ancient Romans.

Italy is home to more World Heritage Sites than any other country in the world.[22] 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 of wine.[23]

Linguistic minorities in Italy include Sardu-speakers 1 million, Tyrolese German-speakers 350,000, Albanians 70,000 – 100,000, Slovenes 60,000, Franco-Provençal-speakers 50,000 – 70,000, Occitans 20,000 – 40,000, Ladins 30,000, Catalans 15,000, Greek-speakers 12,000 and Croatians 3,000, as well as Friulians 600,000. The Roma community in Italy is one of the largest ethnic minorities in the country. Italy has a growing immigrant population. This foreign population includes Romanians 1,190,100, Albanians 440,500, Moroccans 416,500, Ukrainians 237,000, Chinese 290,700, Filipinos 167,900 and Indians 151,800.[24]

A partial list of famous Italian foods include pasta, pizza, risotto, polenta, and gnocchi.

Many notable artists were from Italy. They include:



Italy has a modern social welfare system. The labor market is very strong. Many foreigners, especially from Romania, work in Italy where the wages are much higher.

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% of the country's total GDP.


Italy religiosity
Religion percent

Most people in Italy are Roman Catholics, but the Catholic Church is no longer officially the state religion. Around 50% of the people said they were Roman Catholic.[25] Only about a third said they were active members (40%). There are also other Christian groups in Italy, with more than 700,000 Eastern Orthodox Christians. 180,000 of them belong to the Greek Orthodox Church.[26]

550,000 are Pentecostals and Evangelicals (0.8%). 235,685 Jehovah's Witnesses (0.4%),[27] 30,000 Waldensians,[28] 25,000 Seventh-day Adventists, 22,000 Mormons, 20,000 Baptists, 7,000 Lutherans, 4,000 Methodists.[29]

The country's oldest religious minority is the Jewish community. It has about 45,000 people. It is no longer the largest non-Christian group. There are also about 50,000 Buddhists[30][31] 70,000 Muslims[32] and 70,000 Hindus in Italy.

In Venice, gondolas are a way for people to get around.

Major cities




Italy has 20 regions (Italian: regioni). Every region is divided into provinces.

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.

Region Capital Area (km²) Population
Abruzzo L'Aquila 10,763 1,305,770
Aosta Valley* Aosta 3,263 126,000
Apulia Bari 19,362 4,076,000
Basilicata Potenza 9,992 591,000
Calabria Catanzaro 15,080 2,007,000
Campania Naples 13,595 5,811,000
Emilia-Romagna Bologna 22,124 4,276,000
Friuli-Venezia Giulia* Trieste 7,855 1,222,000
Lazio Rome 17,207 5,561,000
Liguria Genoa 5,421 1,610,000
Lombardy Milan 23,861 9,642,000
Marche Ancona 9,694 1,553,000
Molise Campobasso 4,438 320,000
Piedmont Turin 25,399 4,401,000
Sardinia* Cagliari 24,090 1,666,000
Sicily* Palermo 25,708 5,030,000
Tuscany Florence 22,997 3,677,000
Trentino-Alto Adige* Trento 13,607 1,007,000
Umbria Perugia 8,456 884,000
Veneto Venice 18,391 4,832,000


The Chamber of Deputies

The head of state is Sergio Mattarella. He became President of the Italian Republic in February 2015. The first president was Enrico De Nicola.

The head of government is Giorgia Meloni. She became Prime Minister on October 22, 2022, the first woman in that role. She succeeded Mario Draghi. Draghi's cabinet, fell after support for his coalition fell.

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 uphold political and civil rights.


The Colosseum in Rome. Its original name is Flavian Amphitheatre, being built under the Flavian dynasty, an imperial Family of the Ancient Rome.
Leaning Tower of Pisa

The capital of Italy is Rome. Rome was founded in 753 BC. It was a separate state well known as Roman Kingdom firstly, Roman Republic and Roman Empire later. It conquered various neighbors including the Etruscan civilization in the north and the states in the south known as Magna Graecia.

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.

Kingdom of Italy


In 1860, Giuseppe Garibaldi took control of Sicily, creating the Kingdom of Italy in 1861.[15] 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.

Fascist Italy


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. On April 25, 1945, much of Italy became free, while Mussolini tried to make a small Northern Italian fascist state called the Republic of Salò. The fascist state failed and Mussolini tried to flee to Switzerland and escape to Francoist Spain, but he was captured by Italian partisans. On 28 April 1945 Mussolini was executed by a partisan.

After World War Two


The state became a republic on June 2, 1946. For the first time, women were able to vote. The Italian people ended the Savoia dynasty and adopted a republican form of government.

In February of 1947, Italy signed a peace treaty with the Allies. They lost all the colonies and some territorial areas (Istria and parts of Dalmatia).

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.


Rome-Fiumicino Airport was the sixth busiest airport in Europe in 2008.

The railway network in Italy totals 16,627 kilometres (10,332 miles). It is the 17th longest in the world. High speed trains include ETR-class trains which travel at speeds of up to 300 km/h (190 mph).



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