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|Anthem: Il Canto degli Italiani
The Song of the Italians
File:Inno di Mameli instrumental.ogg
and largest city
|Government||Unitary parliamentary republic|
|-||Prime Minister||Matteo Renzi|
|-||Upper house||Senate of the Republic|
|-||Lower house||Chamber of Deputies|
|-||Unification||17 March 1861|
|-||Republic||2 June 1946|
|-||Total||301,338 km2 (71st)
116,346 sq mi
|-||April 2011 estimate||60,681,514  (23rd)|
|GDP (PPP)||2011 estimate|
|-||Total||$1.828 trillion (10th)|
|-||Per capita||$30,165 (30th)|
|GDP (nominal)||2011 estimate|
|-||Total||$2.245 trillion (8th)|
|-||Per capita||$37,046 (24th)|
|HDI (2011)|| 0.874
very high · 24th
|Currency||Euro (€)2 (
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|-||Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Drives on the||right|
|1.||French is co-official in the Aosta Valley; Slovene is co-official in the province of Trieste and the province of Gorizia; German and Ladin are co-official in the province of South Tyrol.|
|2.||Before 2002, the Italian Lira. The euro is accepted in Campione d'Italia, but the official currency there is the Swiss Franc.|
|3.||The .eu domain is also used, as it is shared with other European Union member states.|
|4.||To call Campione d'Italia, it is necessary to use the Swiss code +41.|
Italy is also a member of the G8, as it has the 8th largest Gross Domestic Product in the world. Its President is Giorgio Napolitano and its Prime Minister is Matteo Renzi. Before 1861, it was made up of smaller kingdoms and city-states.
Italy is a peninsula, meaning it is surrounded by the sea on all of its sides apart from one side of the country (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, belongs to this chain. The second important chain of mountains in Italy is the Apennines (Appennini in Italian), which are in central and southern Italy.
The capital of Italy is Rome. Other cities in Italy are Milan, Turin, Florence, Naples, and Venice. The country has a number of islands, the biggest of which are Sicily and Sardinia, which can be reached by ship or aircraft.
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 many historical places.
People and culture
The official language of Italy is Italian and in some small areas German, Slovenian or French. People also speak languages such as Sicilian and Sardinian, which are very similar to Italian, but are different dialects of Italian.
There are many different dialects spoken in Italy. They vary between regions and, in some cases, also between provinces.
Italy is home to more World Heritage Sites than any other nation 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.
Italy has a modern social welfare system. The labor market enjoys relative strength, with many foreigners, especially from Romania, working in Italy where the wages are much higher. But it 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 and now the country has a catastrophic high debt of €1.9trn or 120 percent of the country's total GDP. And the government can't pay back the loans during the time period the EU wish.
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. 5 of them have a special status, they are called autonomous. This means that they can make certain local laws more easily. These regions are marked with an asterisk (*) below.
The Head of State is Giorgio Napolitano, whose task began in May 2006 and, for the first time since Italy became a republic, started a second term in May 2013 (the President of the Republic remains for 7 years). Napolitano is the eleventh President of the Italian Republic and he was preceded by Carlo Azeglio Ciampi. The first president was Enrico De Nicola.
The Head of Government is Matteo Renzi, who became Prime Minister on February 22, 2014, succeeding Enrico Letta. Renzi is also the Mayor of Florence and Italy's youngest-ever Prime Minister, at age 39 when taking office.
Italy was one of the first members of the European Union and 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 was made of a group of independent states, ruled by other countries (such as Austria, France, and Spain). In the 1850s the Earl 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. Vittorio Emanuele II was made the King. But, 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, and 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 year, Italy finally came back together.
Italy participated in World War I as 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, and Italy gained the Trentino-South Tyrol, which once was owned by Austria.
In 1922, a new Italian government started, and it was ruled by Benito Mussolini, the leader of Fascism in Italy. He became Head of Government and dictator, calling himself "duce" - which means "leader" in Italian. He became friends with German dictator Hitler, and Mussolini followed him into World War II. Italy entered the war in 1940 as an ally of Germany and Japan against France, Great Britain, and Russia. During the war, Italy controlled most of the Mediterranean Sea.
On July 25, 1943, Mussolini was removed by the Great Council of Fascism, and, 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 who to shoot. In Northern Italy, a movement called Resistenza started to fight against the German invaders.
Mussolini tried to make another 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, and, 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), becoming one of the seven biggest industrial economies in the world.
- Italy at the Olympics
- Italy national football team
- Italian cuisine
- Italian Mare Nostrum
- List of rivers of Italy
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- "List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites". UNESCO. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
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- (Italian) "Italy: 88% of Italians declare themselves Catholic". Corriere della Sera. 2006-01-18. http://www.corriere.it/Primo_Piano/Cronache/2006/01_Gennaio/17/cattolici.shtml. Retrieved 2009-05-10.
- The Holy Orthodox Archdiocese of Italy and Malta
- (Italian) Center for Studies on New Religions
- (Italian) Waldensian Evangelical Church
- World Council of Churches
- UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office
- (Italian) Italian Buddhist Union
- (Italian) Italian Buddhist Institute "Soka Gakkai"