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Italian Republic
Repubblica italiana
Anthem: Il Canto degli Italiani  
The Song of the Italians
File:Inno di Mameli instrumental.ogg
Location of  Italy  (dark green)– on the European continent  (green & dark grey)– in the European Union  (green)  —  [Legend]
Location of  Italy  (dark green)

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

and largest city
41°54′N 12°29′E / 41.9°N 12.483°E / 41.9; 12.483
Official languages Italian[1]
Demonym Italian
Government Unitary parliamentary republic
 -  President Giorgio Napolitano
 -  Prime Minister Matteo Renzi
Legislature Parliament
 -  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 
 -  Water (%) 2.4
 -  April 2011 estimate 60,681,514 [2] (23rd)
 -  2001 census 56,995,744
 -  Density 201.2/km2 (61st)
521.2/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $1.828 trillion[3] (10th)
 -  Per capita $30,165[3] (30th)
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $2.245 trillion[3] (8th)
 -  Per capita $37,046[3] (24th)
Gini (2006)32[4]
HDI (2011)Increase 0.874[5]
very high · 24th
Currency Euro ()2 (EUR)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 -  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Drives on the right
Calling code 394
Internet TLD .it3
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.[6]
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 a country in Southern Europe and a member of the European Union. Its official name is Repubblica Italiana. Italy is a democratic republic and is a founding member of the European Union.[7]

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.


Satellite image of Italy

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,[8] a chain of mountains. Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco in Italian or white mountain in English), the highest mountain in western Europe,[9] 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,[10][11] which can be reached by ship or aircraft.[11]

The Po River is the longest river in Italy. It flows through 5 cities: Torino, Piacenza, Cremona Ferrara and Rovigo.[12] 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.[13] Because it is surrounded by the sea, Italy has many kilometers of coast, which brings tourists from all over the world.[14] Tourists also come to see Italy's many historical places.[15]

Two very small countries are located within Italy. They are San Marino, which is surrounded by part of Northern Italy, and the Vatican City, which is inside Rome.

People and culture

People from Italy are called Italians. Nearly all the Italians are Christian, and most of these are Roman Catholics.[16]

The population of Italy is a little over 60 million.[17] About 2.7 million of them live in Rome,[18] and 1.3 million in Milan.[19]

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.

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

Italy is home to more World Heritage Sites than any other nation in the world.[20] 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.[21]


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.[22][23] 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.[24]


Italy religiosity
religion percent
No religion

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.[25] 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.[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 roughly 45,000 people. It is no longer the largest non-Christian group. About 825,000 Muslims live in Italy. Most of them immigrated.[30] (1.4% of the total population) Only 50,000 are Italian citizens. In addition, there are 50,000 Buddhists[31][32] 70,000 Sikh[33] and 70,000 Hindus in Italy.


Italy is divided into 20 Regions (Regioni in Italian) and every Region is divided into Provinces.

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.

In Venice, gondolas are a way for people to get around.
Region Capital Area (km²) Population
Abruzzo L'Aquila &&&&&&&&&&010794.&&&&&010,794 &&&&&&&&01324000.&&&&&01,324,000
Aosta Valley* Aosta &&&&&&&&&&&03263.&&&&&03,263 &&&&&&&&&0126000.&&&&&0126,000
Apulia Bari &&&&&&&&&&019362.&&&&&019,362 &&&&&&&&04076000.&&&&&04,076,000
Basilicata Potenza &&&&&&&&&&&09992.&&&&&09,992 &&&&&&&&&0591000.&&&&&0591,000
Calabria Catanzaro &&&&&&&&&&015080.&&&&&015,080 &&&&&&&&02007000.&&&&&02,007,000
Campania Naples &&&&&&&&&&013595.&&&&&013,595 &&&&&&&&05811000.&&&&&05,811,000
Emilia-Romagna Bologna &&&&&&&&&&022124.&&&&&022,124 &&&&&&&&04276000.&&&&&04,276,000
Friuli-Venezia Giulia* Trieste &&&&&&&&&&&07855.&&&&&07,855 &&&&&&&&01222000.&&&&&01,222,000
Lazio Rome &&&&&&&&&&017207.&&&&&017,207 &&&&&&&&05561000.&&&&&05,561,000
Liguria Genoa &&&&&&&&&&&05421.&&&&&05,421 &&&&&&&&01610000.&&&&&01,610,000
Lombardy Milan &&&&&&&&&&023861.&&&&&023,861 &&&&&&&&09642000.&&&&&09,642,000
Marche Ancona &&&&&&&&&&&09694.&&&&&09,694 &&&&&&&&01553000.&&&&&01,553,000
Molise Campobasso &&&&&&&&&&&04438.&&&&&04,438 &&&&&&&&&0320000.&&&&&0320,000
Piedmont Turin &&&&&&&&&&025399.&&&&&025,399 &&&&&&&&04401000.&&&&&04,401,000
Sardinia* Cagliari &&&&&&&&&&024090.&&&&&024,090 &&&&&&&&01666000.&&&&&01,666,000
Sicily* Palermo &&&&&&&&&&025708.&&&&&025,708 &&&&&&&&05030000.&&&&&05,030,000
Tuscany Florence &&&&&&&&&&022997.&&&&&022,997 &&&&&&&&03677000.&&&&&03,677,000
Trentino-Alto Adige* Trento &&&&&&&&&&013607.&&&&&013,607 &&&&&&&&01007000.&&&&&01,007,000
Umbria Perugia &&&&&&&&&&&08456.&&&&&08,456 &&&&&&&&&0884000.&&&&&0884,000
Veneto Venice &&&&&&&&&&018391.&&&&&018,391 &&&&&&&&04832000.&&&&&04,832,000


President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano

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.


The Colosseum in Rome is very old.

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.[11] 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.

In February 1947, Italy signed a peace treaty with the Allies losing 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), becoming one of the seven biggest industrial economies in the world.


The railway network in Italy totals 16,627 kilometres (10,331 mi), the 17th longest in the world. High speed trains include ETR-class trains which travel at 300 km/h (190 mph).

Related pages


  1. "Ethnologue report". Retrieved 30 October 2010.
  2. "Monthly demographic balance: January 2011" (in Italian). Istat. 10 September 2011. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Italy". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  4. "Distribution of family income – Gini index". CIA – The World Factbook. Retrieved 9 July 2010.
  5. "Human Development Report 2011". United Nations. 2011. Retrieved 5 November 2011.
  6. "Comune di Campione d'Italia". 14 July 2010. Retrieved 30 October 2010.
  7. "European Countries". European Union. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
  8. "Alps are the border between Italy and other countries".
  9. "Four missing in Alps avalanche". BBC News. 20 April 2002. Retrieved 23 July 2009.
  10. "Biggest Islands in the World".
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 "Italy: Encarta". MSN. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
  12. Zwingle, Eria. "National Geographic". National Geographic. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  13. Watson, Philip (19 March 2005). "The lake show". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 July 2009.
  14. "Tourism damaging Med's wetlands". BBC News. 15 July 2004. Retrieved 23 July 2009.
  15. "Alarm sounded over Italy's treasures". BBC News. 20 November 2002. Retrieved 23 July 2009.
  16. "Italy". Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
  17. "Flag Counter: Italy". Retrieved 2009-07-11.
  18. "Rome's Population".
  19. "Milan's Population".
  20. "List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites". UNESCO. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
  21. "Countries by wine Production".
  25. (Italian) "Italy: 88% of Italians declare themselves Catholic". Corriere della Sera. 2006-01-18. Retrieved 2009-05-10.
  26. The Holy Orthodox Archdiocese of Italy and Malta
  27. (Italian) Center for Studies on New Religions
  28. (Italian) Waldensian Evangelical Church
  29. World Council of Churches
  30. UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  31. (Italian) Italian Buddhist Union
  32. (Italian) Italian Buddhist Institute "Soka Gakkai"
  33. Etnomedia

Other websites