Italy, or officially the Italian Republic, is a Mediterranean country in south-central Europe. It occupies the whole of the Italian peninsula, as well as the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Together, Italy covers an area of 301,338 sq km (116,347 sq mi), making it a big smaller than Germany.
The boot-shaped Italian peninsula is bounded by the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west, the Ionian Sea to the south and the Adriatic Sea to the east. It shares bordes with France, Austria and Slovenia. The Republic_of_San_Marino and Vatican_City are independent enclaves completely surrounded by Italy.
Italy has a population of 60.4 million people. This makes it the sixth most populous country in Europe. Its capital, Rome, is a city with a metropolitan population of 3.7 million people. It is an ancient city with a history of some 2,700 years, and has served as the capital of the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire.
For much of its history, Italy comprised many small kingdoms and city-states which came into being after the collapse of the Roman Empire. The country was only unified in 1861. It went on to create a colonial empire between the late 19th century to the Second World War, with former colonies being Libya, Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia, Albania, Rhodes, the Dodecanese and a foreign concession in Tianjin, China.
Today Italy ranks as the 18th most developed country in the world, enjoying a high standard of living and high nominal GDP per capita. It is a founding member of the European Union and is part of the Eurozone. Italy is also a member of the G8, the G20 and NATO. The country is well-known for producing high-quality luxury cars, delicious food and trendy fashion.
Italy is composed of 20 regions which is subdivided to 110 provinces and 8,100 municipalities. The population distribution is not even, with Northern Italy being more densely populated – it comprises one third the land area but hold half the total population. As with many developed nations, Italy experiences urban migration. Growth rate was high until the 1970’s, when it began to drop reaching below replacement rates today. The overall population continued to grow due to massive immigration in the last two decades.
55 million citizens of Italy speak Italian as their first language. Italian is also understood by between 120 to 150 million people worldwide as a second or cultural language. 87.8% of the people of Italy identify themselves as Roman Catholic, although only one-third of these are active church goers.
The shape of Italy determines its climate. Although generally described as Mediterranean, the climate of Italy varies according to location. The Mediterranean stereotype fits only the coastal area, such as the section of the peninsula south of Florence. The Apennine Mountains form the backbone of the Italian peninsula, while the Alps form the northern boundary of the country with its neighbors. The tallest mountain in Italy is Mount Blanc (4,810 m /15,782 ft), which sits on the border with France.
Administrative Divisions of Italy
Preparing Money for Italy
The currency used in Italy is the Euro (EUR). The following are the latest rates for Euro in the last 24-hours.
Planning your visit to Italy
Italy is a beautiful country with lots of picturesque sights. It is also culturally rich, with the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites of any country in the world. Due to the comparatively late unification of the country, in only 1861, each region has evolved its own traditions and customs that are distinct.
Visitors to Italy enter through any of its international airports in Rome, Milan, Bologna, Naples, Pisa, and Venice, among others. Both Rome and Milan are served by two international airports. There are many cheap flights operated by budget airlines to Italy, and fierce competition has made airfare quite attractive.
Alternatively, you can also take the train to Italy from most of the neighboring countries including France, Croatia, Austria, Switzerland and Germany.
Italy has an excellent network of highways and expressways. This is especially so in the northern part of the country while the quality in the south is less good. The expressways, called autostrade, are toll roads. The majority have entrance and exit toll plazas, where you collect your ticket in one and pay as you exit.
You can also explore Italy by train. The Italian train system has different types depending on the class. The more expensive options are the TBiz and Eurostar Italia trains. There is no consistent speed difference between the different types of trains, though generally the pricier ones are usually faster.
Choose from a large selection of Venice_self-catering_apartments. All the accommodation is available in most areas of Venice with a variety of prices. They do not vary on the quality and comfort they provide, which is of a high-standard.
Towns & Cities of Italy
1. Rome – capital
Regions of Italy
Main Islands of Italy