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Wednesday May 12th, 2021  /
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Italycountry of south-central Europe, occupying a peninsula that juts deep into the Mediterranean SeaItaly comprises some of the most varied and scenic landscapes on Earth and is often described as a country shaped like a boot. At its broad top stand the Alps, which are among the world’s most rugged mountains. Italy’s highest points are along Monte Rosa, which peaks in Switzerland, and along Mont Blanc, which peaks in France. The western Alps overlook a landscape of Alpine lakes and glacier-carved valleys that stretch down to the Po River and the PiedmontTuscany, to the south of the cisalpine region, is perhaps the country’s best-known region. From the central Alps, running down the length of the country, radiates the tall Apennine Range, which widens near Rome to cover nearly the entire width of the Italian peninsula. South of Rome the Apennines narrow and are flanked by two wide coastal plains, one facing the Tyrrhenian Sea and the other the Adriatic Sea. Much of the lower Apennine chain is near-wilderness, hosting a wide range of species rarely seen elsewhere in western Europe, such as wild boars, wolves, asps, and bears. The southern Apennines are also tectonically unstable, with several active volcanoes, including Vesuvius, which from time to time belches ash and steam into the air above Naples and its island-strewn bay. At the bottom of the country, in the Mediterranean Sea, lie the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.

Italy in brief

Destination Italy, a Nations Online country profile of “Bella Italia” – beautiful Italy, how many Italians love to call their country.

Italy is located in southern Europe on the Apennine Peninsula. Its distinct shape, resembling a kicking boot, makes it easy to recognize it on maps or even from space.

The Adriatic Sea borders the peninsula in the east, the Sea of Sicily in the south, the Ionian Sea in the southeast, the Ligurian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea in the west; all those seas are parts of the Mediterranean Sea.

Italy has international borders with AustriaFrance, the Holy See (Vatican City), San MarinoSlovenia, and Switzerland. It also shares maritime borders with AlbaniaAlgeriaCroatiaGreeceLibyaMaltaMontenegroSpain, and Tunisia.

Two of the largest Mediterranean islands belong to Italy, Sardinia in the west and Sicily in the south.
The country covers an area of 301,318 km² (116,340 sq. mi.), compared, it is about 80% the size of Japan or slightly larger than the U.S. state of Arizona.

Italy has a population of more than 59.6 million people (in 2020), the capital and largest city is Rome (Italian: Roma). Other major cities are FlorenceMilanNaples, and Venice. Spoken language is (only) Italian.

What is Italy famous for?

Stromboli volcano, the lava flow after sunset
Stromboli volcano, the lava flow after sunset.
Image: Unukorno

The country is known for its more than 3,000 years of history, in 753 BC. Rome was founded. Italy was a center of ancient Greco-Roman culture, and in the 15th-century, they invented the Renaissance. Caesar, Galileo and Columbus were Italians. Italy was a center of ancient Greco-Roman culture and in the 15th-century they invented the Renaissance.

Caesar, Galileo and Columbus were Italians.

The world’s first bank was in Genoa, Italy; the first casino was in the Palazzo Dandolo in Venice. The first public opera house opened in Venice in 1637.

The Italians invented other useful things such as the programmable calculator (Olivetti), the barometer, the battery and confetti, the cello, Italic typeface and Eau de Cologne. Eyeglasses originated in Italy and are now produced there by the millions (Luxottica).

Italy is famous for its food, like pizza, pasta, prosciutto, Parmesan cheese, salami, wine and ice cream (gelato).
There are several types of Italian coffee (espresso etc.) Venice, then a commercial metropolis, was one of the first European ports to import coffee beans in the 16th century.

Italian brand - Alfa Romeo 4C
Famous Italian brand – Alfa Romeo 4C.
Image: FCA

The country is also famous for fast and expensive sports cars, Maserati, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Alfa Romeo.

Italien art, important artists of Italy were Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Titian, Raffaello, Botticelli, Bernini and Modigliani.

The antique architecture of the Romans, Italian Renaissance gardens, the Italian cities of Florence, Rome, Venice, Naples, and

Italian landscapes like the Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre, Sicily, the Dolomites, Sardinia, Tuscany, the Riviera, and the Adriatic Sea coast.

Volcanic Activity, Mt. Vesuvius, Mt. Stromboli, Etna, the Solfatara (Campi Flegrei) and Pompeii.

Italian style, Vespas, shoes, fashion, film, football, the Mafia, mare e “Dolce Vita,” a life of exuberant pleasure and luxury.

Italy’s political geography has been conditioned by this rugged landscape. With few direct roads between them, and with passage from one point to another traditionally difficult, Italy’s towns and cities have a history of self-sufficiency, independence, and mutual mistrust. Visitors today remark on how unlike one town is from the next, on the marked differences in cuisine and dialect, and on the many subtle divergences that make Italy seem less a single nation than a collection of culturally related points in an uncommonly pleasing setting.

Across a span of more than 3,000 years, Italian history has been marked by episodes of temporary unification and long separation, of intercommunal strife and failed empires. At peace for more than half a century now, Italy’s inhabitants enjoy a high standard of living and a highly developed culture.

Though its archaeological record stretches back tens of thousands of years, Italian history begins with the Etruscans, an ancient civilization that rose between the Arno and Tiber rivers. The Etruscans were supplanted in the 3rd century BCE by the Romans, who soon became the chief power in the Mediterranean world and whose empire stretched from India to Scotland by the 2nd century CE. That empire was rarely secure, not only because of the unwillingness of conquered peoples to stay conquered but also because of power struggles between competing Roman political factions, military leaders, families, ethnic groups, and religions. The Roman Empire fell in the 5th century CE after a succession of barbarian invasions through which Huns, Lombards, Ostrogoths, and Franks—mostly previous subjects of Rome—seized portions of Italy. Rule devolved to the level of the city-state, although the Normans succeeded in establishing a modest empire in southern Italy and Sicily in the 11th century. Many of those city-states flourished during the Renaissance era, a time marked by significant intellectual, artistic, and technological advances but also by savage warfare between states loyal to the pope and those loyal to the Holy Roman Empire.

Italian unification came in the 19th century, when a liberal revolution installed Victor Emmanuel II as king. In World War I, Italy fought on the side of the Allies, but, under the rule of the fascist leader Benito Mussolini, it waged war against the Allied powers in World War II. From the end of World War II to the early 1990s, Italy had a multiparty system dominated by two large parties: the Christian Democratic Party (Partito della Democrazia Cristiana; DC) and the Italian Communist Party (Partito Comunista Italiano; PCI). In the early 1990s the Italian party system underwent a radical transformation, and the political centre collapsed, leaving a right-left polarization of the party spectrum that threw the north-south divide into sharper contrast and gave rise to such political leaders as media magnate Silvio Berlusconi.

The whole country is relatively prosperous, certainly as compared with the early years of the 20th century, when the economy was predominantly agricultural. Much of that prosperity has to do with tourism, for in good years nearly as many visitors as citizens can be found in the country. Italy is part of the European Union and the Council of Europe, and, with its strategic geographic position on the southern flank of Europe, it has played a fairly important role in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).


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