Italy

Italian Republic

Repubblica Italiana  (Italian)
Anthem: Il Canto degli Italiani  (Italian)
"The Song of the Italians"
EU-Italy (orthographic projection).svg
EU-Italy.svg
Location of Italy (dark green)

– in Europe (light green & dark grey)
– in the European Union (light green)  –  [Legend]

Location of Italy
Capital
and largest city
Rome
41°54′N 12°29′E / 41°54′N 12°29′E / 41.900; 12.483
Official languagesItaliana
Native languagessee full list
Ethnic groups
(2017)[1]
Religion
(2018)[2]
Demonym(s)Italian
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary republic
• President
Sergio Mattarella
Giuseppe Conte
Elisabetta Casellati
Roberto Fico
LegislatureParliament
Senate of the Republic
Chamber of Deputies
Formation
17 March 1861
• Republic
2 June 1946
1 January 1948
• Founded the EEC (now EU)
1 January 1958
Area
• Total
301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) (71st)
• Water (%)
2.4
Population
• 2018 estimate
Increase 60,359,546[3] (23rd)
• 2011 census
Increase 59,433,744[4]
• Density
201.3/km2 (521.4/sq mi) (63rd)
GDP (PPP)2019 estimate
• Total
Increase $2.443 trillion[5] (12th)
• Per capita
Increase $40,470[5] (33rd)
GDP (nominal)2019 estimate
• Total
Decrease $1.989 trillion[5] (8th)
• Per capita
Decrease $32,947[5] (25th)
Gini (2018)Positive decrease 33.4[6]
medium
HDI (2018)Increase 0.883[7]
very high · 29th
CurrencyEuro ()b (EUR)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
• Summer (DST)
UTC+2 (CEST)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy
yyyy-mm-dd (AD)[8]
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; Sardinian is co-official in Sardinia.[9]
  2. Before 2002, the Italian lira. The euro is accepted in Campione d'Italia but its official currency is the Swiss franc.[10]
  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 (Italian: Italia [iˈtaːlja] (About this soundlisten)), officially the Italian Republic (Italian: Repubblica Italiana [reˈpubblika itaˈljaːna]),[11][12][13][14] is a European country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps and surrounded by several islands. Italy is located in south-central Europe,[15][16] and it is also considered a part of Western Europe.[17][18] The country covers a total area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and shares land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, and the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. Italy has a territorial exclave in Switzerland (Campione) and a maritime exclave in the Tunisian Sea (Lampedusa). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the third-most populous member state of the European Union. The capital and largest city is Rome; other major cities are Milan, Naples, Turin, Palermo, Genoa, Bologna, Florence and Venice.

Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has historically been home to myriad peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout what is now modern-day Italy, the most predominant being the Indo-European Italic peoples who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era, Phoenicians and Carthaginians founded colonies mostly in insular Italy,[19] Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia of Southern Italy, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively. An Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which eventually became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People. The Roman Republic initially conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the Italian peninsula, eventually expanding and conquering parts of Europe, North Africa and Asia. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became a leading cultural, political and religious centre, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's law, technology, economy, art, and literature developed.[20][21] Italy remained the homeland of the Romans and the metropole of the empire, whose legacy can also be observed in the global distribution of culture, governments, Christianity and the Latin script.

During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured sociopolitical collapse and barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival city-states and maritime republics, mainly in the northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity through trade, commerce and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism.[22] These mostly independent statelets served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East, often enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe; however, part of central Italy was under the control of the theocratic Papal States, while Southern Italy remained largely feudal until the 19th century, partially as a result of a succession of Byzantine, Arab, Norman, Angevin, Aragonese and other foreign conquests of the region.[23] The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science, exploration and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars, artists and polymaths. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Nevertheless, Italy's commercial and political power significantly waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean.[24] Centuries of rivalry and infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left Italy fragmented and susceptible to foreign domination, and it was subsequently conquered, exploited, and further divided by European powers such as France, Spain and Austria.

By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was almost entirely unified in 1861, establishing the Kingdom of Italy as a great power.[25] From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy rapidly industrialised, namely in the north, and acquired a colonial empire,[26] while the south remained largely impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora.[27] Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and the Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, established a democratic Republic and enjoyed a prolonged economic boom, becoming a highly developed country.[28]

Today, Italy is considered to be one of the world's most culturally and economically advanced countries,[28][29][30] with the world's eighth-largest economy by nominal GDP (third in the Eurozone), sixth-largest national wealth and third-largest central bank gold reserve. It ranks very highly in life expectancy, quality of life,[31] healthcare,[32] and education. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military, cultural and diplomatic affairs; it is both a regional power[33][34] and a great power,[35][36] and is ranked the world's eighth most-powerful military. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area and many more. The country has long been a global centre of art, music, literature, philosophy, science and technology, and fashion, and has greatly influenced and contributed to diverse fields including cinema, cuisine, sports, jurisprudence, banking and business.[37] As a reflection of its cultural wealth, Italy is home to the world's largest number of World Heritage Sites (55), and is the fifth-most visited country.

Name

Hypotheses for the etymology of the name "Italia" are numerous.[38] One is that it was borrowed via Greek from the Oscan Víteliú 'land of calves' (cf. Lat vitulus "calf", Umb vitlo "calf").[39] Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus states this account together with the legend that Italy was named after Italus,[40] mentioned also by Aristotle[41] and Thucydides.[42]

According to Antiochus of Syracuse, the term Italy was used by the Greeks to initially refer only to the southern portion of the Bruttium peninsula corresponding to the modern province of Reggio and part of the provinces of Catanzaro and Vibo Valentia in southern Italy. Nevertheless, by his time the larger concept of Oenotria and "Italy" had become synonymous and the name also applied to most of Lucania as well. According to Strabo's Geographica, before the expansion of the Roman Republic, the name was used by Greeks to indicate the land between the strait of Messina and the line connecting the gulf of Salerno and gulf of Taranto, corresponding roughly to the current region of Calabria. The Greeks gradually came to apply the name "Italia" to a larger region[43] In addition to the "Greek Italy" in the south, historians have suggested the existence of an "Etruscan Italy" covering variable areas of central Italy.[44]

The borders of Roman Italy, Italia, are better established. Cato's Origines, the first work of history composed in Latin, described Italy as the entire peninsula south of the Alps.[45] According to Cato and several Roman authors, the Alps formed the "walls of Italy".[46] In 264 BC, Roman Italy extended from the Arno and Rubicon rivers of the centre-north to the entire south. The northern area of Cisalpine Gaul was occupied by Rome in the 220s BC and became considered geographically and de facto part of Italy,[47] but remained politically and de jure separated. It was legally merged into the administrative unit of Italy in 42 BC by the triumvir Octavian as a ratification of Caesar's unpublished acts (Acta Caesaris).[48][49][50][51][52] The islands of Sardinia, Corsica, Sicily and Malta were added to Italy by Diocletian in 292 AD.[53]