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Italy (Italian: Italia), officially the Italian Republic (Italian: Repubblica italiana), is a unitary parliamentary republic in Southern Europe. To the north, it borders France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia along the Alps. To the south, it consists of the entirety of the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Sardinia–the two largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea–and many other smaller islands. The independent states of San Marino and the Vatican City are enclaves within Italy, while Campione d'Italia is an Italian exclave in Switzerland. The territory of Italy covers some 301,338 square kilometers (116,347 square miles) and is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. With 59,704,082 inhabitants, it is the fifth most populous country in Europe, and the 23rd most populous in the world.

Italy's capital and largest city, Rome, has for centuries been one of the leading political and religious centers of Western civilization, first as the capital of the Roman Empire and later as the site of the Holy See. After the decline of the Roman Empire, Italy endured numerous invasions by foreign peoples, from Germanic tribes such as the Lombards and Ostrogoths, to the Byzantines and the Normans, among others. Centuries later, Italy became the birthplace of the Maritime republics and the Renaissance. Through much of its post-Roman history, Italy was fragmented into numerous municipal and regional states (such as the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Republic of Venice and the Papal States), but was unified in 1861. From the late 19th century, up until the end of World War II, Italy possessed a colonial empire.

Modern Italy is a parliamentary republic. It has been ranked as the world's 25th most-developed country and its Quality-of-life Index was ranked in the world's top ten in 2005. Italy enjoys a very high standard of living partially because of a high GDP per capita and has a high public education level. Italy is also one of the world's most globalized nations. It is a founding member of what is now the European Union and part of the Eurozone. Italy is also a member of the G7, G8, G20 and NATO, adheres to the UN. It has the world's third-largest gold reserves, ninth-largest nominal GDP, tenth highest GDP (PPP) and the sixth highest government budget in the world. It is also a member state of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, the Council of Europe and the United Nations.

Italy currently maintains the world's tenth-largest nominal defense budget and is a participant in the NATO nuclear sharing policy. With Italy's political, military, social and economic influence in Europe, it is considered a main middle power and referred to as a regional power

Basic Information[edit | edit source]

  • Official Name: Italian Republic
  • Type of Government: Unitary Parliamentary Constitutional Republic
  • Head of Government: Prime Minister Enrico Letta
  • Head of State: President Giorgio Napolitano
  • President of the Senate: Pietro Grasso
  • President of the Chamber of Deputies: Laura Boldrini
  • Capitol City: Rome
  • Demonym: Italian
  • Official Language: Italian
  • Population: 59,704,082
  • Population Density: 513.16 people/square mile (198.13 people/square kilometer)
  • Currency: Euro
  • Gross Domestic Product: $2.529 trillion USD
  • GDP per capita: $42,360 USD
  • Land Area: 116,347 square miles (301,338 square kilometers)