Coordinates: 43°N 12°E / 43°N 12°E / 43; 12
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Italian Republic
Repubblica Italiana (Italian)
Anthem: "Il Canto degli Italiani"
"The Song of the Italians"
Location of Italy (dark green)

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

and largest city
41°54′N 12°29′E / 41.900°N 12.483°E / 41.900; 12.483
Official languagesItaliana
  • 8.7% other
  • Native languagesSee main article
    GovernmentUnitary parliamentary republic
    • President
    Sergio Mattarella
    Giorgia Meloni
    Ignazio La Russa
    Lorenzo Fontana
    Senate of the Republic
    Chamber of Deputies
    17 March 1861
    • Republic
    2 June 1946
    1 January 1948
    • Founded the EEC (now EU)
    1 January 1958
    • Total
    301,340[3] km2 (116,350 sq mi) (71st)
    • Water (%)
    1.24 (2015)[4]
    • 2022 estimate
    Neutral decrease 58,853,482[5] (25th)
    • Density
    201.3/km2 (521.4/sq mi) (71st)
    GDP (PPP)2023 estimate
    • Total
    Increase $3.195 trillion[6] (12th)
    • Per capita
    Increase $54,216[6] (32nd)
    GDP (nominal)2023 estimate
    • Total
    Increase $2.169 trillion[6] (8th)
    • Per capita
    Increase $36,812[6] (26th)
    Gini (2020)Positive decrease 32.5[7]
    HDI (2021)Increase 0.895[8]
    very high · 30th
    CurrencyEuro ()b (EUR)
    Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
    • Summer (DST)
    UTC+2 (CEST)
    Date formatdd/mm/yyyy
    yyyy-mm-dd (AD)[9]
    Driving sideright
    Calling code+39c
    ISO 3166 codeIT
    Internet TLD.itd
    1. German is co-official in South Tyrol and Friuli Venezia Giulia; French is co-official in the Aosta Valley; Slovene is co-official in the province of Trieste, the province of Gorizia, and Friuli Venezia Giulia; Ladin is co-official in South Tyrol, in Trentino and in other northern areas; Friulian is co-official in Friuli Venezia Giulia; Sardinian is co-official in Sardinia.[10][11]
    2. Before 2002, the Italian lira. The euro is accepted in Campione d'Italia but its official currency is the Swiss franc.[12]
    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] ), officially the Italian Republic[a][13][14] or the Republic of Italy,[15][16] is a country in Southern[17][18][19] and Western[20][note 1] Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, it consists of a peninsula delimited by the Alps and surrounded by several islands.[21] Italy shares

    land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. It has a territorial exclave in Switzerland (Campione) and an archipelago in the African Plate (Pelagie Islands). Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi),[3] with a population of about 60 million;[22] it is the tenth-largest country by land area in the European continent and the third-most populous member state of the European Union. Its capital and largest city is Rome

    The Italian peninsula was historically the native place of

    ancient Roman state arose in Latium, and expanded throughout the peninsula and the territories around the Mediterranean basin through a process of Romanization.[24] By the first century BC, the Roman Empire expanded its territory across Europe, North Africa and the Near East, establishing the Pax Romana.[25] During the Early Middle Ages, the Western Roman Empire fell, Christian Church arose and Italy experienced inward migration from surrounding tribes. By the 11th century, Italian city-states and maritime republics expanded, bringing renewed prosperity through commerce and laying the groundwork for modern capitalism.[26][27] The Italian Renaissance flourished in Florence during the 15th and 16th centuries and spread to the rest of Europe. Italian explorers also discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. However, centuries of rivalry and infighting between the Italian city-states among other factors left the peninsula divided into numerous states until the late modern period.[28][29] Italy's commercial and political power significantly waned during the 17th and 18th centuries with the decline of the Catholic Church and the increasing importance of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean.[30]

    After centuries of political and territorial divisions,

    Italy has the

    leading member of the European Union, and it is in numerous international institutions including the NATO, the G7, the Uniting for Consensus and many more. The source of many inventions and discoveries, the country is considered a cultural superpower and has long been a global centre of art, music, literature, science and technology and fashion.[39] It has the world's largest number of World Heritage Sites (58), and is the world's fifth-most
    visited country.


    Expansion of the territory called Italy from ancient Greece until Diocletian
    Silver coin minted in Corfinium during the Social War (91–87 BC), displaying the inscription ITALIA on the verge of the personification of Italy, represented as a goddess with laurel wreath

    Hypotheses for the etymology of the name "Italia" are numerous.[40] One is that it was borrowed via Ancient Greek from the Oscan Víteliú 'land of calves' (cf. Lat vitulus "calf", Umb vitlo "calf").[41] Ancient Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus states this account together with the legend that Italy was named after Italus,[42] mentioned also by Aristotle[43] and Thucydides.[44]

    According to

    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 ancient 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 ancient Greeks gradually came to apply the name "Italia" to a larger region[45] In addition to the "Greek Italy" in the south, historians have suggested the existence of an "Etruscan Italy" covering variable areas of central Italy.[46]

    The borders of

    Italian geographical region.[56] All its inhabitants were considered Italic and Roman.[57]

    The Latin term Italicus was used to describe "a man of Italy" as opposed to a provincial. For example, Pliny the Elder notably wrote in a letter Italicus es an provincialis? meaning "are you an Italian or a provincial?".[58] The adjective italianus, from which are derived the Italian (and also French and English) name of the

    medieval and was used alternatively with Italicus during the early modern period.[59]

    After the

    Kingdom of Italy was created. After the Lombard invasions, "Italia" was retained as the name for their kingdom, and for its successor kingdom within the Holy Roman Empire, which nominally lasted until 1806, although it had de facto disintegrated due to factional politics pitting the empire against the ascendant city republics in the 13th century.[60]


    Prehistory and antiquity

    The Sassi cave houses of Matera are believed to be among the first human settlements in Italy dating back to the Paleolithic.[61]
    Etruscan fresco in the Monterozzi necropolis, 5th century BC

    Thousands of Lower Paleolithic artefacts have been recovered from Monte Poggiolo, dating as far back as 850,000 years.[62] Excavations throughout Italy revealed a

    Ceprano, and Gravina in Puglia.[65]


    Ötzi the Iceman, determined to be 5,000 years old (between 3400 and 3100 BCE, Copper Age), was discovered in the Similaun glacier of South Tyrol in 1991.[67]

    The first foreign colonisers were the Phoenicians, who initially established colonies and founded various emporiums on the coasts of Sicily and Sardinia. Some of these soon became small urban centres and were developed parallel to the ancient Greek colonies; among the main centres there were the cities of Motya, Zyz (modern Palermo), Soluntum in Sicily, and Nora, Sulci, and Tharros in Sardinia.[68]

    Between the 17th and the 11th centuries BC

    Greek colonies were established all along the coast of Sicily and the southern part of the Italian Peninsula, that became known as Magna Graecia.[72]

    Greek colonization placed the Italic peoples in contact with democratic forms of government and with high artistic and cultural expressions.[73]

    Ancient Rome

    The Colosseum in Rome, built c. 70–80 AD, is considered one of the greatest works of architecture and engineering of ancient history.
      The Roman Empire at its greatest extent, 117 AD

    Tarquinius Superbus. In 509 BC, the Romans expelled the last king from their city, favouring a government of the Senate and the People (SPQR) and establishing an oligarchic republic

    The Italian Peninsula, named Italia, was consolidated into a single entity during the Roman

    Mediterranean basin, in which Greek and Roman and many other cultures merged into a unique civilisation. The long and triumphant reign of the first emperor, Augustus, began a golden age of peace and prosperity. Roman Italy remained the metropole of the empire, and as the homeland of the Romans and the territory of the capital, maintained a special status which made it Domina Provinciarum ("ruler of the provinces", the latter being all the remaining territories outside Italy).[74][75][76] More than two centuries of stability followed, during which Italy was referred to as the Rectrix Mundi ("governor of the world") and Omnium Terrarum Parens ("parent of all lands").[77]

    The Roman Empire was among the most powerful economic, cultural, political and military forces in the world of its time, and it was one of the

    calendar, and the emergence of Christianity as a major world religion.[80]

    Middle Ages

    The Lombard Kingdom (blue) at its greatest extent, under King Aistulf (749–756). Territories controlled by the Byzantine Empire are marked in orange.

    After the

    Guelphs) for momentary convenience.[84]

    Marco Polo, explorer of the 13th century, recorded his 24 years-long travels in the Book of the Marvels of the World, introducing Europeans to Central Asia and China.[85]

    The Germanic Emperor and the Roman Pontiff became the

    investiture controversy and the clash between Guelphs and Ghibellines led to the end of the Imperial-feudal system in the north of Italy where city-states gained independence.[86] The investiture controversy was finally resolved by the Concordat of Worms. In 1176 a league of city-states, the Lombard League, defeated the German emperor Frederick Barbarossa at the Battle of Legnano
    , thus ensuring effective independence for most of northern and central Italian cities.

    Italian city-states such as Milan, Florence and Venice played a crucial innovative role in financial development, devising the main instruments and practices of banking and the emergence of new forms of social and economic organization.

    Amalfi; the others were Ancona, Gaeta, Noli, and Ragusa.[89][90][91] Each of the maritime republics had dominion over different overseas lands, including many Mediterranean islands (especially Sardinia and Corsica), lands on the Adriatic, Aegean, and Black Sea (Crimea), and commercial colonies in the Near East and in North Africa. Venice maintained enormous tracts of land in Greece, Cyprus, Istria, and Dalmatia until as late as the mid-17th century.[92]

    Amalfi, the most prominent maritime republics
    Right: trade routes and colonies of the Genoese (red) and Venetian
    (green) empires

    Venice and Genoa were Europe's main gateways to trade with the East, and producers of fine glass, while

    Dante and Giotto were active around 1300.[26]

    In the south, Sicily had become an

    House of Hohenstaufen, then under the Capetian House of Anjou and, from the 15th century, the House of Aragon. In Sardinia, the former Byzantine provinces became independent states known in Italian as Judicates, although some parts of the island fell under Genoese or Pisan rule until eventual Aragonese annexation in the 15th century. The Black Death pandemic of 1348 left its mark on Italy by killing perhaps one third of the population.[94][95]

    Early Modern

    The Italian states before the beginning of the Italian Wars in 1494

    Italy was the birthplace and heart of the


    Renaissance man, in a self-portrait (ca. 1512, Royal Library, Turin

    Following the conclusion of the

    Cosimo the old de Medici. In 1453, Italian forces under Giovanni Giustiniani were sent by Pope Nicholas V to defend the Walls of Constantinople but the decisive battle was lost to the more advanced Turkish army equipped with cannons, and Byzantium fell to Sultan Mehmed II

    The fall of Constantinople led to the migration of

    Renaissance Humanism, in which he stressed the importance of free will in human beings. The humanist historian Leonardo Bruni was the first to divide human history in three periods: Antiquity, Middle Ages and Modernity.[101] The second consequence of the Fall of Constantinople was the beginning of the Age of Discovery

    Christopher Columbus leads a Spanish expedition to the New World, 1492. His voyages are celebrated as the discovery of the Americas from a European perspective, and they opened a new era in the history of humankind and sustained contact between the two worlds.

    Italian[note 2] explorers and navigators from the dominant maritime republics, eager to find an alternative route to the Indies in order to bypass the Ottoman Empire, offered their services to monarchs of Atlantic countries and played a key role in ushering the Age of Discovery and the European colonization of the Americas. The most notable among them were: Christopher Columbus (Italian: Cristoforo Colombo), colonizer in the name of Spain, who is credited with discovering the New World and the opening of the Americas for conquest and settlement by Europeans;[102] John Cabot (Italian: Giovanni Caboto), sailing for England, who was the first European to set foot in "New Found Land" and explore parts of the North American continent in 1497;[103] Amerigo Vespucci, sailing for Portugal, who first demonstrated in about 1501 that the New World (in particular Brazil) was not Asia as initially conjectured, but a fourth continent previously unknown to people of the Old World (America is named after him);[104] and Giovanni da Verrazzano, at the service of France, renowned as the first European to explore the Atlantic coast of North America between Florida and New Brunswick in 1524.[105]

    Following the fall of Constantinople, the

    advanced the interests of their family. In 1559, at the end of the French invasions of Italy and of the Italian wars, the many states of northern Italy remained part of the Holy Roman Empire, indirectly subject to the Austrian Habsburgs, while all of Southern Italy
    (Naples, Sicily, Sardinia) and Milan were under Spanish Habsburg rule.

    Flag of the Cispadane Republic, which was the first Italian tricolour adopted by a sovereign Italian state (1797)

    The Papacy remained a powerful force and launched the

    Lyncean Academy of the Papal States, of which the main figure was Galileo Galilei (later put on trial); the final phases of the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) during the pontificates of Urban VIII and Innocent X; and the formation of the last Holy League by Innocent XI during the Great Turkish War

    The Italian economy declined during the 1600s and 1700s, as the peninsula was excluded from the rising

    political upheavals
    that characterised the first part of the 19th century.

    Italian national colours appeared for the first time on a tricolour cockade in 1789,[110] anticipating by seven years the first green, white and red Italian military war flag, which was adopted by the Lombard Legion in 1796.[111]


    Giuseppe Mazzini (left), highly influential leader of the Italian revolutionary movement; and Giuseppe Garibaldi (right), celebrated as one of the greatest generals of modern times[112] and as the "Hero of the Two Worlds",[113] who commanded and fought in many military campaigns that led to Italian unification


    Young Italy
    in the early 1830s, who favoured a unitary republic and advocated a broad nationalist movement. His prolific output of propaganda helped the unification movement stay active.

    In this context, in 1847, the first public performance of the song "Il Canto degli Italiani", the Italian national anthem since 1946, took place.[115][116] Il Canto degli Italiani, written by Goffredo Mameli set to music by Michele Novaro, is also known as the Inno di Mameli, after the author of the lyrics, or Fratelli d'Italia, from its opening line.

    Holographic copy of 1847 of "Il Canto degli Italiani", the Italian national anthem
    since 1946

    The most famous member of Young Italy was the revolutionary and general Giuseppe Garibaldi, renowned for his extremely loyal followers,[117] who led the Italian republican drive for unification in Southern Italy. However, the Northern Italy monarchy of the House of Savoy in the Kingdom of Sardinia, whose government was led by Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, also had ambitions of establishing a united Italian state. In the context of the 1848 liberal revolutions that swept through Europe, an unsuccessful first war of independence was declared on Austria. In 1855, the Kingdom of Sardinia became an ally of Britain and France in the Crimean War, giving Cavour's diplomacy legitimacy in the eyes of the great powers.[118][119] The Kingdom of Sardinia again attacked the Austrian Empire in the Second Italian War of Independence of 1859, with the aid of France, resulting in liberating Lombardy. On the basis of the Plombières Agreement, the Kingdom of Sardinia ceded Savoy and Nice to France, an event that caused the Niçard exodus, that was the emigration of a quarter of the Niçard Italians to Italy,[120] and the Niçard Vespers.

    Animated map of the Italian unification from 1829 to 1871

    In 1860–1861, Garibaldi led the drive for unification in Naples and Sicily (the

    Napoleon I of France
    on 6 April 1814.

    In 1866, Victor Emmanuel II allied with Prussia during the Austro-Prussian War, waging the Third Italian War of Independence which allowed Italy to annexe Venetia. Finally, in 1870, as France abandoned its garrisons in Rome during the disastrous Franco-Prussian War to keep the large Prussian Army at bay, the Italians rushed to fill the power gap by taking over the Papal States. Italian unification was completed and shortly afterwards Italy's capital was moved to Rome. Victor Emmanuel, Garibaldi, Cavour, and Mazzini have been referred as Italy's Four Fathers of the Fatherland.[112]

    Liberal period

    The new Kingdom of Italy obtained

    Great Power status. The Constitutional Law of the Kingdom of Sardinia the Albertine Statute of 1848, was extended to the whole Kingdom of Italy in 1861, and provided for basic freedoms of the new State, but electoral laws excluded the non-propertied and uneducated classes from voting. The government of the new kingdom took place in a framework of parliamentary constitutional monarchy dominated by liberal forces. As Northern Italy quickly industrialised, the South and rural areas of the North remained underdeveloped and overpopulated, forcing millions of people to migrate abroad and fuelling a large and influential diaspora. The Italian Socialist Party
    constantly increased in strength, challenging the traditional liberal and conservative establishment.

    Starting in the last two decades of the 19th century, Italy developed into a

    concession in Tientsin was ceded to the country, and on 7 June 1902, the concession was taken into Italian possession and administered by a consul. In 1913, male universal suffrage was adopted. The pre-war period dominated by Giovanni Giolitti
    , Prime Minister five times between 1892 and 1921, was characterised by the economic, industrial, and political-cultural modernization of Italian society.

    The Victor Emmanuel II Monument in Rome, a national symbol of Italy celebrating the first king of the unified country, and resting place of the Italian Unknown Soldier since the end of World War I. It was inaugurated in 1911, on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Unification of Italy.

    Italy entered into the

    Fourth Italian War of Independence,[124] in a historiographical perspective that identifies in the latter the conclusion of the unification of Italy, whose military actions began during the revolutions of 1848 with the First Italian War of Independence.[125][126]

    Italy, nominally allied with the

    Occupation of Constantinople

    During the war, more than 650,000 Italian soldiers and as many civilians died,

    liberal Italy in the aftermath of World War I.[131] Italy also gained a permanent seat in the League of Nations
    's executive council.

    Fascist regime

    fascist dictator Benito Mussolini titled himself Duce and ruled the country from 1922 to 1943


    Victor Emmanuel III refused to proclaim a state of siege and appointed Mussolini prime minister, thereby transferring political power to the fascists without armed conflict.[132][133] Over the next few years, Mussolini banned all political parties and curtailed personal liberties, thus forming a dictatorship. These actions attracted international attention and eventually inspired similar dictatorships such as Nazi Germany and Francoist Spain

    Italian Fascism is based upon Italian nationalism and imperialism, and in particular seeks to complete what it considers as the incomplete project of the unification of Italy by incorporating Italia Irredenta (unredeemed Italy) into the state of Italy.[134][135] To the east of Italy, the Fascists claimed that Dalmatia was a land of Italian culture whose Italians, including those of Italianized South Slavic descent, had been driven out of Dalmatia and into exile in Italy, and supported the return of Italians of Dalmatian heritage.[136] Mussolini identified Dalmatia as having strong Italian cultural roots for centuries, similarly to Istria, via the Roman Empire and the Republic of Venice.[137] To the south of Italy, the Fascists claimed Malta, which belonged to the United Kingdom, and Corfu, which instead belonged to Greece; to the north claimed Italian Switzerland, while to the west claimed Corsica, Nice, and Savoy, which belonged to France.[138][139] The Fascist regime produced literature on Corsica that presented evidence of the island's italianità.[140] The Fascist regime produced literature on Nice that justified that Nice was an Italian land based on historic, ethnic, and linguistic grounds.[140]

    Areas controlled by the Italian Empire during its existence
      Kingdom of Italy
      Colonies of Italy
      Protectorates and areas occupied during World War II


    Aosta valley.[141]

    Mussolini promised to bring Italy back as a

    Balkans (establishing the Governorate of Dalmatia and Montenegro, the Province of Ljubljana, and the puppet states Independent State of Croatia and Hellenic State), and eastern fronts. They were, however, subsequently defeated on the Eastern Front as well as in the East African campaign and the North African campaign
    , losing as a result their territories in Africa and in the Balkans.

    During World War II,

    Monigo, Renicci di Anghiari, and elsewhere. Yugoslav Partisans perpetrated their own crimes against the local ethnic Italian population (Istrian Italians and Dalmatian Italians) during and after the war, including the foibe massacres
    . In Italy and Yugoslavia, unlike in Germany, few war crimes were prosecuted.[144][145][146][147]

    Italian partisans in Milan during the Italian Civil War, April 1945


    for the rest of the war, with the Allies slowly moving up from the south.

    In the north, the Germans set up the

    Italian Fascist forces,[148] while clashes between the Fascist RSI Army and the Royalist Italian Co-Belligerent Army were rare.[151] In late April 1945, with total defeat looming, Mussolini attempted to escape north,[152] but was captured and summarily executed near Lake Como by Italian partisans. His body was then taken to Milan, where it was hung upside down at a service station for public viewing and to provide confirmation of his demise.[153]

    Hostilities ended on 29 April 1945, when the German forces in Italy surrendered. Nearly half a million Italians (including civilians) died in the conflict,[154] society was divided and the Italian economy had been all but destroyed; per capita income in 1944 was at its lowest point since the beginning of the 20th century.[155] The aftermath of World War II left Italy also with an anger against the monarchy for its endorsement of the Fascist regime for the previous twenty years. These frustrations contributed to a revival of the Italian republican movement.[156]

    Republican era

    Italy became a republic after the

    Istrian-Dalmatian exodus, which led to the emigration of between 230,000 and 350,000 of local ethnic Italians (Istrian Italians and Dalmatian Italians), the others being ethnic Slovenians, ethnic Croatians, and ethnic Istro-Romanians, choosing to maintain Italian citizenship.[160] Later, the Free Territory of Trieste was divided between the two states. Italy also lost all of its colonial possessions, formally ending the Italian Empire. In 1950, Italian Somaliland was made a United Nations Trust Territory under Italian administration until 1 July 1960. The Italian border that applies today has existed since 1975, when Trieste
    was formally re-annexed to Italy.

    Fears of a possible Communist takeover proved crucial for the first universal suffrage electoral outcome on

    European Atomic Energy Community. In 1993, the former two of these were incorporated into the European Union

    The signing ceremony of the Treaty of Rome on 25 March 1957, creating the European Economic Community, forerunner of the present-day European Union

    From the late 1960s until the early 1980s, the country experienced the Years of Lead, a period characterised by economic crisis, especially after the 1973 oil crisis, widespread social conflicts and terrorist massacres carried out by opposing extremist groups, with the alleged involvement of US and Soviet intelligence.[163][164][165] The Years of Lead culminated in the assassination of the Christian Democrat leader Aldo Moro in 1978 and the Bologna railway station massacre in 1980, where 85 people died.

    In the 1980s, for the first time since 1945, two governments were led by non-Christian-Democrat premiers: one republican,

    Group of Seven
    in the 1970s. However, as a result of his spending policies, the Italian national debt skyrocketed during the Craxi era, soon passing 100% of the country's GDP.

    Funerals of the victims of the Bologna bombing of 2 August 1980, the deadliest attack ever perpetrated in Italy during the Years of Lead

    Italy faced several terror attacks between 1992 and 1993 perpetrated by the

    Uffizi Gallery. The Catholic Church openly condemned the Mafia, and two churches were bombed and an anti-Mafia priest shot dead in Rome.[167][168][169]

    European migrant crisis

    Also in the early 1990s, Italy faced significant challenges, as voters – disenchanted with political paralysis, massive public debt and the extensive corruption system (known as

    social-democratic force. During the 1990s and the 2000s, centre-right (dominated by media magnate Silvio Berlusconi) and centre-left coalitions (led by university professor Romano Prodi
    ) alternately governed the country.

    Amidst the

    referendum and Renzi resigned; the Foreign Affairs Minister Paolo Gentiloni was appointed new Prime Minister.[172]

    Italian government task force to face the COVID-19 emergency

    In the

    populist coalition between these two parties.[177] However, after only fourteen months the League withdrew its support to Conte, who formed a new unprecedented government coalition between the Five Star Movement and the centre-left.[178][179]

    In 2020, Italy was severely hit by the

    national lockdown as a measure to limit the spread of the disease,[181][182] while further restrictions were introduced during the following winter.[183] The measures, despite being widely approved by the public opinion,[184] were also described as the largest suppression of constitutional rights in the history of the republic.[185][186] With more than 155,000 confirmed victims, Italy was one of the countries with the highest total number of deaths in the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.[187] The pandemic caused also a severe economic disruption, in which Italy resulted as one of the most affected countries.[188]

    In February 2021, after a

    national unity government supported by almost all the main parties,[189] pledging to oversee implementation of economic stimulus to face the crisis caused by the pandemic.[190] On 22 October 2022, Giorgia Meloni was sworn in as Italy's first female prime minister. Her Brothers of Italy party formed a right-wing government with the far-right League and Berlusconi's Forza Italia.[191]


    Topographic map of Italy

    Italy, whose territory largely coincides with the

    biggest islands of the Mediterranean), in addition to many smaller islands. The sovereign states of San Marino and the Vatican City are enclaves within Italy,[192][193] while Campione d'Italia is an Italian exclave in Switzerland.[194]

    The country's total area is 301,230 square kilometres (116,306 sq mi), of which 294,020 km2 (113,522 sq mi) is land and 7,210 km2 (2,784 sq mi) is water.[195] Including the islands, Italy has a coastline and border of 7,600 kilometres (4,722 miles) on the Adriatic, Ionian, Tyrrhenian seas, and borders shared with France (488 km (303 mi)), Austria (430 km (267 mi)), Slovenia (232 km (144 mi)) and Switzerland (740 km (460 mi)). San Marino (39 km (24 mi)) and Vatican City (3.2 km (2.0 mi)), both enclaves, account for the remainder.[195]

    Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco) in Aosta Valley, the highest point in the European Union
    Apennine landscape in Marche

    Over 35% of the Italian territory is mountainous.[196] The Apennine Mountains form the peninsula's backbone, and the Alps form most of its northern boundary, where Italy's highest point is located on Mont Blanc summit (Monte Bianco) (4,810 m or 15,780 ft). Other worldwide-known mountains in Italy include the Matterhorn (Monte Cervino), Monte Rosa, Gran Paradiso in the West Alps, and Bernina, Stelvio and Dolomites along the eastern side.


    Padan plain on its way to the Adriatic Sea. The Po Valley is the largest plain in Italy, with 46,000 km2 (18,000 sq mi), and it represents over 70% of the total plain area in the country.[196]

    Many elements of the

    (the only active volcano on mainland Europe).

    The five largest lakes are, in order of diminishing size:

    rivers of Italy drain either into the Adriatic Sea or the Tyrrhenian Sea.[202]

    Although the country includes the Italian peninsula, adjacent islands, and most of the southern Alpine basin, some of Italy's territory extends beyond the Alpine basin and some islands are located outside the Eurasian continental shelf. These territories are the comuni of: Livigno, Sexten, Innichen, Toblach (in part), Chiusaforte, Tarvisio, Graun im Vinschgau (in part), which are all part of the Danube's drainage basin, while the Val di Lei constitutes part of the Rhine's basin and the islands of Lampedusa and Lampione are on the African continental shelf.


    National and regional parks in Italy

    After its quick industrial growth, Italy took a long time to confront its environmental problems. After several improvements, it now ranks 84th in the world for ecological sustainability.[203] National parks cover about 5% of the country,[204] while the total area protected by national parks, regional parks and nature reserves covers about 10.5% of the Italian territory,[205] to which must be added 12% of coasts protected by marine protected areas.[206]

    In the last decade, Italy has become one of the world's leading producers of renewable energy, ranking as the world's fourth largest holder of installed solar energy capacity[207][208] and the sixth largest holder of wind power capacity in 2010.[209] Renewable energies provided approximately 37% Italy's energy consumption in 2020.[210] However, air pollution remains a severe problem, especially in the industrialised north, reaching the tenth highest level worldwide of industrial carbon dioxide emissions in the 1990s. Italy is the twelfth-largest carbon dioxide producer.[211][212]

    Extensive traffic and congestion in the largest metropolitan areas continue to cause severe environmental and health issues, even if smog levels have decreased dramatically since the 1970s and 1980s, and the presence of smog is becoming an increasingly rarer phenomenon and levels of

    sulphur dioxide are decreasing.[213]

    Gran Paradiso, established in 1922, is the oldest Italian national park.

    Many watercourses and coastal stretches have also been contaminated by industrial and agricultural activity, while because of rising water levels, Venice has been regularly flooded throughout recent years. Waste from industrial activity is not always disposed of by legal means and has led to permanent health effects on inhabitants of affected areas, as in the case of the Seveso disaster. The country has also operated several nuclear reactors between 1963 and 1990 but, after the

    Fukushima nuclear accident.[214]

    Deforestation, illegal building developments and poor land-management policies have led to significant erosion all over Italy's mountainous regions, leading to major ecological disasters like the 1963

    . The country had a 2019
    Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 3.65/10, ranking it 142nd globally out of 172 countries.[216]


    Italy has probably the highest level of

    Garigue and Maquis shrubland
    , also contribute to high climate and habitat diversity.

    national animal
    of Italy

    The fauna of Italy includes 4,777 endemic animal species,[219] which include the Sardinian long-eared bat, Sardinian red deer, spectacled salamander, brown cave salamander, Italian newt, Italian frog, Apennine yellow-bellied toad, Italian wall lizard, Aeolian wall lizard, Sicilian wall lizard, Italian Aesculapian snake, and Sicilian pond turtle. In Italy there are 119 mammals species,[220] 550 bird species,[221] 69 reptile species,[222] 39 amphibian species,[223] 623 fish species[224] and 56,213 invertebrate species, of which 37,303 insect species.[225]


    both affording protection to Italian fauna and flora.

    Italy has many



    Mediterranean region, recall the colours of the flag of Italy.[234]


    Köppen-Geiger climate classification map of Italy[236]

    The climate of Italy is influenced by the large body of water of the Mediterranean Sea that surrounds Italy on every side except the north. These seas constitute a reservoir of heat and humidity for Italy. Within the southern temperate zone, they determine a Mediterranean climate with local differences due to the geomorphology of the territory, which tends to make its mitigating effects felt, especially in high pressure conditions.[237]

    Because of the length of the peninsula and the mostly mountainous hinterland, the climate of Italy is highly diverse. In most of the inland northern and central regions, the climate ranges from

    Po valley geographical region is mostly humid subtropical, with cool winters and hot summers.[238][239] The coastal areas of Liguria, Tuscany and most of the South generally fit the Mediterranean climate stereotype (Köppen climate classification

    Conditions on the coast are different from those in the interior, particularly during winter months when the higher altitudes tend to be cold, wet, and often snowy. The coastal regions have mild winters and hot and generally dry summers; lowland valleys are hot in summer. Average winter temperatures vary from around 0 °C (32 °F) in the Alps to 12 °C (54 °F) in Sicily, so average summer temperatures range from 20 °C (68 °F) to over 25 °C (77 °F).

    Winters can vary widely across the country with lingering cold, foggy and snowy periods in the north and milder, sunnier conditions in the south. Summers are hot across the country, except for at high altitude, particularly in the south. Northern and central areas can experience occasional strong thunderstorms from spring to autumn.[240]


    Italy has been a

    anti-fascist forces that contributed to the defeat of Nazi and Fascist forces during the Italian Civil War.[241]


    Italy has a parliamentary government based on a mixed

    President of the Council of Ministers (Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri), is Italy's head of government
    . The Prime Minister and the cabinet are appointed by the President of the Republic of Italy and must pass a vote of confidence in Parliament to come into office. To remain the Prime Minister has to pass also eventual further votes of confidence or no confidence in Parliament.

    The prime minister is the President of the

    Parliament of Italy

    The Chamber of Deputies is the lower house of Italy.

    Another difference with similar offices is that the overall political responsibility for intelligence is vested in the President of the Council of Ministers. By virtue of that, the Prime Minister has exclusive power to coordinate intelligence policies, determine the financial resources and strengthen national cyber security; apply and protect State secrets; authorise agents to carry out operations, in Italy or abroad, in violation of the law.[242]

    A peculiarity of the

    overseas constituencies. In addition, the Italian Senate is characterised also by a small number of senators for life
    , appointed by the President "for outstanding patriotic merits in the social, scientific, artistic or literary field". Former Presidents of the Republic are ex officio life senators.

    Italy's three major political parties are the


    Law and criminal justice

    The Supreme Court of Cassation, Rome

    The law of Italy has a plurality of sources of production. These are arranged in a hierarchical scale, under which the rule of a lower source cannot conflict with the rule of an upper source (hierarchy of sources).[243] The Constitution of 1948 is the main source.[244] The judiciary of Italy is based on

    Supreme Court of Cassation is the highest court in Italy for both criminal and civil appeal cases. The Constitutional Court of Italy
    (Corte Costituzionale) rules on the conformity of laws with the constitution and is a post–World War II innovation.

    Since their appearance in the middle of the 19th century, Italian organised crime and criminal organisations have infiltrated the social and economic life of many regions in Southern Italy, the most notorious of which being the Sicilian Mafia, which would later expand into some foreign countries including the United States. Mafia receipts may reach 9%[245][246] of Italy's GDP.[247]

    A 2009 report identified 610 comuni which have a strong Mafia presence, where 13 million Italians live and 14.6% of the Italian GDP is produced.[248][249] The Calabrian 'Ndrangheta, nowadays probably the most powerful crime syndicate of Italy, accounts alone for 3% of the country's GDP.[250] However, at 0.013 per 1,000 people, Italy has only the 47th highest murder rate[251] compared to 61 countries and the 43rd highest number of rapes per 1,000 people compared to 64 countries in the world. These are relatively low figures among developed countries.

    The Italian law enforcement system is complex, with multiple police forces.

    Polizia Municipale (municipal police).[252]

    Italy is regarded as being behind other Western European nations with regards to LGBT rights.[254] Additionally, Italy's law prohibiting torture is considered behind international standards.[255]

    Foreign relations

    G7 leaders at the 43rd G7 summit in Taormina

    Italy is a founding member of the

    UN Security Council
    , the most recently in 2017.

    Italy strongly supports multilateral international politics, endorsing the United Nations and its

    Albania. Italy deployed over 2,000 troops in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom
    (OEF) from February 2003.

    Italy supported international efforts to reconstruct and stabilise Iraq, but it had withdrawn its military contingent of some 3,200 troops by 2006, maintaining only humanitarian operators and other civilian personnel. In August 2006 Italy deployed about 2,450 troops in Lebanon for the United Nations'

    UNIFIL.[257] Italy is one of the largest financiers of the Palestinian National Authority, contributing €60 million in 2013 alone.[258]


    Heraldic coat of arms of the Italian Armed Forces



    Despite not being a branch of the armed forces, the Guardia di Finanza ("Financial Guard") has military status and is organized along military lines.[note 3] Since 2005, military service is voluntary.[259] In 2010, the Italian military had 293,202 personnel on active duty,[260] of which 114,778 are Carabinieri.[261] As part of NATO's nuclear sharing strategy Italy also hosts 90 United States B61 nuclear bombs, located in the Ghedi and Aviano air bases.[262]

    The Italian Army is the national ground defence force. Its best-known combat vehicles are the

    Regio Esercito ("Royal Army", which was established on the occasion of the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy
    , 1861) after World War II, when Italy became a republic following a referendum.

    The Italian Navy is a blue-water navy. In modern times the Italian Navy, being a member of the EU and NATO, has taken part in many coalition peacekeeping operations around the world. It was formed in 1946 from what remained of the Regia Marina ("Royal Navy", which was established on the occasion of the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy, 1861) after World War II, when Italy became a republic following a referendum. The Italian Navy in 2014 operates 154 vessels in service, including minor auxiliary vessels.[263]


    C-27J Spartan. The Italian Air Force was founded as an independent service arm on 28 March 1923 by King Victor Emmanuel III as the Regia Aeronautica ("Royal Air Force"). After World War II, when Italy became a republic following a referendum, the Regia Aeronautica was given its current name. The acrobatic display team is the Frecce Tricolori
    ("Tricolour Arrows").

    An autonomous corps of the military, the Carabinieri are the gendarmerie and military police of Italy, policing the military and civilian population alongside Italy's other police forces. While the different branches of the Carabinieri report to separate ministries for each of their individual functions, the corps reports to the Ministry of Internal Affairs when maintaining public order and security.[264]

    Administrative divisions

    Italy is constituted by 20 regions (

    special autonomous status that enables them to enact legislation on additional matters, 107 provinces (province) or metropolitan cities (città metropolitane), and 7,904 municipalities (comuni).[265]
    This is a list of regions in Italy:


    A proportional representation of Italy exports, 2019

    Italy has a major advanced

    largest wine production),[274] and for its influential and high-quality automobile, machinery, food, design and fashion industry.[275][276][277]

    Italy is the world's

    Italian industry. This has produced a manufacturing sector often focused on the export of niche market and luxury products, that if on one side is less capable to compete on the quantity, on the other side is more capable of facing the competition from China and other emerging Asian economies based on lower labour costs, with higher quality products.[279] Italy was the world's tenth-largest exporter in 2019. Its closest trade ties are with the other countries of the European Union. Its largest export partners in 2019 were Germany (12%), France (11%), and the United States (10%).[280]

    Milan is the economic capital of Italy,[281] and is a global financial centre and a fashion capital of the world.
    A Carrara marble quarry


    GDP.[283] Stellantis is currently the world's fifth-largest auto maker.[284] The country boasts a wide range of acclaimed products, from compact city cars to luxury supercars such as Maserati, Pagani, Lamborghini, and Ferrari.[285]



    Italy is part of a monetary union, the

    European single market, which represents more than 500 million consumers. Several domestic commercial policies are determined by agreements among European Union (EU) members and by EU legislation. Italy introduced the common European currency, the Euro in 2002.[290][291] It is a member of the Eurozone which represents around 330 million citizens. Its monetary policy is set by the European Central Bank

    Italy was hit hard by the

    public debt, that stood at over 131.8% of GDP in 2017,[296] ranking second in the EU only after the Greek one.[297] For all that, the largest chunk of Italian public debt is owned by national subjects, a major difference between Italy and Greece,[298] and the level of household debt is much lower than the OECD average.[299]

    A gaping North–South divide is a major factor of socio-economic weakness.[300] It can be noted by the huge difference in statistical income between the northern and southern regions and municipalities.[301] The richest province, Alto Adige-South Tyrol, earns 152% of the national GDP per capita, while the poorest region, Calabria, 61%.[302] The unemployment rate (11.1%) stands slightly above the Eurozone average,[303] but the disaggregated figure is 6.6% in the North and 19.2% in the South.[304] The youth unemployment rate (31.7% in March 2018) is extremely high compared to EU standards.[305]


    world's largest wine producer, as well as the country with the widest variety of indigenous grapevine in the world.[306][307]

    According to the last national agricultural census, there were 1.6 million farms in 2010 (−32.4% since 2000) covering 12,700,000 ha or 31,382,383 acres (63% of which are located in

    olive tree orchards 8.2%, vineyards 5.4%, citrus orchards 3.8%, sugar beets 1.7%, and horticulture 2.4%. The remainder is primarily dedicated to pastures (25.9%) and feed grains (11.6%).[308]

    Italy is the


    Quality goods in which Italy specialises, particularly the already mentioned wines and

    regional cheeses, are often protected under the quality assurance labels DOC/DOP. This geographical indication certificate, which is attributed by the European Union, is considered important in order to avoid confusion with low-quality mass-produced ersatz products


    passenger cars (590 cars per 1,000 people) and 4,015,000 goods vehicles circulated on the national road network.[312]

    Trieste, the main port of the northern Adriatic and starting point of the Transalpine Pipeline


    Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (FSI), in 2008 totalled 16,529 km (10,271 mi) of which 11,727 km (7,287 mi) is electrified, and on which 4,802 locomotives and railcars run. The main public operator of high-speed trains is Trenitalia, part of FSI. Higher-speed trains are divided into three categories: Frecciarossa (English: red arrow) trains operate at a maximum speed of 300 km/h on dedicated high-speed tracks; Frecciargento (English: silver arrow) trains operate at a maximum speed of 250 km/h on both high-speed and mainline tracks; and Frecciabianca
    (English: white arrow) trains operate on high-speed regional lines at a maximum speed of 200 km/h. Italy has 11 rail border crossings over the Alpine mountains with its neighbouring countries.

    Italy is the fifth in Europe by the number of passengers by air transport, with about 148 million passengers or about 10% of the European total in 2011.

    Leonardo da Vinci International Airport in Rome.[314] Since October 2021, Italy's flag carrier airline is ITA Airways, which took over the brand, the IATA ticketing code, and many assets belonging to the former flag carrier Alitalia, after its bankruptcy.[315][316]

    In 2004 there were 43 major seaports, including the seaport of

    waterways network has a length of 2,400 km (1,491 mi) for commercial traffic in 2012.[280]

    Italy has been the final destination of the Silk Road for many centuries. In particular, the construction of the Suez Canal intensified sea trade with East Africa and Asia from the 19th century. Since the end of the Cold War and increasing European integration, the trade relations, which were often interrupted in the 20th century, have intensified again and the northern Italian ports such as the deep-water port of Trieste in the northernmost part of the Mediterranean with its extensive rail connections to Central and Eastern Europe are once again the destination of government subsidies and significant foreign investment.[317][318][319][320][321][322]


    Solar panels in Piombino. Italy is one of the world's largest producers of renewable energy.[323]

    In the last decade, Italy has become one of the world's

    Supermajor" oil companies in the world, and one of the world's largest industrial companies.[325]

    1987 referendum (in the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster
    in Soviet Ukraine), though Italy still imports nuclear energy from Italy-owned reactors in foreign territories.

    Science and technology

    Galileo Galilei, the father of modern science, physics and astronomy[328][329][330][331][332]
    Enrico Fermi, creator of the world's first nuclear reactor[333][334]

    Through the centuries, Italy has fostered the scientific community that produced many major discoveries in physics and other sciences. During the

    modern science.[332]

    Other astronomers such as

    Other prominent physicists include:

    W and Z particles at CERN). Antonio Meucci is known for developing a voice-communication device which is often credited as the first telephone.[337][338] Pier Giorgio Perotto in 1964 designed one of the first desktop programmable calculators, the Programma 101.[339][340][341]

    In biology,


    Within this great Italian History of Science and Technology, modern times tell a different and more technologically divergent story. The North–South divide is a significant factor that leads to a vast difference in income between the Northern and Southern regions, which brings up the topic of the Digital Divide in Italy. The long history of this divided peninsula, now a unified nation-state, details the complex problems of underdeveloped areas in the South.[347] As expected, these problems of underdevelopment and poverty still linger today, also reflected in the concept of the digital divide between the North and South. The Global digital divide is broadly described as the technological differences between underdeveloped and developed countries. While this does not necessarily mean that people have no access to technology, it is made clear that this equates to differences in technology, such as the Internet and household electronics.[348] Digital inequalities between Northern and Southern Italy exist and are still prevalent, especially when related to education.


    Vesuvius in the distance. Pompeii is one of Italy's major tourist destinations.[349]
    The Amalfi Coast is one of Italy's major tourist destinations.[350]

    People have visited Italy for centuries, yet the first to visit the peninsula for touristic reasons were aristocrats during the Grand Tour, beginning in the 17th century, and flourishing in the 18th and the 19th century.[351] This was a period in which European aristocrats, many of whom were British, visited parts of Europe, with Italy as a key destination.[351] For Italy, this was in order to study ancient architecture, local culture and to admire the natural beauties.[352]

    Nowadays Italy is the fifth most visited country in international tourism, with a total of 52.3 million international arrivals in 2016.[353] The total contribution of travel & tourism to GDP (including wider effects from investment, the supply chain and induced income impacts) was EUR162.7bn in 2014 (10.1% of GDP) and generated 1,082,000 jobs directly in 2014 (4.8% of total employment).[354]

    Factors of tourist interest in Italy are mainly

    Apennines,[362] while seaside tourism is widespread in coastal locations on the Mediterranean Sea.[363] Italy is the leading cruise tourism destination in the Mediterranean Sea.[364] Small, historical and artistic Italian villages are promoted through the association I Borghi più belli d'Italia
    (literally "The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy").

    The most visited regions of Italy, measured by nights spent in tourist accommodation establishments, are Veneto, Tuscany, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Lazio.[365] Rome is the 3rd most visited city in Europe and the 12th in the world, with 9.4 million arrivals in 2017 while Milan is the 27th worldwide with 6.8 million tourists.[366] In addition, Venice and Florence are also among the world's top 100 destinations.

    Italy is also the

    UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world (58).[367] Out of Italy's 58 heritage sites, 53 are cultural and 5 are natural.[368] In Italy there is a broad variety of hotels, going from 1–5 stars. According to ISTAT, in 2017, there were 32,988 hotels with 1,133,452 rooms and 2,239,446 beds.[369] As for non-hotel facilities (campsites, tourist villages, accommodations for rent, agritourism, etc.), in 2017 their number was 171,915 with 2,798,352 beds.[369]


    Map of Italy's population density at the 2011 census

    At the beginning of 2020, Italy had 60,317,116 inhabitants.[370] The resulting population density, at 202 inhabitants per square kilometre (520/sq mi), is higher than that of most Western European countries. However, the distribution of the population is widely uneven. The most densely populated areas are the Po Valley (that accounts for almost a half of the national population) and the metropolitan areas of Rome and Naples, while vast regions such as the Alps and Apennines highlands, the plateaus of Basilicata and the island of Sardinia, as well as much of Sicily, are sparsely populated.

    The population of Italy almost doubled during the 20th century, but the pattern of growth was extremely uneven because of large-scale

    replacement rate of 2.1 and considerably below the high of 5.06 children born per woman in 1883.[374] Nevertheless, the total fertility rate is expected to reach 1.6–1.8 in 2030.[375]

    From the late 19th century until the 1960s Italy was a country of mass

    Largest cities

    Name Region
    Name Region
    1 Rome Lazio 2,748,109 11 Verona Veneto 255,588 Naples
    2 Milan Lombardy 1,354,196 12 Venice Veneto 250,369
    3 Naples Campania 913,462 13 Messina Sicily 218,786
    4 Turin Piedmont 841,600 14 Padua Veneto 206,496
    5 Palermo Sicily 630,167 15 Trieste
    Friuli-Venezia Giulia
    6 Genoa Liguria 558,745 16 Parma Emilia-Romagna 196,885
    7 Bologna Emilia-Romagna 387,971 17 Brescia Lombardy 196,567
    8 Florence Tuscany 360,930 18 Prato Tuscany 195,820
    9 Bari Apulia 316,015 19 Taranto Apulia 188,098
    10 Catania Sicily 298,762 20 Modena Emilia-Romagna 184,153


    Italy is home to a large population of migrants from Eastern Europe and North Africa.

    In 2021, Italy had about 5.17 million foreign residents,[1][387] making up 8.7% of the total population. The figures include more than half a million children born in Italy to foreign nationals (second generation immigrants) but exclude foreign nationals who have subsequently acquired Italian citizenship;[388] in 2016, about 201,000 people became Italian citizens.[389] The official figures also exclude illegal immigrants, who estimated to number at least 670,000 as of 2008.[390]

    Starting from the early 1980s, until then a linguistically and culturally homogeneous society, Italy begun to attract substantial flows of foreign immigrants.[391] After the fall of the Berlin Wall and, more recently, the 2004 and 2007 enlargements of the European Union, large waves of migration originated from the former socialist countries of Eastern Europe (especially Romania, Albania, Ukraine and Poland). Another source of immigration is neighbouring North Africa (in particular, Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia), with soaring arrivals as a consequence of the Arab Spring. Furthermore, in recent years, growing migration fluxes from Asia-Pacific (notably China[392] and the Philippines) and Latin America have been recorded.

    Currently, about one million Romanian citizens (around 10% of them being ethnic Romani people[393]) are officially registered as living in Italy, representing the largest migrant population, followed by Albanians and Moroccans with about 500,000 people each. The number of unregistered Romanians is difficult to estimate, but the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network suggested in 2007 that there might have been half a million or more.[394][note 4]

    As of 2010, the foreign born population of Italy was from the following regions: Europe (54%), Africa (22%), Asia (16%), the Americas (8%) and Oceania (0.06%). The distribution of foreign population is geographically varied in Italy: in 2020, 61.2% of foreign citizens lived in Northern Italy (in particular 36.1% in the North West and 25.1% in the North East), 24.2% in the centre, 10.8% in the South and 3.9% in the Islands.[396]


    Linguistic map showing the languages spoken in Italy

    Italy's official language is

    mass media and television (the state broadcaster RAI
    helped set a standard Italian).

    Twelve "historical

    Friulian, Ladin, Occitan and Sardinian.[397] Four of these also enjoy a co-official status in their respective region: French in the Aosta Valley;[405] German in South Tyrol, and Ladin as well in some parts of the same province and in parts of the neighbouring Trentino;[406] and Slovene in the provinces of Trieste, Gorizia and Udine.[407] A number of other Ethnologue, ISO and UNESCO languages are not recognised by Italian law. Like France, Italy has signed the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, but has not ratified it.[408]

    Because of recent immigration, Italy has sizeable populations whose native language is not Italian, nor a regional language. According to the

    Romanian is the most common mother tongue among foreign residents in Italy: almost 800,000 people speak Romanian as their first language (21.9% of the foreign residents aged 6 and over). Other prevalent mother tongues are Arabic (spoken by over 475,000 people; 13.1% of foreign residents), Albanian (380,000 people) and Spanish (255,000 people).[409]


    St. Peter's Basilica, the largest church of Christendom, in Vatican City, the Holy See's sovereign territory within Rome

    In 2017, the proportion of

    Roman Catholic Christians was 74.4%.[410] Since 1985, Catholicism is no longer officially the state religion.[411] Italy has the world's fifth-largest Catholic population, and is the largest Catholic nation in Europe.[412]


    diplomatic relations can be maintained.[413][note 5] Often incorrectly referred to as "the Vatican", the Holy See is not the same entity as the Vatican City State because the Holy See is the jurisdiction and administrative entity of the Pope.[414]
    The Vatican City came into existence only in 1929.

    In 2011, minority Christian faiths in Italy included an estimated 1.5 million Orthodox Christians, or 2.5% of the population;

    One of the longest-established minority religious faiths in Italy is

    Holocaust.[419] This, together with the emigration which preceded and followed World War II, has left only around 28,400 Jews in Italy.[420]

    Soaring immigration in the last two decades has been accompanied by an increase in non-Christian faiths. Following immigration from the Indian subcontinent, in Italy there are 120,000

    gurdwaras across the country.[422]

    The Italian state, as a measure to protect religious freedom, devolves shares of income tax to recognised religious communities, under a regime known as Eight per thousand. Donations are allowed to Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu communities; however, Islam remains excluded, since no Muslim communities have yet signed a concordat with the Italian state.[423] Taxpayers who do not wish to fund a religion contribute their share to the state welfare system.[424]


    Bologna University, established in AD 1088, is the world's oldest university in continuous operation

    Education in Italy is free and mandatory from ages six to sixteen,

    upper secondary school (scuola secondaria di secondo grado) and university (università).[426]

    Primary education lasts eight years. Students are given a basic education in Italian, English, mathematics, natural sciences, history, geography, social studies, physical education and visual and musical arts. Secondary education lasts for five years and includes three traditional types of schools focused on different academic levels: the

    Istituto professionale
    prepare pupils for vocational education.

    In 2018, the Italian secondary education was evaluated as below the OECD average.[427] Italy scored below the OECD average in reading and science, and near OECD average in mathematics. Mean performance in Italy declined in reading and science, and remained stable in mathematics.[427] Trento and Bolzano scored at an above the national average in reading.[427] Compared to school children in other OECD countries, children in Italy missed out on a greater amount of learning due to absences and indiscipline in classrooms.[428] A wide gap exists between northern schools, which perform near average, and schools in the South, that had much poorer results.[429]

    Tertiary education in Italy is divided between

    Bologna University, founded in 1088, is the oldest university in continuous operation,[431] as well as one of the leading academic institutions in Italy and Europe.[432] The Bocconi University, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, LUISS, Polytechnic University of Turin, Polytechnic University of Milan, Sapienza University of Rome, and University of Milan are also ranked among the best in the world.[433]


    Olive oil and vegetables are central to the Mediterranean diet.[434]

    Life expectancy in the country is 80 for males and 85 for females, placing the country

    Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of Italy (promoter), Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Croatia.[440][441]

    The Italian state runs a universal public healthcare system since 1978.

    Euro Health Consumer Index


    Carnival of Venice

    Italy is considered one of the birthplaces of

    courts competed to attract architects, artists and scholars, thus producing a legacy of monuments, paintings, music and literature. Despite the political and social isolation of these courts, Italy has made a substantial contribution to the cultural and historical heritage of Europe.[448]


    Duomo and the Leaning Tower of Pisa

    Italy is known for its considerable architectural achievements,

    Palladianism, a style of construction which inspired movements such as that of Neoclassical architecture
    , and influenced the designs which noblemen built their country houses all over the world, notably in the UK, Australia and the US during the late 17th to early 20th centuries.

    Along with pre-historic architecture, the first people in Italy to truly begin a sequence of designs were the Greeks and the Etruscans, progressing to classical Roman,[450] then to the revival of the classical Roman era during the Renaissance and evolving into the Baroque era. The Christian concept of a Basilica, a style of church architecture that came to dominate the early Middle Ages, was invented in Rome. They were known for being long, rectangular buildings, which were built in an almost ancient Roman style, often rich in mosaics and decorations. The early Christians' art and architecture were also widely inspired by that of the pagan Romans; statues, mosaics and paintings decorated all their churches.[451]

    The Romanesque movement, which went from approximately 800 AD to 1100 AD, was one of the most fruitful and creative periods in Italian architecture, when several masterpieces, such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa in the Piazza dei Miracoli, and the Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio in Milan were built. It was known for its usage of Roman arches, stained glass windows, and also its curved columns which commonly featured in cloisters. The main innovation of Italian Romanesque architecture was the vault, which had never been seen before in the history of Western architecture.[452]

    A flowering of Italian architecture took place during the Renaissance.

    Palladian Villas of the Veneto are listed by UNESCO as part of a World Heritage Site named City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto.[454]

    The Baroque period produced several outstanding Italian architects in the 17th century, especially those known for their churches. The most original work of all late Baroque and Rococo architecture is the

    Palazzina di caccia di Stupinigi, dating back to the 18th century.[455] Luigi Vanvitelli began in 1752 the construction of the Royal Palace of Caserta. In this large complex, the grandiose Baroque-style interiors and gardens are opposed to a more sober building envelope.[456] In the late 18th and early 19th centuries Italy was affected by the Neoclassical architectural movement. Villas, palaces, gardens, interiors and art began to be based on Roman and Greek themes.[457]

    During the Fascist period, the so-called "

    Novecento movement" flourished, based on the rediscovery of imperial Rome, with figures such as Gio Ponti and Giovanni Muzio. Marcello Piacentini, responsible for the urban transformations of several cities in Italy and remembered for the disputed Via della Conciliazione in Rome, devised a form of simplified Neoclassicism.[458]

    Visual art

    Santa Maria delle Grazie
    , Milan

    The history of Italian visual arts is significant to the history of Western painting. Roman art was influenced by Greece and can in part be taken as a descendant of ancient Greek painting. Roman painting does have its own unique characteristics. The only surviving Roman paintings are wall paintings, many from villas in Campania, in Southern Italy. Such paintings can be grouped into four main "styles" or periods[459] and may contain the first examples of trompe-l'œil, pseudo-perspective, and pure landscape.[460]

    Michelangelo's David (1501–1504), Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence



    In the 15th and 16th centuries, the High Renaissance gave rise to a stylised art known as Mannerism. In place of the balanced compositions and rational approach to perspective that characterised art at the dawn of the 16th century, the Mannerists sought instability, artifice, and doubt. The unperturbed faces and gestures of Piero della Francesca and the calm Virgins of Raphael are replaced by the troubled expressions of Pontormo and the emotional intensity of El Greco.

    The Birth of Venus (1484–1486), Sandro Botticelli, Uffizi Gallery, Florence

    In the 17th century, among the greatest painters of Italian Baroque are Caravaggio, Annibale Carracci, Artemisia Gentileschi, Mattia Preti, Carlo Saraceni and Bartolomeo Manfredi. Subsequently, in the 18th century, Italian Rococo was mainly inspired by French Rococo, since France was the founding nation of that particular style, with artists such as Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and Canaletto. Italian Neoclassical sculpture focused, with Antonio Canova's nudes, on the idealist aspect of the movement.

    In the 19th century, major Italian

    Surrealists and generations of artists to follow like Bruno Caruso and Renato Guttuso


    Formal Latin literature began in 240 BC, when the first stage play was performed in Rome.[461] Latin literature was, and still is, highly influential in the world, with numerous writers, poets, philosophers, and historians, such as Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger, Virgil, Horace, Propertius, Ovid and Livy. The Romans were also famous for their oral tradition, poetry, drama and epigrams.[462] In early years of the 13th century, Francis of Assisi was considered the first Italian poet by literary critics, with his religious song Canticle of the Sun.[463]

    Dante Alighieri, one of the greatest poets of the Middle Ages. His epic poem The Divine Comedy ranks among the finest works of world literature.[464]

    Another Italian voice originated in Sicily. At the court of Emperor Frederick II, who ruled the Sicilian kingdom during the first half of the 13th century, lyrics modelled on Provençal forms and themes were written in a refined version of the local vernacular. One of these poets was the notary Giacomo da Lentini, inventor of the sonnet form, though the most famous early sonneteer was Petrarch.[465]

    Guido Guinizelli is considered the founder of the Dolce Stil Novo, a school that added a philosophical dimension to traditional love poetry. This new understanding of love, expressed in a smooth, pure style, influenced Guido Cavalcanti and the Florentine poet Dante Alighieri, who established the basis of the modern Italian language; his greatest work, the Divine Comedy, is considered among the finest works of world literature;[464] furthermore, the poet invented the difficult terza rima. Two major writers of the 14th century, Petrarch and Giovanni Boccaccio, sought out and imitated the works of antiquity and cultivated their own artistic personalities. Petrarch achieved fame through his collection of poems, Il Canzoniere. Petrarch's love poetry served as a model for centuries. Equally influential was Boccaccio's The Decameron, one of the most popular collections of short stories ever written.[466]

    Niccolò Machiavelli, founder of modern political science and ethics

    Italian Renaissance authors produced works including Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince, an essay on political science and modern philosophy in which the "effectual truth" is taken to be more important than any abstract ideal; Ludovico Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, continuation of Matteo Maria Boiardo's unfinished romance Orlando Innamorato; and Baldassare Castiglione's dialogue The Book of the Courtier which describes the ideal of the perfect court gentleman and of spiritual beauty. The lyric poet Torquato Tasso in Jerusalem Delivered wrote a Christian epic in ottava rima, with attention to the Aristotelian canons of unity.

    Metastasio's heroic melodramas. In the 18th century, playwright Carlo Goldoni
    created full-written plays, many portraying the middle class of his day.

    Pinocchio is one of the world's most translated books[470] and a canonical piece of children's literature.[471]

    Romanticism coincided with some ideas of the

    Risorgimento, the patriotic movement that brought Italy political unity and freedom from foreign domination. Italian writers embraced Romanticism in the early 19th century. The time of Italy's rebirth was heralded by the poets Vittorio Alfieri, Ugo Foscolo, and Giacomo Leopardi. The works by Alessandro Manzoni, the leading Italian Romantic, are a symbol of the Italian unification for their patriotic message and because of his efforts in the development of the modern, unified Italian language; his novel The Betrothed was the first Italian historical novel to glorify Christian values of justice and Providence, and it is generally ranked among the masterpieces of world literature.[472]

    In the late 19th century, a realistic literary movement called Verismo played a major role in Italian literature; Giovanni Verga and Luigi Capuana were its main exponents. In the same period, Emilio Salgari, writer of action-adventure swashbucklers and a pioneer of science fiction, published his Sandokan series.[473] In 1883, Carlo Collodi also published the novel The Adventures of Pinocchio, the most celebrated children's classic by an Italian author and one of the most translated non-religious books in the world.[470] A movement called Futurism influenced Italian literature in the early 20th century. Filippo Tommaso Marinetti wrote Manifesto of Futurism, called for the use of language and metaphors that glorified the speed, dynamism, and violence of the machine age.[474]

    Modern literary figures and Nobel laureates are Gabriele D'Annunzio from 1889 to 1910, nationalist poet Giosuè Carducci in 1906, realist writer Grazia Deledda in 1926, modern theatre author Luigi Pirandello in 1936, short stories writer Italo Calvino in 1960, poets Salvatore Quasimodo in 1959 and Eugenio Montale in 1975, Umberto Eco in 1980, and satirist and theatre author Dario Fo in 1997.[475]


    Over the ages, Italian philosophy and literature had a vast influence on


    Clockwise from top left: Thomas Aquinas, proponent of natural theology and the Father of Thomism;[478] Giordano Bruno, one of the major scientific figures of the Western world;[479] Cesare Beccaria, considered the Father of criminal justice and modern criminal law;[480] and Maria Montessori, credited with the creation of the Montessori education[481]

    Italian Medieval philosophy was mainly Christian, and included philosophers and theologians such as Thomas Aquinas, the foremost classical proponent of natural theology and the father of Thomism, who reintroduced Aristotelian philosophy to Christianity.[482] Notable Renaissance philosophers include: Giordano Bruno, one of the major scientific figures of the western world; Marsilio Ficino, one of the most influential humanist philosophers of the period; and Niccolò Machiavelli, one of the main founders of modern political science. Machiavelli's most famous work was The Prince, whose contribution to the history of political thought is the fundamental break between political realism and political idealism.[483] Italy was also affected by the Enlightenment, a movement which was a consequence of the Renaissance.[484] University cities such as Padua, Bologna and Naples remained centres of scholarship and the intellect, with several philosophers such as Giambattista Vico (widely regarded as being the founder of modern Italian philosophy)[485] and Antonio Genovesi.[484] Cesare Beccaria was a significant Enlightenment figure and is now considered one of the fathers of classical criminal theory as well as modern penology.[480] Beccaria is famous for his On Crimes and Punishments (1764), a treatise that served as one of the earliest prominent condemnations of torture and the death penalty and thus a landmark work in anti-death penalty philosophy.[484]

    Italy also had a renowned philosophical movement in the 1800s, with


    Early Italian feminists include Sibilla Aleramo, Alaide Gualberta Beccari, and Anna Maria Mozzoni, though proto-feminist philosophies had previously been touched upon by earlier Italian writers such as Christine de Pizan, Moderata Fonte, and Lucrezia Marinella. Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori is credited with the creation of the philosophy of education that bears her name, an educational philosophy now practised throughout the world.[481] Giuseppe Peano was one of the founders of analytic philosophy and the contemporary philosophy of mathematics. Recent analytic philosophers include Carlo Penco, Gloria Origgi, Pieranna Garavaso and Luciano Floridi.[476]


    Teatro di San Carlo, Naples. It is the oldest continuously active venue for opera in the world.[489]

    Italian theatre originates from the Middle Ages, with its background dating back to the times of the ancient Greek colonies of Magna Graecia, in Southern Italy,[490] the theatre of the Italic peoples[491] and the theatre of ancient Rome. It can therefore be assumed that there were two main lines of which the ancient Italian theatre developed in the Middle Ages. The first, consisting of the dramatization of Catholic liturgies and of which more documentation is retained, and the second, formed by pagan forms of spectacle such as the staging for city festivals, the court preparations of the jesters and the songs of the troubadours.[492] The Renaissance theatre marked the beginning of the modern theatre due to the rediscovery and study of the classics, the ancient theatrical texts were recovered and translated, which were soon staged at the court and in the curtensi halls, and then moved to real theatre. In this way the idea of theatre came close to that of today: a performance in a designated place in which the public participates. In the late 15th century two cities were important centres for the rediscovery and renewal of theatrical art: Ferrara and Rome. The first, vital centre of art in the second half of the fifteenth century, saw the staging of some of the most famous Latin works by Plautus, rigorously translated into Italian.[493]

    Statues of Pantalone and Harlequin, two stock characters from the Commedia dell'arte, in the Museo Teatrale alla Scala

    During the 16th century and on into the 18th century,

    bravado. The main categories of these characters include servants, old men, lovers, and captains.[494]

    The first recorded Commedia dell'arte performances came from Rome as early as 1551,[495] and was performed outdoors in temporary venues by professional actors who were costumed and masked, as opposed to commedia erudita, which were written comedies, presented indoors by untrained and unmasked actors.[496] By the mid-16th century, specific troupes of commedia performers began to coalesce, and by 1568 the Gelosi became a distinct company. Commedia often performed inside in court theatres or halls, and also in some fixed theatres such as Teatro Baldrucca in Florence. Flaminio Scala, who had been a minor performer in the Gelosi published the scenarios of the Commedia dell'arte around the start of the 17th century, really in an effort to legitimise the form—and ensure its legacy. These scenari are highly structured and built around the symmetry of the various types in duet: two zanni, vecchi, inamorate and inamorati, among others.[497]

    Nobel Prize for Literature in 1997.[500]

    In Commedia dell'arte, female roles were played by women, documented as early as the 1560s, making them the first known professional actresses in Europe since antiquity. Lucrezia Di Siena, whose name is on a contract of actors from 10 October 1564, has been referred to as the first Italian actress known by name, with Vincenza Armani and Barbara Flaminia as the first primadonnas and the first well-documented actresses in Europe.[501]

    The Ballet dance genre also originated in Italy. It began during the Italian Renaissance court as an outgrowth of court pageantry,[502] where aristocratic weddings were lavish celebrations. Court musicians and dancers collaborated to provide elaborate entertainment for them.[503] At first, ballets were woven into the midst of an opera to allow the audience a moment of relief from the dramatic intensity. By the mid-seventeenth century, Italian ballets in their entirety were performed in between the acts of an opera. Over time, Italian ballets became part of theatrical life: ballet companies in Italy's major opera houses employed an average of four to twelve dancers; in 1815 many companies employed anywhere from eighty to one hundred dancers.[504]

    The Teatro di San Carlo in Naples is the oldest continuously active venue for public opera in the world, opening in 1737, decades before both Milan's La Scala and Venice's La Fenice theatres.[489]


    Antonio Vivaldi, in 1723. His best-known work is a series of violin concertos known as The Four Seasons.


    classical, music is an intrinsic part of Italian culture. Instruments associated with classical music, including the piano and violin, were invented in Italy,[505][506] and many of the prevailing classical music forms, such as the symphony, concerto, and sonata
    , can trace their roots back to innovations of 16th- and 17th-century Italian music.

    Italy's most famous composers include the

    Nono proved significant in the development of experimental and electronic music. While the classical music tradition still holds strong in Italy, as evidenced by the fame of its innumerable opera houses, such as La Scala of Milan and San Carlo of Naples (the oldest continuously active venue for public opera in the world),[489] and performers such as the pianist Maurizio Pollini and tenor Luciano Pavarotti, Italians
    have been no less appreciative of their thriving contemporary music scene.

    Italy is widely known for being the birthplace of opera.

    Puccini, are among the most famous operas ever written and today are performed in opera houses across the world. La Scala opera house in Milan is also renowned as one of the best in the world. Famous Italian opera singers include Enrico Caruso and Alessandro Bonci

    Introduced in the early 1920s,

    Armando Trovaioli, Piero Piccioni and Piero Umiliani. In the early 1980s, the first star to emerge from the Italian hip hop scene was singer Jovanotti.[510] Italian metal bands include Rhapsody of Fire, Lacuna Coil, Elvenking, Forgotten Tomb, and Fleshgod Apocalypse

    Giorgio Moroder, pioneer of Italo disco and electronic dance music, is known as the "Father of disco".[511]

    Italy contributed to the development of

    Euro disco (which later went on to influence several genres such as Eurodance and Nu-disco).[512]

    Producers such as

    have attained international acclaim.

    Gigliola Cinquetti, Toto Cutugno, and Måneskin won the Eurovision Song Contest, in 1964, 1990, and 2021 respectively.


    Entrance to Cinecittà in Rome, the largest film studio in Europe[514]
    Federico Fellini, considered one of the most influential and widely revered filmmakers of the 20th century[515]

    The history of

    Italian futurism, took place in the late 1910s.[525]

    After a period of decline in the 1920s, the Italian film industry was revitalized in the 1930s with the arrival of sound film. A popular Italian genre during this period, the Telefoni Bianchi, consisted of comedies with glamorous backgrounds.[526] Calligrafismo was instead in a sharp contrast to Telefoni Bianchi-American style comedies and is rather artistic, highly formalistic, expressive in complexity and deals mainly with contemporary literary material.[527] Cinema was later used by Benito Mussolini, who founded Rome's renowned Cinecittà studio also for the production of Fascist propaganda until World War II.[528]

    After the war, Italian film was widely recognised and exported until an artistic decline around the 1980s.

    La dolce vita, , The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and Once Upon a Time in the West. The mid-1940s to the early 1950s was the heyday of neorealist films, reflecting the poor condition of post-war Italy.[532]

    As the country grew wealthier in the 1950s, a form of neorealism known as pink neorealism succeeded, and starting from the 1950s through the Commedia all'italiana genre, and other film genres, such as sword-and-sandal followed as Spaghetti Westerns, were popular in the 1960s and 1970s.[533] Actresses such as Sophia Loren, Giulietta Masina and Gina Lollobrigida achieved international stardom during this period. Erotic Italian thrillers, or giallos, produced by directors such as Mario Bava and Dario Argento in the 1970s, also influenced the horror genre worldwide.[534] In recent years, the Italian scene has received only occasional international attention, with movies like Cinema Paradiso written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, Mediterraneo directed by Gabriele Salvatores, Life Is Beautiful directed by Roberto Benigni, Il Postino: The Postman with Massimo Troisi and The Great Beauty directed by Paolo Sorrentino.[535]

    The aforementioned

    Academy Award nomination and 47 of these won it, from some cinema classics to recent rewarded features (such as Roman Holiday, Ben-Hur, Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet, The English Patient, The Passion of the Christ, and Gangs of New York).[536]

    Italy is the most awarded country at the

    100 Italian films to be saved was created with the aim to report "100 films that have changed the collective memory of the country between 1942 and 1978".[541]


    The Azzurri in 2012. Football is the most popular sport in Italy.

    The most popular sport in Italy is football.[542][543] Italy's national football team is one of the world's most successful teams with four FIFA World Cup victories (1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006).[544] Italian clubs have won 48 major European trophies, making Italy the second most successful country in European football. Italy's top-flight club football league is named Serie A and is followed by millions of fans around the world.[545]

    Other popular team sports in Italy include

    silver medal in 1996, 2004, and 2016.

    Starting in 1909, the Giro d'Italia is the Grands Tours' second oldest.[548]

    Italy has a long and successful tradition in individual sports as well.

    Fed Cup
    in 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2013.

    A Ferrari SF21 by Scuderia Ferrari, the most successful Formula One team

    Autodromo Nazionale Monza.[556] Formula 1 was also held at Imola (1980–2006, 2020) and Mugello (2020). Other successful Italian car manufacturers in motorsports are Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Maserati and Fiat.[557]

    Historically, Italy has been successful in the Olympic Games, taking part from the first Olympiad and in 47 Games out of 48, not having officially participated in the 1904 Summer Olympics.[558] Italian sportsmen have won 522 medals at the Summer Olympic Games, and another 106 at the Winter Olympic Games, for a combined total of 628 medals with 235 golds, which makes them the fifth most successful nation in Olympic history for total medals. The country hosted two Winter Olympics and will host a third (in 1956, 2006, and 2026), and one Summer games (in 1960).

    Fashion and design

    Prada shop at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan

    Italian fashion has

    Bvlgari, Damiani and Buccellati have been founded in Italy. Also, the fashion magazine Vogue Italia, is considered one of the most prestigious fashion magazines in the world.[560] The talent of young, creative fashion is also promoted, as in the ITS young fashion designer competition in Trieste.[561]

    Italy is also prominent in the field of design, notably interior design,


    The traditional recipe for spaghetti with tomato and basil sauce
    Italian wine and salumi

    The Italian cuisine has developed through centuries of social and political changes, with roots as far back as the 4th century BC. Italian cuisine in itself takes heavy influences, including Etruscan, ancient Greek, ancient Roman, Byzantine, and Jewish.[566] Significant changes occurred with the discovery of the New World with the introduction of items such as potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers and maize, now central to the cuisine but not introduced in quantity until the 18th century.[567][568] Italian cuisine is noted for its regional diversity,[569][570][571] abundance of difference in taste, and is known to be one of the most popular in the world,[572] wielding strong influence abroad.[573]


    home cooking, this being one of the main reasons behind the ever-increasing worldwide popularity of Italian cuisine, from America[576] to Asia.[577] Ingredients and dishes vary widely by region

    Italian cuisine relies heavily on traditional products; the country has a large number of

    are among the most famous examples of Italian desserts, cakes and patisserie.

    merenda (plural merende), are also often included in this meal structure.[584]


    Italian tricolour) and geographical references for brands that are evocative of Italy to promote and market agri-food products that have nothing to do with Italian cuisine is known by the name of Italian Sounding.[585]

    Public holidays, festivals and folklore

    The Frecce Tricolori, with the smoke trails representing the national colours of Italy, during the celebrations of the Festa della Repubblica

    Public holidays celebrated in Italy include religious, national and regional observances. Italy's National Day, the

    President of the Italian Republic and a military parade along Via dei Fori Imperiali
    in Rome.


    folkloristic figure of the Befana, a broomstick-riding old woman who, in the night between 5 and 6 January, bringing good children gifts and sweets, and bad ones charcoal or bags of ashes.[589] The Assumption of Mary coincides with Ferragosto on 15 August, the summer vacation period which may be a long weekend or most of the month.[590]

    The Venice Film Festival is the oldest film festival in the world.[591]

    The Italian national patronal day, on 4 October, celebrates Saints Francis and Catherine. Each city or town also celebrates a public holiday on the occasion of the festival of the local patron saint,[587] for example: Rome on 29 June (Saints Peter and Paul), Milan on 7 December (Saint Ambrose), Naples on 19 September (Saint Januarius), Venice on 25 April (Saint Mark the Evangelist) and Florence on 24 June (Saint John the Baptist).

    There are many festivals and festivities in Italy. Some of them include the Palio di Siena horse race, Holy Week rites, Saracen Joust of Arezzo, Saint Ubaldo Day in Gubbio, Giostra della Quintana in Foligno, and the Calcio Fiorentino. In 2013, UNESCO has included among the intangible cultural heritage some Italian festivals and pasos (in Italian "macchine a spalla"), such as the Varia di Palmi, the Macchina di Santa Rosa in Viterbo, the Festa dei Gigli in Nola, and faradda di li candareri in Sassari.[592]

    Other festivals include the

    Venice International Film Festival, awarding the "Golden Lion" and held annually since 1932, is the oldest film festival in the world and one of the "Big Three" alongside Cannes and Berlin.[591][593]

    See also


    1. ^ Italian: Repubblica Italiana [reˈpubblika itaˈljaːna].
  • the region since antiquity. See Pliny the Elder, Letters
  • ^ The Guardia di Finanza also operates a large fleet of ships, aircraft and helicopters, enabling it to patrol Italy's waters and to eventually participate in warfare scenarios.
  • ^ According to Mitrica, an October 2005 Romanian report estimates that 1,061,400 Romanians are living in Italy, constituting 37% of 2.8 million immigrants in that country[395] but it is unclear how the estimate was made, and therefore whether it should be taken seriously.
  • ^ The Holy See's sovereignty has been recognized explicitly in many international agreements and is particularly emphasized in article 2 of the Lateran Treaty of 11 February 1929, in which "Italy recognizes the sovereignty of the Holy See in international matters as an inherent attribute in conformity with its traditions and the requirements of its mission to the world" (Lateran Treaty, English translation).
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