- Capital: Rome
- Area: 301336 km²
- Population density: 196 / km²
- Religion: 80,2 % Catholics, 16,2 % Undenominational , 3,6 % Other
- Official language: Italian
- Type of government: Parliamentary Republic
- Climate: Mediterranean
- Unemployment: 6,1 % (2007)
- Currency: Euro
Dimensions of the country
Italy is situated on the Apennines peninsula which looks like a boot. The islands of Sicily and Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea also belong to Italy. Its neighboring countries are France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, San Marino and Vatican City.
Italy has a population of 59.1 million people. About 67% of those live in the cities since a migration into the urban centers between 1950 and 1960. This trend was reversed in the 1980ies and a lot of Italians have been moving into the suburbs and small towns. Italy has the highest life expectancy in the world. It's 80.4 years (2005).
Most Italians are Catholics. Furthermore, there are over one million Muslims, approx.120,000 Buddhists, 50,000 Protestants and about 40,000 Jews in Italy. The Catholic Church is tradionally very influential in Italy and there are a lot of Italian priests and cardinals.
Official language is Italian. Apart from that, Friaulian, German, Slovenian, Occitan, French, Catalan, to name just a few, are officially recognized minority languages.
Italy's climate is generally Mediterranean. However, it varies between the different regions - from the mountain climate of the Alps and Apennines to the mediterranean climate in South Italy. The average yearly temperatures range between 11 and 19°C.
- Especially Middle and South Italy were important European cultural centers were considered the soul of the Roman Empire in the antiquity
- Since the 5th and 6th century the country was split into various dominions
- In the 11th century particularly the northern city increased their autonomy
- In the 14th and 15th century five main powers evolved (South Italian Kingdom, Papal States, Florence, Milan, Venice) which were economically and culturally well developed and which shared political power and resources
- After the collapse of Napoleon's empire in 1815, integration of the Italian Kingdom began
- Benito Musolino came into power in October 1922. His aim was the resurrection of the antique Roman Empire.
- After being Hitler's ally, Italy changed his position after the collapse of its fascist regime in the fall of 1943
- The German army surrendered to the Allied Powers on 28. April 1945, but the fighting in Italy went on until 02 May 1945
- There have been a lot and frequent changes of government in postwar Italy, but each government with participation of the Democrazia Cristiana party
- 1946 Formation of a Parliamentarian Republic
- Head of State is the president
- The parliament consists of chamber of deputies and the senate elected every 5 years
- Prime Minister is also the head of government
- Since 2008 this is Silvio Berlusconi
- 4. April 1949 Italy joins NATO
- 14. December 1955 joins the United Nations
- Founding member of the European Union
arts and culture
Italy is famous for its art, culture and historical buildings like the coliseum or the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Furthermore, Italy is known for its wine, design, opera and painting. Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Giuseppe Verdi are only a few of Italy's famous citizens.