photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

Italy (Italian: Italia [iˈtaːlja] ), officially the Italian Republic (Italian: Repubblica Italiana [reˈpubblika itaˈljaːna]), is a country in Southern and Western Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, it consists of a peninsula delimited by the Alps and surrounded by several islands. 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), with a population of nearly 60 million; 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 and destination of numerous ancient peoples. The Latin city of Rome in central Italy, founded as a Kingdom, became a Republic that conquered the Mediterranean world and ruled it for centuries as an Empire. With the spread of Christianity, Rome became the seat of the Catholic Church and of the Papacy. During the Early Middle Ages, Italy experienced the fall of the Western Roman Empire and inward migration from Germanic tribes. By the 11th century, Italian city-states and maritime republics expanded, bringing renewed prosperity through commerce and laying the groundwork for modern capitalism. 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. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Italian economic and commercial importance significantly waned.After centuries of political and territorial divisions, Italy was almost entirely unified in 1861 following Wars of independence and the Expedition of the Thousand, establishing the Kingdom of Italy. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy rapidly industrialised, mainly in the north, and acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained largely impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large immigrant diaspora. From 1915 to 1918, Italy took part in World War I on the side of the Entente and against the Central Powers. In 1922, following a period of crisis and turmoil, the Italian fascist dictatorship was established. During World War II, Italy was first part of the Axis until it surrendered to the Allied powers (1940-1943) and then, as part of its territory was occupied by Nazi Germany with fascist collaboration, a co-belligerent of the Allies during the Italian resistance and the liberation of Italy (1943-1945). Following the end of the war, the country replaced the monarchy with a republic via referendum and enjoyed a prolonged economic boom, becoming a major advanced economy.Italy has the eighth-largest nominal GDP in the world, the second-largest manufacturing industry in Europe (7th-largest in the world). The country has a significant role in regional and global economic, military, cultural, and diplomatic affairs. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union, and it is in numerous international institutions including NATO, the G7, the Mediterranean Union, the Latin Union, 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, cuisine, science and technology and fashion. It has the world's largest number of World Heritage Sites (58), and is the world's fifth-most visited country. Source: Wikipedia (en)

Works about Italy 33

Subject - wd:Q38

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