ITALY

Date of establishment: March 17, 1861

Brief history:

  • 753 BCE – Traditional date of the founding of Rome
  • 509 BCE – Founding of the Roman Republic
  • 264-146 BCE – Punic Wars with Carthage
  • 44 BCE – Assassination of Julius Caesar
  • 27 BCE – Augustus becomes the first Roman Emperor
  • 410 – Vandals sack Rome
  • 476 – Fall of the Western Roman Empire, Odoacer deposes the last Roman Emperor Romulus Augustus
  • 568-774 – Lombard Kingdom
  • 800 – Charlemagne is crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III
  • 1071-1091 – Norman conquest of southern Italy and Sicily
  • 11th to 15th century – the rise of the various city states
  • 1494-1559 – Italian Wars, France and Spain seek to control Italy
  • 1861 – Unification of Italy under the rule of the Kingdom of Sardinia
  • 1922-1943 – Fascist government led by Benito Mussolini
  • 1946 – Italian Republic is proclaimed following the fall of Mussolini’s regime during World War II.
  • 1957 – Italy is a founder member of the European Economic Community, later the EU, through the Treaty of Rome.
  • Recent history – Italy has experienced periods of political instability and problems with organized crime

International abbreviation: I

 

Currency: Euro (EUR)

The euro was introduced in Italy in 2002, replacing the previous currency, the lira.

 

Internet domain: .it

 

Dialing code: +39

 

Time zone: GMT +1

 

Geography:

Italy is a Southern European country located on the Italian Peninsula and adjacent islands including Sicily and Sardinia. It has a diverse landscape with mountain ranges such as the Apennines and the Alps, and it is surrounded by the Adriatic, Tyrrhenian, Ionian, and Mediterranean Seas.

The country shares borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, and two city-states, Vatican City and San Marino.

From a geographical perspective, Italy is divided into several regions. Northern Italy is predominantly mountainous and includes the Alps, which form the country’s northern border.

Southern Italy is characterized by volcanic activity and is home to active volcanoes such as Mount Vesuvius and Mount Etna.

 

Highest peak: Monte Bianco di Courmayeur (a sub-peak of Mont Blanc, the highest peak of which is in France) at 4 807 meters (15 771 feet) above sea level.

Mont Blanc is located on the border between Italy and France, and its summit reaches a height of 4 807 meters (15 771 feet) above sea level. It is a popular tourist destination visited by many people each year and presents a challenge for climbers from around the world. The surrounding area is home to many ski resorts and tourist areas.

The first documented successful ascent of Mont Blanc took place in 1786, and since then it has become a popular destination for mountaineers.

 

Climate:

Italy has a diverse climate that depends on various factors, including geographical location, altitude, and distance from the sea. In general, the south of the country has a warm and dry Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers. Northern Italy has a more continental climate, with cold winters and hot summers. In mountainous areas, the climate can be very harsh, ranging from alpine to polar at the mountain peaks.

Italy can experience high summer temperatures, especially in areas far from the sea, where temperatures can reach up to 40°C (104°F). In winter, there can be snowfall, especially in mountainous areas where winter tourism and skiing are popular. Overall, Italy is a popular tourist destination due to its pleasant climate and beautiful natural environment.

 

Fauna and flora:

Italy has a rich and diverse flora and fauna that can vary significantly in different parts of the country. In the plains and along the coast, you can find trees such as olive trees, citrus trees, cypresses and fig trees, as well as pine and oak forests. In mountainous areas, there are alpine meadows where flowers such as alpine roses, lilies, orchids, and mountain edelweiss grow. The Italian Alps also have glaciers and snowfields.

Various animal species inhabit Italy, including the Marsican brown bear, alpine ibex, red and roe deer, wild boar, Italian wolf, mouflon, and chamois. Dolphins and whales can be observed along the coasts as they migrate during the summer. There are also numerous bird species, including birds of prey such as golden eagles and hawks, as well as various species of jays and finches. The coastal areas are home to different types of fish, such as tuna, sardines, and anchovies.

 

Agriculture:

Among the most significant agricultural products in Italy are olives and olive oil, grapes, citrus fruits, tomatoes, artichokes, potatoes, and wheat.

The production of olive oil is vital for Italy, and Italian olive oil is considered among the best in the world. Italy also produces a wide variety of wines, including famous wines such as Chianti, Barolo, Brunello di Montalcino, and Prosecco.

In addition, Italy is known for its production of various types of cheese, such as Parmesan, Pecorino, Gorgonzola, and Mozzarella. Italy is also one of the largest producers of fish and seafood in Europe.

 

Mining of natural resources:

In Italy, various natural resources are mined, but resource extraction is not as significant as other industrial sectors. The most important resources include marble, stone, salt, and oil.

Marble is primarily extracted in the area around the city of Carrara in Tuscany, which is a renowned region for producing high-quality marble used in architecture and sculpture. Italy also mines various types of stone, including travertine, which was used in famous Roman landmarks such as the Colosseum, as well as quartz and feldspar.

Italy is one of the world’s main producers of sulfur, which is used in the chemicals industry and agriculture.

Emilia-Romagna is home to one of the largest salt mines in Europe, which produces table salt. Italy also has limited oil and natural gas extraction.

 

Industry:

Textiles industry – Italy is one of the world’s largest producers of luxury clothing and textile materials, and is home to many famous brands, such as Gucci and Armani. The highest concentration of the textiles industry is found in Lombardy and Tuscany.

Food industry – Italy is known for its specialties such as pasta, cheese, wine, and olive oil. The food industry is mainly concentrated in the regions of Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, and Lombardy.

Automotive industry – Italy is home to several famous car brands such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati. The largest automotive industrial area is in the Modena and Bologna region.

Chemicals industry – Italy has a well-developed chemicals industry producing chemicals and pharmaceutical products. The major concentration of the chemicals industry is found in Lombardy and Piedmont.

Electronics industry – Italy also manufactures electronic devices and components such as computers, mobile phones, and televisions. The largest concentration of the electronics industry is in the Milan and Turin areas.

Aerospace and defense – Italy has a prominent aerospace and defense sector, with companies involved in aerospace manufacturing, defense systems, and space exploration.

 

Services and other sectors of the economy: services, tourism, gastronomy, banking and insurance, robotics, and transportation.

 

Natural and historical attractions:

Italy is home to numerous significant tourist attractions. Some of the highlights include Roman landmarks such as the Colosseum, Vatican Museums, and the Sistine Chapel, Florence with its historic center and the Uffizi Gallery, Venice with its gondolas and canals, the sunny Amalfi Coast and Capri, Milan with its fashion boutiques and the Duomo Cathedral, and many more.

The tourism industry plays a vital role in the Italian economy, generating a significant number of jobs. Tourism also supports other sectors such as gastronomy, fashion, and art. The Italian government aims to promote sustainable tourism and protect the country’s cultural and natural heritage for future generations.

 

 

Form of government: parliamentary republic

Italy is a parliamentary republic with a democratic system of government. The head of state is the president, elected for a seven-year term and who holds primarily ceremonial functions. Real power in Italy lies with the prime minister, who is appointed by the president and leads the government.

The Italian Parliament consists of two chambers – the chamber of deputies and the senate. The chamber of deputies has 400 members elected for a five-year term. The Senate has 205 members, of which 200 are elected for a five-year term, and the remaining 5 are appointed for life.

Italy is divided into 20 regions, each with its own regional parliament and government. These regional authorities have a certain degree of autonomy in areas such as education, healthcare, culture, and others.

Italy also has an independent judicial system separate from the government and parliament. The highest judicial body in Italy is the constitutional court, which oversees the adherence to the constitution and the protection of citizens’ fundamental rights.

 

Capital city: Rome

Rome is the capital of Italy and one of the most significant cities in European history. It is located on the Tiber and has a rich history and culture dating back to ancient times. Its population is approximately 4 332 000

In antiquity, Rome was the center of the Roman Empire and the residence of Roman emperors. Many important structures were built during this time, including the famous Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and many others. These historical landmarks are major attractions for tourists from around the world.

Rome is also the center of the Catholic Church and the seat of the Pope. Vatican City, an independent state and the headquarters of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church, is located within Rome. Notable buildings in Rome include the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica.

Rome is also a cultural hub of Italy, offering numerous galleries, museums, theaters, and opera houses. The city is renowned for its excellent cuisine, including traditional Italian specialties such as pasta, pizza, and gelato.

 

Area: 301 340 km2 (116 350 square miles)

 

Population: 58 900 000 (2022 estimate)

Italy is relatively densely populated, with the majority of people living in areas near major cities such as Rome, Milan, Turin, Naples, Florence, and Venice. The majority of the population speaks Italian, which is the country’s official language. However, there are also minority languages such as Sardinian, Ladin, German, and French.

Italy is a relatively homogeneous country in terms of ethnic composition, with the majority of the population being of Italian descent. Foreign communities make up approximately 8% of the population, mainly consisting of agricultural and industrial workers from other European countries and Asia.

The average life expectancy in Italy is high, at around 83 years, and the country has a low birth rate, leading to an aging population. Italy also has a lower immigration rate compared to other European countries, which also influences the population composition.

 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 59

 

  1. Archaeological Areas of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Torre Annunziata (1997) – Archaeological sites in the Bay of Naples, where the remains of two Roman cities destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD are located.
  2. Castel del Monte (1996) – A 13th-century medieval castle in Apulia, built by Emperor Frederick II.
  3. Amalfi Coast (1997) – A coastline in Campania with stunning views of the Tyrrhenian Sea and significant historical landmarks.
  4. Crespi d’Adda (1995) – An industrial town built in the 19th century near Milan.
  5. The Dolomites (2009) – A mountain range in Italy known for its rocky peaks and scenic landscapes.
  6. Etruscan Necropolises of Tuscany (2004) – A group of Etruscan cities located in Tuscany, such as Arezzo, Chiusi, Cortona, San Gimignano, and others.
  7. The Historic Centre of Florence (1982) – The historic center of the city of Florence, full of Renaissance buildings and artworks, such as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Uffizi Gallery, and the Ponte Vecchio.
  8. The Historic Centre of Naples (1995) – The historic center of the city of Naples, filled with ancient and Renaissance-era landmarks, such as Castel dell’Ovo and the Cathedral of San Gennaro.
  9. The Historic Centre of Rome, Vatican City, and St. Paul’s Basilica (1980) – In addition to Rome, this site also includes Vatican City and St. Paul’s Basilica.
  10. Longobards in Italy, Places of Power (2011) – A group of Lombard monasteries from the 8th and 9th centuries in Lombardy, such as Monte Sant’Angelo, San Salvatore, and Santa Giulia.
  11. Botanical Garden of Padua (1997) – A botanical garden in Padua, founded in the 16th century.
  12. Piazza del Duomo, Pisa (1987) – The square in Pisa with significant landmarks such as the Leaning Tower, the Cathedral, and the Baptistery.
  13. Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy (2003) – Nine different mountain sites in Italy known for their chapels and religious monuments.
  14. The Historic Centre of San Gimignano (1990) – The historic center of the town of San Gimignano with its many medieval buildings.
  15. Monte San Giorgio (2003) – A mountain on the border between Italy and Switzerland with significant fossil remains from the Triassic period.
  16. Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park with the Archeological Sites of Paestum and Velia, and the Certosa di Padula (1998) – A national park in Campania that includes archaeological sites, a monastery, and natural scenery.
  17. Val d’Orcia (2004) – A landscape in Tuscany filled with olive groves, vineyards, and medieval towns and villages.
  18. Villa Adriana (Tivoli) (1999) – An extensive complex of Roman buildings in Tivoli built by Emperor Hadrian.
  19. Villa Romana del Casale (1997) – An archaeological site in Piazza Armerina, Sicily, where the remains of a Roman villa with rich mosaics are located.
  20. Villa d’Este, Tivoli (2001) – Gardens near a palace in Tivoli created in the Renaissance style.
  21. Urbino (1998) – A historic town in Marche that was a significant cultural center during the Renaissance.
  22. Caserta Palace and Park, the Aqueduct of Vanvitelli, and the San Leucio Complex (1997) – An extensive royal palace located in Caserta, Campania, south of Naples, Italy. It was built in the 18th century as the residence of the Bourbons, who ruled the Kingdom of Two Sicilies.
  23. Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe (2007) – These forests are located in central and eastern Europe and include beech forests.
  24. Cathedral of Cefalù (2015) – Also known as the Cathedral of Saint Salvator, it is a significant religious building located in the town of Cefalù on the northern coast of Sicily, Italy.
  25. The Archaeological Area of Agrigento (1997) – One of the most important archaeological sites in Italy and considered one of the largest and most complex ancient Greek settlements in the world.
  26. Assisi, the Basilica of San Francesco and Other Franciscan Sites (2000) – A significant C`atholic pilgrimage site dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan Order.
  27. Cathedral, Torre Civica, and Piazza Grande, Modena (1997) – This area represents a unique example of medieval architecture and urban planning.
  28. The City of Verona (2000) – A historic city and cultural center located in northeastern Italy in the Veneto region. It is known for its rich heritage and is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Italy.
  29. The Historic Centre of Ravenna (1996) – The city is known for its rich artistic treasures and unique mosaics adorning its churches and monuments.
  30. Ferrara, City of the Renaissance and Its Po Delta (1995) – Ferrara is known for its well-preserved medieval and Renaissance core, surrounded by impressive walls.
  31. Genoa: Le Strade Nuove and the system of the Palazzi dei Rolli (2006) – The palaces in Le Strade Nuove are known for their architectural beauty and luxurious interiors.
  32. Historic Centre of Siena (1995) – A fascinating place full of landmarks, narrow streets, and picturesque squares.
  33. The Historic Centre of the City of Pienza (1996) – Located in the Tuscany region of central Italy, it is a unique example of Renaissance architecture and urban planning.
  34. Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands) (2000) – Also known as the Aeolian Islands, they are a group of volcanic islands located in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the northeastern coast of Sicily.
  35. Ivrea, Industrial City of the 20th Century (2018) – Ivrea is a small town located in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. It is situated on the banks of the Dora Baltea River, about 40 kilometers north of Turin.
  36. Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto (South-Eastern Sicily) (2002) – This area is known for its late Baroque towns. It was created after a strong earthquake in 1693 that devastated the original towns, which were then rebuilt in the Baroque style.
  37. Le Colline del Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene (2019) – Hilly areas located in the province of Treviso in northeastern Italy. The area is known for its vineyards and the production of the renowned Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine.
  38. The Medici Villas and Gardens in Tuscany (2013) – A group of historic residences built by the Medici family, a prominent Florentine noble family, during their rule from the 14th to the 18th century.
  39. Etna (2013) – An active stratovolcano located on the eastern coast of Sicily in Italy. It is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and has a significant impact on the surrounding region.
  40. The Fresco Cycles of Padua from the Fourteenth Century (2021) – The works depict religious themes and biblical stories, and represent excellent examples of early Gothic and pre-Renaissance art.
  41. Mantua and Sabbioneta (2008) – These two towns represent two approaches of Renaissance period town planning.
  42. Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands (Palmaria, Tino, and Tinetto) (1997) – They form a unique and picturesque area on the Italian Riviera. Located in the Liguria region, they are known for their beautiful landscapes, historic towns, and natural scenery.
  43. Prehistoric Pile dwellings around the Alps (2011) – These pile dwellings, also known as palafittes, were built during the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods (approximately 5000–800 BCE) and served as homes for prehistoric communities.
  44. Residences of the Royal House of Savoy (1997) – A collection of palaces, castles, and residences located in various cities and regions of Italy.
  45. The Rhaetian Railway in the Albula/Bernina Landscape (2008) – It is one of the most picturesque railway lines in the world. Located in the Swiss Alps, it connects the towns of Chur in the Albula region and Tirano in the Bernina region.
  46. The Rock Drawings in Valcamonica (1979) – These rock drawings, created thousands of years ago, are one of the most extensive collections of prehistoric rock art in the world. They depict various motifs, including animals, plants, geometric patterns, battle scenes, and human figures.
  47. Su Nuraxi di Barumini (1997) – An ancient fortress and archaeological site located in Sardinia, one of the islands of Italy. This fortress is known as one of the most significant examples of the Nuragic culture that existed in Sardinia between the 15th and 6th centuries BCE.
  48. Syracuse and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica (2005) – Syracuse is a historic city located on the eastern coast of Sicily in Italy. Near Syracuse is the rocky necropolis of Pantalica, which is another significant archaeological site in Sicily.
  49. The Great Spa Towns of Europe (2021) – They offer a unique combination of relaxation, therapeutic procedures, and historical surroundings. These towns are known for their healing springs, wellness services, and rich spa tradition.
  50. The Porticoes of Bologna (2021) – The porticoes in Bologna are long, arched walkways attached to buildings on one side and supported by columns or arcades on the other side.
  51. Trulli of Alberobello (1996) – Characteristic stone buildings located in the town of Alberobello in the Apulia region of southeastern Italy.
  52. Venetian Works of Defense (2017) – The overall value of the city of Venice and its historic center, including its defense elements.
  53. Venice and its Lagoon (1987) – Venice is known for its water system of canals, bridges, and squares. The city is built on sandy islands connected by a network of canals and small channels. These waterways serve as the main arteries of transportation in the city, hence the characteristic gondolas and boats used as means of transport.
  54. The Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont: Langhe-Roero and Monferrato (2014) – The landscape is marked by extensive vineyards that produce some of the finest Italian wines, including the famous Barolo, Barbaresco, and Moscato d’Asti.
  55. The City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto (1994) – The city of Vicenza is known for its unique architectural heritage, which includes many buildings designed by Palladio. Among the most significant structures in Vicenza are the Basilica Palladiana, Teatro Olimpico, and Palazzo Chiericati.
  56. Evaporitic Karst and Caves of Northern Apennines (2023) – This site comprises four areas with evaporite karst, two with Triassic anhydrites, and two with Messinian gypsum.
  57. Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale (2015) – This site comprises nine buildings, constructed during the time of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily (1130–1194) in a style that incorporates features of Arab, Byzantine, and Western art.
  58. Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie with “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci (1980) – The complex of the Dominican Convent in Milan was constructed in the second half of the 15th century; it is partially attributed to Bramante.
  59. The Sassi and the Park of the Rupestrian Churches of Matera (1993) – This site comprises two districts of Matera, with cave dwellings first occupied in the Paleolithic.

 

National parks: 25

 

  1. Abruzzo, Lazio, and Molise National Park
  2. Alta Murgia National Park
  3. Appennino Lucano – Val d’Agri – Lagonegrese National Park
  4. Appennino Tosco-Emiliano National Park
  5. Arcipelago di La Maddalena National Park
  6. Arcipelago Toscano National Park
  7. Asinara National Park
  8. Aspromonte National Park
  9. Cilento, Vallo di Diano, and Alburni National Park
  10. Cinque Terre National Park
  11. Circeo National Park
  12. Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park
  13. Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona, and Campigna National Park
  14. Gargano National Park
  15. Gennargentu National Park
  16. Gran Paradiso National Park
  17. Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park
  18. Majella National Park
  19. Monti Sibillini National Park
  20. Pollino National Park
  21. Sila National Park
  22. Stelvio National Park
  23. Val Grande National Park
  24. Vesuvius National Park
  25. Island of Pantellaria National Park