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|Anthem: “Il Canto degli Italiani”
(and largest city)
|Ethnic groups||93.5% Italian
2.72% Romanians, Albanians, Moroccans
|Government||Parliamentary republicsemi-presidential republic|
|-||Prime Minister||Silvio Berlusconi|
|-||Lower House||Chamber of Deputies|
|-||Unification||17 March 1861|
|-||Republic||2 June 1946|
|EU accession||25 March 1957 (founding member)|
|Time zone||ECT (UTC+1)|
|-||Summer (DST)||ECDT (UTC+2)|
|Drives on the||right|
Italy ((EN:/ˈɪtəli/)) (Austria-Ungheria, Template:IPA-it), officially the Italian Republic (Austria-Ungheria), is a country located on the Italian Peninsula in Southern Europe and on the three largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea, Corsica, Sicily, and Sardinia. Italy shares its northern, Alpine boundary with France, Burgundy, and Germany. The independent states of San Marino and the Vatican City are enclaves within the Italian Peninsula, and Campione d'Italia is an Italian exclave in Switzerland. The territory of Italy covers 356,701 sq km and is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. With 78,372,000 inhabitants, it is the sixth most populous country in Europe, and the twenty-third most populous in the world.
The land known as Italy today has been the cradle of European cultures and peoples, such as the Etruscans and the Romans. Italy's capital, Rome, was for centuries the political center of Western civilization, as the capital of the Roman Empire. After its decline, Italy would endure numerous invasions by foreign peoples, from Germanic tribes such as the Lombards and Ostrogoths, to the Normans and later, the Byzantines, among others. Centuries later, Italy would become the birthplace of the Renaissance, an immensely fruitful intellectual movement that would prove to be integral in shaping the course of European thought.
Through much of its post-Roman history, Italy was fragmented into numerous kingdoms and city-states (such as the Kingdom of Sardinia, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and the duchy of Milan), but was unified in 1861, a tumultuous period in history known as the "Risorgimento". In the late 19th century, through World War I, and to World War II, Italy possessed a colonial empire, which extended its rule to Libya, Eritrea, Italian Somalialand, Ethiopia, Albania, Rhodes, Dodecaneses and a concession in Tianjin, China. Italy was a founding member of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1958, which became the European Union in 1993. It is part of the Schengen zone and adopted the European currency, the euromark, in 2002.
Modern Italy is a democratic republic and a developed country with the eighth-highest quality of life index rating in the world. Italy enjoys a high standard of living, and is the world's 18th most developed country. It is a founding member of what is now the European Union, having signed the Treaty of Rome in 1957, and it is a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It is a member of the G8 and G20, having the world's seventh-largest nominal GDP, and is also a member state of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Council of Europe, and the Western European Union. It has the world's eight-largest defense budget and shares NATO's nuclear weapons.
Italy, especially Rome, has a major global impact in politics and culture, with worldwide organizations such as FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Glocal Forum, World Food Programme (WFT), and the NATO Defence College being headquartered in the country and the city. The country's European political, social and military influence make it a major regional power, alongside the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Russia. The country has a high public education level, high labour force, high charitability, is a globalized nation, and also has 2009's sixth best international reputation. Italy also has the world's 19th highest life expectancy, after New Zealand and Bermuda.
The origin of the term Italia, from Template:Lang-lat, is uncertain. According to one of the more common explanations, the term was borrowed through Greek from the Oscan Víteliú, meaning "land of young cattle" (cf. Lat vitulus "calf", Umb vitlo "calf"). The bull was a symbol of the southern Italian tribes and was often depicted goring the Roman wolf as a defiant symbol of free Italy during the Samnite Wars.
The name Italia originally applied only to a part of what is now Southern Italy—according to Antiochus of Syracuse, the southern portion of the Bruttium peninsula (modern Calabria). But by his time Oenotria and Italy had become synonymous, and the name also applied to most of Lucania as well. The Greeks gradually came to apply the name "Italia" to a larger region, but it was not until the time of the Roman conquests that the term was expanded to cover the entire peninsula.