Map of Italy
Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The Italian Republic or Italy
is a country in the south of Europe,
consisting mainly of a boot-shaped
peninsula together with two large
islands in the Mediterranean Sea:
Sicily and Sardinia.
To the north it is bound by the
Alps, where it borders France,
Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia.
Repubblica Italiana (In Italian).
Official language; Italian
(+ German and Ladin in South Tyrol,
Slovenian in Friuli-Venezia
Giulia and French in Valle d'Aosta.)
Independence - Date Italian
unification March 17, 1861.
Currency; Euro (EUR), Italian
euro coins (Prior to 1999: Lira.)
Time zone; UTC +1.
Internet TLD; .IT
Phone Calling Code; 39
Italy's history is perhaps the most
important one for the cultural and
social development of the
Mediterranean area as a whole.
The country has been host to
important human activities in
prehistoric times, and thusly
archaeological sites of note can
be found in many regions:
Latium and Tuscany, Umbria
After Magna Graecia, the Etruscan
civilisation and especially the
Roman Empire that came to dominate
this part of the world for many
centuries, came the medieval
Humanism and the Renaissance
that further helped to shape
European philosophy and art.
The city of Rome contains some
of the most important
examples of the Baroque.
The Italy of modern time became
a nation-state belatedly - on
March 17, 1861 when the states
of the peninsula and the two Sicilies
were united under king Victor
Emmanuel II of the Savoy dynasty,
hitherto ruler of Piedmont and
kings of Sardinia.
The architect of Italian unification,
however was Count Camillo Benso
di Cavour, the Chief Minister
of Victor Emmanuel.
Rome itself remained for a decade
under the Papacy, and became part of
the Kingdom of Italy only on September
20, 1870, the final date of Italian
The Vatican is now an independent enclave
surrounded by Italy, as is San Marino.
The Fascist dictatorship of Benito
Mussolini that took over in 1922 led to a
disastrous alliance with Nazi Germany and
Japan, and ultimately Italy's
defeat in World War II.
On June 2, 1946 a referendum on the monarchy
resulted in the establishment of the Italian
republic, which led to the adoption of a new
constitution on January 1, 1948.
Members of the royal family
were sent into exile
because of their association
with the fascist regime.
Italy was a charter member of NATO and
the European Union, and hence joined the
growing political and economic unification
of Western Europe, including the
introduction of the Euro in 1999.
The 1948 constitution established a bicameral
parliament (Parlamento), consisting of a
Chamber of Deputies (Camera dei Deputati)
and a Senate (Senato della Repubblica), a
separate judiciary, and an executive branch
composed of a Council of Ministers (cabinet),
headed by the president of the
council (prime minister).
The president of the republic is elected for
7 years by the parliament sitting jointly
with a small number of regional delegates.
The president nominates the prime minister, who
proposes the other ministers (formally named
by the president).
The Council of Ministers (mostly, but
not necessarily composed of members of
parliament) must retain the
confidence (Fiducia) of both houses.
The houses of parliament are popularly and
directly elected by a mixed majoritarian and
proportional representation system.
Under 1993 legislation, Italy has single-member
districts for 75% of the seats in parliament;
the remaining 25% of seats are allotted
on a proportional basis.
The Chamber of Deputies has 630 members.
In addition to 315 elected members, the Senate
includes former presidents and several other
persons appointed for life according to special
constitutional provisions. Both houses are elected
for a maximum of 5 years, but either may be
dissolved before the expiration
of its normal term.
Legislative bills may originate in either
house and must be passed by a majority in both.
The Italian judicial system is based on Roman law
modified by the Napoleonic code
and later statutes.
A constitutional court, the Corte Costituzionale,
which passes on the constitutionality of laws,
is a post-World War II innovation.
Map Italy is subdivided into 20 regions
(regioni, singular regione), of which five
enjoy a special autonomous status, marked by a *:
Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria,
Friuli-Venezia Giulia*, Latium (Lazio), Liguria,
Lombardy (Lombardia), Marche, Molise, Piedmont (Piemonte),
Apulia (Puglia), Sardinia (Sardegna)*, Sicily (Sicilia)*,
Tuscany (Toscana), Trentino-South
Tyrol (Trentino-Alto Adige)*,
Umbria, Aosta Valley (Valle d'Aosta)*, Veneto.
A region can be further
subdivided into provinces.
Italy consists predominantly of a large peninsula
that extends into the Mediterranean Sea, where
together with its two main islands Sicily and
Sardinia it creates a distinct bodies of water,
such as the Adriatic Sea to the north-east,
the Ionian Sea to the south-east, the
Tyrrhenian Sea to the south-west and
finally the Ligurian Sea to the north-west.
The Apennine mountains form the
backbone of this peninsula, leading
north-west to where they join the
Alps, the mountain range that then
forms an arc enclosing Italy from the north.
Here you also found a large alluvial plain,
the Po-Venetian plain, drained by the Po
River and its many tributaries flowing down
from the Alps, Appennines and Dolomites.
Other well-known rivers include
the Tiber, Adige and Arno.
Its highest point is the Mont Blanc
(Monte Bianco) at 4,810 m, but Italy is more
typically associated with two famous
volcanoes: the currently dormant Vesuvius
near Naples and the very active Etna on Sicily.
Italy has a diversified industrial economy
with roughly the same total and per capita
output as France and the United Kingdom.
This capitalistic economy remains divided
into a developed industrial north, dominated
by private companies, and a less developed
agricultural south, with 20% unemployment.
Most raw materials needed by industry and more
than 75% of energy requirements are imported.
Over the past decade, Italy has pursued a tight
fiscal policy in order to meet the requirements
of the Economic and Monetary Unions and has
benefited from lower interest and inflation
rates and joined the Euro
from its conception in 1999.
Italy's economic performance
has lagged behind that
of its EU partners, and the current government
has enacted numerous short-term reforms aimed
at improving competitiveness
and long-term growth.
It has moved slowly, however, on implementing
needed structural reforms, such as lightening
the high tax burden and overhauling Italy's rigid
labour market and expensive pension system,
because of the current economic slowdown
and opposition from labour unions.
Italy is largely homogeneous linguistically
and religiously but is diverse culturally,
economically, and politically.
Italy has the fifth-highest population
density in Europe at 196 persons
per square kilometre.
Minority groups are small, the largest being
the German speaking in South Tyrol
(1991: 287.503 german and 116.914 italian speaking)
and the Slovenians around Trieste.
Other minority groups with partly official
languages include the French speaking
minority in the Valle d'Aosta region; the
Sardinian language on Sardinia); the
Ladin language in the Dolomites mountains;
and the Friulian language in the Friuli-Venezia
Giulia region, all four being Romance languages.
In addition there exist several small local
minorities, such as the Occitans in the southern
Piedmont valleys; the Catalans in the town of
Alghero on Sardinia; Albanians in villages in
Calabria and Sicily; and ancient
Greek dialects in villages of Calabria.
Although Roman Catholicism is the majority
religion (85% of native-born citizens are
nominally Catholic) there are mature
Protestant and Jewish communities and a
growing Muslim immigrant community.
Italy is well-known for its art, culture,
and several monuments, among them the
leaning tower of Pisa and the Roman Colosseum,
as well as for its food (pizza, pasta, etc.),
wine, lifestyle, elegance, design, cinema,
theatre, literature, poetry, visual arts,
music (notably Opera), holidays,
and generally speaking, for taste.
Europe's Renaissance period began in Italy
during the 14th and 15th centuries.
Literary achievements, such as the poetry
of Petrarch, Tasso, and Ariosto and the
prose of Boccaccio, Machiavelli, and
Castiglione exerted a tremendous and lasting
influence on the subsequent development of
Western culture, as did the painting,
sculpture, and architecture contributed by
giants such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raffaello,
Botticelli, Fra Angelico, and Michelangelo.
The musical influence of Italian composers
Monteverdi, Palestrina, and Vivaldi proved
epochal; in the 19th century, Italian
romantic opera flourished under composers
Gioacchino Rossini, Giuseppe Verdi, and
Contemporary Italian artists, writers,
filmmakers, architects, composers, and
designers continue to contribute
significantly to Western culture.
Football is the main national sport.
Italy has won the Football World Cup
three times: in 1934, 1938 and 1982.
Italian football has produced some of
world's best football players and teams.
The latter include A.C. Milan and Inter
Milano FC from Milan, A.S. Roma and S.S.
Lazio from Rome, Juventus from Turin,
and Fiorentina from Florence.
January 1; New Year's Day Capodanno
January 6; Epiphany Epifania
Easter Sunday; Pasqua
Easter Monday; Luned́ di Pasqua
April 25; Anniversary of Liberation Liberazione 1945
May 1; Labour day Festa del Lavoro
June 2; Republic Day Festa della Repubblica 1946
August 15; Assumption Day Assunzione
November 1; All Saints Tutti i Santi
December 8; Immaculate Conception Immacolata
December 25; Christmas Natale
December 26; St. Stephen's Day Santo Stefano
December 31; New Year's Eve San Silvestro
For a more information about
Italy see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This page was retrieved and condensed from
see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, December 2003.
All text is available under the terms of the
GNU Free Documentation License
Copyrights for details).
This information was correct in December 2003. E. & O.E.
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