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ITALY
 
   
   
 

Italy Identity Card

Country name:
~ conventional long form: Italian Republic
~ conventional short form: Italy
~ local long form: Repubblica Italiana
~ local short form: Italia
 
Area: 301,230 sq km
Coastline: 7,600 km
Highest point: Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco) de Courmayeur 4,748 m
Population: 58,103,033
Density: 194/Km2
Population growth rate: 0.07%
Official Language: Italian
Religions: predominately Roman Catholic
Government type: Republic
Capital: Rome
GDP - per capita: $27,700
Inflation: 2.3%
Currency (code): euro (EUR)
Vehicle Country Id-Code: I
ISO CODE Alpha2: IT
ISO CODE Alpha3: ITA
ISO NUMERIC CODE: 380
Calling code: +39
Internet country code: .it
Time Zone: GMT +1.0H

 
 
 
 

Pisa Tower

Italy, better known as the “knee-high boot” shaped country, is an embodiment of progress in Europe in its truest sense. From the budding of Renaissance, this country has been the best source of legends; be it for the hot and yummy delicacies like the pizzas and pastas, the religious blocks like the potentates and popes, or the cultural makers like the painters and the much dreaded mafias. Over the centuries this land of diversity has remained the heartthrob of the European continent emanating influence and inspiration in the fields of unconventional forms of art, literature and sculpture throughout the whole region. Italy is the cradle of the great Roman Empire that changed the course of histories of several countries and races. Today, it can boast of having a huge Mediterranean peninsula that includes the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Although Rome being the capital city steals the lion share of global attention, cities like Genoa, Florence, Naples, Milan, Venice and Turin etc. are always pulsating with life in style. The country is a close neighbour to France, Switzerland, Slovenia and Austria and surrounded and cocooned by the salty Mediterranean Sea, the Ionian Sea, Adriatic Sea, Ligurian Sea, and Tyrrhenian Sea. The Vatican City and San Marino are situated within the Italian territories but are independent principalities.
Geographically, Italy is a package of all the miracles of nature. Ample opportunities of a pleasure trip lie amidst the gorgeous countrysides, majestic mountains, placid lakes, idyllic islands, splendid cities and wonderful walled villages. Be it a hitchhiker, art connoisseur, regular visitor or business traveller, Italy seduces all with its rich heritage, cuisine and culture. The glimmering climate complemented by the warm and gracious nature of the Italians confidently succeeds to soothe your tensed muscles. Whether you are taking a Gondola ride to explore the canals of Venice, skiing in the Alps, gazing at the medieval arts or simply admiring the strokes of Da Vinci or Botticelli, it's eternal Italy for you.


Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco) the Italian side

Geography

Italy or Italia is a protruding landscape from southern Europe on the waves of Mediterranean Sea. The borderline of the country is constituted of France in the northwest, the Ligurian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea in the west, the Ionian Sea in the south, the Adriatic Sea in the east, Switzerland and Austria in the north and Slovenia in the northeast. Though the Mediterranean islands of Sicily and Sardinia and several small islands, including Capri, Elba, the Lipari Islands and Ischia are separated from the mainland, they come under the jurisdiction of Italy.
The Italian republic is spread across an area of 116,303 sq mi (301, 225 sq km) with the fifth largest population density in Europe. The topographical torso of the country is dotted with towering mountain ranges, fertile riverbeds and serene coastlines. But it wouldn't be an exaggeration to state that Italy is a wild country, taking into consideration the fact that nearly 75% of the land area is mountainous and another 20% is forested. The high range of Alps guards the northern frontier of Italy and nurtures a flourishing tourist trade on its slopes. Another major mountain chain of the Apennines walls the country from the centre to the tail end of Sicily. The largest river in Italy is the Po, which begins its journey from the Alpine region in the west and ends in a vast delta on the Adriatic. The bustling industrial areas and agricultural land have cropped up by the riverbanks of Tiber, Arno and tributaries of Po. The central part of the country is home to the historic breeding places like Rome, Florence, Pisa, Siena, Perugia, Assisi, Urbino and Bologna. The existence of lively lakes like Lago Maggiore, Lake Garda and Lake Como further beautifies the country. The highest point of the country is Mont Blanc at 4,810 m. Apart from all these environmental prosperities, the country is also prone to some of the worst furies of nature, volcano. Vesuvius, located close to Naples, is so far dreaded as the only living example of an active volcano on the European mainland. Not just this, Etna of Sicily, one of the largest volcanoes in the world is also situated here in Italy.
Native Italians comprise the lion share of the total population count. But Italy is home to some minorities of German, French, and Slavic origin as well. Religiously too it is a homogeneous crowd with most of them following the Roman Catholic Church.


Bellagio on Como Lake

Climate

Italy's climate varies from north to south, according to its terrains. Though most of Italy enjoys a Mediterranean climate, at Sicily down south the weather condition is subtropical, and in the Alps up north, it is freezing. On the contrary the north is frequented by cold winters and hot summers. The Apennines also has cold, snowy winters. But the south is comparatively warmer. The spring stays from April to May and the autumn blooms between October and November. These two seasons are the best time to visit Italy as the temperatures are pleasant.


Pompei ruins

History

Italy was the origin of the glittering light known as "Renaissance" in an age that is otherwise known throughout Europe as "Dark." But the historic index of this country starts long back from the time of Ice Age but little is known before the times of Magna Graecia, where the Greeks had established prosperous colonies. Then followed the Ligurian stock and the Etruscans, who established themselves in central Italy before 800 B.C. till the Celts or Gauls overthrown them. From this time on till 5th century A.D. the history of Italy revolved around the growth of Rome and of the Roman Empire. During these seven centuries, Holy Roman Emperors, Roman Catholic popes, Normans, and Saracens went on to squabble over domination and expansion of powers extending from Italy to its surrounding regions. But the bright sun of great Roman Empire set after the barbarian invasions. Only the eastern Byzantium side managed to survive at a staggering stage.


Rome Coliseum


After years of civil disturbances and internal attacks, Italy was politically divided like never before. This period also symbolises the strange coincidence of flourishing of art and culture in the country. Amidst the power struggle between the Pope and the Emperor, France, Spain and Austria, all laid claim to parts of Italy over the next centuries. Consequently, a divided and weak Italy came under the Austrians. By the first decade of 19th century, Napoleon took control of the whole of Italy. But with the Congress of Vienna in 1815 Napoleon bowed out of the scene and the reign was back in to the hands of Austria. Various unification bid were adopted under the able leadership of Giuseppe Mazzini, Camillo Cavour and Giuseppe Garibaldi during different point of time. Ultimately in 1861 the country became the Kingdom of Italy under the house of Savoy and Victor Emmanuel II, king of Sardinia, was proclaimed the king of Italy. Things took a complete shape in 1870 when the last French troops were driven from Papal Rome. Italy once again went on a spree to colonise areas outside the country and seized Libya and the Greek Islands of the Dodecanese from Turkey.
In World War I, Italy initially took a neutral stand but failed to resist itself from the lure of substantial territorial rewards from the Allies. It fought against Germany. The result was disappointing as the terms granted were far less than the promised. This gave birth to the growth of Fascism. In 1922 Benito Mussolini, the Fascist leader, took control of the country and ruled as a dictator. In World War II it allied with Adolf Hitler-led Germany. But the consequence was not as glorious as in September 1943 Italy surrendered unconditionally to the Allies. The Partisans captured and executed Mussolini in 1945. Italy's borders were restored by the peace treaty of 1947, after it returned the previously captured foreign regions to the respective countries.
Then on, Italy took the path of economic revival and established a parliamentary system. Now, Italy is an integral member of NATO and the European Union.


Portofino

Economy

A strange geographical barrier marks the economy of Italy. While the northern part of the country flourishes under the waves of massive industrialisation efforts and privatisation policies, the southern belt is dominated by agricultural pursuits and staggers under a high unemployment rate. The lack of natural resources and relatively poor supplies of the raw materials for industry has affected the economy with huge scale import dependency. But all these were only miniscule hurdles for the Italian economy and it succeeded brilliantly over all odds with stringent policy making and financial disbursement. Initially it was very rigid, but after the membership to European Union and adoption of Euro, the government has gone soft on tax issues and labour market trend.
Italy was also one of the six founders of the European Economic Community in 1957.The main agricultural products are grains, rice, vegetables, olives, tomatoes and grapes. Italian marble is the most famous natural product of the country and is exported all over the world for use in many types of buildings. Some of the famous international banners and labels of Italy are Fiat and Ferrari in the motor industry, Olivetti in computers and office equipment, and Benetton, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana in the clothing industry. The GDP/PPP of Italy stands near $1.609 trillion with a per capita of $27,700 matching the prosperous economies of Europe.


Naples And Vesuvio

Politics

A well-versed constitution forms the political backbone of Italy. Adopted in 1948, it clearly states the president as the head of state who works with his small group of regional advisors. The president comes to office for seven years with majority support from the members of the two houses of the Italian parliament; the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.
In this bicameral parliamentary setup, the Chamber of Deputies consists of 630-member, out of which 475 are directly elected and the rest 155 come in by regional proportional representation. The Senate is made up of 315 elected members and 11 life members. Out of the elected ones, 232 members have to face the popular vote and 83 are elected by regional proportional representation. Members of both the house serve a term of five years. The council of ministers, led by the prime minister form the country's executive part of authority. It comes into action with vote of confidence of parliament. The president nominates the prime minister, who in turn, proposes the ministers for his government.
For administrative convenience, Italy has been divided into 20 regions, which are subdivided into a total of 94 provinces. The country's 20 regions have also separate parliaments and governments and shares power with the central authority. The Italian judiciary functions under the realm of a constitutional court and leans heavily on the influences of Roman law. However, in general it is a fair system, bereft of any third party intervention.


Genoa Harbour
 



 

 

 
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