Italy

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– on the European continent  (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union  (green)  —  [Legend]

Italy (pronounced /ˈɪtəli/ ( listen); Italian: Italia [iˈtaːlja]), officially the Italian Republic (Italian: Repubblica italiana), is a country located in south-central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia along the Alps. To the south it consists of the entirety of the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Sardinia — the two largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea — and many other smaller islands. The independent states of San Marino and the Vatican City are enclaves within Italy, whilst Campione d'Italia is an Italian exclave in Switzerland. The territory of Italy covers some 301,338 km2 (116,347 sq mi) and is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. With 60.4 million inhabitants, it is the fifth most populous country in Europe, and the twenty-third most populous in the world.

Italy's capital, Rome, was for centuries the political centre of Western civilisation 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 Byzantines and later, the Normans, among others. Centuries later, Italy would become the birthplace of the Renaissance,[8] an immensely fruitful intellectual movement that would prove to be integral in shaping the subsequent 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,[9] following a tumultuous period in history known as "Il Risorgimento" ("The Resurgence"). 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, Somalia, Ethiopia, Albania, Rhodes, the Dodecanese and a concession in Tianjin, China.[10]

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