You can see the location of the country in relation to other European countries at the following link.
Total area: 301,388 sq.km, of which 2.4% is water surface;
Population: 59,685,227 people according to the census carried out in 2012. research;
Schengen area: Member of Schengen since 26.10.1997 with full rights;
State system: Parliamentary Republic;
Official holidays of Italy:
- April 25 – Liberation Day. On this day in 1945 commemorating the liberation of Italy after the end of World War II.
- June 2 – Republic Day;
- November 1 – All Saints’ Day. It is a religious holiday in Italy during which Italians bring flowers to the graves of their deceased loved ones.
- Monday after Easter, or Pasquetta, is the day Italians spend with their families, often going on picnics and marking the beginning of spring.
- Italians are extremely religious. Each month of the year they celebrate holidays dedicated to different saints. Among them, the most famous are:
the feast of San Marco, the patron saint of Venice /April 25/;
the feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, patron saints of Rome /June 29/;
the feast of Saint Gennaro, patron saint of Naples /September 19/;
the feast of Saint Nicholas, patron saint of Bari /6th December/;
The territory of Italy in the South occupies the territory of the entire Apennine peninsula, and in the North it reaches the mountain range of the Alps. Its borders include two of the largest and most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean – Sicily and Sardinia, as well as the smaller, but no less beautiful, islands in the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic seas, such as Capri and Ischia.
Since ancient times, the Apennine Peninsula has been an arena of sharp clashes between different tribes. Therefore, it is no accident that it became the cradle of one of the most powerful European civilizations. Historically, the Etruscan tribes were the first to inhabit these lands. Possessing their own language and writing, they were a well-developed civilization, which, however, was gradually assimilated by the Italian tribes.
Description: Manarola village, part of Cinque Terre /picture source: Shutterstock.com/;
The history of the Apennines entered into a new era after the foundation of Rome. The city grew rapidly and soon managed to establish its influence over the entire peninsula and subsequently over the Mediterranean Sea. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the lands of today’s Italy came under the control of the Western Roman Empire. It lasted until 476 AD when the last emperor of the Western Roman Empire abdicated. The period of the Middle Ages in the Italian lands was marked by numerous events and the existence of various smaller states. Their unification and the emergence of the modern Italian state took place in the second half of the 19th century. In 1861 the then king of the kingdoms of Piedmont and Sardinia, Victor Emmanuel, succeeded in uniting the Italian lands. An important role in this unification was also played by Count Camilo Benso di Cavour, who entered history as the first prime minister of modern Italy. It should be noted here that today’s capital of Italy, the city of Rome, for 9 years after the unification took place, was not part of Italy, but remained under the control of the Vatican. Only in 1870 Rome enters the territory of Italy, with which it is assumed that the unification of the state is complete.
The modern Italian state is one of the most developed European countries. An important branch of the economy is tourism. Italy is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with nearly 50 million tourists visiting each year. According to this indicator, the country ranks fifth in the world after France, the USA, China and Spain.
Tourists’ interest in the country is fully justified. The country has a rich historical past, as evidenced by the numerous historical monuments. A large part of them are concentrated in and around the capital Rome. Not to be overlooked is the Italian South, which also has a lot to offer.
Description: Rome /picture source: Shutterstock.com/;
People have said that “all roads lead to Rome”. Start your visit to Italy from its capital. Being a center of the mighty Roman Empire for a long period of time, Rome is known for its many architectural and cultural monuments. The Colosseum, the Vatican and its museums, the Trevi Fountain – these are just some of the sights that have become symbols of the city. The first two of them are visited annually by more than 10 million tourists, which makes them one of the most visited sites in the whole world. And the Trevi Fountain is the place where every day you can see hundreds of tourists sitting around it – a part of them enjoying its exquisite architecture, and others just resting after a long walk through the Roman streets.
Description: Trevi fountain /picture source: Shutterstock.com/;
The Roman Forum is another landmark that will take you back in time and allow you to walk ancient Roman streets where emperors may have walked. The city is extremely rich in churches, most of which can be freely visited. The Basilica of St. John Lateran, as well as the Basilica of St. Peter (part of the Vatican), are only a part of the more than 900 churches and basilicas that there are in Rome. If a long tour around the many sights of Rome tires you, and if you are not a fan of shopping tours, you can immerse yourself in the greenery of one of the most famous Roman parks – Villa Borghese Park. Here you can walk through the endless avenues of the park or rent a bike. Villa Borghese itself has been converted into a gallery and entry is by appointment.
Description: Florence /picture source: Shutterstock.com/;
To the North of Rome lies the province of Tuscany. Known for its picturesque nature, the area is also famous for some of the most beautiful Italian cities – Siena, Pisa, Lucca and Florence. Florence is defined as the “city of the Renaissance”. It is home to numerous museums and also to the famous statue of Michelangelo, called ‘David’. Pisa is a small town, but it has become famous thanks to its leaning tower. Although measures have been taken in recent years to stop the tilting process, climbing the tower and walking on it is a bit of an adventure. Perhaps one of the most beautiful cities not only in Tuscany, but in all of Italy, is Siena. The city is known for its huge central square, which is annually transformed into a horse racing arena. Palio. Siena is also home to a beautiful cathedral that impresses both from the outside and inside with its opulence.
Description: Alberobello /picture source: Shutterstock.com/;
In the northern part of the Apennines are located other great Italian landmarks. The Italian city of Milan is known not only as the fashion center of Italy, but also as a tourist attraction with many well-preserved cultural monuments. Milan Cathedral, La Scala Opera House, the medieval castle of the Sforza family are just some of the things you can see here. At the same distance from Milan, but in a different direction /west-east/ are located Turin /center of the province of Piedmont/ and Verona – the city of Romeo and Juliet. Both cities are worth a visit, offering sights for every taste.
Of course, when we talk about the Italian north, we cannot miss Venice – the city of canals. Many tourists think of Venice as St. Mark’s Square and its landmarks such as the Basilica, the Tower, and the Doge’s Palace. However, Venice is much more, and to capture the true spirit of this city, we recommend that you walk around the entire old town. The narrow streets, small bridges and canals of the city bring a unique feeling. If you are a group of 3-4 people, you can easily afford to take a gondola ride, as the gondoliers can introduce you to some facts about the city that you would otherwise find difficult to find in the guidebooks.
The Italian South can also offer beautiful views. Naples, Caserta, Palermo are just some of the pearls of the Italian South. Caserta is the smallest of the three towns thus listed, but it is famous for its royal castle, which in many places has been compared to Versailles and even referred to as the “Italian Versailles”. The interior of the palace is truly impressive, but unlike Versailles, the gardens here are quite meager, not to mention non-existent. Naples is the largest Italian city in southern Italy, which is perhaps the reason why the traffic in the city is very heavy. Naples is a city of contrasts – on the one hand, the city is famous for its historical sights such as the Cathedral of Naples, the Castle of the Egg, but on the other hand, Naples is famous for the dirt on the streets and the fact that almost all shops do not open until late afternoon.
Description: Val di Funes /picture source: Shutterstock.com/;
If you love the beach and want to get tan, then Italy is a perfect choice for that. There are many beautiful resorts in both northern and southern Italy. Small towns like Positano and Amalfi /located South of Naples/ or Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino /located South of Genoa/ offer the opportunity to have a good rest under the sun’s rays. If you want to combine swimming with even more beautiful Italian nature, head north, where Lakes Como, Garda and Maggiore are located. Apart from the unique panorama that can be found here, the small towns along the coast of these three lakes have their own rich but little-known history that would appeal to any lover.
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