Italy, in italian Repubblica Italiana, is a unitary parliamentary republic in Europe . Italy covers an area of 301,338 km2. With almost 62 million inhabitants, it is the 3rd most populous EU member state . Located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, San Marino and Vatican City. The Capital and largest city is Rome. Other major cities are Milan, Naples, Turin, Venice, Florence . Italy's official language is Italian.

The contribution of Italy to Western civilization is immense. Italy is the cradle of Etruscan civilization, the Roman Empire, the Holy See, the Maritime Republics, the Humanism and Renaissance. Along with Germany and France, it was part of the Holy Roman Empire (25 December 800 - 6 August 1806).

In 1117 Ugo De' Pagani, Knight of Campania (Nocera de' Pagani, near Naples) and First Grand Master, founded the Knights Templar, commonly known as Templars .

Existing as a unitary State since the Risorgimento (renaissance or resurrection) in 17 March 1861, Italy is a republic since the abolition of the Italian monarchy by referendum, in 1946.

Italy is, in the XXI┬░ century, a major player in the international arena, strong of its sixty-two million inhabitants and its position of seventh / eighth largest economy . Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and the member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Quint Group, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, and many more.

Italian military strength ranked as 7th in the World in 2015 (Credit Suisse Top 20 Military Strenght Report, latest available figures) .

It's one of the world's most industrialized nations, and a leading country in world trade and exports.

According to the Human Development Index, the country enjoys a very high standard of living, and has the world's 8th highest quality of life according to The Economist. In 2016, Italy boasts the world's second best National Healthcare System . Italy owns the world's third-largest gold reserve, and is the third net contributor to the budget of the European Union. Furthermore, the country holds 4% of the net global wealth and ranks fourth, only surpassed by China, US and Japan, according to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2015 .

The Italian economy has World dimensions. The country is also well known for its influential and innovative business economic sector, an industrious (Italy is the second largest manufacturer in Europe behind Germany) and competitive agricultural sector (Italy is the world's largest wine producer), and for its creative and high-quality automobile, naval, industrial, aerospace industries, appliance and fashion design. Italy is the largest market for luxury goods in Europe (third in the world), and it's the 8th largest exporter in the world with $514 billion exported in 2015. 52 million tourists ranks Italy as the fourth most visited country. Italy is the 3rd-largest national economy in the Euro Zone. Its gross product is 2.152 billion (2015, USD - Source: IMF).

Contributors: IndoRaya, DeMedici

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