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When you look at the map of the world, the Italian peninsula is one of the most easily recognizable countries in Europe. It resembles a boot with heels kicking a triangle - you can’t miss it! Slovenia is its eastern neighbour, France western, while Switzerland and Austria are to the north. Italy has a unique characteristic in that it hosts two small independent states entirely inside its territory, the Vatican and San Marino.

Italy has a very rich history and culture. Its capital city is approximately three thousand years old and has been the seat of government since 1871. Its famous landmarks include Sistine Chapel, Dome of St. Peter, Trevi Fountain and the Coliseum.

Italians place a high value on unity of the family, and in the south the extended family is frequently found living in the same house. The family extends not only emotional support to its members but financial as well. As a nation, Italians tend to be rather patriotic. They are united by a single language, although different dialects are spoken, and 90% of them share the same Roman Catholic religion. Last but not least, there is the passion for soccer and food!

Italian products are world renowned for quality, style and designing. Different parts of the country have expertise in different fields. Milan stands out for its fashion and the town of Como for silks, Massa Carrare for its marble, and glassware from the island of Murano. Italy is a shopper’s paradise.

Fast Facts :

Name: The Italian Republic

Area: 301,230 Sq. km (116,304 sq. miles) with 7,600 km (4,722 miles) of coastline inclusive of Sicily and Sardinia.

Government: Parliamentary republic

Major Cities: Milan, Naples, Genoa, Florence, Venice, Palermo, Bologna and Bari

Currency: Euro

Climate: Temperate Mediterranean with variations due to mountains

Dialling Code: 39


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