They change their climate, not their soul, who rush across the sea.
— Horace, 65 - 8 B.C.




Italy became a nation-state in 1861 when the regional states of the peninsula, along with Sardinia and Sicily, were united under King Victor EMMANUEL II. An era of parliamentary government came to a close in the early 1920s when Benito MUSSOLINI established a Fascist dictatorship. His alliance with Nazi Germany led to Italy's defeat in World War II. A democratic republic replaced the monarchy in 1946 and economic revival followed. Italy was a charter member of NATO and the European Economic Community (EEC). It has been at the forefront of European economic and political unification, joining the Economic and Monetary Union in 1999. Persistent problems include illegal immigration, organized crime, corruption, high unemployment, sluggish economic growth, and the low incomes and technical standards of southern Italy compared with the prosperous north.


Two independent mini-states are surrounded entirely by Italy: San Marino and Vatican City. While technically not part of the European Union, both of these states are also part of the Schengen Region and the European Monetary Union, (EMU). Apart from different police uniforms, there is no evident transition from these states and Italy's territory, and the currency is the same. Italian is also the lingua-franca in both city-states.

Read more about Italy in our Italy travel guide »

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Montreal is one of Canada's largest and most popular city,is geographically as close to the European coast as to Vancouver,and in look and feel it combines some of the finest aspects of the two continents.This is also the second-largest French-speaking metropolis after Paris. Montréal is also innovative and invigorating,offering a whirlwind of cultural creations,both traditional and modern. It is a unique city offering a vibrant night-life and several world-renown restaurants,bar clubs and lounges.The city is also a favorite destination for avid shoppers.It is a wonderful city offering a unique living experience from anything else in the world.Montreal is an enormous metropolis and the second-biggest city in the whole of Canada,known for its friendly atmosphere and ambiance, historical architecture and lavish churches, enormous shopping malls and top restaurants.One of Montreal's most surprising features is the 'Underground City'which is a vast network of tunnels,shops hotels,cinemas and business, protected from the cold winter weather extremes. No matter what you are looking for,outdoor/indoor attractions, music, dance,culture,great food,nice people,beautiful scenery or quiet tranquil moments,you can find it all in this wonderful city of Montreal.It will astound you with all its beauty and impress you with all it has to offer. Want to know more about Montreal,visit for more information.

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Featured hotels in


ItalyDes Etrangers Hotel & SPA 

Passeggio Adorno 10/12
Syracuse 96100

Price (US$): $153 - $177 / night

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Location. Des Etrangers Hotel & SPA is located near the beach in Syracuse's Ortygia neighborhood and close to Fonte Aretusa, Cathedral of Syracuse, and Temple of Apollo. Additional points of interest include Museo Archeologico Regionale Paolo Orsi and Museo Regionale di Arte Mediovale e Moderna. Hotel Features. Recreational amenities include a health club and a steam room. The property's full service health spa has body treatments, facials, and beauty services. This 5 star property has a… more »

ItalyBoscolo Hotel Exedra Milano 

Corso Matteotti 4-6
Milan 20121

Price (US$): $417 - $942 / night

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Location. Located in central Milan, Boscolo Hotel Exedra Milano is a business friendly hotel within walking distance of Palazzo Belgioioso, Milan City Hall, and Piazza della Scala. Additional points of interest include Piazza San Babila and Piazza del Duomo. Hotel Features. Boscolo Hotel Exedra Milano's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available during limited hours. The hotel serves buffet breakfasts each morning (surcharges… more »

ItalyNun Assisi Relais Spa Museum 

Via Eremo Delle Carceri 1a
Assisi 06081

Price (US$): $342 - $722 / night

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Location. Nun Assisi Relais Spa Museum is a business friendly Assisi hotel in the historical district and close to Cathedral of San Rufino, Piazza del Comune, and Basilica of Santa Chiara. Additional points of interest include Roman Temple of Minerva and Eremo delle Carceri. Hotel Features. Dining options at Nun Assisi Relais Spa Museum include a coffee shop/café and a snack bar/deli. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves a complimentary… more »

ItalyAbitalia Tower Plaza 

via Caduti del Lavoro, 46
Pisa 56122

Price (US$): $88 - $246 / night

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Location. Located in Pisa, Abitalia Tower Plaza is near the airport and close to San Rossore Hospital, Pisa Convention Center, and Leaning Tower. Nearby points of interest also include Pisa Baptistry and Camposanto. Hotel Features. Abitalia Tower Plaza's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A poolside bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, a fitness facility, and a steam room. This 5 star property offers… more »

ItalyHotel Cala di Volpe, Costa Smeralda 

Loc. Cala di Vope
Costa Smeralda
Arzachena 07021

Price (US$): $2285 - $3194 / night

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Location. Hotel Cala di Volpe, Costa Smeralda is located near the beach in Arzachena's Porto Cervo neighborhood and close to Pevero Golf Club, Romazzino Beach, and Capriccioli Beach. Other area points of interest include Liscia Ruia. Hotel Features. Dining options at Hotel Cala di Volpe, Costa Smeralda include 2 restaurants. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available. The hotel serves a complimentary buffet breakfast. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, a… more »

Browse more hotels in Italy »


Full name
Italian Republic

Southern Europe, a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, northeast of Tunisia

Geographic coordinates

42 50 N, 12 50 E

Area comparative

slightly larger than Arizona

Border countries

Austria 430 km, France 488 km, Holy See (Vatican City) 3.2 km, San Marino 39 km, Slovenia 199 km, Switzerland 740 km


7,600 km


predominantly Mediterranean; Alpine in far north; hot, dry in south


mostly rugged and mountainous; some plains, coastal lowlands

Lowest point

Mediterranean Sea 0 m

Highest point

Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco) de Courmayeur 4,748 m (a secondary peak of Mont Blanc)

Natural resources

coal, mercury, zinc, potash, marble, barite, asbestos, pumice, fluorspar, feldspar, pyrite (sulfur), natural gas and crude oil reserves, fish, arable land


58,090,681 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

Italian (includes small clusters of German-, French-, and Slovene-Italians in the north and Albanian-Italians and Greek-Italians in the south)


Roman Catholic 90% (approximately; about one-third practicing), other 10% (includes mature Protestant and Jewish communities and a growing Muslim immigrant community)


Italian (official), German (parts of Trentino-Alto Adige region are predominantly German speaking), French (small French-speaking minority in Valle d'Aosta region), Slovene (Slovene-speaking minority in the Trieste-Gorizia area)

Government type



17 March 1861 (Kingdom of Italy proclaimed; Italy was not finally unified until 1870)

National holiday

Republic Day, 2 June (1946)

Chief of state

President Giorgio NAPOLITANO (since 15 May 2006)

Head of government

Prime Minister Silvio BERLUSCONI (since 8 May 2008) note - in Italy the prime minister is referred to as the president of the Council of Ministers

Internet country code


Internet users

29.235 million (2009)


132 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Augusta, Cagliari, Genoa, Livorno, Santa Panagia (Melilli), Taranto, Trieste, Venice

Other countries in the region