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Italy Information


Italy (Italian: Italia) is a large country in Southern Europe. It is home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites - art and monuments are everywhere around the country. It is also famous worldwide for its cuisine, its fashion, the luxury sports cars and motorcycles, as well as for its beautiful coasts, lakes and mountains (the Alps and Appennines).

Two independent mini-states lie within 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.

Italy is situated in Mediterranean Europe, bordering France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia. The country, which is a boot-shaped peninsula, is surrounded by the Ligurian Sea, the Sardinian Sea, and the Tyrrhenian Sea in the west, the Sicilian and Ionian Sea in the South, and Adriatic Sea in the East. Italian is the major language spoken by the majority of the population, but as you travel throughout the country, you will find there are several distinct dialects corresponding to the region you are in. Italy has a very diverse landscape, but can be primarily described as mountainous including the Alpes and the Apennies mountain ranges that run through it. Italy has two major islands as part of its country: Sardinia, which is an island off the west coast of Italy, and Sicily, which is at the southern tip (the "toe") of the boot. Italy has a population of 56,778,000, and the capital city of Italy is Rome.

Climate


The climate of Italy is that of typical Mediterranean countries. Italy has hot, dry summers, with July being the hottest month of the year. In the north, they experience cold winters, as compared to mild ones in the south. Some regions in the south of Italy can experience no rainfall for the whole summer season. The long mountain ranges in Italy impact the weather significantly, as you can experience very different weather going from town to town.

Regions of Italy


North - The North of Italy is the country's most populated and developed portion. Cities like Turin, Milan, Bologna, Verona and Venice share the region's visitors with beautiful landscapes like the Lake Como area, impressive mountains such as the Dolomites and the Italian Alps and first-class ski resorts like Cortina d'Ampezzo and others.

Central Italy breathes history and art. Rome boasts the remaining wonders of the Roman Empire and some of the world's best known landmarks such as the Colosseum. Florence, cradle of the Renaissance, is Tuscany's top attraction, whereas nearby cities like Siena, Pisa and Lucca have much to offer to those looking for the country's rich history and cultural heritage.

Southern Italy - Bustling Naples, the dramatic ruins of Pompeii, the romantic Amalfi Coast and laidback Apulia, as well as up-and-coming agritourism help making Italy's less visited region a great place to explore.

Cities


There are hundreds of Italian cities, here are nine of its most famous:

    * Rome (Roma) - the capital, both of Italy and of the ancient Roman Empire; center of the Roman Catholic Church (the Vatican).
    * Bologna - Home of the first university. This city is filled with history, culture, and technology. Bologna is well known for its food. One of the world's great university cities.
    * Florence (Firenze): City of "rebirth". This city is known for its architecture and art and for the impact it has had throughout the world. Florence is also home to Michelangelo's famous statue of David. Home to many other well-known museums of art.
    * Genoa (Genova) - Very wealthy and diverse city. Its port brings in tourism and trade, along with art and architecture. Genoa is a historical city, birthplace of Columbus and jeans.
    * Milan (Milano) - Known as the fashion capital of the world.
    * Naples (Napoli) - Important port city in Italy. Naples is filled with life, and sun. Here you will find the best pizza in Italy. Naples is also home to the famous volcano Vesuvius.
    * Pisa - Pisa is home to the unmistakable image of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Very touristy city. Streets are filled with vendors who will try to sell you anything.
    * Turin (Torino) - Home of the FIAT. Turin is a well known industrial city, based on the automobile and aerospace industry. Home of the 2006 Winter Olympics.
    * Venice (Venezia) - Venice is known for its history, art, and world famous canals. One of the most beautiful cities in Italy; it is home to Island of Murano, which is famous for its hand-blown glass. St. Mark's Square is where most of the tourists are and can get very crowded in the summertime.

Other destinations


    * Calabria and its pearl Praja a Mare - the Italian best kept secret, with the stunning Dino Island, the Blu Grotto, and the Arcomagno bays
    * Capri and Ischia - the famed islands in the Bay of Naples
    * Cinque Terre - five tiny, scenic, towns strung along the steep vineyard-laced coast of Liguria
    * Elba - the largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago, and the third largest island in Italy after Sicily and Sardinia
    * Rimini and the Romagna Riviera, Italy's most famous and visited beach tourism locations.
    * Vatican City - the independent city-state and seat of the Pope, head of the Roman Catholic Church
    * Lago
 

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