Year of EU entry: Founding member
Capital city: Rome

Total area: 301,338 km2, of which 294,020 km² is land and 7,210 km² is water.

Population: 60.6 million

Currency: euro
Italy is located in Southern Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia along the Alps. To the south it consists of the Italian Peninsula, shaped like a boot, Sicily and Sardinia – the two largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea – and many other smaller islands.
San Marino (39 km) and Vatican City (3.2 km) are independent states within Italy.

 Italy has a long history, dating back to the Paleolithic period, 200,000 years ago. Rome, its capital city today, was founded in 753BC and was the capital of the ancient world. The Roman Empire extended from England, to Germany, all the way to Turkey and Iraq, and included the northern coast of Africa. Romans spoke Latin. When the Roman Empire broke down in 395 AD, Italy was divided into many separate kingdoms and city states. Italy became one nation only in 1861.
Italy's climate varies depending on where you are. The northern areas are cold, wet, and often snowy in the winter and hot in the summer. The temperature becomes milder in the southern areas with mild winters and dry, warm, although sometimes hot, summers.

Italy is certainly one of the most beautiful places in the world with its rich collection of treasures from different periods: the architecture of Venice, Florence, Pisa and Rome, the art works of Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Tintoretto and Caravaggio, the operas of Verdi and Puccini, the cinema of Federico Fellini. Italy is the home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, with a total of 47.

                                                      Venice, the Dodge’s Palace

                                                                 Rome, the Colosseum

Italians are crazy about soccer, which is the national sport. Italy has won three World Cup Championships and been to the Championship finals at least ten times. In 1990, Italy was host to the World Cup Championships.
Last, but not least, Italy is well-known for its delicious food. Pizza is surely the most famous dish. It was invented in Naples, around 1860. Ice-cream is an Italian invention, too.