Welcome to Italy
This site is a complete guide to Italy. You will find here every thing you need to know about Italy. For History of Italy visit Italian History page. For Guide to individual cities please visit click the Individual city pages linked below.
Italy or Italia in Italian language is located on the Italian Peninsula in Southern Europe, Italy also has two largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea, The Sicily and The Sardinia. Italy shares its northern Alpine boundary with France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. While within Italy are The independent states of San Marino and the Vatican City. while Campione d'Italia is an Italian exclaved in Switzerland
Italy has been a very important country in the history. Many European cultures lived and flourished here, such as the Etruscans and the Romans, and later Italy was the birthplace of the universities and of the movement of the Renaissance, that began in Tuscany and spread all over Europe. Italy's most talked about capital Rome was for centuries the center of Western civilization, it also spawned the Baroque movement and seats the Catholic Church. Italy possessed a colonial empire from the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. For more details click History of Italy
Today, Italy is a democratic republic and a developed country with the 8th-highest Quality-of-life index rating in the world. It is a founding member of what is now the European Union (having signed the Treaty of Rome in 1957), and a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It is a member of the G8 (having the world's 7th largest nominal GDP), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Trade Organization (WTO), the Council of Europe, the Western European Union, the Central European Initiative, and a Schengen state. It has the world's 7th largest defence budget and shares NATO's nuclear weapons. On 1 January 2007, Italy began a two year term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
Where does the word Italy come from?
The origin of the term Italy or Italia in Italian language, from Latin Italia, is uncertain. According to one of the more common explanations, the term was borrowed through Greek, from Oscan Vteli, meaning "land of young cattle" (cf. Lat vitulus "calf", Umb vitlo "calf") and named for the god of cattle, Mars. The bull was a symbol of the southern Italian tribes and is often depicted goring the Roman wolf as a defiant symbol of free Italy during the Samnite Wars.
The name Italia applied to a part of what is now southern Italy. According to Antiochus of Syracuse, it originally only referred to the southern portion of the Bruttium peninsula (modern Calabria), but by his time Oenotrians and Italy had become synonymous, and the name also applied to most of Lucania as well. The Greeks gradually came to apply the name "Italia" to a larger region, but it was not until the time of the Roman conquests that the term was expanded to cover the entire peninsula