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Location of Italy within Europe

Italy (Italian: Italia [iˈtaːlja] (About this soundlisten)), officially the Italian Republic (Italian: Repubblica Italiana [reˈpubblika itaˈljaːna]), is a European country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps and surrounded by several islands. Italy is located in Southern Europe, and it is sometimes considered as part of Western Europe. The country covers a total area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and shares land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, and the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. Italy has a territorial exclave in Switzerland (Campione) and a maritime exclave in the Tunisian Sea (Lampedusa). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the fourth-most populous member state of the European Union.

Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has historically been home to myriad peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout modern-day Italy, the most predominant being the Indo-European Italic peoples who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era, Phoenicians and Carthaginians founded colonies mostly in insular Italy, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia of Southern Italy, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively. An Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which eventually became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People. The Roman Republic initially conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the peninsula, eventually expanding and conquering parts of Europe, North Africa and Asia. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became a leading cultural, political and religious centre, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's law, technology, economy, art, and literature developed. Italy remained the homeland of the Romans and the metropole of the empire, whose legacy can also be observed in the global distribution of culture, governments, Christianity and the Latin script.

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The Truce of Nice signed in 1538 between Francis I of France and Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor with the mediation of Pope Paul III.

The Italian Wars, often referred to as the Great Wars of Italy and sometimes as the Habsburg–Valois Wars, were a long series of wars fought between 1494 and 1559 in Italy during the Renaissance. The Italian peninsula, economically advanced but politically divided between several states, became the main battleground for European supremacy. The conflicts involved the major powers of Italy and Europe, in a series of events that followed the end of the 40-years long Peace of Lodi agreed in 1454 with the formation of an Italic League.

The collapse of the alliance in the 1490s left Italy open to the ambitions of Charles VIII of France, who invaded the Kingdom of Naples in 1494 on the ground of a dynastic claim. The French were however forced to leave Naples after the Republic of Venice formed an alliance with Austria and Spain. In 1499, Louis XII of France initiated a second campaign against Naples by first taking control of the Duchy of Milan thanks to Cesare Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI and condottiero for Louis XII, marking an open alliance between the Papacy and France. The second war ended in 1503, when the King of Spain Ferdinand of Aragon (already ruler of Sicily and Sardinia) captured the Kingdom of Naples from Louis XII. Read more...

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  • ...that in 2002, hundreds of former mobsters incarcerated in eight jails across Italy, supposedly having no way to contact one another, joined a hunger strike to protest against article 41-bis of the Italian Penitentiary Act?

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A plate of testaroli with pesto, as served at a trattoria in Pontremoli, Italy
A plate of testaroli with pesto, as served at a trattoria in Pontremoli, Italy

Testaroli, sometimes referred to as testarolo, is a type of pasta or bread in Italian cuisine that is prepared using water, flour and salt, which is sliced into triangular shapes. A common dish in the Lunigiana region and historical territory of Italy, it is an ancient pasta originating from the Etruscan civilization of Italy. Testaroli has been described as "the earliest recorded pasta." It is also a native dish of the southern Liguria and northern Tuscany regions of Italy.

Testaroli is prepared from a batter that is cooked on a hot flat surface, after which it may be consumed. It is traditionally cooked on a testo, a flat terra cotta or cast iron cooking surface from which the food's name is derived. It is sometimes cooked further in boiling water and then served. Testaroli is sometimes referred to as a bread, similar to focaccia in composition, and is sometimes referred to as a crêpe. It may be dressed with pesto sauce or other ingredients such as olive oil, Pecorino cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and garlic. Falsi testaroli al ragu is a similar dish prepared using sliced pasta dough and a ragù sauce. Read more...

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