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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 Southern European country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps and surrounded by several islands. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean sea and traversed along its length by the Apennines, Italy has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. The country covers a total area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi), and land area of 294,140 km2 (113,570 sq mi), and shares open land borders with France, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland 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 the leading cultural, political and religious centre of Western civilisation, 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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Andrea Doria during World War I

The Andrea Doria class (usually called Caio Duilio class in Italian sources) was a pair of dreadnought battleships built for the Royal Italian Navy (Regia Marina) between 1912 and 1916. The two ships—Andrea Doria and Caio Duilio—were completed during World War I. The class was an incremental improvement over the preceding Conte di Cavour class. Like the earlier ships, Andrea Doria and Caio Duilio were armed with a main battery of thirteen 305-millimeter (12.0 in) guns.

The two ships were based in southern Italy during World War I to help ensure that the Austro-Hungarian Navy's surface fleet would be contained in the Adriatic. Neither vessel saw any combat during the conflict. After the war, they cruised the Mediterranean and were involved in several international incidents, including at Corfu in 1923. In 1933, both ships were placed in reserve. In 1937 the ships began a lengthy reconstruction. The modifications included removing their center main battery turret and boring out the rest of the guns to 320 mm (12.6 in), strengthening their armor protection, installing new boilers and steam turbines, and lengthening their hulls. The reconstruction work lasted until 1940, by which time Italy was already engaged in World War II. Read more...

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First Italian balloon flight medal
First Italian balloon flight medal
  • ...that the Monte Viso Tunnel is the most ancient tunnel dug through a mountain in Italy?

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Acquacotta soup
Acquacotta soup

Acquacotta (pronounced [ˌakkwaˈkɔtta]; Italian for "cooked water") is a hot broth-based bread soup in Italian cuisine that was originally a peasant food. Its preparation and consumption dates back to ancient history, and it originated in the coastal area known as the Maremma in southern Tuscany and northern Lazio. The dish was invented in part as a means to make hardened, stale bread edible. In contemporary times, ingredients can vary, and additional ingredients are sometimes used. Variations of the dish include aquacotta con funghi and aquacotta con peperoni. Read more...

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