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Italy (Italian: Italia [iˈtaːlja] (About this soundlisten)), officially the Italian Republic (Italian: Repubblica Italiana [reˈpubːlika itaˈljaːna]), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps and several islands surrounding it. Italy is located in south-central Europe, and is also considered part of Western Europe. A unitary parliamentary republic with Rome as its capital and largest city, 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 enclave in Switzerland (Campione) and a maritime exclave in Tunisian waters (Lampedusa). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the third-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 what is now 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 Italian 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. (Full article...)

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The crowning of Manfred of Sicily in a manuscript of the Cronica; by the 16th century, there were multiple versions of the Cronica in printed form as well as in illuminated manuscript form.

The Nuova Cronica or New Chronicles is a 14th-century history of Florence created in a year-by-year linear format and written by the Italian banker and official Giovanni Villani (c. 1276 or 1280–1348). The idea came to him after attending the first Jubilee in the city of Rome, in 1300, where he realized that Rome's many historical achievements were well-known, and he desired to lay out a history of the origins of his own city of Florence. In his Cronica, Villani described in detail the many building projects of the city, statistical information on population, ordinances, commerce and trade, education, and religious facilities. He also described several disasters such as famines, floods, fires, and the pandemic of the Black Death in 1348, which would take his own life. Villani's work on the Cronica was continued by his brother and nephew after his death. It has been described as the first introduction of statistics as a positive element in history.

The oldest manuscript is Vatican Library BAV Chigiano L VIII 296, dating to the time of composition. (Full article...)
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Gelato (Italian pronunciation: [dʒeˈlaːto]) is a frozen dessert of Italian origin. It is made with a base of 3.25% butterfat whole milk and sugar. It is generally lower in fat than other styles of frozen desserts. Gelato typically contains 70% less air and more flavouring than other kinds of frozen desserts, giving it a density and richness that distinguishes it from other ice creams. (Full article...)

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