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Italian Republic


Italian(official), German (northern part), French (minority in Valle d΄ Aoste), Slovene-speaking minority in the Triest-Gorizia area. Regional dialects in the south (Calabria, Abruzzen,…)


Predominantly Roman Catholic, some Protestants, Jews and Muslims

Political System


Head of State: President Carlo Azaglio Ciampi



Geographical Information

Capital: Rome

20 regions

Area: 301,230 km2 with Sardinia and Sicily

Border countries: Austria, France, Holy See, San Marino, Slovenia, Switzerland

Terrain: mostly rugged and mountainous, plains, coastal lowlands

Typical Food and drinks

Light breakfast: "coffe I biscotti"

Large range of wines. Spirits and drinks

Food: various kinds of pasta with fresh vegetables and fish and meat, specialities varying from region to region like bacon from Parma and salami, risotti, …. Desserts and sweets.

Fresh fruits like oranges, lemons, figs,…

Holidays and Festivals

Republic Day: 2nd of June

Christmas, New Year, 6 January,, most Catholics holidays, 15 August


After Greece, Italy has got the oldest History in Europe.

8th and 7th centuries B.C.: Greeks settled in the south of Italy

Etruscuris, Romans, Celtic population in the central and mainland.

5th – 3rd centuries B.C.: Roman unification

1st-4th centuries: domination of the whole Mediterranean world then the Empire was split into eastern and western parts.

After series of invasions the Catholic church was seen as the only stanle institution and acquired a great political power: The Popes of Rome ruled directly over central Italy.

Different kingdoms and rules in north and south with a series of dynasties.

1861: Proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy under Victor

Emmanuel II.

At the beginning of the 19th century a change started. Kind Emmanuele III remained head of State but Mussolini signed the Lateran Pacts with the Catholic Church .

During World War II Italy was first neutral but Mussolini formed the fascist Italian Social Republic .

1948: birth of the Italian Republic

Art and culture

Very creative nation with lots of poets, philosophers, composers, architects, painters from the time of the Romans up to the present time.

Literature: Dante Aligheri, Petrarca, Bocaccio, Torquato Tasso, Machiavelli, Goldini, Verga, Passolini, Alberto Moravia, ….

Art: Giotto, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raffael, Boticelli, Tizian, Guttoso, Burri, …, Gian Lorenzo Bernini (architecture)

Classic Music: Verdi, Puccini, Rossini

Modern Music: Adriano Celentano, Eros Ramazotti, Angelo Branduardi,…

Film: Visconti, De Sica, Rossellini, Sergio Leone, Fellini, Pasolini,…

Dos and don΄ts for visiting the country

Respect of traditions and good behaviour are expected.

When meeting someone privately you should arrive ½ hour late.

In restaurants you have to wait to have a table allocated. You are expected to order more than one course.

Be prepared that discussing a problem can last quite a long period of time.

The relaxed lifestyle of the Italians does not mean that you are allowed to do all what you want.

Churches have to be respected. You should be adequately covered before entering a church.

Population and

% of foreign population /minorities

Population: 57,998,353

Ethnic groups: Italian, German, French, Slovene and Albanian minorities

Main Integration Problems

Intolerance against Italians from the South and people coming from North Africa and Albania


Lack of contact to Italian people


Lack of education


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Latest update of this page: 2005-07-15 
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