Full Country Name: Italian Republic
Capital City: Rome
Head of State: Giorgio Napolitano
Prime Minister: Matteo Renzi
Administration: 20 Regions, 110 Provinces, each subdivided into 8092 districts or councils (Comuni)
Located in the south of Europe, Italy is a vast boot shaped peninsula 1,100 kilometers long from south of the Alpine Arch down to the Mediterranean Sea, covering 301,230 square kilometers. Italy is bordered northwest by France, to the north by Switzerland and Austria, and to the northeast by Slovenia. The sea to the east is the Adriatic, to the southeast the Ionian Sea, to the west, running along the whole peninsula, the Tyrrhenian Sea, and to the northwest the Ligurian Sea. The country also has numerous islands; the largest are Sardinia and Sicily. The main mountain chains are the Alps in the north, and the Apennines which cross the peninsula from the north (Liguria) to the south (Sicily). Monte Rosa and Monte Bianco are the highest mountains in Europe and are both in Italy. There are two famous volcanoes in Italy; Vesuvius, near Naples in the Campania Region and Etna, close to Catania on the Island of Sicily. Mt. Etna is the highest volcano in Europe, 3323 meters.
Italy’s population is approximately 61 million inhabitants.
The most widespread religion in Italy is Catholicism however all religions are acknowledged and respected by law in compliance with Art. 3 of the Italian Constitution.
The official language is standard Italian. Descending from the Tuscan Dialect and a direct descendent of Latin (75% of Italian words are of Latin origin). Each region of Italy has in own dialect with variations at town level. The rich variety of Italy’s dialects are considered a great contribution to the country’s cultural heritage.
English and some European languages are spoken in hotels, shops, and restaurants in the major tourist destinations.
Italy is six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. Daylight Savings Time goes into effect during the winter, however there generally is a one week lapse between the US time change and the Italian one. Italy is located in the Central European Time Zone. UTC/GMT+01:00