Aug 16, 2009



The Colosseum in Rome, perhaps the most enduring symbol of Italy.

Italy officially the Italian Republic is a country located on the Italian Peninsula in Southern Europe and on the two largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily and Sardinia. Italy shares its northern, Alpine boundary with France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. The independent states of San Marinoand the Vatican City are enclaves within the Italian Peninsula, and Campione d'Italia is an Italian exclave in Switzerland.

The land known as Italy today has been the cradle of many European cultures and peoples, such as the Etruscans and theRomans, and later was the birthplace of the University, the Renaissance that began in Tuscany and spread all over Europe,Vitruvian Man, modern science and astronomy, heliocentrism and opera. Italy's capital, Rome, was for centuries the center ofWestern civilization. Italy possessed a colonial empire from the second half of the nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century.