Capital City: Rome
Population: 60 million
Government: Parliamentary, democratic republic with a multi-party system. The executive is the President of the Council of Ministers; the government is also made up of the two houses of Parliament and a separate judiciary.
Main Language: Italian
Main Religions: Catholic; church attendance is higher here than in most European countries with almost a third of Italians attending regularly.
Italian cuisine is one of the world’s most popular. ‘Pizza’, first created in the 1840s, is consumed universally. Italy is also known for its coffee and ice cream.
Italy attracts 43 million tourists a year with its art galleries, its beautiful landscape and its classical heritage.
The Vatican City is an independent state within Italy and is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic church.
There is a north-south divide with the prosperous north having better rates of employment and wages than the poorer south.