Italy, officially the Italian Republic (Repubblica italiana), is a unitary parliamentary republic in the south-central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia along the Alps. To the south it consists of the entirety of the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Sardinia—the two largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea—and many smaller islands is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. With 60.6 million inhabitants, it is the fifth most populous country in Europe, and the 23rd most populous in the world.
Rome, the capital of Italy, was for centuries the political centre of Western civilization as the capital of the Roman Empire. After its decline, Italy endured numerous invasions by foreign peoples, from Germanic tribes such as the Lombards and Ostrogoths, to the Byzantines and later, the Normans, among others. Centuries later, Italy became the birthplace of the Renaissance, an immensely fruitful intellectual movement that would prove to be integral in shaping the subsequent course of European thought.
Europe's Renaissance period began in Italy during the 14th and 15th centuries. Literary achievements as did the painting, sculpture, and architecture contributed by giants such as da Vinci, Raphael, Botticelli, Fra Angelico, and Michelangelo exerted a tremendous and lasting influence on the subsequent development of Western civilization.
Italian romantic opera flourished under composers Gioacchino Rossini, Giuseppe Verdi, and Giacomo Puccini. Contemporary Italian artists, writers, filmmakers, architects, composers, and designers contribute significantly to Western culture.
Italy is the country of culture and art. It has more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other country, cities that have been unchanged for many centuries, interesting events. It has also fascinating landscapes such as: mountain ranges, beaches, countryside and volcanos.