Italy is officially known as the Republic of Italy since
1946. The country has a population of over 60 million and its
capital is Rome. The Alps form its border on the north with the
countries of France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. Most of the
country is exposed to either the Mediterranean to the west or the Adriatic
Sea to the east. Italy also includes the two largest islands in the
Mediterranean - Sicily and Sardinia. Two countries exist completely
within the borders of Italy - San Marino and the Vatican. Meanwhile
the Italian region of Campione d'Italia is completely absorbed within
Italy was probably inhabited more
than 200,000 years ago by Neanderthals, but the most significant impact on
its history is from the Roman Empire, the Renaissance and the Roman
Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church in Rome is referred to as
the Holy See and includes areas such as St Peter's Basilica, which is not
in the restricted area of the Vatican. Heroes from the 1800s in the formation of Italy
include Giuseppe Garibaldi and Victor Emmanuel. During World War II,
Mussolini affiliated the country with Hitler and the Nazis.
Italy is truly one of the hightlights of Europe.
As a visitor, you can't help but become more animated as the culture
Italy participates in the Schengen
Zone and Schengen Visa requirements. That means there
are no border controls between members and no border inspections by
rail or vehicle when traveling from Italy to France, Switzerland, Austria and
Slovenia. Some countries that are not
members of the Schengen Zone require a Schengen Visa to enter Europe. More
than 40 countries outside the Schengen Zone do not require a visa. Exemptions include citizens of Australia,
Canada, Mexico, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United
States. Check your specific country at VisaHQ.
For a list of exempt countries, visit Project
As a founding member of the European
Union, Italy has adopted use of the Euro.
Most of Italy experiences a Mediterrean climate which is
quite comfortable, but can be very cool in winter. The northern
regions of the Alps experience very cold winters. The summer months
of June - August are the driest and the hottest. Spring and fall are
probably the best times to visit Italy, not only for the weather, but also
to avoid the summer tourists.