Italy (Italian Italia), full name Italian Republic (Italian Repubblica Italiana), is a country located in southern Europe on the Apennine Peninsula.
In the north it borders France (488 km), Switzerland (740 km), Austria (430 km) and Slovenia (232 km). Within Italy, there are two separate city-states: the Vatican (0.44 km2) and San Marino (39 km2). In addition, Italy has a territory surrounded by Switzerland called the Campione d'Italia. It is bordered on the east by the Adriatic Sea, on the south by the Ionian Sea and on the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Ligurian Sea. The total length of the coast is 7600 km. Italy has two major islands in the Mediterranean: Sardinia and Sicily. The capital of united Italy has been Rome since 1870. Italy is a member of the United Nations (UN), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Council of Europe, the European Union (EU), the Eurozone, the Schengen area.
Italy is one of the countries with a high gross domestic product per capita. The standard of living in the country is high, but there are significant differences between the north and south of the country. While the northern part of Italy is economically at the level of Germany or France, southern Italy is more at the level of Spain or Greece. This can be explained by differences in the structure of the economy. While the north of Italy has a highly developed industry, the south of the country is still characterized by less efficient agriculture, has poorer infrastructure and is heavily dependent on seasonal tourism.
Italy is a member of the OECD and a group of the seven richest and most developed countries in the world, the G8. Together with the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France and the Federal Republic of Germany, it was the founding country of the European Economic Community (EEC), the forerunner of the EU, and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom).
Prehistory and antiquity
Thousands of Paleolithic artifacts have been discovered near the town of Forlì, estimated to be 850,000 years old, making them the oldest evidence of human settlement on the Apennine Peninsula. Excavations have also shown Neanderthal settlement throughout Italy, around 200,000 years ago. Modern people appeared here about 40,000 years ago, the findings from Riparo Mochi are the oldest evidence of the presence of this type of people in Europe.
In the beginning of antiquity, Italy was inhabited by various tribes. In the center of Italy there were the Umbrians, Latin, Sabine, Volsk and Picen, in the north the Celts, Ligurians, Veneto and Etruscans, in the south the Oskans, Samnites and Messapians. Most of these tribes were Italians, an Indo-European group that came to the Apennine Peninsula in the 2nd millennium BC. The Celts and tribes in Sicily and Sardinia (where even a peculiar civilization called the Nuragian) also had non-Italian roots. The Val Camonica in Lombardy was also home to a tribe of mysterious origin called Camoni, the author of the largest ancient collection of petroglyphs in the world (up to 300,000 figures). Semitic descent was the Phoenicians, who settled Sicily and Sardinia and created the first important cities there. The Mycenaean civilization, which came into contact with the south of Italy perhaps as early as the 17th century BC, had an even greater influence, and from the 8th century BC the Greeks began to strongly influence Italian territory from the south, whose civilization quickly grew stronger in the Peloponnese. The Greek colonies in Italy and Sicily are called Greater Greece.
Despite the Greek initiating influence, some of the settlements in the south did not become the central center of civilization, but the city in the center of the peninsula, Rome. The city, according to legend, founded in 753 BC, which was ruled first by the Latins and Sabins, then by the Etruscans. Rome eventually dominated the Italian, Celtic, Etruscan, Phoenician and Greek tribes