Area: 301,318 km2

Population: 59.13 m

Capital City: Rome (population: 2.7 m)

The highest peak: Monte Bianco 4,807 m

The longest river: Po 652 km

The largest lake: Lago di Garda 370 km2

People: Mostly Italian, with small populations of German, French and Slovene Italians in the north and Albanian-Italians and Greek-Italians in the south.

Language(s): Italian. However, German is the predominant language in the South Tyrol (Trentino-Alto Adige); French is predominant in the Valle d’Aosta region on the Swiss/French border and Slovene on the Slovene border.

Religion(s): 83% Roman Catholic; remainder Jewish and Protestant and a growing Muslim immigrant community

Life expectancy: men (78.3), women (84)

Currency: Euro

Parliament: Italy has a bicameral system composed of a Senate and a Chamber of Deputies

Government: Republic

Italy is located on the Italian Peninsula in Southern Europe and on the two largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily and Sardinia. Several smaller islands also form part of Italy notably Elba, Capri, Ischia and the Lipari Islands. It borders on France in the northwest, the Ligurian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea in the west, the Ionian Sea in the south, the Adriatic Sea in the east, Slovenia in the northeast, and Austria and Switzerland in the north. Italy also has two independent countries within its borders. Vatican City is the centre for the Roman Catholic Church, and is the world’s smallest country. San Marino is located on the north east coast of Italy and is an independent republic. The entire country including Sardinia and Sicily covers an area of 301,230 square kilometres and with a population of around 59 million is among the most populous states of Europe.