Italy 1249
Photo by: Michele Perbellini

Italian Republic Repubblica Italiana

CAPITAL : Rome (Roma)

FLAG : The national flag is a tricolor of green, white, and red vertical stripes.

ANTHEM : Fratelli d'Italia (Brothers of Italy).

MONETARY UNIT : The euro replaced the lira as the official currency in 2002. The euro is divided into 100 cents. There are coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents and 1 euro and 2 euros. There are notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 euros. As of May 2003, €1 = $1.0977 (or $1 = €0.911).

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is the legal standard.

HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Epiphany, 6 January; Liberation Day, 25 April; Labor Day, 1 May; Assumption, 15 August; All Saints' Day, 1 November; National Unity Day, 5 November; Immaculate Conception, 8 December; Christmas, 25 December; St. Stephen's Day, 26 December. Easter Monday is a movable holiday. In addition, each town has a holiday on its Saint's Day.

TIME : 1 PM = noon GMT.


Italy has been the home of various peoples: Lombards and Goths in the north; Greeks, Saracens, and Spaniards in Sicily and the south; Latins in and around Rome; and Etruscans and others in central Italy. For centuries, however, Italy has enjoyed a high degree of ethnic homogeneity. The chief minority groups are the German-speaking people in the Alto Adige (South Tyrol) region and the Slavs of the Trieste area.


Italy has been a member of the UN since 14 December 1955 and participates in the ECE and all UN nonregional specialized agencies. It is a member of the Council of Europe, the EU, NATO, and the OECD and is a signatory to the Law of the Sea and a member of the WTO. Italy also participates in the Asian Development Bank and enjoys permanent observer status at the OAS.


Italy has no territories or colonies.


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——. The Italian Economy: Heaven or Hell? New York, N.Y.: St. Martin's Press, 1993.

Baranski, Zygmunt G. and Rebecca J. West (eds.). The Cambridge Companion to Modern Italian Culture. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

—— and Robert Lumley (eds.). Culture and Conflict in Postwar Italy: Essays on Mass and Popular Culture. New York: St. Martin Press, 1990.

Ben-Ghiat, Ruth. Fascist Modernities: Italy, 1922–1945. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.

Burckhardt, Jakob. The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy. 2 vols. 3rd ed. Oxford, England: Phaidon, 1995.

Duggan, Christopher. A Concise History of Italy. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

Findlen, Paula (ed.). The Italian Renaissance: The Essential Readings. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2002.

Francioni, Francesco (ed.) Italy and EC Membership Evaluated. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992.

Furlong, Paul. Modern Italy: Representation and Reform. London; New York: Routledge, 1994.

Ginsborg, Paul. A History of Contemporary Italy: Society and Politics, 1943–1988. London: Penguin, 1990.

Hearder, Harry. Italy: A Short History. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Hine, David. Governing Italy: The Politics of Bargained Pluralism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

International Smoking Statistics: A Collection of Historical Data from 30 Economically Developed Countries. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Moliterno, Gino (ed.). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Italian Culture. New York: Routledge, 2000.

Torriglia, Anna Maria. Broken Time, Fragmented Space: A Cultural Map for Postwar Italy. Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 2002.

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