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About Italy

Italy - Birthplace of Renaissance

The Italian Republic or Italy, as it is commonly known, is a rugged country located in south-central Europe and comprises the boot-shaped Italian Peninsula and a number of islands including the two largest, Sicily and Sardinia. 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 other smaller islands.

Italy is considered as the birthplace of Renaissance, an intellectual and cultural movement that spread across Europe between the 14th to 17th centuries and which proved to be integral in shaping the subsequent course of European history and culture. Rome, the capital of Italy, was for centuries the political and cultural centre of Western civilization as the capital of the Roman Empire.

The country has a diversified industrial economy, capitalist in nature, characterized by a high gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and a well-developed infrastructure. According to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the CIA World Factbook, in 2010 Italy was the eighth-largest economy in the world and the fourth-largest in Europe in terms of nominal GDP.

The Italian economy has changed dramatically since the end of World War II. From an agriculturally based economy, it has developed into an industrialized state and a leading country in world trade and exports. Italy\\\'s economic strength is in the processing and manufacturing of high-quality consumer goods produced by small and medium-sized enterprises, many of them family owned. The country is also well-known for its influential and innovative business economic sector, an industrious and competitive agricultural sector (Italy is the world\\\'s largest wine producer), and for its creative and high-quality automobile, industrial, appliance and fashion design. Its major industries are precision machinery, motor vehicles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, electric goods, and fashion and clothing. Tourism is also one of the fastest growing and profitable sectors of the national economy.