Italian is a Romance language. By most measures, Italian, together with Sardinian, is the closest to Latin of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City and western Istria (in Slovenia and Croatia).
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- The popularity of Metastasio and Petrarch in the eighteenth century had caused many people to look upon Italian as an effeminate language—-a view which was now criticized by Macaulay, for example: 'It is a general opinion, among those who know little or nothing of the subject, that this admirable language is adapted only to the effeminate cant of sonneteers, musicians and connoisseurs.' Leigh Hunt, in particular, strove to eradicate this prejudice: 'One of the great objects of the present writer, for many years past, has been to lure his readers into the love of other languages, particularly of this (Italian) most beautiful of them all,' and for this reason he gave the original Italian in quotations as well as his translation.
- C. P. Brand; Walter Brian Harland (9 June 2011). Italy and the English Romantics: The Italianate Fashion in Early Nineteenth-Century England. Cambridge University Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-521-24729-0.