History of Italy
1855 557 3627 , Norto Help Number Italy (Listeni/ˈɪtəli/; Italian: Italia [iˈtaːlja] ( listen)), officially the Italian Republic (Italian: Repubblica Italiana), is a unitary parliamentary republic in Europe.[note 1] Italy covers an area of 301,338 km2 (116,347 sq mi) and has a largely temperate climate; due to its shape, it is often referred to in Italy as lo Stivale (the Boot). With 61 million inhabitants, it is the 4th most populous EU member state. Located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, San Marino and Vatican City.
Since ancient times, Greek, Etruscan, Celtic, and other cultures have thrived on the Italian Peninsula. Rome ultimately emerged as the dominant power, conquering much of the ancient world and becoming the leading cultural, political, and religious centre of Western civilisation. During the Dark Ages, the region suffered sociopolitical collapse amid calamitous barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival Italian city-states and maritime republics rose to great prosperity through shipping, commerce, and banking, and even laid the groundwork for capitalism. These independent city-states and regional republics, acting as Europe's main port of entry for Asian and Near Eastern imported goods, often enjoyed a greater degree of democracy in comparison to the monarchies and feudal states found throughout Europe at the time, though Southern Italy would remain largely feudal until the 19th century, partially as a result of a succession of Spanish, Byzantine, Norman, Bourbon, and Arab conquests of the region. The Renaissance led to a flourishing of Italian culture, producing famous scholars, artists, and polymaths such as Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Michelangelo and