Tourist travel information about Italy
The Italian Republic (Repubblica Italiana) is a country in southern Europe. Italy is, for the most part, a peninsula situated on the Mediterranean Sea, bordering France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia. Italy, which is boot-shaped, is surrounded by the Ligurian and the Tyrrhenian Seas to the west, the Mediterranean and Ionian Seas to the South, and the Adriatic Sea to the East.
Over 50 million tourists a year visit Italy. Tourism is vital to Italy’s economy and provides nearly 63% of Italy’s national income. Though Italy’s economy lagged behind the rest of Europe during the first half of the twentieth century, currently it is the world’s seventh largest economy.
Italy is considered, along with Greece, to be the birthplace of Western culture. Italy is also home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world.
Two independent mini-states are surrounded entirely by Italy: San Marino and Vatican City. While technically not part of the European Union, both of these states are also part of the Schengen Area and the European Monetary Union (EMU). Apart from different police uniforms, there is no evident transition from these states and Italy’s territory, and the currency is the same. Italian is also the official language in both countries.