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Italy (Italian: Italia [iˈtaːlja] (About this soundlisten)), officially the Italian Republic (Italian: Repubblica Italiana [reˈpubblika itaˈljaːna]), is a country in Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved states San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe.

In antiquity, Italy was the homeland of the Romans and the metropole of the Roman Empire. According to tradition, Rome was founded as a Kingdom on April 21, 753 BC and became a Republic in 509 BC, when the monarchy was overthrown in favor of a government of the Senate and the People. Following the Roman unification of Italy at the expense of the Etruscans, Celts, and Greeks of the peninsula, Rome led a federation of the Italic peoples to the conquest of Western Europe, Northern Africa and the Near East. In 27 BC Caesar Augustus became the first Roman Princeps and inaugurated the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's technology, economy, art and literature flourished. The crisis of the third century led to the separation of the Eastern Roman Empire from the Western Roman Empire. The Edict of Milan ended the persecution of Christians and the Edict of Thessalonica recognised religious primacy to the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. The West collapsed when Italy capitulated to the Herulians of Odoacer in 476 AD, but the legacy of the Roman Empire endured its fall and can be observed in the global distribution of culture, law, governments, Christianity and the Latin script.

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In the news

13 January 2019 –
Italian far-left terrorist Cesare Battisti is extradited to Italy after his capture in Bolivia. Battisti was convicted of multiple murders nearly three decades ago. (ABC)
24 December 2018 –
Mount Etna erupts, causing the closure of Catania–Fontanarossa Airport in Sicily, Italy. (BBC) (China Economic Net)
23 December 2018 – Politics of Italy, Italian government debt
The Senate of Italy passes the 2019 budget by 167 votes to 78 and three abstentions, following the agreement on December 19 with the European Commission on the size of the structural deficit. (Channel News Asia)



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