Italy, officially the Italian Republic or the Republic of Italy, is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. 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. The independent states of San Marino and the Vatican City are enclaves within Italy.
Rome, the capital of Italy, was for centuries a political and religious centre of Western civilisation as the capital of the Roman Empire
Modern Italy is a democratic republic. It has been ranked as the world's 24th most-developed country and its Quality-of-life index has been ranked in the world's top ten in 2005. It is a founding member of what is now the European Union and part of the Eurozone. Italy is also a member of the G8, G20 and NATO.
With more than 43.2 million tourists a year, Italy is the fourth highest tourist earner, and fifth most visited country in the world. People mainly come to Italy for its rich art, cuisine, history, fashion and culture, its beautiful coastline and beaches, its mountains, and priceless ancient monuments, especially those from the Greek civilization and Roman civilization. Tourism is one of Italy's fastest growing and most profitable industrial sectors.
Apart from Rome, Milan, Venice and Florence are the top destinations for tourism in Italy. Other major tourist locations include Turin, Naples, Padua, Bologna, Perugia, Genoa, Sicily, Sardinia, Salento and Cinque Terre.
Italy is home to forty four UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than any other country, including many entire cities such as Verona, Siena, Vicenza, Ferrara, San Gimignano, Urbino, Matera, Pompei, Noto and Siracusa. Ravenna hosts an unprecedented eight different internationally recognized sites.
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