Italy is a country in southern Europe whose full name is the Italian Republic. The mainland is shaped like a boot and is surrounded by five seas. The islands of: Sicily, Sardinia and Capri are also part of Italy.
About 150 years ago, different areas joined up to make Italy. There are still two places inside Italy that are not part of it. They are the Vatican City and San Marino.
The country has a population of about 60 million people and they use the European currency, the Euro.
The Italian flag has three vertical bands of: green, white and red on it.
Almost all Italians are brought up as Roman Catholics. Many attend Mass regularly and enjoy celebrating religious festivals with big processions.
Italy's official language is Italian, with the other main language being Sardinian which is spoken by people on the island of Sardinia.
Some Italians work in farming. They grow: wheat, fruit and vegetables. In central and southern Italy, many people work in shops and offices. Most of Italy's factories, where they make products such as cars or engines, are in the north in big cities such as Milan or Turin.
In towns and cities, most Italians live in blocks of flats. They usually have balconies for sitting out on and wooden shutters instead of curtains.
Schools finish at about 1 o'clock and many workplaces close in the middle of the day because it is so hot.
Football, cycling, motor racing, basketball and skiing are all popular sports in Italy.
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