Italy (officially Italian Republic, Italian Repubblica Italiana, short Italia) is a parliamentary republic in Southern Europe. The capital of Italy is RomThe Italian territory located mostly on the enclosed from the Mediterranean Apennine peninsula and the Po Valley and the southern mountainous part of the Alps. It borders France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. The small states Vatican City and San Marino are completely surrounded by Italian territory. Besides the large islands of Sicily and Sardinia several groups of islands are offshore. Italy is a founding member of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the European Economic Community (EEC) and European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM), the current European Union and one of its now 28 member states. 19 of them form a Monetary Union, the Euro zone. The country is a member of the United Nations (UN), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), NATO, the G7 and the G20. Italy was named one index for developing human the most highly developed countries of the world. Measured in terms of nominal gross domestic product, it has the eighth largest economy in the world. The country enjoys a high standard of living and level of education and has one of the highest life expectancies. The area of today's Italy was in ancient times the core region of the Roman Empire with Rome as its capital. The Italian Tuscany today was the heartland of the Renaissance. Since the Risorgimento is the modern Italian state. First was from 1861 to 1946 under the rule of the House of Savoy, the Kingdom of Italy, which was industrialized rapidly in 1878 rose to great power and in the 1880s built a colonial empire in North and East Africa. The costly in the First World War from 1915 to 1918 led to serious social unrest and paved the Italian Fascists under Benito Mussolini's path to power. The fascist regime ruled from 1922 to 1943/45 over Italy and led the country in 1940 on the side of the Axis powers in the Second World War. The defeat in the war led to the loss of the colonies and smaller territorial concessions to the Neighboring Countries. In June 1946, a referendum ended the monarchy and led to the proclamation of the present Republic.
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