Italian is a Romance language, spoken by about 80 million people, mainly in Italy. It is the official language also of San Marino and one of the official languages in Switzerland. It is the second official language for Vatican City (although Latin is usually used for administrative purposes only).
Besides that, Italian is used in come regions of Slovenia, the Somali Democratic Republic, and Croatia.
The history and culture of Italy dates back to the very beginnings of European civilization. The influence of the Romans can still be seen everywhere in Europe, and can be heard in almost all European languages (especially the Roman languages).
Italian vocabulary can be found in the context of music, food, and banking. Many Italian immigrants not only brought their customs and their culinary traditions to the US, but also many words and phrases that have become part of everyday culture.
Italy is a country with an abundance of cultural history and beauty of landscape. It is the country with the longest Mediterranean coastline, and a primary vacation destination in Europe. Its capital Rome together with Vatican City is an important spiritual center for over 1 billion Catholics in the world. Italy is known for its production of fast cars, wines, pasta, and designer clothing.
Map: Wikimedia Commons, by TUBS