ITALY THE COUNTRY
Fancy a little history and geography lesson …. read on, if not skip and move onto the next blog entry.(Source:www.worldmapmaker.com)
The Flag (adopted 19 June 1946)
Flag : consists of 3 equally proportioned vertical stripes.The left stripe is green, the middle is white and the right is red.
Meaning: ,the Italian flag is based on the design of the French flag.There are different accounts of the meanings but the one account is that the colours were based on military uniforms from Milan.The other suggests that Napoleon Bonaparte replaced the Blue on the French Flag with Green because he liked the colour.
Background: Italy became a nation-state in 1861 when the regional states of the peninsula, along with Sardinia and Sicily, were united under King Victor EMMANUEL II. An era of parliamentary government came to a close in the early 1920s when Benito MUSSOLINI established a Fascist dictatorship. His alliance with Nazi Germany led to Italy's defeat in World War II. A democratic republic replaced the monarchy in 1946 and economic revival followed. Italy was a charter member of NATO and the European Economic Community (EEC). It has been at the forefront of European economic and political unification, joining the Economic and Monetary Union in 1999. Persistent problems include illegal immigration, organized crime, corruption, high unemployment, sluggish economic growth, and the low incomes and technical standards of southern Italy compared with the prosperous north.
Area: : total: 301,230 sq km land: 294,020 sq km water: 7,210 sq km note: includes Sardinia and Sicily
Land boundaries:total: 1,899.2 km border countries: Austria 430 km, France 488 km, Holy See (Vatican City) 3.2 km, San Marino 39 km, Slovenia 199 km, Switzerland 740 km
Climate: predominantly Mediterranean; Alpine in far north; hot, dry in south
Natural resources: coal, mercury, zinc, potash, marble, barite, asbestos, pumice, fluorspar, feldspar, pyrite (sulfur), natural gas and crude oil reserves, fish, arable land
Population: 58 Million (est 2009)
Ethnic groups: : Italian (includes small clusters of German-, French-, and Slovene-Italians in the north and Albanian-Italians and Greek-Italians in the south)
Religions: Roman Catholic 90% (approximately; about one-third practicing), other 10% (includes mature Protestant and Jewish communities and a growing Muslim immigrant community)
Languages: Italian (official), German (parts of Trentino-Alto Adige region are predominantly German speaking), French (small French-speaking minority in Valle d'Aosta region), Slovene (Slovene-speaking minority in the Trieste-Gorizia area
Government type: republic
Independence: 17 March 1861 (Kingdom of Italy proclaimed; Italy was not finally unified until 1870)
National holiday Republic Day, 2 June (1946
Foreign Exchange euros (EUR) per Rand - 10.91(2009 est.)