Country Name: Italian Republic (Repubblica Italiana)
Climate: North: mid-European, middle and south: Mediterranean
Location: In South Europe on the Apennine peninsula. Neighboring countries: France, Swiss, Austria, Slovenia, San Marino, Vatican City
Area: 301.277 square kilometers
Capital: Rome (since 1871); 2.7 million inhabitants
Population: 60 million, thereof 4.5 million foreigners (7.5 percent of the entire population)
Official Language: Italian
Religion: Predominantly Roman Catholic
National Day: June 2nd, Day of Foundation of the Republic (1946)

Italy is located on a peninsula and has several offshore archipelagoes, from which Sicily and Sardinia are the biggest and most known. The Mediterranean country shares borders with France, Swiss, Austria, Slovenia, San Marino and Vatican City. The Lombardy, in which Milan is located, borders directly to Swiss, Austria is also very near. The climate in Italy is subtropical, but varies strongly according to region.
Milan is, with more than 8 million inhabitants, the biggest metropolitan area in Italy. The number of inhabitants is therefore twice as high as in the metropolitan area Naples, which has 5 million inhabitants.

In Italy the health care system is structured on regional level. Especially the regions Lombardy, Venetia and Emilia Romagna are considered to be outstanding. This is why there is a lot of health tourism. In 2000, the healthcare system of Italy has been awarded the second best in the world by the WHO.

Besides the outstanding healthcare system – especially in the north of Italy – the country is known as a holiday paradise and is ranked on position #5 of the world’s most visited countries. This is no wonder, because Italy has something to offer for every taste and can especially score among culture lovers. The Alps and the all in all 7,500 kilometers of Italy’s coastline offer an extraordinary variety for all tastes.