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Italy (Italian: Italia), officially the Italian Republic; (Italian: Repubblica Italiana), is located on the Italian Peninsula in Southern Europe, and on the two largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily and Sardinia. Italy shares its northern Alpine boundary with France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. The independent states of San Marino and the Vatican City are enclaves within the Italian Peninsula, while Campione d'Italia is an Italian exclave in Switzerland.

Italy has been the home of many European cultures, such as the Etruscans and the Romans, and later was the birthplace of the movement of the Italian Renaissance. Italy's capital Rome has been the center of Western Civilization, and is the center of Roman Catholic Church.

Rome, Venice, and Florence are the top three destinations for tourism in Italy. Other major tourist locations include Turin, Milan, Naples, Bologna, Perugia, Genoa, Sicily, Sardinia, and Cinque Terre. Two factors in each of these locations is history and geography. The Roman Empire, middle ages, and renaissance have left many cultural artifacts for the Italian tourist industry to use. Many northern cities are also able to use the Alps as an attraction for winter sports, while coastal southern cities have the Mediterranean Sea to draw tourists looking for sun.

Italy is home to forty one UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than any other country, including many entire cities such as Verona, Siena, Vicenza, San Gimignano, and Urbino. Ravenna hosts an unprecedented eight different internationally recognized sites.

Italy has seen many artistic and intellectual movements that spread throughout Europe and beyond, including the Renaissance and Baroque. Perhaps Italy's greatest cultural achievements lie in its artistic heritage, including the achievements of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, Botticelli, Fra Angelico, Tintoretto, Caravaggio, Bernini, Titian and Raphael.

Italy's major exports are motor vehicles (Fiat Group, Aprilia, Ducati, Piaggio), chemicals, petrochemicals and electric goods (Eni, Enel, Edison), aerospace and defence tech (Alenia, Agusta, Finmeccanica), firearms (Beretta) ; but the country's more famous exports are in the fields of fashion (Armani, Valentino, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Benetton, Prada, Luxottica), food industry (Barilla Group, Martini & Rossi, Campari, Parmalat), luxury vehicles (Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Pagani) and motoryachts (Ferretti, Azimut).

Tourism is very important to the Italian economy: with over 37 million tourists a year, Italy is ranked as the fifth major tourist destination in the world.

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