Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is located on the ItalianPeninsula in Southern Europe, and on the two largest islands inthe Mediterranean Sea, Sicily and Sardinia. Italy shares itsnorthern Alpine boundary with France, Switzerland, Austria andSlovenia. The Capital of Italy is Rome.
Italy is subdivided into 20regions. It is further divided into 109 provinces (province) and8,101 municipalities.It is a democratic republic and a developed country with the8th-highest Quality-of-life index rating in the world. It is afounding member of what is now the European Union (havingsigned the Treaty of Rome in 1957), and a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It is a member of the G8 (having the world's 7th largest nominal GDP),Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development(OECD), World Trade Organization (WTO), the Council of Europe,the Western European Union. It has the world's 7th largestdefence budget and shares NATO's nuclear weapons. On 1 January 2007, Italy began a two year term as a non-permanentmember of the United Nations Security Council.
Politics: The politics of Italy take place in a framework of aparliamentary, democratic republic, and of a multi-partysystem. Executive power is exercised collectively by the Councilof Ministers, which is led by a Prime Minister who is appointedby President. Legislative power is vested in the two houses of parliament primarily and secondarily on the Council of Ministers. The judiciary is independent of the executive and thelegislative. Italy has been a democratic republic since 2 June1946, when the monarchy was abolished by popular