Italy is largely a peninsula situated on the Mediterranean Sea and was once the core of the mighty Roman Empire, and the cradle of the Renaissance. It is also home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, including high art and monuments. Italy is famous for its delicious cuisine, trendy fashions, luxury sports cars, wine and motorcycles, diverse regional cultures and dialects, as well as for its various landscapes from the seas to the Alps and Apennines, which makes reason for its nickname Il Bel Paese (the Beautiful Country).
Italian is the official language spoken by the majority of the population, but as you travel throughout the country, you will find there are distinct Italian dialects corresponding to the region you are in. Italy has a diverse landscape, but it is primarily mountainous, with the Alps and the Apennines. Italy has two major islands: Sardinia, off the west coast of Italy, and Sicily, just off the southern tip (the "toe") of the boot. Italy has a population of around 60 million. The capital is Rome.