Italy (Italian: Italia, officially the Italian Republic; Italian: Repubblica Italiana), is a country located in Southern Europe, that comprises the Po River valley, the Italian Peninsula and the two largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily and Sardinia. It is also called by Italians lo Stivale ("the Boot", due to its boot-like shape), il Bel Paese ("the Beautiful Country") or la Penisola ("the Peninsula" as an antonomasia).
Italy shares its northern alpine boundary with France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. The independent countries of San Marino and the Vatican City are enclaves within Italian territory, while Campione d'Italia is an Italian exclave in Switzerland.
* Intro text, area and population information from Wikipedia.com.