Italian culture is steeped in the arts, family, architecture, music and food.
Home of the Roman Empire and a major center of the Renaissance, culture on the Italian peninsula has flourished for centuries.
North African Arab, Italo-Albanian, Albanian, German, Austrian and some other European groups fill out the remainder of the population.
Bordering countries of France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia to the north have influenced Italian culture, as have the Mediterranean islands of Sardinia and Sicily and Sardinia. About 93 percent of the Italian population speaks Italian as native language, according to the BBC.
There are a number of dialects of the language spoken in the country, including Sardinian, Friulian, Neapolitan, Sicilian, Ligurian, Piedmontese, Venetian and Calabrian. Other languages spoken by native Italians include Albanian, Bavarian, Catalan, Cimbrian, Corsican, Croatian, French, German, Greek, Slovenian and Walser.
"Family is an extremely important value within the Italian culture," Talia Wagner, a Los Angeles based marriage and family therapist, told Live Science.
Their family solidarity is focused on extended family rather than the west's idea of "the nuclear family" of just a mom, dad and kids, Wagner explained.
Italians have frequent family gatherings and enjoy spending time with those in their family."Children are reared to remain close to the family upon adulthood and incorporate their future family into the larger network," said Wagner. This is not surprising, as Vatican City, located in the heart of Rome, is the hub of Roman Catholicism and where the Pope resides.Roman Catholics make up 90 percent of the population, though only one-third of those are practicing Catholics, while the other 10 percent is composed of Protestant, Jewish and a growing Muslim immigrant community, according to the University of Michigan.Italy has given rise to a number of architectural styles, including classical Roman, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical.Italy is home to some of the most famous structures in the world, including Colosseum and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.The concept of a basilica — which was originally used to describe an open public court building and evolved to mean a Catholic pilgrimage site — was born in Italy.