Italian (italiano , or lingua italiana) is a Romance language spoken by as maternal language by about 63 million people, primarily in Italy. Italian is the official language of Italy and San Marino, and one of the official languages of Switzerland. It is also the second official language in the Vatican City and in some areas of Istria in Slovenia and Croatia with an Italian minority. The speakers who use Italian as second or cultural language are estimated around 110-120 million.

Standard Italian, adopted by the state after the unification of Italy, is based on Tuscan and is somewhat intermediate between Italo-Dalmatian languages of the South and Northern Italian dialects of the North.

It is affectionately called il parlar gentile (the gentle language) by its speakers.

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See also: Country Profile - Italy

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