Italian (italiano , or lingua italiana) is a Romance language spoken by about 63 million people, primarily in Italy. In Switzerland, Italian is one of four official languages. It is also the official language of San Marino. It is also widely spoken in Vatican City, although Latin is the official language. 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.
Unlike most other Romance languages, Italian has retained the contrast between short and long consonants which existed in Latin. As in most Romance languages, stress is distinctive. Of the Romance languages, Italian is considered to be one of the closest resembling Latin in terms of vocabulary, though Romanian most closely preserves the noun declension system of Classical Latin, and Spanish the verb conjugation system (see Old Latin), while Sardinian is the most conservative in terms of phonology.
It is affectionately called il parlar gentile (the gentle language) by its speakers.
Official Language of: Italy, San Marino, Slovenia, Switzerland, Croatia, Vatican City
Total number of speakers: 110-120 million
For additional information about the Italian Language, please click here