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Some facts about the Italian language

Italian is a Romance language. Among the group of romance languages, it is the language which shows the strongest influence by Latin. It is very close to the Romanian language. „Standard Italian“ is based on the Tuscan and specifically on the dialects of the city of Florence. With his „Commedia“ (14th century), the Florentine poet Dante Alighieri made significant contributions to standardize the Italian language. His epic poems were read throughout Italy. Also other Italian dialects and even the Germanic language had an influence on standard Italian. The language is spoken by approx. 61.5 million people worldwide today, by 60 million of them in Italy itself. In Switzerland, Italian is an official language toghether with French, German and Rhaeto-Romance. Also San Marino as one of the European microstates has Italian as official language. The sovereign city-state of the Vatican uses Italian as primary language.
The dialects in Italy are diverse. In general, they can be divided into the dialects of the north, the middle and the south of Italy. The dialect boundaries lie between the coastal cities of La Spezia and Rimini as well as Rome and Ancona.

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