Italians are citizens of Italy (the Republic of Italy). Italy occupies 301,230 square kilometers and in 1990 had an estimated population of 57,657,000. The modern nation of Italy, unified in 1861, is a mix of different regional cultures who, prior to unification, formed a number of distinct political, linguistic, and cultural units. The Tuscan dialect of Italian is the national standard, although regional dialects and languages are still widely spoken and in some areas other languages, such as Sard on Sardinia, are considered official second languages. In addition to the regional cultures—Tuscans, Sicilians, Calabrese, Piemontese, etc.—there are also distinctive national minorities—Austrians, Albanians, Germans, Greeks, French, Slovenes—and linguistic minorities such as the Ladin and Friuli.
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Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations (1988). 7th ed. New York: Worldmark Press.