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Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a sovereign state in Europe. Located in the heart of the Mediterranean, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, San Marino and the Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,338 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With about 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth largest populated EU member state and the most populated in southern Europe. Since ancient times, ancient Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Greeks built settlements in southern Italy, with Etruscans and Celts inhabiting the center and north of Italy, as well as various ancient Italian tribes and Italic peoples scattered throughout the Italian peninsula and in Italy. The Italic tribe, known as the Latins, formed the Roman kingdom in the 8th century BC. It finally became a republic that conquered and assimilated its neighbors.