The Italian Republic is a country located in Southern Europe and on the two largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily and Sardinia. The independent states of San Marino and the Vatican City are enclaves within the Italian Peninsula. With 60,200,000 inhabitants, it is the sixth most populous country in Europe. Italy's capital, Rome, was for centuries the political center of Western civilization, as the capital of the Roman Empire. Centuries later, Italy would become the birthplace of the Renaissance, an immensely fruitful intellectual movement that would prove to be integral in shaping the course of European thought.
Modern Italy is a democratic republic and a developed country with the eighth-highest quality of life index rating in the world. Italy enjoys a high standard of living, and is the world's 18th most developed country. It is a founding member of what is now the European Union.
As far as health care is concerned, Italy ranks No. 2 on the World Health Organization's list of top countries for quality health care services. In fact, Italy spent about 9.0% of their GDP for health care.
Italy's national health system (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale or SSN, for short) is administered through local health authorities and provides low or no-cost health care to all EU citizens, including in-patient treatment (including tests, medication and surgery during hospitalisation), visits to family doctors and medical assistance provided by paediatricians, obstetricians and other specialists. It also pays for part, sometimes all, of the cost of drugs and medicines, out-patient treatment and dental treatment. Emergency health provision is available to all EU and non-EU visitors. Regardless of where you come from, you must have some form of health insurance as soon as you arrive in Italy.
Medical school lasts 6 years (12 semesters). Traditionally, the first three years are devoted to "bioscience" subjects (physics, chemistry, biology, biochemistry, genetics, anatomy, physiology, immunology, pathophysiology, microbiology, and usually English language courses), whereas the later three years are devoted to "clinical" subjects. However, most schools are increasingly devoting the second semester of the third year to clinical subjects and earlier patient contact. In most schools, there are about 36 exams over the 6-year cycle, as well as a number of obligatory rotations and elective activities.
At the end of the cycle, students have to discuss a final thesis before a board of professors; the subject of this thesis may be a review of academic literature or an experimental work, and usually takes more than a year to complete, with most students beginning an internato (internship) in the subject of their choice in their fifth or sixth year. The title awarded at the end of the discussion ceremony is that of "Dottore in Medicina e Chirurgia" ("Doctor of Medicine and Surgery"), which in accordance with the Bologna process is comparable with a master's degree qualification.
After graduating, new doctors must complete a three-month, unpaid, supervised tirocinio post-lauream ("post-degree placement") consisting of two months in their university hospital (one month in a medical service and one in a surgical service) as well as one month shadowing a general practitioner. After getting a statement of successful completion of each month from their supervisors, new doctors take the esame di stato ("state exame") to obtain full license to practise medicine. They will then have to register with one of the branches of the Ordine dei Medici ("Order of Physicians") which are based in each of the Provinces of Italy.
The Italian Railways are one of the most important infrastructure in the country, with 19,394 kilometers (12,051 mi) of track. Italy has a vastly developed railroad system, consisting of: High speed trains (Napoli - Roma - Firenze - Bologna - Milano, Torino - Milano, to name a few), Euro-star trains, Freccia Rossa and Freccia Argento trains, Intercity trains and regional trains.
Italy has more than 100 airports (many are international airports), with many airline companies flying inside Italy (Alitalia, Air one, Easyjet, Ryanair, Meridiana, Ect') and internationally.
Many of the major cities have either an Underground train system or Tram and all cities have Bus and Taxi services.