Religion plays an extremely important role in the Italian culture and traditions. The majority of native Italians are Roman Catholic (over 95% of which are reportedly baptized), yet less than half of them regularly attending church.
The pope rules over the independent city-state of Vatican City (located in the heart of Rome) as the head of the Catholic Church and the bishop of Rome. The Catholic Church has historically been very influential in both government and public affairs.
Aside from Catholicism, there are several other religious minorities in the country, including Greek Orthodox, Protestants, Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Muslims.
There are many religious festivals and celebrations, most are dedicated to the Madonna or the various Saints of the Roman Catholic religion. Nearly every city and village has a patron saint, along with a special day to celebrate it.
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