The Italian people ( ) are a ethnic group that share a common Italian culture, ancestry and speak the Italian language as a mother tongue. Within Italy, Italians are defined by citizenship, regardless of ancestry or country of residence (though the principle of jus sanguinis is used extensively and arguably more favorably in the Italian nationality law), and are distinguished from people of Italian descent and, historically, from ethnic Italians living in the unredeemed territories adjacent to the Italian Peninsula.
In addition to the 60 million Italians in Italy and 28,000 in San Marino, Italian-speaking, autochthonous groups are found in neighbouring countries: about 500,000 in Switzerland, a large, but undefined population in France (Nice, Corsica), and smaller groups in Slovenia and Croatia, primarily in Istria.
Because of wide-ranging and long-lasting diaspora, about 4 million Italian citizens and over 70 million people of full or part Italian ancestry live outside of Italy, most notably in South America, North America, and other parts of Europe.
Italians have greatly influenced and contributed to science, the arts, technology, culture, cuisine, sport and banking abroad and worldwide. Italian people are generally known for their regionalism, attention to clothing, family values and devoutness to the Christian faith and association with the Catholic Church. Their greatest contribution to Western civilization was writing and the Latin script.