Italian is an official language of Italy, Switzerland, Vatican City, San Marino, and Istria, and is also spoken widely in Albania and Malta. There are about 85 million native and second language speakers ofItalian in the world. It is the third most spoken native language in the European Union. The Italian language is intricately linked to Italy's rich culture, famous for its luxury goods, art, food, and fascinating history. Italian is considered to be the closest descendant of Latin among the major modern Romance languages.