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Italy - Currency
Although the euro is the official currency in all European Union member states, each coin has a nation-specific design on one side, along with the common European design on the other. Coins in Italy have different designs depending on the denomination. These designs are intended to represent various aspect of Italian art. Some of the designs include images of a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci, a portrait of the renowned author Dante Alighieri, a statue of the Marcus Aurelius (the Roman emperor who ruled between 161 to 180), a portion of the painting ‘The Birth of Venus’ by Botticelli, and the Coliseum in Rome. A national committee selected these designs and the coins may be used in any EU country. Coins from other EU countries may also be used in Italy.
Banknotes, unlike coins, are uniform across all EU countries. They range from values of 5 to 500 euros. Popular architectural designs in Europe are depicted on the banknotes and each one is presented as a window or gateway in order to represent ‘the European spirit of openness and co-operation’. The notes also feature the design of a bridge intended to symbolize communication among the people of Europe and also between Europe and the rest of the world.
Traditionally the Lira was used as the currency of Italy. Between 1999 and 2002 it was also used officially as a sub-unit of the Euro. Italy adopted the euro as its currency in January 1999, but the coins and banknotes became available in January 2002. A few months later, old coins and banknotes in Lira were withdrawn from circulation.
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