Italian is most closely related to the other two Italo-Dalmatian languages, Sicilian and the extinct Dalmatian. The three are part of the Italo-Western grouping of the Romance languages, which are a subgroup of the Italic branch of Indo-European.
Italian is the official language of Italy and San Marino, and one of the official languages of Switzerland, spoken mainly in Ticino and Grigioni cantons. It is also the second official language in Vatican City and in some areas of Istria in Slovenia and Croatia with an Italian minority. It is also widely known and taught in Monaco and Malta. It is also widely spoken in Corsica and Nice (for both were former Italian possessions before being handed over to France), and Albania.
Italian is spoken in parts of Africa that were former Italian colonies such as Somalia, Libya and Eritrea. It is widely used by Italians living in Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium, the United States, Canada, Venezuela, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Australia.
The presence of Italian people is very substantial above all in Latin America. In this case the presence of Italian language, most of all its northern dialects, is abundant in Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico and Argentina. Here the Spanish and the Portuguese languages are influenced by Italian particularly in some parts of these countries (i.e. Rio Grande do Sul, Cordoba, Chipilo etc.).
There is a presence of different varieties of Italian language most of all in South America. From the early XIX to the XX century, thousands of Italians, specially from the North of Italy, settled in Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico and Brazil, both in urban areas and in the vast countryside, where they created many rural colonies. A proof is the presence of Talian in Brazil. Talian is a distinctive variety of Italian derived and strongly influenced by Venetian. In any case, there is a brave discussion on considering Talian as a creole language or a variety of dialect with external influences (i.e. from Portuguese). Another example is Cocoliche, once spoken in Argentina, especially in Buenos Aires. And Venetian in the Mexican states of Puebla and Veracruz.