The Romance languages developed from Latin in the sixth to ninth centuries. Italian is one of the Romance languages and is spoken all over Italy (the other four most widely spoken Romance languages are; Spanish, Portugese, French and Romanian). Italian is not a difficult language to pronounce as you more or less sound out every letter in the word. There are of course rules with some pronunciation (as with any language), but overall if you were to pick up an Italian phrase book and attempt to read some words you would probably get a lot of them right.
Depending on the region of Italy you are in, dialects vary as well as some words and even the pronunciation can be completely different. This can be a bit difficult, especially when you think you have managed to grasp the Italian language then only to be spoken to in dialect and you are left clueless and wondering if all that time and effort memorizing your phrases was worth it!
In Northern Italy the language mainly spoken is Lombard (most of Lombardy and some areas of neighbouring regions, notably the eastern side of Piedmont) and Southern Switzerland (Ticino and Graubünden). Lombard belongs to the Gallic-Itallo group within the Romance languages. There are two main varieties; Western Lombard and Eastern Lombard. There are significant differences with both of these languages although in general, Western Lombard is easier to understand.
Dialects: Milanese, Eastern Lombard, Western Lombard (Piazza Armerina, Novara, Nicosia, San Fratello), Alpine Lombard, Novarese Lombard, Trentino Western, Latin Fiamazzo, Latin Anaunico, Bergamasco, Ticinese (Ticino). A group of dialects, some of which may be separate languages. Western Lombard dialects (of Ticino and Graubünden) are inherently intelligible to each other’s speakers. Speakers in more conservative valleys may have to use some kind of ‘standard’ dialect to communicate with speakers of other dialects of Lombard. Very different from Standard Italian. Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Gallo-Romance, Gallo-Italian.