The Italian €2 euro coin shows a portrait drawn by Raphaël of Dante Alighieri, the most significant poet of the period in Italy, if not the whole of mediaeval Europe. His writings turned Italian into a literary language. The motif for this coin was designed by Maria Carmela Colaneri.
Euro coins and banknotes were introduced on 1 January 2002 in twelve countries. Today, the euro area has grown to include 18 countries. Euro coins feature a common design on one side. Also, the national side (reverse) of every coin includes a ring of 12 stars from the European Union flag. Each country has its own design for the national side of its coins.