The lira (plural lire) was the currency of Italy between 1861 and 2002. Between 1999 and 2002, the Italian lira was officially a “national subunit” of the euro. However, physical payments could only be made in lire, as no euro coins and notes were available.
The lira was also the currency of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy between 1807 and 1814.
The term originates from the value of a pound weight (Latin: libra) of high purity silver and as such is a direct cognate of the British pound sterling; in some countries, such as Cyprus and Malta, the words lira and pound were used as equivalents, before the eurowas adopted in 2008 in the two countries. “L”, sometimes in a double-crossed script form (“₤”), was usually used as the symbol. Until the Second World War, it was subdivided into 100 centesimi (singular: centesimo), which translates to “one hundredth”.