Interface free energy is the contribution to the free energy of a system due to the presence of an interface separating two coexisting phases at equilibrium. It is also called interfacial free energy or surface tension. The content of the paper is 1) the definition of the interface free energy from first principles of statistical mechanics; 2) a detailed exposition of its basic properties. We consider lattice models with short range interactions, like the Ising model. A nice feature of lattice models is that the interface free energy is anisotropic so that some results are pertinent to the case of a crystal in equilibrium with its vapor. The results of section 2 hold in full generality.