Country Information Database


Italy Country Information

Flag of Italy
Map of Italy
Introduction Italy
Italy became a nation-state in 1861 when the regional states of the peninsula, along with Sardinia and Sicily, were united under King Victor EMMANUEL II. An era of parliamentary government came to a close in the early 1920s when Benito MUSSOLINI established a Fascist dictatorship. His alliance with Nazi Germany led to Italy's defeat in World War II. A democratic republic replaced the monarchy in 1946 and economic revival followed. Italy was a charter member of NATO and the European Economic Community (EEC). It has been at the forefront of European economic and political unification, joining the Economic and Monetary Union in 1999. Persistent problems include illegal immigration, organized crime, corruption, high unemployment, sluggish economic growth, and the low incomes and technical standards of southern Italy compared with the prosperous north.
Geography Italy
Southern Europe, a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, northeast of Tunisia
Geographic coordinates:
42 50 N, 12 50 E
Map references:
total: 301,230 sq km
land: 294,020 sq km
water: 7,210 sq km
note: includes Sardinia and Sicily
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Arizona
Land boundaries:
total: 1,899.2 km
border countries: Austria 430 km, France 488 km, Holy See (Vatican City) 3.2 km, San Marino 39 km, Slovenia 199 km, Switzerland 740 km
7,600 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
predominantly Mediterranean; Alpine in far north; hot, dry in south
mostly rugged and mountainous; some plains, coastal lowlands
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco) de Courmayeur 4,748 m (a secondary peak of Mont Blanc)
Natural resources:
coal, mercury, zinc, potash, marble, barite, asbestos, pumice, fluorspar, feldspar, pyrite (sulfur), natural gas and crude oil reserves, fish, arable land
Land use:
arable land: 26.41%
permanent crops: 9.09%
other: 64.5% (2005)
Irrigated land:
27,500 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
175 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 41.98 cu km/yr (18%/37%/45%)
per capita: 723 cu m/yr (1998)
Natural hazards:
regional risks include landslides, mudflows, avalanches, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding; land subsidence in Venice
Environment - current issues:
air pollution from industrial emissions such as sulfur dioxide; coastal and inland rivers polluted from industrial and agricultural effluents; acid rain damaging lakes; inadequate industrial waste treatment and disposal facilities
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
strategic location dominating central Mediterranean as well as southern sea and air approaches to Western Europe
People Italy
58,145,320 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 13.6% (male 4,086,951/female 3,842,765)
15-64 years: 66.3% (male 19,534,247/female 19,024,776)
65 years and over: 20% (male 4,864,189/female 6,792,393) (2008 est.)
Median age:
total: 42.9 years
male: 41.4 years
female: 44.4 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
-0.019% (2008 est.)
Birth rate:
8.36 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
10.61 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
2.06 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 5.61 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 6.19 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 80.07 years
male: 77.13 years
female: 83.2 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.3 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.5% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
140,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 1,000 (2003 est.)
noun: Italian(s)
adjective: Italian
Ethnic groups:
Italian (includes small clusters of German-, French-, and Slovene-Italians in the north and Albanian-Italians and Greek-Italians in the south)
Roman Catholic 90% (approximately; about one-third practicing), other 10% (includes mature Protestant and Jewish communities and a growing Muslim immigrant community)
Italian (official), German (parts of Trentino-Alto Adige region are predominantly German speaking), French (small French-speaking minority in Valle d'Aosta region), Slovene (Slovene-speaking minority in the Trieste-Gorizia area)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.4%
male: 98.8%
female: 98% (2001 census)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 16 years
male: 16 years
female: 17 years (2006)
Education expenditures:
4.5% of GDP (2005)
Government Italy
Country name:
conventional long form: Italian Republic
conventional short form: Italy
local long form: Repubblica Italiana
local short form: Italia
former: Kingdom of Italy
Government type:
name: Rome
geographic coordinates: 41 54 N, 12 29 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions:
15 regions (regioni, singular - regione) and 5 autonomous regions* (regioni autonome, singular - regione autonoma); Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia*, Lazio (Latium), Liguria, Lombardia, Marche, Molise, Piemonte (Piedmont), Puglia (Apulia), Sardegna* (Sardinia), Sicilia*, Toscana (Tuscany), Trentino-Alto Adige* (Trentino-South Tyrol), Umbria, Valle d'Aosta* (Aosta Valley), Veneto (Venetia)
17 March 1861 (Kingdom of Italy proclaimed; Italy was not finally unified until 1870)
National holiday:
Republic Day, 2 June (1946)
passed 11 December 1947, effective 1 January 1948; amended many times
Legal system:
based on civil law system; appeals treated as new trials; judicial review under certain conditions in Constitutional Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal (except in senatorial elections, where minimum age is 25)
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Giorgio NAPOLITANO (since 15 May 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Silvio BERLUSCONI (referred to in Italy as the president of the Council of Ministers) (since 8 May 2008) note - in Italy the prime minister is referred to as the president of the Council of Ministers
cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister and approved by the president
elections: president elected by an electoral college consisting of both houses of parliament and 58 regional representatives for a seven-year term (no term limits); election last held 10 May 2006 (next to be held in May 2013); prime minister appointed by the president and confirmed by parliament
election results: Giorgio NAPOLITANO elected president on the fourth round of voting; electoral college vote - 543
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament or Parlamento consists of the Senate or Senato della Repubblica (315 seats; members elected by proportional vote with the winning coalition in each region receiving 55% of seats from that region; to serve five-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camera dei Deputati (630 seats; members elected by popular vote with the winning national coalition receiving 54% of chamber seats; to serve five-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 13-14 April 2008 (next to be held April 2010); Chamber of Deputies - last held 13-14 April 2008 (next to be held in April 2010)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - S. BERLUSCONI coalition 174 (PdL 147, LN 25, MpA 2), W. VELTRONI coalition 132 (PD 118, IdV 3), UdC 3, other 6; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - S. BERLUSCONI coalition 344 (PdL 276, LN 60, MpA 8), W. VELTRONI coalition 246 (PD 217, IdV 29), UdC 36, other 4
Judicial branch:
Constitutional Court or Corte Costituzionale (composed of 15 judges: one-third appointed by the president, one-third elected by parliament, one-third elected by the ordinary and administrative Supreme Courts)
Political parties and leaders:
Silvio BERLUSCONI coalition: People of Freedom or PdL [Silvio BERLUSCONI]; Lega Nord or LN [Umberto BOSSI]; Movement for Autonomy or MpA [Raffaele LOMBARDO]
Walter VELTRONI coalition: Democratic Party or PD [Walter VELTRONI]; Italy of Values or IdV [Antonio DI PIETRO]
other non-allied parties: Union of the Centre or UdC [Savino PEZZOTTA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
manufacturers and merchants associations - Confcommercio; Confindustria; organized farm groups - Confcoltivatori; Confagricoltura; Roman Catholic Church; three major trade union confederations - Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro or CGIL [Guglielmo EPIFANI] which is left wing; Confederazione Italiana dei Sindacati Lavoratori or CISL [Raffaele BONANNO], which is Roman Catholic centrist; Unione Italiana del Lavoro or UIL [Luigi ANGELETTI] which is lay centrist)
International organization participation:
ADB (nonregional members), AfDB (nonregional members), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS (observer), CDB, CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SECI (observer), UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNMOGIP, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Giovanni CASTELLANETA
chancery: 3000 Whitehaven Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 612-4400
FAX: [1] (202) 518-2151
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco
consulate(s): Detroit
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Ronald P. SPOGLI
embassy: Via Vittorio Veneto 121, 00187-Rome
mailing address: PSC 59, Box 100, APO AE 09624
telephone: [39] (06) 46741
FAX: [39] (06) 488-2672, 4674-2356
consulate(s) general: Florence, Milan, Naples
Flag description:
three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and red; similar to the flag of Ireland, which is longer and is green (hoist side), white, and orange; also similar to the flag of the Cote d'Ivoire, which has the colors reversed - orange (hoist side), white, and green; inspired by the French flag brought to Italy by Napoleon in 1797
Economy Italy
Economy - overview:
Italy has a diversified industrial economy with roughly the same total and per capita output as France and the UK. This capitalistic economy remains divided into a developed industrial north, dominated by private companies, and a less-developed, welfare-dependent, agricultural south, with 20% unemployment. Most raw materials needed by industry and more than 75% of energy requirements are imported. Over the past decade, Italy has pursued a tight fiscal policy in order to meet the requirements of the Economic and Monetary Unions and has benefited from lower interest and inflation rates. The current government has enacted numerous short-term reforms aimed at improving competitiveness and long-term growth. Italy has moved slowly, however, on implementing needed structural reforms, such as lightening the high tax burden and overhauling Italy's rigid labor market and over-generous pension system, because of the current economic slowdown and opposition from labor unions. But the leadership faces a severe economic constraint: Italy's official debt remains above 100% of GDP, and the government has found it difficult to bring the budget deficit down to a level that would allow a rapid decrease in that debt. The economy continues to grow by less than the euro-zone average and growth is expected to decelerate from 1.9% in 2006 and 2007 to under 1.5% in 2008 as the euro-zone and world economies slow.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1.8 trillion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$2.105 trillion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
1.4% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$30,900 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 2%
industry: 27%
services: 70.9% (2007 est.)
Labor force:
24.74 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 5%
industry: 32%
services: 63% (2001)
Unemployment rate:
6.2% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.3%
highest 10%: 26.8% (2000)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
33 (2005)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.8% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
21% of GDP (2007 est.)
revenues: $991.2 billion
expenditures: $1.031 trillion (2007 est.)
Public debt:
104% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products:
fruits, vegetables, grapes, potatoes, sugar beets, soybeans, grain, olives; beef, dairy products; fish
tourism, machinery, iron and steel, chemicals, food processing, textiles, motor vehicles, clothing, footwear, ceramics
Industrial production growth rate:
0.6% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production:
278.5 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 78.6%
hydro: 18.4%
nuclear: 0%
other: 3% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
307.1 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:
1.109 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:
50.26 billion kWh (2005)
Oil - production:
164,800 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
1.732 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports:
521,400 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports:
2.182 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves:
621.7 million bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
11.49 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
82.64 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
379.8 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
70.45 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
217.3 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:
-$51.03 billion (2007 est.)
$502.4 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities:
engineering products, textiles and clothing, production machinery, motor vehicles, transport equipment, chemicals; food, beverages and tobacco; minerals, and nonferrous metals
Exports - partners:
Germany 12.9%, France 11.4%, Spain 7.4%, US 6.8%, UK 5.8% (2007)
$498.1 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities:
engineering products, chemicals, transport equipment, energy products, minerals and nonferrous metals, textiles and clothing; food, beverages, and tobacco
Imports - partners:
Germany 16.9%, France 9%, China 5.9%, Netherlands 5.5%, Belgium 4.3%, Spain 4.2% (2007)
Economic aid - donor:
ODA, $3.641 billion (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$94.33 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external:
$996.3 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$364.8 billion (2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$520.1 billion (2007 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$798.2 billion (2005)
Currency (code):
euro (EUR)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
euros per US dollar - 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Italy
Telephones - main lines in use:
26.89 million (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
78.571 million (2006)
Telephone system:
general assessment: modern, well developed, fast; fully automated telephone, telex, and data services
domestic: high-capacity cable and microwave radio relay trunks
international: country code - 39; a series of submarine cables provide links to Asia, Middle East, Europe, North Africa, and US; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (with a total of 5 antennas - 3 for Atlantic Ocean and 2 for Indian Ocean), 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region), and NA Eutelsat
Radio broadcast stations:
AM about 100, FM about 4,600, shortwave 9 (1998)
50.5 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
358 (plus 4,728 repeaters) (1995)
30.3 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
4.117 million (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
93 (Italy and Holy See) (2000)
Internet users:
32 million (2007)
Transportation Italy
132 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 101
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 32
1,524 to 2,437 m: 15
914 to 1,523 m: 34
under 914 m: 13 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 31
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 19 (2007)
5 (2007)
gas 18,863 km; oil 1,258 km (2007)
total: 19,460 km
standard gauge: 18,038 km 1.435-m gauge (11,354 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 123 km 1.000-m gauge (123 km electrified); 1,299 km 0.950-m gauge (161 km electrified) (2006)
total: 484,688 km
paved: 484,688 km (includes 6,529 km of expressways) (2004)
2,400 km
note: used for commercial traffic; of limited overall value compared to road and rail (2006)
Merchant marine:
total: 612 ships (1000 GRT or over) 12,959,580 GRT/13,667,504 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 55, cargo 50, carrier 2, chemical tanker 155, combination ore/oil 1, container 29, liquefied gas 27, passenger 20, passenger/cargo 155, petroleum tanker 37, refrigerated cargo 4, roll on/roll off 36, specialized tanker 13, vehicle carrier 28
foreign-owned: 65 (Denmark 3, France 2, Germany 3, Greece 8, Japan 2, Lebanon 1, Norway 2, Sweden 1, Switzerland 5, Taiwan 13, Turkey 1, UK 7, US 17)
registered in other countries: 202 (Bahamas 2, Belize 3, Bolivia 1, Cayman Islands 5, Cyprus 7, France 2, Gibraltar 1, Liberia 44, Malta 48, Marshall Islands 4, Netherlands 1, Norway 4, Panama 23, Portugal 13, Russia 3, Singapore 5, Slovakia 1, Spain 2, St Vincent and the Grenadines 17, Sweden 8, Turkey 3, UK 5) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Augusta, Genoa, Livorno, Ravenna, Sarroch, Taranto, Trieste, Venice
Military Italy
Military branches:
Italian Army (Esercito Italiano, EI), Italian Navy (Marina Militare Italiana, MMI), Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana, AMI), Carabinieri Corps (Arma dei Carabinieri, CC) (2008)
Military service age and obligation:
18-27 year of age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished January 2005; women may serve in any military branch; 10-month service obligation, with a reserve obligation to age 45 (Army and Air Force) or 39 (Navy) (2006)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 13,884,079
females age 16-49: 13,158,378 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 11,285,488
females age 16-49: 10,680,672 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 290,740
female: 273,569 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures:
1.8% of GDP (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Italy
Disputes - international:
Italy's long coastline and developed economy entices tens of thousands of illegal immigrants from southeastern Europe and northern Africa
Illicit drugs:
important gateway for and consumer of Latin American cocaine and Southwest Asian heroin entering the European market; money laundering by organized crime and from smuggling

This page was last updated on 2 October, 2008 Access Time: Tue, 26 Sep 2023 01:34:28 +0000