Europe :: 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 is 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 sluggish economic growth, high youth and female unemployment, organized crime, corruption, and economic disparities between southern Italy and the more prosperous north.

Geography ::Italy

    Southern Europe, a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, northeast of Tunisia
    42 50 N, 12 50 E
    total: 301,340 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 72
    land: 294,140 sq km
    water: 7,200 sq km
    note: includes Sardinia and Sicily
    slightly larger than Arizona
    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
    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
    lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
    highest point: Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco) de Courmayeur 4,748 m (a secondary peak of Mont Blanc)
    coal, mercury, zinc, potash, marble, barite, asbestos, pumice, fluorspar, feldspar, pyrite (sulfur), natural gas and crude oil reserves, fish, arable land
    arable land: 22.57%
    permanent crops: 8.37%
    other: 69.07% (2011)
    39,510 sq km (2007)
    191.3 cu km (2011)
    total: 45.41 cu km/yr (24%/43%/34%)
    per capita: 789.8 cu m/yr (2008)
    regional risks include landslides, mudflows, avalanches, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding; land subsidence in Venice
    volcanism: significant volcanic activity; Etna (elev. 3,330 m), which is in eruption as of 2010, is Europe's most active volcano; flank eruptions pose a threat to nearby Sicilian villages; Etna, along with the famous Vesuvius, which remains a threat to the millions of nearby residents in the Bay of Naples area, have both been deemed "Decade Volcanoes" by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to their explosive history and close proximity to human populations; Stromboli, on its namesake island, has also been continuously active with moderate volcanic activity; other historically active volcanoes include Campi Flegrei, Ischia, Larderello, Pantelleria, Vulcano, and Vulsini
    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
    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
    strategic location dominating central Mediterranean as well as southern sea and air approaches to Western Europe

People and Society ::Italy

Government ::Italy

    conventional long form: Italian Republic
    conventional short form: Italy
    local long form: Repubblica Italiana
    local short form: Italia
    former: Kingdom of Italy
    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
    15 regions (regioni, singular - regione) and 5 autonomous regions (regioni autonome, singular - regione autonoma)
    regions: Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio (Latium), Liguria, Lombardia, Marche, Molise, Piemonte (Piedmont), Puglia (Apulia), Toscana (Tuscany), Umbria, Veneto (Venetia)
    autonomous regions: Friuli-Venezia Giulia; Sardegna (Sardinia); Sicilia (Sicily); Trentino-Alto Adige (Trentino-South Tyrol) or Trentino-Suedtirol (German); Valle d'Aosta (Aosta Valley) or Vallee d'Aoste (French)
    17 March 1861 (Kingdom of Italy proclaimed; Italy was not finally unified until 1870)
    Republic Day, 2 June (1946)
    passed 11 December 1947, effective 1 January 1948; amended many times
    civil law system; judicial review under certain conditions in Constitutional Court
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal (except in senatorial elections, where minimum age is 25)
    chief of state: President Giorgio NAPOLITANO (since 15 May 2006)
    head of government: Prime Minister Enrico LETTA (since 17 April 2013); note - the prime minister is referred to as the President of the Council of Ministers
    cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister and nominated by the President of the Republic
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    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 on 24-25 February 2013 (next to be held in 2020); prime minister appointed by the president and confirmed by parliament; note - elections were held in February, but resulted in a political stalemate to be determined by formal talks beginning in March; by mid-April 2013 no governing coaliton has been formed; on 18 April 2013 indirect elections for president were begun; on the sixth round Giorgio NAPOLITANO was elected president with 739 votes
    election results: Giorgio NAPOLITANO elected president on the sixth round of voting; electoral college vote - 739
    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; members to serve five-year terms; and up to 5 senators for life appointed by the president of the Republic) 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; members to serve five-year terms); note - it has not been clarified if each president has the power to designate up to five senators or if five is the number of senators for life who might sit in the Senate
    elections: Senate - last held on 24-25 February 2013 (next to be held in 2018); Chamber of Deputies - last held on 24-25 February 2013 (next to be held in 2018)
    election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Pier Luigi BERSANI coalition 123 (PD 111, SEL 7, SVP 2, other 3), Silvio BERLUSCONI coalition 117 (PdL 98, LN 18, other 1), M5S 54, Mario MONTI coalition 19, other 2; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Pier Luigi BERSANI coalition 345 (PD 297, SEL 37, CD 6 SVP 5), Silvio BERLUSCONI coalition 125 (PdL 98, LN 18, FdI 9), M5S 109, Mario MONTI coalition 47, other 4; note - President NAPOLITANO dissolved Parliament on 22 December 2012
    highest court(s): Supreme Court of Cassation or Corte Suprema di Cassazione (organized into penal, civil, administrative, and military divisions, each with a president and several judges); Constitutional Court or Corte Costituzionale (consists of 15 judges)
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the Superior Council of the Judiciary, headed by the president, to serve NA terms; Constitutional Court judges - 5 appointed by the president, 5 elected by parliament, 5 elected by select higher courts; judges serve up to 9 years)
    subordinate courts: various lower civil and criminal courts (primary and secondary tribunals, courts, and courts of appeal)
    Center-right coalition [Silvio BERLUSCONI]:
    People of Freedom or PdL [Silvio BERLUSCONI]
    Northern League or LN [Roberto MARONI]
    Brothers of Italy or Fdl [Giorgia MELONI and Ignazio LA RUSSA]
    The Right or LD [Francesco STORACE]
    other minor parties
    Italy Common Good (Center-Left) [Pier Luigi BERSANI]:
    Democratic Party or PD [Pier Luigi BERSANI]
    Left Ecology Freedom or SEL [Nichi VENDOLA]
    Italian Socialist Party or PSI [Riccardo NENCINI]
    Democratic Centre or CD [Bruno TABACCI and Massimo DONADI]
    South Tyrolean People's Party or SVP [Luis DURNWALDER]
    With Monti for Italy (Centrist):
    Civic Choice or SC [Mario MONTI]
    Union of the Center or UdC [Pier Ferdinando CASINI]
    Future and Freedom for Italy or FLI [Gianfranco FINI]
    other coalitions and parties:
    Civil Revolution or RC [Antonio INGROIA]
    Act to Stop the Decline or FiD [Oscar GIANNINO]
    Five Star Movment or M5S [Beppe GRILLO]
    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 [Susanna CAMUSSO] which is left wing; Confederazione Italiana dei Sindacati Lavoratori or CISL [Raffaele BONANNI], which is Roman Catholic centrist; Unione Italiana del Lavoro or UIL [Luigi ANGELETTI] which is lay centrist
    ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS (observer), CD, CDB, CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-20, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNMISS, UNMOGIP, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
    chief of mission: Ambassador Claudio BISOGNIERO
    chancery: 3000 Whitehaven Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 612-4400
    FAX: [1] (202) 518-2154
    consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco
    consulate(s): Detroit, Newark (NJ), San Francisco
    chief of mission: Ambassador David THORNE
    embassy: Via Vittorio Veneto 121, 00187-Rome
    mailing address: PSC 59, Box 100, APO AE 09624
    telephone: [39] (06) 46741
    FAX: [39] (06) 4674-2244
    consulate(s) general: Florence, Milan, Naples
    three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and red; design inspired by the French flag brought to Italy by Napoleon in 1797; colors are those of Milan (red and white) combined with the green uniform color of the Milanese civic guard
    note: similar to the flag of Mexico, which is longer, uses darker shades of red and green, and has its coat of arms centered on the white band; 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
    white, five-pointed star (Stella d'Italia)
    name: "Il Canto degli Italiani" (The Song of the Italians)

    lyrics/music: Goffredo MAMELI/Michele NOVARO
    note: adopted 1946; the anthem, originally written in 1847, is also known as "L'Inno di Mameli" (Mameli's Hymn), and "Fratelli D'Italia" (Brothers of Italy)

Economy ::Italy

    Italy has a diversified industrial economy, which is divided into a developed industrial north, dominated by private companies, and a less-developed, highly subsidized, agricultural south, where unemployment is high. The Italian economy is driven in large part by the manufacture of high-quality consumer goods produced by small and medium-sized enterprises, many of them family-owned. Italy also has a sizable underground economy, which by some estimates accounts for as much as 17% of GDP. These activities are most common within the agriculture, construction, and service sectors. Italy is the third-largest economy in the euro-zone, but its exceptionally high public debt and structural impediments to growth have rendered it vulnerable to scrutiny by financial markets. Public debt has increased steadily since 2007, topping 126% of GDP in 2012, and investor concerns about the broader euro-zone crisis at times have caused borrowing costs on sovereign government debt to rise to euro-era records. During the second half of 2011 the government passed three austerity packages to reduce its budget deficit and help bring down borrowing costs. These measures included a hike in the value-added tax, pension reforms, and cuts to public administration. The government also faces pressure from investors and European partners to sustain its recent efforts to address Italy's long-standing structural impediments to growth, such as labor market inefficiencies and widespread tax evasion. In 2012 economic growth and labor market conditions deteriorated, with growth at -2.3% and unemployment rising to nearly 11%, with youth unemployment around 35%. The government has undertaken several reform initiatives designed to increase long-term economic growth. Italy's GDP is now 7% below its 2007 pre-crisis level.
    $1.863 trillion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 11
    $1.908 trillion (2011 est.)
    $1.901 trillion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $2.014 trillion (2012 est.)
    -2.4% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    0.4% (2011 est.)
    1.7% (2010 est.)
    $30,600 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 48
    $31,500 (2011 est.)
    $31,500 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    16.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 91
    16.5% of GDP (2011 est.)
    16.4% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 60.7%
    government consumption: 20.5%
    investment in fixed capital: 18.2%
    investment in inventories: -0.6%
    exports of goods and services: 30.3%
    imports of goods and services: -29.1%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 2%
    industry: 24.2%
    services: 73.8% (2012 est.)
    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
    -4.2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    25.65 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 25
    agriculture: 3.9%
    industry: 28.3%
    services: 67.8% (2011)
    10.6% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 114
    8.4% (2011 est.)
    19.6% (2011)
    lowest 10%: 2.3%
    highest 10%: 26.8% (2000)
    31.9 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    27.3 (1995)
    revenues: $972.5 billion
    expenditures: $1.034 trillion (2012 est.)
    48.3% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 17
    -3% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 115
    127% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    120.8% of GDP (2011 est.)
    note: Italy reports its data on public debt according to guidelines set out in the Maastricht Treaty; general government gross debt is defined in the Maastricht Treaty as consolidated general government gross debt at nominal value, outstanding at the end of the year, in the following categories of government liabilities (as defined in ESA95): currency and deposits (AF.2), securities other than shares excluding financial derivatives (AF.3, excluding AF.34), and loans (AF.4); the general government sector comprises the central government, state government, local government and social security funds
    calendar year
    3.3% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 103
    2.9% (2011 est.)
    1.5% (31 December 2012)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    1.75% (31 December 2010)
    note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area
    5.22% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    4.6% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.161 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    $1.147 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
    note: see entry for the European Union for money supply in the euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 17 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders
    $1.944 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 9
    $1.957 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $3.435 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    $3.209 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $431.5 billion (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 27
    $318.1 billion (31 December 2010)
    $317.3 billion (31 December 2009)
    -$30.3 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 184
    -$71.87 billion (2011 est.)
    $478.9 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 10
    $503.1 billion (2011 est.)
    engineering products, textiles and clothing, production machinery, motor vehicles, transport equipment, chemicals; food, beverages and tobacco; minerals, nonferrous metals
    Germany 12.8%, France 11.3%, US 6.6%, Switzerland 5.8%, UK 5%, Spain 4.8% (2012)
    $453.5 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 13
    $524 billion (2011 est.)
    engineering products, chemicals, transport equipment, energy products, minerals and nonferrous metals, textiles and clothing; food, beverages, and tobacco
    Germany 15.7%, France 8.9%, China 7%, Netherlands 5.8%, Spain 4.8%, Belgium 4.1% (2012)
    $181.7 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 16
    $173.3 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $2.493 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    $2.35 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $453.7 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 17
    $436.2 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $661.9 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 12
    $617 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    euros (EUR) per US dollar -
    0.7778 (2012 est.)
    0.7185 (2011 est.)
    0.755 (2010 est.)
    0.7198 (2009 est.)
    0.6827 (2008 est.)

Energy ::Italy

Communications ::Italy

    22.116 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 13
    96.005 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 11
    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 (2011)
    two Italian media giants dominate - the publicly owned Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI) with 3 national terrestrial stations and privately owned Mediaset with 3 national terrestrial stations; a large number of private stations and Sky Italia - a satellite TV network; RAI operates 3 AM/FM nationwide radio stations; some 1,300 commercial radio stations (2007)
    25.662 million (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    29.235 million (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 13

Transportation ::Italy

    129 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 45
    total: 98
    over 3,047 m: 9
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 31
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 18
    914 to 1,523 m: 29
    under 914 m: 11 (2013)
    total: 31
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 10
    under 914 m:
    20 (2013)
    5 (2013)
    gas 20,223 km; oil 1,393 km; refined products 1,574 km (2013)
    total: 20,255 km
    country comparison to the world: 13
    standard gauge: 18,611 km 1.435-m gauge (12,662 km electrified)
    narrow gauge: 123 km 1.000-m gauge (123 km electrified); 1,290 km 0.950-m gauge (151 km electrified); 231 km 0.850-m gauge (2008)
    total: 487,700 km
    country comparison to the world: 14
    paved: 487,700 km (includes 6,700 km of expressways) (2007)
    2,400 km (used for commercial traffic; of limited overall value compared to road and rail) (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 37
    total: 681
    country comparison to the world: 17
    by type: bulk carrier 105, cargo 42, carrier 1, chemical tanker 164, container 21, liquefied gas 28, passenger 25, passenger/cargo 154, petroleum tanker 59, refrigerated cargo 4, roll on/roll off 39, specialized tanker 9, vehicle carrier 30
    foreign-owned: 90 (Denmark 4, France 2, Greece 7, Luxembourg 14, Netherlands 2, Nigeria 1, Norway 6, Singapore 1, Sweden 1, Switzerland 13, Taiwan 10, Turkey 4, UK 2, US 23)
    registered in other countries: 201 (Bahamas 1, Belize 3, Cayman Islands 7, Cyprus 6, Georgia 2, Gibraltar 4, Greece 5, Liberia 47, Malta 45, Marshall Islands 1, Morocco 1, Netherlands 6, Panama 25, Portugal 12, Russia 14, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 4, Singapore 5, Slovakia 2, Spain 1, Sweden 5, Turkey 1, UK 3, unknown 1) (2010)
    Augusta, Cagliari, Genoa, Livorno, Taranto, Trieste, Venice
    oil terminals: Melilli (Santa Panagia) oil terminal, Sarroch oil terminal

Military ::Italy

Transnational Issues ::Italy

    Italy's long coastline and developed economy entices tens of thousands of illegal immigrants from southeastern Europe and northern Africa
    refugees (country of origin): 11,345 (Eritrea); 9,284 (Somalia); 5,058 (Afghanistan) (2012)
    stateless persons: 470 (2012)
    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