Photos of 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) and its subsequent successors the EC and the EU. 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.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



Southern Europe, a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, northeast of Tunisia

Geographic coordinates

42 50 N, 12 50 E


total: 301,340 sq km

land: 294,140 sq km

water: 7,200 sq km

note: includes Sardinia and Sicily

comparison ranking: total 73

Area - comparative

almost twice the size of Georgia; slightly larger than Arizona

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 1,836.4 km

border countries (6): Austria 404 km; France 476 km; Holy See (Vatican City) 3.4 km; San Marino 37 km; Slovenia 218 km; Switzerland 698 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


highest point: Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco) de Courmayeur (a secondary peak of Mont Blanc) 4,748 m

lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m

mean elevation: 538 m

Natural resources

coal, antimony, mercury, zinc, potash, marble, barite, asbestos, pumice, fluorspar, feldspar, pyrite (sulfur), natural gas and crude oil reserves, fish, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 47.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 22.8% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 8.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 15.7% (2018 est.)

forest: 31.4% (2018 est.)

other: 21.5% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

26,010 sq km (2013)

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Rhine-Maas (198,735 sq km), (Black Sea) Danube (795,656 sq km), (Adriatic Sea) Po (76,997 sq km), (Mediterranean Sea) Rhone (100,543 sq km)

Population distribution

despite a distinctive pattern with an industrial north and an agrarian south, a fairly even population distribution exists throughout most of the country, with coastal areas, the Po River Valley, and urban centers (particularly Milan, Rome, and Naples), attracting larger and denser populations

Natural hazards

regional risks include landslides, mudflows, avalanches, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding; land subsidence in Venice

volcanism: significant volcanic activity; Etna (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

Geography - note

strategic location dominating central Mediterranean as well as southern sea and air approaches to Western Europe

People and Society


61,021,855 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 24


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)


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)

major-language sample(s):
L'Almanacco dei fatti del mondo, l'indispensabile fonte per le informazioni di base. (Italian)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Italian audio sample:


Christian 80.8% (overwhelmingly Roman Catholic with very small groups of Jehovah's Witnesses and Protestants), Muslim 4.9%, unaffiliated 13.4%, other 0.9% (2020 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 12.08% (male 3,772,041/female 3,600,946)

15-64 years: 64.61% (male 19,430,217/female 19,997,042)

65 years and over: 23.31% (2023 est.) (male 6,248,663/female 7,972,946)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 57.1

youth dependency ratio: 19.9

elderly dependency ratio: 37.2

potential support ratio: 2.7 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 46.5 years

male: 45.4 years

female: 47.5 years (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 5

Population growth rate

-0.11% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 202

Birth rate

7 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 223

Death rate

11.27 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 20

Net migration rate

3.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 37

Population distribution

despite a distinctive pattern with an industrial north and an agrarian south, a fairly even population distribution exists throughout most of the country, with coastal areas, the Po River Valley, and urban centers (particularly Milan, Rome, and Naples), attracting larger and denser populations


urban population: 72% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.27% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

4.316 million ROME (capital), 3.155 million Milan, 2.179 million Naples, 1.802 million Turin, 913,000 Bergamo, 850,000 Palermo (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female

total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

31.4 years (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

5 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 165

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.11 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 3.28 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 2.94 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: total 209

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 82.79 years

male: 80.46 years

female: 85.26 years (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: total population 20

Total fertility rate

1.24 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 222

Contraceptive prevalence rate

65.1% (2013)

note: percent of women aged 18-49

Drinking water source

improved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 99.9% of population

unimproved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 0.1% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

9.6% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

3.95 physicians/1,000 population (2020)

Hospital bed density

3.1 beds/1,000 population (2018)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2020 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

19.9% (2016)

comparison ranking: 108

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 7.65 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 1.99 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 4.83 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.83 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 51

Tobacco use

total: 23.1% (2020 est.)

male: 26.6% (2020 est.)

female: 19.5% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 64

Education expenditures

4.3% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 106


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 99.2%

male: 99.4%

female: 99% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 16 years

male: 16 years

female: 17 years (2020)

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 30.9%

male: 29.1%

female: 33.8% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 34


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-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protection, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Heavy Metals, Air Pollution-Multi-effect Protocol


predominantly Mediterranean; alpine in far north; hot, dry in south

Land use

agricultural land: 47.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 22.8% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 8.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 15.7% (2018 est.)

forest: 31.4% (2018 est.)

other: 21.5% (2018 est.)


urban population: 72% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.27% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0.01% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 150

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 85

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 15.28 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 41.3 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 29.524 million tons (2015 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 7,646,716 tons (2015 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 25.9% (2015 est.)

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Rhine-Maas (198,735 sq km), (Black Sea) Danube (795,656 sq km), (Adriatic Sea) Po (76,997 sq km), (Mediterranean Sea) Rhone (100,543 sq km)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 9.19 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 7.7 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 17 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

191.3 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Italian Republic

conventional short form: Italy

local long form: Repubblica Italiana

local short form: Italia

former: Kingdom of Italy

etymology: derivation is unclear, but the Latin "Italia" may come from the Oscan "Viteliu" meaning "[Land] of Young Cattle" (the bull was a symbol of southern Italic tribes)

Government type

parliamentary republic


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

etymology: by tradition, named after Romulus, one of the legendary founders of the city and its first king

Administrative divisions

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

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 1871)

National holiday

Republic Day, 2 June (1946)


history: previous 1848 (originally for the Kingdom of Sardinia and adopted by the Kingdom of Italy in 1861); latest enacted 22 December 1947, adopted 27 December 1947, entered into force 1 January 1948

amendments: proposed by both houses of Parliament; passage requires two successive debates and approval by absolute majority of each house on the second vote; a referendum is only required when requested by one fifth of the members of either house, by voter petition, or by 5 Regional Councils (elected legislative assemblies of the 15 first-level administrative regions and 5 autonomous regions of Italy); referendum not required if an amendment has been approved by a two-thirds majority in each house in the second vote; amended many times, last in 2020

Legal system

civil law system; judicial review of legislation under certain conditions in Constitutional Court

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Italy

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 4 years for EU nationals, 5 years for refugees and specified exceptions, 10 years for all others


18 years of age; universal except in senatorial elections, where minimum age is 25

Executive branch

chief of state: President Sergio MATTARELLA (since 3 February 2015)

head of government: Prime Minister Giorgia MELONI (since 22 October 2022); the prime minister's official title is President of the Council of Ministers

cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister, known officially as the President of the Council of Ministers and locally as the Premier; nominated by the president; the current deputy prime ministers, known officially as vice presidents of the Council of Ministers, are Matteo SALVINI (L) and Antonio TAIANI (FI) (since 22 October 2022)

elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by an electoral college consisting of both houses of Parliament and 58 regional representatives for a 7-year term (no term limits); election last held on 24-29 January 2022 (eight rounds) (next to be held in 2029); prime minister appointed by the president, confirmed by parliament

election results:
2022: Sergio MATTARELLA (independent) reelected president; electoral college vote count in eighth round - 759 out of 1,009 (505 vote threshold)

2015: Sergio MATTARELLA (independent) elected president; electoral college vote count in fourth round - 665 out of 995 (505 vote threshold)


Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament or Parlamento consists of:
Senate or Senato della Repubblica (200 elected seats; 122 members in multi-seat constituencies directly elected by proportional representation vote, 74 members in single-seat constituencies directly elected by plurality vote, and 4 members in multi-seat constituencies abroad directly elected by proportional representation vote; all members serve 5-year terms)
Chamber of Deputies or Camera dei Deputati (400 seats; 245 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; 147 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by plurality vote and 8 members in multi-seat constituencies abroad directly elected by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)

Senate - last held on 25 September 2022 (next to be held no later than December 2027)
Chamber of Deputies - last held on 25 September 2022; note - snap elections were called when Prime Minister DRAGHI resigned, and the parliament was dissolved on 21 July 2022 (next to be held 30 September 2027)

election results:
Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - center-right coalition (FdI 65, Lega 30, FI 18), center-left coalition (PD 40, AVS 3), M5S 28, Action-Italia Viva 9, SVP 2, MAIE 1, ScN 1; composition (as of September 2022) - men 131, women 69, percent of women 34.5%
Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - center-right coalition (FdI 119, Lega 66, FI 45), center-left coalition (PD 69, AVS 12, +EU 2), M5S 52, Action-Italia Viva 21, SVP 3, MAIE 1, ScN 1; composition (as of September 2022) - men 271, women 129, percent of women 32.3%; note - total Parliament percent of women 33%

note: in October 2019, Italy's Parliament voted to reduce the number of Senate seats from 315 to 200 and the number of Chamber of Deputies seats from 630 to 400; a referendum to reduce the membership of Parliament held on 20-21 September 2020 was approved, effective for the September 2022 snap election

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court of Cassation or Corte Suprema di Cassazione (consists of the first president (chief justice), deputy president, 54 justices presiding over 6 civil and 7 criminal divisions, and 288 judges; an additional 30 judges of lower courts serve as supporting judges; cases normally heard by 5-judge panels; more complex cases heard by 9-judge panels); Constitutional Court or Corte Costituzionale (consists of the court president and 14 judges)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the High Council of the Judiciary, headed by the president of the republic; judges may serve for life; 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 and courts of appeal)

Political parties and leaders

Action-Italia Viva [Carlo CALENDA and Matteo RENZI]
Associative Movement of Italians Abroad or MAIE [Ricardo Antonio MERIO]
Brothers of Italy or FdI [Giorgia MELONI]
Democratic Party or PD [Elly SCHLEIN]
Five Star Movement or M5S [Giuseppe CONTE]
Forza Italia or FI [Antonio TAJANI]
Free and Equal (Liberi e Uguali) or LeU [Pietro GRASSO]
Greens and Left Alliance or AVS [Angelo BONELLI]
Italexit [Gianluigi PARAGONE]]
League or Lega [Matteo SALVINI]
More Europe or +EU [Emma BONINO]
Popular Union or PU [Luigi DE MAGISTRIS]
South calls North or ScN [Cateno DE LUCA] 
South Tyrolean Peoples Party or SVP [Philipp ACHAMMER]
other minor parties

International organization participation

ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), 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-7, G-8, G-10, G-20, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, 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, MINUSMA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNMOGIP, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, Wassenaar Arrangement, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Maria Angela ZAPPIA (since 15 September 2021)

chancery: 3000 Whitehaven Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 612-4400

FAX: [1] (202) 518-2154

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco

consulate(s): Charlotte (NC), Cleveland (OH), Detroit (MI), Hattiesburg (MS), Honolulu (HI), New Orleans, Newark (NJ), Norfolk (VA), Pittsburgh (PA), Portland (OR), Seattle

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Chargé d'Affaires Shawn CROWLEY (since July 2022); note - also accredited to San Marino

embassy: via Vittorio Veneto 121, 00187 Roma

mailing address: 9500 Rome Place, Washington DC  20521-9500

telephone: [39] 06-46741

FAX: [39] 06-4674-2244

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Florence, Milan, Naples

Flag description

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 green and red, 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

National symbol(s)

white, five-pointed star (Stella d'Italia); national colors: red, white, green

National anthem

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)

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 58 (53 cultural, 5 natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Historic Center of Rome (c); Archaeological Areas of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Torre Annunziata (c); Venice and its Lagoon (c); Historic Center of Florence (c); Piazza del Duomo, Pisa (c); Historic Centre of Naples (c); Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands (c); Villa d'Este, Tivoli (c); Mount Etna (n); Rock Drawings in Valcamonica (c); Historic Siena (c)


Economic overview

core EU economy; strong services, manufacturing, and tourism sectors; hard hit by COVID-19 disruptions but starting to recover; large EU exporter but data skews due to inflated port entry valuation; corruption somewhat stymies foreign direct investment

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$2.478 trillion (2021 est.)
$2.322 trillion (2020 est.)
$2.553 trillion (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 12

Real GDP growth rate

6.74% (2021 est.)
-9.04% (2020 est.)
0.48% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 63

Real GDP per capita

$41,900 (2021 est.)
$39,100 (2020 est.)
$42,700 (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 43

GDP (official exchange rate)

$2,002,763,000,000 (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.87% (2021 est.)
-0.14% (2020 est.)
0.61% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 160

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: BBB- (2020)

Moody's rating: Baa3 (2018)

Standard & Poors rating: BBB (2017)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 2.1% (2017 est.)

industry: 23.9% (2017 est.)

services: 73.9% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: agriculture 172; industry 117; services 52

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 61% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 18.6% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 17.5% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: -0.2% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 31.4% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -28.3% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

milk, grapes, wheat, maize, tomatoes, apples, olives, sugar beets, oranges, rice


tourism, machinery, iron and steel, chemicals, food processing, textiles, motor vehicles, clothing, footwear, ceramics

Industrial production growth rate

13.46% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 18

Labor force

25.012 million (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 26

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 3.9%

industry: 28.3%

services: 67.8% (2011)

Unemployment rate

9.83% (2021 est.)
9.16% (2020 est.)
9.95% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 72

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 30.9%

male: 29.1%

female: 33.8% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 34

Average household expenditures

on food: 14.2% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 4.1% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.3%

highest 10%: 26.8% (2000)


revenues: $901.494 billion (2020 est.)

expenditures: $1.08 trillion (2020 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-2.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 110

Public debt

131.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
132% of GDP (2016 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 central, state, and local government and social security funds

comparison ranking: 8

Taxes and other revenues

24.77% (of GDP) (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 50

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$64.719 billion (2021 est.)
$74.509 billion (2020 est.)
$66.321 billion (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 11


$687.948 billion (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$559.952 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$636.153 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

comparison ranking: 10

Exports - partners

Germany 12%, France 11%, United States 10%, United Kingdom 5%, Spain 5%, Switzerland 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

packaged medicines, cars and vehicle parts, refined petroleum, vaccines and cultures, jewelry, valves (2021)


$637.934 billion (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$490.684 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$568.796 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

comparison ranking: 10

Imports - partners

Germany 16%, France 9%, China 7%, Spain 5%, Netherlands 5%, Belgium 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

crude petroleum, cars, packaged medicines, natural gas, refined petroleum (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$227.478 billion (31 December 2021 est.)
$210.687 billion (31 December 2020 est.)
$175.398 billion (31 December 2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 16

Debt - external

$2,463,208,000,000 (2019 est.)
$2,533,153,000,000 (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 10

Exchange rates

euros (EUR) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
0.845 (2021 est.)
0.876 (2020 est.)
0.893 (2019 est.)
0.847 (2018 est.)
0.885 (2017 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2021)


installed generating capacity: 121.442 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 286.375 billion kWh (2020 est.)

exports: 7.587 billion kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 39.787 billion kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 17.702 billion kWh (2020 est.)

comparison rankings: installed generating capacity 11; consumption 13; exports 23; imports 3; transmission/distribution losses 23

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 55.9% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 9.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 6.9% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 17.5% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 2.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 8.1% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Nuclear energy

Number of operational nuclear reactors: 0

Number of nuclear reactors under construction: 0

Net capacity of operational nuclear reactors: 0GW

Percent of total electricity production: 0%

Percent of total energy produced: 0%

Number of nuclear reactors permanently shut down: 4


production: 1.456 million metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 9.335 million metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 368,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 8.235 million metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 17 million metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 107,700 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 1,255,100 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 10,100 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 1.253 million bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 497.9 million barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

1.607 million bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 12

Refined petroleum products - exports

615,900 bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 13

Refined petroleum products - imports

422,500 bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 19

Natural gas

production: 3,888,491,000 cubic meters (2020 est.)

consumption: 74,313,109,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 314.656 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

imports: 70,908,014,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

proven reserves: 45.76 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

332.041 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 27.194 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 162.472 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 142.375 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 19

Energy consumption per capita

112.606 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 49


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 19,994,902 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 34 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 13

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 78,114,933 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 132 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 21

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Italy’s large telecom market has one of the most progressive fiber sectors in Europe, with regulatory measures encouraging network sharing; regulatory measures have also been introduced to facilitate access to next generation networks (NGNs), and a number of deals have been brokered which enable the main telcoms to provide bundled services to large numbers of the population; Italy’s vibrant mobile market has one of the highest subscription rates in Europe, though the number of subscribers has fallen in recent years as customers respond to attractive off-net pricing which has reduced the financial benefit of having SIM cards from different providers; network companies were among the first in Europe to trial services based on 5G; the high cost also encouraged the regulator in early 2021 to consider extending the licenses by an additional six years (2021)

domestic: 34 per 100 for fixed-line and nearly 132 per 100 for mobile-cellular subscriptions (2021)

international: country code - 39; landing points for Italy-Monaco, Italy-Libya, Italy-Malta, Italy-Greece-1, Italy-Croatia, BlueMed, Janna, FEA, SeaMeWe-3 & 4 & 5, Trapani-Kelibia, Columbus-III, Didon, GO-1, HANNIBAL System, MENA, Bridge International, Malta-Italy Interconnector, Melita1, IMEWE, VMSCS, AAE-1, and OTEGLOBE, submarine cables that provide links to Asia, the Middle East, Europe, North Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia and US; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (with a total of 5 antennas - 3 for Atlantic Ocean and 2 for Indian Ocean) (2019)

Broadcast media

two Italian media giants dominate with 3 national terrestrial stations and privately owned companies with 3 national terrestrial stations; a large number of private stations, a satellite TV network; 3 AM/FM nationwide radio stations; about 1,300 commercial radio stations

Internet users

total: 44.25 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 75% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 22

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 18,128,787 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 30 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 12


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 9 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 180

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 27,630,435 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 1.418 billion (2018) mt-km


129 (2021)

comparison ranking: total 44

Airports - with paved runways


note: paved runways have a concrete or asphalt surface but not all have facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control; the length of a runway required for aircraft to safely operate depends on a number of factors including the type of aircraft, the takeoff weight (including passengers, cargo, and fuel), engine types, flap settings, landing speed, elevation of the airport, and average maximum daily air temperature; paved runways can reach a length of 5,000 m (16,000 ft.), but the “typical” length of a commercial airline runway is between 2,500-4,000 m (8,000-13,000 ft.)

Airports - with unpaved runways


note: unpaved runways have a surface composition such as grass or packed earth and are most suited to the operation of light aircraft; unpaved runways are usually short, often less than 1,000 m (3,280 ft.) in length; airports with unpaved runways often lack facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control


5 (2021)


20,223 km gas, 1,393 km oil, 1,574 km refined products (2013)


total: 18,475 km (2020) 12,936 km electrified

1289.3 0.950-mm gauge (151.3 km electrified)

comparison ranking: total 15


total: 487,700 km (2007)

paved: 487,700 km (2007) (includes 6,700 km of expressways)

comparison ranking: total 16


2,400 km (2012) (used for commercial traffic; of limited overall value compared to road and rail)

comparison ranking: 38

Merchant marine

total: 1,266

by type: bulk carrier 20, container ship 6, general cargo 107, oil tanker 102, other 1,031 (2022)

comparison ranking: total 19

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Augusta, Cagliari, Genoa, Livorno, Taranto, Trieste, Venice

oil terminal(s): Melilli (Santa Panagia) oil terminal, Sarroch oil terminal

container port(s) (TEUs): Genoa (2,557,847), Gioia Tauro (3,146,553) (2021)

LNG terminal(s) (import): Panigaglia (La Spezia), Adriatic (Porto Levante), Oristano (Sardinia), Ravenna, Toscana (Livorno)

Transportation - note

Italy operates one PC 5 or 6 class light icebreaker, it is based in the Mediterranean
note - PC indicates a Polar Class vessel: PC 5 - year-round operation in medium first-year ice which may include old ice inclusions (ice thickness up to 70-120 cm); PC 6 - summer/autumn operation in medium first-year ice which may include old ice inclusions (ice thickness up to 30-70 cm)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Italian Armed Forces: Army (Esercito Italiano, EI), Navy (Marina Militare Italiana, MMI; includes aviation, marines), Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana, AMI); Carabinieri Corps (Arma dei Carabinieri, CC) (2023)

note 1: the National Police and Carabinieri (gendarmerie or military police) maintain internal security; the National Police reports to the Ministry of Interior while the Carabinieri reports to the Ministry of Defense but is also under the coordination of the Ministry of Interior; the Carabinieri is primarily a domestic police force organized along military lines, with some overseas responsibilities

note 2: the Financial Guard (Guardia di Finanza) under the Ministry of Economy and Finance is a force with military status and nationwide remit for financial crime investigations, including narcotics trafficking, smuggling, and illegal immigration

Military expenditures

1.5% of GDP (2023 est.)
1.5% of GDP (2022 est.)
1.6% of GDP (2021)
1.6% of GDP (2020)
1.2% of GDP (2019)

comparison ranking: 107

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 170,000 active personnel (100,000 Army; 30,000 Navy; 40,000 Air Force); approximately 108,000 Carabinieri (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's inventory includes a mix of domestically manufactured, imported, and jointly produced weapons systems, mostly from Europe and the US; in recent years, the US has been the lead supplier of military hardware to Italy; the Italian defense industry is capable of producing equipment across all the military domains with particular strengths in aircraft, armored vehicles, and naval vessels; it also participates in joint development and production of advanced weapons systems with other European countries and the US (2023)

Military service age and obligation

17-25 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women (some variations on age depending on the military branch); voluntary service is a minimum of 12 months with the option to extend in the Armed Forces or compete for positions in the Military Corps of the Italian Red Cross, the State Police, the Carabinieri, the Guardia di Finanza, the Penitentiary Police, or the National Fire Brigade; recruits can also volunteer for 4 years military service; conscription abolished 2004 (2022)

note: women may serve in any military branch; as of 2019, women made up about 6% of the military's full-time personnel

Military deployments

120 Djibouti; approximately 750 Bulgaria (NATO); approximately 1,000 Middle East (NATO, European Assistance Mission Iraq); 850 Kosovo (NATO/KFOR); 250 Latvia (NATO); 1,000 Lebanon (UNIFIL); 400 Libya; 350 Niger; 250 Romania (NATO); 150 Somalia (EUTM) (2023)

note: in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, some NATO countries, including Italy, have sent additional troops and equipment to the battlegroups deployed in NATO territory in eastern Europe

Military - note

the Italian military is an all-volunteer and professional force responsible for Italy’s national defense and security and fulfilling the country’s commitments to the EU, NATO, and the UN; it also has some domestic security duties; for example, the Army has provided troops for guarding public buildings and for more than a decade several thousand Army and Carabinieri personnel have been deployed domestically to support the National Police as part of a government effort to curb crime in various Italian cities 

Italy has been an active member of NATO since its founding in 1948, and the Alliance is a cornerstone of Rome’s national security strategy; it is a strong supporter of European/EU defense cooperation and integration; Italy is an active participant in EU, NATO, UN, and other multinational military, security, and humanitarian operations; key areas of emphasis for Italy’s security policy and multinational cooperation are NATO/Europe’s eastern and southern flanks, including the Mediterranean Sea, East and North Africa, and the Middle East and its adjacent waters; Italy is one of NATO’s leading contributors of military forces and participates in such missions as NATO’s Air Policing in the Baltics, the Enhanced Forward Presence in Eastern Europe, and maritime patrols in the Mediterranean and beyond; it hosts NATO’s Joint Force Command in Naples and a NATO Rapid Deployable Corps headquarters in Milan, as well as the headquarters for the EU’s Mediterranean naval operations force in Rome; since 1960, Italy has committed more than 60,000 troops to UN missions, and it hosts a training center in Vicenza for police personnel destined for peacekeeping missions; in addition, Italy has close defense ties with the US and hosts several US military air, army, and naval bases and facilities

the Italian Army has participated in many colonial engagements, conflicts, major wars, and peacekeeping missions since its establishment in the 1850s and 1860s during Italian unification, from African colonization in the late 1800s to both World Wars and more recently, Afghanistan and Iraq; the current Italian Army is equipped largely with domestically manufactured weapons systems and organized into functional areas (operational, logistic, infrastructural, training, and territorial); the combat forces are under the operational commands, which include the Alpine Command (one divisional headquarters and two alpine/mountain brigades), the Southern Operational Forces Command (five mechanized brigades), the Northern Operational Forces Command (armored, cavalry, and airborne brigades), the Operational Land Forces Support Command (commands for artillery, air defense, engineers, etc), and the Operational Land Forces Command and Army Operational Command (two divisional headquarters, an aviation command with an air mobile brigade, and a special forces command)

the Navy was officially established in 1860; as country with seas on three sides, naval power has long been a key component of Italy’s national security; today, it maintains one of the largest navies in NATO with several functional and regionally based commands and operates globally; in addition to maritime defense, the Navy’s missions include countering illegal trafficking, protecting the marine environment, and assisting with humanitarian and disaster assistance, as well as contributing to civil projects, such as scientific research; its principal warships include two aircraft carriers, four destroyers, 13 frigates, and eight attack submarines, as well as several large amphibious assault ships and a large inventory of patrol vessels; it also has a marine amphibious force, a special operations force, and operates a diverse array of naval fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and unmanned aircraft, including naval fighters and anti-submarine warfare helicopters; the Air Force was established in 1923, but the first air unit was established in 1884; today, it has nearly 500 total aircraft, including around 200 fighters and multirole fighter aircraft; to coordinate the different services, the military has several joint commands, including for operations, space, and special operations (2023)


Space agency/agencies

Italian Space Agency (ISA; established 1988); Joint Space Operations Command (Comando Interforze delle Operazioni Spaziali or COS; established 2020) (2023)

Space launch site(s)

the Broglio (aka San Marco, Malindi) Space Center, located near Malindi, Kenya, served from 1967 to 1988 as an Italian and international satellite launch facility; in 2020, Kenya concluded a new deal with Italy to conduct rocket launches from the site again in the future; in 2018, the Italian Government designated the Taranto-Grottaglie Airport as a future spaceport and signed framework agreements with commercial space companies that could lead to suborbital and orbital launches from what would be called the Grottaglie Spaceport (2023)

Space program overview

has one of the largest space programs in Europe; is a key member of the European Space Agency (ESA) and one of its largest contributors; designs, builds, launches, and operates communications, remote sensing (RS), and scientific satellites; designs and manufacturers sounding (research) rockets and orbital satellite launch vehicles (SLVs); hosts the ESA Center for Earth Observation; has astronaut cadre in the ESA astronaut corps; researches, develops, and builds a range of other space-related technologies and participates in a wide array of international programs with astronauts, cargo containers, construction, expertise, modules, scientific experiments, and technology; outside of the ESA/EU and their individual member states, has cooperated with a variety of foreign space agencies and industries, including those of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Thailand, the UAE, and the US; participates in international space projects such as the International Space Station (ISS); has a considerable commercial space industrial sector with more than 200 companies encompassing a wide range of capabilities, including manufacturing satellites, satellite payloads, launch vehicles, propulsion systems, cargo containers, and their sub-components (2023)

note: further details about the key activities, programs, and milestones of the country’s space program, as well as government spending estimates on the space sector, appear in Appendix S


Terrorist group(s)

Terrorist group(s): Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS)

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Italy's long coastline and developed economy entices tens of thousands of illegal immigrants from southeastern Europe and northern Africa

Italy-Austria-Switzerland: borders are shifting because glacier peaks that had served as a natural boundary are melting

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 21,441 (Nigeria), 17,706 (Afghanistan), 17,619 (Pakistan), 11,193 (Mali), 8,405 (Somalia), 6,324 (Gambia), 5,768 (Bangladesh), 5,463 (Iraq) (mid-year 2022); 167,525 (Ukraine) (as of 1 September 2023)

stateless persons: 3,000 (2022)

note: 811,094 estimated refugee and migrant arrivals (January 2015-September 2023)

Illicit drugs

important gateway for drug trafficking; organized crime groups allied with Colombian and Spanish groups trafficking cocaine to Europe