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

country comparison to the world: 73

Area - comparative

almost twice the size of Georgia; slightly larger than Arizona

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


mean elevation: 538 m

lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m

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

39,500 sq km (2012)

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


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)


Christian 83.3% (overwhelmingly Roman Catholic with very small groups of Jehovah's Witnesses and Protestants), Muslim 3.7%, unaffiliated 12.4%, other 0.6% (2010 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 13.45% (male 4,292,431/female 4,097,732)

15-24 years: 9.61% (male 3,005,402/female 2,989,764)

25-54 years: 40.86% (male 12,577,764/female 12,921,614)

55-64 years: 14% (male 4,243,735/female 4,493,581)

65 years and over: 22.08% (male 5,949,560/female 7,831,076) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 57

youth dependency ratio: 20.4

elderly dependency ratio: 36.6

potential support ratio: 2.7 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 46.5 years

male: 45.4 years

female: 47.5 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 5

Birth rate

8.37 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 216

Death rate

10.7 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 24

Net migration rate

3.21 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 34

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: 71% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 0.29% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas - population

4.278 million ROME (capital), 3.144 million Milan, 2.183 million Naples, 1.795 million Turin, 900,000 Bergamo, 850,000 Palermo (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

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

15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female

total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

31.1 years (2017 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

2 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 182

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.14 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 3.4 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 2.87 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 210

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 82.67 years

male: 80.01 years

female: 85.49 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 17

Contraceptive prevalence rate

65.1% (2013)

note: percent of women aged 18-49

Drinking water source

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 (2017 est.)

Physicians density

3.98 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

3.2 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 98.8% of population

rural: 98.6% of population

total: 98.8% of population

unimproved: urban: 1.2% of population

rural: 1.4% of population

total: 1.2% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

<1000 (2019 est.)

Major infectious diseases

respiratory diseases: Covid-19 (see note) (2020)

note: a new coronavirus is causing sustained community spread of respiratory illness (COVID-19) in Italy; sustained community spread means that people have been infected with the virus, but how or where they became infected is not known, and the spread is ongoing; illness with this virus has ranged from mild to severe with fatalities reported; as of 6 April 2021, Italy has reported a total of 3,678,944 cases of COVID-19 or 6,084.74 cumulative cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population with 184.13 cumulative deaths per 100,000 population; as of 11 April 2021, 15.1% of the population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine; the US Department of State has issued a Travel Advisory to reconsider travel to Italy due to the recent outbreak of COVID-19; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also recommended postponing nonessential travel to Italy at this time and published additional guidance at; the US Department of Homeland Security has issued instructions requiring US passengers who have been in Italy to travel through select airports where the US Government has implemented enhanced screening procedures


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 (2018)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 32.2%

male: 30.4%

female: 34.8% (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 26


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 five 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 Mario DRAGHI (since 13 February 2021); the prime minister's official title is President of the Council of Ministers; note - Prime Minister Giuseppe CONTE resigned on 26 January 2021

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 Luigi Di Maio (M5S) (since 1 June 2018)

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 31 January 2015 (next to be held in 2022); prime minister appointed by the president, confirmed by parliament

election results: Sergio MATTARELLA (independent) elected president; electoral college vote count in fourth round - 665 out of 1,009 (505-vote threshold)

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament or Parlamento consists of:
Senate or Senato della Repubblica (321 seats; 116 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote, 193 members in multi-seat constituencies and 6 members in multi-seat constituencies abroad directly elected by party-list proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms and 6 ex-officio members appointed by the president of the Republic to serve for life)
Chamber of Deputies or Camera dei Deputati (630 seats; 629 members directly elected in single- and multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote and 1 member from Valle d'Aosta elected by simple majority vote; members serve 5-year terms)

Senate - last held on 4 March 2018 (next to be held in March 2023)
Chamber of Deputies - last held on 4 March 2018 (next to be held in March 2023)

election results:
Senate - percent of vote by party - center-right coalition 37.5% (L 17.6%, FI 14.4%, FdI 4.3%, UdC 1.2%), M5S 32.2%, center-left coalition (PD 19.1%, +E 2.3%, I 0.5%, CP 0.5%, SVP-PATT 0.4%), LeU 3.3%; seats by party - center-right coalition 77(L 37, FI 33, FdI 7), M5S 68, center-left coalition 44(PD 43, SVP-PATT 1), LeU 4; composition - men 208, women 113, percent of women 35.2%

Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - center-right coalition 37% (L 17.4%, FI 14%, FdI 4.4%, UdC 1.3%), M5S 33%, center-left coalition 22.9% (PD 18.8%, E+ 2.6%, I 0.6%, CP 0.5%, SVP-PATT 0.4%); seats by party - center-right coalition 151 (L73, FI 59, FdI 19), M5S 133, center-left coalition 88 (PD 86, SVP 2), LeU 14; composition - men 405, women 225, percent of women 35.7%; note - total Parliament percent of women 35.5%

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 2023 election

Judicial branch

highest courts: 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

Governing Coalition:
Northern League (Lega Nord) or Lega [Matteo SALVINI]
Five Star Movement or M5S [Vito CRIMI, acting leader]

Left-center-right opposition:
Democratic Party or PD [Nicola ZINGARETTI]
Forza Italia or FI [Silvio BERLUSCONI]
Brothers of Italy [Giorgia MELONI]
Free and Equal (Liberi e Uguali) or LeU [Pietro GRASSO]
More Europe or +EU [Emma BONINO]
Popular Civic List or CP [Beatrice LORENZIN]

Other parties and parliamentary groups:
Possible [Beatrice BRIGNONE]
Us with Italy [Raffaele FITTO]
South Tyrolean People's Party or SVP [Philipp ACHAMMER]
Trentino Tyrolean Autonomist Party (Partito Autonomista Trentino Tirolese) or PATT [Franco PANIZZA, secretary]
Article One or Art.1-MDP [Roberto SPERANZA]

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, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Armando VARRICCHIO (since 2 March 2016)

chancery: 3000 Whitehaven Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 612-4400

FAX: [1] (202) 518-2151

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 Lewis EISENBERG (since 4 October 2017); note - also accredited to San Marino

telephone: [39] 06-4674-1

embassy: Via Vittorio Veneto 121, 00187-Rome

mailing address: PSC 59, Box 100, APO AE 09624

FAX: [39] 06-488-2672

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)


Economic overview

Italy’s economy comprises a developed industrial north, dominated by private companies, and a less-developed, highly subsidized, agricultural south, with a legacy of unemployment and underdevelopment. 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, reaching 131% of GDP in 2017. Investor concerns about Italy and the broader euro-zone crisis eased in 2013, bringing down Italy's borrowing costs on sovereign government debt from euro-era records. The government still faces pressure from investors and European partners to sustain its efforts to address Italy's longstanding structural economic problems, including labor market inefficiencies, a sluggish judicial system, and a weak banking sector. Italy’s economy returned to modest growth in late 2014 for the first time since 2011. In 2015-16, Italy’s economy grew at about 1% each year, and in 2017 growth accelerated to 1.5% of GDP. In 2017, overall unemployment was 11.4%, but youth unemployment remained high at 37.1%. GDP growth is projected to slow slightly in 2018.

Real GDP growth rate

0.34% (2019 est.)

0.83% (2018 est.)

1.73% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 188

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

0.6% (2019 est.)

1.1% (2018 est.)

1.2% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 47

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: BBB- (2020)

Moody's rating: Baa3 (2018)

Standard & Poors rating: BBB (2017)

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$2,562,135,000,000 (2019 est.)

$2,553,384,000,000 (2018 est.)

$2,529,503,000,000 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 11

GDP (official exchange rate)

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

Real GDP per capita

$42,492 (2019 est.)

$42,259 (2018 est.)

$41,785 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 42

Gross national saving

21% of GDP (2019 est.)

21% of GDP (2018 est.)

20.6% of GDP (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 101

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 2.1% (2017 est.)

industry: 23.9% (2017 est.)

services: 73.9% (2017 est.)

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.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores

Overall score: 72.9 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 86.8 (2020)

Trading score: 100 (2020)

Enforcement score: 53.1 (2020)

Agricultural products

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


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

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 3.9%

industry: 28.3%

services: 67.8% (2011)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.3%

highest 10%: 26.8% (2000)


revenues: 903.3 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 948.1 billion (2017 est.)

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

country comparison to the world: 5

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$59.517 billion (2019 est.)

$51.735 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 10


$687.34 billion (2019 est.)

$678.788 billion (2018 est.)

$667.866 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 8

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, valves, trunks/cases, wine (2019)


$647.058 billion (2019 est.)

$649.963 billion (2018 est.)

$631.54 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 8

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

$151.2 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$130.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 16

Debt - external

$2,463,208,000,000 (2019 est.)

$2,533,153,000,000 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 10

Exchange rates

euros (EUR) per US dollar -

0.82771 (2020 est.)

0.90338 (2019 est.)

0.87789 (2018 est.)

0.885 (2014 est.)

0.7634 (2013 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 20,196,475

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 32.4 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 14

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 82,955,151

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 133.08 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 19

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: well-developed, fully automated telephone, and data services; highest mobile penetration rates in Europe, benefitted from progressive govt. programs aimed at developing fiber in broadband sector; leading edge of development with 5G in 6 cities; regulator consults on extending 3.5 Gz licensing; fiber network reaches 60% of population (2020)

domestic: high-capacity cable and microwave radio relay trunks; 32 per 100 for fixed-line and 133 per 100 for mobile-cellular subscriptions (2019)

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)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

Broadcast media

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; about 1,300 commercial radio stations

Internet users

total: 46,305,301

percent of population: 74.39% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 19

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 17,060,505

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 27 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 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 mt-km (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 98 (2017)

over 3,047 m: 9 (2017)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 31 (2017)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 18 (2017)

914 to 1,523 m: 29 (2017)

under 914 m: 11 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 31 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 10 (2013)

under 914 m: 20 (2013)


5 (2013)


20223 km gas, 1393 km oil, 1574 km refined products (2013)


total: 20,182 km (2014)

standard gauge: 18,770.1 km 1.435-m gauge (12,893.6 km electrified) (2014)

narrow gauge: 122.3 km 1.000-m gauge (122.3 km electrified) (2014)

1289.3 0.950-m gauge (151.3 km electrified)

country comparison to the world: 15


total: 487,700 km (2007)

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

country comparison to the world: 15


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

country comparison to the world: 36

Merchant marine

total: 1,310

by type: bulk carrier 42, container ship 7, general cargo 114, oil tanker 107, other 1,040 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 20

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 (2,622,200), Gioia Tauro (2,448,600) (2017)

LNG terminal(s) (import): La Spezia, Panigaglia, Porto Levante

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) (2021)

note(s): the Carabinieri is the national gendarmerie; for its civil police functions, the Carabinieri falls under the control of the Ministry of the Interior; 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

1.43% of GDP (2020 est.)

1.18% of GDP (2019)

1.21% of GDP (2018)

1.21% of GDP (2017)

1.18% of GDP (2016)

country comparison to the world: 95

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Italian Armed Forces have approximately 170,000 active personnel (100,000 Army; 30,000 Navy; 40,000 Air Force); approximately 107,000 Carabinieri (2020)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Italian Armed Forces' inventory includes a mix of domestically-produced, jointly-produced, and imported European and US weapons systems; the US is the leading supplier of weapons to Italy since 2010, followed by Germany; the Italian defense industry is capable of producing equipment across all the military domains with particular strengths in naval vessels and aircraft; it also participates in joint development and production of advanced weapons systems with other European countries and the US (2020)

Military deployments

860 Afghanistan (NATO); 120 Djibouti; 1,100 Middle East/Iraq/Kuwait (NATO, counter-ISIS campaign, European Assistance Mission Iraq); 630 Kosovo (NATO/KFOR); 200 Latvia (NATO); 1,200 Lebanon (UNIFIL); 400 Libya; 290 Niger; 150 Somalia (EUTM); 100 United Arab Emirates (2021)

Military service age and obligation

18-25 years of age for voluntary military service; women may serve in any military branch; Italian citizenship required; 1-year service obligation; conscription abolished 2004 (2019)


Terrorist group(s)

Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (2020)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

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

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 25,241 (Nigeria), 20,063 (Pakistan), 17,849 (Afghanistan), 15,842 (Mali), 14,029 (Somalia), 12,968 (Gambia), 8,974 (Bangladesh), 7,659 (Cote d'Ivoire), 7,644 (Senegal), 7,118 (Eritrea), 6,995 (Iraq), 6,353 (Ukraine), 5,953 (Ghana) (2019)

stateless persons: 15,822 (2019)

note: 531,803 estimated refugee and migrant arrivals by sea (January 2015-April 2021); hosts an estimated 96,862 migrants and asylum seekers as of the end of October 2019

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