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Map of Italy
Introduction Italy
Background:
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 disastrous alliance with Nazi Germany led to Italy's defeat in World War II. A democratic republic replaced the monarchy in 1946 and economic revival followed. Italy was a charter member of NATO and the European Economic Community (EEC). It has been at the forefront of European economic and political unification, joining the Economic and Monetary Union in 1999. Persistent problems include illegal immigration, organized crime, corruption, high unemployment, sluggish economic growth, and the low incomes and technical standards of southern Italy compared with the prosperous north.
Geography Italy
Location:
Southern Europe, a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, northeast of Tunisia
Geographic coordinates:
42 50 N, 12 50 E
Map references:
Europe
Area:
total: 301,230 sq km
land: 294,020 sq km
water: 7,210 sq km
note: includes Sardinia and Sicily
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Arizona
Land boundaries:
total: 1,932.2 km
border countries: Austria 430 km, France 488 km, Holy See (Vatican City) 3.2 km, San Marino 39 km, Slovenia 232 km, Switzerland 740 km
Coastline:
7,600 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate:
predominantly Mediterranean; Alpine in far north; hot, dry in south
Terrain:
mostly rugged and mountainous; some plains, coastal lowlands
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco) de Courmayeur 4,748 m (a secondary peak of Mont Blanc)
Natural resources:
coal, mercury, zinc, potash, marble, barite, asbestos, pumice, fluorospar, feldspar, pyrite (sulfur), natural gas and crude oil reserves, fish, arable land
Land use:
arable land: 26.41%
permanent crops: 9.09%
other: 64.5% (2005)
Irrigated land:
27,500 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
regional risks include landslides, mudflows, avalanches, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding; land subsidence in Venice
Environment - current issues:
air pollution from industrial emissions such as sulfur dioxide; coastal and inland rivers polluted from industrial and agricultural effluents; acid rain damaging lakes; inadequate industrial waste treatment and disposal facilities
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-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: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants
Geography - note:
strategic location dominating central Mediterranean as well as southern sea and air approaches to Western Europe
People Italy
Population:
58,133,509 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 13.8% (male 4,147,149/female 3,899,980)
15-64 years: 66.5% (male 19,530,512/female 19,105,841)
65 years and over: 19.7% (male 4,771,858/female 6,678,169) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 42.2 years
male: 40.7 years
female: 43.7 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.04% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
8.72 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
10.4 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
2.06 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 5.83 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 6.42 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.19 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.81 years
male: 76.88 years
female: 82.94 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.28 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.5% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
140,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 1,000 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
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)
Religions:
approximately 90% Roman Catholic (about one-third regularly attend services); mature Protestant and Jewish communities and a growing Muslim immigrant community
Languages:
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)
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.6%
male: 99%
female: 98.3% (2003 est.)
Government Italy
Country name:
conventional long form: Italian Republic
conventional short form: Italy
local long form: Repubblica Italiana
local short form: Italia
former: Kingdom of Italy
Government type:
republic
Capital:
name: Rome
geographic coordinates: 41 54 N, 12 29 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions:
15 regions (regioni, singular - regione) and 5 autonomous regions* (regioni autonome, singular - regione autonoma); Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia*, Lazio, Liguria, Lombardia, Marche, Molise, Piemonte, Puglia, Sardegna*, Sicilia*, Toscana, Trentino-Alto Adige*, Umbria, Valle d'Aosta*, Veneto
Independence:
17 March 1861 (Kingdom of Italy proclaimed; Italy was not finally unified until 1870)
National holiday:
Republic Day, 2 June (1946)
Constitution:
passed 11 December 1947, effective 1 January 1948; amended many times
Legal system:
based on civil law system; appeals treated as new trials; judicial review under certain conditions in Constitutional Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal (except in senatorial elections, where minimum age is 25)
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Giorgio NAPOLITANO (since 15 May 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister (referred to in Italy as the president of the Council of Ministers) Romano PRODI (since 17 May 2006)
cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister and approved by the president
elections: president elected by an electoral college consisting of both houses of parliament and 58 regional representatives for a seven-year term (no term limits); election last held 10 May 2006 (next to be held May 2013); prime minister appointed by the president and confirmed by parliament
election results: Giorgio NAPOLITANO elected president on the fourth round of voting; electoral college vote - 543
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament or Parlamento consists of the Senate or Senato della Repubblica (315 seats; elected by proportional vote with the winning coalition in each region receiving 55% of seats from that region; members serve five-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camera dei Deputati (630 seats; elected by popular vote with the winning national coalition receiving 54% of chamber seats; members serve five-year terms); note - electoral vote reform passed in December 2005
elections: Senate - last held 10 April 2006 (next to be held in 2011); Chamber of Deputies - last held 10 April 2006 (next to be held May 2011)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - The Union 158 (DS 62, DL 39, RC 27, Together with the Union 11, other 19), House of Freedoms 154 (FI 79, AN 41, UDC 21, LEGA 13), other 3; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - The Union 348 (DS 220, RC 41, Rose in the Fist 18, Italy of Values 17, PdCI 16, Greens Federation 15, UDEUR 10, other 11), House of Freedoms 276 (FI 140, AN 71, Union of Christian and Center Democrats 39, LEGA 26), other 6
Judicial branch:
Constitutional Court or Corte Costituzionale (composed of 15 judges: one-third appointed by the president, one-third elected by parliament, one-third elected by the ordinary and administrative Supreme Courts)
Political parties and leaders:
Center-Left Union Coalition [Romano PRODI]: Ulivo Alliance (including Democrats of the Left or DS [Piero FASSINO]; Daisy-Democracy is Freedom or DL [Francesco RUTELLI]); Rose in the Fist (including Italian Social Democrats or SDI [Enrico BOSELLI]; Italian Radical Party [Emma BONINO]); Italian Communist Party or PdCI [Oliviero DILIBERTO]; Green Federation [Alfonso PECORARO SCANIO]; Communist Renewal or RC [Fausto BERTINOTTI]; Italy of Values or IdV [Antonio DI PIETRO]; Union of Democrats for Europe or UDEUR [Clemente MASTELLA]; Republican European Movement or MRE [Luciana SBARBATI]
Center-Right Freedom House Coalition [Silvio BERLUSCONI]: Forza Italia or FI [Silvio BERLUSCONI]; National Alliance or AN [Gianfranco FINI]; Union of Christian Democrats of the Center or UDC [Pier Ferdinando CASINI]; Northern League or LEGA [Umberto BOSSI]; Christian Democracy (Per la Autonomie) [Publio FIORI]
other non-allied parties: New Italian Socialist Party or New PSI [Gianni DE MICHELIS]; Italian Republican Party or PRI [Giorgio LA MALFA]; Social Alternative [Alessandra MUSSOLINI]; Social Movement-Tricolor Flame or MSI-Fiamma [Luca ROMAGNOLI]; Social Idea Movement with Rauti or MIS [Pino RAUTI]; South Tyrol People's Party or SVP (German speakers) [Elmar Pichler ROLLE]; Union of Valley Aosta Region or UV [Guido CESAL]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Italian manufacturers and merchants associations (Confindustria, Confcommercio); organized farm groups (Confcoltivatori, Confagricoltura); Roman Catholic Church; three major trade union confederations (Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro or CGIL [Guglielmo EPIFANI] which is left wing, Confederazione Italiana dei Sindacati Lavoratori or CISL [Savino PEZZOTTA], which is Roman Catholic centrist, and Unione Italiana del Lavoro or UIL [Luigi ANGELETTI] which is lay centrist)
International organization participation:
AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS (observer), CDB, CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, G- 7, G- 8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMEE, UNMIS, UNMOGIP, UNTSO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Giovanni CASTELLANETA
chancery: 3000 Whitehaven Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 612-4400
FAX: [1] (202) 518-2151
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco
consulate(s): Detroit
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Ronald P. SPOGLI
embassy: Via Vittorio Veneto 121, 00187-Rome
mailing address: PSC 59, Box 100, APO AE 09624
telephone: [39] (06) 46741
FAX: [39] (06) 488-2672, 4674-2356
consulate(s) general: Florence, Milan, Naples
Flag description:
three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and red; similar to the flag of Ireland, which is longer and is green (hoist side), white, and orange; also similar to the flag of the Cote d'Ivoire, which has the colors reversed - orange (hoist side), white, and green
note: inspired by the French flag brought to Italy by Napoleon in 1797
Economy Italy
Economy - overview:
Italy has a diversified industrial economy with roughly the same total and per capita output as France and the UK. This capitalistic economy remains divided into a developed industrial north, dominated by private companies, and a less-developed, welfare-dependent, agricultural south, with 20% unemployment. Most raw materials needed by industry and more than 75% of energy requirements are imported. Over the past decade, Italy has pursued a tight fiscal policy in order to meet the requirements of the Economic and Monetary Unions and has benefited from lower interest and inflation rates. The current government has enacted numerous short-term reforms aimed at improving competitiveness and long-term growth. Italy has moved slowly, however, on implementing needed structural reforms, such as lightening the high tax burden and overhauling Italy's rigid labor market and over-generous pension system, because of the current economic slowdown and opposition from labor unions. But the leadership faces a severe economic constraint: the budget deficit has breached the 3% EU ceiling. The economy experienced almost no growth in 2005, and unemployment remained at a high level.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1.698 trillion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$1.71 trillion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
0.1% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$29,200 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 2.1%
industry: 29.1%
services: 68.8% (2005 est.)
Labor force:
24.49 million (2005 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 5%
industry: 32%
services: 63% (2001)
Unemployment rate:
7.7% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line:
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 26.6% (2000)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
36 (2000)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2% (2005 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
20.6% of GDP (2005 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $785.7 billion
expenditures: $861.5 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)
Public debt:
108.8% of GDP (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products:
fruits, vegetables, grapes, potatoes, sugar beets, soybeans, grain, olives; beef, dairy products; fish
Industries:
tourism, machinery, iron and steel, chemicals, food processing, textiles, motor vehicles, clothing, footwear, ceramics
Industrial production growth rate:
-1% (2005 est.)
Electricity - production:
270.1 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 78.6%
hydro: 18.4%
nuclear: 0%
other: 3% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
302.2 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:
500 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports:
51.5 billion kWh (2003)
Oil - production:
136,200 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - consumption:
1.874 million bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - exports:
456,600 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
2.158 million bbl/day (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
586.6 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
13.55 billion cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
76.88 billion cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
61 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
54.78 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
226.5 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance:
-$26.38 billion (2005 est.)
Exports:
$371.9 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities:
engineering products, textiles and clothing, production machinery, motor vehicles, transport equipment, chemicals; food, beverages and tobacco; minerals, and nonferrous metals
Exports - partners:
Germany 13.1%, France 12.3%, US 8.1%, Spain 7.4%, UK 6.4% (2005)
Imports:
$369.2 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Imports - commodities:
engineering products, chemicals, transport equipment, energy products, minerals and nonferrous metals, textiles and clothing; food, beverages, and tobacco
Imports - partners:
Germany 17.2%, France 9.9%, Netherlands 5.7%, China 4.6%, Belgium 4.5%, Spain 4.2% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$65.95 billion (2005 est.)
Debt - external:
$922.5 billion (2005 est.)
Economic aid - donor:
ODA, $1 billion (2002 est.)
Currency (code):
euro (EUR)
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions within the member countries
Currency code:
EUR
Exchange rates:
euros per US dollar - 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003), 1.0626 (2002), 1.1175 (2001)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Italy
Telephones - main lines in use:
25.957 million (2004)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
62.75 million (2004)
Telephone system:
general assessment: modern, well developed, fast; fully automated telephone, telex, and data services
domestic: high-capacity cable and microwave radio relay trunks
international: country code - 39; 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; 21 submarine cables
Radio broadcast stations:
AM about 100, FM about 4,600, shortwave 9 (1998)
Radios:
50.5 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
358 (plus 4,728 repeaters) (1995)
Televisions:
30.3 million (1997)
Internet country code:
.it
Internet hosts:
1,246,253 (2005)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
93 (Italy and Holy See) (2000)
Internet users:
28.87 million (2005)
Transportation Italy
Airports:
133 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 98
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 30
1,524 to 2,437 m: 16
914 to 1,523 m: 31
under 914 m: 14 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 35
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 14
under 914 m: 19 (2006)
Heliports:
5 (2006)
Pipelines:
gas 17,335 km; oil 1,136 km (2004)
Railways:
total: 19,459 km
standard gauge: 18,037 km 1.435-m gauge (11,354 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 123 km 1.000-m gauge (122 km electrified); 1,299 km 0.950-m gauge (161 km electrified) (2005)
Roadways:
total: 479,688 km
paved: 479,688 km (including 6,478 km of expressways) (2004)
Waterways:
2,400 km
note: used for commercial traffic; of limited overall value compared to road and rail (2004)
Merchant marine:
total: 571 ships (1000 GRT or over) 10,781,338 GRT/11,194,627 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 40, cargo 48, chemical tanker 122, combination ore/oil 1, container 22, liquefied gas 37, livestock carrier 2, passenger 17, passenger/cargo 155, petroleum tanker 50, refrigerated cargo 4, roll on/roll off 33, specialized tanker 13, vehicle carrier 27
foreign-owned: 53 (France 3, Greece 6, Monaco 6, Switzerland 7, Taiwan 10, UK 6, US 15)
registered in other countries: 149 (The Bahamas 6, Belgium 1, Belize 4, Cayman Islands 11, Gibraltar 5, Ireland 2, Isle of Man 7, North Korea 1, Liberia 20, Malta 25, Marshall Islands 1, Norway 4, Panama 16, Portugal 10, Romania 2, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 17, Spain 2, Sweden 7, Turkey 3, UK 5) (2005)
Ports and terminals:
Augusta, Genoa, Livorno, Melilli Oil Terminal, Ravenna, Taranto, Trieste, Venice
Military Italy
Military branches:
Army (Esercito Italiano, EI), Navy (Marina Militare Italiana, MMI), Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana, AMI), Carabinieri Corps (Corpo dei Carabinieri, CC) (2005)
Military service age and obligation:
voluntary military service; conscription abolished January 2005 (2006)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 13,491,260
females age 18-49: 12,886,033 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 10,963,513
females age 18-49: 10,452,189 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 286,344
females age 18-49: 270,099 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$28,182.8 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.8% (2004)
Transnational Issues Italy
Disputes - international:
Italy's long coastline and developed economy entices tens of thousands of illegal immigrants from southeastern Europe and northern Africa
Illicit drugs:
important gateway for and consumer of Latin American cocaine and Southwest Asian heroin entering the European market; money laundering by organized crime and from smuggling

This page was last updated on 19 September, 2006