Form of Government: Parliamentary republic
Area: 302 073 sq km
Population: 60 359 546 inhab. (estimate 2018)
Density: 199.82 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 47° - 35° N; long. 6° - 18° E
Capital: Rome=Roma (capital) 2 856 133 inhab. (2018);
Currency: euro (100 cents)
Human development index: 0.88 (rank: 28)
President of the Republic: Sergio Mattarella, elected on 31 January 2015, in office since 3 February 2015
Prime Minister (President of the Council of Ministers): Giuseppe Conte (independent), since 1 June 2018
Parliament: seats (August 2019 update): Chamber of Deputies: M5S (Five Star MoVement), 216; League (right-wing), 125; PD (Democratic Party), 111; FI (Forza Italia, centre-right), 104; FdI (Brothers of Italy, right-wing), 33; LeU (Free and Equal, left-wing), 14; Mixed Group, 27. Senate: M5S (Five Star MoVement), 107; FI (Forza Italia, centre-right), 62; League (right-wing), 58; PD (Democratic Party), 51; FdI (Brothers of Italy), 18; For the Autonomies (centre-left, regionalist), 8; Mixed Group, 15
Internet: www.istat.it (Istituto Nazionale di Statistica)
Member of Council of Europe, EBRD, EU, NATO, OAS observer, OECD, OSCE, UN, WTO
International license plate code I
International dialling code 0039
Travel vaccinations requirement none
Electricity (Voltage) 230
Driving side rigth
Internet code .it
DST duration (start-end) late March-late October
Annual average temperature (°C) Rome 15.6; Florence 14.6; Genova 15.6; Milano 12.5; Naples 15.5; Palermo 18.6; Venice 12.8
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Rome 7.5/24.5; Florence 6/24; Genova 8/24; Milano 1.5/23.5; Naples 8/23.5; Palermo 12.5/25.5; Venice 2.5/23
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Rome 9/4; Florence 8.5/3; Genova 8/3.5; Milano 8/2; Naples 9/3; Palermo 10/4; Venice 8/2
Annual average precipitation (mm) Rome 830; Florence 910; Genova 1075; Milano 995; Naples 1015; Palermo 604; Venice 840
Days of rainfall (annual average) Rome 81; Florence 92; Genova 80; Milano 89; Naples 132; Palermo 75; Venice 86
Politics and current affairs
In 2018-19, the government led by Giuseppe Conte was backed by a parliamentary majority comprised of the Five-Star Movement (M5S) and League (Lega), though this coalition was marked by rising tensions that ultimately led to a crisis in August 2019. Divided on many fronts, the governing parties formulated an expansive economic policy, which was a clear break from the budget rules established by the European Union, causing a deep disagreement with the European Commission. The strict policy towards the European Union and immigration paid off for League, which won the European elections on 26 May 2019 with 34.3% of the votes, while their allies in government, M5S, suffered a drop in popularity, taking 17.1%. The disorder caused by this lack of balance between the two governing parties further deteriorated their rapport, leading to a government crisis (7 August) and the resignation of Prime Minister Conte (20 August). With the support of President Mattarella, negotiations were held between M5S and the Democratic Party (PD) to form a new executive, which took office on 5 September, with a reinstated G. Conte at the helm. The new coalition was strongly opposed by the right, which was seeking to call snap elections.
Despite the number of migrant arrivals dropping (around 23 000 in 2018 compared to 181 000 in 2016), immigration has remained a central topic in public debate. On several occasions, Italy denied NGO ships rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean Sea from docking at its ports for days at a time. Internationally, tensions rose with France owing to the countries’ diverging interests in Libya, while League had to face accusations of murky rapports with and alleged financing from Russia.
Worry among western partners finally led to Italy signing a Memorandum of Understanding with China regarding the Belt and Road Initiative on 23 March 2019.
Italy only has borders from the north-west to the north-east: France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. San Marino and the Vatican are also within the landmass. It also includes an exclave in Switzerland: Campione d’Italia. The peninsula is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, divided into the Ligurian Sea, Tyrrhenian Sea, Ionian Sea and Adriatic Sea.
The two largest islands in the Mediterranean are Italian: Sardinia, separated from Corsica (France) by the Strait of Bonifacio, and Sicily, in the Tyrrhenian Sea, Sicilian Channel and Ionian Sea. Minor islands include the Tuscan Archipelago, the Pontine Islands off the coast of Lazio, Capri, Ischia and Procida in the Bay of Naples, the Aeolians (or Lipari) to the north and the Aegadians to the west of Sicily, Pantelleria in the Sicilian Channel, the Tremiti Islands in the Adriatic and the Pelagies off the Tunisian coast.
The peninsula is dominated by two mountain ranges: the Alps, to the north, and the Apennines throughout the peninsula. Between the foothills of the Alps and the Northern Apennines lies the Po Valley, crossed by the river Po. In the northern Adriatic, the coasts are low and there are numerous lagoons; in the rest of the country the coasts are rocky or fringed with short stretches of sandy beach. Hills and mountains cover much of Sicily, with the volcano of Mount Etna that dominates the Catania Plain in the east. Sardinia is largely mountainous and most of the coast has rugged cliffs.
The climate is affected by the mountain ranges of the Alps, the Apennines and the highlands of the larger islands, while the sea influences the climate along coastal stretches.
The Italian State is the result of a unification process that began in 1848 with the Wars of Independence. These drew to a close in 1919, at the end of the Great War, with the annexation of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol (South Tyrol), Trieste and Istria. The peace agreement after the end of the Second World War deprived Italy of Istria and part of Venezia-Giulia. An institutional referendum held on 2 June 1946 put an end to the monarchy and the rule of the House of Savoy.
The Constitution, passed on 27 December 1947, defines the structure and operation of the State, attributing legislative power, together with control of the guidance and activities of the executive, to Parliament. On 29 September, 1999, Italians living abroad gained the right to vote.
Parliament comprises two chambers, both of which are elected directly by universal suffrage for five years. The Chamber of Deputies has 630 members. The Senate of the Republic has 315 senators. The President of the Republic, who is “head of state and represents national unity”, is elected by Parliament for five-year terms and may be re-elected. The Government comprises the President of the Council (as the Prime Minister is known), who is appointed by the President of the Republic, and his ministers, who form the Council of Ministers. A new Government must be approved by gaining a majority vote in both Chambers.
The territory of the Italian Republic is divided in terms of administration into regions, metropolitan cities, provinces and municipalities. There are 20 regions, 15 of which are under ordinary statutes and 5 under special statutes (Valle d’Aosta/Vallée d’Aoste, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Sicily and Sardinia). The provinces and municipalities have administrative and financial autonomy. The provinces of Trento and Bolzano/Bozen also have legislative autonomy. Effective 1 January 2015, 14 “metropolitan cities” were instituted (Rome Capital, Turin, Milan, Venice, Genoa, Bologna, Florence, Bari, Naples, Reggio di Calabria, Palermo, Catania, Messina, Cagliari), which have absorbed the respective provinces, benefitting from special powers and administrative autonomy.
Since 2005, when compulsory military service was abolished, the armed forces have been a professional service, and open to men and women. The Italian armed forces comprise the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Carabinieri (which absorbed the State Forestry Corps in 2016), and the Financial Guards (reporting to the Ministry of Economy and Finance). The Italian State Police report to the Ministry of the Interior.
As of May 2019, about 6100 Italian military were involved in 39 international operations: large contingents of troops operate in Iraq and Kuwait, Lebanon, Afghanistan and in the Balkans. The presence in Africa is growing, with contingents in Libya, Niger, Somalia and Mali. In the Mediterranean, Italy heads up the EUNAVFOR Med European operation against human trafficking to control the migratory flow, and introduced the “Mare Sicuro” (Secure Sea) national campaign. Another 7160 soldiers have been deployed across Italy as part of the “Strade Sicure” (Secure Streets) operation. The Italian territory is home to several military sites (bases, radar centres, depots and firing grounds) headed up by NATO armed forces or allies (mainly US).
The judicial administration is divided into offices of Justices of the Peace, courts and public prosecutors’ offices, juvenile courts, surveillance courts, courts of appeal and Public Prosecutors’ offices at courts of appeal, the Court of Cassation and Public Prosecutor’s offices at the Court of Cassation, and the Higher Court of the Public Waters.
|Rome=Roma||2 856 133||inhab.||2018|
|Milan=Milano||1 378 689||inhab.||2018|
|LOMBARDY=LOMBARDIA||10 060 574||ab.||2018|
|LAZIO||5 879 082||ab.||2018|
|Population by age and gender (% - 2018)|
Italy has one of the highest population densities in Europe, but population distribution across the country is uneven on account of environmental factors and the different ways in which towns and cities have developed.
Italy has one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world. For years immigration has been the main factor in population growth. The permanent presence of foreign residents is mainly concentrated in north and central Italy. The largest foreign communities are from Romania, Albania, Morocco, China and Ukraine.
|Foreigners, total||5 255 503||units||2018|
|Romanians||1 206 938||units||2018|
Italy’s economy slowed down in 2018, growing 0.9% compared to the 1.7% registered the previous year. Domestic consumption only grew 0.6% compared to 1% in 2017. The economy is impacted by the constant uncertainty of domestic politics, as well as the general slowdown worldwide, especially when considering the protectionist tensions that could undermine international value chains. Investments, on the other hand, grew compared to other European countries (3.4%), but they did not fill the gap with European partners that has grown in previous years. While the country experienced an economic slowdown, the job market only partially felt its impact, and employment continued to grow in 2018 (+0.9%), though at lower rhythms compared to 2017. Unemployment still remains above the European average, at 10.6%.
Despite tensions registered by the financial markets, the stabilization of its public finances strengthened in 2018, with the deficit dropping to 2.1% of the GDP. Although the primary balance (1.6%) remains above the EU average, the public debt began to increase again, reaching 132.1% of the GDP, equal to 2317 billion euros.
|Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)||91.55||index||2016|
|Balance of trade||45 847.7||M US$||2018|
|Active population||25 970 421||units||2018|
|Active population, Females||42.6||%||2018|
|Unemployment rate, Females||47.3||%||2018|
|Expenses||498 220||M LCU||2018|
|Revenues||454 036||M LCU||2018|
|Currency in circulation||202.64||BN LCU||2018|
|International reserves||152 361.9||M US$||2018|
Yields from cereal crops are moderate high, with cereals being grown mainly in the south (durum wheat) and in the Po Valley. More than 50% of Italian maize is grown in Veneto and Lombardy. Rice is grown in the provinces of Novara, Vercelli and Pavia. The most industrial crop is sugar beet (Po Valley).
Tomatoes are mostly cultivated in Campania, Sicily, Apulia and Emilia-Romagna. Other main fruit and vegetables include artichokes, melons, watermelons, onions and cauliflowers. Flower growing is extensive, especially in Liguria and Tuscany. Scattered throughout the peninsula, grapevines enjoy prestige in Piedmont, Veneto and Tuscany. Italy alternates with France for first place in terms of global wine-making and vies with Spain for the production of olive oil (Apulia and Calabria excel in terms of quantity, but Tuscany and Liguria offer the finest of oils). Citrus fruits (oranges and lemons) are grown mainly in Sicily, Calabria and Campania. Apples, pears, peaches, almonds, cherries and plums are grown extensively in some regions.
Livestock and fishing.
Livestock farming is practised mainly in the Po Valley, where beef and dairy cattle predominate, along with poultry and pigs. Derivative products, such as cured meats and cheeses are justly famous.
Apart from in the Adriatic Sea and the Sicilian Channel, fishing in the seas off the Italian coast is somewhat limited. The major fishing-ports are Chioggia, Ancona, San Benedetto del Tronto, Manfredonia, Molfetta, Palermo, Trapani and Mazara del Vallo. The total catch isn’t sufficient to meet the demand of the national market, which is forced to import large amounts. Fish farming has developed considerably, both in freshwater (trout and sturgeon) and at sea (bass, grey mullet and gilthead). The Valli di Comacchio are known for their eels.
|barley||1 022.2||1000 t||2018|
|cereals, total||16 531.2||1000 t||2018|
|potatoes||1 342.5||1000 t||2018|
|roots and tubers, total||1 350.9||1000 t||2018|
|beans, dry||12.1||1000 t||2018|
|beans, green||154.851||1000 t||2017|
|grapes||8 642.8||1000 t||2018|
|olives||2 151.8||1000 t||2018|
|sesame seed||0.289||1000 t||2017|
|sugar beet||2 201||1000 t||2018|
|flax fibre and tow||0.835||1000 t||2017|
|hemp tow waste||3.444||1000 t||2017|
|apples||2 436.6||1000 t||2018|
|citrus fruits||2 884.3||1000 t||2018|
|citrus fruits, nes||31||1000 t||2018|
|sweet potatoes||0.4||1000 ha||2018|
|beans, dry||6.4||1000 ha||2018|
|beans, green||18.618||1000 ha||2017|
|olive||1 164.1||1000 ha||2018|
|sesame seed||0.225||1000 ha||2017|
|sugar beet||34.4||1000 ha||2018|
|flax fibre and tow||0.253||1000 ha||2017|
|hemp tow waste||0.7||1000 ha||2018|
|citrus fruits||143||1000 ha||2018|
|citrus fruits, nes||1.6||1000 ha||2018|
|timber||12 928 000||m³||2017|
|cattle||5 949.393||1000 heads||2017|
|cattle and buffaloes||6 324||1000 heads||2018|
|pigs||8 492||1000 heads||2018|
|sheep||7 179||1000 heads||2018|
|asses and mules||28.175||1000 heads||2017|
|birds||173 437||1000 heads||2017|
|silk, raw||0.012||1000 t||2014|
|cheese||1 261.1||1000 t||2017|
|crustaceans and molluscs||162 821||t||2017|
|coal, total||54||1000 t||2017|
|asphalt, natural||1 100||1000 t||2015|
|alabaster||2 874||1000 t||2015|
|- thermal||184 336.1||M kWh||2018|
|- hydro||49 929||M kWh||2018|
|- thermal||64 021||1000 kW||2018|
|- other renew.||31 185.4||1000 kW||2018|
|total net generation||279 844.6||M kWh||2018|
|total installed capacity||118 116.9||1000 kW||2018|
|aluminium||1 369.8||1000 t||2015|
|aluminium, secondary||1 369.8||1000 t||2015|
|bikes||2 445 000||no.||2018|
|air conditioners||4 211 497||no.||2016|
|bitumen||2 774||1000 t||2018|
|petrol||24 413||1000 t||2018|
|artificial tow||6.8||1000 t||2004|
|carpets||6 854||1000 m²||2016|
|cotton fabrics||223.9||M m²||2018|
|footwear||185 700 000||pairs||2018|
|beer of barley||1 296.8||1000 t||2014|
|coconut oil||0.5||1000 t||2014|
|cigarettes||2 629.7||M units||2016|
|chemical pulp||111.539||1000 t||2017|
|chemi-mechanical pulp||392.01||1000 t||2017|
|cement||19 305||1000 t||2017|
|sheet glass - t||887.1||1000 t||2016|
|chemicals production||24 154.5||M US$||2016|
|food, beverages and tobacco production||31 460.5||M US$||2016|
Italy is one of the leading countries in world trade, with 2.8% of the overall export of goods and 2.6% in imports (2018). The main markets for Italian exports are EU countries (especially Germany and France) and the USA. Oil and natural gas, vehicles, machinery, electrical and electronic equipment and pharmaceutical products come top on the list of imported goods.
Main exports (M US$ - 2017)
machinery 99 475, iron and steel 30 700, electrical and electronic equipment 30 117, pharmaceuticals 25 687, vehicles and parts thereof 25 680, apparel and accessories 21 331, plastics 20 561, cars 18 021, petroleum products 14 973, chemicals 14 144, furniture and accessories 13 655, footwear 11 315, leather goods 9 177, jewels and precious stones 8 423, technical and electro-medical appliances 8 348, glass and ceramic products 8 025, paper and paperboard 7 080, wine 6 762, aluminium 6 401, fruit and vegetables 5 896, cosmetics and perfumes 5 513, pasta and bakery products 5 218, rubber articles 4 856, ships and boats 4 796, aircraft and parts thereof 4 562, raw hides & skins 4 420, spectacles/goggles and the like 4 090
Finance and banking.
In 2018, the banking sector consisted of 100 banks belonging to 58 groups, 327 banks not belonging to groups and 78 branches of foreign banks. The process of credit union reform concluded in 2019, which led to a rationalization of banking groups. The Milan Stock Exchange merged with the London Stock Exchange in 2007, creating the most important European financial market.
|manufactures||83.230||% of goods exports||2018|
|food products||8.874||% of goods exports||2018|
|Germany||58 096||M euro||2018|
|France||48 421||M euro||2018|
|Germany||70 315||M euro||2018|
|France||36 535||M euro||2018|
|Germany||68 297||M US$||2018|
|France||56 872||M US$||2018|
|Germany||82 944||M US$||2018|
|France||42 974||M US$||2018|
Italy is ranked among the most preferred tourist destinations in the world, with 63.2 million of international arrivals in 2018 (+4.4% over 2017). Its famous cities of art (Rome, Venice, Florence, Naples and many other smaller places) are the most popular destinations. Its many other attractions include: the seaside resorts along the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic coasts, ski resorts and summer Alpine walking resorts, its lakes, spas, archaeological sites and nature reserves and parks. Its visitors come mainly from Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the USA.
Italy confirms its leadership as the nation with the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
|Expenditures||27 100||M US$||2017|
|Number of arrivals||60 523 190||units||2017|
The communications network is highly developed, although this is not true for all parts of the country. The railways network has been upgraded quite significantly, though not without problems. The rolling stock is being modernized and a high-speed, high-capacity train network is in the process of being built. On account of the geography of the country, sea transport plays a key role in trade with countries outside Italy.
Media and telecommunication.
In recent years, the telecommunications sector has undergone constant change as a result of the deregulation of the market and the evolution of TC technology, which has enabled major synergies between the telephone infrastructure and computers, causing mobile phone services to be established once and for all as well as Internet access. With the move to digital terrestrial television, the number of channels has increased, but the market stays divided between three groups: two on the terrestrial network (RAI, which is the Italian state television network, and Mediaset, offering additional digital channels for a fee) and one on the satellite network (Sky, for a fee), with other marginal companies.
|Civil aviation, km flown||406 600 000||km flown||2004|
|Civil aviation, passengers carried||27 836.4||1000 units||2017|
|Broadband subscribers||279.420||per 1000 pop.||2017|
|Computers||366.6||per 1000 pop.||2005|
Social and welfare
Education, culture & research.
School is compulsory for ten years in all. Completion is expected by the age of 18 years with upper secondary school qualifications or a vocational qualification that takes at least three years to gain. Pre-school education is not compulsory. Primary education lasts for 5 years and is followed by the first stage of secondary teaching for 3 years. Upper secondary schools are divided as art schools, schools with an emphasis on humanities, those with an emphasis on science, language schools, music and dance conservatories and schools focusing on life science. Vocation and technical training is divided into technical and vocational training schools.
The former is separated into two sectors, economic and technological, whereas the latter into vocational schools for the service sector and vocational schools for the industry and handicraft sectors. University courses are organized around two cycles. The first, which lasts for three years, leads to a first-level (bachelors) degree; the second, which lasts for two years, enables students to gain a specialist degree (masters).
Social security and health.
Welfare, healthcare and assistance are the three main areas around which the publicly-funded Italian social security system is organized, providing financial aid as well as social services. During recent years, expenditure has increasingly been allocated for social welfare schemes to support the disabled, the elderly, war veterans, the unemployed, victims of accidents at work, and people on maternity and sick leave.
There has been a series of various reforms of the pension system to ensure that the figures balance out in the midterm, also taking into account the increased life expectancy of the population, by gradually raising the retirement age and the gradual equalization of men and women.
|Expected years of schooling||16.2||years||2016|
|Teachers, primary level||254 572||units||2016|
|Teachers, secondary level||456 891||units||2016|
|Social protection spending||42.8||% of total expenses||2016|
|Social protection spending||27.9||% of GDP||2018|
|Hospital beds||3.2||per 1000 pop.||2016|
|Physicians||4||per 1000 pop.||2017|
|HIV||0.2||% of adults||2017|
|Museums, visitors||119 069 134||units||2017|
|Research and development spending||1.35||% of GDP||2017|
|Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking||100||%||2016|
|Access to electricity||100||%||2017|