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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 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.

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

Geographic coordinates:
42 50 N, 12 50 E

Map references:

total: 301,340 sq km
country comparison to the world: 71
land: 294,140 sq km
water: 7,200 sq km
note: includes Sardinia and Sicily

Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Arizona

Land boundaries:
total: 1,899.2 km
border countries: Austria 430 km, France 488 km, Holy See (Vatican City) 3.2 km, San Marino 39 km, Slovenia 199 km, Switzerland 740 km

7,600 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Current Weather
predominantly Mediterranean; Alpine in far north; hot, dry in south

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, fluorspar, 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)

Total renewable water resources:
175 cu km (2005)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 41.98 cu km/yr (18%/37%/45%)
per capita: 723 cu m/yr (1998)

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-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:
strategic location dominating central Mediterranean as well as southern sea and air approaches to Western Europe

58,090,681 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23

Age structure:
0-14 years: 13.4% (male 4,026,439/female 3,785,978)
15-64 years: 66.2% (male 19,531,498/female 18,945,442)
65 years and over: 20.3% (male 4,929,640/female 6,871,684) (2010 est.)

Median age:
total: 43.7 years
male: 42.3 years
female: 45.3 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:
-0.075% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 209

Birth rate:
8.01 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 220

Death rate:
10.83 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42

Net migration rate:
2.07 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37

urban population: 68% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 0.4% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.066 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 5.41 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 184
male: 5.96 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.82 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 80.33 years
country comparison to the world: 19
male: 77.39 years
female: 83.46 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:
1.32 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 206

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.4% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
150,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
1,900 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62

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)

Roman Catholic 90% (approximately; about one-third practicing), other 10% (includes mature Protestant and Jewish communities and a growing Muslim immigrant community)

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)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.4%
male: 98.8%
female: 98% (2001 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 16 years
male: 16 years
female: 17 years (2006)

Education expenditures:
4.5% of GDP (2005)
country comparison to the world: 89

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:

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)
regions: Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio (Latium), Liguria, Lombardia, Marche, Molise, Piemonte (Piedmont), Puglia (Apulia), Toscana (Tuscany), Umbria, Veneto (Venetia)
autonomous regions: Friuli-Venezia Giulia; Sardegna (Sardinia); Sicilia (Sicily); Trentino-South Tyrol, also known as Trentino-Alto Adige (Italian), Trentino-Suedtirol (German); Aosta Valley, also known as Valle d'Aosta (Italian), Vallee d'Aoste (French)

17 March 1861 (Kingdom of Italy proclaimed; Italy was not finally unified until 1870)

National holiday:
Republic Day, 2 June (1946)

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

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 Silvio BERLUSCONI (since 8 May 2008) note - in Italy the prime minister is referred to as the president of the Council of Ministers
cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister and nominated by the president
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
elections: president elected by an electoral college consisting of both houses of parliament and 58 regional representatives for a seven-year term (no term limits); election last held on 10 May 2006 (next to be held in 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; members elected by proportional vote with the winning coalition in each region receiving 55% of seats from that region; members to serve five-year terms; and up to 5 senators for life appointed by the president of the Republic) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camera dei Deputati (630 seats; members elected by popular vote with the winning national coalition receiving 54% of chamber seats; members to serve five-year terms); note - it has not been clarified if each president has the power to designate up to five senators or if five is the number of senators for life who might sit in the Senate
elections: Senate - last held on 13-14 April 2008 (next to be held in April 2013); Chamber of Deputies - last held on 13-14 April 2008 (next to be held in April 2013)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - S. BERLUSCONI coalition 174 (PdL 147, LN 25, MpA 2), W. VELTRONI coalition 132 (PD 118, IdV 3), UdC 3, other 6; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - S. BERLUSCONI coalition 344 (PdL 276, LN 60, MpA 8), W. VELTRONI coalition 246 (PD 217, IdV 29), UdC 36, other 4

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:
Silvio BERLUSCONI coalition: Lega Nord or LN [Umberto BOSSI]; Movement for Autonomy or MpA [Raffaele LOMBARDO]; People of Freedom or PdL [Silvio BERLUSCONI]
W. VELTRONI coalition: Democratic Party or PD [Pier Luigi BERSANI]; Italy of Values or IdV [Antonio DI PIETRO]
other non-allied parties: Union of the Center or UdC [Pier Ferdinando CASINI]

Political pressure groups and leaders:
manufacturers and merchants associations - Confcommercio; Confindustria; organized farm groups - Confcoltivatori; Confagricoltura; Roman Catholic Church; three major trade union confederations - Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro or CGIL [Guglielmo EPIFANI] which is left wing; Confederazione Italiana dei Sindacati Lavoratori or CISL [Raffaele BONANNO], which is Roman Catholic centrist; Unione Italiana del Lavoro or UIL [Luigi ANGELETTI] which is lay centrist)

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, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-20, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), Schengen Convention, SECI (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNMOGIP, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Giulio TERZI di Sant'Agata
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 David THORNE
embassy: Via Vittorio Veneto 121, 00187-Rome
mailing address: PSC 59, Box 100, APO AE 09624
telephone: [39] (06) 46741
FAX: [39] (06) 488-2672, 4674-2356
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 red and green, and has its coat of arms centered on the white band; Ireland, which is longer and is green (hoist side), white, and orange; also similar to the flag of the Cote d'Ivoire, which has the colors reversed - orange (hoist side), white, and green

Economy - overview:
Italy has a diversified industrial economy, which is divided into a developed industrial north, dominated by private companies, and a less-developed, welfare-dependent, agricultural south, with high unemployment. 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 15% of GDP. These activities are most common within the agriculture, construction, and service sectors. Italy has moved slowly on implementing needed structural reforms, such as reducing graft, overhauling costly entitlement programs, and increasing employment opportunities for young workers, particularly women. These conditions will be exacerbated in the near-term by the global economic downturn, but in the longer-term Italy's low fertility rate and quota-driven immigration policies will increasingly strain its economy. The Italian government has struggled to limit government spending, but Italy's exceedingly high public debt remains above 115% of GDP, and its fiscal deficit - just 1.5% of GDP in 2007 - exceeded 5% in 2009 as the costs of servicing the country's debt rose. A tax amnesty program implemented in late 2009 to repatriate untaxed assets held abroad has netted the federal government more than $135 billion.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1.76 trillion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
$1.848 trillion (2008 est.)
$1.867 trillion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$2.114 trillion (2009 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
-4.8% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 187
-1% (2008 est.)
1.5% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$30,300 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 44
$31,800 (2008 est.)
$32,100 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 1.8%
industry: 25%
services: 73.1% (2009 est.)

Labor force:
24.97 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 4.2%
industry: 30.7%
services: 65.1% (2005)

Unemployment rate:
7.7% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
6.8% (2008 est.)

Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.3%
highest 10%: 26.8% (2000)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
32 (2006)
country comparison to the world: 101
27.3 (1995)

Investment (gross fixed):
18.9% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105

revenues: $969.9 billion
expenditures: $1.082 trillion (2009 est.)

Public debt:
115.2% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
106.1% of GDP (2008 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
0.8% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 41
3.4% (2008 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
3% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 98
5% (31 December 2007)
note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
11.34% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 78
10.93% (31 December 2007)

Stock of domestic credit:
$3.046 trillion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 8
$2.932 trillion (31 December 2007)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$NA (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 16
$520.9 billion (31 December 2008)
$1.073 trillion (31 December 2007)

Agriculture - products:
fruits, vegetables, grapes, potatoes, sugar beets, soybeans, grain, olives; beef, dairy products; fish

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

Industrial production growth rate:
-13.5% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154

Electricity - production:
289.7 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 14

Electricity - consumption:
315 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13

Electricity - exports:
3.431 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:
43 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:
146,500 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 47

Oil - consumption:
1.537 million bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16

Oil - exports:
667,100 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24

Oil - imports:
2.205 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10

Oil - proved reserves:
406.5 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51

Natural gas - production:
8.119 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 44

Natural gas - consumption:
78.12 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10

Natural gas - exports:
124 million cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 41

Natural gas - imports:
69.24 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4

Natural gas - proved reserves:
94.15 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 54

Current account balance:
-$66.57 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188
-$78.14 billion (2008 est.)

$412.9 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
$546.3 billion (2008 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 12.6%, France 11.57%, US 5.92%, Spain 5.69%, UK 5.13%, Switzerland 4.69% (2009)

$410.2 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
$547.3 billion (2008 est.)

Imports - commodities:
engineering products, chemicals, transport equipment, energy products, minerals and nonferrous metals, textiles and clothing; food, beverages, and tobacco

Imports - partners:
Germany 16.68%, France 8.82%, China 6.53%, Netherlands 5.63%, Spain 4.3%, Russia 4.12%, Belgium 4.08% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$132.8 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
$105.3 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$NA (31 December 2009 est.)
$2.328 trillion (31 December 2008)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$366.9 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
$339.9 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$556.5 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
$511.5 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Exchange rates:
euros (EUR) per US dollar - 0.7153 (2009), 0.6827 (2008), 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005)

Telephones - main lines in use:
20.031 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 16

Telephones - mobile cellular:
88.58 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 10

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; a series of submarine cables provide links to Asia, Middle East, Europe, North Africa, and US; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (with a total of 5 antennas - 3 for Atlantic Ocean and 2 for Indian Ocean), 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region), and NA Eutelsat

Radio broadcast stations:
AM about 100, FM about 4,600, shortwave 9 (1998)

Television broadcast stations:
358 (plus 4,728 repeaters) (1995)

Internet country code:

Internet hosts:
22.152 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 4

Internet users:
24.992 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 14

132 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 43

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 101
over 3,047 m: 9
2,438 to 3,047 m: 30
1,524 to 2,437 m: 17
914 to 1,523 m: 32
under 914 m: 13 (2009)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 31
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 19 (2009)

6 (2009)

gas 17,558 km; oil 1,241 km (2009)

total: 19,729 km
country comparison to the world: 15
standard gauge: 18,317 km 1.435-m gauge (12,458 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 123 km 1.000-m gauge (123 km electrified); 1,058 km 0.950-m gauge (151 km electrified); 231 km 0.850-m gauge (2008)

total: 487,700 km
country comparison to the world: 12
paved: 487,700 km (includes 6,700 km of expressways) (2007)

2,400 km
country comparison to the world: 38
note: used for commercial traffic; of limited overall value compared to road and rail (2008)

Merchant marine:
total: 609
country comparison to the world: 20
by type: bulk carrier 60, cargo 47, carrier 2, chemical tanker 159, combination ore/oil 1, container 25, liquefied gas 27, passenger 22, passenger/cargo 154, petroleum tanker 35, refrigerated cargo 4, roll on/roll off 33, specialized tanker 13, vehicle carrier 27
foreign-owned: 64 (Denmark 3, France 2, Greece 6, Japan 1, Lebanon 1, Nigeria 1, Norway 2, Portugal 1, Sweden 1, Switzerland 8, Taiwan 13, Turkey 1, UK 7, US 17)
registered in other countries: 208 (Antigua and Barbuda 1, Bahamas 4, Belize 3, Cayman Islands 4, Cyprus 7, France 2, Liberia 41, Malta 50, Marshall Islands 3, Netherlands 1, Norway 4, Panama 28, Portugal 12, Russia 4, Saint Kitts and Nevis 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 17, Singapore 5, Slovakia 2, Spain 2, Sweden 9, Turkey 3, UK 5) (2008)

Ports and terminals:
Augusta, Genoa, Livorno, Ravenna, Sarroch, Taranto, Trieste, Venice

Military branches:
Italian Armed Forces: Italian Army (Esercito Italiano, EI), Italian Navy (Marina Militare Italiana, MMI), Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana, AMI), Carabinieri Corps (Arma dei Carabinieri, CC) (2010)

Military service age and obligation:
18-27 year of age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished January 2005; women may serve in any military branch; 10-month service obligation, with a reserve obligation to age 45 (Army and Air Force) or 39 (Navy) (2006)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 13,705,846
females age 16-49: 12,929,946 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 11,092,984
females age 16-49: 10,452,910 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 280,255
female: 263,336 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:
1.8% of GDP (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85

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


Information from the CIA's "The World Fact Book" 2010




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