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Flag of Italy

Country Profile

Capital City: Rome (pop. 2.8 million)

Local Time
: UTC +1h

Location: Southern Europe, a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea.
Area: 301 225 sq. km. (116 303 sq. mi.);
Terrain: Mostly rugged and mountainous.
Border countries: Austria, France, Holy See (Vatican City), San Marino, Slovenia, Switzerland

Climate: Generally mild mediterranean; cold winters in the north.

Type: Republic since 2 June 1946.
Constitution: 1 January 1948.

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Italian(s).
Population: 57.5 million.
Ethnic groups: Primarily Italian, but there are small groups of German-, French-, Slovene-, and Albanian-Italians.
Religion: Roman Catholic (majority).
Language: Italian.
Literacy: 98%.


Currency: Euro (EUR) has replaced the formerly used Italian Lira.

Natural resources: Mercury, potash, marble, sulfur, natural gas and crude oil reserves, fish, coal, arable land.

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.

Exports partners:
Germany 13.8%, France 12.3%, USA 8.5%, Spain 7%, UK 6.9% (2003)

Imports partners: Germany 17.9%, France 11.2%, Netherlands 5.8%, Spain 4.8%, UK 4.7%, Belgium 4.3%, USA 4% (2003)

Internet Links

Official Sites of Italy

Parlamento Italiano

Ministero degli Affari Esteri (MAE)

Italian State Tourism Board

Diplomatic Representations
Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations

Ambasciata d'Italia

Italian Diplomatic Representations

Foreign Diplomatic Representations in Italy

Instituto Nazionale di Statistica

Centro Nazionale di Meteorologia e Climatologia Aeronautica

Map of Italy



Background:  Italy became a nation-state in 1861 when the city-states
of the peninsula, along with Sardinia and Sicily, were united under
King Victor EMMANUEL.  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 European
Monetary Union in 1999. Persistent problems include illegal immigration,
the ravages of organized crime, corruption, high unemployment, 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 note: includes Sardinia and Sicily water:
7,210 sq km land: 294,020 sq km

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:  continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of
exploitation territorial sea: 12 NM

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:  mercury, potash, marble, sulfur, natural gas and
crude oil reserves, fish, coal, arable land

Land use:  arable land: 28% permanent crops: 9% other: 63% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  26,980 sq km (1998 est.)

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-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur
94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental
Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic
Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species,
Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine
Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution,
Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling signed,
but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Climate
Change-Kyoto Protocol

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

People Italy

Population:  57,715,625 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 14.1% (male 4,198,569; female 3,954,159) 15-64
years: 67.3% (male 19,334,208; female 19,492,048) 65 years and over: 18.6%
(male 4,436,073; female 6,300,568) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  0.05% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  8.93 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  10.13 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  1.73 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.06
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
0.7 male(s)/female total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  5.76 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   82.63 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  1.19 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  0.35% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  95,000 (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  1,000 (1999 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:  predominately Roman Catholic with 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% (1998) male: NA% female: NA%

Government Italy

Country name:  conventional long form: Italian Republic conventional
short form: Italy local long form: Repubblica Italiana former: Kingdom
of Italy local short form: Italia

Government type:  republic

Capital:  Rome

Administrative divisions:  20 regions (regioni, singular - regione);
Abruzzi, 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,

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

National holiday:  Republic Day, 2 June (1946)

Constitution:  1 January 1948

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 Carlo Azeglio CIAMPI
(since 13 May 1999) elections: president elected by an electoral college
consisting of both houses of Parliament and 58 regional representatives
for a seven-year term; election last held 13 May 1999 (next to be held
NA May 2006); prime minister appointed by the president and confirmed
by Parliament head of government: Prime Minister (referred to in Italy
as the president of the Council of Ministers) Silvio BERLUSCONI (since
10 June 2001) cabinet:  the president election results: Carlo Azeglio
CIAMPI elected president; percent of electoral college vote - 70% note: a
five-party government coalition includes Forza Italia, National Alliance,
Northern League, Democratic Christian Center, United Christian Democrats

Legislative branch:  bicameral Parliament or Parlamento consists of the
Senate or Senato della Repubblica (315 seats elected by popular vote of
which 232 are directly elected and 83 are elected by regional proportional
representation; in addition, there are a small number of senators-for-life
including former presidents of the republic; members serve five-year
terms) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camera dei Deputati (630 seats;
475 are directly elected, 155 by regional proportional representation;
members serve five-year terms) elections: Senate - last held 13 May 2001
(next to be held NA 2006); Chamber of Deputies - last held 13 May 2001
(next to be held NA 2006) election results: Senate - percent of vote
by party - NA%; seats by party - House of Liberties 177 (Forza Italia
82, National Alliance 46, CCD-CDU 29, Northern League 17, others 3),
Olive Tree 128 (Democrats of the Left 62, Daisy Alliance 42, Sunflower
Alliance 16, Italian Communist Party 3, independents 5), non-affiliated
with either coalition 10, senators for life 9; Chamber of Deputies -
percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - House of Liberties 367
(Forza Italia 189, National Alliance 96, CCD-CDU 40, Northern League 30,
others 12), Olive Tree 248 (Democrats of the Left 138, Daisy Alliance
76, Sunflower Alliance 18, Italian Communist Party 9, independents 7),
non-affiliated with either coalition 15

Judicial branch:  Constitutional Court or Corte Costituzionale (composed
of 15 judges:  one-third elected by the ordinary and administrative
Supreme Courts)

Political parties and leaders:  Center-Left Olive Tree Coalition
[Francesco RUTELLI] - Democrats of the Left, Daisy Alliance (including
Italian Popular Party, Italian Renewal, Union of Democrats for Europe,
The Democrats), Sunflower Alliance (including Green Federation, Italian
Democratic Socialists), Italian Communist Party; Center-Right Freedom
House Coalition [Silvio BERLUSCONI] (formerly House of Liberties and
Freedom Alliance) - Forza Italia, National Alliance, The Whiteflower
Alliance (includes Christian Democratic Center, United Christian
Democrats), Northern League; Christian Democratic Center or CCD [Marco
FOLLINI]; Communist Party or PdCI [Oliviero DILIBERTO]; Democrats of
the Left or DS [Piero FASSINO]; Forza Italia or FI [Silvio BERLUSCONI];
Green Federation [Alfonso Pecoraro SCANIO]; Italian Communist Party
or PdCI [Oliviero DILIBERTO]; Italian Popular Party or PPI [Pierluigi
CASTAGNETTI]; Italian Renewal or RI [Lamberto DINI]; Italian Social
Democrats or SDI [Enrico BOSELLI]; Socialist Movement-Tricolor Flame
or MS-Fiamma [Pino RAUTI]; National Alliance or AN [Gianfranco FINI];
Northern League or NL [Umberto BOSSI]; Southern Tyrols People's
Party or SVP (German speakers) [Siegfried BRUGGER]; Sunflower Alliance
(includes Green Federation, Italian Social Democrats); The Daisy Alliance
(includes Italian Popular Party, Italian Renewal, Union of Democrats
for Europe, The Democrats); The Democrats [Arturo PARISI]; The Radicals
(formerly Pannella Reformers and Autonomous List) [Marco PANNELLA];
The Whiteflower Alliance (includes Christian Democratic Center, United
Christian Democrats); Union of Democrats for Europe or UDEUR [Clemente
MASTELLA]; United Christian Democrats or CDU [Rocco BUTTIGLIONE]

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 [Sergio COFFERATI] 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 [Pietro
LARIZZA] which is lay centrist)

International organization participation:  AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group,
IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAIA (observer), MINURSO, MONUC, NAM (guest), NATO,

Diplomatic representation in the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
Ferdinando SALLEO consulate(s): Detroit consulate(s) general: Boston,
Chicago, Houston, Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San
Francisco FAX: [1] (202) 518-2151 telephone: [1] (202) 612-4400 chancery:
3000 Whitehaven Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
Melvin SEMBLER embassy: Via Vittori Veneto 119/A, 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,

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 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. Italy's economic performance has
lagged behind that of its EU partners, and the current government has
enacted numerous short-term reforms aimed at improving competitiveness
and long-term growth. Rome has moved slowly, however, on implementing
needed structural reforms, such as lightening the high tax burden and
overhauling Italy's rigid labor market and expensive pension system,
because of the current economic slowdown and opposition from labor unions.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $1.402 trillion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  1.8% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $24,300 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 2.4% industry: 30% services:
67.6% (2001 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:  27.3 (1995)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  2.7% (2001)

Labor force:  23.6 million (2001 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:  services 63%, industry 32%, agriculture 5%

Unemployment rate:  10% (2001 est.)

Budget:  revenues: $504 billion expenditures: $517 billion, including
capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)

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

Industrial production growth rate:  -0.4% (2001)

Electricity - production:  257.408 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 80.01% hydro: 17.07%
other: 2.92% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  283.737 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  484 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  44.831 billion kWh (2000)

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

Exports:  $243 billion (f.o.b., 2001 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:  EU 54.9% (Germany 15.1%, France 12.6%, UK 6.9%,
Spain 6.2%), US 10.4% (2000)

Imports:  $226 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

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

Imports - partners:  EU 56.3% (Germany 17.5%, France 11.4%, Netherlands
5.9%, UK 5.4%), US 5.3% (2000)

Debt - external:  $NA

Economic aid - donor:  ODA, $1 billion (2002 est.)

Currency:  euro (EUR); Italian lira (ITL) 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; ITL

Exchange rates:  euros per US dollar - 1.1324 (January 2002), 1.1175
(2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999); Italian lire per US dollar -
1,688.7 (January 1999), 1,736.2 (1998), 1,703.1 (1997)

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications Italy

Telephones - main lines in use:  25 million (1999)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  20.5 million (1999)

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:
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

Radios:  50.5 million (1997)

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

Televisions:  30.3 million (1997)

Internet country code:  .it

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  93 (Italy and Holy See) (2000)

Internet users:  19.25 million (2001)

Transportation Italy

Railways:  total: 19,786 km standard gauge: 18,761 km 1.435-m gauge
(11,251 km electrified) narrow gauge: 113 km 1.000-m gauge (113 km
electrified); 912 km 0.950-m gauge (192 km electrified) (2001)

Highways:  total: 668,669 km paved: 668,669 km (including 6,460 km of
expressways) unpaved: 0 km (2001)

Waterways:  2,400 km note: serves various types of commercial traffic,
although of limited overall value (2002)

Pipelines:  crude oil 1,703 km; petroleum products 2,148 km; natural
gas 19,400 km

Ports and harbors:  Augusta (Sicily), Bagnoli, Bari, Brindisi, Gela,
Genoa, La Spezia, Livorno, Milazzo, Naples, Porto Foxi, Porto Torres
(Sardinia), Salerno, Savona, Taranto, Trieste, Venice (2001)

Merchant marine:  total: 467 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 8,499,248
GRT/10,383,988 DWT note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered
here as a flag of convenience: Croatia 1, Denmark 4, France 1, Greece 3,
Man, Isle of 1, Monaco 7, Netherlands 6, Norway 1, Panama 2, Spain 1,
Switzerland 1, Taiwan 15, Turkey 1, United Kingdom 6, United States
12 (2002 est.)  ships by type: bulk 45, cargo 41, chemical tanker 91,
combination ore/oil 4, container 24, liquefied gas 37, multi-functional
large-load carrier 1, passenger 15, petroleum tanker 80, refrigerated
cargo 4, roll on/roll off 70, short-sea passenger 27, specialized tanker
12, vehicle carrier 16

Airports:  135 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 97 over 3,047 m: 5 2,438 to 3,047
m: 33 914 to 1,523 m: 30 under 914 m: 12 (2001) 1,524 to 2,437 m: 17

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 38 1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 914 to
1,523 m: 18 under 914 m: 18 (2001)

Heliports:  4 (2001)

Military Italy

Military branches:  Army, Navy, Air Force, Carabinieri

Military manpower - military age:  18 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 14,184,307 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 12,157,753
(2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 304,369
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $20.2 billion (2002)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  1.64% (2002)

Transnational Issues Italy

Disputes - international:  Croatia and Italy are still trying to resolve
bilateral property and ethnic minority rights dating from World War II

Illicit drugs:  important gateway for and consumer of Latin American
cocaine and Southwest Asian heroin entering the European market

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

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