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: 72

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


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:

39,500 sq km (2008)

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 . volcanism: Italy experiences significant volcanic activity; Etna (elev. 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

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





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)



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



61,016,804 (July 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 23


Age structure:                                                                                                                             

0-14 years: 13.8% (male 4,315,292/female 4,124,624)

15-64 years: 65.9% (male 19,888,901/female 20,330,495)

65 years and over: 20.3% (male 5,248,418/female 7,109,074) (2011 est.)


Median age:                                                                                                                                 

total: 43.5 years

male: 42.4 years

female: 44.7 years (2011 est.)


Population growth rate:                                                                                                              

0.42% (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 156


Birth rate:                                                                                                                                    

9.18 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 207


Death rate:                                                                                                                                  

9.84 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 59


Net migration rate:                                                                                                                     

4.86 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 18



urban population: 68% of total population (2010)

rate of urbanization: 0.5% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)


Major cities - population:                                                                                                           

ROME (capital) 3.357 million; Milan 2.962 million; Naples 2.27 million; Turin 1.662 million; Palermo 872,000 (2009)


Sex ratio:                                                                                                                                    

at birth: 1.059 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 (2011 est.)


Life expectancy at birth:                                                                                                            

total population: 81.77 years

country comparison to the world: 10

male: 79.16 years

female: 84.53 years (2011 est.)


Total fertility rate:                                                                                                                      

1.39 children born/woman (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 201


Drinking water source:                                                                                                               


urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population (2008)


School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):                                                           

total: 16 years

male: 16 years

female: 17 years (2008)


Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:                                                                                            

total: 25.4%

country comparison to the world: 27

male: 23.3%

female: 28.7% (2009)




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-Alto Adige (Trentino-South Tyrol) or Trentino-Suedtirol (German); Valle d'Aosta (Aosta Valley) or Vallee d'Aoste (French)       


Legal system:                                                                                                                                   

civil law system; judicial review under certain conditions in Constitutional Court



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: Interim Prime Minister Mario MONTI (since 13 November 2011); 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

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); Supreme Court of Cassation or Corte Suprema di Cassazione


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. The international financial crisis worsened conditions in Italy's labor market, with unemployment rising from 6.2% in 2007 to 8.4% in 2010, but in the longer-term Italy's low fertility rate and quota-driven immigration policies will increasingly strain its economy. A rise in exports and investment driven by the global economic recovery nevertheless helped the economy grow by about 1% in 2010 following a 5% contraction in 2009. 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 and 4% in 2010, as the costs of servicing the country's debt rose.


GDP (purchasing power parity):                                                                                                      

$1.774 trillion (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 11

$1.751 trillion (2009 est.)

$1.847 trillion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars


GDP (official exchange rate):                                                                                                          

$2.055 trillion (2010 est.)


GDP - real growth rate:                                                                                                                    

1.3% (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 163

-5.2% (2009 est.)

-1.3% (2008 est.)


GDP - per capita (PPP):                                                                                                                    

$30,500 (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 43

$30,100 (2009 est.)

$31,800 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars


GDP - composition by sector:                                                                                                          

agriculture: 1.9%

industry: 25.3%

services: 72.8% (2010 est.)


Labor force:                                                                                                                                      

24.99 million (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 25


Labor force - by occupation:                                                                                                           

agriculture: 4.2%

industry: 30.7%

services: 65.1% (2005)


Unemployment rate:                                                                                                                        

8.4% (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 97

7.8% (2009 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: 107

27.3 (1995)


Investment (gross fixed):                                                                                                               

19.4% of GDP (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 123



revenues: $958.9 billion

expenditures: $1.053 trillion (2010 est.)


Taxes and other revenues:                                                                                                              

46.7% of GDP (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 22


Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):                                                                                                     

-4.6% of GDP (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 136


Public debt:                                                                                                                                      

119.1% of GDP (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 8

115.9% of GDP (2009 est.)


Inflation rate (consumer prices):                                                                                                    

1.6% (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 51

0.8% (2009 est.)


Central bank discount rate:                                                                                                             

1.75% (31 December 2010)

country comparison to the world: 113

1.75% (31 December 2009)

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:                                                                                             

4.032% (31 December 2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 165

4.757% (31 December 2009 est.)


Stock of narrow money:                                                                                                                   

$1.205 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 6

$1.299 trillion (31 December 2009 est.)

note: see entry for the European Union for money supply in the euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 17 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders


Stock of broad money:                                                                                                                     

$2.065 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 9

$1.895 trillion (31 December 2009 est.)


Stock of domestic credit:                                                                                                                 

$3.221 trillion (31 December 2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 9

$3.084 trillion (31 December 2008 est.)


Market value of publicly traded shares:                                                                                         

$318.1 billion (31 December 2010)

country comparison to the world: 24

$317.3 billion (31 December 2009)

$520.9 billion (31 December 2008)


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:                                                                                                  

6.5% (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 66


Electricity - production:                                                                                                                   

269.6 billion kWh (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 14


Electricity - consumption:                                                                                                                

314.5 billion kWh (2008 est.)

country comparison to the world: 13


Electricity - exports:                                                                                                                        

2.121 billion kWh (2009 est.)


Electricity - imports:                                                                                                                        

44.45 billion kWh (2009 est.)


Oil - production:                                                                                                                               

151,800 bbl/day (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 45


Oil - consumption:                                                                                                                            

1.528 million bbl/day (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 16


Oil - exports:                                                                                                                                    

529,100 bbl/day (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 28


Oil - imports:                                                                                                                                    

1.8 million bbl/day (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 11


Oil - proved reserves:                                                                                                                      

476.5 million bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 50


Natural gas - production:                                                                                                                 

8.298 billion cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 44


Natural gas - consumption:                                                                                                             

82.98 billion cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 10


Natural gas - exports:                                                                                                                      

139 million cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 45


Natural gas - imports:                                                                                                                      

75.35 billion cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 4


Natural gas - proved reserves:                                                                                                       

63.57 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 60


Current account balance:                                                                                                                 

-$67.94 billion (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 196

-$42.96 billion (2009 est.)



$448.4 billion (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 9

$407.5 billion (2009 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 13.2%, France 11.7%, Spain 5.9%, US 5.8%, UK 5.4%, Switzerland 4.6% (2010)



$473.1 billion (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 8

$406 billion (2009 est.)


Imports - commodities:                                                                                                                   

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


Imports - partners:                                                                                                                          

Germany 16.2%, France 8.5%, China 7.9%, Netherlands 5.4%, Spain 4.5% (2010)


Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:                                                                                         

$158.9 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 16

$132.8 billion (31 December 2009 est.)


Debt - external:                                                                                                                                

$2.684 trillion (30 June 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 7

$2.223 trillion (30 June 2010 est.)


Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:                                                                                

$403 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 13

$394 billion (31 December 2009 est.)


Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:                                                                                  

$601.4 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 12

$578.1 billion (31 December 2009 est.)


Exchange rates:                                                                                                                               

euros (EUR) per US dollar -

0.7715 (2010)

0.7179 (2009)

0.6827 (2008)

0.7345 (2007)

0.7964 (2006)