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 is a charter member of NATO and the European Economic Community (EEC) and its subsequent successors the EC and the EU. It has been at the forefront of European economic and political unification, joining the Economic and Monetary Union in 1999. Persistent problems include sluggish economic growth, high youth and female unemployment, organized crime, corruption, and economic disparities between southern Italy and the more prosperous north.



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


latitude: 42 50 N
longitude: 12 50 E


Total area: 301,340 sq km
Land area: 294,140 sq km
Water area: 7,200 sq km


predominantly Mediterranean; alpine in far north; hot, dry in south


mostly rugged and mountainous; some plains, coastal lowlands


Mean: 538 m
Lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
Highest point: Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco) de Courmayeur (a secondary peak of Mont Blanc) 4,748 m


coal, antimony, mercury, zinc, potash, marble, barite, asbestos, pumice, fluorspar, feldspar, pyrite (sulfur), natural gas and crude oil reserves, fish, arable land


Agricultural: 47.1%
Forest: 31.4%





Italian: 100%

note: Includes small clusters of German-, French-, and Slovene-Italians in the north and Albanian-Italians and Greek-Italians in the south


Italian(official), German, French, Slovene


Christian: 83.3%
Muslim: 3.7%
unaffiliated: 12.4%
other: 0.6%


Age group of 0-14: 13.45% of total population (4292431 male/4097732 female)

Age group of 15-24: 9.61% of total population (3005402 male/2989764 female)

Age group of 25-54: 40.86% of total population (12577764 male/12921614 female)

Age group of 55-64: 14% of total population (4243735 male/4493581 female)

Age group of 65+: 22.08% of total population (5949560 male/7831076 female)

Total age median: 46.5
Male age median: 45.4
Female age median: 47.5
Total life expectency: 82.5
Male life expectency: 79.8
Female life expectency: 85.3


People living in urban areas: 71% of total population

Rate of urbanization: 0.29%

Major urban areas:

ROME: 4.257 million
Milan: 3.140 million
Naples: 2.187 million
Turin: 1.792 million
Bergamo: 892,000
Palermo: 851,000


Total literacy: 99.2%
Male literacy:
Female literacy:


Government type

parliamentary republic

Capital city


Chief of state

President Sergio MATTARELLA (elected 3 February 2015)

Head of government

Prime Minister Giuseppe CONTE (elected 1 June 2018)

Legal system

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

State symbols

white, five-pointed star

red, white, green

"Il Canto degli Italiani" (The Song of the Italians)



Italy’s economy comprises a developed industrial north, dominated by private companies, and a less-developed, highly subsidized, agricultural south, with a legacy of unemployment and underdevelopment. 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 17% of GDP. These activities are most common within the agriculture, construction, and service sectors.

Italy is the third-largest economy in the euro zone, but its exceptionally high public debt and structural impediments to growth have rendered it vulnerable to scrutiny by financial markets. Public debt has increased steadily since 2007, reaching 131% of GDP in 2017. Investor concerns about Italy and the broader euro-zone crisis eased in 2013, bringing down Italy's borrowing costs on sovereign government debt from euro-era records. The government still faces pressure from investors and European partners to sustain its efforts to address Italy's longstanding structural economic problems, including labor market inefficiencies, a sluggish judicial system, and a weak banking sector. Italy’s economy returned to modest growth in late 2014 for the first time since 2011. In 2015-16, Italy’s economy grew at about 1% each year, and in 2017 growth accelerated to 1.5% of GDP. In 2017, overall unemployment was 11.4%, but youth unemployment remained high at 37.1%. GDP growth is projected to slow slightly in 2018.


GDP amount: $2.317 trillion
GDP growth: 1.5%
GDP per capita: $38,200
GDP savings: 20.3% of GDP
GDP from agriculture: 2.1%
GDP from industry: 23.9%
GDP from services: 73.9%

Agricultural 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

Labor force

Total amount: 25.94 million
In agriculture: 3.9%
In industry: 28.3%
In services: 67.8%


Total amount: $496.3 billion
Partners: Germany(12.5%), France(10.3%), US(9%), Spain(5.2%), UK(5.2%), Switzerland(4.6%)
Commodities: engineering products, textiles and clothing, production machinery, motor vehicles, transport equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, beverages, tobacco, minerals, nonferrous metals


Total amount: $432.9 billion
Partners: Germany(16.3%), France(8.8%), China(7.1%), Netherlands(5.6%), Spain(5.3%), Belgium(4.5%)
Commodities: engineering products, chemicals, transport equipment, energy products, minerals and nonferrous metals, textiles and clothing, food, beverages, tobacco



Access: 100%
Production: 275.3 billion kWh
Consumption: 293.5 billion kWh
Exports: 6.155 billion kWh
Imports: 43.18 billion kWh
fossil fuel: 54%
nuclear: 0%
hydroelectric: 14%
other renewable sources: 32%

Crude oil

Production: 90,000 bbl/day
Exports: 13,790 bbl/day
Imports: 1.341 million bbl/day

Refined petroleum products

Production: 1.607 million bbl/day
Consumption: 1.236 million bbl/day
Exports: 615,900 bbl/day
Imports: 422,500 bbl/day

Natural gas

Production: 5.55 billion cu m
Consumption: 75.15 billion cu m
Exports: 271.8 million cu m
Imports: 69.66 billion cu m



Fixed lines subscribers: 20396603
Mobile cellular subscribtions: 83342486

Broadcast media

two Italian media giants dominate - the publicly owned Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI) with 3 national terrestrial stations and privately owned Mediaset with 3 national terrestrial stations; a large number of private stations and Sky Italia - a satellite TV network; RAI operates 3 AM/FM nationwide radio stations; about 1,300 commercial radio stations


Internet code: .it
Total users: 38,025,661

Military and security


1.22% of GDP

Military forces

Army(EI), Navy(MMI), Italian Air Force(AMI), Carabinieri Corps(CC)


Italian citizenship required; 1-year service obligation



Total: 129
Paved: 98
Unpaved: 31


Gas: 20223 km
Oil: 1393 km


20,182 km


Total: 487,700 km
Paved: 487,700 km
Unpaved: 0 km


2,400 km

Transnational issues


taly's long coastline and developed economy entices tens of thousands of illegal immigrants from southeastern Europe and northern Africa


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