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). 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

Geographic coordinates

42 50 N, 12 50 E

Map references



total: 301,340 sq km
land: 294,140 sq km
water: 7,200 sq km
note: includes Sardinia and Sicily

Area - comparative

almost twice the size of Georgia; slightly larger than Arizona

Land boundaries

total: 1,836.4 km
border countries (6): Austria 404 km, France 476 km, Holy See (Vatican City) 3.4 km, San Marino 37 km, Slovenia 218 km, Switzerland 698 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


mean elevation: 538 m
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

agricultural land: 47.1%
arable land 22.8%; permanent crops 8.6%; permanent pasture 15.7%
forest: 31.4%
other: 21.5% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

39,500 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards

regional risks include landslides, mudflows, avalanches, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding; land subsidence in Venice
volcanism: 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

People and Society


62,007,540 (July 2016 est.)


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)


Christian 80% (overwhelmingly Roman Catholic with very small groups of Jehovah's Witnesses and Protestants), Muslim (about 800,000 to 1 million), atheist and agnostic 20%

Age structure

0-14 years: 13.69% (male 4,337,792/female 4,151,901)
15-24 years: 9.74% (male 3,026,359/female 3,012,882)
25-54 years: 42.46% (male 13,003,171/female 13,326,901)
55-64 years: 12.73% (male 3,826,630/female 4,069,855)
65 years and over: 21.37% (male 5,696,612/female 7,555,437) (2016 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 56.5%
youth dependency ratio: 21.5%
elderly dependency ratio: 35.1%
potential support ratio: 2.9% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 45.1 years
male: 44 years
female: 46.2 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

0.23% (2016 est.)

Birth rate

8.7 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Death rate

10.3 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

3.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Population distribution

despite a distinctive pattern with an industrial north and an agrarian south, a fairly even population distribution exists throughout most of the country, with coastal areas, the Po River Valley, and urban centers (particularly Milan, Rome, and Naples), attracting larger and denser populations


urban population: 69% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 0.39% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

ROME (capital) 3.718 million; Milan 3.099 million; Naples 2.202 million; Turin 1.765 million; Palermo 853,000; Bergamo 840,000 (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

4 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 82.2 years
male: 79.6 years
female: 85 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.43 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Health expenditures

9.2% of GDP (2014)

Physicians density

3.76 physicians/1,000 population (2012)

Hospital bed density

3.4 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking water source

urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 99.5% of population
rural: 99.6% of population
total: 99.5% of population
urban: 0.5% of population
rural: 0.4% of population
total: 0.5% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.37% (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

136,800 (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

700 (2015 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

23.7% (2014)

Education expenditures

4.2% of GDP (2013)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.2%
male: 99.4%
female: 99% (2015 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 16 years
male: 16 years
female: 17 years (2013)

Mother's mean age at first birth

30.3 (2011 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 42.7%
male: 41.3%
female: 44.7% (2014 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Italian Republic
conventional short form: Italy
local long form: Repubblica Italiana
local short form: Italia
former: Kingdom of Italy
etymology: derivation is unclear, but the Latin "Italia" may come from the Oscan "Viteliu" meaning "[land] of young cattle" (the bull was a symbol of southern Italic tribes)

Government type

parliamentary republic


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)


17 March 1861 (Kingdom of Italy proclaimed; Italy was not finally unified until 1871)

National holiday

Republic Day, 2 June (1946)


history: previous 1848 (originally for the Kingdom of Sardinia and adopted by the Kingdom of Italy in 1861); latest enacted 22 December 1947, adopted 27 December 1947, entered into force 1 January 1948
amendments: proposed by both houses of Parliament; passage requires two successive debates and approval by absolute majority of each house on the second vote; a referendum is only required when requested by one-fifth of the members of either house, by voter petition, or by five Regional Councils (elected legislative assemblies of the 15 first-level administrative regions and 5 autonomous regions of Italy); amended many times, last in 2012; note - a referendum held on 4 December 2016 on constitutional amendments was defeated (2016)

Legal system

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

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Italy
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 4 years for EU nationals, 5 years for refugees and specified exceptions, 10 years for all others


18 years of age; universal except in senatorial elections, where minimum age is 25

Executive branch

chief of state: President Sergio MATTARELLA (since 3 February 2015)
head of government: Prime Minister Paolo GENTILONI (since 12 December 2016); note - Prime Minister Matteo RENZI (since 22 February 2014) resigned 12 December 2016; the prime minister's official title is President of the Council of Ministers
cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister and nominated by the president
elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by an electoral college consisting of both houses of Parliament and 58 regional representatives for a 7-year term (no term limits); election last held on 31 January 2015 (next scheduled for 2020); prime minister appointed by the president, confirmed by parliament
election results: Georgio MATTARELLA (PD) elected president; electoral college vote count in fourth round - 665 out of 1,009 (505-vote threshold); Paolo GENTILONI (PD) sworn in as prime minister on 12 December 2016

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament or Parlamento consists of the Senate or Senato della Repubblica (322 seats; 315 members directly elected in single- and multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms and 7 ex-officio members appointed by the president of the Republic to serve for life) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camera dei Deputati (630 seats; 629 members directly elected in single- and multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote and 1 member from Valle d'Aosta elected by simple majority vote; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 24-25 February 2013 (next to be held in 2018); Chamber of Deputies - last held on 24-25 February 2013 (next to be held in 2018)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - center-left coalition 123 (PD 111, SEL 7, SVP 2, other 3), center-right coalition 117 (PdL 98, LN 18, other 1), M5S 54, centrist coalition 19, other 2; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - center-left coalition 345 (PD 297, SEL 37, CD 6 SVP 5), center-right coalition 125 (PdL 98, LN 18, FdI 9), M5S 109, centrist coalition 47, other 3

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court of Cassation or Corte Suprema di Cassazione consists of the first president (chief justice), deputy president, 54 justices presiding over 6 civil and 7 criminal divisions, and 288 judges; an additional 30 judges of lower courts serve as supporting judges; cases normally heard by 5-judge panels; more complex cases heard by 9-judge panels; Constitutional Court or Corte Costituzionale (consists of the court president and 14 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the High Council of the Judiciary, headed by the president of the republic; judges may serve for life; Constitutional Court judges - 5 appointed by the president, 5 elected by parliament, 5 elected by select higher courts; judges serve up to 9 years
subordinate courts: various lower civil and criminal courts (primary and secondary tribunals, courts, and courts of appeal)

Political parties and leaders

Ruling left-center-right coalition:
Civic Choice or SC [Enrico ZANETTI]
Democratic Centre or CD [Bruno TABACCI]
Democratic Party or PD [Matteo RENZI]
The New Center-Right or NCD [Angelino ALFANO]

Center-right opposition:
Brothers of Italy-National Alliance or FdI-AN [Giorgia MELONI, Ignazio LA RUSSA, and Guido CROSETTO]
Forza Italia [Silvio BERLUSCONI] (formerly PdL)
Northern League or LN [Matteo SALVINI]
other minor parties

Center-left opposition:
Left Ecology Freedom [Nichi VENDOLA]

Other parties:
Civil Revolution or RC [Antonio INGROIA]
Five Star Movment or M5S [Beppe GRILLO]
South Tyrolean People's Party or SVP [Philipp ACHAMMER]
Union of the Center or UdC [Pier Fernando CASINI]

Political pressure groups and leaders

manufacturers and merchants associations: Confcommercio
organized farm groups: Confcoltivatori
major trade union confederations: Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro or CGIL [Susanna CAMUSSO] (left wing)
Confederazione Italiana dei Sindacati Lavoratori or CISL [Raffaele BONANNI] (Roman Catholic centrist)
Unione Italiana del Lavoro or UIL [Luigi ANGELETTI] (lay centrist)
other: Roman Catholic Church

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

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Armando VARRICCHIO (since 2 March 2016)
chancery: 3000 Whitehaven Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 612-4400
FAX: [1] (202) 518-2151
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco
consulate(s): Charlotte (NC), Cleveland (OH), Detroit (MI), Hattiesburg (MS), Honolulu (HI), New Orleans, Newark (NJ), Norfolk (VA), Pittsburgh (PA), Portland (OR), Seattle
consular agency(ies): Anchorage (AL), Charleston (SC), Worcester (MA)

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador John R. PHILLIPS (since 3 October 2013); note - also accredited to San Marino
embassy: Via Vittorio Veneto 121, 00187-Rome
mailing address: PSC 59, Box 100, APO AE 09624
telephone: [39] (06) 46741
FAX: [39] (06) 4674-2244
consulate(s) general: Florence, Milan, Naples
consular agency(ies): Anchorage (AK), Charleston (SC), Worcester (MA)

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

National symbol(s)

white, five-pointed star (Stella d'Italia); national colors: red, white, green

National anthem

name: "Il Canto degli Italiani" (The Song of the Italians)
lyrics/music: Goffredo MAMELI/Michele NOVARO
note: adopted 1946; the anthem, originally written in 1847, is also known as "L'Inno di Mameli" (Mameli's Hymn), and "Fratelli D'Italia" (Brothers of Italy)


GDP (official exchange rate)

$1.852 trillion (2015 est.)

Economy - overview

Italy has a diversified economy, which is divided into a developed industrial north, dominated by private companies, and a less-developed, highly subsidized, agricultural south, where unemployment is higher. The Italian economy is driven in large part by

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, topping 132% of G

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$2.221 trillion (2016 est.)
$2.204 trillion (2015 est.)
$2.187 trillion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP - real growth rate

0.8% (2016 est.)
0.8% (2015 est.)
-0.3% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$36,300 (2016 est.)
$36,300 (2015 est.)
$36,000 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

Gross national saving

18.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
19% of GDP (2015 est.)
18.2% of GDP (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 60.9%
government consumption: 18.8%
investment in fixed capital: 16.5%
investment in inventories: 0.2%
exports of goods and services: 29.7%
imports of goods and services: -26.1% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 2.2%
industry: 23.9%
services: 73.8% (2016 est.)

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

0.8% (2016 est.)

Labor force

25.6 million (2016 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 3.9%
industry: 28.3%
services: 67.8% (2011)

Unemployment rate

11.4% (2016 est.)
11.9% (2015 est.)

Population below poverty line

29.9% (2012 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.3%
highest 10%: 26.8% (2000)

Distribution of family income - Gini index

31.9 (2012 est.)
27.3 (1995)


revenues: $842.5 billion
expenditures: $889.8 billion (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

45.5% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-2.6% of GDP (2016 est.)

Public debt

132.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
132.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
note: Italy reports its data on public debt according to guidelines set out in the Maastricht Treaty; general government gross debt is defined in the Maastricht Treaty as consolidated general government gross debt at nominal value, outstanding at the end of the

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

-0.2% (2016 est.)
0.1% (2015 est.)

Central bank discount rate

0.25% (31 December 2013)
0.75% (31 December 2012)
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

3.8% (31 December 2016 est.)
4.13% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$1.069 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.026 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
note: see entry for the European Union for money supply for the entire euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 18 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of

Stock of broad money

$2.134 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
$2.284 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$2.97 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.053 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$480.5 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$587.3 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$615.5 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Current account balance

$40.23 billion (2016 est.)
$39.91 billion (2015 est.)


$436.3 billion (2016 est.)
$450.1 billion (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities

engineering products, textiles and clothing, production machinery, motor vehicles, transport equipment, chemicals; foodstuffs, beverages, and tobacco; minerals, nonferrous metals

Exports - partners

Germany 12.3%, France 10.3%, US 8.7%, UK 5.4%, Spain 4.8%, Switzerland 4.7% (2015)


$372.2 billion (2016 est.)
$391.2 billion (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities

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

Imports - partners

Germany 15.4%, France 8.7%, China 7.7%, Netherlands 5.6%, Spain 5%, Belgium 4.7% (2015)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$130.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$142.2 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external

$2.444 trillion (31 March 2016 est.)
$2.3 trillion (31 March 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

$472.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$463.2 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

$610.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$594.4 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Exchange rates

euros (EUR) per US dollar -
0.9214 (2016 est.)
0.885 (2015 est.)
0.885 (2014 est.)
0.7634 (2013 est.)
0.78 (2012 est.)


Electricity - access

electrification - total population: 100% (2016)

Electricity - production

267 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

291 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

3 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - imports

47 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

122 million kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

58.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

11.5% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

23.4% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production

100,200 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

24,640 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - imports

1.395 million bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

544.5 million bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

1.578 million bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

1.266 million bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

533,900 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

261,900 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Natural gas - production

7.149 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

61.91 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports

237 million cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - imports

55.76 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

53.72 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

362 million Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 20,236,305
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 33 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 92.52 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 150 (July 2015 est.)

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 (2015)

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 (2007)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 40.559 million
percent of population: 65.6% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 9
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 382
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 26,036,010
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 945,433,732 mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

I (2016)


129 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 98
over 3,047 m: 9
2,438 to 3,047 m: 31
1,524 to 2,437 m: 18
914 to 1,523 m: 29
under 914 m: 11 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 31
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 20 (2013)


5 (2013)


gas 20,223 km; oil 1,393 km; refined products 1,574 km (2013)


total: 20,181.7 km
standard gauge: 18,770.1 km 1.435-m gauge (12,893.6 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 122.3 km 1.000-m gauge (122.3 km electrified); 1,289.3 km 0.950-m gauge (151.3 km electrified) (2014)


total: 487,700 km
paved: 487,700 km (includes 6,700 km of expressways) (2007)


2,400 km (used for commercial traffic; of limited overall value compared to road and rail) (2012)

Merchant marine

total: 681
by type: bulk carrier 105, cargo 42, carrier 1, chemical tanker 164, container 21, liquefied gas 28, passenger 25, passenger/cargo 154, petroleum tanker 59, refrigerated cargo 4, roll on/roll off 39, specialized tanker 9, vehicle carrier 30
foreign-owned: 90 (Denmark 4, France 2, Greece 7, Luxembourg 14, Netherlands 2, Nigeria 1, Norway 6, Singapore 1, Sweden 1, Switzerland 13, Taiwan 10, Turkey 4, UK 2, US 23)
registered in other countries: 201 (Bahamas 1, Belize 3, Cayman Islands 7, Cyprus 6, Georgia 2, Gibraltar 4, Greece 5, Liberia 47, Malta 45, Marshall Islands 1, Morocco 1, Netherlands 6, Panama 25, Portugal 12, Russia 14, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 4, Singapore 5, Slovakia 2, Spain 1 (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Augusta, Cagliari, Genoa, Livorno, Taranto, Trieste, Venice
oil terminals: Melilli (Santa Panagia) oil terminal, Sarroch oil terminal
container port(s) (TEUs): Genoa (1,847,648), Gioia Tauro (2,264,798), La Spezia (1,307,274)
LNG terminal(s) (import): La Spezia, Panigaglia, Porto Levante


Military branches

Italian Armed Forces: Army (Esercito Italiano, EI), Navy (Marina Militare Italiana, MMI), Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana, AMI), Carabinieri Corps (Arma dei Carabinieri, CC), Financial Guard (Guardia di Finanza) (2015)

Military service age and obligation

18-25 years of age for voluntary military service; women may serve in any military branch; Italian citizenship required; 1-year service obligation (2013)

Military expenditures

1.1% of GDP (2014)
1.2% of GDP (2013)
1.3% of GDP (2012)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

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

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 13,068 (Somalia); 12,203 (Afghanistan); 11,962 (Eritrea); 9,931 (Nigeria); 9,202 (Pakistan); 8,334 (Mali); 5,079 (Cote d'Ivoire) (2015)
stateless persons: 747 (2015)
note: 327,030 estimated refugee and migrant arrivals by sea (2015 - November 2016)

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