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Now that's History

CalabriaIt's a long story! Italy as a geographical area was mentioned as far back as during the age of the highly civilised Etruscan people, as is borne out by the manuscripts kept in some museums, especially in Tuscany and Latium. These in fact were the regions where most Etruscan settlements are found, although they also populated Umbria, Campania and some zones of what is now Emilia Romagna and Lombardy.

Then came the Romans who, starting from the 3rd century BC, unified the whole peninsular under their dominion (and indeed most of Europe in general).

The word Italia appears on a coin dating back to the 1st century BC which was minted by the confederation of the Italic peoples who rose up against Rome. The coin was found in the region of Abruzzo in Corfinio, the ancient Corfinium, capital of the confederation with the name of Italica. The long Roman domination (from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD) has left an indelible mark in Italy with its roads, aqueducts, temples, monuments, towns and cities, bridges, theatres and so on - all relics and memories of a past that is remote and yet also very present, a past that can be seen in every part of the country. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Italy was invaded and dominated for centuries by foreign populations, especially in the Molise south and Sicily. Thanks to the success of independent city states in the Centre and North such as Venice, Florence, Siena, Genoa, and Milan, Italy nevertheless became a flourishing and civilised country of trade and the arts. Later however, the small independent states could not hold out against the invasions of the great states of Spain and Austria. Only the small kingdom of Piedmont remained independent and after the interlude of Napoleon's occupation it became the "driving force" behind il Risorgimento, the great movement that led to the unification of Italy in 1870 under the Royal House of Savoia. After the Second World War, in 1946 a popular referendum abolished the monarchy and proclaimed Italy a Republic. The rest is the history of recent times. An on-going, fascinating story to follow always. Italy and its regions: beyond the bounds of the big cities Is Rome in Latium or Campania? Is Milan in Veneto or Lombardy? Easy to answer for Italians perhaps, but for the rest of us it may be tricky to connect Rome, Naples, Florence, Milan and Venice with their respective regions of Latium, Campania, Lombardy and Veneto. Perhaps Tuscany is the exception in this regard as it has traditionally enjoyed a special relationship with foreigners, the British Isles and North America in particular. The holiday that British Prime Minister Tony Blair took in Tuscany in the summer of '98 has further fortified this bond. So how can we start talking about the regions? To start with, they are main territorial administrative divisions of the Italian state and there are 20 of them: Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Latium, Liguria, Lombardy, Marche, Molise, Piedmont, Apulia, Sardinia, Sicily, Tuscany, Trentino-Alto Adige, Umbria, the Aosta Valley, and Veneto. Each has accumulated a historical, artistic and cultural heritage of extraordinary value over time that offers an attractive alternative to the great art cities. So why not come and venture into an Italy which, when stepping off the beaten track of the main tourism flows, is practically unknown. The Italy of the regions: more Italy than ever before!

Ministero dei Beni Culturali
Calendario delle Esposizioni




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

Geographic coordinates:

Definition Field Listing
42 50 N, 12 50 E

Map references:

Definition Field Listing


Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 301,230 sq km
note: includes Sardinia and Sicily
water: 7,210 sq km
land: 294,020 sq km

Area - comparative:

Definition Field Listing
slightly larger than Arizona

Land boundaries:

Definition Field Listing
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


Definition Field Listing
7,600 km

Maritime claims:

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


Definition Field Listing
predominantly Mediterranean; Alpine in far north; hot, dry in south


Definition Field Listing
mostly rugged and mountainous; some plains, coastal lowlands

Elevation extremes:

Definition Field Listing
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:

Definition Field Listing
mercury, potash, marble, sulfur, natural gas and crude oil reserves, fish, coal, arable land

Land use:

Definition Field Listing
arable land: 28.07%
permanent crops: 9.25%
other: 62.68% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:

Definition Field Listing
26,980 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:

Definition Field Listing
regional risks include landslides, mudflows, avalanches, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding; land subsidence in Venice

Environment - current issues:

Definition Field Listing
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:

Definition Field Listing
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:

Definition Field Listing
strategic location dominating central Mediterranean as well as southern sea and air approaches to Western Europe





Definition Field Listing Rank Order
57,998,353 (July 2003 est.)

Age structure:

Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 14% (male 4,193,412; female 3,947,679)
15-64 years: 67.2% (male 19,625,428; female 19,337,861)
65 years and over: 18.8% (male 4,516,995; female 6,376,978) (2003 est.)

Median age:

Definition Field Listing
total: 41 years
male: 39.4 years
female: 42.6 years (2002)

Population growth rate:

Definition Field Listing
0.11% (2003 est.)

Birth rate:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9.18 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)

Death rate:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
10.12 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)

Net migration rate:

Definition Field Listing
2.07 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)

Sex ratio:

Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2003 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 6.19 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.53 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 6.82 deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 79.4 years
male: 76.47 years
female: 82.52 years (2003 est.)

Total fertility rate:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.26 children born/woman (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.4% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
100,000 (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,100 (2001 est.)


Definition Field Listing
noun: Italian(s)
adjective: Italian

Ethnic groups:

Definition Field Listing
Italian (includes small clusters of German-, French-, and Slovene-Italians in the north and Albanian-Italians and Greek-Italians in the south)


Definition Field Listing
predominately Roman Catholic with mature Protestant and Jewish communities and a growing Muslim immigrant community


Definition Field Listing
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 Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.6%
male: 99%
female: 98.3% (2003 est.)




Country name:

Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Italian Republic
conventional short form: Italy
local long form: Repubblica Italiana
former: Kingdom of Italy
local short form: Italia

Government type:

Definition Field Listing


Definition Field Listing

Administrative divisions:

Definition Field Listing
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, Veneto


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

National holiday:

Definition Field Listing
Republic Day, 2 June (1946)


Definition Field Listing
1 January 1948

Legal system:

Definition Field Listing
based on civil law system; appeals treated as new trials; judicial review under certain conditions in Constitutional Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal (except in senatorial elections, where minimum age is 25)

Executive branch:

Definition Field Listing
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: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister and approved by 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:

Definition Field Listing
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:

Definition Field Listing
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:

Definition Field Listing
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]; Democrats of the Left or DS [Piero FASSINO]; Forza Italia or FI [Silvio BERLUSCONI]; Green Federation [Alfonso Pecoraro SCANIO]; Italian Communist Party or PdCI [Armando COSSUTTA]; 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:

Definition Field Listing
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:

Definition Field Listing

Diplomatic representation in the US:

Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Sergio VENTO
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:

Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Melvin F. SEMBLER
embassy: Via Vittorio 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, Naples

Flag description:

Definition Field Listing
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 - overview:

Definition Field Listing
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, welfare-dependent 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. The current government has enacted numerous short-term reforms aimed at improving competitiveness and long-term growth. Italy has moved slowly, however, on implementing needed structural reforms, such as lightening the high tax burden and overhauling Italy's rigid labor market and over-generous pension system, because of the current economic slowdown and opposition from labor unions.


Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $1.455 trillion (2002 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.4% (2002 est.)

GDP - per capita:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $25,100 (2002 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 2.4%
industry: 30%
services: 67.6% (2001 est.)

Population below poverty line:

Definition Field Listing

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 26.6% (2000)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

Definition Field Listing
27.3 (1995)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.4% (2002 est.)

Labor force:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
23.6 million (2001 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

Definition Field Listing
services 63%, industry 32%, agriculture 5% (2001)

Unemployment rate:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9.1% (2002 est.)


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


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

Industrial production growth rate:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
-2.8% (2002)

Electricity - production:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
258.8 billion kWh (2001)

Electricity - production by source:

Definition Field Listing
fossil fuel: 78.6%
hydro: 18.4%
other: 3% (2001)
nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
289.1 billion kWh (2001)

Electricity - exports:

Definition Field Listing
556 million kWh (2001)

Electricity - imports:

Definition Field Listing
48.93 billion kWh (2001)

Oil - production:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
79,460 bbl/day (2001 est.)

Oil - consumption:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.866 million bbl/day (2001 est.)

Oil - exports:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
456,600 bbl/day (2001)

Oil - imports:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.158 million bbl/day (2001)

Oil - proved reserves:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
586.6 million bbl (37257)

Natural gas - production:

Definition Field Listing
15.49 billion cu m (2001 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:

Definition Field Listing
71.18 billion cu m (2001 est.)

Natural gas - exports:

Definition Field Listing
61 million cu m (2001 est.)

Natural gas - imports:

Definition Field Listing
54.78 billion cu m (2001 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
209.7 billion cu m (37257)

Agriculture - products:

Definition Field Listing
fruits, vegetables, grapes, potatoes, sugar beets, soybeans, grain, olives; beef, dairy products; fish


Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$259.2 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)

Exports - commodities:

Definition Field Listing
engineering products, textiles and clothing, production machinery, motor vehicles, transport equipment, chemicals; food, beverages and tobacco; minerals and nonferrous metals

Exports - partners:

Definition Field Listing
Germany 13.7%, France 12.2%, US 9.8%, UK 6.9%, Spain 6.4% (2002)


Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$238.2 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)

Imports - commodities:

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

Imports - partners:

Definition Field Listing
Germany 17.8%, France 11.3%, Netherlands 5.9%, UK 5%, US 4.9%, Spain 4.6%, Belgium 4.4% (2002)

Debt - external:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order

Economic aid - donor:

Definition Field Listing
ODA, $1 billion (2002 est.)


Definition Field Listing
euro (EUR)
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:

Definition Field Listing

Exchange rates:

Definition Field Listing
euros per US dollar - 1.06 (2002), 1.12 (2001), 1.09 (2000), 0.94 (1999)

Fiscal year:

Definition Field Listing
calendar year




Telephones - main lines in use:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
25 million (1999)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
20.5 million (1999)

Telephone system:

Definition Field Listing
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:

Definition Field Listing
AM about 100, FM about 4,600, shortwave 9 (1998)

Television broadcast stations:

Definition Field Listing
358 (plus 4,728 repeaters) (1995)

Internet country code:

Definition Field Listing

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):

Definition Field Listing
93 (Italy and Holy See) (2000)

Internet users:

Definition Field Listing Rank Order
19.25 million (2001)



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