Italy - Italia

Italian Republic
Repubblica Italiana
Member State of the European Union

Flag of Italy.svg

Hymn : Il Canto degli Italiani
(in Italian : "The song of the Italians")


(and most populous city)
41°53′35″N 12°28′58″E / 41.893055555556, 12.482777777778Coordenadas: 41°53′35″N 12°28′58″E / 41.893055555556, 12.482777777778 View and modify data on Wikidata
Official languages italiano [1]
• Spoken Italian (95%), German , Sicilian and others
Demonym italian, -na
Form of government Parlamentary republic
President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella
President of the Council of Ministers Mario Draghi
Legislative body Parliament of the Italian Republic View and modify data on Wikidata
Kingdom of Italy
Taking of Rome
March on Rome
Present Republic

1848 - 1870
17 March as as 1861 [ 1 ]
20 September. of 1870 [ 1 ]
30 of October of 1922 [ 2 ]
2 of June of 1946 [ 1 ]
Surface 72nd position
• Total 301 340[3]km²
• Water (%) 2,4 %
Borders 1932,2 km
Coast line 7914 km
Highest point Mont Blanc View and modify data on Wikidata
Total population 23rd position
• Census (2019) 60,541,000 [ 4 ] hab.
Density 200,41 hab./km²
Start ( PPA ) 12th position
• Total (2019) Increase2.443 trillion dollars [ 5 ]
Per capita Increase40,470 dollars [ 5 ] ( 31st )
START (nominal) Position 8
• Total (2019) Decrease1.989 trillion dollars [ 5 ]
• Per capita Decrease$ 32,947 [ 5 ] ( 25th )
IDH (2020) Increase0.892 [ 6 ] ( 29th ) - Very high
Gini coefficient Red Arrow Up.svg33.4 means (2018) [ 7 ]
Currency euro [2] (€, EUR).
Time zone CET +1
• In summer CEST +2
ISO code 380 / ITA / IT
Internet domain .it Ver y modificar los datos en Wikidata
Telephone prefix +39
Radio prefix IAA-IZZ
Country acronym for aircraft I
Country acronym for automobiles I
IOC Code ITA View and modify data on Wikidata
  1. The French is co - official in the Aosta Valley , the German and Ladin in Trentino-Alto Adige , the Slovenian in the provinces of Trieste and Gorizia , the Catalan in the city of Alghero and Sardinian in Sardinia .
  2. ^ Except in Campione d'Italia , where the Swiss franc is also used . Until 2002 the Italian lira was used .
  3. Also .eu for being part of the European Union .

Italia (in Italian , Italy , pronounced / iˈtaːlja / ( listen ) ), officially the Italian Republic (in Italian , Repubblica Italiana pronounced / reˈpubːlika itaˈljaːna / ), is a member country of the European Union , whose form of government is the parliamentary republic . Its territory, with its capital in Rome , is divided into twenty regions formed, in turn, by 106 provinces .

Italy is located in the center of the Mediterranean Sea , in southern Europe . It occupies the Italian peninsula , as well as the Padana plain , the islands of Sicily and Sardinia and around eight hundred smaller islands among which the Tremiti islands in the Adriatic Sea , the Campano and Toscano archipelagos in the Tyrrhenian Sea , or the Pelagias islands stand out. in North Africa , among others. In the north, it is surrounded by the Alps and borders withFrance , Switzerland , Austria , and Slovenia . The States of San Marino and Vatican City are enclaves within Italian territory. In turn, Campione d'Italia is an Italian municipality that forms a small enclave in Swiss territory.

It has been the home of many European cultures such as the Nuragic civilization , the Etruscans , the Greeks , the Romans and it was also the cradle of Humanism and the Renaissance , which began in the Tuscany region and soon spread throughout Europe. The capital of Italy, Rome , has for centuries been the political and cultural center of Western civilization. In addition, it is the holy city for the Catholic Church , the pope being the bishop of Rome and within the city the micro-state of the Vatican.. The cultural significance of the country is reflected in all its World Heritage Sites , since it has 55, the country with the largest number in the world. [ 8 ]

It is the third country in the European Union that receives the most tourists per year, with Rome being the third most visited city. [ 9 ] Other important cities are: Milan , center of finance and industry , and, according to the Global Language Monitor, the capital of Fashion ; [ 10 ] Naples , an important port in the Mediterranean, historic capital and most populous city in the Mezzogiorno ; [ 11 ] Turin , center of automotive and industrial design. Italy is a democratic republic, it is part of the G7 or group of the seven largest advanced nations in the world and it is a developed country with a very high quality of life, being among the top seven in the world in 2005. [ 12 ]

It is the 28th country (2017 report) in terms of high human development index . [ 13 ] is a regional power and global [ 14 ] [ 15 ] [ 16 ] [ 17 ] founding member of the European Union, a signatory of the Treaty of Rome in 1957. He is also a founding member of the Organization of the Treaty North Atlantic (NATO) and member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development , of the World Trade Organization, the Council of Europe and the Western European Union . The country, and especially Rome , has a strong impact on issues of politics and culture , in world organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), [ 18 ] the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Glocal Forum , [ 19 ] or the World Food Program (WFP).


Silver coin from the 1st century BC. C. coined in Corfinium ( Corfinio ) during the Social War , exhibiting the inscription ITALIA , to the edge of the personification of Italy , represented as a goddess with a crown of laurel , symbol of wisdom.

The name of Italy has been used since ancient times, at least since the 9th century BC , to designate the people of the south and the center of what is known as the Italian peninsula , making reference to the Italic peoples , speakers of the languages ​​also called . [ 20 ]

According to the Greek historian Antiochus of Syracuse , the word Italy designated, in the 5th century BC. C., to the southern part of the current Italian region of Calabria - the ancient Brucio -, inhabited by the Itali , the southernmost group of Italians (currently this area includes the Calabrian provinces of Reggio , Vibo Valentia and parts of the province Catanzaro ). [ 21 ] Also according to the archaeologist Pallottino the name of Italyit would derive from the name of one of the native Italic peoples of the Calabria region , the (v) itàlii , which shares its name from its sacred animal: the calf ( Velliú in Osco language , Vitulus in Latin and Vitello in Italian ); and that it was used by the ancient Greeks as a general term to designate the inhabitants of the entire peninsula. [ 22 ]

In the 2nd century BC. C., the Greek historiographer Polybius called Italy to the territory between the Strait of Messina and the northern Apennines , although his contemporary Cato the Elder extended the territorial concept of Italy to the Alpine arch . The name of Italy was also used in coins minted during the Social War by the coalition of the Italian socii (allies) in fight against Rome and the other Italic cities already provided with Roman obtain, in turn, full Roman citizenship. [ 23 ] On the other hand, it is also possible that the Italics took their name from an animal- totem , the calf, which, in a distant sacred spring, had guided them to the places where they settled permanently.

The term was definitively consolidated especially since the Italic city of Rome , from the 5th century BC. C. , gradually unified the entire peninsula conquering the rest of the peninsular Italic peoples, beginning with the Latin , of which it constituted a village, and ending with the Etruscans to the north and the Brucios to the south, thus unifying the entire territory peninsular under a single regime and giving it the name of Italy , which, from then on, will constitute the metropolitan territory of Rome itself. [ 24 ] [ 25 ] Subsequently,Northern Italy (former Cisalpine Gaul ) was added to the territory of Roman Italy during the 1st century BC. C., thus carrying, de jure , the name of Italy to the foot of the Alps ; [ 26 ] meanwhile, the islands of Sicily , Sardinia and Corsica , did not become part of Italy until the third century AD. C., as a consequence of Diocletian's administrative reforms , although its close cultural ties with the peninsula allow them to be considered as an integral part.


Early cultures and the Iron Age

Sarcophagus of the spouses ( Sarcofago degli Sposi ) example of Etruscan funerary art from 600 BC. C.

Between the 18th century a. C. and the second century the Nuragic culture existed in Sardinia . During the Age of Iron the: various cultures that can be differentiated into four main core geographic main succeeded oscos , settled along the entire mountain range of the Apennines (and belonging to the macro-group of people itálicos known as Osco-Umbrians ), the Latins of the Latium Vetus (Italic people of the Latin-Falisco group ), the Italians of Magna Graeciaand the pre - Indo - European people of the Etruscans , in Etruria . [ 27 ] Another culture, different from those already mentioned, that of the Ligurians , was an enigmatic pre-Indo-European people living in northwestern Italy . [ 28 ]

The Etruscans were a pre- Indo- European language people whose historical nucleus was Tuscany , to which they gave their name (they were called Τυρσηνοί ( tyrsenoi ) or Τυρρηνοί ( tyrrhenoi ) by the Greeks and Tuscii or later Etruscii by the Romans; they called themselves same rasena or Řásná ). For a long time the origins of the Etruscans were believed unknown, however, modern research on the origin of the Etruscans, carried out by a group of geneticists and coordinated by Guido Barbujani , member of the Department of Biology and Evolution of the University of Ferrara, came to the conclusion that, genetically, the origin of the Etruscans is indigenous to the Italian peninsula and that it would consist of an evolution of the previous Villanovian civilization . [ 29 ] [ 30 ]

From Tuscany they spread south, towards Lazio and the northern part of Campania , where they collided with the Italian polis of Magna Graecia (southern Italy); towards the north of the Italian peninsula they occupied the area around the valley of the Po river, to the south of the present Lombardy region . They became a great naval power in the Western Mediterranean, which allowed them to establish factories in Sardinia and Corsica . However, towards the 5th century BC. C.its power began to deteriorate sharply, to a great extent when it had to face, almost at the same time, the invasions of the Celts , from the north, and the competition of the Carthaginians for maritime trade, from the south. From the 4th century BC , Etruria (name of the territory of the Etruscans), was gradually conquered and absorbed by the Roman Republic and, the Etruscans, like the other Italics, federated by the Romans, thus becoming an integral part of Italy. Roman . [ 31 ] [ 32 ]

Ancient Rome

The Colosseum is an amphitheater from the time of the Roman Empire , built in the 1st century AD. C.

As Ancient Rome it designates an agricultural society that emerged in the middle of the 8th century BC. C. in the Latium Vetus (current Lazio ), which expanded from the city of Rome to the entire Italian peninsula , unifying it under the name of Italy , and which grew over centuries to become an empire that, in its heyday, It came to cover from the Iberian Peninsula to Anatolia and from the British Isles to Egypt , causing an important cultural flourishing in each place in which it ruled. In the beginning, after its foundation(according to tradition in 753 BC ), Rome was an Etruscan monarchy , later ( 509 BC ) it became a Latin Roman Republic and, in 27 BC. C. , it became an empire .

The period of greatest splendor is known as Roman Peace , due to the relative state of harmony that prevailed in the provinces [ 33 ] (the territories conquered by the Romans outside of Italy, which was not a province, but the metropolitan territory of Rome itself and the absolute center of the Roman Empire ), [ 34 ] which were under the Roman rule of Julius Caesar and then the Emperor Augustus , who closed the doors of the Temple of Janus (which remained open in periods of war), when he believed having defeated Cantabrians and Astures, among other towns, in the year 24 a. C .. It is usually accepted as the start date of the Roman Peace (or Pax Augustea ) 29 BC. C. , when Augusto declares the end of civil wars, and their duration until the death of Marco Aurelio (year 180).

With the emperor Diocletian the Empire was reorganized, but after Constantine I the Great it was not unified again since Theodosius I the Great divided it between his two sons, Arcadius and Flavius ​​Honorius , awarding one the Eastern Roman Empire - based in Constantinople - and on the other the Western Roman Empire . The barbarian invasions put an end to the Western Empire in 476, giving way to the Middle Ages . [ 35 ] Italy in this period remained as Regnum Italiae (Ostrogoth Kingdom of Italy ), under the Ostrogoths .

Middle Ages (5th to 13th centuries)

Old town of Luca (Italy)

The Ostrogoths were a group of Goths who had been subjugated by the Huns , but after their liberation from the Huns , Theodoric the Great , with the blessing of the Eastern Roman Emperor , led his people to Rome in 488. [ 36 ] In the The peninsula was ruled by the Herulus Odoacer after deposing the last Western Roman Emperor in 476, but after a campaign in the north of the peninsula, Theodoric took the capital, Ravenna , killing Odoacer in 493. In 526 Theodoric's death ended the peace , inheriting Italy his grandson, Atalarico, who died childless, which produced a crisis that led to the kingdom's demise. [ 36 ]

Under Justinian I , the Eastern Roman Empire began a series of campaigns with the aim of rebuilding Mediterranean unity . The weakness of the Ostrogoth kingdom, and the empire's wishes to recapture the city of Rome made Italy a target. In 535 General Belisarius invaded Sicily and marched across the peninsula, taking Naples and reaching Rome in 536. He continued north and took Mediolanum (Milan) and Ravenna in 540, and by 561 he had pacified the area. [ 37 ]

The iron crown of Lombardy , for centuries the symbol of the kings of Italy

Among the different Germanic peoples who had abandoned their ancient home to live on better lands were the Lombards , whom Justinian I had allowed to settle in Pannonia , on condition that they defended the frontier. [ 38 ] The pressure of the Lombards on the pope caused the King of the Franks , Pepin the Short , to carry out between 756 and 758 repeated campaigns in northern Italy. The situation worsened with the death of Pepin, but the reunification of the Franks under Charlemagneled to a new intervention in Italy in 774. After a brief battle, Charlemagne seized the kingdom of Lombardy, which, maintaining its autonomy, was integrated into the Carolingian Empire . [ 39 ] Between the 10th and 13th centuries , certain maritime republics enjoyed economic prosperity, thanks to their commercial activity, within a framework of broad political autonomy. Generally, the definition refers specifically to four cities: Amalfi , Pisa , Genoa and Venice . Other cities in the area also enjoyed independence (autonomous government in the form of a republic oligarchic , currency , army, etc.), they had participated in the crusades , they had a naval fleet, they had fundagos , "consuls of the nationes ", who watched over the commercial interests of their respective cities in the Mediterranean ports, and they can be included of full right between the maritime republics. Among these, Gaeta , Ancona , and Noli should be highlighted .

Modern age

Self - portrait of Leonardo Da Vinci , considered the man of the Renaissance for standing out both in the fields of art and science

During the 14th and 15th centuries , north-northern Italy was made up of different city-states , with the rest of the peninsula mostly occupied by the Papal States and the Kingdom of Sicily . Most of the city-states were subordinated to foreign sovereignties, such as the Duchy of Milan , constituent state of the Holy Roman Empire , however most maintained the de facto independence of these foreign sovereignties, which had occupied the majority of the peninsula since the Fall of the Western Roman Empire. The strongest among these city-states gradually absorbed the surrounding territories, giving rise to the Signoria , regional states run by merchant families who founded local dynasties. The war between these city-states was common and mainly carried out by bands of mercenaries known as condotieros led by Italian captains. Decades of fighting left Florence , Milan, and Venice as regional powers , signing the Treaty of Lodi in 1454, leading to peace in the region for the first time in centuries. Peace would last for the next forty years.

The European Renaissance , a period of revival of the arts and sciences, originated in Italy thanks to various factors, such as the great wealth accumulated by the cities, the patronage of ruling families such as the Medici in Florence, the migration of Greek scholars due to to the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Empire . The renaissance ended in the mid-16th century due to the disastrous Italian wars . The ideas and ideals of the Renaissance spread throughout Nordic Europe , France , England and the rest of Europe..[40]

During the Italian Wars (1494-1559) provoked by the rivalry between France and Spain, the city-states gradually lost their independence and came under foreign domination, first under Spain (1559-1713) and later Austria (1713-1796). Between 1629-1631 a new plague wiped out 14% of the population. The decline of the Spanish Empire in the 17th century took with it Naples, Sicily, Sardinia, and Milan. In particular, southern Italy was excluded from the European scene. [ 41 ] In the 18th century , due to the War of the Spanish SuccessionAustria replaced Spain as the main foreign power. During the Napoleonic Wars , northern Italy was invaded and reorganized as the Kingdom of Italy , a puppet state of the French Empire , while the south was ruled by Joaquin Murat , Napoleon's brother-in-law, crowned King of Naples . In 1814 the Congress of Vienna restored the situation of the eighteenth century , but the ideals of the French Revolution could not be eradicated. [ 42 ]

Unification and Kingdom

Italian troops in the Alps during the First World War

The birth of the Kingdom of Italy was thanks to the united efforts of the nationalists and monarchists loyal to the House of Savoy , to establish a unified state in the Italian peninsula . In the context of the liberal revolutions of 1848 across Europe, a fruitless war against Austria ensued . The Kingdom of Sardinia attacked Austria again in the Second Italian War of Independence in 1859, with the help of France, resulting in the liberation of Lombardy .

In 1860-61, General Giuseppe Garibaldi carried out the unification in Naples and Sicily , causing the Count of Cavour to declare a unified kingdom on March 17, 1861. In 1866, Victor Emmanuel II allied with Prussia during the Austro war. -prussian , in the Third Italian War of Independence that allowed the annexation of Venice . Finally, after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, France abandoned its interests in Rome, which allowed the capture of Rome and the end of the Papal States . [ 43 ]

The Albertine Statute of 1848 was extended to the entire Kingdom of Italy in 1871, providing it with basic freedoms, although electoral laws excluded people without property and the uneducated. The new government of the kingdom was a constitutional parliamentary monarchy, dominated by the liberal forces. Universal male suffrage was adopted in 1913. While the north industrialized rapidly, the south and the rural areas of the north remained underdeveloped and overcrowded, forcing millions of people to migrate. The Italian Socialist Party grew stronger and challenged the traditional liberal and conservative parties. From the late 19th century , Italy became a colonial force, with colonies in Somalia, Eritrea , Libya and the Dodecanese .

Italy, an ally of the German and Austro-Hungarian empires in the Triple Alliance , in 1915 joined the allied forces in the First World War , promising to extend its territory, with the lands of Inner Carniola , the Austrian coast and Dalmatia . The Italian army was initially stalled in trench warfare in the Alps. In October 1918, the Italians launched a fierce offensive that culminated in victory at the Battle of Vittorio Veneto . The victory ensured the end of the war on the Italian front. Two weeks later the conflict ended.[44]

During the war, 650,000 soldiers and many civilians died, [ 45 ] bankrupting the kingdom. The treaties of Saint Germain , Rapallo and Rome, granted most of the claimed territories, but not the Dalmatian coast, which caused several nationalist groups to define the victory as mutilated . Later, after the creation of the Free State of Fiume by the poet Gabriele D'Annunzio , Fiume was also annexed.

Fascist dictatorship

Mussolini and black shirts , in the " March on Rome " of October 1922

The socialist upheavals that followed World War I, inspired by the Russian Revolution , led to counterrevolution and repression. Due to the fear of a revolution, the small National Fascist Party , led by Benito Mussolini , became a major political force. In October 1922, the black shirts of the PNF carried out an attempted coup (the March on Rome ), which failed at the last moment, but King Victor Emmanuel IIIhe refused to declare a state of siege and made Mussolini prime minister. In the following years, Mussolini eliminated all political parties and personal freedoms, establishing a fascist dictatorship . These actions inspired the emergence of others in Europe, such as Nazi Germany or Franco's Spain .

In 1935, Italy invaded Ethiopia in the Second Italo-Ethiopian War , leading to the country's departure from the League of Nations . Italy allied with Nazi Germany, the Empire of Japan and supported Francisco Franco in the Spanish civil war . In 1939 Albania, a de facto protectorate for decades, was annexed. Italy entered World War II on June 10, 1940. After initially advancing into British Somalia and Egypt, they were defeated in North Africa , in Greece, and on the Eastern Front .

After the attack on Yugoslavia by Nazi Germany and Italy, strong pressure on partisan resistance and attempts to Italianize the population resulted in Italian war crimes and the deportation of 25,000 people to concentration camps. [ 46 ] About 250,000 anti-communist Italians and Slavs left the country in the Istrian exodus .

The Allied invasion of Sicily began in July 1943, which led to the collapse of the regime on July 25. On September 8 he surrendered in the Armistice between Italy and the allied armed forces . The Germans quickly seized power over the center and south of the territory. The country remained a battlefield for the remainder of the war, as the Allies slowly advanced out of the south.

To counter the Allied advance, the Italian Social Republic was created , a Nazi puppet state, with Mussolini at its head. The countrymen organized a resistance movement against Nazism and fascism. Hostilities ended on April 29, 1945, when the resistance defeated the Nazis, forcing them to leave the country. Mussolini was shot. Almost a million Italians (including civilians) died in the war and the national economy was totally destroyed. [ 47 ] [ 48 ]


Italy became a republic after a plebiscite held on June 2, 1946. On this occasion, for the first time, women were able to vote. Humberto II was forced into abdication and exile. The Republican Constitution was approved on January 1, 1948. Most of Venice Julia was lost to Yugoslavia and the Free Territory of Trieste was divided between the two states. All colonial possessions were lost, ending the Italian Empire . [ 49 ]

The fear of the triumph of communism in the country was crucial in the country's first election, in April 1948, which gave victory to the Christian Democrats , under the leadership of Alcide De Gásperi . Consequently, in 1949, Italy joined NATO . The Marshall Plan helped revive the national economy, which, until the late 1960s, experienced a boom time, known as the economic miracle . In 1957 it was a founding member of the European Economic Community (EEC), which in 1993, became the European Union (EU).

From the end of the 1960s to the end of the 1980s, the years of lead (anni di piombo) were lived , characterized by the economic crisis (especially in the 1973 oil crisis ), social conflicts and terrorist attacks by groups of extreme opposition, due to the cold war and the meddling of American and Soviet intelligence. [ 50 ] The era culminated in the assassination of Christian Democrat leader Aldo Moro in 1978 and the massacre at the Bologna train station in 1980, leaving 85 dead. [ 51 ]

In the 1980s, the hegemony of the Christian Democracy was broken, with a liberal government ( Giovanni Spadolini in 1981) and another socialist ( Bettino Craxi in 1983), but the Christian Democrats remained the main party. During the Craxi government the economy recovered, becoming the fifth most industrialized nation, being part of the G7 . But, due to government spending, the debt soared, reaching 100% of GDP .

The 1992 elections were characterized by the failure of the major parties, a product of political paralysis, excessive debt and corruption in the electoral system, revealed by the Clean Hands investigation , requiring radical changes. The scandals involved most of the parties, but especially in the ruling party: the Christian Democrats, which had ruled for more than fifty years, suffered a severe crisis and disintegrated between various factions. The communists reorganized themselves as a social democratic force . In 1993 there were different resignations, among them those of the current prime minister and Bettino Craxi. During the 1990s and 2000s, the center-right (led by media mogul Silvio Berlusconi) and the center-left coalitions (led by university professor Romano Prodi ) alternated the government of the country.

In 2008 the country fell victim to the recession . Until 2015, it suffered 42 months of economic recession. The economic crisis was one of the main factors that made Berlusconi resign in 2011. In 2012, the Costa Concordia accident occurred , a semi-sunken cruise ship with 32 deaths. In the 2013 general election, the Secretary General of the Democratic Party Enrico Letta formed a new government at the head of the Grand Coalition . In 2014, challenged by the new secretary of the PD, Matteo Renzi , he resigned and was replaced by the same. He undertook important constitutional reforms such as the abolition of the Senate and a new electoral law. On December 4 theConstitutional referendum was rejected, prompting Renzi's resignation 12 days later. Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni was appointed the new Prime Minister.

Italy was hit by the European migration crisis in 2015 as it became the entry point and main destination for most asylum seekers in the European Union. The country received over half a million refugees, causing great rejection in the population and a surge towards the support of far-right and euro-skeptical parties, based on Brexit , which led to the first anti-system government of the European Union in 2018. .

government and politics

The policy is based on a republican parliamentary system with representative democracy since June 2, 1946, when the monarchy was abolished by popular referendum. The executive power is in charge of the Council of Ministers who are led by the head of government ( Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri ), informally called Prime Minister , one of the five most important positions in the country along with those of President of the Republic , President of the Senate of the Republic , president of the Chamber of Deputies andPresident of the Constitutional Court . [ 52 ] The legislature is in charge of the Parliament and of the Council of Ministers. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislative. Furthermore, it is a multi-party system . In the south of the peninsula and on the island of Sicily, the mafia has as much or more power than the State, controlling newspapers, judges and police. [ 53 ] In 1992, the murder of Giovanni Falcone , a magistrate investigating organized crime, and the subsequent campaign of " mani pulite'That was unleashed shocked Italian institutions, but after years of intensive research, there have been few results. [ 54 ] Silvio Berlusconi , the former prime minister, has always been suspected of corruption , and yet he was elected three times to his office. [ 55 ] He resigned on November 12, 2011 due to the serious economic situation. [ 56 ] In 2018, after a close election , a coalition government between Europeanists such as Luigi Di Maio of the 5-Star Movement and Eurosceptics took the Northern League . The head of the government was Giuseppe Conte . In 2019, due to internal differences, the government was dissolved, leaving the Northern League out of it. The new government was formed from the favorable votes of the parliamentarians and President Mattarella, who gave their confidence to the Prime Minister to form the Conte bis Government. In February 2021, the government resigned after a vote in parliament was held, where confidence in the government was questioned. Although the vote was favorable in both houses, in the Senate it was not an absolute result.

After a favorable vote in parliament and the confidence of the President Mattarella, a new technical government headed by former president he formed the ECB , Mario Draghi .

External relationships

Italy is part of the UN , the EU , NATO , the OECD , the OSCE , the DAC , the WTO , the G3 , the G10 , the G12 , the G20 , the Latin Union , the Council of Europe and the Union for the Mediterranean , among others. Likewise, Italy is a member of important decision-making groups such as the G4 , [ 57 ] the G6 , the G7 , [ 58 ]the " NATO Quint ", [ 59 ] [ 60 ] [ 61 ] the Treaty of nuclear sharing and the Contact Group. [ 62 ]

David Cameron , Barack Obama , Angela Merkel , François Hollande and Matteo Renzi during an informal summit in Hannover, April 2016

He was a founding member of the European Community, now the European Union . She was admitted to the United Nations in 1955, and is also a member of NATO , GATT , the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development , the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the Council of Europe. . Italy currently plays an important role as a Western Power in the fight against terrorism , [ 63 ] by leading several multinational forces and, by having troops deployed in the Middle East., in countries like Libya , Iraq and Afghanistan . Also, it is important to note that it deployed support troops in United Nations peacekeeping missions in Somalia , Mozambique and East Timor , and supported NATO and the United Nations in Bosnia , Kosovo and Albania . [ 64 ] [ 65 ] The country also plays an important role in the former colonies and territories of the Italian Empire , and is considered a key player in the Mediterranean region .

Armed forces

The Italian aircraft carrier Cavour

The Armed Forces of Italy are made up of the Army , the Navy , the Aeronautics and the Police Force , all under the Supreme Defense Council chaired by the President of the Italian Republic . Since 2005, military service in the country is entirely voluntary. [ 66 ] In 2010, the Italian armed forces had a staff of 293,202 soldiers, [ 67 ] of which 114,778 were carabinieri. [ 68 ] That same year, Italy's military budget was the tenth highest in the world, equivalent to 1.7% of theGDP of the nation. As a member of the strategy of nuclear distribution of NATO , the transalpine country US custody ninety nuclear weapons, which are stored on air bases Ghedi and Aviano . [ 69 ]

Italy is the third military power in Europe, after France and the United Kingdom, [ 70 ] and the fourth European power in terms of military budget spending, after France, the United Kingdom and Germany. [ 71 ]

The Italian Army is the military land force, made up of 105,062 troops in 2012. Its materials are the main combat infantry fighting vehicle Dardo , the tank destroyers Centauro , the tank Ariete or attack helicopter Mangusta , deployed on missions of the UN . In addition, the Italian army has other armored vehicles such as the Leopard 1 and the M113 . [ 72 ]

The Navy Militare had 32,000 military personnel in 2013 [ 73 ] and counts as outstanding ships with two aircraft carriers , the Giuseppe Garibaldi and the new Cavour , eleven frigates , including three new FREMM class , and eight submarines . In recent times the Italian navy, as a member of NATO, has participated in several coalition operations in various parts of the world, such as the military intervention in Libya and the war in Afghanistan .

The Aeronautica Militare has more than 40,000 military personnel and in 2013 it operated 470 aircraft and six unmanned aircraft. Among these aircraft were 218 fighter jets and 108 helicopters. [ 74 ] The most outstanding equipment of the transalpine air force is its 87 Eurofighter Typhoon fighters , to which will be added another nine that are commissioned and that replace the older F-16s . [ 75 ] Aviation has 67 Panavia Tornado type IDS and ECR. Italy is also acquiring 90 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II types A (60) and B (30) for aviation and marine capable of transporting all B61 models., including the new Type 12. [ 76 ] Air transport capabilities are covered by twelve Alenia C-27J Spartan cargo aircraft , four Boeing KC-767 and twenty - one C-130J Super Hercules military transport aircraft .

In addition, Italy has an autonomous body of the armed forces, the Arma de Carabinieri, which performs both civil and military functions, as they are the Italian gendarmerie and military police . [ 77 ]

Human rights

In terms of human rights , regarding membership of the seven bodies of the International Bill of Human Rights , which include the Human Rights Committee (HRC), Italy has signed or ratified:

UN emblem blue.svgStatus of major international instruments of human rights [ 78 ]
Italian flag
International deals
CESCR[79] CCPR [ 80 ] CERD [ 81 ] CED[82] CEDAW [ 83 ] CAT[84] CRC[85] MWC[86] EARL [ 87 ]
Belonging Signed and ratified. Signed but not ratified. Signed and ratified. Signed and ratified. Signed and ratified. Yes check.svgItaly has recognized the competence to receive and process individual communications by the competent bodies. Signed but not ratified. Signed and ratified. Signed and ratified. Yes check.svgItaly has recognized the competence to receive and process individual communications by the competent bodies. Yes check.svgItaly has recognized the competence to receive and process individual communications by the competent bodies. Signed and ratified. Signed and ratified. Signed and ratified. Neither signed nor ratified. Signed and ratified. Signed and ratified.
Yes check.svg Signed and ratified, Check.svg signed, but not ratified, X mark.svg neither signed nor ratified, Symbol comment vote.svg No information, Sign 101 - danger point, StVO 1970.svg has agreed to sign and ratify the body in question, but also recognizes the competence to receive and process individual communications from the competent bodies.

Territorial organization

The Constitution of the Italian Republic organizes the territory since 1948 at three levels of local government, and declares [ 88 ] to Rome as the capital of the Republic . It is traditionally divided into five large geopolitical areas and twenty administrative regions :

Of the twenty regions, five (Aosta Valley, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Sicily, Sardinia and Trentino-Alto Adige) enjoy, [ 89 ] for historical and geographical reasons, autonomy and a special status . Of these, Sicilia acquired its right to a special autonomous status in 1946 due to its geographical and political condition (cyclical sense of independence ); the others acquired their own status in the following years: Sardinia, Valle d'Aosta and Trentino-Alto Adige in 1948, for linguistic reasons, and in 1963 Friuli-Venezia Giulia. The province (in Italian : province ) ? is an intermediate level administrative division between themunicipality or commune (in Italian : comune ) ? and the region (in Italian : regione ) ? .

Template: Regions and capitals of Italy



Satellite photo and topographic map of Italy

The relief has four large regional units: to the north, a continental sector dominated by the Alps ; to the south a peninsular sector articulated by the Apennines ; between both is the valley of the Po or Padana; and finally the volcanic islands. [ 90 ] The Alpine system extends almost all of its southern slope through Italian territory. In this great mountainous area, the limestone formations of the Dolomites ( Marmolada , 3342 m high) stand out and in the crystalline sector, the main peaks of the entire alpine system such as Monte Bianco (4810 m), Monte Rosa (4634 m) or theMatterhorn (4478 m). [ 91 ] Some mountain passes ( Mont Cenis , Simplon , Brennero ) facilitate communication with neighboring regions. The pre-Alpine region presents long and deep valleys, with numerous lakes: Garda (370 km²), Mayor , Como , Iseo . To the south of the Alps, between them and the Apennines, lies the Po Valley (the longest river in the country, 652 km long), a rift valley filled by sedimentary deposits contributed by the rivers that descend from the Apennines and especially from the Alps ( Adige, 410 km; Piave), and that opens to the Adriatic Sea along the northeast coast of Italy. [ 92 ]

The rest of Italy, although numerous valleys, are of little extension, and are preferably located on the Tyrrhenian coast , and some formed by important rivers such as the Arno or the Tiber . The chain of the Apennines constitutes the backbone of the Italian peninsula, and in it three sectors are distinguished: the northern Apennines, those of lower height and softer forms ( Monte Cimone , 2163 m); the central Apennines, also called Abruzzo, which constitute the roof of the chain ( Gran Sasso d'Italia , 2914 m), and present karst- type patterns ; and finally, the southern Apennines, which culminate in Mount Pollino(2271 m). [ 93 ] On both slopes of the chain there are hill formations, called Subapennines or Antiapennines, highlighting those on the western rim, where some volcanoes rise ( Vesuvius , Mount Amiata , Flegrean Fields ).

Etna eruption photographed from the ISS , 2002

At the southern tip of the Italian peninsula , the island of Sicily is considered an extension of the Apennines ( Nebrodi , Peloritani, Madonia mountains), highlighting Mount Etna , which at 3,345 m is the highest active volcano in Europe. [ 94 ] The island of Sardinia is also mountainous ( Gennargentu ), although it is worth noting the plain of Campidano , of fluvial origin , between Oristan and Cagliari . [ 95 ]


Levanzo Island , in Sicily . Southern Italy has a Mediterranean climate .

The Italian climate generally has a continental character (in the central north), Mediterranean and subtropical, but it presents notable regional variations. In the first place, due to its considerable extension in latitude: annual averages in Milan of 25.0 ° C in July and 1.4 ° C in January, while in Palermo , these averages are 29.3 and 13 ° C, respectively. . [ 96 ] The place with the most rainfall in the country is the province of Udine , in the northeast, with 1530 mm, and on the other hand, the place with lower rainfall is in the southern region of Apulia , in the province of Foggia and in the southern part of Sicily, arid regions with approximately 460 mm. [ 97 ] The country can be differentiated into three climatic regions: the Mediterranean climate in southern Italy (under Rome ), with hot summers exceeding 30 ° C, the plains of the Po River, where winter is very cold as in the northern countries and the Alps , and the Apennines ( Liguria ), with a mild climate in winters and heat in summer and heavy rainfall. [ 97 ]


Gran Sasso and Montes de la Laga National Park

Most of Italy corresponds to the biome of Mediterranean forest , [ 98 ] although are also present temperate hardwood forest , between the valley of the Po and the Apennines, and temperate coniferous forest in the Alps. [ 99 ]

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature , the territory of Italy is divided into eight ecoregions different: [ 100 ]



Industrial activity has been the engine of Italian development, and the current axis of its economy . Against this, agricultural activities have experienced a considerable decline, both in employment of the active population (7.3%), and in their participation in GDP (3.7%). Agricultural production does not supply the population's food demand, and it is especially scarce in the livestock industry: cattle (Sardinia) and pigs (Emilia-Romania).

Exports Imports
Country Percentage Country Percentage
GermanyFlag of Germany.svg Germany 14,5 % GermanyFlag of Germany.svg Germany 17,7 %
Flag of France France 12,2 % Flag of France France 11,1 %
United States flag USA 9,7 % NetherlandsFlag of the Netherlands.svg Netherlands 6,2 %
UKFlag of the United Kingdom UK 6,7 % UKFlag of the United Kingdom UK 5,1 %
SpainFlag of Spain.svg Spain 6,0 % United States flag USA 4,9 %
Others 50,9 % Others 55,0 %

Agriculture is more widespread with cereal crops (wheat, rice - the first European producer -, corn), legumes , industrial plants (sugar beet), vegetables (peppers, aubergines, onions) and flowers. Special mention deserves the fruit growing (pears, peaches and apples in Emilia, Veneto and Campania; citrus in Sicily), the olive tree (in Liguria and the Mezzogiorno ), which generates the second world production of oil (435 300 t), and finally, the vine , whose cultivation places Italy at the head of the world production of wines (68.6 million hl), internationally recognized for their quality. [ 101 ]


Beach in Sardinia

Tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of the national economy with 60.5 million tourists per year and a total of 52.7 billion dollars generated, making it the fourth country with the most tourism in the world. [ 102 ] Rome , the capital, is one of the most visited in the world, with an average of 12 to 15 million tourists a year destinations. [ 103 ] The Colosseum in Rome , with four million tourists, is one of the most visited places in Italy. [ 104 ] It also benefits from the religious and cultural tourism generated by the Vatican City , with places as visited as the Vatican Museums, St. Peter's Basilica or the Sistine Chapel , as well as an infinity of other places of spiritual, artistic, architectural, landscape, naturalistic, archaeological, historical and cultural interest scattered throughout the Italian geography.

Some other places of great interest in the Italian capital include: the Pantheon of Agrippa , the Trevi Fountain , the Piazza Navona , the Spanish Steps , the Piazza del Popolo , the Roman Forum , the Imperial Forums , the Palatine Hill , the Museums. Capitolinos , the National Roman Museum , the Borghese Gallery , the Campidoglio , the Quirinal Palace , the Baths of Caracalla , the Baths of Diocletian , [ 105 ] theCastel Sant'Angelo , the Vittoriano , the Ara Pacis , the Arch of Titus , the Arch of Constantine , the Domus Aurea , the Cestia Pyramid , the Mausoleum of Augustus , the Basilica of Saint John Lateran , the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls or the Basilica of Santa María la Mayor , among others.

The cultural interest of the country is also reflected in all World Heritage of Unesco which has, since it is the country that has the largest number of places in the world with 55, [ 8 ] In addition to its almost 8000 km of coasts with countless and diversified seascapes as famous as the Amalfi Coast , the Costa Smeralda , the Italian Riviera , the island of Capri , the Aeolian Islands , etc., great ski facilities and extensive mountaineering possibilities in the Alps , the Dolomites and the Apennines, the famous great Italian lakes such as Lake Garda , Lake Como , Lake Maggiore , etc., important archaeological sites such as Pompeii , Herculaneum , the Valley of the Temples of Agrigento , Ostia Antica , or cities as well known and visited as Florence , Venice , Naples , Milan , Verona , Turin , Bologna , Genoa , Pisa , Siena , Palermo ,Matera , Siracusa , among others. Very important are also gastronomic tourism, wine tourism and thermal tourism.

Italy in the international context

The Italian rocket VEGA
Scientific project of the Italian ICUB robot

According to the International Monetary Fund, in 2018 it was the eighth world economy and the fourth in Europe by GDP. As an advanced country it has the sixth national wealth in the world. [ 106 ] It belongs to the G7 , the European Union and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development . [ 107 ] Foreign trade, mostly developed within the orbit of the EU, usually shows a positive trade balance, being the sixth country in the world in export volume in 2008 with 546.9 billion dollars. [ 108 ]GDP per capita (PPP) is $ 30,200 (2009 estimates), 101% of the EU27 in 2007. [ 109 ] [ 110 ] Milan and Roma are the 11th and 18th most expensive cities in the world, [ 111 ] besides being Milan the 26th with the highest gross domestic product , with 115 billion [ citation needed ] dollars. [ 112 ]

Ferrari 488 . Italy has an innovative automobile industry.

The country's largest exports are motor vehicles ( Ferrari , Maserati , Fiat , Alfa Romeo , Lancia , Aprilia , Piaggio , Gilera ), all of the above companies belong to the Fiat Group, which is since 2009 the majority shareholder of the Chrysler Motor Corporation, and is now considered the 3rd largest automotive company in the world. Also motorcycles ( Ducati , Moto Guzzi , Cagiva and Bimota ). In food ( Ferrero , Agnesi , Barilla ,Campari , Lavazza , Parmalat , Bertolli ). Shipyards for the manufacture of cruise and military ships ( Fincantieri ) and yachts ( Gruppo Ferretti , Cigarrette ), petrochemicals ( ENI , ERG ), energy ( Enel ), household appliances ( Indesit , Candy , Berezza , Rancilio , Ariston , De Longhi ), aerospace engineering ( Alenia ,Piaggio Aero , Leonardo-Finmeccanica , Agusta ), firearms ( Beretta ). Also another item widely used outside its borders by countless manufacturing companies: the industrial or graphic design consultancy Ital Design , Pininfarina , Bertone , Ghia , Domus , Cassina or Alessi ) to name the most prominent. A significant part of the country's GDP is produced by fashion, with brands such as Gucci , Armani , Versace , Dolce & Gabbana , Benetton Group, Prada , Miu Miu , Gianfranco Ferre , Fendi , Lotto , Salvatore Ferragamo , Bvlgari , Bruno Magli , Fratelli Rossetti , Sergio Rossi , Vic Matie , Etro , Luxottica , Moschino , Diesel , Cavalli , Valentino , Bottega Veneta , Diadora or Ellesse .

In the socioeconomic context, according to World Bank data , Italy stands out for having a very low birth rate : just one child per woman, with a continuous decline in the last two decades, which places it in 162nd place in the countries with the highest birth rate. Also relevant is the high penetration of the Internet (41%), among the global Italian population, a relatively low ratio for a European country, especially in certain areas of the country. Eurostat indicates that Italy is the fifth country in Europe in the number of HIV deaths , something that however does not affect (at least significantly) life expectancy, in which Italy remains in the top positions. The following table shows the socio-economic context of Italy based on data from the World Bank, Eurostat and the World Economic Forum:

Indicator Value Position in the world Increase
Gross domestic product (nominal) 2 112 779 980 000
Source: World Bank (2009)
Richest countries in the world by GDP [ 113 ]
Since 7th
1 097 344 090 112 USD in 2000 (incr .: 92.5%)
Source: Evolution between 1960 and 2009 [ 114 ]
Surface 301 230 km²
Source: World Bank (2008)
Larger countries in the world [ 115 ]
Since 70th
Population 60 221 212 people
Source: World Bank (2009)
Most populous countries of the world [ 116 ]
Since 21.º
56,948,600 people in 2000 (incr .: 5.7%)
Source: Evolution between 1960 and 2009 [ 117 ]
CO2 emissions 7.7 tons
Source: World Bank (2007)
Countries with higher CO2 emissions [ 118 ]
Since 43rd
7515 You tonnes in 2000 (incr .: 2.5%)
Source: Evolution between 1960 and 2007 [ 119 ]
Rent per capita 35 084 USD
Source: World Bank (2009)
Countries with higher per capita income [ 120 ]
Since 18.º
20 900 USD in 2000 (incr .: 67.9%)
Source: Evolution between 1962 and 2009 [ 121 ]
Birth rate 1 people
Source: World Bank (2008)
Countries with the highest birth rate (children per woman) [ 122 ]
Since 162.º
1.24 people in 2000 (incr .: -19.4%)
Source: Evolution between 1960 and 2008 [ 123 ]
% Internet users 41.8%
Source: World Bank (2008)
Countries with a higher rate of Internet users [ 124 ]
Since 52nd
23.18% in 2000 (incr .: 80.3%)
Source: Evolution between 1990 and 2008 [ 125 ]
Average days to start a business 10 days
Source: World Bank (2009)
Countries faster to set up a company [ 126 ]
Since 38th
23 days in 2003 (incr .: -56.5%)
Source: Evolution between 2003 and 2009 [ 127 ]
Energy consumption per inhabitant 3,001 kilograms
Source: World Bank (2007)
Countries with higher energy consumption per capita [ 128 ]
Since 38th
3039.99 kg in 2000 (incr .: -1.3%)
Source: Evolution between 1960 and 2007 [ 129 ]
Land dedicated to agriculture 47.2%
Source: World Bank (2007)
Countries with more land devoted to agriculture [ 130 ]
Since 70th
53.17% in 2000 (incr .: -11.2%)
Source: Evolution between 1961 and 2007 [ 131 ]
Consumed electrical power 5713 kilowatt-hours
Source: World Bank (2007)
Countries with electric power consumed [ 132 ]
Since 32ND
5299.27 kilowatt-hours in 2000 (incr .: 7.8%)
Source: Evolution between 1960 and 2007 [ 133 ]
Forest area 101 918 km²
Source: World Bank (2007)
Major forested countries [ 134 ]
Since 47th
94,470 km² in 2000 (incr .: 7.9%)
Source: Evolution between 1990 and 2007 [ 135 ]
Paved roads 100%
Source: World Bank (2003)
Countries with paved roads [ 136 ]
Since 10th
100% in 2000 (incr .: 0%)
Source: Evolution between 1990 and 2003 [ 137 ]
Life expectancy (women) 85.4 years
Source: Eurostat (2011)
European Countries by longer life expectancy for women [ 138 ]
Since 1st
Life expectancy (men) 85.4 years
Source: Eurostat (2011)
European Countries by increased life expectancy for men [ 139 ]
Since 1st
No. of cancer deaths 163.7 people
Source: Eurostat (2007)
European Countries by the number of deaths from cancer [ 140 ]
Since 18.º
178.8 people in 2000 (incr .: -8.4%)
Source: Evolution between 1995 and 2007 [ 141 ]
No. of HIV deaths 1.6 people
Source: Eurostat (2007)
European Countries by the number of deaths due to HIV [ 142 ]
Since 5.º
1.6 persons in 2000 (incr .: 0%)
Source: Evolution between 1995 and 2007 [ 143 ]
No. of beds in hospitals 395.2 units
Source: Eurostat (2006)
European Countries by the number of beds in hospitals [ 144 ]
Since 21.º
470.9 units in 2000 (incr .: -16.1%)
Source: Evolution between 1996 and 2006 [ 145 ]
Global Competitiveness Index 4367 units
Source: World Economic Forum (2011)
Competitive countries [ 146 ]
Since 48th
4358 units in 2008 (incr .: 0.2%)
Source: Evolution between 2008 and 2011 [ 147 ]



Rome-Fiumicino Airport , sixth with the most passengers in 2008, in Europe. [ 148 ]

Ferrovie dello Stato was born in 1905, and is the most important public railway company in Italy. From the year 2000, following the European regulations that oblige the separation of the passenger transport sector from the infrastructure sector, the company was reorganized. For example, Ferrovie dello Stato Spa is the main company, Trenitalia is the company in charge of freight and passenger transport, Rete Ferroviaria Italiana is the company in charge of the railway infrastructure and Treno Alta Velocità is the company that has a his charge is the construction of the high-speed network, although there are others. [ 149 ]Currently, the Italian high-speed trains are the ETR 500 and ETR 1000 , and the lines that exist at the moment are: Rome - Florence , Rome - Naples , Turin - Novara , Padua - Venice , Milan - Treviglio and Milan - Bologna . [ 150 ]

In total, in 2003, there were 16,287 kilometers of train tracks, 668,721 kilometers of roads, of which 6,487 kilometers were motorways , and 4,379 kilometers of pipeline transport . [ 151 ] The airports with the most air traffic in 2003 were Rome-Fiumicino , Milan-Malpensa , Milan-Linate , Venice and Catania-Fontanarossa . [ 151 ] For their part, the ports with the most cargo were Genoa, Trieste, Naples, Augusta and Gioia Tauro. [ 151 ]In 2005, 590 out of every 1000 Italians owned a car and in most cities 60% of citizens were not satisfied with public transport , which is why the number of passengers on public transport has decreased. [ 151 ]


Demographic evolution of Italy.

At the end of 2008, the country's population exceeded 60 million, being the fourth most populous country in Europe and with the fifth highest population density, with an average of 198 people per square kilometer. [ 152 ] Starting in the sixties of the 20th century , the Italian population experienced a change in its growth rate, which decreased to an annual average of 0% between 1985 and 1990. The decrease in the mortality rate was accompanied by a considerable decrease in the birth rate, with one in five Italians being over 65 in 2008. [ 153 ]The change in demographic trends also affected the traditional migratory movements that until then had made Italy one of the largest labor reserves in Europe ( mainly France , the United Kingdom and Germany ) and America (the United States , Brazil , Argentina , Venezuela and Uruguay have numerous communities of Italian origin). Italy became a point of arrival for immigrants from the third world, but, above all, important internal migratory currents were established. With a massive movement of the population from the south towards Rome and the industrialized north ( Turin , Milan , Genoa , Venice and Bologna ), but not towards the northeast, still very poor, which has only radicalized the differences between the north and the south, but which in turn helped the birth rate to grow. [ 154 ] The fertility rate grew in a few years from 1.32 children per woman in 2005 to 1.41 in 2008. [ 155 ]The concentration of the Italian population in urban centers (69% of urban population) has generated a homogeneous network of large cities, which play the role of regional centers ( Naples , 973 132 inhabitants; Turin , 963 128; Palermo , 663 173 ; Genoa , 610 887; Bologna , 372 256, and Florence , 364 710), with two prominent centers nationwide; Rome (2 718 768 pop.), The political capital, and Milan (1 299 633), the economic capital.

Metropolitan cities

Metropolitan cities of Italy

Metropolitan cities and their delimitations provided for by the national legal system [ 156 ] and regions with special status. [ 157 ] [ 158 ]

N.º Metropolitan city Population (.) [ 159 ] Surface (km²) Population density (inhab./km²)
1 Roma 4 336 915 5352 807
2 Milan 3 190 340 1575 2016
3 Naples 3 128 702 1171 2670
4 Turin 2 293 340 6829 336
5 Palermo 1 300 000 5009 254
6 Bari 1 261 004 3821 329
7 Catania 1 192 891 3852 309
8 Florence 1 002 831 3514 285
9 Bologna 1 007 435 3514 286
10 Genoa 864 008 1839 472
11 Venice 858 455 2462 348
12 Mesina 647 477 3266 198
13 Reggio Calabria 558 959 3183 175
14 Cagliari 431 302 1248 345

Ethnic minorities

Minority groups are small, the largest of which is German- speaking in the autonomous province of Bolzano (according to the 1991 census, the population of the province of Bolzano is made up of 287,503 German-speaking and 116,914 German-speaking Italian), followed by the Franco-Provence in the Aosta Valley region and the Slovenes around Trieste . The Ladino language is the most widely spoken in the Dolomites region . [ 160 ]

Other minority groups with partially tutored languages ​​include Friulians and Sardinians , including Catalan speakers in Alghero . Italy has 66 676 779 inhabitants (Istat 04.2008), and is ethnically composed (2006 data) of 97.6% Europeans (Italians 95.9% + other Europeans 1.5%), 0.5% Africans (majority of Moroccans), 1.3% Asian (majority Chinese), 0.8% American (majority Ecuadorian). [ citation required ]


The Italian language in the world (highlights the great presence in South America)

The official language of Italy is Italian, which is a Romance language that comes from a variety of Tuscan , Archaic Florentine , [ 161 ] and belongs to the Italic group of the Indo-European language family . Until the 16th century , Italian was fully identified with Tuscan and with the great pre-Renaissance writers of that region ( Dante Alighieri , Francesco Petrarca and Giovanni Boccaccio) whose works enjoyed great prestige and had a notable diffusion throughout Italy and Europe. From that century on, with the internationalization of the Renaissance , Italian literature and language spread even more rapidly than in the previous period throughout the Western world. At that time the Italian language (a denomination that had come to prevail, during the 16th century , over any other) had ceased to be identified with the vulgar Florentine [ 162 ] and, thanks to the high level of its literature, it had been imposing itself as one of the great languages ​​of culture in the Europe of the time. [ 163 ]Around 1550 Italian grammars and vocabularies began to be written for foreigners and often written by foreigners. [ 164 ] At the end of the 16th century, publications in the Italian language outnumbered those written in Latin for the first time in Italy, which, nevertheless, continued to maintain a notable importance in the field of philosophy, law, and law. Sciences. Not without reason, a famous Italian linguist pointed out that in 1500-1600 the first linguistic unification of Italy took place thanks to written Italian, when there was still no political unity of the country. [ 165 ]Before Italy became a unitary state (1861), Italian was already the only administrative and cultural language with national diffusion and monopolized public and literary communication, [ 166 ] but, despite that, it had a character strongly elitist and only a small minority of Italians spoke it, that is, all those who had attended higher education. The vast majority preferred to express themselves in the various local dialects, spoken and languages ​​that characterized oral communication in Italy at the time. As regards written Italian, its diffusion was negatively conditioned in the preunitary age by the low level of literacy (slightly less than a quarter of the Italian population could read and write in 1861).

With the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy , Italian was proclaimed the official language of the new state and began a long process of schooling for the masses that culminated in the following century with the disappearance of illiteracy, the birth of a type of standard Italian and then a new standard. [ 167 ] almost universally accepted and irreversible Italianization of dialects. [ 168 ]During that same century, thanks also to the diffusion of the mass communication media (radio, television, and, in our days, computing), there was a generalized diffusion of the Italian language as a colloquial and familiar means of communication, becoming eventually in the mother tongue or first language of all, or almost all, the sixty million Italians. According to a 2006 European Commission report , 95% of Italians and foreigners registered in Italy speak Italian as their mother tongue or first language (the percentage of speakers of the respective national languages ​​in the other four more important European countries is the following: France 95%, United Kingdom 92%, Germany 90% and Spain 89%). [ 169 ]

There are within Italy some minority groups speaking non-Romance languages, being within these the German-speaking in the Alto Adige area and a few Slovenian speakers around Trieste , in addition to the Arbëreshë (Albanian speakers or Albanians from Italy) and the speakers from Griko and Grecanic (some forms of ancient Greek still alive and existing only in some towns in southern Italy). Other minority groups of partially official languages ​​include French speakers in the Valle d'Aosta (co-official) and Piedmont regions , the minority ofHe speaks Franco-Provençal in the Aosta Valley region , Occitan in Piedmont , Sardinian in Sardinia , Friulian in Friuli , Ladino in the Dolomite peaks and, exclusively in the Sardinian town of Alghero ( Alghero in Italian), Catalan , being all of them Romance languages. Among the languages ​​and dialects not recognized by the Italian State is Venetian, but it received recognition by the Venetian Regional Legislative Assembly as a language since 2007 after the approval of Law 8/2007 for its "protection" and "promotion". [ 170 ] The only official language of Veneto, however, remains Italian.


The University of Bologna , founded in 1088, is the oldest in Italy and in the entire West.

Education in Italy is free and compulsory for ages 6 to 16. [ 171 ] It consists of five levels: scuola dell'infanzia , scuola primary , scuola secondaria di primo degree , scuola secondaria di secondo degree and università . The Scuola superiore universitaria are independent institutions similar to the Great French Schools that offer advanced training and research through university-type courses or are dedicated to teaching at the graduate or doctoral level.

In Italy there are a wide variety of universities and academies. The oldest university in the country and in the entire West is the University of Bologna , founded in 1088, [ 172 ] an institution that is also considered by The Times newspaper as the best in Italy and one of the 200 best in the world. The Bocconi University in Milan is one of the best business schools in the world thanks to its m asters Administration and Management , whose students end up working in large multinational companies. [ 173 ] Among the Italian polytechnic institutions, thePolytechnic of Turin and Milan , [ 174 ] the University of Rome "La Sapienza" and the University of Milan , all of them with regular presence in the lists of the best study centers in the scientific field. [ 175 ]

According to the National Scientific Indicators (1981-2002), a database created by the Research Services Group that contains lists of publication citation statistics from more than ninety countries, Italy is above the world average in citation in scientific journals on space science, mathematics, computer science, neuroscience and physics. The citation of Italian publications on social sciences, psychology, psychiatry, economics and business are also above average, although less prominent. [ 176 ]


Italy is known for having a good health system in general , being one of the best in all of Europe and also worldwide according to the World Health Organization , with a very high life expectancy among its population and very low rates of infant mortality , neonatal mortality and maternal mortality . As with any other developed country , Italy has also developed adequate and sufficient distribution of water and food , and levels of nutrition and sanitation.they are also high, as well as relatively healthy cooking and diet . [ 177 ] [ 178 ] [ 179 ]


According to a study published in the Corriere della Sera newspaper in 2006 , 87.8% of Italians declare themselves Catholic, one of the highest percentages in Europe . Practitioners reach 36.8%, while 30.8% of the interviewees between 18 and 24 years old meet at Mass every Sunday, compared to 22.4% and 28.5% of the interviewed subjects belonging to, respectively, to the age group between 24 and 34 years and between 34 and 44 years. The discrepancy behind what is declared Catholic and that of strict observance, although it is less compared to the other countries of Western Europe, is important, as indicated by the opinions regarding assisted fertilization and civil unions. [ 180 ]

The Christians ( Catholics , Protestants , Orthodox , etc.) along with Jehovah 's Witnesses and Mormons represent the majority religion. As in many western countries, the process of secularization is growing, especially among young people, although there is no lack of Catholic movements such as Catholic Action , Franciscan Youth , AGESCI , Communion and Liberation and the Neocatechumenal Way that try to reverse or alleviate this process. The oldest religion present in the country is Judaism, which has an uninterrupted presence in Rome. [ 181 ] Currently, the Jewish community is made up of about 45,000 people.



Iconic products of Italian gastronomy: pizza , pasta , ice cream and espresso

Important for Italian gastronomy, as well as for other European gastronomies, was the discovery of America, due to the acquisition of new vegetables such as potatoes , tomatoes , bell peppers or corn , although they were not used on a large scale until the 18th century. . [ 182 ] The gastronomy of Italy is very varied: the country was unified in 1861, and its cuisines reflect the cultural variety of its regions as well as the diversity of its history. Italian cuisine is included within the so-called Mediterranean gastronomy and, as a Mediterranean diet , it has been declaredIntangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco and is imitated and practiced throughout the world. It is very common that the gastronomy of Italy is known for its most famous dishes, such as pizza , pasta , risotto and gelato , but the truth is that it is a kitchen where the abundant aromas and flavors of the Mediterranean Sea exist. . It is a gastronomy with which they have been known to perpetuate ancient recipes such as polenta (food of the Roman legion ) that today can be tasted in any Italian trattoria .

Italy is the world's largest wine producer [ 183 ] and has the largest variety of cheeses in the world. [ 184 ]



The origins of Renaissance painting are found in the art of Ancient Rome and Hellenistic art , which were taken up by the hand of the Italian artists of the Quattrocento and Cinquecento . [ 185 ] The procedures used in this painting must have been encaustic , tempera and fresco . [ 185 ] Its genres are the decorative of tableware and walls, and the historical and mythological in wall paintings. They were cultivated with this decorative mural character, the landscape , thecaricature , portraiture , custom paintings, architectural imitations and fantastic combinations of natural objects, constituting the genre that Renaissance artists called grotesque , found in the ancient Baths of Tito and which served as a source of inspiration to the famous Rafael Sanzio to decorate the Lodges of the Vatican . He also highlighted the pictorial art of Roman civilization in the mosaic procedure or the miniature on parchment .

The Renaissance painting reached its perfect stage shortly after its predecessor sculpture, ie during the century XV in Florence and well into the next century in other countries. In general, the fifteenth century is the beginning and the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are the heyday for classical renaissance painting. [ 186 ] Some of its best known painters are: Sandro Botticelli , Leonardo da Vinci , Michelangelo , Donatello , Marco Palmezzano , Andrea Mantegna , Cariani orRafael Sanzio . [ 186 ] In Italy, a phase of decadence at the end of the 16th century led the great Italian Renaissance masters into another phase and the development of Baroque art . The total decline in the different European countries corresponds to the eighteenth century , followed by the restoration at the end of that century.


The sculpture of Rome , like the architecture , is original, but in it the formal Etruscan and Greek (Hellenistic) contributions weigh heavily , in fact a good part of the Roman sculptural production is a copy of Greek originals . [ 187 ] Many Roman sculptures are preserved, preferably made in marble and to a lesser extent in bronze or other materials such as ivory , although part of it is damaged. [ 187 ]The portrait and narrative historical relief are frequent, in which the Romans were great creators. There are also many sculptures of Roman emperors .

The sculpture of the Renaissance classic is recognized by two fundamental principles: the study and imitation of nature and adopting ways and means of classical Greece and Rome for the interpretation of the same nature in the plastic field. Thus he managed to interpret Nature and translate it with freedom and ease by means of the brush and chisel into a great multitude of masterpieces. [ 188 ] Lorenzo Ghiberti , Donatello and Luca della Robbia , with the followers of the second Verrocchio and Antonio Pollaiuolo, they constituted the so-called Florentine school, at the same time that Jacopo della Quercia formed the Sienese school in Siena . Michelangelo also stands out , who summarizes in his person almost all the sculptural art of his time in Italy (1475-1564). To this same heyday in the Renaissance style belong: Benvenuto Cellini , Jacobo Tatti , Pedro Torrigiani , Leone Leoni and Pompeo Leoni . Gian Lorenzo Bernini is the most important sculptor of the Baroque. The neoclassical or Greco-Roman restoration period begins with the last quarter of the 18th century , beginning with the sculptorAntonio Canova (1757-1822).


An Italian character among the most important in the history of music is Guido d'Arezzo . Also known by the name of Guido Aretinus , he was a Benedictine monk who reformed the musical notation system. During the eleventh century, Guido d'Arezzo perfected musical writing with the definitive implementation of horizontal lines that set heights of sound and invented, in addition to musical notes, the famous tetragramma, which later evolved to the pentagram. He is currently considered the "father of music". In the Middle Ages, musical notes were named by the first letters of the alphabet: A, B, C, D, E, F, G (starting with the current note la). At that time, a hymn to Saint John the Baptist was sung, known as Ut queant laxis, attributed to Paul the Deacon, which had the peculiarity that each musical phrase began with a higher note than the one before it.

The first work considered an opera, dates from approximately the year 1597. This was Dafne (currently missing work) written by Jacopo Peri for a circle of Florentine humanists known as the Florentine Camerata and which was an attempt to revive the Greek tragedy of the Renaissance. . [ 189 ] A subsequent work by Peri, Eurydice , dating from the year 1600, is the first opera that has survived to the present day. [ 189 ] However, the use of the term operait began fifty years later, in the mid-17th century to define musical theater pieces, which were referred to as dramma per musica ('musical drama') or f a vola in musica ('musical fable'). In 1637, in Venice, the idea emerged of a "season" of operas open to all audiences, financed by the sale of tickets.

Influential Renaissance composers include Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina , Francesco Cavalli , Carlo Gesualdo, and Claudio Monteverdi , whose Orpheus (1607) is the oldest opera still performed today. [ 190 ] The libretti Italians were the norm, even for composers Germans as Georg Friedrich Händel writing for audiences Londoners , or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Vienna , near the end of the century XVIII . The most important composers of theBaroque include Alessandro Scarlatti , Arcangelo Corelli , Antonio Vivaldi, and Domenico Scarlatti , the classics Giovanni Paisiello , Domenico Cimarosa , Niccolò Paganini, and Gioachino Rossini , and the romantics Vincenzo Bellini , Giuseppe Verdi, and Giacomo Puccini . In addition, musical centers are common in the country, such as the important La Scala Theater or the San Carlos Theater .

Many musical instruments were invented in Italy and by Italians, among the most famous the piano , violin , viola , cello , double bass or mandolin , among others.

En los años 70, the progressive rock movement created bands as Premiata Forneria Marconi , Goblin, Area. Otros cantantes famosos are Luciano Pavarotti , Domenico Modugno , Raffaella Carrà , Ricchi e Poveri , Al Bano & Romina Power , Mina , Fabrizio De André , Francesco Guccini , Paolo Conte , Lucio Dalla , Lucio Battisti , Nicola di Bari , Sandro Giacobbe , Umberto Tozzi , Laura Pausini ,Eros Ramazzotti , Marco Mengoni , Mango , Andrea Bocelli , Tiziano Ferro and Il Volo , the latter, belong to the new generation of renowned Italian artists. In addition, Neapolitan popular music from the 19th and early 20th centuries has made songs like ' ' O sole mio , Funiculì, funiculà and 'O surdato' nnammurato .

Photo taken for the 21st edition of the San Remo Festival and published in Radiocorriere magazine (year XLVIII, No. 10, 1971)


The architecture of Ancient Rome is characterized by the greatness of the buildings, and their solidity that has allowed many of them to endure to this day. [ 191 ] The organization of the Roman Empire standardized construction techniques so that very similar constructions can be seen thousands of kilometers from each other. It has its origin in Etruscan architecture , added to influences from Greek architecture , especially after the Punic Wars (146 BC). [ 191 ] Today Roman architecture is dated to the date the first road was built ( Via Appia) and the first aqueduct ( Aqua Appia ), year 312 a. C. The most significant elements of Roman architecture are the vault , the arch and therefore the dome . [ 191 ] A superb example is the dome of Agrippa's pantheon . The Romans built not only barrel vaults and domes , but rudimentary groin and rib vaults, such as the Baths of Caracalla and those of the Basilica of Maxentius .

The Gothic architecture came late and rootedness little, [ 192 ] were the Cistercian the introducers and founded in the region of Lazio's Abbey Fossanuova first Italian gothic monument. [ 193 ] In the 13th century the mendicant orders of Dominicans and Franciscans adhere to the Cistercian style, and in this century the Cathedral of Siena , the communal palaces of Siena and the Palazzo Vecchio of Florence are created . During the fourteenth century, the cathedral of Orvieto , the church of Santa Cruz and the interior of the church of Santa María Novella stand out . In the 15th century , the end of the Gothic period began to be confused with the beginning of the Renaissance. In Venice the Doge's Palace is finished , also highlighting the Contarini del Bovolo Palace and Ca 'd'Oro . The great work of the Italian Gothic is the Milan Cathedral , which stands out for the reloading of its decoration and its magnitude.

The architecture of the Renaissance is one produced during the artistic period of the Renaissance Europe, spanning the centuries XIV , XV and XVI . It is characterized by being a moment of rupture in the history of architecture , especially with respect to the previous architectural style, the Gothic . [ 194 ] It produces innovations in the means of production, such as in architectural language, which was reflected in an adequate and complete theorization, in the new attitude of architects , going from being artisans to true professionals, marking his personal style in each work. The great Gothic cathedrals are mostly anonymous, however the great Renaissance works are all signed. They inspired their work in their own interpretation of classical antiquity , in particular in its architectural aspect , which they considered the perfect model of the fine arts . The architecture of the Renaissance was closely related to a vision of the world during that period sustained by two essential pillars, classicism and humanism .

The word "baroque" means "irregular", and it is an art very close to Catholicism in a time of division between Catholics and Protestants. [ 195 ] The architecture of the Baroque begins with such important figures as Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini . In this period, monuments such as St. Peter's Square , the church of Sant'Andrea al Quirinale , the Trevi Fountain and the church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane were created . In turn, the Sicilian Baroque that grew during the great building reconstruction that followed the earthquake stands out.1693. The decorative style of Sicilian Baroque lasted barely fifty years, and perfectly reflected the social order of the island at a time when - nominally dominated by Spain - it was in fact ruled by a hedonistic and extravagant aristocracy . Baroque architecture has given the island an architectural character that remains in the 21st century .


The history of Italian cinema began just a few months after the Lumière brothers had discovered the medium, when Pope Leo XIII was filmed for a few seconds in the Vatican Gardens, ending with the blessing of the camera. [ 196 ] The Italian film industry was born between 1903 and 1908 with the Società Italiana Cines , Ambrosio Film and Itala Film . [ 197 ] Later, the cinema was used by Benito Mussolini as propaganda for World War II . [ 198]

Some of the most famous Italian directors, especially from the period of Italian Neorealism , have been Luchino Visconti , Vittorio De Sica , Federico Fellini , Sergio Leone , Pier Paolo Pasolini , Roberto Rossellini or Michelangelo Antonioni or other contemporaries such as Dario Argento , Sergio Rubini , Giuseppe Tornatore , Matteo Garrone or Paolo Sorrentino . Some of the best known films have been El gatopardo , La dolce vita ,The Good, the Bad and the Ugly , The Bicycle Thief , Life is beautiful or Il Postino , últimas estas con los famosos actores Roberto Benigni y Massimo Troisi u otras como Malena , The great beauty and Tale of Tales .

Italy is the country that has received the most Oscars for the best international film in the history of cinema.

Science and Technology

Galileo Galilei is considered one of the fathers of modern science. [ 199 ] [ 200 ]

Over the centuries, great scientists have been born on the Italian peninsula. Famous Italian polymaths such as Leonardo da Vinci , Michelangelo or Leon Battista Alberti have made important contributions to various fields of knowledge such as biology, architecture or engineering. The physicist, astronomer and mathematician Galileo Galilei played an essential role in the so-called scientific revolution thanks to achievements such as the decisive improvement of the telescope , which allowed increasing astronomical observations and irrefutably confirming the triumph of the Copernican theories over the Ptolemaic system.. Astronomers Giovanni Domenico Cassini and Giovanni Schiaparelli made important discoveries about the solar system . Joseph-Louis de Lagrange (born Giuseppe Lodovico Lagrangia), Fibonacci, and Gerolamo Cardano made decisive advances in mathematics. Nobel Prize- winning physicist Enrico Fermi led the team that built the first nuclear reactor and co-developed