General information: Italy became a nation-state relatively late, in 1861, when the city-states of the peninsula, as well as Sardinia and Sicily, were united by King VICTOR EMMANUEL. The fascist dictatorship of Benito MUSSOLINI, which came to power after World War I, led Italy to a disastrous alliance with Nazi Germany and defeat in World War II. The defeat was followed by a revival. Italy became a founding member of NATO and the European Economic Community (EEC) and took part in the process of political and economic unification of Western Europe, including the introduction of the euro in 1999. Persistent problems are illegal immigration, organized crime rampage, corruption, high unemployment,
Location: Southern Europe, a peninsula in the central Mediterranean Sea northeast of Tunisia.
Geographical coordinates: 42° 50′ N. latitude, 12° 50’E
Reference map: Europe.
Area: total: 301,230 km2; land surface area: 294,020 km2; water surface area: 7,210 km2; note: includes the islands of Sardinia and Sicily.
Comparative area: slightly larger than the state of Arizona.
Land borders: total: 1,932.2 km; with neighboring states: with Austria 430 km, with France 488 km, with the Vatican 3.2 km, with San Marino 39 km, with Slovenia 232 km, with Switzerland 740 km.
Coastline: 7,600 km.
Maritime claims: continental shelf: up to 200 m depth or exploitation depth; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: predominantly Mediterranean; mountainous in the far north; hot, dry in the south.
Terrain: mostly mountainous; flat on the coast.
Maximum and minimum altitudes: lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m highest point: Mont Blanc 4,807 m
Natural resources: mercury, potash, marble, sulfur, dwindling natural gas and oil, fish, coal, arable land.
Land use: arable land: 31%; cultivated land: 10%; pastures: 15%; forests and plantations: 23%; others: 21% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 27,100 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural Hazards: Regional hazards are landslides, mudflows, avalanches, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods; subsidence in Venice.
Actual environmental problems: air pollution by industrial waste, in particular sulfur dioxide; pollution of rivers by industrial and agricultural effluents; damage to lakes by acid rain; insufficient capacity for processing and destruction of industrial waste.
International agreements on environmental protection: member: Air Pollution, Air Pollution – Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution – Sulfur 85, Air Pollution – Sulfur 94, Air Pollution – Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctica – Environmental Protection Protocol, Conservation of Marine Life in Antarctica, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate change, Desertification, Endangered species, Environmental change, Hazardous waste, Law of the sea, Marine pollution, Nuclear test ban, Ozone layer protection, Ship pollution, Tropical timber 1983, Tropical timber 1994, Wetlands, Whaling fishing; signed but not ratified: Air Pollution – Persistent Organic Pollutants, Kyoto Protocol.
Note to the section “Geography”: a strategically important dominant position in the central Mediterranean, as well as on the southern sea and air approaches to Western Europe.
Population: 57,679,825 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 14.17% (male 4,209,102; female 3,964,765); 15 to 64 years: 67.48% (male 19,375,742; female 19,546,332); over 65: 18.35% (male 4,368,264; female 6,215,620) (July 2001 est.).
Population growth: 0.07% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 9.05 newborns / 1000 people. (2001).
Mortality: 10.07 deaths/1000 population (2001).
Migration: 1.73 people/1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.07 male/female; under 15: 1.06 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 0.99 male/female; over 65: 0.7 male/female; for the general population: 0.94 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 5.84 deaths/1000 births (2001).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 79.14 years; men: 75.97 years; women: 82.52 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 1.18 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.35% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 95,000 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 1,000 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Italian; adjective: Italian.
Ethnic groups: Italians, as well as small groups of Germans, French and Slovenes in the north, Albanians and Greeks in the south.
Believers: predominantly Catholic, there are developed Protestant and Jewish communities and a growing layer of Muslim immigrants.
Language(s): Italian (official), German (predominantly German-speaking areas of the Trentino-Alto Adige region), French (small percentage of French speakers in the Valle d’Aosta region), Slovene (small percentage of Slovene speakers in the Trieste Gorizia area ).
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 98% (1998); among men: no data; among women: no data. State Name:
Common long form: Italian Republic;
conventional short form: Italy; local long form: Repubblica Italiana; local short form: Italia; former name: Kingdom of Italy.
State structure: republic. See a2zgov.com to know more about Italy government and politics.
Administrative divisions: 20 regions (regions): Abruzzi, Apulia, Basilicata, Valle d’Aosta, Venice, Calabria, Campania, Lazio, Liguria, Lombardy, Marche, Molise, Piedmont, Sardinia, Sicily, Tuscany, Trentino Alto – Adige, Umbria, Friuli Venezia Giupia, Emilia Romagna.
Independence: from March 17, 1861 (Kingdom of Italy proclaimed; Italy finally united in 1870).
National holiday: Republic Day, 2 June (since 1946).
Constitution: adopted January 1, 1948
Legal system: based on the civil law system; appeals are treated as separate cases; judicial decisions are under certain circumstances reviewed by the Constitutional Court; does not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal (except for elections to the Senate, where the minimum age is 25).
chief of state: president, Carlo Azeglio CIAMPI (since 13 May 1999);
head of government: Prime Minister (called in Italy the Prime Minister) Silvio BERLUSCONI (since 10 June 2001);
Government: a council of ministers appointed by the prime minister and approved by the president; elections: the president is elected by an electoral college consisting of both houses of Parliament and 58 regional representatives for a seven-year term; elections last held 13 May 1999 (next to be held in May 2006); the prime minister is appointed by the president and approved by Parliament; election results: Carlo Azeglio CAMPI elected president with 70% of the electoral college; note: a coalition of 12 parties is in power, among others it includes Forward Italy!, National Alliance, Christian Democratic Center, Northern League.
Legislature: bicameral Parliament (Parlamento) consists of the Senate (Senato della Repubblica) (315 members elected by popular vote, among them 232 members are elected by direct vote and 83 by the principle of regional proportional representation, there is also a small number of senators for life, including former presidents of the republic ; term of office of elected senators -5 years) and the Chamber of Deputies (Camera dei Deputati) (630 members; 475 are elected by popular vote, 155 – on the basis of regional proportional representation; term of office – 5 years); elections: for Senate – last held 13 May 2001 (next to be held in 2006); to the Chamber of Deputies ¦- last passed on May 13, 2001 (next to be held in 2006); election results: for the Senate – distribution of votes by party: no data; distribution of seats by parties: Freedom House 177 (‘Forward Italy!’ 82, National Alliance 46, CCD-CDU 29, Northern League 17, others 3), Olive Tree 128 (Left Democrats 62, Daisy Alliance 42, Sunflower Alliance 16, Italian communist party 3, independents5), non-coalitions 10, senators for life 9; Chamber of Deputies – distribution of votes by party: no data; seat distribution by party: House of Freedom 367 (‘Forward Italy!’ 189, National Alliance 96, CCD-CDU 40, Northern League 30, others 12), Olive Tree 248 (Left Democrats 138, Alliance ‘Daisy’ 76, Alliance’ Sunflower’ 18, Italian Communist Party 9, independents 7), non-coalitions 15.
Judiciary: Constitutional Court, composed of 15 judges (a third appointed by the president, a third by parliament, a third elected by the ordinary and administrative high courts).
Political parties and leaders: Center-Left Coalition Olive Tree (Francesco RUTELLI) – Left Democrats, Alliance ‘Daisy’ (includes Italian People’s Party, Italian Renewal, Union of Democrats for Europe, Democrats), Alliance ‘Sunflower’ (includes Federation of Greens, Italian Democratic Socialists), the Italian Communist Party; Christian Democratic Center (CDC) (Pier Ferdinando CASINI); Christian Democratic Union (CDU) (Rock coBUTTIGLIONE [Fiocco BUTTIGLIONE]); Communist Renewal (RC) (Fausto BERTINOTTI); Go Italy! (FI) (Silvio BERLUSCONI); Federation of the Greens (FdV) (Grazia FRAN-CESCATO); Freedom House (former Freedom Alliance, centre-right coalition) (leader Silvio BERLUSCONI) – ‘Go Italy!’, National Alliance, Christian Democratic Center, Christian Democratic Union, Northern League; Italian Communist Party (PdCI) (Oliviero DILIBERTO [Oliviero DILIBERTO]); Italian Democratic Socialists (SDI) (Enrico BOSSELLI); Italian People’s Party (PPI) (Pierluigi CASTAGETTI [Pierluigi CASTAG-NETTI]); Italian Update (RI) (Lamberto DINI); Italian Social Movement – Tricolor Flame (MSI-FT) (Pino RAUTI [Pino RAUTI]); National Alliance (AN) (Gianfranco FINI [Gianfranco FINI]); Northern League – Padania (NL-Padania) (Umberto BOSSI [Umberto BOSSI]); Radical Party (formerly Panella Reformers and Independent List) (Marco PANELLA); People’s Party of South Tyrol (SVP) (German speaking population) (Siegfried BRUGGER); Union of Democrats for Europe (UDEUR) (Clemente MA-STELLA); Democrats (Arturo PARISI [Arturo PARISI]).
Political influence groups and their leaders: Associations of Italian Industrialists and Businessmen (Confindustria, Confcommercio); organized farmer groups (Confcoltivatori, Confagricoltura); Catholic Church; the three largest trade union confederations: the leftist General Italian Confederation of Labor (CGIL) (Sergio COFFERATI), the Catholic centrist Italian Confederation of Trade Unions (CISL) (Sergio D’ANTONI) and the secular centrist Italian Union of Labor (UIL) ) (Pietro LARIZZA [Pietro LARIZZA]).
Participation in international organizations: AGOV, AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CCC, CDB (non-regional), CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECLAC, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, G-7, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAIA (observer), MINURSO, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNIKOM, UNMEE, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNMOGIP, UNTSO, UPU, WCL, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC.
Diplomatic representation in the USA: Head of Mission: Ambassador Ferdinando SALLEO; office: 3000 Whitehaven Street NW, Washington, DC 20008; phone:  (202) 612-4400; fax: [C (202) 518-2154; consulates general: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Francisco; Consulate: Detroit.
US diplomatic mission: head of mission: post vacant; embassy: Via Veneto 119/A, 00187-Rome; mailing address: PSC 59, Box 100, APO AE 09624; phone:  (06) 46741; fax:  (06) 488-2672; consulates general: Florence, Milan, Naples.
Flag Description: three vertical stripes of green (at the pole), white and red, equal in width; similar to the flag of Ireland, which is somewhat longer and consists of stripes of green (hoist side), white and orange; also similar to the flag of Côte d’Ivoire, the colors of which are reversed – orange (hoist side), white and green; Note: The Italian flag was inspired by the French flag brought to Italy by Napoleon in 1797.