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Italy Country Guide

Explore Italy in Europe

Italy with the capital city Rome is located in Europe (Southern Europe, a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea). It covers some 301,230 square kilometres (slightly larger than Arizona) with 58,145,000 citizens.

Interactive map of Italy

The terrain features mostly rugged and mountainous with some plains, coastal lowlands. The average density of population is approximately 193 per km². The notable climate conditions in Italy can be described as predominantly Mediterranean with Alpine in far north and hot, dry in south. Potential natural disasters are regional risks include landslides, mudflows, avalanches, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding or land subsidence in Venice.

To reach someone in Italy dial +39 prior to a number. There are 21,300,000 installed telephones. And there are 90,613,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900/1800/3G MHz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".it". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 230V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Italy

Italy Flag Icon

Three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and red; design inspired by the French flag brought to Italy by Napoleon in 1797; colors are those of Milan (red and white) combined with the green uniform color of the Milanese civic guard note: similar to the flag of Mexico, which is longer, uses darker shades of red and green, and has its coat of arms centered on the white band; Ireland, which is longer and is green (hoist side), white, and orange; also similar to the flag of the Cote d'Ivoire, which has the colors reversed - orange (hoist side), white, and green.

Italy became a nation-state in 1861 when the regional states of the peninsula, along with Sardinia and Sicily, were united under King Victor EMMANUEL II. An era of parliamentary government came to a close in the early 1920s when Benito MUSSOLINI established a Fascist dictatorship. His alliance with Nazi Germany led to Italy's defeat in World War II. A democratic republic replaced the monarchy in 1946 and economic revival followed. Italy is a charter member of NATO and the European Economic Community (EEC). It has been at the forefront of European economic and political unification, joining the Economic and Monetary Union in 1999. Persistent problems include sluggish economic growth, high youth and female unemployment, organized crime, corruption, and economic disparities between southern Italy and the more prosperous north.

Geography Quick-Facts

SummaryContinent: Europe
Neighbours: Switzerland, Vatican, Slovenia, San Marino, France, Austria
Capital: Rome
Size301,230 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 116,305 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly larger than Arizona
CurrencyName Euro, Currency Code:EUR
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD).it
Telephone Country Prefix+39
Mobile Phone Connections90,613,000
Landline Phone Connections21,300,000

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Area301,340 (sq km)72

People and Society

Value nameValueWorld Rank
Population61,482,297 23
Population growth rate0.34 (%)162
Birth rate8.94 (births/1,000 population)208
Death rate10.01 (deaths/1,000 population)51
Net migration rate4.47 (migrant(s)/1,000 population)23
Maternal mortality rate4.00 (deaths/100,000 live births)180
Infant mortality rate3.33 (deaths/1,000 live births)216
Life expectancy at birth81.95 (years)11
Total fertility rate1.41 (children born/woman)203
Health expenditures9.50 (% of GDP)34
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.30 (%)84
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS140,000 34
HIV/AIDS - deaths1,000 74
Obesity - adult prevalence rate19.80 (%)97
Education expenditures4.70 (% of GDP)87
Unemployment, youth ages 15-2429.10 (%)28


Value nameValueWorld Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity)1,863,000,000,000 11
GDP - real growth rate-2.40 (%)211
GDP - per capita (PPP)30,600 48
Labor force25,280,000 26
Unemployment rate10.90 (%)115
Distribution of family income - Gini index31.90 107
Investment (gross fixed)18.20 (% of GDP)116
Taxes and other revenues47.50 (% of GDP)19
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-2.80 (% of GDP)105
Public debt126.10 (% of GDP)8
Inflation rate (consumer prices)3.00 (%)78
Central bank discount rate1.75 (%)130
Commercial bank prime lending rate4.60 (%)162
Stock of narrow money1,137,000,000,000 6
Stock of broad money1,944,000,000,000 9
Stock of domestic credit3,122,000,000,000 8
Market value of publicly traded shares318,100,000,000 27
Industrial production growth rate0.20 (%)141
Current account balance-30,300,000,000 184
Exports483,300,000,000 10
Imports469,700,000,000 13
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold173,300,000,000 16
Debt - external2,493,000,000,000 8
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home369,500,000,000 16
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad537,000,000,000 12


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Electricity - production302,600,000,000 (kWh)14
Electricity - consumption313,800,000,000 (kWh)14
Electricity - exports1,787,000,000 (kWh)44
Electricity - imports47,520,000,000 (kWh)3
Electricity - installed generating capacity122,300,000 (kW)9
Electricity - from fossil fuels65.00 (% of total installed capacity)128
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants18.00 (% of total installed capacity)97
Electricity - from other renewable sources15.80 (% of total installed capacity)9
Crude oil - production99,200 (bbl/day)50
Crude oil - exports6,300 (bbl/day)61
Crude oil - imports1,591,000 (bbl/day)8
Crude oil - proved reserves523,200,000 (bbl)51
Refined petroleum products - production1,887,000 (bbl/day)13
Refined petroleum products - consumption1,454,000 (bbl/day)17
Refined petroleum products - exports628,000 (bbl/day)12
Refined petroleum products - imports393,300 (bbl/day)15
Natural gas - production8,364,000,000 (cu m)47
Natural gas - consumption77,830,000,000 (cu m)12
Natural gas - exports123,000,000 (cu m)46
Natural gas - imports70,370,000,000 (cu m)6
Natural gas - proved reserves66,000,000,000 (cu m)62
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy416,400,000 (Mt)16


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Telephones - main lines in use22,116,000 13
Telephones - mobile cellular96,005,000 11
Internet hosts25,662,000 4
Internet users29,235,000 13


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Airports130 44
Railways20,255 (km)13
Roadways487,700 (km)13
Waterways2,400 (km)37
Merchant marine681 17


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Military expenditures1.80 (% of GDP)80

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

18th-Century Royal Palace at Caserta with the Park, the Aqueduct of Vanvitelli, and the San Leucio Complex
The monumental complex at Caserta, created by the Bourbon king Charles III in the mid-18th century to rival Versailles and the Royal Palace in Madrid, is exceptional for the way in which it brings together a magnificent palace with its park and garde ...
Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of Aquileia
Aquileia (in Friuli-Venezia Giulia), one of the largest and wealthiest cities of the Early Roman Empire, was destroyed by Attila in the mid-5th century. Most of it still lies unexcavated beneath the fields, and as such it constitutes the greatest arc ...
Archaeological Area of Agrigento
Founded as a Greek colony in the 6th century B.C., Agrigento became one of the leading cities in the Mediterranean world. Its supremacy and pride are demonstrated by the remains of the magnificent Doric temples that dominate the ancient town, much of ...
Archaeological Areas of Pompei, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata
When Vesuvius erupted on 24 August AD 79, it engulfed the two flourishing Roman towns of Pompei and Herculaneum, as well as the many wealthy villas in the area. These have been progressively excavated and made accessible to the public since the mid-1 ...
Assisi, the Basilica of San Francesco and Other Franciscan Sites
Assisi, a medieval city built on a hill, is the birthplace of Saint Francis, closely associated with the work of the Franciscan Order. Its medieval art masterpieces, such as the Basilica of San Francesco and paintings by Cimabue, Pietro Lorenzetti, S ...
Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico), Padua
The world's first botanical garden was created in Padua in 1545. It still preserves its original layout – a circular central plot, symbolizing the world, surrounded by a ring of water. Other elements were added later, some architectural (ornamental e ...
Castel del Monte
When the Emperor Frederick II built this castle near Bari in the 13th century, he imbued it with symbolic significance, as reflected in the location, the mathematical and astronomical precision of the layout and the perfectly regular shape. A unique ...
Cathedral, Torre Civica and Piazza Grande, Modena
The magnificent 12th-century cathedral at Modena, the work of two great artists (Lanfranco and Wiligelmus), is a supreme example of early Romanesque art. With its piazza and soaring tower, it testifies to the faith of its builders and the power of th ...
Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie with “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci
The refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie forms an integral part of this architectural complex, begun in Milan in 1463 and reworked at the end of the 15th century by Bramante. On the north wall is The Last Supper, the unrivalled master ...
Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park with the Archeological Sites of Paestum and Velia, and the Certosa di Padula
The Cilento is an outstanding cultural landscape. The dramatic groups of sanctuaries and settlements along its three east–west mountain ridges vividly portray the area's historical evolution: it was a major route not only for trade, but also for cult ...
City of Verona
The historic city of Verona was founded in the 1st century B.C. It particularly flourished under the rule of the Scaliger family in the 13th and 14th centuries and as part of the Republic of Venice from the 15th to 18th centuries. Verona has preserve ...
City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto
Founded in the 2nd century B.C. in northern Italy, Vicenza prospered under Venetian rule from the early 15th to the end of the 18th century. The work of Andrea Palladio (1508–80), based on a detailed study of classical Roman architecture, gives the c ...
Costiera Amalfitana
The Amalfi coast is an area of great physical beauty and natural diversity. It has been intensively settled by human communities since the early Middle Ages. There are a number of towns such as Amalfi and Ravello with architectural and artistic works ...
Crespi d'Adda
Crespi d'Adda in Capriate San Gervasio in Lombardy is an outstanding example of the 19th- and early 20th-century 'company towns' built in Europe and North America by enlightened industrialists to meet the workers' needs. The site is still remarkably ...
Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna
Ravenna was the seat of the Roman Empire in the 5th century and then of Byzantine Italy until the 8th century. It has a unique collection of early Christian mosaics and monuments. All eight buildings – the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Neonian Bap ...
Etruscan Necropolises of Cerveteri and Tarquinia
These two large Etruscan cemeteries reflect different types of burial practices from the 9th to the 1st century BC, and bear witness to the achievements of Etruscan culture. Which over nine centuries developed the earliest urban civilization in the n ...
Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta
Ferrara, which grew up around a ford over the River Po, became an intellectual and artistic centre that attracted the greatest minds of the Italian Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries. Here, Piero della Francesca, Jacopo Bellini and Andrea Man ...
Genoa: Le Strade Nuove and the system of the Palazzi dei Rolli
The Strade Nuove and the system of the Palazzi dei Rolli in Genoa’s historic centre date from the late 16th and early 17th centuries when the Republic of Genoa was at the height of its financial and seafaring power. The site represents the first exam ...
Historic Centre of Florence
Built on the site of an Etruscan settlement, Florence, the symbol of the Renaissance, rose to economic and cultural pre-eminence under the Medici in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its 600 years of extraordinary artistic activity can be seen above all i ...
Historic Centre of Naples
From the Neapolis founded by Greek settlers in 470 B.C. to the city of today, Naples has retained the imprint of the successive cultures that emerged in Europe and the Mediterranean basin. This makes it a unique site, with a wealth of outstanding mon ...
Historic Centre of San Gimignano
'San Gimignano delle belle Torri' is in Tuscany, 56 km south of Florence. It served as an important relay point for pilgrims travelling to or from Rome on the Via Francigena. The patrician families who controlled the town built around 72 tower-houses ...
Historic Centre of Siena
Siena is the embodiment of a medieval city. Its inhabitants pursued their rivalry with Florence right into the area of urban planning. Throughout the centuries, they preserved their city's Gothic appearance, acquired between the 12th and 15th centuri ...
Historic Centre of the City of Pienza
It was in this Tuscan town that Renaissance town-planning concepts were first put into practice after Pope Pius II decided, in 1459, to transform the look of his birthplace. He chose the architect Bernardo Rossellino, who applied the principles of hi ...
Historic Centre of Urbino
The small hill town of Urbino, in the Marche, experienced a great cultural flowering in the 15th century, attracting artists and scholars from all over Italy and beyond, and influencing cultural developments elsewhere in Europe. Owing to its economic ...
Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands)
The Aeolian Islands provide an outstanding record of volcanic island-building and destruction, and ongoing volcanic phenomena. Studied since at least the 18th century, the islands have provided the science of vulcanology with examples of two types of ...
Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto (South-Eastern Sicily)
The eight towns in south-eastern Sicily: Caltagirone, Militello Val di Catania, Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo, Ragusa and Scicli, were all rebuilt after 1693 on or beside towns existing at the time of the earthquake which took place in that year. ...
Longobards in Italy. Places of the Power (568-774 A.D.)
The Longobards in Italy, Places of Power, 568 - 774 A.D. comprises seven groups of important buildings (including fortresses, churches, and monasteries) throughout the Italian Peninsula. They testify to the high achievement of the Lombards, who migra ...
Mantua and Sabbioneta
Mantua and Sabbioneta, in the Po valley, in the north of Italy, represent two aspects of Renaissance town planning: Mantua shows the renewal and extension of an existing city, while 30 km away, Sabbioneta represents the implementation of the period’s ...
Medici Villas and Gardens in Tuscany
Twelve villas and two gardens spread across the Tuscan landscape make up this site which bears testimony to the influence the Medici family exerted over modern European culture through its patronage of the arts. Built between the 15th and 17th centur ...
Monte San Giorgio
The pyramid-shaped, wooded mountain of Monte San Giorgio beside Lake Lugano is regarded as the best fossil record of marine life from the Triassic Period (245–230 million years ago). The sequence records life in a tropical lagoon environment, shelter ...
Mount Etna
Mount Etna is an iconic site encompassing 19,237 uninhabited hectares on the highest part of Mount Etna, on the eastern coast of Sicily. Mount Etna is the highest Mediterranean island mountain and the most active stratovolcano in the world. The erupt ...
Piazza del Duomo, Pisa
Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto)
The Ligurian coast between Cinque Terre and Portovenere is a cultural landscape of great scenic and cultural value. The layout and disposition of the small towns and the shaping of the surrounding landscape, overcoming the disadvantages of a steep, u ...
Residences of the Royal House of Savoy
When Emmanuel-Philibert, Duke of Savoy, moved his capital to Turin in 1562, he began a vast series of building projects (continued by his successors) to demonstrate the power of the ruling house. This outstanding complex of buildings, designed and em ...
Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes
Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes, brings together two historic railway lines that cross the Swiss Alps through two passes. Opened in 1904, the Albula line in the north western part of the property is 67 km long. It features an impr ...
Rock Drawings in Valcamonica
Valcamonica, situated in the Lombardy plain, has one of the world's greatest collections of prehistoric petroglyphs – more than 140,000 symbols and figures carved in the rock over a period of 8,000 years and depicting themes connected with agricultur ...
Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy
The nine Sacri Monti (Sacred Mountains) of northern Italy are groups of chapels and other architectural features created in the late 16th and 17th centuries and dedicated to different aspects of the Christian faith. In addition to their symbolic spir ...
Su Nuraxi di Barumini
During the late 2nd millennium B.C. in the Bronze Age, a special type of defensive structure known as nuraghi (for which no parallel exists anywhere else in the world) developed on the island of Sardinia. The complex consists of circular defensive to ...
Syracuse and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica
The site consists of two separate elements, containing outstanding vestiges dating back to Greek and Roman times: The Necropolis of Pantalica contains over 5,000 tombs cut into the rock near open stone quarries, most of them dating from the 13th to 7 ...
The Dolomites
The site of the Dolomites comprises a mountain range in the northern Italian Alps, numbering 18 peaks which rise to above 3,000 metres and cover 141,903 ha. It features some of the most beautiful mountain landscapes anywhere, with vertical walls, she ...
The Sassi and the Park of the Rupestrian Churches of Matera
This is the most outstanding, intact example of a troglodyte settlement in the Mediterranean region, perfectly adapted to its terrain and ecosystem. The first inhabited zone dates from the Palaeolithic, while later settlements illustrate a number of ...
The Trulli of Alberobello
The trulli , limestone dwellings found in the southern region of Puglia, are remarkable examples of drywall (mortarless) construction, a prehistoric building technique still in use in this region. The trulli are made of roughly worked limestone bould ...
Val d'Orcia
The landscape of Val d’Orcia is part of the agricultural hinterland of Siena, redrawn and developed when it was integrated in the territory of the city-state in the 14th and 15th centuries to reflect an idealized model of good governance and to creat ...
Venice and its Lagoon
Founded in the 5th century and spread over 118 small islands, Venice became a major maritime power in the 10th century. The whole city is an extraordinary architectural masterpiece in which even the smallest building contains works by some of the wor ...
Villa Adriana (Tivoli)
The Villa Adriana (at Tivoli, near Rome) is an exceptional complex of classical buildings created in the 2nd century A.D. by the Roman emperor Hadrian. It combines the best elements of the architectural heritage of Egypt, Greece and Rome in the form ...
Villa d'Este, Tivoli
The Villa d'Este in Tivoli, with its palace and garden, is one of the most remarkable and comprehensive illustrations of Renaissance culture at its most refined. Its innovative design along with the architectural components in the garden (fountains, ...
Villa Romana del Casale
Roman exploitation of the countryside is symbolized by the Villa Romana del Casale (in Sicily), the centre of the large estate upon which the rural economy of the Western Empire was based. The villa is one of the most luxurious of its kind. It is esp ...
Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont: Langhe-Roero and Monferrato
This landscape covers five distinct wine-growing areas with outstanding landscapes and the Castle of Cavour, an emblematic name both in the development of vineyards and in Italian history. It is located in the southern part of Piedmont, between the P ...