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Geography

Location: Southern Europe, a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, northeast of Tunisia

Geographic coordinates: 42 50 N, 12 50 E

Map references: Europe

Area:
total: 301,230 sq km
land: 294,020 sq km
water: 7,210 sq km
note: includes Sardinia and Sicily

Area—comparative: slightly larger than Arizona

Land boundaries:
total: 1,932.2 km
border countries: Austria 430 km, France 488 km, Holy See (Vatican City) 3.2 km, San Marino 39 km, Slovenia 232 km, Switzerland 740 km

Coastline: 7,600 km

Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: predominantly Mediterranean; Alpine in far north; hot, dry in south

Terrain: mostly rugged and mountainous; some plains, coastal lowlands

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mont Blanc 4,807 m

Natural resources: mercury, potash, marble, sulfur, dwindling natural gas and crude oil reserves, fish, coal

Land use:
arable land: 31%
permanent crops: 10%
permanent pastures: 15%
forests and woodland: 23%
other: 21% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 27,100 sq km (1993 est.)

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

Environment—current issues: air pollution from industrial emissions such as sulfur dioxide; coastal and inland rivers polluted from industrial and agricultural effluents; acid rain damaging lakes; inadequate industrial waste treatment and disposal facilities

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Tropical Timber 94

Geography—note: strategic location dominating central Mediterranean as well as southern sea and air approaches to Western Europe

 
People

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Population: 56,782,748 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 14% (male 4,192,662; female 3,955,857)
15-64 years: 68% (male 19,265,714; female 19,369,554)
65 years and over: 18% (male 4,098,526; female 5,900,435) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: -0.08% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 9.13 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 10.18 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 0.21 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 6.4 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.38 years
male: 75.26 years
female: 81.7 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.19 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Italian(s)
adjective: Italian

Ethnic groups: Italian (includes small clusters of German-, French-, and Slovene-Italians in the north and Albanian-Italians and Greek-Italians in the south)

Religions: Roman Catholic 98%, other 2%

Languages: Italian, German (parts of Trentino-Alto Adige region are predominantly German speaking), French (small French-speaking minority in Valle d'Aosta region), Slovene (Slovene-speaking minority in the Trieste-Gorizia area)

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97%
male: 98%
female: 96% (1990 est.)

 
Government

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Country name:
conventional long form: Italian Republic
conventional short form: Italy
local long form: Repubblica Italiana
local short form: Italia
former: Kingdom of Italy

Data code: IT

Government type: republic

National capital: Rome

Administrative divisions: 20 regions (regioni, singular—regione); Abruzzi, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Liguria, Lombardia, Marche, Molise, Piemonte, Puglia, Sardegna, Sicilia, Toscana, Trentino-Alto Adige, Umbria, Valle d'Aosta, Veneto

Independence: 17 March 1861 (Kingdom of Italy proclaimed)

National holiday: Anniversary of the Republic, 2 June (1946)

Constitution: 1 January 1948

Legal system: based on civil law system, with ecclesiastical law influence; appeals treated as trials de novo; judicial review under certain conditions in Constitutional Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal (except in senatorial elections, where minimum age is 25)

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Oscar Luigi SCALFARO (since 28 May 1992)
head of government: Prime Minister (referred to in Italy as the president of the Council of Ministers) Romano PRODI (since 18 May 1996)
cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister and approved by the president
elections: president elected by an electoral college consisting of both houses of Parliament and 58 regional representatives for a seven-year term; election last held 25 May 1992 (next to be held NA 1999); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Oscar Luigi SCALFARO elected president; percent of electoral college vote—NA

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament or Parlamento consists of the Senate or Senato della Repubblica (326 seats, 315 popularly elected of which 232 are directly elected and 83 by regional proportional representation, 11 appointed senators-for-life; members serve five-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camera dei Deputati (630 seats; 475 are directly elected, 155 by regional proportional representation; members serve five-year terms)
elections: Senate—last held 21 April 1996 (next to be held by NA April 2001); Chamber of Deputies—last held 21 April 1996 (next to be held by NA April 2001)
election results: Senate—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—Olive Tree 157, Freedom Alliance 116, Northern League 27, Refounded Communists 10, regional lists 3, Social Movement-Tricolor Flames 1, Panella Reformers 1; Chamber of Deputies—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—Olive Tree 284, Freedom Alliance 246, Northern League 59, Refounded Communists 35, Southern Tyrol List 3, Autonomous List 2, other 1

Judicial branch: Constitutional Court or Corte Costituzionale, composed of 15 judges (one-third appointed by the president, one-third elected by Parliament, one-third elected by the ordinary and administrative supreme courts)

Political parties and leaders:
Olive Tree (Ulivo): Democratic Party of the Left or PDS [Massimo D'ALEMA]; Greens (Verdi) [Luigi MANCONI]; Italian Renewal or RI [Lamberto DINI]; Italian Popular Party or PPI [Franco MARINI—elected 12 January 1997]
Freedom Pole: Forza Italia or FI [Silvio BERLUSCONI]; National Alliance or AN [Gianfranco FINI]; Christian Democratic Center or CCD [Clemente MASTELLA]; Christian Democratic Union or CDU [Rocco BUTTIGLIONE]
other: Northern League or NL [Umberto BOSSI]; Communism Refoundation or RC [Fausto BERTINOTTI]; Italian Social Movement-Tricolor Flame or MSI-Fiamma Tricolore [Pino RAUTI]; Pannella-Sgarbi's List (Lista Pannella-Sgarbi) [Marco PANNELLA]; Italian Socialists or SI (also called Radical Party or PR) [Ottaviano DEL TURCO]; Autonomous List (a group of minor parties); Southern Tyrols List or SVP (German speakers)

Political pressure groups and leaders: the Roman Catholic Church; three major trade union confederations (Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro or CGIL which is PDS-dominated, Confederazione Italiana dei Sindacati Lavoratori or CISL which is centrist, and Unione Italiana del Lavoro or UIL which is center-right); Italian manufacturers and merchants associations (Confindustria, Confcommercio); organized farm groups (Confcoltivatori, Confagricoltura)

International organization participation: AfDB, AG (observer), AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CCC, CDB (non-regional), CE, CE (observer), CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECLAC, EIB, 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), MINUGUA, MINURSO, MTCR, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNIKOM, UNITAR, UNMIBH, UNMOGIP, UNTSO, UPU, WCL, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Ferdinando SALLEO
chancery: 1601 Fuller Street NW, Washington, DC 20009 and 2700 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 328-5500
FAX: [1] (202) 483-2187
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco
consulate(s): Detroit and New Orleans

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Thomas M. FOGLIETTA
embassy: Via Veneto 119/A, 00187-Rome
mailing address: PSC 59, Box 100, APO AE 09624
telephone: [39] (6) 46741
FAX: [39] (6) 488-2672
consulate(s) general: Florence, Milan, Naples

Flag description: three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and red; similar to the flag of Ireland, which is longer and is green (hoist side), white, and orange; also similar to the flag of the Cote d'Ivoire, which has the colors reversed—orange (hoist side), white, and green

 
Economy

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Economy—overview: Since World War II, the Italian economy has changed from one based on agriculture into a ranking industrial economy, with approximately the same total and per capita output as France and the UK. This basically capitalistic economy is still divided into a developed industrial north, dominated by private companies, and a less developed agricultural south, with large public enterprises and more than 20% unemployment. Most raw materials needed by industry and over 75% of energy requirements must be imported. In the second half of 1992, Rome became unsettled by the prospect of not qualifying to participate in EU plans for economic and monetary union later in the decade; thus, it finally began to address its huge fiscal imbalances. Subsequently, the government has adopted fairly stringent budgets, abandoned its inflationary wage indexation system, and started to scale back its generous social welfare programs, including pension and health care benefits. In November 1996 the lire rejoined the European monetary system, which it had left in September 1992 when under extreme pressure in currency markets. Italy faces the problem of restructuring its economy to meet Maastricht criteria for inclusion in the EMU, together with other problems of refurbishing a tottering communications system, curbing industrial pollution, and adjusting to new EU and global competitive forces.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$1.24 trillion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 1.5% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$21,500 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 3.3%
industry: 33%
services: 63.7% (1994)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 1.9% (1997 est.)

Labor force:
total: 22.851 million
by occupation: services 61%, industry 32%, agriculture 7% (1996)

Unemployment rate: 12.2% (December 1997 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $416 billion
expenditures: $506 billion, including capital expenditures of $47 billion (1996 est.)

Industries: tourism, machinery, iron and steel, chemicals, food processing, textiles, motor vehicles, clothing, footwear, ceramics

Industrial production growth rate: 0.5% (1996 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 57.186 million kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 225.179 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 4,509 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: fruits, vegetables, grapes, potatoes, sugar beets, soybeans, grain, olives; meat and dairy products; fish catch of 525,000 metric tons in 1990

Exports:
total value: $250.8 billion (f.o.b., 1996)
commodities: metals, textiles and clothing, production machinery, motor vehicles, transportation equipment, chemicals
partners: EU 53.4%, US 7.8%, OPEC 3.8%

Imports:
total value: $190 billion (c.i.f., 1996)
commodities: industrial machinery, chemicals, transport equipment, petroleum, metals, food, agricultural products
partners: EU 45.5%, OPEC 4.8%, US 4.3%

Debt—external: $45 billion (1996 est.)

Economic aid:
donor: ODA, $3.043 billion (1993)

Currency: 1 Italian lira (Lit) = 100 centesimi

Exchange rates: Italian lire (Lit) per US$1—1,787.7 (January 1998), 1,703.1 (1997), 1,542.9 (1996), 1,628.9 (1995), 1,612.4 (1994), 1,573.7 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year

 
Communications

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Telephones: 25.6 million (1996 est.)

Telephone system: modern, well-developed, fast; fully automated telephone, telex, and data services
domestic: high-capacity cable and microwave radio relay trunks
international: satellite earth stations—3 Intelsat (with a total of 5 antennas - 3 for Atlantic Ocean and 2 for Indian Ocean), 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region), and NA Eutelsat; 21 submarine cables

Radio broadcast stations: AM 135, FM 28 (repeaters 1,840), shortwave 0

Radios: 45.7 million (1996 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 83 (repeaters 1,000)

Televisions: 17 million (1996 est.)

 
Transportation

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Railways:
total: 19,437 km
standard gauge: 18,103 km 1.435-m gauge; Italian Railways (FS) operates 15,942 km of the total standard gauge routes (11,299 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 56 km 1.000-m gauge (56 km electrified); 1,278 km 0.950-m gauge (19 km electrified) (1996)

Highways:
total: 317,000 km
paved: 317,000 km (including 9,500 km of expressways)
unpaved: 0 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: 2,400 km for various types of commercial traffic, although of limited overall value

Pipelines: crude oil 1,703 km; petroleum products 2,148 km; natural gas 19,400 km

Ports and harbors: Ancona, Augusta (Sicily), Bari, Cagliari (Sardinia), Catania (Sicily), Gaeta, Genoa, La Spezia, Livorno, Naples, Oristano (Sardinia), Palermo (Sicily), Piombino, Porto Torres (Sardinia), Ravenna, Savona, Trieste, Venice

Merchant marine:
total: 365 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 5,032,728 GRT/7,076,307 DWT
ships by type: bulk 29, cargo 47, chemical tanker 39, combination ore/oil 2, container 15, liquefied gas tanker 30, multifunction large-load carrier 1, oil tanker 98, passenger 5, roll-on/roll-off cargo 51, short-sea passenger 30, specialized tanker 11, vehicle carrier 7 (1997 est.)

Airports: 136 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 96
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 33
1,524 to 2,437 m: 16
914 to 1,523 m: 30
under 914 m: 12 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 40
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 20
under 914 m: 18 (1997 est.)

Heliports: 3 (1997 est.)


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