OFFICIAL NAME: Italian Republic
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Multiparty Republic
AREA: 301,225 Sq Km (116,304 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION 57,298,100
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Italy is located in southern Europe.
It is bound by Tyrrhenian and Ligurian Seas to the west,
France to the northwest, Switzerland and Austria to the
north, Slovenia to the northeast, the Adriatic Sea to the
east as well as the Ionian and Mediterranean Seas to the
south. The territory includes the mainland and the islands
of Sardinia and Sicily as well as some other smaller islands.
The country is predominantly mountainous with plains accounting
for less than 33% of the land area. The two principal mountain
ranges are (1.) the Alps which are divided into the three
ranges of the Western Alps, the Central Alps and the Eastern
Alps. (2.) The Apennines which is divided into the Northern
or Ligurian Apennines and the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines.
Except for the Po Plain, the plains of Italy are small in
land area and numbers. The principal rivers are the Po,
Tevere or Tiber, Arno, Volturno, Liri and Adige as well
as many shorter rivers that flow to the Adriatic Sea. Major
Cities (pop. est.); Rome 2,723,300, Milan 1,358,600, Naples
1,071,700, Turin 952,700, Palermo 696,700, Genoa 667,600,
Bologna 401,300, Florence 397,400 (1993). Land Use; forested
23%, pastures 15%, agricultural-cultivated 40%, other 22%
CLIMATE: Italy has a temperate climate with a variety of regional
characteristics. The Alps region has harsh winters and moderately warm
summers with abundant rainfall. The Po Plain has harsh winters with long
periods of subfreezing temperatures and warm sultry summers, with rainfall
more common in winter. The Alpennine region has extremely mild winters
and hot summers. Italy is also subject to fierce seasonal winds. Average
temperature ranges in Rome are from 4 to 11 degrees Celsius (39 to 52 degrees
Fahrenheit) in January to 20 to 30 degrees Celsius (68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit)
PEOPLE: The principal ethnic majority are the Italians who account
for 99% of the population and are an ethnic amalgamation of Lombard and
Goths from the north, Greeks, Spaniards and Saracens from Sicily, Latins
in and around Rome, Etruscans and others from Central Italy. Other ethnic
minorities include the German speaking population of Bolzano, Tyroleans,
Greeks, Albanians, Slovenes and a small number of French speakers.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 191 persons per sq km
(495 persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 67.2% urban, 32.8% rural (1990).
Sex Distribution; 48.6% male, 51.4% female (1990). Life Expectancy at Birth;
73.5 years male, 80.0 years female (1989). Age Breakdown; 18% under 15,
24% 15 to 29, 20% 30 to 44, 19% 45 to 59, 14% 60 to 74, 5% 75 and over
(1988). Birth Rate; 9.8 per 1,000 (1991). Death Rate; 9.6 per 1,000 (1991).
Increase Rate; 0.2 per 1,000 (1991). Infant Mortality Rate; 8.3 per 1,000
live births (1991).
RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians with 83% of the population Roman
Catholic while there are also Protestant minorities. Other religious minorities
include Jews and Muslims.
LANGUAGES: The official language is Italian which is spoken by
94% of the population. Each region has its own dialect and other minority
languages include Sardinian, Rhaetian, German and French.
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: no formal schooling
19.3%, primary 47.4%, lower secondary 18.0%, upper secondary 11.2%, higher
4.1% (1981). Literacy; literate population aged 15 or over 47,507,000 or
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In June 1946, after a referendum
showed the majority of people wanted a republican system of government,
King Humberto II officially abdicated and was replaced by Enrico De Nicola
as head of state. A new constitution was adopted in 1947 and under the
Allied Peace Treaty, which Italy signed in Feb. 1947, it lost its overseas
colonies. On Jan. 1, 1948 Italy officially became the Italian Republic
with Luigi Einaudi as President. In 1949 Italy became a founding member
of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and was admitted into
the UN in 1955. During the 1960's Italy entered a phase of economic privatization
and rapid industrial growth while during the 1970's there was a marked
increase in the activities of extreme left and righting terrorist groups
such as the Red Brigades and neo fascists. In 1978 the Red Brigades abducted
and murdered Aldo Moro, the Christian Democratic Party's President. In
Aug. 1980 neo fascists planted a bomb in Bologna which killed 84 people
and wounded nearly 200 others. During the 1980's there was a decrease in
terrorist activities. In June 1989 protracted negotiations interrupted
parliamentary elections and eventually led to the country's 49th government
since the end of World War II, while in Mar. 1990 Giulio Andreotti formed
his 7th and the country's 50th government. During 1991 the government embarked
on an anti-Mafia program, which involved the military, after a number of
supreme court judges had been murdered. In March 1991 some 10,000 Albanians
landed at Italian ports and were subsequently transported to various parts
of the country and housed in abandoned hotels, buildings and tent cities.
In the same month, Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti tendered his resignation
over disagreement with the Socialists over a proposed Cabinet reshuffle,
although a couple of days later he was back in office albeit without the
Republican Party in his coalition. In June 1991 a referendum was held to
reduce polling station election fraud that resulted in the elimination
of two clauses in the law governing electoral procedures. In Aug. 1991
another 18,000 Albanians arrived in Italy and were subsequently rounded
up an deported home. In April 1992 general elections resulted in a setback
for the ruling Christian Democrats (CD) and the Socialists while the party
to make the most gains was the Lombard League, which had been established
five years earlier. In 1992 corruption and indictments of public figures
featured prominently with some 160 politicians under investigation for
corruption and bribes while local council members were also indicted over
public works scandals. In Feb. 1992 a Milan magistrate, Antonio Di Pietro
instigated the so-called Operation Clean Hands to purge the government
of corruption that resulted in him becoming a national hero. Following
election on April 5, 1992 Pres. Francessco Cossiga resigned two months
short of his full seven year term and his departure on April 25, 1992 created
a delay in the formation of a new government. On May 25, 1992 Oscar Luigi
Scalfaro was elected as President and by the end of June 1992 a new government
had formed with Giuliano Amato as Prime Minister. In Sept. 1992 Prime Minister
Amato announced drastic economic austerity measures which included a new
taxation program. In response unions-organized demonstration and marches
were held throughout the country while Amato requested the Parliament to
grant him "emergency powers" to rule by decree. In Oct. and Nov.
1992 both houses of Parliament had approved the austerity measures. Also
during 1992 the Mafia increased its activities by assassinating two Sicilian
magistrates, once of which included the murder of Giovanni Falcone and
his wife as well as Paolo Borsellino and his five bodyguards sent shockwaves
of horror through the country. In 1993 Operation Clean Hands had implicated
by years end five former Prime Ministers and 200 members of Parliament
with accusations of embezzlement, fraud, acceptance of bribes and extortion
involving billions of dollars. In Jan. 1993 Salvatore Riina, the Mafia
boss of bosses, was arrested after 23 years at large. In Feb. 1993 Bettino
Craxi a former Prime Minister and leader of the Socialists resigned over
allegations he accepted a US $25 million bribe in exchange for a public
works contract while his party deputy, Claudio Martelli, also resigned.
Also in the same month the leader of the Republican Party, Giorgio La Malfa
also resigned and in March 1993 the leader of the Liberal Party, Renato
Altissimo resigned. In May 1993 Franco Nobili head of the IRI controlling
body for public-sector industries was arrested. Others arrested included
judges and prominent executives of both large public and private companies.
In April 1993 a former seven times prime minister, Giulio Andreotti, was
accused of being Rome's Mafia agent by the Parliament's anti-Mafia commission
while in June 1993 Andreotti was also suspected of involvement in the murder
of a "inconvenient" journalist in March 1979. Also in April 1993
Amato resigned as Prime Minister after losing 7 of his Ministers through
the judicial inquiry. Following which Pres. Scalfaro picked Carlo Azeglio
Ciampi, former head of the Bank of Italy, as Amato's successor. From May
to July 1993 five separate bomb attacks occurred in Rome, Milan and Florence
with the worst killing five people. In Oct. 1993 Mafia boss Salvatore Riina
was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of two Mafia members.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Euro divided into 100
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $1,134,800,000,000 (1993).
Public Debt; USD $1,038,200,000,000 (1993). Imports; L 232,187,445,000,000
(1993). Exports; L 265,092,306,000,000 (1993). Tourism Receipts; USD $20,521,000,000
(1993). Balance of Trade; L 50,789,000,000,000 (1993). Economically Active
Population; 22,621,800 or 40.6% of total population (1993). Unemployed;
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are Germany,
France, the UK, the USA, the former USSR and Saudi Arabia.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Asbestos, Cereals, Citrus Fruits, Fish, Grapes,
Iron Ore, Livestock, Marble, Mercury, Oil and Natural Gas, Olives, Potash,
Potatoes, Soft Fruits, Sugar, Sulfur, Vegetables, Zinc.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Chemicals, Clothing, Fishing, Food
Processing, Iron and Steel, Machinery, Motor Vehicles, Oil and Gas Refining,
Textiles, Tourism, Wine.
MAIN EXPORTS: Chemicals, Clothing, Food, Footwear, Iron and Steel,
Machinery, Motor Vehicles, Petroleum Products, Textile Yarns and Fabrics.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 19,566 km (12,158 mi) (1988),
passenger-km 44,328,000,000 (27,544,000,000 passenger-mi) (1989), cargo
ton-km 20,856,000,000 (14,284,000,000 short ton-mi) (1989). Roads; length
301,846 km (187,558 mi) (1986). Vehicles; cars 24,307,000 (1989), trucks
and buses 2,082,000 (1989). Merchant Marine; vessels 1,616 (1990), deadweight
tonnage 11,840,826 (1990). Air Transport; passenger-km 22,754,000,000 (14,139,000,000
passenger-mi) (1990), cargo ton-km 1,168,400,000 (800,237,000 short ton-mi)
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 111 with a total circulation
of 9,048,700 (1993). Radio; receivers 45,350,000 (1994). Television; receivers
17,000,500 (1994). Telephones; units 32,945,122 (1992).
MILITARY: 322,300 (1994) total active duty personnel with 63.6%
army, 13.7% navy and 22.7% air force while military expenditure accounts
for 2.1% (1991) of the Gross National Product (GNP).
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