OFFICIAL NAME: Italian Republic
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Multiparty Republic
AREA: 301,225 Sq Km (116,304 Sq Mi)

Direct Link to Political MapDirect Link to Physical MapLOCATION & 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% (1993).

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) in July.

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 97.1% (1990).

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 cents.

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; 10.4% (1993).

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) (1990).

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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