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Italy Fun Facts

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) and its subsequent successors the EC and the EU. It has been at the forefront of European economic and political unification, joining the Economic and Monetary Union in 1999.

Total: 301,340 sq. km
Land: 294,140 sq. km
Water: 7,200 sq. km
Note: includes Sardinia and Sicily

Country comparison to the world: 73
**almost twice the size of Georgia; slightly larger than Arizona

Border countries (6):
Austria 404 km, France 476 km, Holy See (Vatican City) 3.4 km, San Marino 37 km, Slovenia 218 km, Switzerland 698 km

Predominantly Mediterranean; alpine in far north; hot, dry in south

Mostly rugged and mountainous; some plains, costal lowlands

7,600 km

Natural Hazards
Regional risks include landslides, mudflows, avalanches, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding; land subsidence in Venice

62,137,802 (July 2017 est.)
**Country comparison to the world: 23

Christian 80% (overwhelmingly Roman Catholic with very small groups of Jehovah's Witnesses and Protestants), Muslim (about 800,000 to 1 million), atheist and agnostic 20%

National Holiday
Republic Day, 2 June (1946)

Economy Overview
Italy’s economy compromises a developed industrial north, dominated by private companies, and a less-developed, highly subsidized, agricultural south, with a legacy of unemployment and underdevelopment. The Italian economy is driven in large part by the manufacture of high-quality consumer goods produced by small and medium-sized enterprises, many of them family-owned. Italy also has a sizable underground economy, which by some estimates accounts for as much as 17% of GDP. These activities are most common within the agriculture, construction, and service sectors. Italy is the third-largest economy in the euro zone.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$2.307 trillion (2017 est.)
$2.273 trillion (2016 est.)
$2.253 trillion (2015 est.)
Note: data are in 2017 dollars
Country comparison to the world: 13

Exchange rates
Euros (EUR) per US dollar
0.89 (2017 est.)
0.9 (2016 est.)
0.92 (2015 est.)
0.89 (2014 est.)
0.76 (2013 est.)

Country Name
Conventional long form: Italian Republic
Conventional short form: Italy
Local long form: Repubblica Italiana
Local short form: Italia
Former: Kingdom of Italy

Government Type
Parliamentary Republic


Time difference
UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington DC, during Standard Time)

Daylight Saving Time
+1hr (Begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October)

Administrative divisions
15 regions, 5 autonomous regions

Regions: Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio (Latium), Liguria, Lombardia, Marche, Molise, Piemonte (Piedmont), Pugliz (Apulia), Toscana (Tuscany), Umbria, Veneto

Autonomous regions: Friuli-Venezia Giulia; Sardegna (Sardinia); Sicilia (Sicily); Trentino-Alto Adige (Trentino-South Tyrol) or Trentino-Suedtirol (German); Valle d’Aosta (Aosta Valley) or Vallee d’Aoste (French)

March 17, 1861 (Kingdom of Italy proclaimed; Italy was not finally unified until 1871)

Executive branch:
Chief of State: President
Head of Government: Prime Minister (President of the Council of Ministers)
Cabinet: President of the Council of Ministers (locally known as the Premier)
Elections/Appointments: President indirectly elected by an electoral college consisting of both houses of Parliament and 58 regional representatives for a 7-year term (no term limits)

Via Cittorio Veneto 121, 00187-Rome
Address: PSC 59 Box 100, APO AE 09624
Consulate(s): Florence, Milan, Naples

To learn more, please visit: CIA World Factbook

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