General Facts:

Population: 6.65 million

Official Languages: Italian

Government: Government in Italy 

Capitals
Rome

Area: 301,338 km²

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About Italy

Italy, commanding a long Mediterranean coastline, has left a powerful mark on Western culture and cuisine. Its capital, Rome, is home to the Vatican as well as landmark art and ancient ruins. Other major cities include Florence, with Renaissance treasures such as Michelangelo’s “David” and its leather and paper artisans; Venice, the sinking city of canals; and Milan, Italy’s fashion capital.

 

Cuisine

Modern Italian cuisine has developed through centuries of social and political changes, with roots as far back as the 4th century BC. Italian cuisine in itself takes heavy influences, including Etruscan, ancient Greek, ancient Roman, Byzantine, and Jewish.Significant changes occurred with the discovery of the New World with the introduction of items such as potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers and maize, now central to the cuisine but not introduced in quantity until the 18th century. Italian cuisine is noted for its regional diversity, abundance of difference in taste, and is known to be one of the most popular in the world,wielding strong influence abroad.

 

Culture

For centuries divided by politics and geography until its eventual unification in 1861, Italy has developed a unique culture, shaped by a multitude of regional customs and local centres of power and patronage. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, a number of magnificent courts competed for attracting the best architects, artists and scholars, thus producing an immense legacy of monuments, paintings, music and literature.
Italy has more UNESCO World Heritage Sites (51) than any other country in the world, and has rich collections of art, culture and literature from many different periods. The country has had a broad cultural influence worldwide, also because numerous Italians emigrated to other places during the Italian diaspora. Furthermore, the nation has, overall, an estimated 100,000 monuments of any sort (museums, palaces, buildings, statues, churches, art galleries, villas, fountains, historic houses and archaeological remains).

 

Currency: Italian Euro

Crime & Security

Crime in Italy is combated by the spectrum of Italian law enforcement agencies. Italy has a lower per capita rate of rape than most of the advanced Western countries in the European Union. The Mafia originated in Italy, and its influence is widespread in Italian society, directly affecting a reported 22% of Italians and 14.6% of Italy’s Gross Domestic Product. Public figures such as former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi have been charged with association in organized criminal acts. The fight against the Mafia has cost many lives, including victims of high-profile assassinations, such as judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. Fraud is a major contributor to Italy’s crime rate, with some level of fraud appearing in all sectors of the economy since the country’s founding in 1861. Notable cases of financial fraud include the collapse of Parmalat in the early years of the 21st century, and the Lockheed bribery scandal in the 1970s. Insurance fraud also dramatically increases the cost of insurance in Italy, with 115,646 incidents of fraudulent claims in 2001 alone, with 3.28 percent of all claims in 2002 accertained to have involved fraud. The percentage rose above ten percent in some of the southern provinces.

 

Law enforcement 

Italy is provided by multiple police forces, five of which are national, Italian agencies. Italy divides police enforcement into Military and Civil guards, distinguishing each “corps” for duties and jurisdictions. All law enforcement officers are considered “Pubblico Ufficiale” (Public Functionary) but not all officers are “Agente di Pubblica Sicurezza” (Public Safety officer) as the latter gives the authority to arrest, investigate and patrol in the whole national territory and in all situations. All police are under the Ministero dell’Interno, the highest police and public safety authority, which – through the Department of Public Safety – coordinates the enforcements. Locally, Polizia di Stato is under the Authority of the Prefetto, who collaborates with the Questore (the local chief of Polizia di Stato, with technical jurisdiction on all forces) to organise the enforcements.

 

Emergency Numbers

113 Police

115 Fire brigade

116 Road help

117 Italian Customs/Financial/Border Police Guardia di Finanza

118 Ambulance

1515 Fire department (forestry)

194 Customer care services

Economy 

Italy is the 4th-largest national economy in Europe, the 8th-largest by nominal GDP in the world, and the 12th-largest by GDP (PPP). The country is a founding member of the European Union, the Eurozone, the OECD, the G7 and the G8. Italy is the eighth largest exporter in the world with $514 billion exported in 2015. Its closest trade ties are with the other countries of the European Union, with whom it conducts about 59% of its total trade. The largest trading partners, in order of market share, are Germany (12.6%), France (11.1%), United States (6.8%), Switzerland (5.7%), United Kingdom (4.7%), and Spain (4.4%). In the post-war period, Italy was transformed from an agricultural based economy which had been severely affected by the consequences of the World Wars, into one of the world’s most industrialized nations, and a leading country in world trade and exports. According to the Human Development Index, the country enjoys a very high standard of living, and has the world’s 8th highest quality of life according to The Economist. Italy owns the world’s third-largest gold reserve, and is the third net contributor to the budget of the European Union. The country is also well known for its influential and innovative business economic sector, an industrious and competitive agricultural sector (Italy is the world’s largest wine producer), and for its creative and high-quality automobile, naval, industrial, appliance and fashion design. Italy is the largest market for luxury goods in Europe (third in the world). Despite these important achievements, the country’s economy today suffers from many and relevant problems. After a strong GDP growth in 1945–1990, the last two decades’ average annual growth rates lagged below the EU average; moreover, Italy was hit particularly hard by the late-2000s recession. The stagnation in economic growth, and the political efforts to revive it with massive government spending from the 1980s onwards, eventually produced a severe rise in public debt. In addition, Italian living standards have a considerable North–South divide: the average GDP per capital in Northern and Central Italy significantly exceeds the EU average, whilst some regions and provinces in Southern Italy are dramatically below. In the Index of Economic Freedom 2015, the country ranked only 80th in the world, in particular due to the slow legal system, an excessive taxation, and a strong labor law.

 

Immigration

As of 1 January 2015, there were 5,014,437 foreign nationals resident in Italy. This amounted to 8.2% of the country’s population and represented an increase of 92,352 over the previous year. These figures include children born in Italy to foreign nationals (who were 75,067 in 2014; 14.9% of total births in Italy), but exclude foreign nationals who have subsequently acquired Italian nationality; this applied to 129,887 people in 2014. They also exclude illegal immigrants whose numbers are difficult to determine. In May 2008, The Boston Globe quoted an estimate of 670,000 for this group. The distribution of foreign born population is largely uneven in Italy: 59.5% of immigrants live in the northern part of the country (the most economically developed area), 25.4% in the central one, while only 15.1% live in the southern regions. The children born in Italy to foreign mothers were 102.000 in 2012, 99.000 in 2013 and 97.000 in 2014. Many illegal immigrants from Africa make the dangerous boat journey across the Mediterranean Sea to Italy. This has led to numerous disasters such as the 2007 Malta migrant shipwreck, the 2009 Libya migrant shipwreck, the 2011 migrant shipwreck, the 2013 Lampedusa migrant shipwreck, and the 2015 Mediterranean Sea migrant shipwrecks. Once in Italy, immigrants seeking asylum often are unable to leave due to the Dublin Regulation requirement that they stay in the first country where they are processed. Since the expansion of the European Union, the most recent wave of migration has been from surrounding European states, particularly Eastern Europe, and increasingly Asia, replacing North Africa as the major immigration area. About a million Romanians, around 10% of them being Roma, are officially registered as living in Italy. As of 2013, the foreign born population origin was subdivided as follows: Europe (50.8%), Africa (22.1%), Asia (18.8%), America (8.3%), and Oceania (0.1%).

 

Health 

Italy is known for its generally very good health, considering the fact that it has the world’s 2nd highest life expectancy in 2013 (according to World Health Organization[1]), low infant mortality, relatively healthy cuisine and diet, and healthcare system that is ranked 2nd according to World Health Organization[2] and which has the third best medical performance worldwide.[3] As with any developed country, Italy has adequate and sufficient water and food distribution, and levels of nutrition and sanitation are high.

 

Military

The Italian Armed Forces (italian: Forze armate italiane) encompass the Italian Army, the Italian Navy and the Italian Air Force. A fourth branch of the armed forces, known as the Carabinieri, take on the role as the nation’s military police and are also involved in missions and operations abroad as a combat force.

 

Political System

Italian politics, democratic republic, council of ministers, senate, president of the republic, Primo Ministro, Italian judiciary, Constitution of Italy, Palazzo Montecitorio, Palazzo del Quirinale, Palazzo Madama, Palazzo Chigi.

 

Sport

The most popular sport in Italy is, by far, football. Italy’s national football team is one of the world’s most successful team as it has won four FIFA World Cups (1934, 1938, 1982, and 2006). Italy’s club sides have won 27 major European trophies, making them the most successful nation in European football. Italy’s top-flight club football league, Serie A, is ranked fourth best in Europe and is followed by fans around the world. Other popular team sports in Italy include volleyball, basketball and rugby. The male and female national teams are often in top four ranking of teams in the world, regarded as the best volleyball league in the world. Italy has a long and successful tradition in individual sports as well. Bicycle racing is a very familiar sport in the country.

 

Transport

Italy has well developed public and private transportation options. Italian rail network is extensive, especially in the north, generally eclipsing the need for an alternative such as bus or air (both of which, however, exist to some extent). While a number of private railroads exist and provide mostly commuter-type services, the national railway, Ferrovie dello Stato, also provides sophisticated high-speed rail service that joins the major cities of Italy from Naples through northern cities such as Milan and Turin. Italy has 2507 people and 12.46 km2 (World’s seventh) per km of rail track. Italy’s road network is also widespread, with a total length of about 487,700 km. It comprises both an extensive motorway network(6,400 km), mostly toll roads, and national and local roads. Because of its long seacoast, Italy also has a large number of harbors for the transportation of both goods and passengers. Italy has been a seafaring peninsula dating back to the days of the Etruscans and the Greeks. Transport networks in Italy are fully integrated in theTrans-European_Transport_Networks.

 

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