Italy Travel Information

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Aosta
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Milan
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Venice
Verona
Vicenza
 
Parks.it Information about Italian natural parks
WWF Italy The World Wide Fund For Nature in Italy

Facts About Italy

Background: Italy became a nation-state belatedly - in 1861 when the city-states of the peninsula, along with Sardinia and Sicily, were united under King Victor EMMANUEL. An era of parliamentary government came to a close in the early 1920s when Benito MUSSOLINI established a Fascist dictatorship. His disastrous 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 was a charter member of NATO and the European Economic Community (EEC). It has been at the forefront of European economic and political unification, joining the European Monetary Union in 1999. Persistent problems include illegal immigration, the ravages of organized crime, corruption, high unemployment, and the low incomes and technical standards of southern Italy compared with the more prosperous north.
Government type: republic
Capital: Rome
Currency: Italian lira (ITL); euro (EUR)

Geography of Italy

Location: Southern Europe, a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, northeast of Tunisia
Geographic coordinates: 42 50 N, 12 50 E
Area:
total: 301,230 sq km
land: 294,020 sq km
water: 7,210 sq km
note: includes Sardinia and Sicily
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 (Monte Bianco) 4,807 m
Natural resources: mercury, potash, marble, sulfur, dwindling natural gas and crude oil reserves, fish, coal, arable land
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-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, 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, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified:  Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note: strategic location dominating central Mediterranean as well as southern sea and air approaches to Western Europe

People of Italy

Italy is largely homogeneous linguistically and religiously but is diverse culturally, economically, and politically. Italy has the fifth-highest population density in Europe--about 200 persons per square kilometer (490 per sq. mi.). Minority groups are small, the largest being the German-speaking people of Bolzano Province and the Slovenes around Trieste. Other groups comprise small communities of Albanian, Greek, Ladino, and French origin. Immigration has increased in recent years, however, while the Italian population is declining overall due to low birth rates. Although Roman Catholicism is the majority religion--85% of native-born citizens are nominally Catholic--all religious faiths are provided equal freedom before the law by the constitution.

Population: 58,103,033 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  14.17%
15-64 years:  67.48%
65 years and over:  18.35%
Population growth rate: 0.07% 
Birth rate: 9.05 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 10.07 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 1.73 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 5.84 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  79.14 years
male:  75.97 years
female:  82.52 years
Total fertility rate: 1.18 children born/woman 
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: predominately Roman Catholic with mature Protestant and Jewish communities and a growing Muslim immigrant community
Languages: Italian (official), 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: 98% (1998)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Italy > Map Economy History