italy

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a unitary parliamentary republic in Southern Europe. To the north, it borders France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia along the Alps. To the south, it consists of the entirety of the Italian Peninsula,...

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Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a unitary parliamentary republic in Southern Europe. To the north, it borders France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia along the Alps. To the south, it consists of the entirety of the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Sardinia–the two largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea–and many other smaller islands. The independent states of San Marino and the Vatican City are enclaves within Italy, while Campione d'Italia is an Italian exclave in Switzerland. The territory of Italy covers some 301,338 km2 and is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. With 60.8 million inhabitants, it is the fifth most populous country in Europe, and the 23rd most populous in the world.

Rome, the capital of Italy, has for centuries been a political and religious centre of Western civilisation as the capital of the Roman Empire and site of the Holy See. After the decline of the Roman Empire, Italy endured numerous invasions by foreign peoples, from Germanic tribes such as the Lombards and Ostrogoths, to the Byzantines and later, the Normans, among others. Centuries later, Italy became the birthplace of Maritime republics and the Renaissance. Through much of its post-Roman history, Italy was fragmented into numerous city and regional states, but was unified in 1861. In the late 19th century, through World War I, and to World War II, Italy possessed a colonial empire.

Modern Italy is a democratic republic. It has been ranked as the world's 24th most-developed country and its Quality-of-life Index has been ranked in the world's top ten in 2005. Italy enjoys a very high standard of living, and has a high GDP per capita. It is a founding member of what is now the European Union and part of the Eurozone. Italy is also a member of the G8, G20 and NATO. It has the world's third-largest gold reserves, eighth-largest nominal GDP, tenth highest GDP and the sixth highest government budget in the world. It is also a member state of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, the Council of Europe, the Western European Union and the United Nations. Italy has the world's ninth-largest defence budget and shares NATO's nuclear weapons.

some cities

experiences (2)

have you spent time in italy? share your experiences

3

rome, italy - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 11/02/13.

I lived in Italy for a year, and I've been back for 2 week stretches to visit in-laws, take trips etc. Probably around 1.5-2 years total time spent there so far. I was 27 when I first arrived. I was in California before that, Japan before that, and Spain before that!

I chose Italy because I had a few friends living there (friends from my time and studies in Spain) and they said it was amazing and there were plenty of jobs. At the time I wasn't happy with my position at a bank in the US so I left and went to Rome.

Ahh Rome. Big, historic, beautiful- amazing architecture and art. Great food. First impressions are positive, and as you live there you see the cracks that any society has- bureaucracy, traffic, litter, poverty.

How does Rome compare to other cities in Italy? What drew you to Rome over other cities in Italy?

Very nice. Better weather than the north, close to the sea (30 minutes drive), more jobs, also more traffic and at times pretty crazy. Not the most peaceful city in Italy, nor the most green, but there is something for everyone there.

What are the Italian people like? In what ways are they different than people in other places you've lived?

Italians are...

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2

italy - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/13/13.

How much time have you spent in Italy?

I’ve spent three years in Italy in one run, but through various visits both in my childhood and after my move there and subsequent move back to the U.S., I’ve spent a great deal of time there... maybe five or six years in total?

How old you are/were while in Italy?

I was 19 when I moved and 22 when I moved back home.

What brought you to Italy? Where were you before?

I went to Italy for three reasons: 1) Being Italian American, I have always been very close to my heritage and wanted to find out more. Wanting to experience actually living in Italy was really important for me. 2) I wanted to go to university there and it was leaps and bounds cheaper than school in the U.S. 3) I was able to go and not have to think about visas or anything because I have dual U.S./Italian citizenship.

Describe the city you live/lived in in Italy and your impressions of it.

I first moved to Catania, Sicily. My family is from Sicily, so it’s near and dear to my heart (though they are not from Catania). The weather is fantastic, the people are kind and hospitable and the food is absolutely excellent. However, it seems like nobody works as the same...

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demographics

population

61,261,254 (July 2012 est.)

ethnic groups

Italian (includes small clusters of German-, French-, and Slovene-Italians in the north and Albanian-Italians and Greek-Italians in the south)

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)

religions

Christian 80% (overwhelming Roman Catholic with very small groups of Jehova Witnesses and Protestants), Muslims NEGL (about 700,000 but growing), Atheists and Agnostics 20%

age structure

0-14: 0-14 years: 13.8% (male 4,327,307/ female 4,138,369)

15-64: 15-64 years: 65.7% (male 19,883,114/ female 20,355,285)

65+: 65 years and over: 20.5% (male 5,350,173/ female 7,207,006) (2012 est.)

urbanization

68% of total population (2010)

life expectancy

81.86 years

obesity rate

9.8% (2005)

literacy rate

98.4%

average years of education

16 years

economics

cost of living

6/10 (medium-high)

economic overview

Italy has a diversified industrial economy, which is divided into a developed industrial north, dominated by private companies, and a less-developed, welfare-dependent,...

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Italy has a diversified industrial economy, which is divided into a developed industrial north, dominated by private companies, and a less-developed, welfare-dependent, agricultural south, with high unemployment. 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, but exceptionally high public debt burdens and structural impediments to growth have rendered it vulnerable to scrutiny by financial markets. Public debt has increased steadily since 2007, reaching 120% of GDP in 2011, and borrowing costs on sovereign government debt have risen to record levels. During the second half of 2011 the government passed a series of three austerity packages to balance its budget by 2013 and decrease its public debt burden. These measures included a hike in the value-added tax, pension reforms, and cuts to public administration. The government also faces pressure from investors and European partners to address Italy's long-standing structural impediments to growth, such as an inflexible labor market and widespread tax evasion. The international financial crisis worsened conditions in Italy's labor market, with unemployment rising from 6.2% in 2007 to 8.4% in 2011, but in the longer-term Italy's low fertility rate and quota-driven immigration policies will increasingly strain its economy. The euro-zone crisis along with Italian austerity measures have reduced exports and domestic demand, slowing Italy's recovery. Italy's GDP is still 5% below its 2007 pre-crisis level.

major industries

tourism, machinery, iron and steel, chemicals, food processing, textiles, motor vehicles, clothing, footwear, ceramics

tourism, machinery, iron and steel, chemicals, food processing, textiles, motor vehicles, clothing, footwear, ceramics

gdp per capita

$30,500 (2011 est.)

gdp growth rate

0.4% (2011 est.)

gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 2% industry: 24.7% services: 73.4% (2011 est.)

unemployment rate

8.4% (2011 est.)

population below poverty line

NA%

gini index

32 (2006) country comparison to the world: 104 27.3 (1995)