Italy Guide

Italy Guide

Italy – country information

Country name Italy
Official name Italian Republic
Capital Rome
Continent Europe
Area 301,318 km2
Population 59,943,933 (2013)
Foundation of a state 3/17/1861
The highest mountains Monte Bianco 4807 m
Longest rivers After (Fall) 652 km
The largest lakes Lake Garda 370 km2
State system a pluralist republic with a bicameral parliament
The biggest cities Roma (capital) 2,805,000, Milano 1,445,000, Napoli 1,210,000
Official language Italian
Ethnicity/National Composition Italians 95%, Sardinians 2.5%, Rhetians 1%, others 1.5%
Religious affiliation Roman Catholic 84%, no religion 14%, atheist 2%
Currency 1 euro = 100 cents
gross domestic product (GDP) US$29,812 (2012)
Average life expectancy of the population 79.81 years (2006)
Structure of GDP agriculture, forestry and fishing 3.2%, mining and industry 26%, construction 6%, services 64.8%

Italy – neighboring states

State Capital Area Population
France Paris 551,500 km2 65,844,000
Austria Vienna 83,858 km2 8,504,850
San Marino San Marino 61 km2 33,540
Slovenia Ljubljana 20,256 km2 2,061,963
Switzerland Bern 41,284 km2 8,112,200
Vatican Vatican 0.44 km2 839

Country overview

According to Abbreviationfinder, Italy is the country with the longest European history after Greece. On the other hand, its modern unification took place relatively recently. A long and rich history has left an unprecedented number of monuments throughout the country, from Roman ruins and statues, through medieval castles, to magnificent Renaissance buildings and masterpieces of a number of world-class painters and sculptors.

Natural conditions

Italy is a Mediterranean country in southern Europe, most of which lies on the Apennine Peninsula. It borders France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia from the northwest to the northeast through the great arc of the Alps. It has a very long coastline that begins in the west with the Gulf of Genoa of the Ligurian Sea. It is connected by a strait between the mainland, the island of Elba and French Corsica to the vast Tyrrhenian Sea washing Sicily in the south and Sardinia in the west. In the southeast, the Italian boot is washed by the deep Ionian Sea, connected to the Tyrrhenian Sea by the Straits of Sicily and Malta between Sicily and Tunisia and the narrow Strait of Messina between Sicily and Calabria. The Strait of Otranto, important for transport, leads to the Adriatic Sea.


During its long history, Italy was a great power, the foundation of the mighty Roman Empire, the cradle of the Roman Catholic Church and the Renaissance. It has a literary tradition stretching back almost without interruption to Roman times, but also a long history of political fragmentation and instability that survives to this day.


Italy is an advanced industrial country, which in the post-war period and especially in the 1960s and 1970s experienced enormous economic development, ranking 3rd in Europe and 6th in the world in terms of production value. Italy is heavily dependent on fuel and food imports, which causes its long-term negative trade balance and weak currency. Its difficulties culminated with the onset of a global recession, the inability to adapt to financial developments within the European Community and the devaluation of the lira. Italy is characterized by a large difference between the underdeveloped south (Mezzogiorno) and the highly developed north, this difference also brings significant political complications.

Country data

Location: Southern Europe

Time zone: CET

Total area: 301,340 km²

Land area: 294,140 km²

Water area: 7,200 km²

Length of the state border: 1,836 km

Bordering countries:
France: 476 km
Austria: 404 km
San Marino: 37 km
Switzerland: 698 km
Slovenia: 218 km
Vatican City: 3 km

Coastline: 7,600 km

Capital: Rome

Regions: 20
Abruzzi, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Liguria, Lombardia, Marche, Molise, Piemonte, Puglia, Sardegna, Sicilia, Toscana, Trentino-Alto Adige, Umbria, Valle d ‘ Aosta, Veneto

Electricity: 120, 220 V / 50 Hz

Telephone code: 00 39 (Source: Allcitycodes)

Highest point: Mont Blanc 4,748 m


Population: approx. 61.7 million residents (Countryaah, 2021)

Population growth: 0.3% per year

Population density (residents per km²): 205

Life expectancy: 79 (male), 85 (female)

Official language: Italian


  • 80% Christian
  • 20% other


In the Alps it is cold all year round (even in summer). The temperature between day and night fluctuates considerably. In the higher regions there is permanent snow.

The southern parts of the country are warmer and drier. In the summer months from June to August it can get very hot due to the Mediterranean climate.


Currency / finance

Currency unit: € / Euro (EUR)

Division: 1 € = 100 cents

ATMs: Yes, EC card (PIN number) or credit cards.

International credit cards: These are accepted by many hotels and shops.

Regulations: Foreign and national currencies can be imported and exported in unlimited amounts.

Customs regulations

The following may be carried duty-free:

  • 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos or 250 g tobacco
  • 1 liter of alcoholic beverages
  • small amounts of perfume

(Information applies to people aged 18 and over)

Tourists and people in transit can bring items of personal use with them duty-free.

Behavioral advice

Pickpockets are increasing in the areas that are frequently visited by tourists. In particular, trick fraud is quite common.

Therefore, always keep your money and valuables hidden on your body.


Tourism is one of the largest economic indicators in Italy.

Italy is one of the leading producers of wine, olives and olive oil. A lot of fruit is grown on large plantations, much Bordering countries is exported.

Industries: chemistry, vehicle construction, mechanical engineering, metal processing, textiles, tourism

Natural resources: natural gas, fish, farmland

Land use:

  • Usable land: 31%
  • Grain cultivation: 10%
  • Pasture area: 15%
  • Forests: 23%
  • other: 21%


Due to its location on the Mediterranean Sea, many different tree species find a suitable habitat in Italy. These include, for example, date, fig, almond, olive, orange and lemon trees, which are very common.

At low altitudes there are often oak and chestnut trees, while in the higher mountains there are mostly fir forests.

Due to the high level of agricultural exploitation (especially in the north) there is hardly anything left of the original vegetation in many regions of Italy.

The afforestation of trees and plants is an attempt to give the native animal species living in the wild a new habitat.


Although Italy is far behind in the animal diversity of Europe, there are still many different animal species, especially in the Alpine region. Brown bears, foxes, chamois, hares, red deer, ibexes, wild boars and wolves live here.

Due to its location, Italy serves as a transit country for many migratory birds. You can often see buzzards, hawks, vultures, partridges and quails.

The rich fish stocks in the coastal region of the Mediterranean Sea (sharks, tuna, swordfish,…) are threatened by the strong algae growth.

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