Italy Overview
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A brief overview of Italy

Italy -- the Italian Republic -- is a boot-shaped peninsula extending from the southern edge of Europe into the Mediterranean Sea. It is slightly larger than Arizona, includes the two large islands Sicily and Sardinia, as well as enclosing entirely within its borders the independent nations San Marino and the Vatican City.

The city-states which preceeded modern Italy made a rich and lasting contribution to Western civilization in many different areas. The concept of a unified Italy as it exists today is a relatively recent one. The state of Italy was first organized as a constitutional monarchy under King Victor Emmanuel II in 1861, with Rome joining in 1870. In 1922, the Fascist party led by Mussolini began to take an ever-increasing amount of control over the country, eventually leading to disastrous defeat in the second World War. The modern Italian Republic was formed in 1948. Italy was a founding member of both the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union, and is a member of the Group of Eight.


























Area 301,230 sq km
Borders Austria, France, Holy See, San Marino, Slovenia, Switzerland
Climate predominately Mediterranean
Population 58,103,033(2005 est)
Population Growth .007%
Birth Rate 8.89 births/1000 population
Death Rate 10.3 deaths/1000 population
Life Expectancy 79.68 years
Languages Italian, also German, French, Slovene
Religion approx 87% Roman Catholic, also Protestant, Jewish, Muslim
Literacy 98.6%
Independence 17 March 1861
National Holiday Republic Day, 2 June
Head of Government Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
GDP $1.645 trillion
GDP Growth 0% - 2005
GDP per capita $28,300
GDP Composition

agriculture: 2.1%, industry: 28.8%, services 69.1%

Unemployment Rate 7.9%
Exports $371.9 billion
Export Partners Germany 13.6%, France 12.3%, US 8%, Spain 7.2%, UK 6.9%, Switzerland 4.2%
Imports $369.2 billion
Import Partners Germany 18%, France 10.9%, Netherlands 5.9%, Spain 4.6%, Belgium 4.4%, UK 4.3%, China 4.2%
External Debt $1.682 trillion
Currency Euro




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