Three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and red; similar to the flag of Ireland, which is longer and is green (hoist side), white, and orange; also similar to the flag of the Cote d'Ivoire, which has the colors reversed - orange (hoist side), white, and green
note: inspired by the French flag brought to Italy by Napoleon in 1797
Italy became a nation-state in 1861 when the city-states of the peninsula, along with Sardinia and Sicily, were united under King Victor EMMANUEL II. 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 Economic and Monetary Union in 1999. Persistent problems include illegal immigration, organized crime, corruption, high unemployment, sluggish economic growth, and the low incomes and technical standards of southern Italy compared with the prosperous north.
Why visit Italy
There are about 40,000 hotels in Italy. Every hotel has rates fixed in agreement with the Provincial Tourist Board. Most hotels quote all-inclusive rates, which include taxes, service, heating or air-conditioning. Also we have around 2,000 quality approved Bed&Breakfast located in the most popular destinations around Italy. Also hundreds of convents, monasteries and other religious institutions offering accommodations. Accommodation in private homes and villas are available in most cities and towns in Italy.
• ART CITIES: Italy has a long recorded history that the biggest problem facing the traveler is to choose among the nation's endless cultural attractions. All main centres, most of the provincial cities and many quite small towns have museums. Of all the countries in the worls, there is none more magical than Italy, a traveler's dream destination. Ancien monuments and archeological sites are perfectly preserved; the museums are bursting with the genious of Italy's
finest sons: Raffaello, Michelangelo, Tiziano, Canova; contemporary architects are still inspired by ancient buildings and squares (piazze). Italian cities are veritable living museums
• BEACHES: The Mediterranean hosts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Italy's beach resorts attract more and more tourists year after year, for it is said the Italian beaches are like treasures to discover and behold. The beach resorts were home to many tourists during the summer season, today many now claim this their year round home.
The wonders of sea air provide some of the healthiest fresh air, known for their regenerative properties; the sea air is a relief and a healthy escape from city life.Italy is a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, northeast of Tunisia. Its 7,600 km of coastline have some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean, the Ligurian Sea, the Sardinian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea, in the west the Sicilian Sea, and the Ionian Sea in the south and the Adriatic Sea in the east. After exploring the cities, touring the lakes and walking in the mountains, the beaches are the perfect place to relax, unwind and reflect. Most of the year the beaches are sunny, and with 7,600 miles of shoreline bordering Italy and its islands, you can easily find waters where the temperatures are ideal for swimming. Miles upon miles of golden, sun drenched sand, in some places up to 1 km deep. The sea welcomes the sun seeker in comfort and style. An array of colours, which one can quickly identify by the rows of neatly laid out sun umbrellas and deck chairs, which seem to almost dot the entire seashore.
• FOOD AND WINE: The main characteristic of Italian cooking is its healthy balance, the excellent basic ingredients being simply cooked and retaining their original goodness and freshness. Simple and yet with such a variety of flavors and rich inventiveness in preparation, that even the most demanding gourmet is delighted. ts climate, soil and very old traditions of viticulture make Italy a natural wine growing nation. The wines are as personal as a name, as different as the colors of the rainbow and as much a part of Italian life as almost 3,000 years of tradition can make them. The Etruscans of North-Central Italy, who created one of the peninsula's earliest civilizations, left evidence of how to make wine. The Greeks who soon after established themselves in the South gave Italy the name Enotria (the land of wine).For centuries wine growing has been the cultivation which used most of the labor of the Italian farmers; this is still true today; a large part of the population is engaged in the vine and wine industry.
• MEETING AND INCENTIVES: Italy has always been a true oasis of knowledge, a place for meeting and comparison where experiences can be exchanged and influences intersected. Environment and quality make Italy a perfect destination for the traveler and businessman. The tradition of the Grand Tour, encouraged by the Enlightenment in the 18th. century and by the rich bourgeoisie during the following century has now become a mass phenomenon, and modern tourism brings over 15 billions of dollars into Italy every year. Behind this « uncontrollable desire » to visit Italy is probably the variety of things to do and see, places to visit, people to meet. Tour operators the world over know and appreciate this great variety. In a world where there is an ever growing mobility from a geographical, professional and cultural point of view and work tends to be conducted more on an individual basis than before and be more specialized, a country like Italy which offers stimulating environments, a good climate and a variety and wealth of history and culture is also ideal for conventions, which are of course connected with travel, holidays and tourism.
Participants at conventions in any region of Italy find fully-equipped centers and beautiful venues, often in particularly prestigious places and which are efficiently organized. In fact the options for venues are so numerous as to be quite unique the world over. In addition to the traditional convention centers and big hotels with congress facilities, one can choose from a wide range of old palaces, castles, historic residences, resorts, magnificent villas and country seats, often set in parks in the Italian style with fountains, lakes and plenty of vegetation, carefully chosen and well tended.
Here is an inextricable fabric of landscape and architecture, works of art and traditions which distinguish Italy from other countries and make it the «ideal place» for conventions in all four seasons, for work and pleasure. And this is a great advantage for the congress-goer because work and pleasure are becoming more strongly linked all the time. The exchange of information, feelings and opinions which one particular group of individuals takes part in at a congress is unlimited, and direct exchanges cannot be substituted by even the most powerful media.
The congress world is a business in itself, whose importance can be seen from the following figures: in 1999 8,100 international congresses were held in the world, meaning that people attended from countries other than the host nation. The data furnished by the UAI (Union des Associations Internationales) shows Italy as being fifth in Europe and sixth among the organizing countries with 384 congresses. This activity creates tourism of a high quality which integrates the congress work and stimulates the
• THERMAL SPAS: Italy's richness in thermal and mineral waters, combined with the mildness of the climate and the beauty of the scenery, have made it a favourite venue for "health care tourism". Since the last century hotels with extensive facilities have grown up around spas, which have established international reputations. Abano, Salsomaggiore, Chianciano, Montecatini, Fiuggi and Ischia are just a few names among the many which are known throughout the world and which attract millions of visitors every year.
Southern Europe, a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, northeast of Tunisia Geographic coordinates: 42 50 N, 12 50 E
total: 301,230 sq km
land: 294,020 sq km
water: 7,210 sq km
note: includes Sardinia and Sicily
Area - comparative: slightly larger than Arizona
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
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
The following chart gives approximate
journey times (in hours and minutes)
from Rome to other major cities/towns.
Holidays in Italy
Offices and Shops are closed all Sundays in Italy. In major tourist areas especially during high season many shops are now open.
Here is the list of National Statutory Holidays: JANUARY 1 New Year's Day JANUARY 6 Epiphany Easter Sunday Easter Monday APRIL 25 Liberation Day MAY 1 Labor Day AUGUST 15 Assumption of the Virgin NOVEMBER 1 All Saints Day DECEMBER 8 Day of Immaculate Conception DECEMBER 25 Christmas Day DECEMBER 26 Santo Stefano (Boxing Day)
Offices and Shops are also closed in the following cities on the local feast days honoring their patron Saints: APRIL 25 San Marco (VENEZIA) JUNE 24 San Giovanni Battista (FIRENZE, GENOVA, TORINO) JUNE 29 San Pietro e Paolo (ROMA) JULY 15 Santa Rosalia (PALERMO) SEPTEMBER 19 San Gennaro (NAPOLI) OCTOBER 4 San Petronio (BOLOGNA) OCTOBER 30 San Saturnino (CAGLIARI) NOVEMBER 3 San Giusto (TRIESTE) DECEMBER 6 San Nicola (BARI) DECEMBER 7 Sant'Ambrogio (MILANO)
General information about Italy Climate: predominantly Mediterranean; Alpine in far north; hot, dry in south. The moderating influence of the sea and the protection given by the Alpine barrier from the cold north winds join to bless Italy with a temperate climate. Nevertheless, the weather varies considerably according to how far one is from the sea or the mountains. The winter is very cold in the Alps, cold and foggy in the Po Plain and the central Apennines; mild and even warm on the Ligurian coast, the Neapolitan coast and in Sicilia.
The summer is hot and dry, but the temperature is mitigated on the coast by sea breezes and in the Apennines and Alps it is pleasantly cool. In mountain areas, winter is ideal for skiing, and summer for excursions, hiking, etc. Seaside and lake resorts, with their excellent hotel facilities, have an intense tourist season in the summer, while the cities that are rich in art treasures are ideal in spring and autumn. Terrain: mostly rugged and mountainous; some plains, coastal lowlands Elevation extremes: lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco) de Courmayeur 4,748 m (a secondary peak of Mont Blanc) Natural resources: coal, mercury, zinc, potash, marble, barite, asbßestos, pumice, fluorospar, feldspar, pyrite (sulfur), natural gas and crude oil reserves, fish, arable land Land use: arable land: 27.79%
permanent crops: 9.53%
other: 62.68% (2001) Irrigated land: 26,980 sq km (1998 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-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants Geography - note: strategic location dominating central Mediterranean as well as southern sea and air approaches to Western Europe PEOPLE Population: 58,103,033 (July 2005 est.) Age structure: 0-14 years: 13.9% (male 4,166,213/female 3,919,288)
15-64 years: 66.7% (male 19,554,416/female 19,174,629)
65 years and over: 19.4% (male 4,698,441/female 6,590,046) (2005 est.) Median age: total: 41.77 years
male: 40.24 years
female: 43.35 years (2005 est.) Population growth rate: 0.07% (2005 est.) Birth rate: 8.89 births/1,000 population (2005 est.) Death rate: 10.3 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.) Net migration rate: 2.07 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.) Sex ratio: at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2005 est.) Infant mortality rate: total: 5.94 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 6.55 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.29 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.) Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.68 years
male: 76.75 years
female: 82.81 years (2005 est.) Total fertility rate: 1.28 children born/woman (2005 est.) 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: 98.6%
female: 98.3% (2003 est.)
Country name: conventional long form: ItalianRepublic
conventional short form: Italy
local long form: Repubblica Italiana
local short form: Italia
former: Kingdom of Italy
Government type: Republic Capital: Rome Administrative divisions: 16 regions (regioni, singular - regione) and 4 autonomous regions* (regioni autonome, singular - regione autonoma); Abruzzo, 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 Independence: 17 March 1861 (Kingdom of Italy proclaimed; Italy was not finally unified until 1870) National holiday: Republic Day, 2 June (1946) Constitution: passed 11 December 1947; effective 1 January 1948; amended many times Legal system: based on civil law system; appeals treated as new trials; judicial review under certain conditions in Constitutional Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal (except in senatorial elections, where minimum age is 25) Executive branch: chief of state: President Giorgio Napolitano head of government: Prime Minister (referred to in Italy as the president of the Council of Ministers) Silvio
cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister and approved by the president elections: president elected by an electoral college consisting of both houses of parliament and 58 regional representatives for a seven-year term. note: a four-party government coalition includes PDL, Northern League and Center Democrats (as usual next spring will change again) Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament or Parlamento consists of the Senate or Senato della Repubblica (315 seats elected by popular vote of which 232 are directly elected and 83 are elected by regional proportional representation; in addition, there are a small number of senators-for-life including former presidents of the republic; members serve five-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camera dei Deputati (630 seats; 475 are directly elected, 155 by regional proportional representation; members serve five-year terms) Judicial branch: Constitutional Court or Corte Costituzionale (composed of 15 judges: one-third appointed by the president, one-third elected by parliament, one-third elected by the ordinary and administrative Supreme Courts)
Italy has a diversified industrial economy with roughly the same total and per capita output as France and the UK. This capitalistic economy remains divided into a developed industrial north, dominated by private companies, and a less developed, welfare-dependent agricultural south, with 20% unemployment. Most raw materials needed by industry and more than 75% of energy requirements are imported. Over the past decade, Italy has pursued a tight fiscal policy in order to meet the requirements of the Economic and Monetary Unions and has benefited from lower interest and inflation rates. The current government has enacted numerous short-term reforms aimed at improving competitiveness and long-term growth. Italy has moved slowly, however, on implementing needed structural reforms, such as lightening the high tax burden and overhauling Italy's rigid labor market and over-generous pension system, because of the current economic slowdown and opposition from labor unions. But the leadership faces a severe economic constraint: the budget has breached the 3% EU deficit ceiling.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $1.609 trillion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 1.3% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $27,700 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
services: 68.9% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
19.3% of GDP (2004 est.)
Industries: tourism, machinery, iron and steel, chemicals, food processing, textiles, motor vehicles, clothing, footwear, ceramics
Oil - production: 79,460 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption: 1.866 million bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports: 456,600 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports: 2.158 million bbl/day (2001)
Oil - proved reserves: 586.6 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production: 15.49 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 71.18 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 61 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 54.78 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 209.7 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance: $-21.1 billion (2004 est.)
Exports: $336.4 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.) Exports - commodities: engineering products, textiles and clothing, production machinery, motor vehicles, transport equipment, chemicals; food, beverages and tobacco; minerals and nonferrous metals
Exports - partners: Germany 14.1%, France 12.5%, US 8.3%, Spain 7.2%, UK 7.1% (2003) Imports: $329.3 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:
engineering products, chemicals, transport equipment, energy products, minerals and nonferrous metals, textiles and clothing; food, beverages and tobacco
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions within the member countries
Currency code: EUR
Exchange rates: euros per US dollar - 0.7336 (2010), 0.8089 (2004), 0.886 (2003), 1.0626 (2002), 1.1175 (2001), .0854 (2000)
Communications general assessment: modern, well developed, fast; fully automated telephone and data services domestic: high-capacity cable and microwave radio relay trunks international: country code - 39 Radio broadcast stations: AM about 100, FM about 4,600, shortwave 9 (1998) Television broadcast stations: 358 (plus 4,728 repeaters) (1995)
Telephones - main lines in use: 26.596 million (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 55.918 million (2003)
Emergency Telephone Numbers:
112 for Carabinieri's service
113 for Emergency Police Help
115 for the Fire Department
116 for the A.C.I. (Italian Automobile Club) - for road side assistance
118 for Medical Emergencies
176 International Inquires
Public telephones are available throughout Italy. Either local or international calls require the use of a phone card (Carta Telefonica) which may be purchased at any newsstand, tobacco shop or "bar"(coffee shop).
Long distance Calls (Interurbana)
Both local and long distance call require the proper area code before dialling the number. Ex: to place a call within Rome you must dial 06 + phone number.
To call Rome from Florence : 06 + phone number; to call Florence from Rome : 055 + phone number.
To call USA or Canada from Italy: 001+area code+ phone number.
Internet country code: .it
Internet hosts: 2,437,511 (2009)Internet users: 28.5 million (2010)
The Italian railway network, managed by Trenitalia S.p.A., spans over 16,000 km. Connections with France run along the Nice-Ventimiglia-Genoa coastline and through the Frejus tunnel via Modane, Bardonecchia, and Turin. The lines from Switzerland run through the Sempione Pass tunnel and across Ticino Canton from the Chiasso border crossing towards Milan. The Brennero and Tarvisio lines link Italy to Austria and then to central and western Europe. There are also a few private railway companies. The rail network is adequately developed and widespread, especially between major urban centers and tourist areas.
The railway is connected to the two main islands, Sardinia and Sicily, by means of ferries departing from Civitavecchia (Rome) and Villa San Giovanni (Reggio Calabria). The fastest trains operate on the networks between the major cities while the regional trains are fairly slow. It is also fairly cheap and efficient.
total: 19,507 km (11,651 km electrified)
standard gauge: 18,070 km 1.435-m gauge (11,375 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 123 km 1.000-m gauge (88 km electrified); 1,314 km 0.950-m gauge (188 km electrified) (2003)
no U-turns are permitted and stopping is permitted only in emergency parking areas or parking lanes. The Italian Highway Code follows the Geneva Convention and Italy uses international road signs. Driving is on the right, passing on the left. Violators of the highway code are fined; serious violations may also be punished by imprisonment.
There is an extensive and well maintained road network. Tolls are charged on the autostrade (highways). As in the rest of continental Europe, vehicles travel on the right and overtake on the left. The wearing of seatbelts is compulsory for front and back seat passengers as well as for the driver. The use of portable telephones is prohibited if they require intervention by hand to function.
Highways and Roads Highways are indicated by the letter "A" followed by a number written in white on a green background. They are almost all subject to tolls, except for some brief stretches, especially approaching urban areas. Tolls are paid in cash at highway exit points. It is also possible to pay by Viacard Telepass cards (systems that make automatic payment possible without stopping at the toll booths) or Viacard a highway toll payment card which can be bought, at a value of either 25 / 50 / 75 Euro, on the highway, in many banks or in ACI offices.
ACI provides complete car service throughout the country. Calls for assistance can be made 24 hours a day by calling 803.116 or by using the emergency booths located every 2 km along the roadway, They have buttons with a wrench symbol, to be used in the event of a breakdown, and with a red cross symbol for a first-aid emergency.
Service areas are very frequent along all of the highways. The rest stops are always open, and, in addition to refueling, they also offer other services such as restaurants, bars, information offices, and banking windows.
total: 479,688 km
paved: 479,688 km (including 6,621 km of expressways)
unpaved: 0 km (1999)
Waterways: taly has a total of almost 8,490 Km./ 5,275 miles of coastline, including the peninsula itself and all the numerous islands in the seas around the country.
There are many services linking the islands by sea to the mainland: the main links are by car ferries and hydro-foils. In addition, ships from all the countries around the Mediterranean are moored in the well-equipped Italian ports. The main Italian ports of embarkation for the large islands of Sicily and Sardinia are: Genoa, Livorno, Civitavecchia, Fiumicino, Naples and Villa San Giovanni.
Ports and harbors:
Augusta (Sicily), Bagnoli, Bari, Brindisi, Gela (Sicily), Genoa, La Spezia, Livorno, Milazzo (Sicily), Naples, Porto Foxi, Porto Torres (Sardinia), Salerno, Savona, Taranto, Trieste, Venice
Italy's main airports for intercontinental and international arrivals are 'Leonardo da Vinci' (Rome Fiumicino) and Malpensa (Milan); however, international flights arrive in almost all the country's numerous airports.
A wide range of flights is available from both traditional and low-cost airlines, covering a vast array of destinations.
Italy has air links with most European countries and with the rest of the world. The websites of the main regular and low-cost airlines provide further information on routes, flight times, prices and availability.
More or less all the airports are serviced by a dense network of taxis, buses and trains, which allow to reach one's final destination with a certain ease.
Travelling inside Italy
Travelling by air in Italy is easy, thanks to the wide range of flights and airlines that operate in the country. There are plenty of connections from one city to another, with frequent services from Rome-Fiumicino and Milan-Malpensa to all the other airports in Italy, and it is also simple and convenient to reach Sicily, Sardinia and the smaller islands from the mainland, with frequent services available.
There are almost forty other small and medium-sized airports in Italy, present in every region except Molise and Basilicata
Driving License Regulations:
Italy recognises driving licenses and other traffic documents that are valid in other countries. U.S. and Canadian driving licenses are valid in Italy but the license must be accompanied by a translation or an international license (check your local AAA in USA or CAA in Canada). For motorists not in possession of an International Driving license, the ACI (Automobile Club d'Italia) will issue a declaration upon presentation of a U.S. or a Canadian license. The declaration is obtainable at any ACI offices. Seat belts are compulsory in Italy. Speed limits are fixed at 50 km (31 miles) per hour in urban areas, 90 km (56 miles) per hour on secondary and local roads, 110 km (68 miles) per hour on main roads outside urban areas and 130 km (80 miles) per hour on highways, with penalties for violation in proportion to the amount of the excess.
ROAD DISTANCES between principal locations
(all distances are in kilometers)