Independence Year : 1861
Population : 57680000
Life Expectancy : 79.0
Capital : 1464
GNP : 1161755.00
GNP Old : 1145372.00
Local Name : Italia
Government Form : Republic
Location : Southern Europe, a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea
Terrain : Mostly rugged and mountainous
Climate : Generally mild mediterranean; cold winters in the north
Ethnic Group : Primarily Italian, but there are small groups of German-, French-, Slovene-, and Albanian-Italians.
Religions : Roman Catholic (majority)
Official Website : www.parlamento.it
Genral Information - Italy
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.
(Source: CIA - The World Factbook)