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AREA: 301,225 Sq Km (116,304 Sq Mi)

POPULATION: (1997) 57,263,700


CAPITAL: Rome Population:

GOVERNMENT: Multiparty Republic
Head of State: 
Head of Government:

GEOGRAPHY: Italy is located in southern Europe. It is bound by Tyrrhenian and Ligurian Seas to the west, France to the northwest, Switzerland and Austria to the north, Slovenia to the northeast, the Adriatic Sea to the east as well as the Ionian and Mediterranean Seas to the south. The territory includes the mainland and the islands of Sardinia and Sicily as well as some other smaller islands. The country is predominantly mountainous with plains accounting for less than 33% of the land area. The two principal mountain ranges are (1.) the Alps which are divided into the three ranges of the Western Alps, the Central Alps and the Eastern Alps. (2.) The Apennines which is divided into the Northern or Ligurian Apennines and the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. Except for the Po Plain, the plains of Italy are small in land area and numbers. The principal rivers are the Po, Tevere or Tiber, Arno, Volturno, Liri and Adige as well as many shorter rivers that flow to the Adriatic Sea. Major Cities (pop. est.); Rome 2,723,300, Milan 1,358,600, Naples 1,071,700, Turin 952,700, Palermo 696,700, Genoa 667,600, Bologna 401,300, Florence 397,400 (1993). Land Use; forested 23%, pastures 15%, agricultural-cultivated 40%, other 22% (1993).

LANGUAGES: The official language is Italian which is spoken by 94% of the population. Each region has its own dialect and other minority languages include Sardinian, Rhaetian, German and French.

RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians with 83% of the population Roman Catholic while there are also Protestant minorities. Other religious minorities include Jews and Muslims.

TIME: GMT + 1 (GMT + 2 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).