Italy

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GENERAL INFORMATION

 

Population - Local time - Languages - Religion - Political context - Climate - Tourism - Food


Population


Total population (millions): 57.6
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Urban population: 67%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Average annual population growth: -0.1%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Surface area (km²) : 301,34


Population origin

Origin of the population% Of the population
Italian 94.2 %
Other 5.8 %



Main Cities Population
Roma 2 547 677
Milano 1 308 735
Napoli 984 242
Torino 900 608
Palermo 670 820
Genova 620 316



Local time

It is  %T:%M %A  in Roma, Milan (GMT+1 in winter, GMT+2 in summer).
Summer time from March to October



Languages
Official language: Italian
Italian has numerous regional languages: Sicilian, Sardinian, and different pronunciations according to regions, and even to cities.
Business languages: Italian and English.

Free translation tools

Eurodicautom
The European Union Dictionary (12 languages avalaible)

Systran
Free English-Italian-English translation of texts and web pages

Babel Fish
Free English-Italian-English translation of texts and web pages





Religion
Religious practises : Catholics 83.4%
No religion 16.1%
Others 0,5%.


Political context

Italy is Republic state based on parliamentary democracy. Italy (official name: Italian Republic) has very precarious political life and has had several dozen governments since the end of World War II.
President is the chief of the state and is elected by an electoral college consisting of both houses of parliament and regional representatives to serve a seven-year term. The President heads the armed forces and has powers to veto legislation, dissolve parliament and call elections. Prime Minister is the head of the government and enjoys the executive powers which include implementation of the law in the country and running the day-to-day affairs. Prime is appointed by the President and confirmed by the parliament on the basis of the majority support in the parliament to serve a five-year term. The Council of Ministers (cabinet) is nominated by the Prime Minister and approved by the President.
The legislation in Italy is bicameral. The parliament consists of 2 chambers: Senate (the upper house) consisting of 315 members and the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house) consisting of 630 members. The members of both the houses of the parliament are popularly and directly elected by a complex electoral system (which was last amendment in 2005) which combines proportional representation with a majority prize for the winning coalition. The executive branch of government is directly or indirectly dependent on the support of the parliament, often expressed through a vote of confidence. Prime Minister cannot dissolve the parliament. The people of Italy enjoy considerable political rights.
Though judiciary in Italy is independent, but it continues to be undermined by lengthy trial delays and the influence of organized crime. The main source of the law is the constitution of 1948 (amended many times). The legal system is based on civil law system and various judicial reviews by the Constitutional Court. Italy has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction. The judicial language in the country is Italian; having an interpreter is always possible.
Italy is ruled by law. Foreign nationals can generally expect a fair trial from the country’s judicial system. Corruption in Italy remains an issue, especially in politics and corporate sector – it has reached one of the highest levels in the Western Europe.


Major political parties

Numerous parties operate in Italy but no one party often has a chance of gaining power alone and thus parties work with each other to form coalition governments. Political parties in the country are aligned on two broad coalitions:
1) The Union: center-left comprising mainly of political parties like DS (Democrats of the Left), DL (Daisy-Democracy and Freedom), SDI (Italian Social Democrats) & Italian Communist Party;
2) House of Freedoms: center-right comprising mainly of parties like FI (Forza Italia), AN (National Alliance), UDC (Union of Christian Democrats of the Center), LEGA (Northern League) & Christian Democracy.


Major political leaders

President: Giorgio NAPOLITANO (since May 2006) - DS
Prime Minister: Romano PRODI (since 17 May 2006) - The Union


Next political election dates

President: May 2013
Parliamentary: May 2011




Climate

 

 

 


Tourism


Number of visitors in Italy 2004 2005 2006 World rank
Number of visitors (1000) 37,071 36,513 41,058 6
Source : World Tourisme Organization, data available in November 2005

 

Tourist sites
Italy is famous worldwide for its numerous tourist sites.
The most famous and the most visited historic monuments are located in Roma:
Among many others: the Coliseum, the Trévi's fountain and the Vatican.
The other cities are also very much visited, such as Venice and its famous canals, Florence and its offices museum, Pisa and its Tower.

For more information about tourism in Italy , check out the following web site(s) :
Italian Government Tourist Board



Food


Traditional dishes
The Italian food is famous worldwide and is known for its olive oil based dishes and for its "Pasta".
Appetizers:
Antipasti: It is the traditional appetizer with vegetables that are kept in olive oil (artichokes, egg plants, mushrooms, olives, onions, peppers, dried tomatoes, etc.).
The typical dishes:
Marinaded eggplants
Parmigiana Eggplant (Melanzane alla parmigiana): roasted eggplants with mozzarella on the top.
Asparaguses in Parmigiano Reggiano
Broccoli alla romana
Scalopina alla milanese
Pizzas
Risotto alla milanese: the risotto can be served either as a starter or as a main dish. It is a long grain rice, flavoured with saffron.
Pastas:
Lasagnes
Spaghetti
Ravioli...
Desserts:
Tiramisu: this dessert was invented in the Venetie's region and became a classic Italian cake. They are savoiardi, (also called lady fingers biscuits) staged and stuffed with cheese mascarpone and very strong coffee.
Zabaglione or Zabayon. The recipe was invented in the Reggio Emilia's province and remains a regional specialty but the recipe has been fast passed on with numerous variants.
The Italian ice creams
There is furthermore in Italy a big variety of cheeses such as the Gorgonzola , Parmesan, mozzarella, mascarpone, ricotta and many others.
Finally, the prodigious variety of Italian wines must be mentionned. The influence of the Mediterranean sun and the flows of water on hill sides favour what seems to be a spontaneous wine culture. Italy counts 20 regions, with their own customs and wine-growing traditions.


Last modified on December 2006

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