Italy with world-renowned cities such as Venice,
Florence and Rome as well as priceless remains from over
3,000 years of history protrude like a boot in the water
down to Africa and divide the Mediterranean. Italian
society is also divided. In northern Italy there is
modern industry and there, the wealth, measured in GDP
per person, is higher than in the rural areas of
southern Italy. The policy has been characterized by
great instability and frequent change of government. In
recent years, Italy has struggled with major economic
Brief profiles of Italy, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Italy projects like a big boot into the water
down to Africa and divides the Mediterranean into a
western and an eastern part. The country is 120 km far
from north to south and has a total coastal distance of
850 km. In the north, Italy is bounded by the Alps.
Some alpine peaks on the Italian side reach well over
4,000 meters. A series of mountain passes in the alpine
masses connect Italy with neighboring countries France,
Switzerland and Austria.
In the northeast, Italy has a short land border with
Slovenia. In the west, the country is surrounded by the
Ligurian and Tyrrhenian seas, in the east by the
Adriatic Sea and in the south the country has a coast
towards the Ionian Sea.
With the exception of the fertile Poslätt in the
northeast and some coastal areas, the Italian landscape
is mountainous. From the southern part of Poslättens
rises the mountain range Apennines, which then extends
down the entire peninsula. In the region of Campania (Campania)
is the still active volcano Vesuvius.
On the island of Sicily, which is separated from the
mainland by the narrow Messina Strait, lies the 3,330
meter high volcano Etna, which releases lava almost
every year. The mountainous island of Sardinia lies
between the mainland and the Spanish archipelago of the
Italy has a very varied climate. The northern parts
are temperate, but in the south there is a Mediterranean
climate with dry hot summers and mild rainy winters.
Most precipitation falls in the west and in the north.
The rainfall is gradually decreasing further south in
In winter, there can be minus degrees and snow in the
Milan area, while Sicily is 20 degrees warm. In the
summers, the differences are not so extreme. The
temperature in the north can reach around 30 degrees
heat and in Sicily around 40 degrees.
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
301 309 km2 (2018)
Adjacent country (s)
France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, San Marino,
Capital with number of inhabitants
Rome 2 419 000 inhabitants (2012) 1
Other major cities
Milan 1,321,000, Naples 965,000, Turin 865,000,
Palermo 653,000, Genoa 588,000, Florence 377,000,
Bologna 372,000 (estimated 2008)
Monte Rosa (4633 m asl)
Po, Tiber, Adige
Lake Garda, Lake Maggiore, Lake Como
Average Precipitation / month
Room 150 mm (Nov), 15 mm (July)
Average / day
Room 26 °C (July), 7 °C (Jan)
Refugees should be relocated
The government decides to relocate refugees and migrants from the reception
center on the island of Lampedusa, where it has been revealed that housing has
been treated unworthily. The Ministry of the Interior estimates that about
42,000 migrants landed in Italy during the year, usually in boats from North
Africa. At the same time, hundreds have drowned.
The budget is approved
Prime Minister Letta wins a vote of confidence in Parliament's lower house,
the Chamber of Deputies, on next year's budget. The figures are 350 against 196.
New party leader
Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi, 38, is elected by a large majority as new leader
of the Democratic Party. The popular Renzi has long criticized the government
for not doing enough in the fight against unemployment and against corruption.
Election Day is doomed
The Constitutional Court declares that the electoral law applied in the 2013
election is in some respects unconstitutional. Among other things, the Court is
addressing the fact that there is no limit to how many votes a party / alliance
needs to win in order to qualify for extra seats in Parliament's House of
Commons. Under the current electoral law, the party / alliance that wins the
most votes in the election to the House of Commons automatically receives 340 of
the House of Commons 630 seats.
New prosecution threatens Berlusconi
Berlusconi risks another trial when a Milan judge accuses him of bribing
prostitutes to testify falsely in the charge of sex with minors (see
The Senate excludes Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi loses his seat in the Senate when a majority of the
senators vote to exclude him from the House. The reason is that he was convicted
of a tax offense (see August 2013).
The right is split
Berlusconi's party splits when Berlusconi re-launches Forza Italia
(Hello Italy). Berrlusconi's intended successor as party leader, Interior
Minister Angelino Alfano, refuses to enter Forza Italia, and instead forms a new
party called Nuovo centrodestra (New Center Right). All
ministers from Berlusconi's old party follow Alfano, as does a long line of
parliamentarians. The new group promises to support the Prime Minister of
Latvia, even if Berlusconi is voted out of the Senate (see October 2013).
Protest against garbage dumping
Nearly 100,000 people are demonstrating in Naples against the mafia dumping
of industrial waste and garbage that pollutes the environment.
The string is tightened around Berlusconi
Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is banned from serving in the public
service for two years because he was convicted of tax offenses (see
August 2013). The decision is made by a Milan court and will only take
effect if Berlusconi is deprived of his seat in the Senate.
Refugee disaster at Lampedusa
At least 365 refugees and migrants from Africa and the Middle East are killed
when their boat catches fire and drops off the Italian island of Lampedusa. The
Italian government demands increased EU support for the reception of the tens of
thousands of boat refugees who reach Italy across the Mediterranean in a battle.
A week later, Italy decides to triple its sea and air patrol in the southern
Mediterranean, the project is called Mare Nostrum. According to
Foreign Minister Emma Bonino, the aim is rather to rescue migrants at sea than
to try to stop them. Another boat has capsized following the major shipwreck,
with many deaths as a result.
The Senate pressures Berlusconi
A committee in the Senate votes for Silvio Berlusconi to lose his seat in the
Senate because of the prison sentence against him for tax violations (see
August 2013). The decision must be confirmed by the Senate.
Revolt against Berlusconi
The senators in Berlusconi's party declare that they will resign if
Berlusconi is voted out of parliament (see August 2013). A
first vote on the issue will be held in October. Due to the threat of the
senators, Prime Minister Letta announces a vote of confidence in Parliament, but
Berlusconi appears to him and orders his five ministers to leave the government.
However, the ministers are proving reluctant to resign and when it is clear that
a group of parliamentarians from the Berlusconi's party intends to vote for the
government, Berlusconi completely reverses and supports Prime Minister Letta,
who is thus stepping out of the political crisis.
Compromise on tax
Following pressure from Berlusconi and his party to abolish the property tax,
the government decides on a compromise which means that the tax will be lowered
and replaced in the coming years with a municipal fee.
Jail finally established
The Supreme Court decides on a four-year prison sentence against former Prime
Minister Berlusconi for tax offenses (see October 2012). The
part of the verdict that prohibited Berlusconi from holding public office for
five years wants the court to investigate further. The imprisonment is shortened
and transformed into house arrest or community service. Berlusconi declares
himself innocent, but the Democratic Party urges Berlusconi to step down from
the Senate and leave politics for good.
Berlusconi's aides are sentenced
Three aides to Berlusconi are sentenced to prison for between five and seven
years for providing prostitutes to the former Prime Minister's parties.
Black minister is offended
Two representatives of the Confederation of North raise outrage through
racist statements, both directed at the country's first female minister of
African birth. A female local politician is sentenced to 13 months in prison and
three years suspended from public service for calling for rape against the
minister, while Senator Roberto Calderoli rejects the requirement that he resign
to resemble her at an orangutan.
Berlusconi convicted of sex purchases
A court finds Berlusconi guilty of having bought six of a minor and abusing
his power to have the girl released from custody following a suspected theft. He
is sentenced to seven years' imprisonment and life imprisonment for holding
public office, which is a harsher sentence than the prosecutor has requested.
Berlusconi appeals against the verdict and it may take several years before it
possibly gains legal force.
Jail is set
The October 2012 verdict against Berlusconi for tax offenses is set after the
appeal. The punishment is imprisonment and a five-year ban on holding political
office. The case is appealed to the Supreme Court.
Assembly government approved
After Pier Luigi Bersani, after various adversities, announced his departure
as leader of the Democratic Party, President Napolitano gives the party's
vice-president Enrico Letta the task of forming a new government. Letta becomes
prime minister for a broad coalition government with the left, right and center
and is approved in parliament with 453 votes against 153.
The President re-elected
Parliament elects President Giorgio Napolitano for a second term in office;
He gets 738 votes out of 1007 possible, after the people elected in five votes
failed to appoint another candidate. This is the first time an Italian president
has been re-elected.
Senator mafia convicted
Former Senator Marcello Dell'Utri of the People of Liberty is sentenced to
seven years in prison for conspiring with Sicilian mafia Cosa Nostra.
President Napolitano assigns Democratic Party leader Pier Luigi Bersani to
form a new government but Bersani fails, partly because he does not want to
cooperate with Berlusconi.
New prison sentence
Berlusconi is sentenced to one year in prison for illegally intercepting a
political rival's phone in 2005.
The protest party gets the most votes
The election will be a protest against the Monti government's austerity
measures. Populist Beppe Grillo's Five Star Movement becomes by
far the largest single party in terms of votes. The five-star movement wins
votes from both left and right and gets 25.6 percent of the vote, while the
Democratic Party reaches 25.4 percent and the People of Freedom gets 21.9.
Democratic Party Left Alliance Italy. The common good (Italia.
Bene Comune), however, will be the largest total with 29.5 percent of the vote.
Berlusconi's right alliance comes second with 29.1 percent. Monti's central
alliance receives only about one-tenth of the vote. In the Senate, the left
alliance will also be the largest with 123 of 315 elected seats, but the right
alliance will be almost equal to 117. None of the alliances thus obtains a
majority in the Senate where Grillo's movement becomes the tongue on the scales.
31 percent of the members of the newly elected parliament are women.
Scandals characterize the election campaign
Corruption scandals have made a mark on the campaign before the parliamentary
elections. A fraud deal in Italy's third largest bank Monte dei Paschi creates
problems for the opinion-leading Democratic Party, which had close ties to the
bank. The giant group and arms manufacturer Finmeccanica, which has about 60,000
employees, is suspected of bribery in an Indian large business that is thus
Berlusconi gives up
Berlusconi succumbs to the demands of the Confederation of the North and says
that he will not stand as prime ministerial candidate in the parliamentary
elections in February. Thus, Nord Nord joins in collaboration with Berlusconi's
party Freedom's People after the election.