Area: 116,332 square miles.
Main towns: Rome (capital), Milan, Turin, Florence, Naples, Genoa and Palermo. The Vatican forms an enclave inside the city of Rome.
Environment: Alps and Apennine mountains, with valleys and lakes; rivers include the Po, Tiber and Rubicon. Vesuvius and Etna are active volcanoes. Italy’s two largest islands are Sicily and Sardinia. There is heavy pollution of air and rivers in the industrialized north.
Exports: Wine, fruit and vegetables, silk and other textiles, leather goods, motor vehicles, electrical goods, chemicals, iron and steel. A large ‘black’ economy exists.
Population: 58 million; many immigrants, some illegal, from Africa and Eastern Europe.
Languages: Italian; also German, French and Albanian-speaking minorities.
Religions: Roman Catholicism 78%; Islam 2%; secular 18%; cults (especially Jehovah’s Witnesses) 1%; Protestantism 1% (mainly Pentecostal or charismatic). Many are interested in the occult and New Age beliefs.
Denominations: Pentecostals; Protestant Waldensians and Methodists; Brethren; Baptists.