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FocusMM - Mediterranean Guide

FAST FACTS about ITALY

EXCHANGE CONTROLS

With the enactment of new foreign exchange regulations in 1988 and 1989, the principle of free economic and financial relationships with other countries was codified.

Non-residents can invest in Italy without any limitation on the transfer of investment income and capital from liquidating investments.

Italian residents are prohibited from personally importing and exporting banknotes and bearer securities (Italian and foreign), in amounts exceeding Lire 20 million.

Non-residents may import banknotes and bearer securities (Italian or foreign), in amounts exceeding Lire 20 million, only if declared at the customs office. The export of banknotes and bearer securities for amounts exceeding Lire 20 million is allowed but limited to the amount previously imported.


GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE

Italy, situated in the south of continental Europe, is a peninsula of about 301,000 square kilometers bounded by the Mediterranean sea with common land borders in the north with France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. It also includes two large islands, Sicily and Sardinia, plus smaller islands.

Italy is thus in a central position for access to Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

The land is characterized by plains (23%), hills (42%) and mountains (35%).

The river Po, the longest in Italy, crosses the north, where the three largest lakes are also found (Maggiore, Como and Garda).

The peninsula contains two independent states - Vatican City, where the Pope resides, and the Republic of San Marino.

In general, Italy has a typical Mediterranean climate with mild rainy winters and hot dry summers. However, the climate is subject to local variations. The northern area has more severe winters whereas the central areas are more temperate. Southern Italy has a hot and dry climate.


POPULATION AND LANGUAGE

The population of Italy from the last official census taken in 1991 is 56.8 million. Italy has one of the highest population densities in Europe.

Italian is the official language, although there are small areas where French, German and other languages are spoken.

The official religion is Catholicism. Other faiths exist and are permitted.


CURRENCY

The monetary unit in Italy is the Lira.


SHOPS AND SERVICES

The hours for shops and services vary from region to region. In general, the hours are from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., with a lunch break from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Monday - Saturday).

Banks are generally open from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (Monday - Friday) and from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Monday - Thursday).

Government offices are generally open to the public in the morning from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Monday - Saturday).


HOLIDAYS AND VACATIONS

The following dates are national holidays:

  • January 1
  • January 6
  • Easter Monday
  • April 25
  • May 1
  • June 2
  • August 15
  • November 1
  • December 8
  • December 25
  • December 26

    The traditional holiday month is August. Most factories will close during this month.


    UTILITIES

    Electrical power is supplied at 220 Volts, 50 Hz.