Italy is situated in southern Europe, in the centre of the Mediterranean, with significant differences between the north and south of the country due to the length of its peninsula. The population of Italy is 60.6 million, of which 2.7 million live in the capital, Rome. This population is expected to increase to 64.5 million by 2030, with the proportion of people over 65 increasing from 31% to 41% over the same period. Italian is the official language. 90% of the population is Catholic. The Euro is the official currency. The standard rate of VAT is 21%.

 Italy                               Capital: Rome



60.6 million à 64.5 million (2030)

Proportion of people over 65 is 31% à 41% (2030)




90% Catholic

GDP / head

€ 26,000   (EU average: € 25,100)





GDP growth (volume)



-1.3% in 2012 (f)

0.7% in 2013 (f)

Unemployment rate

(Feb 2012)

9.3%   (EU average: 10.2%)

Inflation rate

2.9%   (EU average: 3.1%)


Figures relate to 2011, except where indicated.                                      Source: Eurostat, Searce (2012)


Italy has a GDP per capita of €25,700, compared to the EU average of €24,400 in 2010. According to the OECD, the Italian economy grew by 0.7% in 2011, but is expected to fall by 0.5% in 2012 before growing by 0.5% in 2013 (compared to the Eurozone average growth of 1.6%, 0.2% and 1.4% respectively). The inflation rate was 3.7% in 2011, compared to 3% in the EU. The unemployment rate was 8.4%, compared to 9.8% in the EU as a whole in 2011.

The nuclear family dominates in the north of the country, while the extended family continues to pre-dominate in the south. Appearances are very important, hence the stature of design and fashion within the country. Personal relationships and networking are very important when doing business in Italy. Decision-making is often subjective rather than objective.