Back

Country Reports

Italy Country Report

Content provided by
IHS Markit Logo

Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

 On 9 and 10 September 2019, the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate approved a new coalition government between the Five Star Movement (Movimento Cinque Stelle: M5S) and the Democratic Party (Partito Democratico: PD). The agreement averted a snap election, which was the objective of M5S's previous coalition partner, the League party (Lega), when it pulled the plug on the previous government. The urgent task of the M5S-PD coalition is to pass the 2020 budget and find EUR23 billion in savings to prevent an automatic value-added tax (VAT) increase scheduled for January 2020. Failure to do so would risk subduing consumer confidence. Given the antagonistic history and policy differences between the PD and M5S, the coalition is unlikely to last the entire current parliamentary term.Although Lega was sidelined through the coalition between the PD and M5S, it is well positioned to regroup and perform strongly in upcoming elections. M5S's alliance with the PD will allow Lega to cast itself as the only true "anti-establishment" party in Italy, attracting disaffected voters who previously voted M5S.We expect real GDP to shrink by 0.1% in 2019 and 0.2% in 2020, according to our October 2019 forecast. This implies Italy sliding into a mild technical recession during the second half of 2019 and the first half of 2020. The economy stagnated in the first half of 2019.The economic risks are tilting modestly to the downside given the threats to the global economy, alongside Italy's significant fiscal and political challenges. Therefore, the economy is on course for more pain, reflecting nervous households, struggling exports, poorer investment trends, and the need for fiscal tightening.
Last update: October 26, 2019

Operational Outlook

Within the configuration of the new coalition government that was approved by parliament in September 2019, M5S is likely to take a less radical stance on big infrastructure projects. Its willingness to cede the Ministry of Transport to the PD signalled a silent retreat from opposing key infrastructure projects, including the contentious Turin-Lyon high-speed railway (Treno Alta Velocità: TAV).

Last update: October 5, 2019

Terrorism

Elevated

Italy's participation in the US-led coalition against the Islamic State, Rome's symbolic significance in Islamist discourse, and Italy's geographic proximity to a destabilised Libya have increased the risk of terrorist attacks by jihadists on Italian soil. Italian authorities have responded by increasing security measures and monitoring capabilities. Large-scale immigration from war-torn and poverty-stricken countries has fuelled anti-immigrant sentiment and increased the risk of far-right terrorist attacks, as evidenced by the Macerata shooting on 3 February 2018 that resulted in six Africans being wounded by a far-right sympathiser.

Last update: October 18, 2019

Crime

There are four major Mafia groups in Italy, namely the Cosa Nostra, the 'Ndrangheta, the Camorra, and the Sacra Corona Unita. These organisations are all showing signs of increasing level of co-operation with foreign organised crime entities based both in Italy and abroad. As a rule, these organisations discourage excessive and frequent use of violence in order to avoid confrontation with law enforcement agencies. When violence is employed, it is typically a matter of score-settling between rival crime groups.

Last update: October 18, 2019

War Risks

The main war risk to Italy stems from the violence in Libya, where the emergence of Islamic State-affiliated groups has prompted Italy to militarise the Mediterranean and deploy Italian ground troops in the Libyan city of Misrata. Further deterioration of the security situation in Libya would increase the risk of a more extensive intervention involving maritime operations and offensive air support in Sirte.

Last update: October 19, 2019

Social Stability

High

Political polarisation and large-scale immigration has contributed to growing numbers of far-right rallies and leftist counter-protests across the country, often resulting in violence between protesters and police. These protests are poised to continue amid growing anti-immigrant sentiment, especially in large cities such as the capital Rome, Milan, and Palermo.

Last update: October 19, 2019

Health Risk

Elevated

Vaccinations required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high

Italy has a high risk of seismic activity and earthquakes are frequently reported throughout the country. In August 2016, an earthquake measuring 6.2 magnitude on the Richter scale occurred in the town of Amatrice, around 100 km (60 mi) northeast of Rome, in which 292 people were killed and 400 injured. Hundreds of aftershocks followed the initial earthquake. The regions of Umbria, Lazio, and Marche were the hardest hit, particularly in the areas surrounding the towns of Accumoli, Posta, Arquata del Tronto, and Amatrice. Numerous minor earthquakes have occurred since, including at least one deadly tremor.

There are 13 volcanoes in Italy, spread across three zones: the bay of Naples, the area northeast of Sicily, and near the Mediterranean island of Pantelleria. Three of these volcanoes remain active and are liable to erupt: Mount Vesuvius (famous for its destruction of the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 AD) on the border of the Bay of Naples; Stromboli in the archipelago of the Aeolian Islands to the north of Sicily; and Etna, situated close to the city of Catania.

Furthermore, avalanches often occur in the Alps and periodic flooding impacts some regions. In June 2017, heavy rains occurred in Alpine regions of Italy as well as in the south and Sicily, causing rivers to overflow and leading to several casualties.

Forest fires also occur in Italy. Southern Italy, including Sicily and Sardinia, often suffers from arson attacks in summer, sparking wildfires that are exacerbated by heat waves and dry weather.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Moderate

Strikes are frequently carried out by public transportation workers (air, rail, and inner-city) and can cause disruption. It is advisable to remain informed of all strike actions.

Taxis are generally white in Italy. Ensure that the taxi has a meter or that the price is agreed in advance. Supplementary costs may be imposed for luggage, night services, or bank-holiday services.

Cars are not permitted in many historical centers, particularly in northern towns, where access is limited to bicycles and pedestrians. Many of the large towns and cities maintain efficient public transportation systems (metro, tram, bus).

The use of headlights is required in non-urban areas in Italy during both day and night. Drivers unfamiliar with the country may find that the system of traffic lights lacks, at times, the same clarity found in other western European countries.

The rail network is reliable between large cities and the trains are comfortable.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

The climate in the north is continental, with hot summers and cold winters. The coasts enjoy a Mediterranean climate. Temperatures can reach as high as 40°C in certain regions.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +39
Police: 112
Fire Dept.: 115
Ambulance: 118

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019