Guida dello studente: International Program A.Y. 2006/07


Origin of the name: from the "Itali" population living in the present-day Calabria (the tip of the Italian peninsula) in the first millennium BC.
Area: 301.260 SKM, 125.470 squared kilometres of which are hills and mountains
Regions: 20 regions, five of which with special status of autonomy
Capital city: Rome
Major cities: Milan, Rome, Turin and Naples
Population: about 57 million  inhabitants. Italy has the third largest European population with the majority living in the North of the country.
Ethnic composition: Italian (includes small cluster of German, French, and Slovene Italians in the North East and Albanian and Greek Italians in the South).
Official language: Italian
Other languages spoken: German (in the North East, parts of Trentino-Alto Adige region are predominantly German speaking); French (small French speaking minority in Valle d'Aosta region, in the North West) and Slovene in the Trieste-Gorizia area, in the North East.
Religions: 84% Roman Catholic; 16% other including Jewish, Muslim, and Protestant.
Education and Literacy: education is free and compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16. The adult literacy rate is 97 percent.
Labour force: 24.000.000. By occupation: services 60%, industry and commerce 33%. Unemployment 11%.
Government: a parliamentary republic; the head of state is the president, elected by legislator and representatives of regional councils
President of the Republic in 2006: Giorgio Napolitani
Head of Government in 2006: Silvio Berlusconi
Italian lifestyle
What makes Italians so different? It is said they love their mammas, have a
passion for talking and eating and love to look good.
The Family
The family has always had a central place in Italian culture, politics and economy. Evidence of its importance can be seen in the number of business run by families, from generation to generation, such as the Agnellis, owners of FIAT, Versace etc.
The typical Italian  family is made up of three or four members (father, mother and one or two children) and they are used to staying together as a unit, even when the children grow up. Unlike Northern European countries, Italian “children” tend to stay with their parents until they are almost 30 years old, or until they get married.
The place where the Italian family likes to gather is around the table, especially at dinner time. This is where everybody loves to relax and eat as well as share news about their days.
Talking and Eating
Everything begins in the Piazza (square) which, from the largest cities to the most rural of villages, represents the central meeting point of Italian culture. No matter how big or small a piazza may be,  there will always be a crowd of people gathered, walking, talking and interacting with one another. Piazzas are also the sites for festivals and political events. Only in the hours might around 12.30-14.00 and 19.30-21.30 the squares  be deserted. In fact, these are the times when Italians are home enjoying their delicious and healthy cuisine.
Lunch is the big meal, with traditionally two to three courses,  and it is the reason why most things stop for two hours during the days: stores shut down, banks close and the streets are empty.
Looking good
Next to soccer, the national pastime in Italy is fashion: looking fashionable is one of the Italians’ top priorities. Italians are all very proud of their famous designers, like Armani, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, etc., who are always the first to create the latest fashion trends.
"Made in Italy"
Italy sets the standards for all things stylish, elegant and of top quality. Fashion and clothing, home design, ceramics, jewellery, glassware,
chocolates, food , art etc.  are all categories in which  Italy holds great pride in being recognised as one of the best.
"Made in Italy" are not just words signifying a product's origin, they are also a guarantee that provides superior workmanship and style.
Italian Climate
Italy is entirely in the Temperate Zone of the globe, but due to its length,
the climate is highly diversified.
- In winter , the North is prone to frost and fog, while the south, although warmer, tends to be damper. Average daytime maximum temperatures range from 7°C (45°F) in Venice in December to 13°C (56°F) in Naples and Rome.
- In spring, the "Scirocco", a hot wind from Africa, brings quite high temperatures to parts of Italy, but thunderstorms are frequent in the Italian Alps. Average daily maximum temperatures range from about 15°C (59°F) in March to 23°C (74°F) in May.
- In summer, average daytime maximum temperatures reach about 30°C (86°F) although the area around the Alps may experience thunderstorms, and inland parts of southern Italy can suffer extremely hot nights, often making sleeping difficult.
- In autumn, as in the spring, the "Scirocco" wind may bring very high temperatures to parts of Italy, accompanied by some high humidity. Daily average maximum temperatures are still pleasantly high in September (26°C - 79°F) but they fall back to about 15°C (59°F) by November.
Time Zone
Italy is in the central European time zone: 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. It operates on the same time as Berlin, Madrid, and Paris, is 6 hours ahead of Montreal and New York, 9 hours behind Sydney and 8 hours behind Tokyo. From late March to late September, Italians adopt the lenght saving time, which means they set their clocks forward 1 hour.