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Introduction: Italy became a nation-state in 1861 when the regional states of the peninsula, along with Sardinia and Sicily, were united under King Victor EMMANUEL II. An era of parliamentary government came to a close in the early 1920s when Benito MUSSOLINI established a Fascist dictatorship. His alliance with Nazi Germany led to Italy's defeat in World War II. A democratic republic replaced the monarchy in 1946 and economic revival followed. Italy was a charter member of NATO and the European Economic Community (EEC). It has been at the forefront of European economic and political unification, joining the Economic and Monetary Union in 1999. Persistent...

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Economic Overview: The Italian economy has changed dramatically since the end of World War II. From an agriculture-based economy, Italy has developed into an industrial state ranked as the world's eighth largest economy. It is a member of the European Union (http://europa.eu/abc/index_en.htm) , the OECD (http://www.oecd.org) , and the G8 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G8) and G20 (http://www.g20.org) economic forums.

Italy's economic strength is in the processing and manufacturing of goods, primarily in small and medium-sized enterprises. The majority of these enterprises are family-owned and are focused on the domestic market and exports to ...

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Government: Italy has been a democratic republic since June 2, 1946, when the monarchy was abolished by popular referendum. The constitution came into force on January 1, 1948.

The Italian state is centralized. The prefect of each of the provinces is appointed by and answerable to the central government. In addition to the provinces, the constitution provides for 20 regions with limited ...

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International Relations: Italy's relations with the UK

About 4-5 million British visitors visit Italy each year, while just over 1 million Italians visit the UK. There are 28,174 Britons resident in Italy, while 107,244 Italians live in the UK. Italy is an important partner of the United Kingdom, both in the bilateral context and in our work together as members of the European Union, NATO, G8 and other international organisations. This relationship is strengthened by frequent contacts at ministerial level. Co-operation in other areas includes the annual British Italian Conference “Pontignano”, which brings together opinion formers from both ...

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