Italy is a special country in Europe. This is a young and at the same time ancient state. The capital of Italy – Rome – the center of the ancient Roman Empire – is considered the oldest city in Europe. The time of its foundation is 753 BC. e. However, this is a young state, since the final unification of individual duchies and kingdoms located  on its territory occurred only in 1871. These differences are most pronounced in the gap between the industrial North and the lagging Central and Southern regions of the country. Now the Italian government and the EU are making many efforts to change the economic situation in these lagging areas, pursuing a special regional policy there.

According to its economic potential, Italy belongs to the group of leading highly developed countries, is part of the “Big Seven”.

In terms of GDP production (in 2000, 1074.0 billion dollars), Italy ranks sixth among the developed countries of the world. At the end of the XX century. the growth rate of GNP averaged 2.3%.