Italy is a parliamentary republic since 2nd June 1946, when her people via referendum decided to leave the monarchy to embrace democracy. Italy in 2010 had more than 60 million people and the fifth largest economy in Europe, on the average of western Europe. Her economy is around 2.1 US trillions, slightly behind France and the UK. The country basically is a long peninsula connected to the continent to north, the Alps are the natural border of the nation and neighbouring countries are France, Swiss, Austria and Slovenia. Plus Italy has 2 little states internal her borders: San Marino and Vatican City. Italy is one of the most powerful and amazing countries in the world, but her internal problems, especially corruption, high crime, north-south economic gap and low birth rate are enough a serious list of problems. In fact lately the country has been surpassed economically by Brazil and Russia, but more are about to surpass Italy like India and others. Still, if well managed, Italy has chance to return to be a true european power, like it used to be in the 70s when her economy grew yearly more than 5%.
Italy is one of the largest economies in the world, highly advanced but not really competitive if not for the "made in Italy" trademarks. Italy is the first world producer of wine, but the country has to rely on large importations of cereals and other vegetables because of relatively little size of the country and lack of great plans but the Po valley in the north. The energetical sector is not in good shape. Italy imports basically all of needed oil but also a large quantity of electricity especially from France. This may because Italy is one of the few greater nations in the world that didn't allow building of nuclear power plants on her territory after referendum held in 1987. The industrial sector is well developed, showing Italy's real nature of a manufacturing country. The immense number of little and medium enterprises is what really keeps Italy well and alive. Italy has few large industries successfull on world market. Lately the industrial sector was hit by chinese competition and also the delocalization of industries abroad. Still the industrial sector remains very important for Italy, with the pharmaceutics and fabrics leading the sector. The services are well developed, like every other modern country in the world. Still Italy suffers low development level in the southern regions.
The future doesn't look promising since the italian population is increasing only thanks emigration and delocalization process is damaging hugely the country. Economic stagnation since the end of 80s brought that once was the economy that surpassed UK and France in 1991 to the "sick-man of Europe". Only a strong political party with great approval and good intentions can help this country to get out of stagnation. Otherwise the country's future is year by year more risky.
Since the began of the cold war, Italy has been the most important secret battlefield of the USA-USSR head to head. Italy has always enjoyed relations with Russia and by far was the closest western Europe country to the USSR during the cold war. Despite this, Italy has always been a loyal ally of the USA, being the third world-wide country busy in UN peace keeping operations. Until 1992 the country was led by the christian-democracts, but after a huge scandal the right-wing became predominant in the country, with few left-wing administrations winning elections sometime. Actually the country is troubled with the old "communist-like" constitution and the right-wing party leaders that want more freedoms and less interferring of the state in the economy. To note the growing will of northern but also southern peoples to get independence and then destroy the italian unity.
Italy rejects war as instrument of resolution for international troubles and relies on comprehension and dialogue, declares the italian constitution. Italy historically since her unity in 1861 has been quite aggressive, despite her people always rejecting the idea of war. France truly helped Italy to get unification seeking to lower austrian influence in Europe. italy has had many wars that ended up in an embarassing victory, like the war against Austria in 1866, won only thanks Prussia, the war against France and the Papal State, won once again thanks Prussia in 1870, or the war on Ethiopia in 1936, won thanks gasses.
During the first world war Italy decided to betray Austria and Germany and declared war upon central powers. The king mostly wanted to get back territories out of the country that had to be annexed to complete unification. Italy scored well during the first world war, despite being largely untrained and poorly supported by artyllery and air units. Despite also a slight numerical inferiority and after major defeats, Italy managed to stop austrians inside her land, when enemy tried to get into the Po valley. Then Italy successfully counterattacked and defeated Austria nearly alone. Italians can righfully appoint themselves as one of major winners of the war, probably the only war that italians fought for real.
The world war two has been more than embarassing for the italian country. Mussolini, once friend of the allies, betrayed them and allied with Germany few years before 1939. During the war Italy thanks Germany managed to win french resistance and also to get help to invade Albania and Greece, slowing preparatives for operation Barbarossa. Italy alone has a really poor army, large in numbers but hugely behind european standards. The air and naval forces were modern and large, on the average. Italy has been invaded by the United States in 1943 then it did split in 2 countries, one led by Mussolini in the north that continued war along Hitler and another allied of the anglo-americans. Partisans are notable to have freed many northern cities before the arrival of americans. As result of defeat Italy lost all colonial territories and also few localities on the french border but espeically the Istria region with the important city of Fiume, today still being claimed by nationalists.
Italy until world war two always proved big inefficiency along very old equipment. With the entry in the NATO Italy has had her modern force, today's the country has one of the most trained forces in the world, good in numbers and means and like always good with morale. Morale proved to be important factor for italians during wars.  The italian military divides in 4 branches:
- Army. The italian army after 2005 became a professional one, leaving the traditional scheme of enlisting all males after their made their 18th. This because of the end of the cold war and threats for the Italian Republic. Now italian Army has more than 250k infantrymen enlisted made up of professional volunteers, but the state in case of war can call to arms something around 13 million people. The combat rifle is the AR70/90, an old design but seems to fit the necessities of the italian army. The army suffers a limited number of tanks and other genre units, despite this the ground forces remain a small but efficient force enough to fit italian needs for the moment.
- Carabinieri. Once part of the army, in 2001 they split from it, forming a new armed force. Carabinieri are among the largest forces in Europe accounting over 300k men. These men are the true stronghold of italian defence. Carabinieri are elite units used also for normal police patrolling and they're widely loved by the people. They shown great courage and efficiency during all the missions they were assigned to, abroad and inside Italy, often fighting the mafia.
- Navy. The navy has two aircraft carries with one small and one medium sized ships. There's order for over 130 F-35 jets. The navy remains fairly behind the french and english standards, with a serious lack of destroyers and submarines. However the italian navy seems to be meant only for local protection but maybe yet doesn't fit completely italian needs.
- Air Force. The italian air force is quite good. It has Tornado fighters but also Eurofighters and over 130 F-35 are on the order list. Probably the air force is slightly behind the french and german comparatives, but remains a fearable force.
It is very important to note that Italy has largest infantry force in Europe after Russia and Turkey. If we consider active duty troops, paramilitary and reserves all together, we have nearly one million men, higher than Germany and any other EU country.