Total Area: 301,318 km²
GDP (in billion USD): 2,199
The name Italy comes from the word italia, meaning "calf land," perhaps because the bull was a symbol of the Southern Italian tribes.Italy is one of the most crowded nations in Europe.The capital of Italy is Rome (also known as the Eternal City) and is almost 3,000 years old. It has been the capital since 1871 and is home to the Dome of St. Peter's, the Sistine Chapel, the Coliseum, and the famous Trevi Fountain.
Italy's housing and public building program was a major item in the general program of postwar reconstruction. Between 1940 and 1945, almost 20% of the habitable rooms in the country were destroyed. From June 1945 to June 1953, however, of the 6,407,000 rooms destroyed or severely damaged, 354,100 were rebuilt and 4,441,000 were repaired. Under a special housing program, originally instituted with funds from UNRRA and subsequently financed by employer and employee contributions, a total of 15 million rooms were constructed between 1953 and 1961, alleviating the nation's immediate housing problems.
In the 1980s 59% of all dwellings were owner occupied and 36% were rented. Almost 88% had indoor flush toilets, 99.5% had electricity, 59% had central heating, and 34% were heated by a stove or similar source. In 1999, 156,000 new dwellings were completed.
Though house prices in Italy were reported up 0.5% y-o-y to H1 2011 (Bank of Italy), in reality house prices actually declined after inflation, by 1.2% y-o-y. Housing sales (seasonally adjusted) also fell 6.6% over the same period, according to Nomisma.
Yet the Bank of Italy remains optimistic, reporting signs of a steadying housing market towards the end of 2011. Real estate agents expect more sales mandates over the next few months. Note however that these forecasts were made before the peak of the crisis, and before Berlusconi's resignation.