Religion in Italy

Christianity is the most widespread religion in Italy, and Catholicism is the most widespread direction within Christianity.

A large majority of the people of Italy are considered Christians. According to figures from 2017, 74% of the population are Catholics, 23% are not religious, while 3% belong to religions other than Catholicism. There are approximately 1.7 million Orthodox Christians in Italy, approximately 700,000 Protestants, and approximately 430,000 members of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Over the past decades, the proportion of Italians of foreign origin has increased, and a larger proportion of the population are now not Christian than in the past. According to figures from 2017, there are approximately two million Muslims in Italy, 293,000 Buddhists and 193,000 Hindus.

In the revision of the Concordat between the Vatican and the Italian state from 1984, Catholicism is no longer referred to as state religion, and participation in public school Christianity education is voluntary.

According to thesciencetutor, Italy is geographically considered an ancient country, but was not until 1860-1870 united into one nation. Rome was deprived of the papacy, and the direct worldly power of the church was broken. Italy became a parliamentary kingdom, but the struggle for national unity and freedom – “Risorgimento” – did not produce political unity, which the mighty Roman pope church had created religious unity. Italy became subject to the Piedmontese kingdom and the popular movements and regional systems were crushed. The country was thrown into a bourgeois modernization, which has since divided it into the North and South. (Mezzogiorno problem). After World War I, Mussolini’s fascism developed, and Italy’s history as a democratic republic only started after 1945, when fascism was crushed and the kingdom abolished.

People in Italy

Economic development

Agriculture was the dominant occupation until the 1950’s, and was characterized by feudal structures with landless agricultural workers and tenant systems. Only after the land reforms in the 1950’s did more self-owner farmers come. Central Italy has a tenant system where the farmer shares the proceeds equally with the landowner – the so-called mezzadria system. It has to some extent worked right up to our day.

The strong feudal traditions, the late and incomplete bourgeois revolution as “Risorgimento”, and the long-standing fascist rule, gave Italy a back seat in the industrialization process compared to other countries in Western Europe. The changes came late – but all the more violent.

1939 1960 1995
Agriculture’s share of GDP 36% 14.8% 3%
Industry’s share of GDP 34% 37.9% 31%
Service sector 30% 47.3% 66%
Employed in agriculture 48% 29% 7%
Employed in industry 33% 40% 31.1%
Employed in other professions 19% 31% 60.9%
The changes in the main occupations from 1939 to 1995.

During the industrialization and reconstruction after World War II, the fascist planning economy had to give way to a liberalist economy. The agricultural workers and the unemployed provided a large and inexpensive labor reserve, resulting in low labor costs. In the period 1948-55 production increased by 95% and profit by 86%, while in the same period, real wages increased by only 6%. This was the basis of the Italian “economic miracle” in the years 1959-62. Italy then exhibited one of the highest growth rates in the world. But growth was extremely bumpy. The markets in the most industrialized European countries made the product choices. The export-oriented sectors of the industry grew tremendously, while the technologically less advanced industries – food, leather goods, furniture – declined sharply. The myth of the crisis-free capitalism was crushed when the stagnation broke through in 1963. The Italian economy is open and very vulnerable to change in the international market. The effects of the “dollar crisis” in 1971 hit Italy particularly hard. The development has since been characterized by short-term boom periods, but also a generally stagnant production and loss of export markets. There is an increasing exploitation of the workforce in irregular (irregular) working conditions. Homework, “duplication” and “undeclared work” have become more widespread. This is work that has escaped the control of the trade union movement. The economic crisis has caused about 2 million unemployed and unemployment is increasing – especially among the youth. Capitalist globalization and enhanced European integration, since 1975, has intensified the North-South divide, leading Italy to the brink of political and social collapse.

Italy’s history deals with the history of the whole of Italy. From 1859 to 1870, the country was united into one state. Before that, Italy consisted of several different independent kingdoms and provinces belonging to multicultural empires.

Italy, 1859-1870

In April 1859, war broke out between Sardinia and France on the one hand and Austria on the other. The army of King Viktor Emanuel of Sardinia and the French Emperor Napoleon 3 were gathered, and on June 4 the Austrians were defeated at Magenta. June 24 stood the bloody battle of Solferino, which the Austrians lost. However, Tuscany, Modena and Parma had risen, and when Napoleon did not believe that a strong Italian state was to emerge, he met Austrian emperor Franz Joseph at Villa Franca, where peace was concluded. Lombardy was to be relinquished to Napoleon, who would hand it over to Viktor Emanuel. Italy was to form a state federation under the Pope’s seat.

November 10, 1859, peace was made in Zurich. Tuscany, Modena and Parma refused to receive the displaced princes, and Sardinian Prime Minister Camillo Cavour succeeded in obtaining Napoleon’s permission to unite these areas with Sardinia. In Naples, however, Frans 2 continued the old regime. Then the freshman chief Giuseppe Garibaldi gathered a corps of 1,000 men and went ashore on 11 May 1860 in Marsala, Sicily. Everywhere he was greeted with cheers, Messina was captured, on August 20 he returned to the mainland, and on September 7 he made his entry into Naples.

By agreement with Napoleon, Cavour allowed Sardinian troops to move through the Church State to stop Garibaldi. The Sardinian army took control of the attack against the kingdom of the two Sicilians. Francis 2 was driven into Gaeta, which later surrendered, and on November 7 King Viktor Emanuel entered Naples. In referendums, Naples, Sicily, Marche and Umbria were incorporated in Sardinia. The conversion of the Kingdom of Sardinia- Piedmont to the Kingdom of Italy was officially approved by the Piedmontese Parliament in Turin on March 17, 1861. Parliament proclaimed Viktor Emanuel 2 as King of Italy. That same year, Cavour died of illness.

In New Italy’s history before the First World War, there are three main lines to follow: the relationship with Rome and Venice, which has not yet been incorporated into the empire, the coordination of the disparate constituents of the whole and the consolidation of finances, and the country’s outward position. Cavour’s successors in the government were liberal conservatives and belonged to the so-called “historical right”, they worked for understanding with France and the pope; Garibaldi, who was still irreconcilable, was disarmed after a frisk train to Rome.

During the fighting between Prussia and Austria, Napoleon tried to keep Italy neutral with the promise of acquiring Venice; however, in April 1866, Italy allied with Prussia and began a war with Austria in June. Despite the defeats of Custoza and Lissa, Italy, including Napoleon’s influence, won Venice by the peace in Vienna.

Now only Rome stood; secretly backed by the Ratazzi government, Garibaldi made another train towards the city in 1867, but was captured by the French. In 1870, Viktor Emanuel was inclined to support France, but the government prevented it; after the Battle of Sedan, the French withdrew their troops from Rome, which was then occupied by Italian troops and declared their capital. In May of that year, a guarantee law gave the Pope sovereignty in the Vatican. The pope objected to his position being determined by unilateral law resolution, and remained as the “prisoner of the Vatican” until 1929.

Italy was now united, but several groups, especially the so-called irredentists, insisted on the inclusion of areas such as Tirol and Istria. Internal organization work progressed under the right-wing leadership, which continued until 1876; the finances were brought on foot. The church property was withdrawn and the army reorganized. In 1876, the left wing of the liberal elite came to power. The lack of permanent party frameworks and the strict implementation of parliamentarism resulted in frequent changes in the ministerial system.

Italy Religion