Italy's Economy

Italy's economy is changing - state-owned companies are becoming privatized, which opens the Italian market to American companies and professionals in aerospace, transportation, insurance, finance, shipping, telecommunications and other commerce.

American companies like AT&T and IBM can establish ties with Italian companies in the areas of cable television, international cellular telephone systems, the Internet and more. American companies expanding in Italy have a great demand for software designers, systems engineers, technical support, marketers and managers who speak both Italian and English.

Industry in Italy

Italy is a world leader in many fields. Knowing Italian is a great benefit for those pursuing those fields, including:

  • Construction machinery
  • Culinary arts
  • Electromechanical machinery
  • Fashion design
  • Furniture design
  • Graphic design
  • Interior design
  • Machine tool manufacturing
  • Robotics
  • Shipbuilding
  • Space engineering
  • Transportation equipment


Italy has also long been a magnet for the tourism industry. In 2004, Italy headed the list of foreign destinations for vacation travel in Europe. Travel and tourism products in Italy increased by 339 percent in Italy in 2004, compared to 2003 when it grew 113 percent. This compared with the European average of 60 percent.


The country was the world's 7th largest exporter in 2009. Italy's major exports and companies by sector are:

  • Motor vehicles (Fiat, Aprilia, Ducati, Piaggio)
  • Chemicals and petrochemicals (Eni)
  • Energy and electrical engineering (Enel, Edison)
  • Home appliances (Candy, Indesit)
  • Aerospace and defense technologies (Alenia Aeronautica, Agusta, Finmeccanica)
  • Firearms (Beretta)
  • Fashion (Armani, Valentino, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli, Benetton, Prada, Luxottica)
  • Food processing (Ferrero, Barilla Group, Martini & Rossi, Campari, Parmalat)
  • Sport and luxury vehicles (Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Pagani)
  • Yachts (Ferretti, Azimut)

Italy's closest trade ties are with the other countries of the European Union, with whom it conducts about 59 percent of its total trade. Its largest EU trade partners, in order of market share, are Germany (12.9 percent), France (11.4 percent), and Spain (7.4 percent).