This site uses technical and analytics cookies.
By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies.

Invest in Italy

Italy is the third largest economy in the Eurozone and the eighth largest in the world, with a domestic market of 60 million people and a GDP at current prices of USD 2.11 billion (IMF, April 2021). Italy is one of the main gateways to a market of 500 million consumers in the European Union and 270 million in North Africa and the Middle East.

Italy is home to many research and development centres of excellence and currently has 11 universities ranked among the world’s 500 best ones. With reference to some leading faculties, four of our national universities are ranked among the world’s 10 best ones (QS World University Rankings 2021). Italy ranks first in the world for Classical Studies and Ancient History (La Sapienza University of Rome). Italian researchers actively participate in or manage European R&D centres and networks, such as the CERN Particle Physics Laboratory and facilities of high relevance competence and transnational interest in fields such as aerospace and earth observation. Italy ranks fifth in the world for “impact factor” of scientific publications produced (average number of citations obtained) and twelfth for investment in biomedical research.

Italy is the first country in Europe for number of references per researcher (#ItalyIsDifferent – The European House Ambrosetti).

Italy is among the top 5 countries in the world for research on Covid (Scopus / QS data).

Italian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are among the most innovative in Europe: the share of SMEs that have introduced product and process, strategic and organisational innovations is higher than the EU average. Italy is also the country in Europe with the highest acceleration rate (85% have accelerated on digital transformation, compared to 75.3% of the European average).

Italy is the second largest manufacturing economy in Europe and the fifth largest in the world, with a manufacturing surplus of over USD 100 billion. In the pharmaceutical sector, in particular, where both national and multinational companies operate successfully, Italy has reaffirmed its role as Europe’s leading manufacturer, with pharmaceutical production amounting to €34 billion in 2019 (data from the European Federation of the Pharmaceutical Industry data).

Italy is the European country with the highest share of recycling on total waste (79.3%, twice the EU average of 39.2%). (Symobola Foundation, 2021)

Italian agriculture is among the most sustainable in Europe, with emissions of 30 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Italy holds the EU record for the number of young people (under 35 at the helm of agricultural enterprises) and women in agriculture (1 farm out of 4 is led by women – almost 120,000 female entrepreneurs) (Symobola Foundation, 2021)

Italy is also the largest operator in renewables, with 47 GW of managed capacity. (Symobola Foundation, 2021)

Over 432,000 Italian companies in industry and services invested in green products and technologies in the period 2015-2019. Since 2015, investment has risen from 7.9% of companies to 21.5% in 2019 (equal to 300,000 companies). (Symobola Foundation, 2021)

Italy has the most efficient goods clearance system, which is now fully digitalised.

Investing in Italy means having access to an immense wealth of intellectual and specialised knowledge that is unique in the world in all fields, and to extraordinary know-how in strategic sectors such as machinery, automation, fashion and design, food and cuisine. In recent years, Italy has also opened up to foreign investment in sensitive sectors such as energy, networks, telecommunications and transport.

Italian cities are embellished with a countless number of monuments and works of art whose beauty is appreciated and recognised internationally. In fact, the country ranks first in the UNESCO ranking (classifica UNESCO) for the number of World Heritage Sites (55 declared sites).

Fifty million tourists visit Italy every year and the country is therefore the fifth tourist destination in the world (UNWTO 2018).

Find out more on key sectors and doing business in Italy on Invest in Italy | Italian Trade Agency (