According to a concord (agreement) between the government and the Catholic Church of 1985, Catholicism is no longer state religion and the state’s financial contribution to the church has decreased. Non-Catholic communities can also receive state support if they register.
About three-quarters of Italians count as Catholics, but in recent decades the Italians have become increasingly secularized. The Catholic Church has gradually lost its influence over family life, and its ban on contraception and abortion is questioned.
For the longest time, secularization has taken place in the central parts of the country. In the south, and especially in Sicily, people are more ecclesiastical. On average, every fourth Italian goes to the fair every Sunday.
Other Christian groups are relatively small. There are an estimated 1.5 million Orthodox and 200,000 Protestants.
The Jewish creed amounts to about 30,000.
The extensive immigration from Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East has now estimated that the number of Muslims is 1.6 million. Most of them are Sunni Muslims.
- Countryaah: Population statistics for 2020 and next 30 years in Italy, covering demographics, population graphs, and official data for growth rates, population density, and death rates.
Italy and Greece conclude agreements on offshore zones
Italy and Greece’s foreign ministers sign an agreement on the countries’ economic zones in the Ionian Sea between the countries, thereby resolving fishing rights disputes. The agreement is based on a previous agreement between the countries from 1977 and must be ratified by the parliaments before it can enter into force. An agreement between Turkey and Libya on sea borders, which annoyed the Greek government, is believed to have driven the agreement between Greece and Italy.
Borders are opened to tourists from the EU
The Italian government again allows visitors from other EU countries to enter the country. At the same time, it is also allowed to travel between the regions of the country. Travelers from other European countries who are members of Schengen but not EU members, including Switzerland, Norway, as well as the UK, have the right to freely enter Italy. However, visitors from other parts of the world must be quarantined for two weeks as before.
Restaurants and museums reopened
Most shops, hair salons, restaurants, museums reopen while being allowed to go to church. Residents of the regions can reside outside the home without having to fill out special forms explaining the reason. From the beginning of June, it is also expected to be allowed to travel to other parts of the country.
Some coronary restrictions are lifted
There are signs that the number of patients in covid-19 is decreasing. The number of new cases is less than for a long time and the number of patients admitted for intensive care in the hospitals has dropped sharply. The improved situation means that some measures to limit the spread of infection will be abolished. Italians will again be able to meet their relatives in smaller contexts, parks will be opened, factories and construction projects will resume operations while restaurants will be able to open for take-away. Some traveling is also allowed within the regions. The number of dead in the wake of the pandemic is now over 25,000, the highest figure in the world after the United States.
New stringent restrictions are introduced
To try to cope with the severe crisis in the country caused by the ongoing covid-19 epidemic, the government is tightening the rules for staying outside the home. All parks and playgrounds are closed and it is now prohibited to practice sports or exercise outdoors. To be able to go to the doctor or shop in grocery stores, the Italians need to fill out a form with personal data for the police. Manufacture of goods that are not considered necessary is also temporarily suspended. Nearly 5,500 residents have so far died as a result of the new corona virus.
The government promises EUR 25 billion in support
11th of March
The government will provide financial support to counteract the effects of the outbreak of covid-19 on the economy and health care in the country. Already in the past, the government has made promises of support, but the aid package that is now being planned covers a full € 25 billion. Among other things, the money is expected to go to various forms of social support measures for both affected companies and private individuals. The number who died from the disease is now over 800, while over 12,000 are estimated to have been infected by the coronavirus. The country is still kept isolated and the public is now also invited to stay at home, although it is permissible to go to work if it is not possible to work at home. All shops except grocery stores are closed.
Quarantine rules are being extended to the entire country
The measures taken to isolate certain regions of the country to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and covid-19 disease are being extended to the entire country. Larger gatherings are prohibited and restrictions on travelers have been introduced. Schools are closed and so are many workplaces. The number of infected is now over 9,000 and 463 people have died.
Schools and universities are closed because of the corona virus
4th of March
Over 3,000 people in Italy are now infected with the corona virus and 107 people have died. The government decides to close the country’s schools and universities until March 15 in an attempt to further stop the spread of infection. In addition, football matches and other sporting events shall be held without spectators. It is still the country’s most affected northern regions around Milan, Venice and Bologna, but the infection is reported to have spread throughout the country and is now found in all regions.
The number of infected coronaviruses is increasing
Authorities report that nearly 1,700 Italians are infected with the corona virus. 34 people have died. The spread of infection continues to increase. The isolation of the affected areas continues, as do the travel restrictions, and the government plans support packages to deal with the financial effects of the corona virus.
Ten cities are isolated due to coronavirus
About ten cities in northern Italy near Milan are closed down to prevent the corona virus from spreading to other parts of the country. Around 50,000 who live in the area are not allowed to leave the cities, while people are also not allowed to go there. The number of infected persons in the country is said to be 76 and two of these have died. Sports events, religious services and various public gatherings in the cities have been canceled and bars and schools are closed. Already a month ago, the government introduced an emergency permit to more effectively deal with two cases of the infection detected in Rome. The infected were a Chinese couple who visited the city of Wuhan in China, where the virus was first discovered.
The Senate decides that Salvini can be prosecuted
The party leader of xenophobic Lega, Matteo Salvini, may be brought to trial because, while still Minister of the Interior in the summer of 2019 (see, among other things, August 2019), migrants on rescue vessels refused to rise ashore. Prosecutors want to prosecute him for kidnapping the migrants, who were forced to stay on board for a few days before other EU countries offered to receive them. Salvini has previously had immunity from prosecution, but the Senate has now claimed his immunity.
Defeat of Salvinis Lega in Emilia-Romagna
In the regional elections held in Emilia-Romagna, the Democratic Party (PD) candidate Stefano Bonaccini succeeds in being re-elected as governor with 51 percent of the vote, against about 44 percent for the opponent from the right-wing party Lega. Party leader Matteo Salvini has, since leaving the government (see August 2019), conducted an intensive campaign for Lega to win in the region and he made the election as if it was really a vote of confidence in the ruling left-wing coalition in the country. The fact that PD was able to retain the governor post was largely due to the fact that a popular movement, the Sardines, managed to mobilize voters in their fight against neo-fascism in society. As many as 67 percent of voters voted in the election. In the Calabria region in the south, Forza Italy’s candidate wins.
Di Maio resigns as leader of the Five Star Movement
The party chairman for Five Star Movement Luigi Di Maio, who has held the post since 2017, announces that he is resigning. However, Di Maio remains as foreign minister in the government. More recently, internal contradictions within the party have increased, and there is dissatisfaction with the cooperation with PD and the policies that the government advocates. Since the Five Star Movement entered into a government coalition with PD in September last year, several of the party’s parliamentarians have left the party. A new party leader will be appointed later this spring.