Country Profile: Italy

This Country Profile provides a basic overview of the legal history and institutional structures of the Italian Republic (Repubblica Italiana), based on research produced by GlobaLex at NYU Law School and the Library of Congress. Under Italy’s Constitution, Islamic law (sharīʿa or fiqh) has no legal status.

Country Background

Italy is a peninsula located in Southern Europe, extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, northeast of Tunisia. Its border countries are France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia. The official language of Italy is Italian. The capital of Italy is Rome. The country’s population in 2016 was approximately 62 million. Italy is a predominantly Christian country, with about 80% of the population Roman Catholic. There are an estimated 1.4 million Muslims living in Italy, making up a little over 2% of the country's population.  

Constitution & Legal Structure

Italy is referred to as a parliamentary republic, in which sovereignty belongs to the people and is exercised by the people in the forms and within the limits of the Constitution. The Constitution was ratified in 1947 after the Italian monarchy was abolished. The Constitution was most recently amended in 2012. The system of government is based on principles of separation and checks and balances and has three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. Italy is a member state of the European Union.

Constitutional Status of Islamic Law

Islamic law has no constitutional status in Italy.

Jurisdiction(s) of Islamic Law

Islamic law has no official jurisdiction of operation in Italy.

Dominant School of Islamic Law

Italy has no official school of Islamic law. 

Sources of Law for Legal Research

Official Publications

 Unofficial Databases

  • FAOLEX: Italy (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) database of national laws and regulations on food, agriculture, and renewable natural resources.
  • NATLEX: Italy (International Labour Organization) database of national laws on labor, social security, and related human rights.
  • RefWorld Legal Information: Italy (UNHCR)
  • WIPO Lex: Italy (World Intellectual Property Organization)


For an extended list of legal resources for this country, see the Library of Congress’s Research Guide, and for a narrative review, see the GlobaLex Foreign Law Research Guide (most updated version, where available). The Constitution is available in the LOC Guide in its original language and at Constitute in English and Arabic translation. For full versions of past constitutions, amendments, and related legislation, see HeinOnline World Constitutions Illustrated or Oxford Constitutions of the World [subscription required for each].