Italy is a founding member of the European Union and one of the first-wave countries to adopt the euro on 1 January 1999.
Surface area: 301 340 km2
Population: 60 090 430 (Eurostat 2009)
Joined the European Union: Founding member (25 March 1957)
Currency: Euro since 1 January 1999 (formerly Italian lira, ITL)
Status: Euro-area member since 1 January 1999.
Fixed conversion rate: €1 = 1 936.27 ITL
Adoption of the euro: The euro banknotes and coins were introduced in Italy on 1 January 2002, after a transitional period of three years when the euro was the official currency but only existed as 'book money'. The dual circulation period – when both the Italian lira and the euro had legal tender status – ended on 28 February 2002.
Exchange of former national currency: The Banca d’Italia (National Central Bank of Italy) will continue to exchange Italian lira banknotes and coins until 29 February 2012.