The Italian economy is driven in large part by the manufacture of high-quality consumer goods produced by small and medium-sized enterprises, many of them family-owned.
The main Italian industries are tourism, machinery, iron and steel, chemicals, food processing, textiles, motor vehicles, clothing, footwear and ceramics.
The production is primarily situated in the northern part of the country.
The two major industrial cities in the north are Turin, the country's manufacturing capital, and Milan, the business and fashion capital.
Some of the most well-known Italian brands are in the automotive sector and include the luxury car brands Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati. Italy is also famous for brands in fashion and apparel such as Gucci, Prada, Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Bvlgari, Benetton and Diesel.
There are several important food and beverage companies. Lavazza and Illy are coffee companies specialized in espresso. Barilla is a manufacturer of dried pasta and sauces. San Pellegrino for the mineral water and Peroni Nastro Azzurro for the beer. Martini and Cinzano for vermouth and alcoholic drinks. Ferrero is the producer of Nutella, the worldwide well-known sweetened hazelnut chocolate spread.
The automobile sector is dominated by Fiat Group that sold 4,4 million cars in 2013 and which ranks the number seven in the world's top motor vehicle manufacturing companies.
The engineering sector, covering mechanical machinery and equipment, is the second largest in the EU.
In 2012 Italy had a refinery capacity of 2.2Mbd and 16 operational crude refineries, ranking the seventh producer in the world. The country produced 155,000 barrels of crude oil per day during the same year but it heavily depend on oil imports for the energy needs - Libya, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia and Russia are the major suppliers. Eni is the leading refining company in Italy and operates five refineries in the country.
Chemical products and synthetic fibers are crucial sector for Italy and it is the fourth largest chemical producer in the EU.
Italy is also one of the world leaders in the field of transport-related designs, especially in the field of ships and boats, and cycles and motorcycles.
Tourism is one of Italy's most profitable industries, it is the fifth most visited country in the world.
Italy is the seventh largest exporting economy in the world in terms of gross exports, and is also the fifth largest manufacturing producer in the world (source: 2013 release of the OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard).
The main export commodities are:
The main export partners are:
The main import commodities are:
Here is a map of the main Italian industrial districts: