>> The European Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (Nuts) is composed of three territorial levels. Nuts 1 divides Italy into 5 geographical macro-areas (North-west, North-east, Centre, South and Islands); Nuts 2 splits these areas into a further 21 units: 19 regions and the two autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano; Nuts 3 divides Italy in 110 provinces. The average size of Italian Nuts 2 units, in terms of surface area, is of just over 14,000 km2; in 2012, each unit had an average population of just over 2.8 million.

>> Italy is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, with 197.1 inhabitants per km2 against the Eu27 average of 114.2/km2.

>> Coastal areas cover 14.3 percent of the national territory and 28 percent of the total resident population of Italy lives in such areas. Due to such a high concentration of population, coastal areas are generally more densely populated than the rest of the national territory. As of 31 December 2012, the Italian coastal municipalities were 644, 8.0 percent of total municipalities.

>> In 2013, protected areas included in the "Nature 2000" network covered 19.2 percent of the national territory, thus placing Italy above the Eu average of 17.9 percent. The South and Islands is the geographical area with the largest percentage of protected areas (21.5 per cent).

>> In 2011, building permits were granted for the construction of only 4.4 new dwellings per 1,000 households, approximately 351 m2 of useful floor area in new residential buildings. The indicator continued to show a downward trend even at the level of geographic areas. The situation is also very heterogeneous at the regional level with values well below the average in Liguria and significantly higher in the autonomous province of Bolzano.