The figures have raised hopes that the recession may be easing
Italy's economy shrank by 0.5% in the second quarter of 2009, a smaller contraction than expected, official figures have shown.
This is Italy's fifth consecutive quarterly fall in GDP, and compares with a record 2.7% contraction in the first quarter of the year.
The figures have raised hopes that the recession in Italy, the third-largest economy in the eurozone, may be easing.
Compared with the same quarter a year ago, GDP was down 6%.
Italy is the first eurozone country to publish second-quarter data, with figures for the rest of the eurozone expected in the coming weeks.
At the same time, the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development said that there were strong signals of improvement in the economic outlook of OECD economies. It pointed to stronger recovery signals in Italy and France.
"Italy was a bit behind the rest of the eurozone, so if Italy is doing better than expected, that is a good sign for the bloc as a whole," said Gilles Moec of Deutsche Bank.