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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 October 2006, 11:42 GMT
The press in Italy
Italian press graphic

Newspaper readership figures in Italy are low, with only 104 copies sold for every 1,000 citizens. Given the overall size of the population - 57m - the number of dailies is not large, with around 90 being published, according to recent figures.

The majority of papers are locally or regionally based, reflecting Italy's strongly regional history and character.

The most important national dailies are the Milan-based Corriere della Sera and Rome's La Repubblica, followed by Turin's La Stampa and business paper Il Sole 24 Ore.

There are a number of weekly publications with a wide circulation, the most influential being the news magazines Panorama and L'Espresso. Sports newspapers and the Catholic weekly Famiglia Cristiana also have a very wide readership.

A striking statistic about Italy is the extent to which Italians are said to rely on television, rather than newspapers, for their daily news. Indeed according to research some 80% of the population depends only on television for news, the highest percentage in the EU.

The printed press in Italy has until now been relatively independent, but there are fears that proposed moves to relax cross-media ownership laws could work to concentrate publishing interests in fewer hands than at present.

Main papers

Corriere della Sera

Based: Milan
Founded: 1876
Circulation: 615,000 (2004)
Owner: Rizzoli-Corriere della Sera (RCS) group

Corriere della Sera is Italy's best-selling broadsheet. It publishes a national and four regional editions. The paper has traditionally been the voice of the establishment, but in recent years it has shifted towards the left, opposing the former centre-right government of Silvio Berlusconi over a range of issues. In 2003, its editor Ferruccio de Bortoli resigned amid a storm of controversy, with journalists and opposition politicians claiming he was forced out because of the paper's criticism of Mr Berlusconi. The Fiat Group, which owns Turin-based La Stampa (see below), also has a controlling interest in the group which owns Corriere.

La Repubblica

Based: Rome
Founded: 1976
Circulation: 586,500 (2004)
Owner: Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso

Italy's leading centre-left newspaper, La Repubblica probably has the widest presence of any Italian paper, with a national edition and nine local editions which span the country from north to south. L'Espresso group, which owns the paper, is controlled by industrialist Carlo de Benedetti, a business rival of Silvio Berlusconi.

La Stampa

Based: Turin
Founded: 1867
Circulation: 330,000 (2004)
Owner: The Fiat Group

La Stampa is Italy's third newspaper in terms of readership. It is owned by Italy's seminal business dynasty, the Agnelli family, which retains a controlling interest in carmaker Fiat. The paper is centrist in its political orientation.

Il Sole 24 Ore

Based: Milan
Founded: 1865
Circulation: 343,000 (2004)
Owner: Il Sole 24 Ore group

Best-selling financial daily, reported to have the highest circulation in Europe for a paper of its kind. It is owned by the Italian industrialists' association, Confindustria.

Il Giornale

Based: Milan
Founded: 1974
Circulation: 204,000 (2004)
Owner: Societa Europea di Edizioni SPA

Centre-right daily owned by Paolo Berlusconi, brother of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. The paper openly supported Mr Berlusconi's government but says it has an independent editorial line.

Il Messaggero

Based: Rome
Founded: 1878
Circulation: 236,000 (2004)
Owner: Caltagirone Group

Rome's most popular newspaper, Il Messaggero is a conservative daily which gives extensive coverage to affairs in Rome and central Italy. The Caltagirone Group which owns it also publishes popular Neapolitan daily Il Mattino, as well as several other papers published in southern Italy.

Influential weeklies


Based: Milan
Founded: 1962
Circulation: 525,000 (2003)
Owner: Mondadori [owned by Fininvest group]

Italy's biggest news weekly is Berlusconi-owned. It has been accused of championing its patron and rubbishing his opponents, but Panorama's management says editorial decisions are made in complete autonomy.

Famiglia Cristiana

Based: Milan
Founded: 1931
Circulation: 742,000 (2003)
Owner: Periodici San Paolo

Italy's most popular weekly magazine. Owned by Periodici San Paolo, a Roman Catholic publishing group.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.


Country profile: Italy
24 Mar 04 |  Country profiles


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