Insular Italy
Italia insulare (Italian)
Location of Insular Italy
CompositionSardinia Sardinia
Sicily Sicily
 • Total49,801 km2 (19,228 sq mi)
 • Estimate 

Insular Italy (Italian: Italia insulare or just Isole; lit.'Islands') is one of the five official statistical regions of Italy used by the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), a first level NUTS region and a European Parliament constituency. Insular Italy encompasses two of the country's 20 regions: Sardinia and Sicily.


Insular Italy occupies one sixth of the national territory in surface area. Territorially, both Sicily and Sardinia include several minor islands and archipelagoes that are administratively dependent on the mother islands.

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean (25,708 km2) and one of the largest of Europe, while Sardinia is only slightly less extensive (24,090 km2). The lowlands are generally limited in the geographic region and generally appear as narrow coastal belts. The only exceptions are the Campidano and Nurra, in Sardinia, and the Plain of Catania, in Sicily, which extend 1200 km2 and 430 km,2 respectively. The rest of the area is prevalently hilly, with hills occupying 70% of the territory.

Sicily is home to Mount Etna, Italy's highest non-Alpine peak and Europe's largest active volcano. Sardinia is home to the Gennargentu mountain range.


The population of Insular Italy totals around 6.4 million residents, just over one-tenth of the national population and by far the lowest of all the country's macro-regions. While it is the smallest macro-region in area, the region also has the lowest population density. This is because of the scarce population of Sardinia, one of the least densely populated parts of Italy at only around one-third of Italy's average population density. The islands are of roughly the same size but three quarters of the region's population lives in Sicily. In 2022, the population resident in Insular Italy amounts to 6,377,044 inhabitants.[1]


Region Capital Inhabitants
 Sardinia Cagliari 1,575,028
 Sicily Palermo 4,802,016

Most populous municipalities


Below is the list of the population residing in 2022 in municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants:[1]

# Municipality Region Inhabitants
1 Palermo  Sicily 630,167
2 Catania  Sicily 298,762
3 Messina  Sicily 218,786
4 Cagliari  Sardinia 148,117
5 Sassari  Sardinia 121,021
6 Syracuse  Sicily 116,244
7 Marsala  Sicily 79,809
8 Ragusa  Sicily 73,159
9 Gela  Sicily 71,217
10 Quartu Sant'Elena  Sardinia 68,585
11 Vittoria  Sicily 63,316
12 Olbia  Sardinia 61,048
13 Caltanissetta  Sicily 58,532
14 Trapani  Sicily 55,559
15 Agrigento  Sicily 55,512
16 Modica  Sicily 53,503
17 Bagheria  Sicily 52,928
18 Acireale  Sicily 50,515
19 Mazara del Vallo  Sicily 50,039


The gross domestic product (GDP) of the region was 123.9 billion euro in 2018, accounting for 7% of Italy's economic output. The GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was 18,500 euro or 62% of the EU27 average in the same year.[2]

Socio-economic situation

The unemployment rate of Sicily is the highest in the country at 11.9%, while in Sardinia between 2006-07 it dropped for the first time below 10%, reaching 8.6%, the lowest of all the Mezzogiorno regions, excluding Molise and Abruzzo.

The low level of entrepreneurship in Sicily is tied to the local organized criminal activity, and in Sardinia, it results from the rather expensive operating expenses (electricity, transportation etc.), which are 20-50% higher than other regions because of its peripheral location from the Italian mainland and the lack of a proper territorial continuity (continuità territoriale). That condition has been reduced in Sardinia with the development of information technologies like Tiscali low-cost carriers like Ryanair and laws regarding fares and routes between the islands and mainland Italy.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Dato Istat al 31 dicembre 2022". Retrieved 24 March 2023.
  2. ^ "Regional GDP per capita ranged from 30% to 263% of the EU average in 2018". Eurostat.