France and Italy


Political relations

The relationship between France and Italy is very active, as is fitting given the cooperation between these two major neighbouring partners which are EU founding members and have close economic, cultural and historical ties. The pace of bilateral cooperation is set by an annual summit, which was first held in Rome in February 1982.

The 35th bilateral summit, held in Naples on 27 February 2020, gave new impetus to the France-Italy relationship, which had been marked in February 2019 by the recalling of our ambassador for consultations. The Conte II Government’s inauguration in summer 2019 opened a new phase in our bilateral relations and saw a visit to Rome by President Macron on 18 September 2019. In this context, the Naples summit reaffirmed the shared desire to strengthen the Franco-Italian reflex at bilateral, European and multilateral levels. Converging views between the two States have given rise to a joint statement detailing their commitment to implement joint projects in various fields of our cooperation and in the European framework. In Rome on 26 November 2021, President Macron and the Italian President of the Council signed the “Quirinal” treaty on enhanced bilateral cooperation, bringing this momentum to fruition and marking a major step forward in the two countries’ relationship.

French presence

French Consulates General: Milan, Naples, Florence, Rome
French community in Italy: 43,877 registered (1 January 2018)
Italian community in France: 380,000 people


Bilateral political contacts on international crises, European issues, and economic and cultural issues take place on a very regular basis.
The President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, was received in Paris by the French President on 30 March 2015, and attended the commemorations of the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci in Chambord, Amboise and Clos-Lucé on 2 May 2019. He made a state visit to France at President Macron’s invitation from 4 to 6 July 2021.

The signing in Rome on 26 November 2021 of the “Quirinal” treaty was a high point in the France-Italy relationship. It took effect on 1 February 2023.
There is intense contact between the two governments, as shown by the many reciprocal ministerial visits. The two governments also meet regularly as members of the European Union, NATO, the G7 and other ad hoc formats, including EU Med, which met in Alicante on 9 December 2022.


French Ambassador to Italy: Christian Masset
Italian Ambassador to France: Emanuela D’Alessandro

Economic relations

France and Italy are major trading partners. In 2020, trade between the two countries stood at €71.3 billion, down 12% on 2019 (€82 billion). The COVID-19 crisis broke the continuous growth in exports and imports since 2014. With trade totalling €82 billion in 2019, France is the second-largest customer and supplier of Italy, whereas Italy is France’s second-largest customer and third-largest supplier. France has a structural trade deficit with Italy. While this deficit (excluding energy) had fallen since 2015, it grew by €868 million in 2020 to €6.9 billion. This increased deficit is linked to falling sales in transport equipment and energy during the crisis. France is one of the leading investors in Italy, with a foreign direct investment stock of €85.9 billion at the end of 2019, while Italy is France’s eighth-largest investor, with a stock of €25.5 billion at the end of 2019. France is the third-largest host country for Italian subsidiaries: 2,151 companies under Italian control are present in France according to the Italian statistical institute (ISTAT), employing more than 100,000 people. The 2017 French-Italian Summit in Lyon included a large economic and industrial focus, particularly when it comes to naval matters, with the conclusion of a balanced agreement on the shareholders of STX France and the launch of work to create an alliance in the military naval sector between Fincantieri and Naval Group. This work led to the signing of a partnership in the field of military shipbuilding during the 2020 Franco-Italian summit in Naples.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

France and Italy have long-standing, intense cultural relations. These are supported by prestigious institutions such as the Villa Medici, the French School in Rome and the Jean Bérard Centre in Naples. Our teaching network includes six schools. and there are some 30 Alliance Française branches. French is the second most-studied language in Italy behind English. The agreement on dual French Baccalaureate-Esame di Stato diplomas, ESABAC, celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2020. There are now 319 ESABAC sections in Italian high schools, and 66 in France. This programme is a successful means of fostering bilingual and bicultural education. The programme was expanded to the technological field in 2016. In the academic field, the Franco-Italian University was founded in 1998 and an academic cooperation agreement was signed between the French Conference of University Presidents and its Italian counterpart on 22 October 2020. In the scientific field, France and Italy have developed space cooperation built around an intergovernmental agreement signed in 2007. When it comes to young people, the “Quirinal” treaty provides for the creation of Franco-Italian civic service. It will enable young French and Italian people to engage in civic service in the other country and thus foster bilateral ties between the younger generations.

Updated: 16 February 2024