A new study confirms that speaking English is not Italy's strong point. Photo: Depositphotos
While Italians may display good English language skills in some tourist hotspots, a new international ranking shows the country overall is far behind many neighbouring European nations.
The English Proficiency Index (EPI) from global language training company Education First (EF) ranked the Netherlands top out of 100 countries which don't have English as a national language, based on test results taken by nationals in each country.
Down in 36th place, Italy placed just behind Spain in the “moderate competency” group of countries and behind all other countries in the European Union.
In Europe as a whole, those performing worst were Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Albania, Georgia, Turkey and Azerbaijan.
As with so many things, Italy's regions showed big differences when it comes to English language proficiency, and the differences between northern and southern regions were marked.
The region ranked highest was Emilia-Romagna, known for being home to Bologna's famous university and student life. Meanwhile, Basilicata ranked lowest, followed by Puglia and Molise.
In terms of cities though, Milan was ranked Rome – though both only placed in the “moderate proficiency” category – with a score of 57.12 while the capital scored a slightly lower 56.28.