Prime Minister: Enrico Letta
Enrico Letta was named prime minister in April 2013 after inconclusive elections at a time when Italy was mired in recession.
He forged a coalition with former premier Silvio Berlusconi's conservatives - an unusual alliance of bitter rivals - as well as centrists led by former prime minister Mario Monti.
The creation of the coalition capped the latest political comeback for Mr Berlusconi, who was forced to resign in 2011 as Italy slid deeper into the eurozone's sovereign debt crisis.
Mr Letta appointed a protege of Mr Berlusconi, Angelino Alfano, as deputy, angering critics of the scandal-tainted billionaire tycoon, who they claim will have a grasp on the reins of power.
The former prime minister's accumulating criminal convictions have long cast a shadow over the future of the coalition, and the Supreme Court's upholding of a custodial sentence for Mr Berlusconi in the first of these cases in August 2013 caused further tremors within the government.
However, despite the fact that he may be banned from holding public office as a result of his convictions, Mr Berlusconi has insisted that he will continue his 20-year leadership of the centre-right.
Mr Letta, aged 46 at the time of his inauguration, is a moderate with a reputation as a political bridge-builder.
On taking office said he would act fast to reverse an austerity policy he argued was killing Italy and called on Europe to become a motor for growth.
An ardent Europhile with a ministerial background in trade and industry and a previous career as a member of the European Parliament, he is well-placed to state Italy's case for financial aid in the corridors of Brussels.
President: Giorgio Napolitano
Giorgio Napolitano was re-elected as president of Italy in April 2013 - the first time in the history of the Italian republic that an incumbent president had been voted in to serve a second term.
The 87-years-old Mr Napolitano had previously signalled that he was keen to retire and had ruled himself out as a candidate, but after five rounds of voting failed to elect a new president, he was prevailed upon to stand as a consensus candidate in the sixth round.
In that ballot, he secured 738 votes out of a possible total of 1,007 that could be cast by the combined chambers of parliament.
Mr Napolitano's re-election came in the wake of an inconclusive parliamentary election in February 2013 that gave rise to protracted negotiations over the formation of a new government.
During this period, the president came to be seen as a guarantor of stability. However, those pushing for change and a radical shake-up of the old political class saw Mr Napolitano's re-election as a further sign of political stagnation.
Giorgio Napolitano began his first term of office in May 2006, when he was sworn in as Italy's 11th post-war president.
The former member of the Italian Communist Party was among the leading architects of the party's transformation into a social-democratic movement.
The Italian president heads the armed forces and has powers to veto legislation, disband parliament and call elections.
For most of his first term, Mr Napolitano preferred to remain distant from the often treacherous world of Italian parliamentary politics, and so when he did intervene directly - as happened in November 2011, when he issued a not-so-coded message to the political class to examine its conscience and acknowledge collective responsibility for the crisis facing the country - his words carried considerable weight.