Giorgio Napolitano was born on June 29, 1925, in Naples, Italy.  He was elected on May 10, 2006 as the 11th President of the Federal Republic of Italy. His term started the following May 15th.  Prior to becoming Italy's President, Napolitano was a lifetime Senators and a member of the Italian Communist Party (Democrats of the Left). His Spouse is Clio Maria Bittoni with whom he has two children, Giulio Napolitano and Giovanni Napolitano.

He graduated from the Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, the world's oldest state university, located in Naples, Italy.

Napolitano was a force in the Italian (anti fascist) underground during WW2 and during Nazi occupation.  Following WW2 (1945), he joined the Italian Communist Party.

He graduated 1947 in jurisprudence with a final thesis on political economy, entitled "Il mancato sviluppo industriale del Mezzogiorno dopo l'unità e la legge speciale per Napoli del 1904". ("The lack of industrial development in the Mezzogiorno [region] following the unification of Italy and the special law of 1904 for Naples")

He was first elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1953 for the electoral division of Naples, and was returned at every election until 1996.  He was elected to the National Committee of the party during its eighth national congress in 1956.

Napolitano soon thereafter became the party's federal secretary in Naples and Caserta and later, between 1966 and 1969, he was coordinator of the secretary's office and of the political office. During the 1970s and the 1980s he was the officer responsible first for culture and later for the economic policy and international relations of the party.

His political ideas were somewhat moderate in the context of the PCI: in fact he became the leader of the so-called  "corrente migliorista" (meliorist wing of the party), whose members notably included Gerardo Chiaromonte and Emanuele Macaluso.

After the dissolution of the Italian Communist Party, in 1991, Napolitano joined the Democratic Party of the Left, later Democrats of the Left (Democratici di Sinistra, or DS). Successively, he served as President of the Chamber of Deputies (1992–1994), and between 1996 and 1998 he was the first former Communist to become Minister of the Interior.  He also served as a Member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2004. In October 2005, he was named senator for life, and was therefore one of the last two to be appointed by President of the Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, together with Sergio Pininfarina.

After the centre-left majority coalition officially endorsed Giorgio Napolitano as its candidate on May 7, 2006, and even though he is a self proclaimed atheist, the Vatican endorsed him as President, followed by endorsements by the Union  and by Marco Follini, the former secretary of the UDC, the right-leaning Christian party.

Napolitano was elected on May 10, in the fourth round of voting—the first round which required only an absolute majority, unlike the former three which required two-thirds of the votes—with 543 votes (out of a possible 1009). He is the first Communist to become President of Italy.

source: various media, Wikipedia

Italy Fact Sheet