”Why does it matter if Italy faces the prospect of paying upwards of 7% to borrow from the financial markets? Because Italy’s national debt is 2.7 times as large as Ireland, Greece and Portugal combined. And because more than €120bn of long-term government bonds mature in 2012, along with €180bn of short-term debt (aka bills). So to ‘roll over’ this debt, Italy needs to be able to borrow.
Greece to announce new government ‘today’ as Italian yields soar - live | Business | guardian.co.uk