I recently discovered from a book written by Charles Young that in the years from 2001 to 2009 the GDP per capita in Italy decreased, and that it can't be due only to the economic downturn since only Zimbabwe, Haiti and Ivory Coast performed worse in the whole planet.
This first chart, taken from the book, shows how bad Italy did compared with the rest of Europe:
And this second chart shows that Italy is the only listed country for which the per capita GDP decreased (in blue bar) from 2001 to 2009:
In the same chart the green circle shows also how the same per capita GDP used to increase in the previous 8 years (i.e. from 1993 to 2001).