The teaching of the Catholic religion in the Italian State schools is regulated by the Concordat between Italy and the Holy See, dating back to the Eighties.
Teachers of religion are appointed by the local Bishop, but paid by the State.
Students will attend their lessons only if their parents (or themselves, if they are of age) require it. If they don’t, they will be offered alternative activities or they will be authorized to leave the school.
According to the Italian law, a crucifix must be exposed in every classroom.
In addition to the State schools, the Catholic school directly operates many private schools which enjoy full legal recognition and public financing.
The main criticism to the current system is that it diverts too many resources to the Church while the school system in general is underfunded.