Buddhism in Italy is represented by two major associations. The Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana schools of Buddhism are represented by the Italian Buddhist Union (Unione Buddhista Italiana: UBI), which is a member of the European Buddhist Union. The UBI was founded in Milan in 1985 and received recognition by the President of the Italian Republic in 1991. Nichiren Buddhism is represented by the Italian Buddhist Institute Soka Gakkaia(Istituto Buddista Italiano Soka Gakkai, SGI-ITALIA), which was founded in 1998 and recognized by the President of the Italian Republic and the Prime Minister of Italy in 2000. Italy has one of the largest followings of Nichiren Buddhism under the Soka Gakkai, in Europe. 
The UBI estimates that there are around 60,000 practicing Buddhists in Italy (about 0.1% of the population), including about 10,000 adherents to the religion among immigrants from outside the European Union; a further 10,000 or so attend Buddhist centres intermittently and follow courses in the religion.
According to other estimates, there are some 160,000 Buddhists in Italy, making it the third most widely followed religion in the country after Christianity and Islam.