The association of film producers selected Emanuele Crialese's "Nuovomondo," also known by its English-language title "Golden Door," after a morning meeting at their Rome offices.
Italy last won the best foreign film Oscar in 1999 with Roberto Benigni's "Life is Beautiful."
China has chosen Zhang Yimou's "Curse of the Golden Flower" to represent the country in the Academy Awards best foreign film race, while Hong Kong has picked Feng Xiaogang's "The Banquet."
"Curse," which revolves around ancient Chinese imperial politics, was selected by a committee set up by China's Film Bureau, the Chinese news Web site Sina.com reported.
"Curse" stars Chow Yun-fat, Gong Li and Taiwanese pop sensation Jay Chou.
Meanwhile, Federation of Motion Film Producers of Hong Kong Chairman Crucindo Hung said an 11-member committee of the federation picked Chinese director Feng's "The Banquet" as the territory's entry.
A former British colony now ruled by China, Hong Kong is promised significant autonomy from the mainland, and Chinese film regulators don't have jurisdiction in Hong Kong.
"The Banquet," inspired by "Hamlet" and starring Zhang Ziyi, is a Hong Kong-China co-production.
The lighthearted film "Reprise," about life's realities intruding on youthful assumptions, is Norway's entry for the best foreign film Academy Award.
"We have great confidence in this year's candidate. It is unusual, poetic and exciting, and gets to the audience from the very first moment," Jan Erik Holst of the Norwegian Film Institute said Friday in announcing the selection.
Director Joachim Trier's debut feature film will compete to be one of five finalists for the Oscar. Nominations will be announced Jan. 23. Earlier this week, Sweden announced that its entry would be Jesper Ganslandt's "Falkenberg Farewell," while Denmark last week picked Susanne Bier's "After the Wedding."