Rome, December 21 - The Italian economy is set to pull out of recession in the second half of next year, but the real challenge is to ensure it enjoys solid, sustained growth, the Bank of Italy said on Friday. Italy has suffered from sluggish economic growth for a decade and last year it slipped into its second recession since the global financial crisis started in 2008. "The contraction of gross domestic product has attenuated in recent months and we expect it to keep doing so in the coming months," said Bank of Italy Deputy Director-General Fabio Panetta. "The problem is not that of intervening in public finances but of returning to growth. The Italian economy will see a recovery in the second half of 2013, but we have to return to grow stably and at a robust pace". While Premier Mario Monti's austerity measures have deepened the recession in the short term, his emergency technocrat government has also introduced structural reforms aimed at improving the country's growth prospects in the medium and long term. On Thursday Monti, who is about to resign as premier, said Italy has only just started on the programme of reforms it needed to take. Panetta echoed those sentiments. "Structural adjustments can no longer be put off," Panetta said. "The path taken isn't an easy one, but we've started".