Italy Geography

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So you want to know about Italy? Here are some highlights! Also check out the links to other sites about Italy.

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Key Facts

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Italy Flag Italy has played an important part in Europe since the early Roman empire.

Population: 58 million

Geographic size: 116,000 square miles

Capital: Rome

Major cities and population: Rome, Milan, Naples, Genoa, Venice


Geographic Landmarks

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MountainsItaly is a peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea. Its most prominent feature is its boot-like shape kicking the island of Sicily.

Much of Italy is covered by mountains. The Dolomite mountains which extend across northern Italy are part of the Alps mountain range. The Apennine mountains cut down the center of Italy, stretching from north to south, dividing the east and west coasts.


The Po Valley, just south of the Dolomite mountains, is the basin of the Po River. It is fertile farm land.

Italy includes two large islands: Sicily and Sardinia. Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean, with active volcanoes and earthquakes. Sardinia is basically mountains rising out of the ocean.

Italy also has two independent countries within its borders. Vatican City is the center for the Roman Catholic Church, and is the world's smallest country. San Marino, on the north east coast of Italy, is an independent republic.


Points of Interest

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Leaning Tower of Piza Italy has many internationally known tourist areas. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is easily identified. The marble tower was built over 800 years ago, but on soft ground. Shortly after it was built, it began to tilt. It now leans by over 16 feet.

Italy is also home to many ancient ruins from the ancient roman empire.

Venice GondolaVenice is also a very popular tourist area. It is best known as the city built on water. It is famous for its canals and gondolas used as transportation around the city.


Major Industries

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Northern Italy has a wide range of industries. It is best known for its fashionable designs in clothes, shoes and furniture. Other manufacturing includes automobiles, computers and electronic equipment.

Northern Italy's Po Valley provides good farm land for rice, wheat and other grains. Southern Italy grows fruits, olives and tomatoes, where irrigation is possible. Many areas of Italy also grow grapes. Italy is one of the largest wine producers in the world.

Northern Italy also has many popular tourist areas, such as Rome, Venice and Florence.


Historical Highlights

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Ancient RuinsItaly played a major role in the development of Europe. In ancient times, the Roman Empire ruled most of western Europe from its base in the city of Rome.

Ruins from the ancient roman empire bring many tourists to Rome and other parts of Italy each year.


Population and Culture

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Art CultureOver 70% of Italy's population live in cities and towns. The rest live in rural areas.

Most people live in northern Italy, particularly on the west coast around Rome and Naples, and in the Po Valley. Southern Italy is more rural, even thought the hot, dry climate is not very productive for farming.



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In northern Italy, temperatures can reach below the freezing during the winters, with snow in the northern most areas. Southern Italy has a warmer, more moderate climate.
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