Geography of Italy

Located between 12°50′ East longitude and 42°50′ North latitude. Italy is washed by the seas: Adriatic – in the northeast and east, Ligurian – in the northwest, Tyrrhenian – in the west, Ionian – in the southeast, Mediterranean – in the south. The coastline, 7375 km long, is relatively poorly dissected; almost all major ports (with the exception of Naples, Salerno, Taranto and Cagliari) are built in artificial harbors. The territory includes two large islands – Sicily and Sardinia, the relatively small islands of Elba (part of the Tuscan archipelago), Ischia, Capri, Pantelleria and several groups of small ones (Pontian, Liparsky, Egadi, Tremiti). The largest bays are Genoese and Venetian in the north, Taranto in the south. It borders on the north with Switzerland, France, Austria and Slovenia, as well as San Marino and the Vatican (enclaves).

Mountains and uplands occupy 76.8% of the territory. In the north it is bordered by the highest system of the Alps in Europe, which has five peaks more than 4 thousand meters high (Monte Bianco, Monte Cervino, Monte Rosa, Gran Paradiso and Pizzo Bernina), from north to south the Apennines pass with the highest point of 2914 m. Rivers with a length of more than 300 km: Po, Adige, Tiber and Adda. Pool area From approx. 1/4 of the national territory. There are many lakes in the foothills and mountainous regions of the Alps, on the Adriatic coast, 5 of which are more than 100 km2 in area (Garda, Maggiore, Como, Trasimeno and Bolsena). There are many artificial reservoirs in the country. Plains are located in coastal areas and along rivers. The largest of them is Padanskaya (the valley of the Po river), the granary of Italy. The soils are diverse – from mountain-meadow and mountain-forest in the north to brown subtropical on the island of Sicily. On the coast of the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Seas, red-colored Mediterranean soils have formed on limestones, especially favorable for growing fruit trees and grapes. There are volcanic, marshy, alluvial soils.

Forests, 95% located in mountainous areas, occupy 23% of the territory (which is lower than the European average). The flora includes Central European (oak, birch) and evergreen species (holm and cork oak, pine, palm, laurel, etc.). Cultivated species predominate, primarily subtropical – citrus fruits, olives, almonds, pomegranates, figs, cork oak plantations. Altitude zonality is expressed in the mountains – from subtropical vegetation at the foot of the Apennines to mosses with lichens at the edge of glaciers. The fauna includes a small number of large wild animals (bear, wolf, chamois, roe deer) in remote mountainous areas, wild boars and foxes are more widespread, many small predators and rodents. There are up to 400 species of birds. The main species of marine fish are mullet, cod, sardines, tuna, flounder, river fish – carp, trout, eel. Diverse other “seafood” – shellfish, etc. To protect the flora and fauna created 4 national parks with a total area of approx. 2 thousand km2.

Italy is relatively poor in minerals, excluding the largest deposits of cinnabar (mercury) and significant reserves of natural building materials – limestone, dolomites, marble, granites, clays, gypsum, asbestos, marls, pozzolan, etc. There are deposits of magnesium, antimony, natural gas, pyrites, potassium salts, sulfur.

According to, the climate in most of the territory is subtropical, but the north-south elongation and mountainousness cause great differences between areas – from the warm temperate climate of the Podan Plain to the pronounced subtropical one on the island of Sicily. The average January temperature in the Po Valley is about zero, in the south and the islands + 8-10 ° C; the average July temperature in the Po Valley is +23–24°С, in the south and the islands +26°С. The climate of the Alps varies with altitude from moderately warm to cold. In the upper part of the Apennines the climate is cold, in the closed intermountain valleys it is sharply continental. The coastal regions are characterized by mild climate, the difference between the average temperatures of January and July is 15°.

General information about Italy

The official name is the Italian Republic (Republica Italiana, Republic of Italy). Located in the southern part of Europe. The area is 301.2 thousand km2, the population is 57.7 million people. (2002). The official language is Italian. The capital is Rome (2.6 million people, 1995). Public holiday – Republic Day June 2 (since 1946). The monetary unit is the euro (since 2002, before that, the lira).

Member of international organizations: the UN (since 1955), the EU (since 1957), NATO (since 1949), the G7, etc.

Geography of Italy