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Map of Italy

Population: 57.8 Million
Area in sq mile: 116.3000
Capital: Rome
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About Italy

Italy is a boot-shaped peninsula in the Mediterranean, in between the Tyrrhenean Sea to the west and the Adriatic Sea to the east. Sicily, Sardinia and approximately 70 small islands are part of its territory, giving Italy a total surface area of 301,268 km≤. The country has a population of 58 million. Most of the peninsula is mountainous. The Alps form a magnificent arch along the northern border, and the four large Italian lakes are cradled in its valleys. The Apennines traverse nearly the entire length of Italy. Between those two mountain ranges lies the Po Valley, the flat, fertile basin of the river Po. This is where the most fertile agricultural land in Italy is found. But the area also accommodates the countryís main industries, including automobile factories in Turin and the fashion houses of Milan. With its dry, rocky soil southern Italy has less agriculture and industry, and a much poorer population. The only active volcanoes on the mainland of Europe are in Italy, including Mount Etna and Mount Vesuvius. Italyís temperate, dry climate produces mild winters and warm summers.

There are two other countries within the borders of Italy, namely San Marino and, in Rome, Vatican City (the smallest country in the world). Vatican City is the home of the Pope, the head of the Roman Catholic Church.

Rome, the capital city of Italy, is over 2500 years old. The Colosseum, where the gladiators once fought, the Forum and Saint Peterís Square are the main tourist attractions. Fifteenth century artist Michelangelo was famous in Rome for his sculpture and painting. Today the capital has a population of over 2.5 million.

In the 14th century many Italian cities evolved into independent city-states as a result of their successful industry and prosperous trade. Venice and Florence each formed a centre of innovation, and Italian thought and style came to dominate the whole of Europe. A visit to those cities is more than worth the trouble. Each year 50 million tourists flock to Italy to admire the ancient ruins, historic cities and museums and, of course, to enjoy the sunshine.

In the warm climate, Italian farmers are able to grow large quantities of wheat, citrus fruits, olives and grapes. Italy is the largest olive oil and wine producer in the world. Agricultural produce can be found in all the traditional Italian dishes. Wheat is used in pasta and pizza, and olive oil is the basis for many sauces. Italian wines are known by such names as Chianti and Soave. And Italy is also known for its many delicious flavours of ice cream. You will find shops and carts selling ice cream all over Italy.

There is a great deal of information about Italian history on the Internet. You will also find countless tourism websites with information about accommodation and events.

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