Italy Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Italy?

Overview:

Italy covers 116,300 square miles (301,225 sq. km.). Its prominent geographical feature is the 500-mile-long Italian Peninsula, which is shaped like a boot and extends southeast from Europe into the Mediterranean Sea. The Apennine Mountains form the backbone of the peninsula. North of the Apennine range lies the Po River Valley (300 miles from east to west), Italy's breadbasket and the center of Italian industry. North of the Po Valley are the foothills of the Alps, in which lie Italy's lake district. Its northern border meanders along the highest points of the southern Alpine passes.

The Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia, which lie southwest and west of the Italian peninsula, respectively, are the largest islands in the Mediterranean. These, along with Italy's other, smaller islands, have hosted trading colonies since the dawn of recorded history and have traditionally provided a window on the rest of the Mediterranean Basin (the western tip of Sicily, for example, is only 90 miles from Tunisia).

Geography - note:

strategic location dominating central Mediterranean as well as southern sea and air approaches to Western Europe

Climate:

Italy's climate is generally pleasant. Although summer temperatures can rise into the mid-90s with high humidity, evenings are considerably cooler, allowing people to take to the streets and squares. In the winter, night time temperatures often drop to freezing, but snowfall outside the mountains is rare. In all seasons, the south tends to be warmer and drier than the north.

Italy Use of Natural Resources

Italy Environment

Climate:

Italy's climate is generally pleasant. Although summer temperatures can rise into the mid-90s with high humidity, evenings are considerably cooler, allowing people to take to the streets and squares. In the winter, night time temperatures often drop to freezing, but snowfall outside the mountains is rare. In all seasons, the south tends to be warmer and drier than the north.

Terrain:

mostly rugged and mountainous; some plains, coastal lowlands

Natural Resources:

coal, mercury, zinc, potash, marble, barite, asbestos, pumice, fluorspar, feldspar, pyrite (sulfur), natural gas and crude oil reserves, fish, arable land

Natural Hazards:

regional risks include landslides, mudflows, avalanches, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding; land subsidence in Venice

volcanism: significant volcanic activity; Etna (elev. 3,330 m), which is in eruption as of 2010, is Europe's most active volcano; flank eruptions pose a threat to nearby Sicilian villages; Etna, along with the famous Vesuvius, which remains a threat to the millions of nearby residents in the Bay of Naples area, have both been deemed "Decade Volcanoes" by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to their explosive history and close proximity to human populations; Stromboli, on its namesake island, has also been continuously active with moderate volcanic activity; other historically active volcanoes include Campi Flegrei, Ischia, Larderello, Pantelleria, Vulcano, and Vulsini

Irrigated Land:

15,255 Square Miles
39,510 Square Kilometers

Environmental Issues:

air pollution from industrial emissions such as sulfur dioxide; coastal and inland rivers polluted from industrial and agricultural effluents; acid rain damaging lakes; inadequate industrial waste treatment and disposal facilities

Environment - International Agreements:

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Italy Geography

Geographic Location Europe
Total Area 116,347 Square Miles
301,340 Square Kilometers
Land Area 113,567 Square Miles
294,140 Square Kilometers
Water Area 2,780 Square Miles
7,200 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 1,180 Miles
1,899 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 15,255 Square Miles
39,510 Square Kilometers
Border Countries Austria 430 km, France 488 km, Holy See (Vatican City) 3.2 km, San Marino 39 km, Slovenia 199 km, Switzerland 740 km
Coastline 4,722 Miles
7,600 Kilometers
Geographic Coordinates 42 50 N, 12 50 E
Terrain mostly rugged and mountainous; some plains, coastal lowlands
Highest Point 4,748 Meters
Highest Point Location Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco) de Courmayeur 4,748 m (a secondary peak of Mont Blanc)
Lowest Point Location Mediterranean Sea 0 m
Natural Resources coal, mercury, zinc, potash, marble, barite, asbestos, pumice, fluorspar, feldspar, pyrite (sulfur), natural gas and crude oil reserves, fish, arable land
Time Zone UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Daylight saving time +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
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