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Italy - Geography


Italy is located in southern Europe and is composed of the famous boot-shaped Italian Peninsula, all of the land between the peninsula and the Alps, and a number of islands off of the coast, including Sicily and Sardinia. Italy’s total land mass is 301 230 km². 

In Italy you will find varied geographical features; the south-western corner of the country is bounded by the Tyrrhenian Sea, which is part of the Mediterranean. North-west of the Tyrrhenian Sea is the Ligurian Sea, which is north of the islands of Corsica and Sardinia.  The Adriatic Sea bounds the north-eastern shores of the country. At the heel of the peninsula, in the south-east, is the Ionian Sea.

Italy is marked by its mountain ranges, in particular, the Alps which act as a northern boundary between Italy and France. The Apennine mountains form a picturesque ridge on the peninsula, and in between the two mountain ranges lies a vast plane. In this plane flows Italy’s largest river, through the valley of the Po, for 652 km east from the Cottian Alps out to empty in the Adriatic Sea. 

Mont Blanc, or as it is more commonly known Monte Bianco, sits 4810 metres above sea level and is the highest mountain in all of Italy. The Padan Plain, or Po Plain, lies in Northern Italy, it is drained by the Po river which runs from east to west, emptying in the Adriatic Sea. 

Italy has a vast coastline of 7, 600 km which includes many seas, the ones we’ve mentioned, and borders many countries – France, Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland. There are some active volcanoes in Italy; they include Etna, the largest active volcano in all of Europe; Stromboli; Vulcani; and the infamous Vesuvius, which is the only active volcano on Europe’s mainland. 

The Italian countryside is idyllic and picturesque. Vast, sweeping plains of wheat and barley stretch out to the horizon, with mountain ridges separating the bronze coloured earth from blue sky. Tall conifers dot the landscape, which is known to be home to various animals like wolves, foxes, bears and deer. The Italian climate is perfect for growing fruit and vegetables, and Italy is known for its incomparable produce. 

There are a number of rivers in Italy, the Po included, which drain into the Adriatic Sea, or into the Tyrrhenian. Italy is also home to a number of subalpine, moraine-dammed lakes. 

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