The Republic of Italy is located in southern Europe. Italy includes the southern part of the Alpine arc, the Po Valley, the Apennine Peninsula, the large islands of Sardinia and Sicily, and several smaller islands. The capital of the country is Rome.
Earthquakes and diverse volcanic phenomena indicate the location in a weak zone in the earth’s crust. The most famous volcanoes are Mount Etna and Vesuvius.
The Central European climate, which is still moderate in the north, changes to the subtropical Mediterranean climate in the south. Original hard-leaf vegetation can only be found in a few places.
Most of the Italians and the non-speaking minorities in the country are Catholic. There is a significant social gap between the rich north and the poorer south, which has triggered strong internal migration. Many southern Italians moved to Western Europe as guest workers. In the poorer south, the mafia could also gain in importance more easily.
Abbreviated as IT by ABBREVIATIONFINDER, Italy is one of the highly developed industrial countries, but also has an efficient agriculture. Transport and the rest of the infrastructure are well developed. Tourism has a long tradition and makes a significant contribution to the gross domestic product. Italy belongs to the euro zone.
Northern Italy borders France to the west, Switzerland and Austria to the north, and Slovenia to the east. In the south, the Mediterranean Sea and its marginal seas surround the rest of the national territory (Fig. 1).
The relief is predominantly characterized by mountains.
Only the approximately 46,000 km² Po Valley and the Veneto plain to the east are larger lowland areas. The land border in the north mostly runs on the water-separating ridges of the Alps. Only Switzerland, with the Ticino region, comes close to the Po Valley.
The highest regions in Italy are also in the Alps. There the country has a share in the southern slopes of Montblanc (4807 m) and Monte Rosa (4634 m), the peaks of which are in France and Switzerland respectively.
The main mountain range, the backbone of the country, is the Apennines, which run through the length of the peninsula. The Abruzzo, a mountain range of the Apennines, in their central part, in the Gran Sasso d’Italia, reach a height of almost 3000 m.
The Apennines separates the broader, more scenic west side of the peninsula from the port-poor and narrower east side. Island Italy includes Sicily and Sardinia, the largest islands in the Mediterranean, which are also criss-crossed by mountains. Other larger islands or archipelagos are Elba, the Pontine Islands in the Gulf of Naples, Ischia and Capri and the Lipari or Aeolian Islands off the north coast of Sicily. Italy lies in a weak zone of the earth’s crust and has several, z. Some volcanoes are still active. The best known are Vesuvius and Etna as well as Stromboli and Vulcano on the Aeolian Islands. Relatively frequent earthquakes and numerous other volcanic phenomena indicate continued movements in the earth’s crust. According to the theory of plate tectonics, the African plate, migrating to the northeast, drifts towards the Eurasian plate at a speed of three centimeters per year.
In 2001, according to the last measurement, Etna in Sicily, 3323 m high, had one of its serious eruptions.
No other volcano has erupted as frequently as Mount Etna in historical times. Its outbreaks are relatively harmless because they are predictable. Etna is one of the basalt volcanoes that constantly release excess pressure. So no magma plug can form in your chimney, which could lead to an explosive eruption, as z. B. was the case with the last eruption of Vesuvius.
Another characteristic of Etna are the many secondary craters on the flanks, a total of 270. They mostly go back to smaller eruptions to equalize pressure in the main crater. The last lava flow also poured out of a secondary crater on the southern flank and threatened the village of Nicolosi. It came to a standstill just before the settlement. Attempts at diversion could not prevent the cable car leading to the summit area of Etna from being destroyed.
Among the rivers in Italy, the Po (652 km), Etsch (410 km), Tiber (405 km) and Arno (241 km) are the most important. In addition to the lakes at the edge of the Alps, Lake Maggiore, Lake Como and Lake Garda, the largest Italian lake with an area of 368 km², Italy has a large number of lakes of volcanic origin and in tectonic basins.
Climate and vegetation
In the Po Valley, the transition from the humid, moderate climate of Central Europe to the dry, summer Mediterranean climate of southern Europe takes place (Fig. 4). With generally mild winters and hot summers, the autumn and spring rains in northern Italy south of Rome turn into winter rains. The July mean in Rome is 25 °C, in January an average of 7 °C is measured.
The flora in the north and in the mountains, apart from the northern Italian lakes, where there is a particularly mild, already Mediterranean climate, is still predominantly Central European. The formerly natural deciduous and coniferous forests have been largely displaced by pasture and scrubland.
On the coast and in the south, evergreen plants with shiny leather-like leaves predominate. This typical Mediterranean hard-leaf vegetation can only be found in a few places because it has fallen victim to agricultural cultivation areas or has been degraded to low-growing maquis.
Important data about the country
|Surface:||301 268 km²|
|Population density:||190 residents / km²|
|Growth of population:||-0 1% / year|
(men / women)
|Form of government:||parliamentary-democratic republic|
|Languages:||Italian (regional French, German)|
|Climate:||Periodically humid subtropical or Mediterranean climate|
|Land use:||Arable land 28%, pasture land 15%, forest 22%|
(share of employees)
|Agriculture 5.3%, industry 31.9%, services 62.8%|
|Export goods:||Machines, textiles and clothing, means of transport, chemical products, food and luxury goods (vegetables, fruits and wine)|
|Gross domestic product:
(share of economic sectors)
|$ 1,468,314 million (2003)Agriculture 3%, industry 28%, services 70%|
|Gross National Product:||US $ 21,570 / residents (2003)|
Italy is one of the highly developed industrial countries with efficient agriculture (Fig. 6).
The contrast between the industrialized, rich north and the rural, poorer south, the Mezzogiorno, is characteristic. A number of social problems arise from this wide economic and social gap. Ultimately, they also explain the phenomenon of the notorious criminal organizations, among which the mafia is arguably the best known.
The origins of the “honorable society” are said to go back to the Middle Ages. In its current form as a criminal organization, however, it only emerged in Sicily at the beginning of the 19th century as a counterforce to state power:
After serfdom was abolished, a new layer of tightly organized, armed intermediaries emerged who were supposed to protect their property on behalf of the large landowners. In addition, they were supposed to persuade the farmers, under threat of violence, to continue to till the soil and deliver the yields on behalf of their former masters. In return, these “patrons” granted the farmers protection and helped them with difficult family and economic matters.
In the course of time a social behavior developed between farmers and cartridges, which is characterized on the one hand by absolute secrecy (omertà) and on the other hand by blood revenge (vendetta) in the event of betrayal.
Bribery and murder succeeded in reducing the influence of the state and the law.
The numerous attempts by the state to stop the machinations of the Mafia and similar criminal organizations have so far failed. Politics and the economy seemed to have been infiltrated too much by the mafia. Money laundering continues to obscure the criminal origin of profits from drug trafficking, gambling, prostitution and arms smuggling.
Around 56% of the area is used for agriculture. The most important crops are wheat, which, like rice, is mainly cultivated in the Po Valley. Corn, barley, sugar beet, fruit and vegetables (tomatoes, pome fruits and citrus fruits) and olives are also grown.
Viticulture is common in almost all of Italy. The country is the largest wine producer in Europe in terms of volume.
There is intensive livestock farming in northern Italy, but meat production is not enough for the needs. The structure of farms in Italian agriculture is still characterized by small farms and determined by small lease systems, as the land reform in southern and island Italy, among other things, led to an extreme fragmentation of the land.
The capital-intensive, productive large enterprises and private farms in Northern Italy have a large number of z. Small farms in the south and in the coastal plains, some of which operate extensively.
Natural resources and industry
Important mineral resources are the oil and natural gas reserves in Sicily, in the Po Valley and in the Ionian Sea. Italy also has lignite and iron ore on Elba as well as significant deposits of mercury, antimony, lead and zinc ore. The high-quality white marble quarried near Carrara is also world-famous.
The major industrial companies in the country are mainly concentrated in northern Italy and around Rome. The iron and metal processing industry, the electrotechnical and chemical industry as well as the automotive industry are of great importance in these areas.
There are also many small businesses in the clothing, wood, textile, food, shoe and furniture industries. Italian handicrafts are also famous. The most important trading partners are Germany, France and the USA.
Tourism is a major source of foreign currency in the country . The seaside resorts on the upper Adriatic are most visited, as well as Venice, Rome, South Tyrol and Tuscany with the lovely capital of Florence.
The railway network is just as well developed with around 20,000 km as the road system with over 300,000 km in length. In addition to the Autostrada del Sole from Milan to Reggio di Calabria, there is another continuous motorway connection from Brenner along the Adriatic coast. The most important trading ports are the oil import ports near Genoa and Trieste, followed by Augusta, Taranto, Porto Foxi, Venice, Ravenna, Livorno, Naples, Savona, Syracuse and La Spezia. The largest passenger port is Naples. The most important of the 24 international airports are Rome-Fiumicino, Milan-Linate and Milan-Malpensa, Naples-Capodichino, Turin-Caselle and Venice-Marco Polo.