We explain everything about Italy, what its geography is like and its climate. In addition, its characteristics, culture, economy, traditions and more.
Italy is a country located in Western Europe and a member of the European Union . Its territory extends through southern Europe , on islands in the Mediterranean Sea (such as Sicily and Sardinia) and on the Pelagie Islands (which belong to the African continent ).
It is one of the main world economies and stands out in textile, naval, automotive and food production (such as wines and olives). Its territory is inhabited by more than 60 million people who are distributed in the 20 regions that make up the country. The majority of the population speaks the Italian language .
Italy was the seat of many European cultures, such as the Etruscans, the Greeks and, most importantly, the Romans, so it is a country that has an abundance of history , culture, monuments, buildings and traditions, which makes it one of the most of the most visited countries in the world.
The capital of Italy is Rome , a city that is located in the east of the country and where the Vatican City is located, an autonomous state that is considered a holy place for the Catholic religion. Other important cities in Italy are Milan (considered the capital of fashion), Turin (an important industrial and automobile production center), Genoa, Bologna, Venice, Naples, Palermo and Florence.
Characteristics of Italy
- Limits . Italy is bordered to the north by France , Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia, to the west by the Ligurian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea, to the south by the Mediterranean Sea, to the southeast by the Ionian Sea, and to the east by the Adriatic Sea.
- language . The main language of Italy is Italian, which derives from Latin, however, in some areas of Italy there are people who speak other languages such as French, German, Catalan, Greek and Croatian.
- Population . Italy has more than 60 million inhabitants, making it one of the most populous countries in Europe. Towards the beginning of the 20th century , the population of Italy decreased as a result of the migrations that took place towards South America .
- religion . The predominant religion in Italy is Catholicism, however, its inhabitants also profess other religions such as Protestantism, Judaism and Islam . The city of Rome attracts a large amount of religious tourism as it has within its territory the independent state of Vatican City.
- Patriotic symbols . The symbols of the Italian nation are the flag, made up of three vertical stripes: green, white and red, the coat of arms and the anthem, called Il Canto degli Italiani, but popularly known as Fratelli d’Italia.
- Currency . The euro has been the official Italian currency since 2002. Previously, the Italian lira was used in the country.
- form of government . Italy is a parliamentary republic with division of powers, so it has an executive power made up of a president, a Council of Ministers and the president of the Council of Ministers; a legislative power, made up of a Chamber of Deputies and the Senate; and a judiciary.
- Education . Education in Italy is free and compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16. It is divided into five levels: scuola dell’infanzia, primary school, first grade secondary school, second grade secondary school and university.
Territorial division of Italy
The Italian territory is divided into five main areas which, in turn, are divided into 20 regions. The Italian regions are made up of provinces, which are made up of municipalities.
The five geographical areas of Italy are:
- Northwest . It is the area located in the west of the Italian territory and is made up of the regions of Liguria, Piemonte, Valle D’Aosta and Lombardy.
- Northeast . It is the area located in the east of the Italian territory and is made up of the regions of Veneto, Emilia Romagna, Friuli – Venezia Giulia and Trentino Alto Adige.
- center . It is the area located in the center of the country and is made up of the regions of Tuscany, Lazio, Abruzzo, Umbria and Marche.
- southern . It is the area located in southern Italy and is made up of the regions of Puglia, Basilicata, Campania, Molise and Calabria.
- Island . It is the area located in the Mediterranean Sea and is made up of the islands of Sardinia and Sicily.
In addition, within the Italian territory there are two states or independent countries: the Vatican City (surrounded by the city of Rome, in the center-west of the country) and San Marino (located in the east of the country).
Relief of Italy
Italy is made up of mountains, plains and valleys.
From north to south Italy has an area of 1,360 km and its greatest width is 610 km . Its total territory occupies an area of 301,302 km 2 .
Italy is made up of different mountain ranges and valleys . To the north are the Alps and to the south are the Apennines, the mountain chain that crosses the entire Italian peninsula like a backbone. Towards the sides of both mountain ranges there are hills and valleys that flow into the sea and in between there is the Panada plain, the largest plain in the country through which the Po River flows.
In the south of Italy is the island of Sicily, considered an extension of the Apennines, in which Mount Etna stands out, which is the highest active volcano in Europe (with a height of 3,345 meters above sea level). Towards the west coast, Italy has a large number of bays and gulfs that flow into the Ionian Sea and the Adriatic Sea.
Italy does not have a large number of river basins . Those that do exist are in the Po Valley and the vast majority (except for those whose headwaters are in the Alps) have a minimum flow that tends to dry up during the summer.
Climate and rainfall in Italy
The coastal area of Italy has a Mediterranean climate.
The climate in Italy varies according to the geographical location and the type of relief . In the area of the Alps and the Apennines, the climate is cold and mountainous, and it is an area of attraction for the practice of winter sports.
The area of the Padana plain, in the north of the country, is characterized by having a continental-type climate, which lacks wind and in which winters are cold with frost, fog and occasionally snow, and very hot and humid summers. .
In the coastal area, the climate is of the Mediterranean type , the summers are warm and sunny and the winters are mild with a lot of rainfall.
The maximum and minimum temperatures of some of the most important cities in Italy are: Rome between 3 and 30 °C, Sicily between 7 and 31 °C, Florence between 2 and 32 °C, Milan between -1 and 31 °C, Naples between 7 and 32 °C and Venice between -1 and 28 °C.
Flora and fauna of Italy
Wolves can be seen in the Italian Alps.
The flora of Italy is mainly made up of species of citrus trees, olive trees and palms . Towards the southern zone, fig trees, dates, pomegranates, sugar cane, cotton and almond trees can be distinguished.
The fauna of Italy presents little variety compared to other European countries. Bears, mountain goats, marmots, wolves , foxes and wild boars are some of the species that can be found. There is also a great variety of reptiles and arachnids such as vipers, scorpions, lizards and snakes . As for the birds , predators predominate, such as buzzards, falcons, vultures and eagles .
Due to its large number of coastlines, Italy presents a varied marine fauna. Among the species that stand out are crustaceans and molluscs , such as crabs and snails, and species of fish and mammals such as eels, shrimp, clams, tuna, cod and dolphins.
art of italy
Italy is a country with a long tradition in art , especially in painting and sculpture . It saw its heyday during the Renaissance (5th to 6th centuries), a period that was characterized by the flourishing of artists in painting, sculpture, literature , and architecture .
Some of the main representatives of Italian art throughout history were:
- Donato di Betto Bardi (Donatello) (1386-1466) . He was an Italian painter and sculptor and one of the forerunners of the Renaissance movement. He revolutionized the field of sculpture with his works in relief and made works in bronze, wood and marble. Some of his most outstanding sculptures are David (sculpted in bronze) and Penitent Mary Magdalene (sculpted in wood).
- Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) . He was an Italian painter and exponent of the early Renaissance period. He made many of his works for the Medici (Florentine family), among which are The Birth of Venus , The Abyss of Hell and Spring .
- Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) . He was an Italian painter, architect and scientist of the Renaissance. Da Vinci stood out in multiple disciplines and made important contributions and discoveries, for which he is considered one of the most important personalities in universal history. His most recognized works are La Gioconda , The Last Supper and the drawing of the Vitruvian Man .
- Michelangelo Buonarroti (Michelangelo) (1475-1564) . He was an Italian architect and artist exponent of the Renaissance. He is considered one of the great artists of universal history and excelled in painting and sculpture. His most famous works are David , Pietà , and the frescoes and ceiling paintings in the Sistine Chapel.
- Raphael Sanzio (Raphael) (1483-1520) . He was a Renaissance painter and architect who painted, above all, works with religious content such as The School of Athens , The Transfiguration and The Betrothal of the Virgin .
- Tiziano Vecellio di Gregorio (1490-1576) . He was an Italian painter of the Renaissance period who excelled at painting portraits and landscapes. Some of his most important works are Venus of Urbino , The Assumption of the Virgin, and Bacchus and Ariadne.
- Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) . He was an Italian painter and one of the forerunners of the Baroque style. His work was characterized by the use of chiaroscuro. Some of his most recognized paintings are The Calling of Saint Matthew , Bacchus , and the Crucifixion of Saint Peter .
In literature :
- Dante Alighieri (1265-321) . He was an Italian poet and author of The Divine Comedy , considered one of the most important works of universal literature. This work has three parts: winter, purgatory and paradise, which are divided into songs.
- Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374) . He was an Italian poet and one of the most important writers of Italian literature. His most outstanding work is Cancionero and is a representative of the humanist movement of the fourteenth century.
- Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) . He was an Italian writer and one of the main referents of letters in that language. His most recognized work is Decameron, a book of stories that marked a break with respect to the types of characters and prevailing themes of the literature of the time.
- Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) . He was an Italian diplomat, philosopher and writer of the Renaissance period. He was one of the first referents of modern political science and among his most outstanding works are The Prince , The Art of War and Discourse on the first decade of Tito Livio .
- Baltasar Castiglione (1478-1529) . He was an Italian writer and diplomat recognized for his work The Courtier , considered one of the most representative works of the Renaissance period in Italy.
- Torquato Tasso (1544-1595) . He was an Italian poet and one of the most recognized in his country. His most outstanding work is Jerusalem liberated and he is also known for Reinaldo , El rey Turismund o and Aminta .
- Alessandro Manzoni (1785-1873) . He was an Italian writer, author of the work The Boyfriends, a classic of universal literature. He was a referent of the romantic movement of his country and author of other works such as Adelchi and Los hymns sacros .
- Italo Svevo (1861-1928) . He was an Italian writer, author of novels such as Zeno’s Conscience (his most outstanding work), A Life and Senility .
- Gabriele D’annunzio (1863-1938) . He was an Italian writer and one of the main representatives of the artistic movement of decadence. He stood out in poetry and in the novel with works such as Pleasure , The Triumph of Death and The Innocent .
- Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936) . He was an Italian writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1934. He excelled at writing plays, novels, and short stories, and some of his most famous works are Six Characters in Search of an Author , The Late Matías Pascal , and Así es (si so it seems to you) .
- Italo Calvino (1923-1985) . He was an Italian writer and journalist born in Cuba and one of the great Italian writers of the 20th century. Among his most notable works are The Rampant Baron , The Invisible Cities , and Marcovaldo .
- Umberto Eco (1932-2016) . He was an Italian philosopher and writer and an influential thinker of the 20th century. His work consists of essays and novels, including The Name of the Rose , Foucault’s Pendulum, and Prague Cemetery .
Customs and traditions of Italy
Pasta and pizza are traditional Italian foods.
Italy is a country with a great diversity of customs, traditions and festivities that extend throughout its entire territory. Due to the migratory waves that led Italian citizens to settle in other parts of the planet, there is a great influence of Italian customs in various countries, especially in America .
Some areas in which the customs and traits of the Italians are evident are:
- Gastronomy . Italian gastronomy is of the Mediterranean type and is recognized for its pasta (such as spaghetti, lasagna, ravioli and agnolotti) and its pizzas. Other foods and typical dishes of Italy are: cheeses, breads, prosciutto (ham), risottos, minestrone soup, carpaccio, seafood, focaccia, ossobuco and desserts such as tiramisu, gelato (ice cream), panna cotta, cannoli, genoise, among many others. . Some of the typical drinks in Italy are coffee , wine, grappa, limoncello, sambuca, amaretto, fernet, among others. The ritual of eating is a very important tradition in Italy, which is usually carried out among family and friends.
- Sports . The most popular sport in Italy is soccer, and it is practiced professionally and amateurishly. Some of the most prestigious Italian clubs are AS Roma, AC Milan, Inter, SSC Napoli, Juventus, SS Lazio, among others. In addition, basketball, motor racing, cycling, volleyball and motorcycling are popular in Italy.
- Festivities . Italy is a country with a large number of popular traditions and celebrations. Some of the most outstanding are: Carnival (Venice and Fano stand out), Easter, the feast of the Italian Republic (which is celebrated on June 2 and commemorates the constitutional referendum of 1946), Ferragosto (festivals of summer), the Epiphany (celebrated on the day of the three kings). There are also celebrations in specific areas of the country, such as Palio di Sena, which takes place in the city of Siena and consists of a competition on horseback, Maggio Musicale fiorentino, which is a music festival held in the city of Florence, La giubiana, in the regions of Piedmont and Lombardy, among many others.
- Dances . The typical dance of Italy is the tarantella, a dance that emerged in the southern part of the country, which is accompanied by singing and is cheerful and festive. Other dances typical of ancient Italy are galliard, saltarella, pizzica and pavana.
- Fashion . Italy is one of the most prestigious countries in the field of fashion and its clothes stand out for their elegance and quality. The city of Milan is considered one of the capitals of fashion and most of the big Italian brands have their headquarters there. Some of the most prestigious Italian designers are Valentino, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, Salvatore Ferragamo, Giorgio Armani, Gianni Versace, Mario Prada, Guccio Gucci, among others.
economy of italy
Italy has one of the ten strongest economies in the world and within the European Union it is usually placed after Germany and France.
Its economy is highly industrialized and industries are located mainly in the north of the country, in cities such as Bologna, Genoa, Turin and Milan. Italian industries are usually small and medium -sized family businesses and stand out in areas such as automotive, machinery, shipbuilding, technology , textiles and pharmaceuticals.
Italy also has a developed primary activity , mainly in the production of grains, vines, dairy products, meat, olives and citrus. Among its natural resources, the deposits of natural gas, lignite, sulfide, pyrite and oil and marble stones stand out. Due to its outstanding geographical position, with connections to other parts of Europe and Asia , Italy exports many of these products, as well as others such as machinery, vehicles and minerals.
Much of Italy’s workforce works in the service sector, in restaurants, hotels, shops, banks and health entities. It is a country that receives a large number of tourists , so its hotel and gastronomic industry is highly developed and generates a large portion of the national GDP every year.
Italian form of government
In Italy, the presidential term lasts seven years.
From 1946, after the monarchy and subsequent fascist dictatorship of Benito Mussolini , Italy became a democratic republic . Its head of state is the president, who is elected by Parliament for a seven-year term and one of his main functions is to maintain national unity.
The Italian government is carried out by the Council of Ministers, formed by the ministers of the different portfolios, and led by the president of the Council of Ministers, who is the head of government and the highest political leader. This president of the Council is chosen by the president of the country and is in charge of electing the ministers of the Council.
The Italian legislative power is made up of the Chamber of Deputies (with 400 seats) and the Senate (with 200 seats) and the judiciary is independent of the other two powers.
Tourism in Italy
Italy is one of the most visited countries in the world. Tourists who come to its territory are attracted by its landscape, its architecture, its culture , its gastronomy and its history.
Due to the large number of cultures that inhabited Italian land, Italy is a country with a great past that is gathered in museums, buildings and archaeological sites. It is the country with the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In addition, Italy has a great diversity of landscapes, among which its mountain ranges, lakes and coasts stand out.
Some of the most visited places by tourists in Italy are:
- The Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Roman Forum and Piazza Navona in Rome.
- The Uffizi Gallery, the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella and the Ponte Vecchio in the city of Florence.
- The city of Venice.
- Tuscany region.
- Vatican City.
- Cinque Terre, coastal area within the province of La Spezia formed by Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.
- The tower of Pisa, in the city of Pisa.
- Milan Cathedral and Santa Maria delle Grazie in the city of Milan.
- Mount Vesuvius, in Naples.
- Lake Como, in Lombardy.
- The coasts and beaches of the island of Capri.
- The Etna volcano, in Sicily.
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