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Italy - Geography

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Italy, from "Italy" by CIA, 2005, World Factbook 2005.

Italy is located in Southern Europe, a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, at the coordinates of 42 50 N, 12 50 E. Italy's total area covers 301,230 sq km, of which 294,020 sq km is land and 7,210 sq km is water. Italy has a coastline 7,600 km in length. The capitla of Italy is Rome.

The climate of Italy is predominantly Mediterranean although it varies to Alpine in the far north and hot and dry in the south. Italy is mostly rugged and mountainous, with some plains and coastal lowlands. The higest point in Italy is Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco) de Courmayeur at 4,748 m, while the lowest point is the Mediterranean Sea at 0 m.

Italy's natural resources include coal, mercury, zinc, potash, marble, barite, asbestos, pumice, fluorospar, feldspar, pyrite (sulfur), natural gas and crude oil reserves, fish, and arable land. Italy produces fruits, vegetables, grapes, potatoes, sugar beets, soybeans, grain, olives, beef, dairy products, and fish. Industries include tourism, machinery, iron and steel, chemicals, food processing, textiles, motor vehicles, clothing, footwear, and ceramics. Italy exports engineering products, textiles and clothing, production machinery, motor vehicles, transport equipment, chemicals, food, beverages and tobacco, minerals, and nonferrous metals. Export partners to Italy are Germany, France, US, Spain, UK, and Switzerland.

Natural hazards in Italy include landslides, mudflows, avalanches, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding, and land subsidence in Venice. Italy has a range of environmental issues as well. Air pollution from industrial emissions such as sulfur dioxide is of increasing concern, while pollution from industrial and agricultural effluents is affecting coastal and inland rivers. Acid rain is damaging lakes, and there is inadequate industrial waste treatment and disposal facilities.

Italy's telephone system is modern, well developed, and fast with fully automated telephone, telex, and data services. Their country code is 39. Italy has 4 satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (with a total of 5 antennas - 3 for Atlantic Ocean and 2 for Indian Ocean), and 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region). Italy also has 21 submarine cables. There are about 100 AM, 4,600 FM and 9 shortwave radio stations in Italy, as well as 358 television broadcast stations.

Railway in Italy measures 19,319 km (11,613 km electrified), and paved highways total 479,688 km (including 6,621 km of expressways). Waterways, which are used only for commercial and industrial means, measure 2,400 km. Italy's ports and harbours include Augusta, Genoa, Livorno, Melilli Oil Terminal, Ravenna, Taranto, Trieste, and Venice.

Italy's merchant marine has 565 ships: 38 bulk carrier, 43 cargo, 128 chemical tanker, 1 combination ore/oil, 19 container, 38 liquefied gas, 2 livestock carrier, 16 passenger, 152 passenger/cargo, 53 petroleum tanker, 4 refrigerated cargo, 34 roll on/roll off, 11 specialized tanker, and 26 vehicle carrier. Italy also has 134 airports, 96 of which have paved runways.

Italy's military includes an Army (Esercito Italiano, EI), Navy (Marina Militare Italiana, MMI), Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana, AMI), and Carabinieri Corps (Corpo dei Carabinieri, CC). Service age and obligation is 18.

Italy gained Independence on March 17, 1861, when it was proclaimed the Kingdom of Italy, and was finally unified in 1870. Italy celebrates a National Holiday on Republic Day, June 2. Italy's Constitution was passed on December 11, 1947, and has been amended many times. 

See Sources: CIA.

Last Updated Jan. 12, 2006