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Italy

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Name in Albanian:Italia
Name in Bulgarian:Италия
Name in Catalan:Itàlia
Name in Czech:Itálie
Name in Danish:Italien
Name in Dutch:Italië
Name in Estonian:Itaalia
Name in Finnish:Italia
Name in French:Italie
Name in German:Italien
Name in Greek:Ιταλία
Name in Hebrew:איטליה
Name in Hungarian:Olaszország
Name in Irish Gaelic:An Iodáil
Name in Italian:Italia
Name in Latvian:Itālija
Name in Lithuanian:Italija
Name in Norwegian (Bokmål):Italia
Name in Polish:Włochy
Name in Portuguese:Itália
Name in Russian:Италия
Name in Simplified Chinese:意大利
Name in Spanish:Italia
Name in Swedish:Italien
Area:301,338 km2
Locality type:Country


To the north, Italy borders France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia, and its borders are largely naturally defined by the Alpine watershed. To the south, it consists of the entirety of the Italian Peninsula and the two largest Mediterranean islands of Sicily and Sardinia as well as around 68 smaller islands. There are two small independent states within Italy: the Vatican City in Rome, and the Republic of San Marino.

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is divided into 20 regions which represent the first-level administrative divisions of the country. Five of them (Aosta Valley, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Sardinia, and Sicily) have a special autonomous status. Each region, with the sole exception of Aosta Valley, is divided into second-level administrative divisions (represented by provinces and metropolitan cities), which in turn are subdivided into municipalities (in Italian comuni; singular: comune).

Numerous seamounts rise from the seafloor surrounding Italy, particularly at the bottom of Tyrrhenian Sea and Sicily Channel.

The complexity of its geological history combined with the wide variety of its substratum rock types, often dislocated by numerous fault-lines, folding and thrusting of the rocky units by orogenic forces, have contributed to Italy’s extremely diverse morphology. Less than a quarter (23%) of its total territory is formed by plains, while mountainous areas occupy over a third of its surface (35%). And, over two-fifths (42%) consists of hill zones. Italy’s maximum height above sea level corresponds with the summit of Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco), 4810 m, on the border with France. In the far eastern section of the Po valley there are some zones which are slightly below the sea level and which are often subject to subsidence phenomena.

The evolution of the geology of Italy spans from the early Palaeozoic orogens throughout the Mesozoic opening of the Tethys oceans to the later closure of these oceanic embayments during the Alpine and Apenninic subductions. All these phenomena are reflected in the lithological characteristics of the different Italian regions.

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