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The Geography of Italy: Map and Information About Italy's Mountains, Rivers, and Volcanoes


italy geography map
Geographic Map of Italy - The Geography of Italy
Map © Mountain High Maps®, Modified by James Martin, Europe Travel

The Geography of Italy

Italy is a Mediterranean country located in southern Europe. It is bordered by the Adriatic, Ionian, and Tyrrhenian Seas, and the countries of France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia.

Italy's Land Area:

The area of Italy is 116,305 sq mi (301,230 sq km), including the islands Sardinia and Sicily, just slightly larger than the U.S. state of Arizona. The mainland is a long peninsula that resembles a boot, so the country is often referred to as "the boot", with the southeast being the "heel of the boot" and the southwest the "toe of the boot".


Italy's population is just over 60 million people. The largest city is Rome, with a population of about 2.9 million. Rome is also the capital and the city most visited by tourists.

Mountain Ranges:

There are two major mountain ranges in Italy, the Alps and the Appennino or Apennines. The Alps, in the north, are divided into regions called, from west to east, the Occidentali, the Centrali, and the Orientali and are on the borders with France, Austria and Switzerland. The backbone of Italy is formed by the north-south trending Appennino chain. The Dolomites, are really part of the Alps, located in the South Tyrol, Trentino and Belluno. The highest point in Italy is Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc) at 15,770 feet, in the Alps on the French border.

Volcanoes in Italy:

Vesuvius, near Naples, is the only active volcano on the European mainland. It was Vesuvius that buried the famous Roman city of Pompeii whose ruins are a popular tourist site. Mount Etna, on the island of Sicily, is one of the world's largest volcanoes and is also still active.

Italy's Major Rivers:

The rivers correspond to major tourist destinations in Italy. The Po, starts in the Alps and flows eastward from the city of Turin to the east coast and the Adriatic Sea through the very fertile Po Valley. At the river's end, the Po Delta is an interesting place to visit. The Arno, flows from the north-central Apennines through the cities of Pisa and Florence (where it's crossed by the famous Ponte Vecchio) and empties into the Tyrrhenian Sea. The Tiber River flows from the Apennines and south through Rome, also emptying into the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Italy's Regions:

Italy is divided into 20 different regions, including the islands of Sicily and Sardinia which are each a separate region. Each region has its own unique culture, customs, and cuisine so you'll find a lot of differences between regions in the north and those in the south. See map of Italy's regions for more information about them.

More: Italy Maps

Plan Your Italy Trip

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