Italy. Background information


Italy, republic in southern Europe, bounded on the north by Switzerland and Austria; on the east by Slovenia and the Adriatic Sea; on the south by the Ionian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea; on the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Ligurian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea; and on the northwest by France, the Mediterranean islands of Elba, Sardinia, and Sicily, and many smallest islands. In Italy are the independent countries of San Marino and Vatican City.
Location: Southern Europe, bordering the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, between Albania and Turkey.   
Area total: 301,323 sq km (116,341 sq mi).
Population:  56.828,500
Religions: Roman Catholic
Languages: Italian. English and French commonly spoken
Time Zone G.M.T. + 1; D.S.T. (April-September)
Country name: Hellenic Republic.
Capital: Rome
Government type: Italy has been a democratic republic since June 2, 1946.
National holiday: January 1  - New Year's Day, April 25 - Liberation Day, May 1 - Labor Day, August 15 - Festival of The Assumption, November 1  - All Saints" Day, December 8  - Festival of the Immaculate Conception, 
December 25 - Christmas, December 26 - St Stephen's Day, Moveable: Easter Monday

More than half of Italy consists of the Italian Peninsula. Shaped much like a boot, the Italian Peninsula extends generally southeast into the Mediterranean Sea. 
The coast of Italy along the northern Adriatic Sea is low and sandy, bordered by shallow waters. Along the middle of the western coast, however, are three stretches of low and marshy land, the Campagna di Roma, the Pontine Marshes, and the Maremma.
The western coast of Italy is broken up by bays, gulfs, and other indentations, which provide a number of natural anchorages. In the northwest is the Gulf of Genoa, the harbor of the important commercial city of Genoa. Naples, another leading western coast port, is situated on the beautiful Bay of Naples. A little farther south is the Gulf of Salerno, at the head of which stands the port of Salerno. The southeastern end of the peninsula is deeply indented by the Gulf of Taranto.
The average annual temperature ranges from about 11 to 19C (about 52 to 66F); it is about 13C (about 55F) in the Po Valley, about 18C (about 64F) in Sicily, and about 14.5C (about 58F) in the coastal lowlands.


Italian Marinas