|Geography and Climate
Italy is located in Southern Europe, a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, northeast of Tunisia. Area comparatively slightly larger than Arizona. Total land boundary is 1,932.2 km, border countries are Austria 430 km, France 488 km, Holy See (Vatican City) 3.2 km, San Marino 39 km, Slovenia 232 km, Switzerland 740 km.
Climate is predominantly Mediterranean; Alpine in far north; hot, dry in south. Terrain consists mostly of rugged and mountainous; some plains, coastal lowlands. Elevation extreme has the lowest point in Mediterranean Sea 0 m and highest point in Mont Blanc 4,807 m. Natural resources are mercury, potash, marble, sulfur, dwindling natural gas and crude oil reserves, fish, coal. Land use: arable land: 31%, permanent crops: 10%, permanent pastures: 15%, forests and woodland: 23%, other: 21% (1993 est.). Irrigated land: 27,100 sq km (1993 est.).
Natural hazards are regional risks include landslides, mudflows, avalanches, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding; land subsidence in Venice.
Environment—current issues: air pollution from industrial emissions such as sulfur dioxide; coastal and inland rivers polluted from industrial and agricultural effluents; acid rain damaging lakes; inadequate industrial waste treatment and disposal facilities
Geography—note: strategic location dominating central Mediterranean as well as southern sea and air approaches to Western Europe.
Ref. Anonymous, 1999