is located in southern Europe. It is bound by Tyrrhenian and Ligurian Seas to
the west, France to the northwest, Switzerland and Austria to the north, Slovenia
to the northeast, the Adriatic Sea to the east as well as the Ionian and Mediterranean
Seas to the south. The territory includes the mainland and the islands of Sardinia
and Sicily as well as some other smaller islands. The country is predominantly
mountainous with plains accounting for less than 33% of the land area. The two
principal mountain ranges are (1.) the Alps which are divided into the three
ranges of the Western Alps, the Central Alps and the Eastern Alps. (2.) The
Apennines which is divided into the Northern or Ligurian Apennines and the Tuscan-Emilian
Apennines. Except for the Po Plain, the plains of Italy are small in land area
and numbers. The principal rivers are the Po, Tevere or Tiber, Arno, Volturno,
Liri and Adige as well as many shorter rivers that flow to the Adriatic Sea.
Italy has a temperate climate with a variety of regional characteristics. The
Alps region has harsh winters and moderately warm summers with abundant rainfall.
The Po Plain has harsh winters with long periods of subfreezing temperatures
and warm sultry summers, with rainfall more common in winter. The Alpennine
region has extremely mild winters and hot summers. Italy is also subject to
fierce seasonal winds. Average temperature ranges in Rome are from 4 to 11 degrees
The principal ethnic majority are the Italians who account for 99% of the population
and are an ethnic amalgamation of Lombard and Goths from the north, Greeks,
Spaniards and Saracens from Sicily, Latins in and around Rome, Etruscans and
others from Central Italy. Other ethnic minorities include the German speaking
population of Bolzano, Tyroleans, Greeks, Albanians, Slovenes and a small number
of French speakers.