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The Italian Peninsula (
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
: ''penisola italica''), also known as the Italic Peninsula or the Apennine Peninsula, is a
peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland from which it extends. The surrounding water is usually understood to be continuous, though ...

peninsula
extending from the southern
Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies entirely in Europe, stretching approximately across eight Alpine countries (from west to east): France, Switzerl ...

Alps
in the north to the central
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa, and on the ...
in the south. It is nicknamed ''lo Stivale'' (the Boot). Three smaller peninsulas contribute to this characteristic shape, namely
Calabria , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = , demographics1_ ...
(the "toe"),
Salento Salento (Salentino dialect, Salentino: ''Salentu'', Griko language, Salentino Griko: ''Σαλέντο'') is a cultural, historical and geographic region at the southern end of the administrative region of Apulia in Southern Italy. It is a sub-pen ...

Salento
(the "heel") and
Gargano Gargano () is a historical and geographical sub-region in the province of Foggia, Apulia, southeast Italy, consisting of a wide isolated mountain massif made of highland and several peaks and forming the backbone of the Gargano Promontory projec ...

Gargano
(the "spur"). The backbone of the Italian Peninsula consists of the
Apennine Mountains The Apennines or Apennine Mountains (; grc-gre, links=no, Ἀπέννινα ὄρη or Ἀπέννινον ὄρος; la, Appenninus or  – a singular with plural meaning;''Apenninus'' (Greek or ) has the form of an adjective, which woul ...
, from which it takes one of its names. The peninsula comprises much of
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a Northern Italy, continental part, delimited by the Alps, a Italian Peninsula, peninsula and List of islands of Italy, se ...

Italy
, and also includes the microstates of
San Marino San Marino (, ), officially the Republic of San Marino ( it, Repubblica di San Marino; ), also known as the Most Serene Republic of San Marino ( it, Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino, links=no), is a microstate in Southern Europe completely ...

San Marino
and
Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Città del Vaticano; la, Status Civitatis Vaticanae),—' * german: Vatikanstadt, cf. '—' (in Austria: ') * pl, Miasto Watykańskie, cf. '—' * pt, Cidade do Vaticano ...

Vatican City
and the extraterritorial sovereign territory of the
Sovereign Military Order of Malta The Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM), officially the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta ( it, Sovrano Militare Ordine Ospedaliero di San Giovanni di Gerusalemme di Rodi e di Malta; l ...
.


Characteristics


Minimum extent

In general discourse, "Italy" and "Italian peninsula" are often used as synonymous terms. However, the
Po Valley The Po Valley, Po Plain, Plain of the Po, or Padan Plain ( it, Pianura Padana , or ''Val Padana'') is a major geographical feature of Northern Italy Northern Italy ( it, Italia settentrionale, it, Nord Italia, label=none or just it, Nord, lab ...
may be excluded from the Italian peninsula. In this sense, the Italian peninsula includes only about 44% of
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a Northern Italy, continental part, delimited by the Alps, a Italian Peninsula, peninsula and List of islands of Italy, se ...

Italy
's total area. On the other hand,
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographic ...

Sicily
and other smaller islands off the peninsula may be geographically grouped along with it. Geographically, the minimum extent of the Italian Peninsula consists of the land south of a line extending from the
Magra __NOTOC__ The Magra is a long river of Northern Italy, which runs through Pontremoli, Filattiera, Villafranca in Lunigiana and Aulla in the province of Massa-Carrara (Tuscany it, Toscano (man) it, Toscana (woman) , population_note ...
to the
Rubicon The Rubicon ( la, Rubico; it, Rubicone ; rgn, Rubicôn ) is a shallow river in northeastern Italy, just north of Rimini. It was known as Fiumicino until 1933, when it was identified with the ancient river Rubicon, Crossing the Rubicon, famous ...

Rubicon
rivers, north of the Tuscan–Emilian
Apennines The Apennines or Apennine Mountains (; grc-gre, links=no, Ἀπέννινα ὄρη or Ἀπέννινον ὄρος; la, Appenninus or  – a singular with plural meaning;''Apenninus'' (Greek or ) has the form of an adjective, which woul ...
. It excludes the
Po Valley The Po Valley, Po Plain, Plain of the Po, or Padan Plain ( it, Pianura Padana , or ''Val Padana'') is a major geographical feature of Northern Italy Northern Italy ( it, Italia settentrionale, it, Nord Italia, label=none or just it, Nord, lab ...
and the southern slopes of the
Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies entirely in Europe, stretching approximately across eight Alpine countries (from west to east): France, Switzerl ...

Alps
. The Italian Peninsula has the only active volcano in mainland Europe,
Mount Vesuvius Mount Vesuvius ( ; it, Vesuvio ; nap, 'O Vesuvio , also or ; la, Vesuvius , also , or ) is a somma-stratovolcano A stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, is a conical volcano A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a ...
. All of these territories lie within the
Italian Republic Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a continental part, delimited by the Alps, a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") i ...

Italian Republic
except for the microstates of
San Marino San Marino (, ), officially the Republic of San Marino ( it, Repubblica di San Marino; ), also known as the Most Serene Republic of San Marino ( it, Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino, links=no), is a microstate in Southern Europe completely ...

San Marino
and
Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Città del Vaticano; la, Status Civitatis Vaticanae),—' * german: Vatikanstadt, cf. '—' (in Austria: ') * pl, Miasto Watykańskie, cf. '—' * pt, Cidade do Vaticano ...

Vatican City
:


Climate

The peninsula lies between the
Tyrrhenian Sea The Tyrrhenian Sea (; it, Mar Tirreno , french: Mer Tyrrhénienne , sc, Mare Tirrenu, co, Mari Tirrenu, scn, Mari Tirrenu, nap, Mare Tirreno) is part of the Mediterranean Sea off the western coast of Italy. It is named for the Tyrrhenians, Ty ...
on the west, the
Ionian Sea The Ionian Sea ( el, Ιόνιο Πέλαγος, ''Iónio Pélagos'' ; it, Mar Ionio ; al, Deti Jon ) is an elongated bay of the Mediterranean Sea. It is connected to the Adriatic Sea to the north, and is bounded by Southern Italy, including Ca ...

Ionian Sea
on the south, and the
Adriatic Sea The Adriatic Sea () is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkans. The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from the Strait of Otranto (where it connects to the Ionian Sea) to the northwest a ...
on the east. The peninsula has mainly a
Mediterranean climate A Mediterranean climate or dry summer climate is characterized by dry summers and mild, wet winters. The climate receives its name from the Mediterranean Basin, where this climate type is most common. Mediterranean climate zones are typicall ...
, though in the mountainous parts the climate is much cooler. Its natural vegetation includes
macchia
macchia
along the coasts and
deciduous In the fields of horticulture and botany, the term ''deciduous'' (; ) means "falling off at maturity" and "tending to fall off", in reference to trees and shrubs that seasonally shed leaves, usually in the autumn; to the shedding of petal up ...
and mixed deciduous coniferous forests in the interior.


See also

*
Apennine Mountains The Apennines or Apennine Mountains (; grc-gre, links=no, Ἀπέννινα ὄρη or Ἀπέννινον ὄρος; la, Appenninus or  – a singular with plural meaning;''Apenninus'' (Greek or ) has the form of an adjective, which woul ...
*
Southern Europe Southern Europe is the southern subregion of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are ...

Southern Europe
*
History of Italy The history of Italy covers the Ancient Period, the Middle Ages and the modern era. Since classical times, ancient Phoenicians, Magna Graecia, Greeks, Etruscan civilization, Etruscans, and Celts have inhabited the Italian Peninsula, with various ...
*
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization, run through res publica, public Representation (politics), representation of the Roman people. Beginning with the Overthrow of the ...
*
Roman Italy (the Latin and Italian language, Italian name for the Italian Peninsula) was the ancient Rome, homeland of the Romans and metropole of Rome's Roman Empire, empire in classical antiquity. According to Roman mythology, Italy was the ancestral home ...

Roman Italy
*
Insular Italy Insular Italy ( it, Italia insulare or just , meaning "islands") is one of the five official statistical regions of Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting ...


References


External links

* {{Authority control Peninsulas of Europe Geography of Southern Europe Regions of Europe Regions of Eurasia Metropolitan or continental parts of states