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Satellite view of the Peninsula in March 2003.
|Area||131,337 km2 (50,709 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||2,912 m (9,554 ft)|
|Highest point||Corno Grande|
|Sovereign states and dependent territories|
|Largest city||Vatican City|
|Density||199.27 /km2 (516.11 /sq mi)|
|Ethnic groups||Italian and Sammarinese|
The Italian Peninsula, Apennine Peninsula or Mainland Italy, also Italy (Italian: Penisola italiana, Penisola appenninica, Terraferma or Continente) is the central and the smallest of the three large peninsulas of Southern Europe (the other two being the Iberian Peninsula and Balkan Peninsula), spanning 1,000 km (620 mi) from the Po Valley in the north to the central Mediterranean Sea in the south. The peninsula's shape gives it the nickname Lo Stivale (The Boot). Three smaller peninsulas contribute to this characteristic shape, namely Calabria (the "toe"), Salento (the "heel") and Gargano (the "spur").
Since the reign of Roman Emperor Augustus (end of first century BC), the northern border of the peninsula has been set on the Alps watershed, but geographically it coincides with a line extending from the Magra to the Rubicon rivers, north of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, which excludes the Po Valley and the southern slope of the Alps.
Nearly all of the peninsula is part of the state of Italy, apart from San Marino and the Vatican City. Additionally, Sicily, Elba and other smaller islands, such as Palagruža (Italian: Pelagosa), belonging to Croatia, are usually considered as islands off the peninsula and in this sense geographically grouped along with it.
The peninsula is bordered by the Tyrrhenian Sea on the west, the Ionian Sea on the south, and the Adriatic Sea on the east. The backbone of the Peninsula consists of the Apennine Mountains, from which it takes one of its names. Most of the coasts are lined with cliffs.
The Italian peninsula's location between the centre of Europe and the Mediterranean Sea made it the target of many conquests.
The peninsula has mainly a Mediterranean climate, though in the mountainous parts the climate is much cooler, and its natural vegetation includes macchia along the coasts and deciduous and mixed deciduous coniferous forests in the interior.
Modern countries and territories
Political divisions of the peninsula sorted by area:
|Italian Republic||61,140,000||131,275||50,686||99.9531%||Occupies almost the whole of Italy.|
|San Marino||31,887||61.2||23.6||0.0466%||A north eastern enclave of peninsular Italy|
|Vatican City||829||0.44||0.17||0.0003%||An enclave of Rome, Italy|
- De Agostini Ed., L'Enciclopedia Geografica - Vol. I - Italia, 2004, p.78
- Touring Club Italiano, Conosci l’Italia - Vol. I: L’Italia fisica, 1957
- Population includes only the inhabitants of mainland Italy (excluding Northern Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, San Marino, and Vatican City).
Media related to Italian peninsula at Wikimedia Commons