Size: slightly larger than Arizona
Capital city: Roma
Italy did not exist as a unified nation until 1861 and its 21 regions have maintained cultural individuality.
Families are very strong and usually live in the same house for many generations
There are two Italy's: The North is industrial, aggressive and "time is money" in its outlook. The South is crowded, poor, relaxed, farm-oriented and traditional (The frontier separating the two is indeterminate, lying somewhere between Rome and Napoli)
Geography: Italy is shaped like a boot, 850 miles long and 150 miles wide jutting into the central Mediterranean. (Florida is 500 miles long). The terrain is generally mountainous and hilly, with the Alps in the north and a north-south "spine" of the Apennine Mountains. 116,000 square miles including the islands of Sicily, Sardinia and others.
Rivers: Po (the longest, 400 miles), Arno, Adige and Tiber
Active volcanoes: Vesuvius, Etna and Stromboli
Major cities: Rome (the capital, 2.6 million), Milan (1.3 million), and Naples (1 million)
Italian inventions: cologne, thermometer, barometer, pizza, wireless telegraph, espresso machine, typewriter, batteries, nitroglycerin and the ice cream cone.
Economy: Italy is the world's 8th largest industrial power and the 4th largest in Europe.
69% of the economy consists of service jobs (especially tourism)
29% is industry (textiles, chemicals)
2% is agriculture (fruit, vegetables, olives, wine, plus fishing)
Government: Italy is a republic with 3 branches of government. The chief executive is the prime minister. The bicameral legislature is elected by (mostly) direct voting. Since World War II, the fragmented country has had 60 national governments.
Climate: most of the inland northern areas have a continental climate, whereas the coastal areas of Liguria and most of the peninsula south of Florence generally fit the Mediterranean stereotype
in Italy, the North and the South bicker about each other, hurling barbs, quips, and generalizations. All the classic North/South traits can be applied to Rome (the government capital) and Milan (the business capital). Although the differences have become less pronounced lately, the sniping continues.
- courtesy to the Planck family