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History

Ancient history and settlement.

The history of Italy is characterized by two periods of unity—the Roman Empire (CE-476 CE) and the modern democratic republic formed after the end of World War 2 in 1948. Between those two periods may have been a millennium and a half of division and disruption, but that disruption saw one of the world’s great flowering of art, the Renaissance (circa 1400–1600 CE).

Italy is a country in south-western Europe, comprised largely of a boot-shaped peninsula which extends out into the Mediterranean, as well as a region on the core landmass of the continent. Italy is bordered by Switzerland and Austria to the north, Slovenia and the Adriatic Sea to the east, France and the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west, and the Ionian Sea and the Mediterranean to the south. The country of Italy also includes the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.

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Geography

Ancient history and settlement.

Italy is located in southern Europe and comprises the long, boot-shaped Italian Peninsula, the southern side of Alps, the large plain of the Po Valley and some islands including Sicily and Sardinia. Corsica, although belonging to the Italian geographical region, has been a part of France since 1769. Italy is part of the Northern Hemisphere.

Its total area is 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi), of which 294,140 km2 (113,570 sq mi) is land and 7,200 km2 is water (2,780 sq mi). It lies between latitudes 35° and 48° N, and longitudes 6° and 19° E.

Italy borders Switzerland (698 km or 434 mi), France (476 km or 296 mi), Austria (404 km or 251 mi) and Slovenia (218 km or 135 mi). San Marino (37 km or 23 mi) and Vatican city (3.4 km or 2.1 mi) are enclaves.

Including islands, Italy has a coastline of 7,600 km (4,700 mi) on the Adriatic Sea, Ionian Sea, Tyrrhenian Sea, Ligurian Sea, Sea of Sardinia and Strait of Sicily

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