Italian Peninsula

peninsula of southern Europe

The Italian Peninsula or Apennine Peninsula (Italian: Penisola italiana, Penisola appenninica) is a large peninsula of Southern Europe. It extends into the Mediterranean Sea, with the Ionian and Adriatic Seas on the east and the Tyrrhenian Sea on the west. It is in between two larger peninsulas: the Iberian Peninsula and the Balkan Peninsula. Because of the peninsula's shape, it is nicknamed Lo Stivale ("The Boot"). Three smaller peninsulas make it look similar to this shape. They are named Calabria (the "toe"), Salento (the "heel") and Gargano (the "spur").

Italian Peninsula
Apennine Peninsula

Penisola italiana, Penisola appenninica, Terraferma, Continente, lo Stivale  (Italian)
A map of the Italian Peninsula and its location in Europe.
Satellite view of the peninsula in March 2003.
Italian Peninsula in dark green
LocationSouthern Europe
Coordinates42°N 14°E / 42°N 14°E / 42; 14 37°N 15°E / 37°N 15°E / 37; 15
Area150,000 km2 (58,000 sq mi)
(44% of Italy's area)
Highest pointCorno Grande
Largest settlementRome
Largest settlementDogana
Largest settlementItself (City-state)
Pop. density199.27/km2 (516.11/sq mi)
Ethnic groupsItalian
Satellite image of the Italian Peninsula in Spring 2003
A map of the Italian Peninsula and its location in Europe.

The peninsula is about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) long, starting from the Po Valley in the north. The Apennine Mountains cover most of its length. It mainly has the Mediterranean climate, though in the mountainous parts the climate is much cooler.

Since the reign of Roman Emperor Augustus (end of 1st century BC), the northern border of the peninsula has been set on the Alps drainage basin. Geographically, however, its northern end runs from the Magra to the Rubicon rivers, north of the Apennines in Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna. This definition does not include the Po Valley or the southern slopes of the Alps.[1][2]

Nearly all of the peninsula is part of the Italian Republic, apart from San Marino and the Vatican City.

Modern countries and territories
State Peninsular area Description
Population[3] km2 sq mi Share
 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% An enclave in the north-east of peninsular Italy
  Vatican City 829 0.44 0.17 0.0003% An enclave of Rome, Italy


  1. De Agostini Ed., L'Enciclopedia Geografica - Vol. I - Italia, 2004, p.78
  2. Touring Club Italiano, Conosci l’Italia - Vol. I: L’Italia fisica, 1957
  3. Population includes only the inhabitants of mainland Italy (excluding Northern Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, San Marino, and Vatican City).

42°N 14°E / 42°N 14°E / 42; 14