Italy's area is about 301 thousand square kilometers. It is home for 59 million people. Its capital is Rome. Italy is a large country of the Mediterranean; it occupies the Apennine Peninsula, the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, and other small islands.

Contemporarily, the country was formed in 1870 by combining the principalities. Italy is a parliamentary republic. The head of state is the president, whose term is for 7 years. The Parliament, which is composed of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, has legislative power. The Council of Ministers has the executive functions, and its chairman is nominated by the president.

Italy's Mediterranean location. Considerable extent of the territory from the north-west to the south-east determines specific climate. There are two main types of it - moderately continental and subtropical.

The relief of the country is mostly mountainous: 80% of the territory is covered by mountains and hills. The lowlands include the Padan plain and small areas of river valleys in the sea coasts. Geologically young, most of the Italian territory has minor repository and mineral reserves. There are complex ores, which partially satisfy the demand of the country (60% of lead and 30% of zinc). It also has large stocks of mercury ore. Nonmetallic mineral reserves consist of bentonite, potash and building materials. Among fossil fuels there are small deposits of coal, which is not produced, oil (own production covers 1.5% of the country’s demand), gas (5% of the country’s demand). The country depends on imports of raw materials and energy. Inland waters of Italy are insignificant.

The largest river is the Po, where flow most of the rivers of Northern Italy. The soils of the plains and foothills are represented by brown forest, subtropical red soil, and of elevated massifs by alluvial mining soils of the volcanic rocks. Forests are mainly located in the mountains and occupy the fifth of the country.