Italy is easily identified by its distinctive
boot-shaped form, which not only makes
it easy to find on a map, but also affects
the country's climate. A traveler who journeys
from the top of the boot to the bottom
will notice a significant difference between
the cooler, wetter north and the warmer,
drier southern tip. Keeping the climate
cool in the north are the Alps,
located along Italy's border. Moving south,
the land juts out into warmer waters, and
the climate becomes warmer.
The capital city of Italy is Rome. Rome
has long been an important and influential
city in Europe because of the many innovations
that citizens of the city have produced.
Among the greatest Italian thinkers are Leonardo
da Vinci, who not only painted a great
deal, but also wrote down his ideas about art
as a science. These notes proved helpful
to other artists and art historians who studied
Leonardo's work. The soothing Roman
baths, an example of which can still
be found in the English city of Bath, are
another Italian innovation.
Within Rome, you can find the smallest independent
country in the world: Vatican
City. Although the population of Vatican
City is as small as 1,000 people, the city
serves as the center of the Roman Catholic
Church, whose members number in the millions.
The leader of the Roman Catholic Church,
the pope, lives and governs from within the
walls of the Vatican City. The Sistine
Chapel, a famous Roman landmark, was
originally built as the private chapel for
the pope in the 15th century. In 1508, artist Michelangelo was
commissioned to repaint the ceiling. Michelangelo's
work remains an outstanding example of Renaissance
Popular Italian cities to visit are Florence, Naples,
There is a lot more to learn about Italy!
- Explore these sites for facts and figures
- Let Atlapedia's "Click-A-Map" show
you physical and political maps of Italy.
- Access fast facts about important events
that happened during the Summer Olympic Games
- Pore over ancient Rome with History
- Visit Pisa and its wonderful leaning tower.
Investigate the reasons why this architectural
treasure still stands and the efforts underway
to keep it from falling. Also watch "Hot
Science" experiments performed using
the Leaning Tower of Pisa, brought to you
- Visit Italy's Ministry
of Foreign Affairs.
More Countries (past
hosts of Olympic Games)