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Italy, a state of Europe in the south of the continent, has a land area of 116,305 square miles (301,230 square kilometers, including the large islands of Sardinia and Sicily) and an estimated population of 58 million people in 2006. The country can be divided into three main physiographic units. The north, dominated by the Alpine mountain arch; the center, whose main feature is the Po river plain; and the mountainous south, with the Apennines mountains stretching to Calabria. Coastal lowlands are also frequent, especially in the Adriatic sea. In Sardinia and Sicily, high and rugged mountains and volcanoes (in Sicily) alternate with lower elevations and coastal plains. The climate is Mediterranean except for the Alps and the Po river plain, where continental conditions (cold ...

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