Italy is located in south central Europe and like everybody already knows,it's shaped like a boot,which makes it easy to find on a map. :) To the north,it borders France,Switzerland,Austria and Slovenia, along the Alps.The south consists of the Italian Peninsula,Sialy and Sardegnor,which are the two largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea,along with many other islands.The territory of Italy covers 116,347 square miles and has a temperate climate.Italy is the sixth most populous country in Europe and the twenty third most populous country in the world.
The capital of Italy is Rome and was the political center of western civilization for centuries.Ceturies later,Italy became the birthplace of the Renaissance.Modern Italy is a democratic republic and the president is Giorgio Naplolitano.Italy is also ranked the 23rd most developed country.It's also a founding member of what's now the Europeam Union and is part of the Eurozone.The Apenine Mountains form the peninsula's backbone.Italy's highest point is Mount Blanc,which is 15,782 feet high.Italy's longest river is the Po River,which flows from the Alps on the western border with France and crosses the Padan Plain on its way to the Adriatic Sea.
The five largest lakes of Italy are: Garola Lake,Maggiore Lake,Trasimeno Lake, and Bolsena Lake.There are fourteen volcanoes in Italy,three of which are active: the Etna,Stromboli and Vesuvius.The Vesuvius is the most famous for the destruction of Pompei and Herculanum.Several islands and hills of Italy have been created by volcanic activity.
Italy is subdivided into 20 regions,110 provinces and 8,100 municipalities.Massimo also listed all the regions and their capitals for us.The largest religion of Italy is Roman Catholicism.Most Italians believe in God or a form of spiritual life form.
Italian cuisine is noted for its regional diversity,abundance of difference in taste and is known to be one of the most popular in the world.Ingredients and dishes vary by region.Cheese and wine are the most important part of the cuisine.Italian cuisine is also well known for its use of a diverse variety of pasta.There are hundreds of different shapes of pasta.Coffee has also become important to Italian cuisine,with many types,such as espresso,cappucino,cafelatte,etc.The most famous Italian dessert is called tiramisu,which we haven't yet tried,but looks fabulous!Tiramisu literally means "pull me up" and is often given to people who are recovering from sickness to make them strong again,or to "pull them back up".
Florence is the capital of Tuscany and is the most populous city in the region and is known for its history and importance in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance,and especially for its art and architecture.It is also the birthplace or chosen home of many notable historic figures,including Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo,just to name a few.The best well-known site is the domed cathedral of the city,called Santa Maria del Flore.In 1982,the historic center of Florence was declared a World Heritae site by the UNESCO.Florence has many beautiful and important things,buildings and places.The Ponte Vecchio is a Medieval bridge that is still popular today,especially with women since there are many jewely shops located there,along with oneof the finest art museums on the world.
Massimo has shared so much information that we loved reading about and has also enclosed a lovely calendar for next year and two wonderful postcards.I really feel that if we ever get the chance to visit Italy,we will already know so much in advance about the country,along with some places that we should see,especially the bridge with the jewelry shops. ;)
The letters we have been receiving have been so great at explaining the culture,food and shops of the area that we feel that we could visit any of those places with knowledge that most people might not have before visiting the country.Even if we never visit that particular country or state we have gotten a letter from,we still feel we have so much knowledge about the area and got a real feeling of being there that one cannot explain from these letters.The letters have been so well written and we always look forward to our next "trip" that our next letter takes us to.Thanks Massimo for the great letter,postcards and calendar,which can be seen below: