The Italian, or the Apennine, Peninsula is the central of the three largest peninsulas in Southern Europe, and the one which almost covers the whole of the land in the peninsular region. It runs alobg for about 1,000 kilometers from the Po Valley in the northern region to the central Mediterranean Sea in the southern region. The whole peninsula is a part of Italy, except for that small area found in the microstates of San Marino and Vatican City. The most distinguishable geographical feature of the region is the presence of Apennine Mountains, from which the peninsula takes its name. The coasts of the peninsula are largely surrounded by notable cliffs as well. The Italian Peninsula is also bounded by three important Mediterranean water bodies, namely the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Ionian Sea, and the Adriatic Sea.
The early rulers of the Italian kingdom were the Romans who ruled the entire peninsula. Rome's fall to Germanic peoples came at the hands of the Lombards who invaded the area between 568 and 569. Alongside invaders' rules thereafter, a network of small entities also arose throughout the country. Many invasions also took place on the peninsular region before, during, and after the Roman Empire, as the Romans expanded, and later German, Lombard, and even Gothic warriors took their own turns at asserting dominance in the Italian Peninsula. Every neighboring ruler for centuries seemed to wish to establish their own rule on the Italian Peninsula. Much earlier traces of human presence in the region can be dated to as far back as the Paleolithic period, and before Rome the first signs of civilization came from the mainly Greek colonies that were seen in the area. The peninsula remained divided into foreign possessions, small kingdoms, and city states for centuries after the fall of Rome.
The socioeconomic scenario of the country has changed dramatically over the centuries, as most of the people were once agriculturists, but with every generation the economy of Italy has become increasingly industrialized, and many Italian people have taken up other, more urbanized businesses and places of residence. With the rise of Benito Mussolini in the first half of the 20th Century, Italy served as a hotbed for Fascism, and an ally for Nazi Germany. Since World War II, the Italian Peninsula has played a significant role in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), since it acquires a strategically sound geographical position in the European Council in the Mediterranean region. One of the most unique aspects in regard to Italian cities has been the growth of tourism, as Italy, San Marino, and the Vatican each house many great historical monuments. The include the industrially developed and fashionable city of Milan, the famous southern Italian metropolis of Naples, and the "old city" and its important tourist attractions in the city of Venice. The religious Vatican City, which is the seat of Roman Catholic Church and home to the Pope, is also to be found on the Italian Peninsula, as is the tiny, yet affluent, Republic of San Marino, and much more.
Habitat and Biodiversity
The habitats of the Italian Peninsula are home to many endangered species, and these environs include deciduous, semi-deciduous, and mixed forests. There are many endemic species found in the area, which include Corsican Hares, Sardinian long-eared bats, Apennine Shrews, and Sardinian deer. The reptiles and amphibians of the region include Spectacled salamanders, Italian newts, Sicilian green toads, Garda carp, and many more diversified species who are living in the peninsular region. One can also find Italian wolves, Alpine ibexes, Axis deer, Black woodpecker, and Great bustards on the peninsula.
Environmental Threats and Territorial Disputes
The people living in the village areas near the mountain regions face unemployment and other socioeconomic woes, iconic of the disparity between the growth of Italian urban areas and the plight of rural population. Even the disputes amongst Italy's neighboring nations, and the ongoing terrorist threats from Jihadist groups and Lebanese Armed Factions, are posing threats to nature as well as the economy of the country.