Italy shares land borders with four countries: Slovenia, Switzerland, Austria and France. France forms the northwest border of Italy, while Switzerland and Slovenia, which also share borders, lie to the north, and Austria sits to Italy's northeast. In addition to bordering these countries, Italy contains autonomous regions, called the Vatican City and San Marino.
Italy resides in the southeastern part of Europe. It connects to the farthest southeast portion of the European continent; only Greece, Italy's southern neighbor, lies farther south. Italy sits on the Apennine Peninsula and contains twenty distinct regions. It features a distinct geographical shape that makes it among the most easily identifiable nations. Italy, as a peninsular nation, shares borders with land and sea. The Mediterranean Sea forms the coastline of Italy, which spans thousands of miles. Two islands, Sicily and Sardinia, belong to Italy but exist as separate landmasses; they lie south of Italy, between Italy and the African nation of Tunisia. In addition to Sicily and Sardinia, Italy contains autonomous regions. These areas, the Republic of San Marino and the Vatican City, lie within the nation's borders but enjoy political independence. The Vatican City serves as home to the Pope, and falls within the borders of Rome, Italy's capital city.