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What's so special about the Mediterranean?
Zoom in on Italy: A country of Cities and Regions
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The Mediterranean - Zoom in on Italy:  A country of Cities and Regions

This lesson takes a macro to micro ‘zoom in’ approach into one Mediterranean Country.  It considers the notion of scale and encourages enquiry into the features of a country and the way it is divided.


As a teacher, you will need internet access and an interactive whiteboard or projector for this lesson.

Key questions

  • What are the physical features of Italy?
  • Why is Italy a Mediterranean country?
  • What is a region?
  • Why might country be divided into regions?
  • Is Italy the only European country divided into regions?
  • What does a regional map of Italy look like?
  • What are the differences between Italian regions?
  • What is a ‘capoluogo?’
  • What are the special features of the following cities: Rome, Venice, Naples, Palermo, Milan, Aosta and Florence
  • How do these cities compare to cities in the UK?

Subject content areas

  • Locational knowledge: Location of Italy concentrating on the environmental regions, key physical and human characteristics and major cities.
  • Place knowledge: Investigation into the political influences on a place divided by regions.  Understanding of geographical similarities and differences through the study of physical geography of a region of the United Kingdom and a region in Italy.
  • Human and Physical Geography: This lesson with focus on physical geography in terms of identifying climate zones, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes.  It will also explore human geography including types of settlement, land use and economic activity.
  • Geographical Skills and Fieldwork: Mapwork – locating features and making comparisons to the UK.


Additional links

  • Interactive map of Italy’s regions. Go to Seterra website
  • Aerial View of all Italian Regions. Go to YouTube
  • Italy’s climate. Go to Britannica Website
  • Throp, C. (2012) Countries around the World:  Italy.  Heinemann Library:  Illinois.


Begin with the outline map of Europe and ask students to explore the map for shapes, asking them to find the country that looks like the shape of a boot.  Once students have located this, upload a political map of Europe (such as one used for lesson one) and identify this ‘boot’ shaped country as Italy.  Using ‘show me’ whiteboards or talk partners, explore the location of Italy in Europe.  Ask students what they know about the country and document these (the group that looked at Italy in lesson three should be able to help others in this task).

Share the following two facts with students:

  • Italy is a Mediterranean country
  • Italy is a peninsula country

Using the map of Europe, ask students to explain why these two facts are true.
Present students with a physical map of Italy. Ask students to identify the physical features they recognise about Italy. 

Remind students what is meant by the term climate. Ask or recap with students what they think the climate of Italy might be like? Go to Kids Britannica Website to read more about Italy’s climate.


Explain to students that the aim of the lesson today is to think about Italy as a whole country and to zoom in to the way it is divided. Begin with this map. Go to Seterra website to show the map of Italy as a whole. Identify Rome as the capital city. Ask students what they notice about the way this map divides Italy. 

Explain that Italy is divided into regions and, as a whole class activity; define what is meant by ‘a region’. Play the map quiz game on the Seterra website whilst enjoying attempting to pronounce the regions in Italian. 

Go to YouTube. Explain to students that they are going to watch a film of an aerial view of the entire country. Watch the film whilst asking students to share what they like about Italy from what they see - answer any questions. Tell the students they are now going to watch the film again, but this time they will be watching for specific things.  They should look out for the features in each of the regions and think about how these are similar and different throughout the film. Repeat the film and record students’ ideas.

Using the downloadable factsheets for teachers to support you, explain to students the impact regions have on Italy as a country and the implications of these for the running of the country. Ask students if they know any other countries in Europe which are divided into regions. Locate these on a map of Europe.

Introduce students to the term ‘capoluogo’. Explain this means that in each region there is one city which acts as the capital of that region and represents all that is special about it.

Tell students that you have selected seven of these cities to give an idea of the whole country. Divide the class into seven groups and explain the task is to find out what makes the city special – why is it the capoluogo? Groups should begin by locating their capoluogo on a map.

Students should work in their groups using the factsheets and images of important sites in each city; pupils should use online and book resources to support their research and record their findings as part of their final assessment presentation.


Invite groups to share their findings and make comparisons between the cities that students have researched.

Extension activity: If time allows, and depending on the students’ knowledge of UK cities, make comparisons between these seven cities and major cities in the UK.

Following the lesson, children add to the notes they are building up as part of the assessment task.  They could include their findings about their focus city as part of this.

Assessment Opportunities

Formative Assessment. Monitoring of students’ identification of features on a map.  Monitoring of students’ research skills relating to the cities in Italy. 

Summative Assessment. Students should record their findings to contribute to the final assessment. These will show students’ overall understanding of the module.

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