The Italian peninsula is a very diverse region. The mountainous terrain creates an ideal environment for isolationism. Small communities can develop within a few miles of each other and have a completely different culture. Much like the people of Naples in today’s day and age being completely different than the people from Bari. The Sicilians are totally different from the people of Venice. For a region the size of New Jersey, the diversity is amazing.
The lack of good seafaring ports made the people inhabiting the Italian peninsula turn within themselves for trade. The indigenous people mistrusted people who made their livelihood from the sea. This mistrust could have been created by foreign seafares such as the Carthaginians or Phoenicians. The only good harbors on the peninsula are the port of Naples and perhaps Bari. This lack of reliance on the sea also helped build the native peoples reliance on the land. The Italian people built a close network of farming communities through out the peninsula. Agriculture became a strong facet of everyday Italian life. Communities and towns grew around prosperous farms.
The Gaul’s maintained their stronghold in the Italian Alps in the north and the Etruscans stayed in the central regions. The Latins held farmlands in the Rome region while the Greeks held colonies in the Sicilian areas of Messina and else where in the south. The origins of the Etruscan people are still in question, however since they had a language that was close to the people indigenous to Asia Minor it is most likely that they originated from there. Also the people from Asia Minor were sea travelers like the people from Greece, there-for the people of Asia Minor most likely developed colonies in Italy much like the Greeks.
The Italian Alps did not act as an efficient barrier against the Gauls. The Gauls inhabited the Po River valley. The Po River valley is very fertile and the Gauls made a very good life farming the area. However, the Etruscans were not without the problems from the Gauls. The Gauls invaded Etruscan and Latin villages causing much hardship for the people of the south.
Overall, the people of the Italian peninsula developed culturally as an introverted close knit group of people. Due to their early lack of sea travel experience, they did not interact much with people from other lands and were force to trade amongst themselves. This internal system helped to create a successful road systems throughout the peninsula.