The Italian region it has been, and is, affected by the interaction of the margins of the European and African clods (whose movements are the cause of the seismicity that affects 80% of the surface). Rocks of the Precambrian age emerge in sectors of the Alps and Sardinia. Between the Devonian and the Carboniferous a phase of distension of the continental crust developed, with magmatic manifestations and depositions in Sardinia, in the Carnic Alps and in Sicily. The subsequent phase of convergence, responsible for the Hercynian orogeny, can be observed in several Italian regions. During the Carboniferous, widespread conglomeratic and arenaceous deposits, sometimes with fossil flora, attest to the existence of continental environments in Sardinia and in certain sectors of the Alps, while in the Tuscan area the environments are continental and marine, and in the Carnic Alps typically marine. With the upper Carboniferous begins a phase that generates continental basins in Sardinia, in La Thuile, in Liguria and in the Southern Alps. Starting from the Middle Permian, with the transgression from SE on the European Hercynian building, sandy and gravelly continental formations are deposited which are accompanied by volcanic phenomena affecting various areas. In the lower Triassic, on the paleogeographic structures of the Hercynian continental margin, an alternating series of marine transgressions and regressions from the SE is established, which then determines marine domains of very variable depth and vast carbonate platforms; it is accompanied by volcanic phenomena and plutonic activity, the greatest manifestation of which is represented by the monzodiorites of the Val di Fassa. The phase of oceanic opening of the Tethys in the Jurassic sees the current Italian territory covered for the most part by carbonate platforms. In the oceanic domain, basaltic flows expand which will be involved in the Alpine orogenesis and will form ophiolites (Western Alps, Northern Apennines, Calabria). Marine sediments are deposited on the margins of the continental blocks (Western Alps, Lombard Prealps, Tuscany, Apuan Alps). With the inverse movement of the continental margins (Lower Cretaceous), the convergence of the two blocks leads to the birth of the Alpine building and to an intense basaltic volcanic activity (Lessini and Berici Mountains, Euganean Hills). In the Paleogene sedimentations are widespread; meanwhile the Northern Apennines are being formed, consisting of several overlapping tectonic units with vergence at E and NE. During the Neogene in northern Sardinia a volcanic activity linked to orogenetic processes develops; in the Tuscan area there is intense intracrostal magmatic activity (Elba, Giglio and Montecristo) and volcanic activity in Val di Cecina. The Italian area is largely occupied by Miocene sediments; between the Oligocene and the upper Miocene the Apennine building with overlying layers is formed. With the Messinian begin movements of relaxation on the Tyrrhenian sector and compression in the external sector of the Apennine chain. With the Pliocene the Alpine chain can be said to be completed. In the upper Miocene-Pliocene there are effusive manifestations of the platform, which still continue in Etna. During the Pliocene most of the Italian area is submerged and receives sediments,
With the end of the Pliocene and the beginning of the Pleistocene the Italian area assumes the present configuration: the sea withdraws from the innermost parts of the peninsula. The modeling due to glacial expansions, on the southern slope of the Alps (and in some parts of the Apennines), produces moraine amphitheaters, circuses, U-shaped valleys, drafts, circus lakes, etc. The glacial (Günz, Mindel, Riss, Würm) and interglacial (Günz-Mindel, Mindel-Riss and Riss-Würm) phases correspond to fluctuations in the mean sea level, with extensive erosion surfaces and sedimentary successions. In the middle Pleistocene large areas surrounding the peninsula emerge, connecting to many of the current islands, the Po Valley is filled, volcanic activity generates the Aeolian Islands, in Tuscany the apparatus of Monte Amiata develops and others dot the area between northern Lazio and Campania. Man moves within this framework, leaving evidence of lithic industry during the Mindel-Riss interglacial (lower Paleolithic). With the upper Paleolithic appears the Homo sapiens (Cave of San Teodoro, Messina, Cave of the Children at Balzi Rossi by Grimaldi, Cave of the Arene Candide near Finale Ligure).