Friuli–Venezia Giulia is one of the 20 regions of Italy, and one of five autonomous regions with special statute. The capital is Trieste. It has an area of 7,858 km² and about 1.2 million inhabitants. A natural opening to the sea for many Central European countries, the region is traversed by the major transport routes between the east and west of southern Europe. It encompasses the historical-geographical region of Friuli and the geographical region of Venezia Giulia, each with its own distinct history, traditions and identity.