Rise of Kings/Atlas/Italia
Resource count 
It is no secret that among all the many regions of Rise of Kings, Italia has some of the richest territories in all Europe, thanks to the revival of trade routes between east and west. However, even as Italia may have some of the highest tribute scores (with the Romagna, Lombardy and Liguria as the main beneficiaries) any faction with begins in Italy may find it a challenge to survive, especially given the somewhat low level of rare resources which the Italian player enjoys. And there are at least FIVE factions which would have an interest in Italia: Asturias, France, Hungary, Burgundy and the Holy Roman Empire, which historically was active in Italy under Hohenstaufen rule. Fortunately however, the Hungarians are often too violent or too weakened for anyone to come mear them, Asturias and Burgundy are still weak and tensions over Lorraine are simmering between France and the Empire, even as they must compete with other nations to the far north and east. Ergo for an Italian what matters most is keeping the major barbarian powers of Europe weak and divided.
Despite having few rare resources, Italia can boast having two rares which can't be found anywhere else in sufficient quantity — Olive Oil and Marble. These two resources, however, are located to the south and central regions, with Marble already in control by the Papal States. The Venetian faction will have to look elsewhere, although it can't be said that the other rares in the region — Glass and Relics — are not useful, either.
Italia's supply centres are few and they are spread out between Lombardy to the north and in Apulia to the south, so if a major power should develop in northern Europe, it may well move down southwards and eventually annex all of Italia to its rule. In which case, the Italian players — Venice, Sicily and the Papal States — should ideally band together against foreign aggression, while pitting the major Iberian and Franconian powers against one another if need be. After all, there is still plenty of room in France, Africa and the Slavic lands to conquer, settle down and flourish in! In any case, factions like Venice and Sicily might be better off expanding into Sclavonia and Danubia or Africa to obtain supplies in order to further the pursuit of empire abroad.
The birthplace of the Venetian republic, Venetia is much more than the filthy mudflat upon which the village of venice has been piled upon: it also covers the Friulian Alps to the north and the Po delta to the west which happens to be one of the most productive areas of cropland in Italy. Venetia's strategic location at the northern end of the Adriatic also allows it overland access to both the rest of Italy and the Slavic lands by way of Istria and the Romagna, but also seaborne routes to Dalmatia and Latium.
This is one of the richest territories of Italia. Blessed with a flat and arable land dominated by the might of the River Po, the cities of Lombardy are among some of the wealthiest in Europe, but also some of the most jealous.
Of all the Italian territories, this mountainous and windswept island is the poorest, with many of its villages engaged in the time-honoured customs of brigandage and piracy.
The so-called "Little Rome" of Italy is dominated by a landscape of fortified hill castles owned by barons who find the presence of each other utter anathema. Even so, this land is rich with the relics of past civilisations which may provide us a window into a golden future, and can be used to access Istria and Dalmatia by sea.
Straddling the coastal roads which lead into France and faraway Spain, Liguria is a potential budding commercial artery in the modern world.
Rome continues to remain the centre of world affairs, but its importance is diminishing in the wake of the increased recalcitrance of its so-called German-born "Emperors". Even the Golden City itself, once the capital of the mightiest empire ever known to this part of the world is becoming an increasngly chaotic mess of slums and rambling ruins. Nevertheless, Latium is definitely an important junction in pan-Italian strategy, given its access to almost all of eastern Italy, including Venetia to the north, and eastern Europe by way of Dalmatia.
Despite its small size, this territory hosts some of the most productive mines in all of Europe, specialising in one metal over others: silver. In addition, Sardigna is an important outpost in the Mediterranean, controlling access between Italia, Iberia and Africa.
Apulia, covering the southeastern half of Italy, has a climate suited to the cultivation of olives and also hosts significant ports which allow access to Epirus in the south-east, Sicily to the direct south, and Dalmatia to the north — perhaps forces that may reshape Europe could one day depart from Apulia itself to these territories.
Barely pacified by the promise of far-off riches, Christians and Muslims alike share in the common life and welfare of Sicily's ruling nobility, the Kalbids, a line of emirs from Muslim North Africa. At the centre of the Mediterranean, Sicily is well-suited for its return back as a major power after almost a thousand years languishing away as a historical backwater. Sicily is also home to some of Europe's most prolific brimstone mines thanks to the prescence of the volcano of Etna to the east.
Located between Tunisia and southern Italy, Malta is a vital strategic hub throughout all of the Mediterranean, with sea lanes stretching from Crete all the way to the Spanish Balearic islands.